I’m Still Here

It seems hard to believe it has been over a year since I last posted anything here.

It has been a strange time, with this virus changing everything we do. We (our family) have managed to survive without so much as a high temperature. I have been lucky, in as much I have worked from home since the very start. Our kids have worked right through, so we are extremely grateful they have remained plague free.

Now fully vaccinated, and with the lifting of restrictions coming closer, it is only a matter of time before I have to return to my office. C’est la vie.

I have been watching people in similar positions tell tales of additional time on their hands to dedicate to their hobbies. The reverse has been the case for me. I have been much busier working from home than I would be in the office. I have done almost zero turning. My shed is a disgrace, because it has been used as a workshop during the home renovations. I am slowly clearing the mess, and have moved some of my stuff around.

The main change though is, I have insulated and lined the inside of the steel roof to try controlling the condensation. Time will tell if it has been successful.

I have also installed guttering to divert the rainwater away from the wooden base, which in turn meant manufacturing a new door. The original door was made of wiggly steel, and opened out. It was not possible to have a gutter at that point, so made it pointless fixing any gutter to that elevation. The new door is exterior construction grade plywood, in a hardwood frame made from some mahogany type timber salvaged from the old front door of the house. Inside is stiffened with pallet timber, and will eventually be lined with T&G. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Hopefully now, the water ingress under the steel frame will be minimised and the condensation issue will be cured.

Posted in Woodturning | 2 Comments

Waste not, want not

I dislike waste. Having been in a position where I had no spare money to spend on hobbies, and have struggled to put food on the table, I know the value of things.
I only throw things away when I believe they are of absolutely no use to anyone else. This is why I have 2 double glazed wooden windows on my patio almost a year after they were replaced. The windows are made from a red hardwood, most likely a mahogany type, so no matter what happens it will not go to landfill, even if the glazing units do.

We had a log stove installed last year, so far the only job in the house I have not done myself. Our firewood is delivered in crates, made from pallet timber. I have no idea what species this is, but some of it is fairly hard and orange in colour.
I have used this timber for a few projects, rather than simply discard or burn it. It does make exceptionally good kindling. 😉
Over the last week or so, I have biscuit jointed, planed, thicknessed, laminated and turned several pieces of this timber.
First project was the really simple stool project I posted about earlier. If you don’t have a planer/thicknesser and don’t fancy hand planing timber boards this project can still be done if you have an electric sander. Just sand everything before you assemble.
The second project is a whirligig. Woodturning magazine from May 2019 has an article by Colwin Way on building one of these gizmos. It’s a fun project, and reasonably easy to do. The only thing in the project that isn’t scrap/salvage is the silver-steel rod used as the axle.
The upright parts of the lathe were scrap from the fireplace mantle. The lathe bed bars were old lollipop sticks. The little bloke was a mix of holly and pallet, the hub was holly, and the rest was all pallet.
In hindsight, I would probably use a heavier rod if I was going to do it again.
The bowl is off-set on the spindle so the little bloke’s arm moves up and down as it turns.
The project should appear in a future edition of Woodturning magazine in the reader’s letters section.
From a frugality perspective, the entire project cost less than £5
The flip side of course is the many thousands of pounds spent on tools to enable me to make the project.

Keep all of your chins up, and together we will come out of lock-down intact.

Posted in Woodturning | 1 Comment

Happy Corona Easter!

I have been working from home since mid-March. My employer very generously extended the Easter weekend by an extra 2 days, so the garden has been getting a tidy. Out walking with the dog, I found a discarded shotgun cartridge. The plastic got cut away and I turned a piece of oak from the firewood pile to attach to the end.
Not much of a turning, but I have so many other things going on I have had little time for turning since I moved here.
It was OK for a piece of firewood. Just polished up with friction polish.
Our firewood comes in crates made from pallet wood. I’m not sure what the species is, but it is very hard, but some of it is quite lovely when planed up.
We had a little MDF stool for use in the kitchen, but it kinda fell apart. So, here is the replacement. Made from pallet timber. Biscuit jointed and run through the planer, then a coat of polyurethane varnish.
This should do a few years, hopefully.

New toy

I decided to take the plunge, and bought a toy laser engraver. Being a born stinge, I waited until the price dropped below £40
I was pleasantly surprised, that it made it from Hong Kong in less than a week.

Straight out of the box, plugged in, software loaded and burned/engraved this.
Next, I will read the manual, and work out how to centre stuff under the laser. lol

Posted in Woodturning | 4 Comments

First Turning 2020

I really needed to tidy my shed. It has been used mainly for cutting timber (and mdf) for the house, so rubbish has accumulated on the floor, and I didn’t tidy it away. The garden incinerator has been busy, mainly because I wouldn’t put that muck anywhere near the log stove.
My lathe bed was covered in surface rust, due to the high moisture content in the metal shed. First off, was a going over with the random orbit sander to polish the rust off, followed by a coat of paste wax. The lathe bed got a coat of wax at the end of the Summer however, so I’m not holding my breath.
I now have a dehumidifier running 24/7, which takes about a litre of water out of the atmosphere in a week. Once the worst of the wet weather is past, I plan to insulate the roof, and install a vapour barrier.

Turn it up!

When we were out walking the dog last year we happened across a barrel stave outside the cooperage we walk past. It actually looks like a dog has been chewing on it.
It is a sorry sight on the outside, but once cut into, the beauty of the oak is revealed.
I’ve cut a few pen blanks from the stave, and marked them for later. Amazingly, the sharpie pen barely penetrates the fibres.
Turned to just slightly bigger than the brass tubes. I like a slim pen. I’ve done comfort fit pens in the past to suit individuals on request, but tend to do plain and slim for stock.
I bought these gunmetal pen parts online, and over-all I do like the finish. The supplied refills however are crap. One in three actually work. I’m assuming they are old stock and have dried up.
I need to buy some refills for pens I make. Nothing worse than buying a pen that doesn’t work properly.

I’m working on another project which will hopefully be finished next week – if the remaining parts arrive. This is not a turning project however, and is completely useless.

Posted in oak, Woodturning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Finally! A fireplace.

This renovation malarkey is taking time. Between working full time and living in it, it’s not easy to get a run at stuff.
We now have the front room finished though, finally.
Most important, the stove looks great.
Img_7098I need to get the tripod out and level the camera to take the photo properly. It all looks off-level. The hearth looks like it’s got a curve in it too, which must be something to do with the lens.
All in all I’m happy though. Another job completed.

Posted in Woodturning | 2 Comments

Putting the Tools to Work

Not turning related, but I made good use of all the new tools today. We recently had a log stove installed, and need a mantle for above it. We visited Scottish Wood today, and brought home a lovely piece of elm.

I cut it to size, planed, then thicknessed it. I then used a rounding over bit in the router to soften the edges before sanding it to 800grit. It was given 3 coats of polyurethane satin varnish.


I just need to get it mounted now.
Once it’s all in place, I may treat the world to a photo.

Posted in Woodturning | 1 Comment

Back in the saddle

The past couple of weeks have been quite exciting for me. I have some new and new to me power tools, some new to me turning chisels, and got some turning done at the weekend.
I now have a decent bandsaw for cutting up blanks, and other timber.
I also have a Tormek sharpening system, which makes a huge difference to the edge on my tools. I never would have believed how much of a difference.
I also bought a planer/thicknesser, and a biscuit jointer for other upcoming projects.

My first turning in many, many months is another quaich which was commissioned last week. I’m trying a new design, yin/yang is the name of this one.
I’m leaving the crack, unless the customer wants it filled. I would much rather leave all the blemishes in place, to show the material is natural.
Timber is sweet chestnut, and the finish is polyurethane.

All of the turning tools, although not brand new, were all still in the original packaging, with factory grinds.
These appear to be completely unused. I sometimes wonder why people buy tools then never use them.
These were also in the original packaging. The detail gouge looks like it has been sharpened on the Tormek. The edge was like a razor.

I’m looking forward to getting back to turning regularly now my appetite has been whetted.

Posted in Woodturning | 1 Comment

The end of an era

I spent yesterday collecting the last of my stuff from the steel container I had as my workshop before we moved home.
It was a bittersweet moment really. I had some really good times turning in there, but on the other hand we are far happier where we live now. The new shed is bigger, and much more convenient.
The container is sold to a good friend who will use it for storage.
Now I need to find somewhere to store my stock of timber. It will have to sit outside under cover until I build a permanent store.
I was surprised how well some of it has dried, considering it was straight off’f the trees a couple of years ago. I expected it to be horribly split having been sat indoors in a steel box.

I guess time will tell, whether it has started to rot inside or not.

Posted in Woodturning | Comments Off on The end of an era

Almost There

The kitchen reno has taken a lot longer than it would have taken 20 years ago. Anyone would think I’m getting old. lol
I’m reasonably happy with progress though. Just some painting, boxing in to manufacture, caulking round the edges, and the floor to tile. I’m not looking forward to lifting the old tiles, but if they come up as easily as the bathroom ones then happy days. If the botched jobs of previous contractors are anything to go by……..
Transition #4
The transormation even takes me by surprise when I walk in the door.
Transition #3
Anyone would think it’s a different house.
Transition #2
At least the hideous chicken vein tiles are all gone now.
Transition #5
Hopefully it will be finished before my birthday next month, but if not so what? We have to live in it. That’s what is holding me up most. If I had a clear run at it over several days it would be much quicker.
I have to work to pay for it all though.

Once the kitchen is complete, I will take a few weeks off to get back out to play in my shed and maybe do some turning.

Baby steps

Posted in Woodturning | Comments Off on Almost There


We now have a ceiling in the kitchen! Go me!
You know you’re starting to age when you struggle to hold a sheet of plasterboard above your head and screw it in place. I managed the first sheet on my own, but had to give in and draft our Son in to help with the rest.
To date, I have single-handedly:-

  1. Taken down the old ceiling
  2. Installed new wiring for cooker, power, lights, smoke/heat alarms, central heating, TV aerial, telephone, disconnected old lighting circuit & connect new recessed pot lights.
  3. Knocked through for the extractor and installed ducting
  4. Plastered and made good damaged surfaces
  5. Re-structured ceiling to allow for supporting metric plasterboard
  6. Taped and filled ceiling
  7. Painted ceiling
  8. Removed/re-hung kitchen cabinets to allow access

Next step is to start putting Humpty back together again. Hopefully the materials will appear over the weekend to allow me to continue.

Posted in Woodturning | 4 Comments