Sunday 1 December 2019

Green Oak Porch Finished

Really pleased with how this porch came out in the end. It really sets off the house. 

Sunday 24 November 2019

Step Up Changing Table

This was a commission for a local nursery I made earlier in the month.

It's the one my son attends (although he no longer needs the changer) so it was lovely to work for them.

I've done a full video on the process of making it, watch it and let me know what you think.

I made the whole project with 18mm birch faced ply, leaving the edges exposed to complete the look. I was really pleased with how it turned out.

A really fun and interesting project to make.

Friday 6 September 2019

Simple Clamp Rack

For a long time now I've wanted to increase my number of clamps in the the shop. They seem to be the one limiting factor on large glue ups, and as I was once told you can never have enough!

So using my brothers wholesale account I have upgraded my collection. I talked a few weeks back about clamps and what I'd go for if I was to buy more. In the end I've gone for a good sized set of them.

They are a cheap brand but there's not much to go wrong with a clamp. Some of the castings are a bit out of square on the end but I always put a piece of wood for them to press against anyway.

Friday 30 August 2019

Small Green Oak Frame

this is a small oak frame I've been commissioned to build for a porch on a new house. 

All traditional mortise and tenon joinery. A mixture of hand and power tools have been used. 

The oak was quite twisted so I have to pick through the pieces to find the best ones for the truss.

Hopefully I should get this one pegged fairly soon and fitted! I could do with getting it away from my yard. It'll be sanded up before it's assembled.

Always heavy with oak but at least these pieces aren't too big!

Monday 19 August 2019

IsoTunes Pro Review

The last few year years I've been really hot on using hearing protection.

There's a real stigma on building sites about health and safety and that's a real shame, especially when it comes to our hearing. I used to keep ear muffs in the van but I wasn't very religious about using them for a long time. To be honest they can be a pain to wear when working with others or in the heat and if you're always putting them on and taking them off they slow you down. Lots of tractor driving when younger hasn't helped either I shouldn't imagine.

But now my hearing isn't what it was and I wish I'd put more into trying to look after it. Hopefully it's not deteriated too much but I can't hear somethings as well as others, like the beeper on the cooker, etc. So now before I use any tool, the ear muffs go on. The horse might have bolted on this one but hopefully it'll stop them getting worse.

My workshop has lots of pairs of them all over the place. But wearing them they do tend to get hot and sweaty and when planning boards up for hours it can become a little boring if you can't hear the radio.

So I've decided it's time to try something new. Lately I've got massively into my audio books and like to listen as I'm working on some of my easier tasks, I thought it would be great not to have to switch it off as I'm doing some of the longer machining tasks.

There are always concerns about using hearing protection like this while using machines.
1. You're not concentrating quite as well as if you weren't listing to anything.
2. You will struggle to hear if someone shouts at you
3. You can't hear so well if the machine you're using is struggling.

For me, as someone that works alone I think the above risks are quite minor, I maintain my machines well and the door has to be opened for someone to come in to talk to me anyway. Plus I'll only use it on simple tasks I've done thousands of times before.

I looked at what was available and saw a few people in a forum recommend Isotunes. They're not cheap at around £70 but then if they were I'd probably be less inclined to buy them! Cheap isn't normally very good, especially when it comes to safety wear. 

When they turned up they come in a well packaged box containing everything you need. The ear buds themselves just block out noise like normal ear buds would and then wirelessly play audio into your ears via bluetooth. 

Out of the box it's dead easy to set up and use. Just pick the correct sized ear buds, thread them onto the main part and fit them in your ear like it shows on the diagram.

It's also pretty easy to connect to your phone as well, just search for devices and press the middle button on the controls. Then they should connect automatically whenever you have them switched on. The little control bar has volume controls and lets you switch on or off from there, just holding it for 5 seconds turns it on or off. 

I've been using them for a few weeks now and so far I'm really enjoying them. I wouldn't say they're as comfortable as normal ear muffs, as they take a little getting used to, but I've worn them for long periods of time without any discomfort.

Noise reduction is good, they work as well as any of the ear muffs I already own.

I find the sound quality to be great, the volume doesn't go that loud, but loud enough for anything I've been doing so far. I've listened to a number of books and even with the planer going I've been able to hear to the whole thing.

Sorry for the goofy picture!
Battery life seems good as well, so far I've used them daily and so long as I remember to charge them in the evening they last as long as I want them to, they charge quickly though.

So do I think they're worth the money?

Yep - I've even been looking forward to the boring jobs so I can have them on! Probably not worth it for the occasional user but for anyone who need hearing protection for a large portion of the day then I'd highly recommend them.

Monday 12 August 2019

Creating A Curved Worktop

For our own kitchen we had decided we wanted a curved unit and worktop where you enter the kitchen. This would make the flow much better as you enter the room (and much less likely to stub your toe!).

To do so creates a bit of work though. I had to first make the curved unit which involved lots of curved ply.  This then gave me the radius length for the worktop.

Only a perfect curve would do for this, anything less would stand out like a sore thumb. So routing a template was the only way really, no way could this be cut by hand. I used the bars on my router and a block of wood to create a simple circle jig. And routed the quarter turn using a straight cutter. I took the extraction off for this photo but always have it on when routing MDF.

The Run of worktop to be routed

I then used the template to draw the curve and cut using a jigsaw as close as I could to make routing easier.

The jig was fitted to the underside of the worktop as the copy bit I had for the router has the bearing on the bottom. I clamped this to the worktop, I made the jig big enough so that the clamps were well out of the way.

Even with dust extraction on this is still a dusty job, but far better than without! Routing the actual curve didn't take long once set up! A sharp bit is essential for cutting the oak without burning it.

I then sanded the curve working up through the grits and routed a slight chamfer on the edge, this way it still looks crisp but isn't sharp. 

I'm really pleased with this curve. The first thing anyone does as they walk in is to rub their hand along it so I'm glad I took the time to get it perfect!

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Stealth Mounts Battery Clip Review

My workshop isn't huge so every bit of space I can save is essential to keep me working effectively and efficiently, especially if I want to be able to earn a living out there.

I very much live by a place for everything and everything in it's place. Having things close to hand saves a lot of time rather than getting frustrated trying to find something.

When I stumbled upon these battery clips the other day I thought they were a great idea and woujld work well with my ethos. I hate my spare batteries being chucked in a tool box or a drawer and with seven batteries I need to know each one is charged before I take it to a job.

I currently run a cordless set of tools using the Makita LXT LI-Ion 18v range so these clips were to fit these and this blog post is only about these - although they do them for most of the big brands of tools.

Saturday 3 August 2019

Sash Clamp - T bar Or Not?

I was once told that as a carpenter I'll never have enough clamps and nothing could be truer! 

Every job I do at the minute I seem to be using every clamp I have. Or to be more accurate, every clamp I like. I have a large selection built up over 20 years and it's a right hodgepodge and there's a few clamps in there I don't like to use unless I have to.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Cabin Bed Commission

A fun commission to make a bed to fit in a non standard sized space. 

It was to fit between the wall and a large beam that forms part of the structure of the house. It was just a few inches shorter than a normal bed. So to make a normal mattress fit I dropped the two end rails so the mattress would sail over them. 

I made the frame using Festool dominos for the joints, I especially like these for a bed as they have one's that can be taken apart with an Allen key. This makes assembly in the customers house really easy. 

the book shelves add lots of storage and behind the bed will become the customers daughters den, with the additions of curtains for a secret door!

I liked making this and loved that the whole project was made out of pine.

Thursday 30 May 2019

Oak Capping

This is some oak capping I completed on top of some brick work a while ago. I was worried about the tanning leaking out onto the brickwork but it seems to be fine a year later. 

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Floor to Ceiling Storage

Even though we've been trying to declutter we're always short of storage in our house. 

The old dinning room used to contain a large sideboard against the one wall. But now, with that wall gone, we needed somewhere else to store things. Turns out mainly craft items that the children spend all their time doing! 

So I made some floor to ceiling units from the pine board that I had used to make the kitchen. Really simple construction to make the carcasses, just using dominos (A large dowel type joint), glues and then screws to clamp it together. Makes a really solid unit, far better than an MDF or chipboard one. 

I must confess to it taking a few months to make the doors but it's made such a difference now they're on and everything is hidden away. 

The doors are a simple shaker style made with domino joints in the corners and grooved to accept the ply panel. They're all to have a painted finish. 

I've gone for my black duct tape handles for now but they'll be replaced with leather at a later date!

Tuesday 15 January 2019

Kitchen table

We looked for a kitchen table for our new kitchen but were suitably unimpressed with everything we saw.

Time to build our own again.

Top tips for preparing your self build home for winter

### This is a collaborative post ###


Let's say that you just build a home, and with the winter approaching fast, you need to figure out how to protect your home over the cold season. What steps can you take to ensure that you don't suffer any home damage in the coming winter season? Here are a couple of different things that may help you with preparing your home for the winter.

Tip #1: Insulate the Pipes

One of the most common causes of weather damage in the cold comes from frozen pipes. How does this happen? Without pipe insulation, the water on the inside of the pipe can freeze. Learn about the signs of frozen pipes here. As it thaws, however, it puts an incredible amount of pressure on the pipe, and this can cause it to burst. One of the first signs that you have a frozen pipe is that you have reduced water flow. You could also find that you have no water whatsoever. Frozen pipes won't always crack or burst, so thawing is one of your best choices. Let the pipe thaw out with the warmth from the home. You will need a lot of patience, but with time, you can get it.

Eco-Friendly Considerations When Building or Retrofitting Your Home

#### This is a collaborative post ####

I found this interesting as a house with this type of design was built just down the road from us. In fact it's our nearest neighbour on the one side of the road (but still a mile away. 

In today's green conscious housing market, the need for sustainable homes has become more and more apparent. To combat climate change it is essential that we use new design models, improve existing housing, and retrofit existing homes.
With the technology that we have available today we are able to make our homes much more energy efficient and eco-friendly. This is a boon even if you aren’t concerned with green living. You are able to get the same aesthetics, health, safety and comforts that traditional homes offer, all while saving on energy costs. This energy efficiency is fundamental in designing an eco-friendly home.
If you are interested in building or retrofitting your home for green living, then continue reading to find our top 9 considerations that you should keep in mind.

What is Passivhaus Design?

Passivhaus Design is the design standard for construction is used in order to make a home that maintains comfortable temperatures via the use of minimal energy input. This is done by utilising human, sunlight, and appliance heat. These drastically reduce the previous need for traditional space heating.
This kind of design takes the shape, size, and orientation of the home into account. Materials are used that provide for better heat prevention, as well as natural heat recovery and ventilation systems that help to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the building. In order to meet the standard of Passivhaus Design, the energy required to heat a space must be less than 15 kwh.

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