Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Mammoth Bookshelf

The Mammoth Bookshelf

Along with one or two other projects, this one has been taking up the majority of my time. Originally it wasn't going to be anywhere near as big but as with the majority of things, minds were changed along the way and a behemoth was born.

The initial idea was a simplistic bookshelf with staggered shelves to make it slightly more quirky with DVD and CD sections. It then became a bookshelf to house cats as well. Then it had to fit floor to ceiling and around coving. I had a job on my hands.

The first thing I had to do was get the materials in and then some more. Standing at 2.34m high and 1.5m wide, a lot of wood was needed for this one. That and the shelves were doubly thick on 7 sections added to the number needed.

The first major task was to get all of the wood cut, which was a feat on its own. 10 sections at 25cm, 21 sections at 47.5cm and 5 sections at 2.34m meant a lot of work for the chop saw.

The first lot of the 25cm sections

Once I had the cuts made, I needed to grind away a lot of the damaged wood to get back to the grain and create curves on the front face. This took quite a substantial amount of time, but the end result was worth in my eyes. The next step was to start assembling the first of the 4 sections. Measure twice and drill once was the plan, but that went out the window straight. There was a lot of test and adjust with this one but it all got there in the end.

The first section assembly

Once the first section was pieced together, I stood it up outside the garage to take a look at it. It wasn't too bad to start and just needed 1 or 2 tweeks to get it right. Then it was on to the second part.

First section complete

The second part took slightly longer than the first as I couldn't use the drill to drive the screws in due to the size of the space. Had I thought about it I would have rejigged the construction to make it simpler. This section incorporated 3 of the 'Cat Shelves' which I managed to make by joining 2 of the 47.5cm sections together with a dowel joint and some wood glue. I then used the chop saw to take off the ends to try and make it cat friendly. I also wanted to try and retain some of the original features of the boards, so I grinded down some of the metal work and blended it back in to the shelves.
Second section complete
With the 'Cat shelf'

Cat Shelf detail
Frame Detail

As you would expect, the next task was to put together the third section which was a mirror copy of the first and it went on with relatively little fuss and the result of that venture can be seen below. At present, this is the bookshelf's state, but the fourth and final section will be on in the next few days. Unfortunately I suffered a casualty in the making of this one, as my trusty drill has packed in due to extensive use over the last 4 years. Off to get a new one in the sales me thinks! As for the finish, that has yet to be decided and is out of my hands. I would love for it to stay like this but as it isn't for me, it will be decided by the soon to be new owners. Check back in the next few days for the final result. This has been a labour or love so far and to be honest I now cannot wait for it to be finished as I have absolutely no room in my garage now for the other projects.

Third section complete
 Finally, the beast is complete with wax on top. As you can see it has taken up the majority of my garage space which has made it a bit of a nightmare to work on and check as I went through but thankfully it has all come together at last. As much as I would like to keep it, I'll be glad to see it go. I've learnt a lot of lessons on this one. Namely, I need better tools and I shall be getting some quality pieces over the next few months to hopefully make light work of future jobs. That and the fact that an angle grinder can do almost anything. I love that thing. Anyway, that's it for now. The next project won't start itself so I best get back to the garage. Many thanks for looking and check back soon for the next project as well as some pictures of this beast in its new home!

Friday, 21 December 2012

It's been a while!


It's been a while since my last post, which has been mainly due to work and several projects on the go at once. But thankfully I'm getting through them now and should have them all completed relatively shortly.

So the first one I've managed to complete is a wine rack I decided to make just for the hell of it.

I had a bunch of Oak left over from my coffee table so decided I needed an Oak wine rack in my life and thus a project was born. Now I had seen a few racks knocking about the bazaars and decided on a style I liked after much deliberation. The first thing I had to decide was just how many bottles of wine I wanted it to hold. Initially I was thinking around the 100 mark, but settled on 6 due to the fact my house couldn't accommodate that many.

So Once I had that sorted, I needed to go to the local DIY place of bits and bobs to get myself an 82mm hole-saw in order to get rid of the Oak for the bottles. A few careful measurements later and I had the six sections I needed to remove for the bottles. Then it was a case of using the hole-saw for the first time. This took several attempts and eventually I had the thing working as it should have been.

With the hole in place and only going about a third of the way through the wood, I needed to remove the section in any way I could. The easiest way to do this was with a chisel and a wack of a hammer. A few wacks later and the first third of the Oak was removed. I repeated this for the remainder and I had my first wine holder. I quick check with a bottle of plonk and all was good.

All I had to do then was repeat the process for the other 5 sections of the rack and I would have a lovely little wine holder. An hour or two later and I had all of the bits out and it was ready for a quick bit of finishing. I decided I wanted the rough and ready look and used an angle grinder to get rid of the straggly bits and pieces, followed by a quick bit of sanding to polish it all up. 

And here it is in all its
glory. It's a little bit rough around the edges but that's what I wanted in the finish for this one. My next attempts may see me sanding it down a lot more to get right into the grain beneath the surface. All it needs now is to finish it with a wax or oil and it's ready for extensive use!

Many thanks for looking!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A Book-Holder for the missus

A Book-Holder for the missus

My wife to be had been complaining for some time that she had nowhere in the kitchen to hold her cook-books whilst cooking. I therefore took if upon myself to get out to the garage and come up with a suitable contraption to mend said ailment.

After a brief rummage around, I found several piece of wood that would fit the bill.

The first thing I needed to do for the lot of them was remove the rough edges by planing them all down to their finery. This took a bit longer than I expected but I got there in the end and was left with a lovely smooth finish over the majority of the wood.

Next I had to mark out the points that I would use for the dowel joints on each board. This was pretty straight forward and took a few minutes with my new go-to drill bit. Once I had the holes in place it was a case of cutting the dowels and gluing them all together.

Once they were set in place I needed to leave them for a while before I could continue with the rest of the work so that they were rigid enough to withstand some heavy kitchen work!

As I wasn't too worried about the back end of the holder, I opted to use 2 wood screws on the back for the stand. If I had had a hinge to hand, I would have used this so that it could have been folded down if needed but alas, I did not, so I decided to make the back rigid as well.

Now the lady indoors has a thing for all things pretty and feminine and as it was, the book-holder was sporting a rather manly look and needed some adjusting. So to get the heart effect in the wood, I marked out the area I wanted to use in pen and then made perfect use of my trusty angle grinder with a sanding attachment to get the grooves in its front face. This was relatively straight-forward and with a bit of practice on some more scrap pieces, I might be tempted to get even more creative in future. 
To finish the whole thing off, I used some left-over wax from a previous project an on the right here you can see the finished result. As you can see I also created some 'page-holders' by drilling 2 holes in the shelf and cut 2 more dowels that can be removed to fit differing sized books in the holder.

So that is this week's project completed, I now just need to figure out what the next one is going to be.

Thanks for looking and check back soon for my next adventure!


Monday, 22 October 2012

The finished Shelves and Side-Tables

The finished Shelves and Side-Tables

So I finally managed to get the project for Anthony finished. And below you can see the results. I had the joy of installing the shelves in his old Victorian home and all I can say is, straight lines were non-existent. This presented several niggly issues, but they could all be sorted by a quick use of the circular saw or a bit of planing to get the shelves nice and snuggly fitted.

Below you can see the TV shelf just after its first coat of wax. It really helped to bring out the grain on the boards and has added a lovely depth to them. And beside it you can see the left hand side of the alcove with the TV shelf and the 2 above. Once the TV shelf was in, the next 2 were a doddle.

Next you can see the final 2 shelves for the right hand side of the alcove. Again these were very easy to install and thankfully only needed a small piece taken from the back of them to get them to sit flush against the front face of the fireplace.

I had tried to keep a lot of the features of the boards as mentioned in a previous post and once the wax was applied it really brought out the letter work on each of them.

And again, trying to retain some of the features I kept some of the metal-work as well. A quick buff with the angle grinder saw the rust fly of this and again I think it's a lovely little touch to help make it all that little bit more unique.

And finally on the right here you can see the two little side tables for Anthony's living room. Both have one coat of oil and a finishing wax on top to help protect them. Once in their rightful place I'm sure they will look fantastic.

Now that that one has been completed, the next project is already on the cards and I shall have the next post up in the coming week all going well.

Thanks for looking and be sure to check back soon!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A couple of Shelves and Side-Tables

A couple of Shelves and Side-Tables

A little while ago I was asked to produce some shelves and bed-side tables for Anthony. Here is what I managed to produce for him.

The first port of call was obviously the suppliers to get the relevant bits and pieces for the project. He wanted soft-wood for the tables so I picked up some nice and chunky sleeper style pieces to use for them. The legs were going to be made from 10x10 posts. The shelves as per other projects were going to be made from old scaffolding planks.
As I am still to get an amazing set of tools, the initial cuts are still being made by my circular saw. Whilst it does the job and get through smoothly, there are always lines that do not join on the cut face. It's annoying but can be removed with a bit of planing and sanding. For the scaffolding boards, I used the circular saw as well as it flew through them.

As Anthony has a recessed alcove in his house, he asked that the shelves all come out to be in line with the fireplace, which meant that I would have to extend all of the boards by 3cm. This meant that I had to make up extra pieces to slide on to the back of each shelf so that they sat flush. I have to say this was probably the trickiest part of the whole project. I used some pieces of pine doweling to join the boards together and covered them in wood glue to make sure that the joins were rigid. After all, one of these shelves was going to be holding his TV so it needed to be strong.

The best way for me to make the extra pieces was to take 
a separate board and then slice it length ways at the desired length and then measure it up against the board it would attach to. All in all I had to make 4 of these.

On the left here you can see the set of boards that are to be used for the TV shelf. This was made in pretty much the same way as the other shelves but there needed to be a diagonal in it to fit nicely in the recess. A lot of jiggery pokery and I managed to get it all flush. 

After I planed it all down and sanded the life out of it to get rid of all of the staining from years of hard work as a builders mate, it ended up looking like this. A hell of a lot nicer than how it started out. A few coats of stain to come and it will be a beautiful part of Anthony's home.

When I was sanding the boards down, I managed to unearth some lovely features on them. These letters were scattered across the boards in several places and once sanded back, they added some nice character features to several of the shelves. I also managed to polish up some of the metal work on one of the other shelves, which was used to add support to the boards at either end. It was horrible and rusted when I got it, but after a bit of grinding, I got it to look quite nice. 

Next came the tables which were a pleasure to make compared to the shelves. A few cuts here and a few cuts there and then all that was needed were several pilot holes for the screws and a quick levelling off. To get them level I had to plane a little bit off one or two of the legs and that was it. Relatively simple compared to the shelves.

 Here you can see one of the tables in an almost finished form. At this stage, it just needed a level and a bit of stain to finish it all off.

As you can see on the left, the legs needed some work, before the table was going to hold a pen without it falling off.

The final outcome was a lovely little set of tables like this. This is with one coat of stain and prior to a wax going on the top to help protect it. I will have the completed pictures up soon of the tables and shelves in their new homes.

Thanks for looking and be sure to check back soon for the finalized pics

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Epic Garden Project

The Epic Garden Project

So after several years of having a garden I was less than proud of, the missus and I decided that it was time for drastic measures. The main point being that the grass had to go and we needed a useable space for entertaining purposes. At the time our decking was occupied by a since gone hot-tub (a sad day that was) and therefore we needed the space. We were told that a friend of the missus' mother had loads of old railway sleepers going for next to nothing so I saw this as the excuse to get going. Off we went to his place and came back with several of them. All I can say is that these things were heavy and a bugger to lug around the side of the house. 
Bye bye old friend

The Removal

The biggest task in the whole escapade was the removal of the grass in the garden. This took absolutely ages and destroyed my already ageing back. Several long evenings of dig, lift, shift, dump resulted in what can only be described as a grassy knoll fit for a sniper. Several runs to the skip and a very dirty car later and it was all gone. Next we had to level the entire garden out so that we could get all of the useful bits and pieces sitting nicely and in the right place.
It took a long time to get here

The Laying

After getting all of the ground levelled we had to install the sleepers which was quite possibly the easiest part of the whole job. Because they were so heavy, once they were in place, they weren't going anywhere. After that the ground-sheet had to be put down followed by the sandy base layer. Again a bit more levelling was required and then the slabs could be put in place followed by the gravel edging. Once everything was down and looked like it was in the right place, I grouted all of the edges to finish it all off and celebrated in the fact that it was all over.

The finished article 

All in all the project took about 2 weeks to complete as we were doing it in our spare time each evening. All I can say is I am more than happy with the finished article and glad to have a garden that I am proud of. This project pretty much inspired the rest of them due to the use of the old sleepers. They bloomin brilliant and have so much character about them. If I could have them in my house I would!