Just what you need when on a budget

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A newly revamped HNT Gordon website, making it even easier to see and purchase the hand-made planes, Colen Clenton marking out tools etc etc

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Tempted?

Given my collection of planes already (and still intend to grow it further), I am very tempted to build a Krenov-inspired cabinet to store them in, such as this one made by timberbits.com.au which is a beautiful example.  Another may be good for router bits…….

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Woodcraft App

Recently I have been exploring the capabilities of a new app for the iPad, from Fasterre called Woodcraft.

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It is in simple terms, a CAD program for the iPad, and probably not too dissimilar from Sketchup (although I have not played with that a lot).

The app is particularly refined – things work as you’d expect, and a lot of attention has gone into its design.

To start, you can either create a new project from scratch, or download one which other users have made and uploaded for sharing.

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Here I am downloading a birdhouse, that I can either build from the design provided, or used as a starting point for further development.

Elements can be added and deleted, dragged and dropped, rotated and precisely aligned with other elements.

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There is a main view on the right, and other elevations on the left.  You can easily switch through each elevation by dragging the one you want to view or work with to the main window.  There, you can add and modify elements, add dimensions, and perform basic woodwork functions (tablesaw , saw, hammer (to join elements together etc)).  You can take a photo in the real word, then overlay your project to see just how it will look with the Photograph function.

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Where it comes to ordering timber for the project, click on “Bill of Material”, and it will provide a list of the components needed.

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As you are designing the project, you may want to work with timbers you already have, or standard sizes that you know are available.  That can be accommodated as well.  Working either with the lumber pile, or the scrap pile.

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And being CAD, and that you are working with solids in 3D, you can therefore view your resulting object in 3D as well – very helpful to visualise where you are at in the project design process, and work out what needs to be designed next.

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It is quite a complex app given its capabilities, but there are plenty of videos available on their website that will help you get started, then develop your skills with the app.

Apps for the iPad are certainly maturing!

(Not the) Sale of the Century

This isn’t the big tool sale I hinted out a month or so ago (which is still on its way).  I need the new shed to be commissioned so I can sort through the machines and tools that will be going in there, and leave (and sell) those that are not.

In the meantime, I am still applying the same principle to other items around the house.  Last week I got rid of a 1000l water tank, and a small shed/bird aviary/cat run.  This week there will be some more items up, including this desk hutch.

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More details via the eBay site. Auctions start at 0.99c (this one still is at the starting price).  Obviously I’d rather not sell it for 99c, but it will go for what the market decides it is worth!  I apply that same principle to anything else I sell on eBay as well.

The Promise of Future Projects from the Ghosts of the Past

Once, I’m sure, it would have been regarded as a stunning architectural feature of the Menzies Building, but the original timber ceiling is no longer the flavour of the month and has been replaced with a modern suspended one.

I had a scan of my collection of digital photos taken over the years, and found one that at least gives a small taste of what the ceilings used to be.

timberroof-1Rather than see that timber wasted or worse (such as landfill or burnt), I have been fortunate enough to have a good portion dropped off at my place (yeah, just in time for me to then have to relocate it to the new house!)

While part of the ceiling, the boards are secured together in groups of 3 or 6, with a board nailed across them (bet that was some apprentice’s job!) The majority are 90 x 30mm, and 1.8m in length.

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To take them apart, I initially tried a hammer, but decided there was a much better way – the Worx Pro Jawhorse.

By clamping the crossbrace in the jaws, it only takes a little encouragement (and gravity) to neatly separate the two, leaving lengths of very straight, very dry timber.

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Just goes to show how stable the Jawhorse is!  And a tonne of clamping force to boot.  From there, the boards got stacked onto a pallet.  I haven’t measured it, but it’d be close to 2 m3.

I used a bit for toy kitchen for my daughter’s Christmas, and there are a fair few projects to come out of this lot.  Can’t wait!  So awesome (and inspiring) having a good collection of timber!

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Art Deco with some hidden benefits

Future kitchen upgrades

So we have been playing with the kitchen pretty much constantly since it was unwrapped (which is awesome, obviously) – Jess is thrilled with the kitchen, and is also really looking forward to working with me to finish it off (rounding over edges, sanding, oiling).

Few things I need to do to finish the unit off as well – new hinges for the door, drawer dividers for the cutlery drawer

While watching her play with it (and doing a fair amount myself alongside her), I’ve been making up a list in my head of additional items that is needed, that will be added over time.

Rolling pin
Fridge/freezer
Microwave
Toaster
Paper Towel Holder

Can’t think of any more at this stage, but even this list is unlikely to be completed before the big house and shed move.  We’ve begun packing.  It is a huge job, and I haven’t even begun considering the shed.

Christmas Cooking

The kickstarter for this project came just over a month ago, and it has consumed a great deal of time and effort, but it is all worthwhile.  And she is the reason why.

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My little one

Soon to turn 6, it was well overdue for her to have something significant out of the shed she loves visiting.

With a combination of conflicting priorities, it was always going to be interesting to see how it came out.  Short deadlines, a house purchase and a particularly busy work schedule all competed to derail the project, while making a great kitchen for my daughter, making the kitchen entirely from timber and having the experience of making two different toy kitchens before worked towards a decent result.  Especially wanting Jessie to have a kitchen that I’d made her.  I’ve never finished a project so late (and during the build I knew it wouldn’t be fully complete, as far as being fully finished, so already had some compromises), nor have I had so many nicks and cuts from rushing around a shed that was quickly running out of space, and being pushed for time meant I wasn’t working to keep things as orderly as needed for a limited space, while splinters were common from the hardwood.

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The unwrapping begins

The two large wrapped parcels hardly gained a second look during the morning, but there were tonnes of distractions in the form of wrapped parcels!  Finally, it was time for the reveal – two large, fully wrapped presents.  It didn’t take long to reveal what was within, and it was pretty exciting!  You cannot tell from the photos, but I can see the different expressions there, and can still hear the excited squeals.

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The great unwrap!

It did look very cool breaking through the wrapping paper.

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Amidst torn paper

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Kitchen full of……wrapped stuff

Once the main sheets of wrapping paper were removed, there was another surprise.  The units were packed full of more presents (and this after a morning of unwrapping).  It was all the real tools of the trade- saucepans, cutlery, mashers, bowls, jugs etc.  We had been shopping at Kmart a week earlier – they have a whole range of kitchenware, most with a $2 price tag.  At the checkout, they fully expected us to be first-home buyers given the range of items in the cart.  They are perfect – cheaper and better than any sold in toy sections, and that they are ‘real’ not ‘toy’ added to the experience during the reveal.

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Proud new owner

I’m very pleased how the units came out, and the small details of jarrah and redgum stood out against the quality of the Tassie Oak.

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Learning the ‘controls’

I couldn’t help myself from pointing out some of the details I had included (mainly what each of the controls said, that I had burnt into the knobs with the pyrography set).  Then it was a matter of sitting back and enjoying the soups, cupcakes etc that were being produced for the family.  With playdoh food, the imagination play is endless.

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Checking out the oven

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Cooking up a storm

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Making tea

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Washing up

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All fitted out

Some of the details then: the sink is laminated Tassie Oak and Redgum, as are the drawer fronts (with a jarrah handle).  It is all glued, and in some cases also using Dominos.  I avoided any metal fasteners until near the end, when it became obvious that it would be a significant compromise to continue with that ideal.  That was when I first made some hinges for the oven, using wooden dowels, and that caused breakages.  Once I had decided on brass hinge rods, then a few other places benefited from a minimal amount of metal.  The drawers are dovetailed, the shelf a lattice, and the lower shelf using offcuts.  In fact this project had less wastage from offcuts than I can remember seeing in a long time.  There are hardly any at all, with wastage being small pieces assigned to the firewood bin, or are sawdust in the collection bag (and that is full).  I went through two full bottles of glue – about a full litre of yellow PVA on this project.  Again, the result of joining so many boards together to create the panels required.  The Frontline clamps got a significant workout.  The side panels each have a routed picture – one of the little surprises.

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Oven detail

I love the strap hinges – they came up awesome!  The Incra Hingecrafter was a significant asset.  The Hingecrafter is not just the drilling jig, but also the box set of router bits that match.  Being able to make your own hinges is a great feeling – you really come away ‘owning’ the project being able to make, rather than buy the accessories.  About the only thing I purchased for this was the castor wheels.

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Stove / Oven controls

The toy wheels, repurposed as control knobs were supplemented with the pyrography kit burning in names, and values.

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Oven hinge detail

The hinges for the oven – very functional, strong, and compared to commercial hinges I have used before in the same situation, less likely to rip out of the timber as the load is distributed over a larger area.

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Sink

A bandsawn faucet (rounded over on the router table), and a couple of oversized wheels for taps made with a wheel cutter on the drill press.

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Dishwasher

The tambour door looks the part, and I added a spinning nozzle to the base to complete the dishwasher.

To finish this project off, I need to replace the hinges on the cupboard door (a short job with the hingecrafter), sand, roundover edges, and apply an oil finish.  Even so, a very satisfactory conclusion to the project (or at least a major delivery point).

Next, the kitchen needs a microwave, sandwich press, toaster (to start).  A storage cupboard may be in order, and a fridge.  The possibilities are endless.

Merry Christmas Jessica!

The Dishwasher

I’m not going to go into the technique to produce a tambour again – that is covered on this site already (and the latest copy of ManSpace, due in the new year).

I’m using the Amana Tool Tambour Bit Set, from Toolstoday.com

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Tambour Bit Set from Toostoday.com

A great set, which produces an awesome result.

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Now that is a tambour!

It is a pretty cool, flexible piece (of timber).  It is quite a bit wider than required, leaving me with plenty of capacity to get it to the right size (width).  Getting the right length is even easier….just remove slats

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Routing the track

After gluing a few pieces of timber together to create what will become the track for the tambour door, a piece of MDF cut to the path of the track is attached with carpet tape.  The router with a template guide and straight bit then follows around the edge to cut the required track.

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Checking the track

The track is temporarily clamped in position, and the tambour door inserted to check for fit, and how well runs.  A couple of adjustments to the width of the tambour had it running well.  The track is still to be sanded, and I will wax it to make it work even better.

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Rear of door

The track is in place, and I have probably used a few more slats than necessary, but it will be fine that way – no gaps.

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Tambour Door

The finished door, ready for the track to be glued up.  It is to be the dishwasher – more of an industrial version.  Still have a shelf to add, and a spinning jet arm.  Came up really well though – very pleasing.

33 Days to Xmas!

Whaaaat?!

Where did the year go?  I had all sorts of plans for construction, for projects and things I planned to start (and finish)!

So it is time to get a wiggle on.  The main thing I need to get done is to finally make a toy kitchen for my daughter.  A bit overdue, but if I can spend a bit of time on it, I should be able to make up for it in features and quality.

I have a great supply of timber – a whole pile of 90×30 hardwood, that is very straight and clean, and about 40 years old.  So that is awesome.

I also have had the experience of building a few toy kitchens now – this will be #4.  So I will be drawing on previous designs and ideas, as well as incorporating new, additional concepts.  One being incorporating some tambour doors using the Amana Tool set.  Another being using the Jumbo Gifkins dovetail for some decent sized kitchen units.

I just hope there is enough time to get done what I want to have done!

Continuing the family tradition

Year 2 ;)

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Using the Dremel to carve the pumpkin.  If I had the mini carver from Arbortech, who knows what I could do.  Not that it cannot be achieved manually, but the Dremel in this case made it much easier!

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