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!

A just because bed-side table

A just because bed-side table

I found myself bored one day and decided that our bedroom was in need of a bedside table. So off I popped to get some wood and I took it from there. 

I purchased some nice rustic looking softwood (I was going to opt for Oak but didn't have the extra pennies required) and decided to use some spare wood I had in the garage left over from a pergola project as the legs.

As the wood came in 1.2m sections I only had to make 2 cuts to get the 3 individual parts for the top. After that I had to make the 4 legs for the table. The main lesson I've learnt from this project is that I NEED a table saw. The circular saw just wasn't cutting it when it came to getting accurate right-angle cuts and therefore I had to spend a lot of time getting the whole thing levelled. As I was making it for myself, I wasn't too worried about the underside, but if this was for someone else, it would have been finished off and secured in a much neater way. I used 2 spare sections on the underside to act as a brace to hold it all together and whilst they do they job, they are not that nice to look at. But as I say, this one was for me.

To finish it all off, I decided to go for a lovely dark oil so that it tied in nicely to our bedroom. Below is the finished article. I didn't want to take away from the overall rustic look of it so I decided to only give it a fine level of sanding. This meant that it is still quite rough to the touch which I love.

Thanks for looking and apologies for the dark pictures.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Thunder and Cats do not mix!

Thunder and Cats do not mix!

I had the joy recently of waking up to what can only be described as anarchy one miserable hungover morning. During the early hours there had been a thunder storm which my 2 Siamese cats were not too fond of. This prompted them to jump up on to my flat-pack branded floating shelf which instantly decided that it had had enough of this world and flew from the wall in a rapid bid for freedom. Thankfully, due to the previous evenings frivolities, I was not awakened from my slumber at that time. 

However, the evident destruction the next morning needed to be rectified at the earliest opportunity. A little bit of searching and I found a lovely piece of wood. It had been rotted through quite substantially but I knew that once that had been removed I would be left with a nice little end product.

So once I got the wood and removed the bulk of the rot, I was left with a nice little peep-hole section at one end and several curves running through the shelf. The next task was to make the spaces for the rails for it to slide on to. I used the circular saw to get rid of the bulk of the ends and chiselled away the remaining bits and pieces. A quick check of the rails made sure that they would fit together nicely.


The next task was to get the thing on the wall and cover up the area of damage using the back end of the shelf. This meant that the positioning was pretty much set in stone. It was just a case of levelling it all. Several measurements and re-checks and the rails were on. Next came the shelf itself. This was the tricky part. I had measured from the bottom of the wall as a guide for the width but as I am in a new house, the walls are sill moving. Brilliant. Each time I tried to get the shelf on, it decided to get stuck. Cue several re-cuts and a lot of sanding and eventually the bloomin thing went on the wall. A valuable lesson was learned here. So here it is in all its glory. Hope you like it!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Display shelves for my tipple

Display shelves for my Tipple

After much deliberating about what to do next in the kitchen, I decided that I had too much booze and not enough shelves. The only logical answer to this was to build more shelves. I thought about drinking the booze but didn't have the right occasion to hand. After looking around the kitchen I found the ideal spot on a very underused section of the wall. 

As I had some more scaffolding board left over and in keeping with the theme in the kitchen, I decided to utilise the remaining pieces to good effect.

I cut 2 rectangular blocks and then split them diagonally so that the markings on the outside would be almost identical for both sides of the wall. Then it was a case of marking up the sections I needed to remove on the underside and making the rails they would pop on to. Not having a vast array of tools as of yet, I decided that my circular saw would double as a great way to remove the section on the underside. A little bit of chiselling later and the spaces were complete. Rails screwed on to the walls and the shelves were popped on.

As you can see, because the planks have been used extensively through their lives, they have loads of bends and twists through them which makes each one unique. I decided that I didn't want to ruin their present image so I didn't put any oils or stain on them. That and they blend in quite nicely with the rest of the kitchen as they are.

A shelf to keep the Mrs Happy

A Lovely reclaimed Kitchen Shelf

As my future wife has become obsessed with baking, the amount of books that adorn our kitchen has been multiplying exponentially. With that in mind I needed to take it upon myself to provide these pesky room stealers with their own designated space so that I could retain some useable space on the work tops in the kitchen. I went over to the local reclamation yard and picked up some lovely old scaffolding boards. After choosing which bit I was going to use very
carefully. I then needed to find some brackets to hold it up with. The local diy shop had the perfect pair for under £7 which was a bargain really. This was extremely simple to make. Only one cut was required on the board as I wanted to keep the end with the old end protector marks on it. Just adds that extra bit of character in my eyes. That and the fact that some of the paint was left in the holes, meant it had a lovely worn feel to it.

As you can see there are numerous little holes in the end from the protector which I removed. A hefty bit of sanding was required in order to get rid of a lot of the staining on it and with that I was able to add some accentuated curves in to the edges. All in all it was a very cheap project and it's a lovely little feature now in our kitchen. That and it's extremely robust!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My first Oak Table

My First Oak Coffee Table

So this is my first attempt at making an Oak Coffee Table. The wood was a bit of a bargain from the local sawmills as he had quoted me for a far inferior slab of wood and stuck to his word when I picked up this industrial grade seasoned oak. And what a lump it was.

So far I have planed and sanded it to within an inch of it's life and just need to get the whole lot levelled before finalising the table top itself. Once it's all together one of my mates should be taking it off my hands for his new abode. If I had the room in my living room it would most certainly be going in there.

So as you can see from the above pictures. This is roughly what it should look like once it's finished. A few grades of sanding and a pukka levelling job and it will be good to go. Just need to get some doweling to join it all up underneath and the job is a fish. I will get the finished article pics up here once it's done!