Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Tag Archives: accessories

Life After the Microwave

In an effort to improve my diet and culinary skills(!), I have officially passed on my microwave in favour of a brand-new worktop oven. Another reason for returning the microwave to my mother was because I don’t have a lot of worktop space close to the all-important electrical sockets. I do believe I’m going to miss the microwave somewhat, but only for the convenience of microwaved rice puddings and other quick deserts.

I’ve bought myself a halogen oven, on the recommendation of Doug on one of my YouTube videos. They’re generally regarded as being very energy-efficient while cooking at around 20% faster than a conventional oven.

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Cutting Board Construction

It’s already the middle of September! About a month ago, I was finishing off a pair of end-grain cutting boards… Not my first of the year but I wanted one of these to go to a friend for her birthday (she previously expressed an admiration for the ones I made earlier this year). Instead of doing another video on the making of these, I decided to instead document it here on my blog. It’s been a while since I’ve written about a project like this.

My sketch. Because I don’t smoke and fag packets probably are too small.

These really don’t take very long to make, especially as I’ve had two previous attempts at ‘practising’ in the last couple of years. This post may end up quite a long one though, as I did happen to capture very many images along the way.

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Preparing to Walk

I’ve only been walking for twelve-months but it didn’t take long for me to learn that it is quite essential to kit yourself out properly, if you’re going to do this seriously. I’m not talking about spending hundreds of pounds on lots of expensive clothing items with breathable membranes. After all, I’m only climbing the local hills. I’m not looking to scale Mount Everest (just yet)!

Craghoppers Kiwi Backpack

Craghoppers Kiwi Pro 30l Backpack

Along with a decent pair of walking boots (much sturdier and more comfortable than trainers – my current ones were about £35), there are a few other items I would recommend to anyone who’s thinking about walking or hiking as a recurrent hobby. After a recent shopping trip to a local outdoor clothing store, I felt that I would share some of this here with you this evening.

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Serving Up a New Order

Just as I’m slowly making my way back in to the workshop, it seems as though the list of kitchen items to make is on the agenda!

Through the power of YouTube and my Facebook Page combined (do not underestimate their power), I’ve picked up a commission for a few end-grain cutting boards and a pair of knife blocks too! You can be sure you’ll get to read about all of that as and when it happens. If I have time, I’ll even try to shoot some new video footage.

Yes, I initially did a three-part series on making similar boards from beech, which you can still find over on my channel. But, through watching many other videos and experimenting with my own recent efforts, I feel I’ve already learnt a lot about this ‘art’ of communication and sharing. People don’t really want to watch you endlessly resawing wood and not everyone enjoys the music that you might like… Some prefer no music at all. People tune because they share an interest. Because they’re keen to see and willing to learn. That’s my impression and I’m happy to help however I can.

Back to the main prompt behind this evening’s post…

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Table Saw Base Rails (PK200)

Earlier this week, I spent a lot of money (£120!) on two lengths of aluminium extrusion for my Elektra Beckum PK200 table saw. They’re sold as a base attachment rails and really are essential for anyone, like me, who only has the basic saw cabinet. Before adding any of the accessories (sliding table, right-hand extension, outfeed table), you must have these two rails fitted. It’s only a shame I didn’t buy these several months ago when they were only £80. I guess the deepening global economic crisis is responsible for the 50% rise in costs but, I only have myself to blame for procrastinating… Once again!

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1 + 1 = …1?

This is something that’s been playing on my mind, recently. I’ve come to the conclusion that storing my router table underneath the mitre saw isn’t the most practical solution for my workshop. Although I built it as a benchtop model, it is quite heavy and, I keep looking that Black & Decker Workmate and asking myself; “Is there a way in which I can better utilise this space?“.

I seem to be using my table saw far more often than I had anticipated when I bought it (well, it is nice not to have to change bandsaw blades so frequently!) and, as I’d like to be able to increase the width support (ripping capacity) on this saw, it only seems logical that I should try to bring a router table in to the equation as well. Then, I could store power tools (with or without their cases) below both machines and relegate that hazardous Workmate to the rear wall.

I’d have to start by buying the base attachment rails I was talking about many months ago. They’re not cheap but, at 1180mm long, that’s going to leave a lot of room for some kind of addition on that right-hand end. Currently, the saw’s table is a bit less than 600mm wide. Even with an allowance for the potential sliding cross-cutting table on the left-hand side (6in or so?), I should really look to do something with all that extra space – I still don’t fancy spend £120 on what looks to be a fairly straight-forward width extension. For that, I could buy a new mounting plate, NVR switch, a whole sheet of Formica and still, walk away with change in my pocket!!

So, it seems like a good idea for the future; whenever I can find the time. Plenty of other people have done it if you look across any of the woodworking forums so, it can’t be a bad idea, can it? 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Workbench Recap

Back in the Summer of 2009, I built ‘my own’ workbench from British beech and briefly documented the build process on my previous blog, over on the UKworkshop site. Sadly, this function of the site is no longer available, even to viewers – which is a shame, as I used to see a fair amount of traffic coming through to this blog from there… 😉 For the not-too-distant future, I’m considering a couple more upgrades for my ‘bench, which would basically involve splitting the top in two (so that I could centralise the tool well) and fit a wagon vice on one end; all as detailed in the brand-new issue of British Woodworking magazine. For a preview on that article, if you haven’t seen this issue, take a look at Nick Gibbs’ blog. In the mean time, I thought I’d keep you entertained with a second look (for some) of how it all went together. Of course, for those of you who haven’t seen this ‘bench before, I hope there’s something you can take away from it all.

It all started when I flattened my car following a routine trip to Interesting Timbers

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PK200 Table Saw – First Look

Seeing as I’ve had this Elektra Beckum PK200 table saw in my workshop for a week now, I felt this would be a good time to take a glance some of the main features; things I’ve noticed so far; perhaps even some things I don’t like…

Great access for blade changing.

I haven’t yet had a chance to give it a good workout or even build its own stand, yet – now, I’m contemplating giving the right-hand table extension a dual-function by turning it in to a router table… I know I’m going to struggle to find space to store my current, stand-alone, benchtop router table otherwise. I’m gradually homing in towards a decision on which blades to buy and, by quite simple rotating the “commutator“, it seems as though the motor startup issues are now resolved [I’ll try to detail that in a future post].

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