Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Back in a Flush…

As my short-lived love life falls apart and the warmer weather begins to creep in, I find myself drawn back in to the lure of my long-neglected workshop. It’s been so long since I last blogged… Even longer since I last stepped in to my workshop… It smells damp in there and it’s much smaller than I seem to remember. There are still a couple of on-going projects that I need to finish first but, I’m also feeling slightly inspired to get going again, by the mess that accumulates on the window cill of my bathroom:

It’s far from tidy! Last summer, I did contemplate making a wall cabinet (and, I do have the design saved somewhere). But, I have no intention of staying in this property on a long-term basis and some landlord’s won’t allow their tenants to fix things to the walls… If I do make a cabinet though, it’ll be a fairly simple affair, perhaps made from pine. Either that or, I might try and find one on Freecycle so that I can leave it behind after moving.

This project is calling for a simple box to sit on the window cill.

My initial conception called for a simple, taller design with an open top – much like a traditional window box, which might be used to grow plants, for decoration (although, they usually live outside, not in).

But, I really want something to attempt to ‘hide’ all that you can currently see in that first photo. If I made a box that tall though (over 200mm, to conceal the shaving foam alone!), it would be quite obtrusive, visually. That’s why I’ve stuck with the open-top design. Much like the toolbox tote I built a couple of years ago (which reminds me, I left all my glue in the workshop, all winter!!! :oops:), with a slightly different handle design (it’s always good to try new things and challenge yourself).

As this box will probably spend most of its time ‘open’, it’s convenient then, that a lid with rebated edges can fit snugly in to the underside of the main box. If I embed a rare earth magnets in all the right places, it should also enable the lid to stay in place. I’d also like to store some of my cleaning kit in here (bleach, etc.) so, I can almost see it being carted around the home (like a toolbox), which is why the handle seems important.

Failing that or, if it doesn’t quite work out, I’ll have yet another toolbox – you can never have enough! 🙂

It’s most likely that this will again be made from pine, which I’ll probably salvage or reclaim from something I made a few years ago (when I was starting out) but no longer have a use for. Money’s ridiculously tight at the moment… I work around twenty-hours overtime each month but, I still seem to be spending more money than I’m earning on the essential costs of living! I could go on, with my depressing fears that I’ll have to sell my machinery later this year but, I’ll try and save all that for another time. In short, I never have any spare cash to buy a reasonable bit of pine, let alone some beautifully-figured, home-grown hardwood.

Most of this construction is straight-forward. I haven’t yet decided how I’ll fix the divider in place but, I’d like to experiment with box joints (finger joints, comb joints, etc.) on each corner. For that, I’ll need to build a proper jig and I know that Steve Maskery made an excellent one a couple of years ago that was also adjustable… I just can’t find the video right now.

I hope you’re still reading and, more importantly, that you’re able to make more use of your workshops than I am of mine. Spring is very nearly upon us and summer won’t be far behind!

Happy woodworking,

Olly.

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11 responses to “Back in a Flush…

  1. Stuart 04/03/2012 at 11:15

    Not woodworking, but I found the shelves that affix to walls with suction caps were particularly effective, both from a “cleaning up the crap” perspective, as well as the “actually holding on for longer than 5 minutes” perspective. I’ve one in the shower (caddy) one on a mirror (shelf), and one above the bath (basket/shelf).

    Might solve your problem, they look the part (clear polycarbonate(?) and chrome), functional, and will appease your landlord because they can be removed when you go without damage.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 05/03/2012 at 17:47

      Thanks, Stu – I had no idea such a product existed! I’d still like to build this box but, I could use a small suction-cup shelf just above the sink, for soap and toothpaste storage. They don’t look too expensive, either.

  2. Bongo 04/03/2012 at 17:59

    Yo Olly, good to read a post again!
    My suggestion: forget about how you look (or smell), and get your freak on in the workshop 😀
    That way you will not need so many chemicals and bits, and will not have anything to hide away. Still build yourself a box though and put some tools in it. Good luck – looking forward to your next post… Don’t you dare start selling your stuff, you would sooo regret it.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 05/03/2012 at 17:42

      Thanks, Bongo.

      Looks like the Flowering Elbow workshop is coming along well.

      I may still down-grade (yes, I know! :roll) one or two of the larger machines, like my big bandsaw. It takes up a lot of room and the reality is that I will have to move it all some day… When I saw how crowded it was in there on Friday afternoon, I realised that I’ve lost a sense of what it’s really about. Somewhere down the line (perhaps when I was contemplating this as a career), I got lost with the idea of having every machine I might possibly need!

      There’s something to be said for frugality. You can achieve an awful lot in a small space with a reasonable amount of kit. I could do more to emphasise that more on this blog…

      Olly.

      • John 09/03/2012 at 13:50

        Hi Olly,

        I know what you mean about getting caught up in the gear aquisition – it’s a bad habit of mine that I’m trying to break.

        I’d very much like to read about your current kit list, what gets used most and what you think you could/couldn’t live without, or could downsize without losing out.

        I’m currently trying to choose a bandsaw and while I don’t want to buy something too small and regret it, my lack of space makes me hesitant to buy anything bigger than a bench mounted one …

        John

      • Olly Parry-Jones 09/03/2012 at 19:20

        Hi John,

        That’s a great idea for a blog post. I have some time this weekend and I’m off work Monday and Tuesday so, I should be able to sort something out. I could even make it a permanent page on this site.

        This afternoon (before my bandsaw stopped working!!) I went in and, at long, long last, filmed a workshop tour with all the improvements I’ve made in the last year. I’ll upload it to YouTube later on this evening and will also post it on this blog.

        My advice on buying a bandsaw is to buy the next size up from what you think you need… If you’re looking at a 10in saw, go for a 12in instead. If you can stretch to a 14in-er, go for it. They don’t have to take up much more room than a small benchtop model – ignore the steel stand and make your own ply or MDF cabinet, with blade storage, etc.

        You can do an awful lot with a small bandsaw and good quality blades. My saw’s a 16in model. It’s huge and demands a non-standard 16amp supply. I’ll think about downgrading to a 14in saw that would slide under the garage door more easily! 🙂

  3. John 05/03/2012 at 09:23

    Hi Ollie,

    Glad you’re back in the workshop (sorry to hear about the love life and money worries though).

    You and your garage workshop were a major inspiration to me in getting back into woodworking and building my own garage workshop.

    I shall watch your box project with interest, as I’ve set myself the challenge of building my eldest daughter a toy box (although given my current rate of progress it may end up being for the youngest one! 🙂 ).

    Best regards

    John

    • Olly Parry-Jones 05/03/2012 at 17:38

      Hi John,

      Thank you for your message.

      Wow, it feels great to know that this blog has inspired you so much – thank you! 🙂

      I’ll also keep an eye on your blog (just subscribed) and look forward to seeing how the toy box turns out.

      Thanks,

      Olly.

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