Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Timbers of Trouble

Inside my Timber Store/"Bedroom" - I won't be watching TV for a while!!

With the cold and damp air starting to creep in through my shoes, I seem to be spending minimal time in the workshop at the moment [Whimp!]. This might be a good time to get a part-time job, at least until the sun returns from its annual ‘hibernation’…

Preparation is what it’s all about the minute. I’m almost ready to start putting some of my exhibition ideas in to working progress… Even if I end up oiling and waxing on the kitchen dining table, in the not-so-cold (I wouldn’t call it warm, indoors, either! :?).

Research tells me this is the calling card of the common furniture beetle.

If you’ve taken a glimpse of my dining table thread at UKW then you will have seen the big stack of beech I previously roughed out for the leaves of the top (nineteen lengths, and all!!). Today, after a big bowl of Weetabix, I bundled the whole lot indoors, away from the excessive damp. Upon doing so, I noticed a fresh bore hole that wasn’t there a few days ago! Who knows what could be lying below the surface… I’ll try to get some kind of treatment on there soon, before it is too late.

Although it looks shallow enough to plane out later, I've taken precautionary measures with this sign of decay in English cherry.

One-year ago, I started building and dovetailing a fairly straight-forward bookshelf in English cherry. This person job was initially side-tracked by last year’s cold snap. For reasons I’ll go in to in a future post, I decided some time ago that I wanted to replace one of the sides I’d already machined. So, this week, I set about roughing out some replacement boards and came across a soft patch of what is quite possibly rot… Sadly, I don’t have sufficient stock of cherry to replace this one. It’ll have to go on the inside face of the unit.

Over the weekend, I ticked off one entry from my newly compiled To-Do List. Thanks in part to Matthew of Workshop Heaven, who first suggested the idea to me, my Clarke pillar drill is now set at a very comfortable working height. I also ripped the door off the front – although they make any unit look tidy, they only cause a nuisance within a small workshop.

At the moment, I’m building a couple of plywood cabinets for the workshop (one more from the ‘tuit’ list). I’ll update you on that in my next post. For now though, I’m at college for the next two-days – will I make a decision on timber selection this week???

Sawing my pillar drill's base cabinet down to size.

With the top pulley now at eye-level, I find this very comfortable.

See you at the weekend!


5 responses to “Timbers of Trouble

  1. John Walker 19/11/2009 at 08:08

    Hi Olly,

    Nice blog. I wonder where you get all these ‘snaps’ from? The only snaps I have are cold ones. My shop is a single car garage, like your own. When I bought the house I had a large Austin A60. It went into the garage OK, but I couldn’t open the car doors to get out. As I was a woodworker, the future of the garage was decided. Ever since my cars have lived on the drive.

    I don’t heat the workshop. It faces due south and the metal door seems to act like a solar panel, keeping the inside dry. So I don’t have rust problems. The cold floors I solved by getting a batch of those rubber ‘grating-type’ door mats, which I spread around the floor-space. They work well and are easily lifted for sweeping. It can get cold in there of course, but being integral with the house it’s not so bad, and I find I can soon work up a comfortable body temperature.
    All the best Olly


    • Olly Parry-Jones 19/11/2009 at 19:39

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your message.

      It’s interesting that you mention the garage door as I’m planning to attempt to insulate mine very soon. The weather’s been very kind for this week for mid-November but, I don’t expect it to last! I’m looking to do it ‘on the cheap‘ as I would like to replace it with a pair of wooden framed doors next year, when (hopefully!) my finances will allow such an upgrade. If I can stop the draughts though, that would be good enough.

      Do you have any trouble with draughts creeping in from below and beside your door? Last week, I bought a ‘garage door draught excluder’ kit from Toolstation although, I can’t decided whether it should go on the inside or out! You could probably fit one of these above the door as well but, I don’t think there’s a lot you can about the sides as it would affect the operation of an up-and-over door.

      I also bought some interlocking rubber mats from an eBay seller. They’re identical to the ones Maplin and Axminster sell, just a bit cheaper!

      Hopefully, if I can get a break from this dining table, I’ll be able to do all that and report back soon! 😉

      Thanks again, John,


  2. Andy 24/11/2009 at 12:32

    Hi Olly,
    I Like your Blog, it’s going on my blog roll, if that OK with you.

    Have you looked in to Borax for the worm treatment, I’ve tried it on top of reducing moisture levels. I don’t know how to tell if they are dead though. So I can’t proove how effective it is.

    Garage heating – I’ts just got cold enough for me to dig out my gas room heater. Ive also got a ceiling mounted fan, the kind with the light in it that folks used to have in their lounge. This blows the warm air back down so it’s not all gathering over head. 10 to 15 degrees in about 10 mins. I now the moisture from the combustion could be a problem but I’ve got plenty of ventilation / Drafts blowing through when I’m not in there.


    • Olly Parry-Jones 24/11/2009 at 13:23

      Hi Andy and thanks for your message.

      Feel free to add my blog to your blogroll, no problem there. Thank you!

      I’ve not come across the Borax treatment before. The one I used was by Cuprinol. Likewise, there’s no way to tell whether or not it has worked just yet – I think the eggs begin to hatch some time in the spring? But, by getting something in there early, I think we stand a chance of success!

      I really like the fan idea for ‘distributing’ the heat. Are they expensive to run, do you know?

      Just had a brief browse over your site and it looks like it could be an excellent resource for beginners new to woodworking. I’ll have a closer look this evening.

      Thanks again for your message,


  3. Andy 24/11/2009 at 16:47

    Borax is a mineral salt, cheap and safe to us higher life forms. Worth looking at a “Green” alternative.

    The fan will be around 50 watts so C 0.5p /hr

    Cheers Andy

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