Olly Writes

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Tag Archives: cabinet making

Daily Prompt: ‘Teacher’s Pet’

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

When I first read today’s daily prompt, I immediately thought of two teachers (plus a third) from school who have had a positive impact on my life and, erm, what’s another word for ‘growing’?

I therefore feel it would be unfair and, perhaps too personal (don’t read too far in to that!) to write this about just one man (I’m struggling to think of a female who’s had the same affect throughout education).

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It’s Gone!

I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to sell the table saw/router table station that I only completed recently. It began with a couple of Classified ads placed on two of the UK’s woodworking forums. I did receive interest from one party (perhaps less than I had hoped for) but, by the time that came, I’d already listed the item on eBay. After one week at online auction, the listing ended (Buy it Now with Best Offer) with thirty-six watchers!!

Something's missing...

It may not have sold in the first week but, upon relisting the item, it sold within a few days, for the full Buy It Now price as well.

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A Cracking Discovery…

Remember those videos I shot of the end-grain cutting boards project a few months ago? Yeah, they went down really well and, what’s more, they seem to be experiencing continual growth on a gradual basis. One was a gift to my mother and the other two of the larger ones still remain unused in one of my kitchen cupboards – I’ve found that the smallest square (not rectangular) size actually suits me very well for sandwich-making and for the buttering of toast.

And then, only two-weeks ago, I noticed this:

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Making Your Own Dowels

If you’re a follower or reader of my Twitter feed then, you’ll probably have noticed that I’ve had some problems with YouTube recently. I have no idea what caused this (or, the cure) but, for a good week or so, I couldn’t get any of the pages to load. Now that the situation has improved, I’ve been able to catch up with some of the many videos waiting for me in my Subscriptions feed; one of which shows yet another method for producing your own dowels:

Matthias Wandel is what you might call a “wood engineer“. If you haven’t seen his website before then, have a look at WoodGears.ca. He’s got lots of interesting ideas on working with wood.

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Something for Your Biscuits

Here’s a useful little workshop aid that I hadn’t seen before I re-enrolled at college, close to four-years ago now. I’ve bought biscuits from several different manufacturers. Lamello are my current favourites and I’ve also used Trend – the less said about Silverline, though, the better!! One problem I often run in to – and, I’m sure you’ve found the same for yourself – is that some biscuits will be significantly tighter than others. Where most will slip in and out of a slot with ease, there’s always one or two that need a hammer to drive them in. On the other side of the coin; getting them out again can be a burden in itself – I’ve had many biscuits ‘shatter’ whilst I’m trying to lever them out with a pair of pincers, leaving ‘fragments’ of compressed beech that are no easier to remove.

All you need here is a scrap of 18mm MDF (thinner stuff may also suffice). I’ve added a softwood ‘hook’ below the front edge so that I can safely hold this jig in my vice. On top, there are three shallow recesses; each one cut ‘freehand’ with a router to a depth of no more than 3mm. One size fits each of the three common sizes for biscuits (0, 10 and 20) and a small hole either side of the recess allows you to lever them out again safely. All you do is press the biscuit in to the correct recess and take a couple of thin shavings.

Before any says it, yes, I do store my biscuits in air-tight containers (pickled onion jars, etc,) that prevent moisture from getting in. Yet, I still suffer from swollen biscuits, which is why I’ve made this jig. I imagine that part of the problem though, is that I buy my biscuits in bulk boxes of one-thousand at a time (particularly for the no.20s, which I use all the time). Honestly, it is so much cheaper than buying them in bags of one-hundred, if you do a lot of biscuit-jointing, that is.

I’ve seen people achieve the same objective by resorting to the art of sanding – which most commonly involves inverting a wooden sanding block, covering it in a coarse sheet of abrasive paper and then running the biscuit back and forth over the top. Well, the jig I’ve made creates no dust and you’re not at risk of abrading the ends of your finger tips, considering that you’re working with a material that’s only 4mm thick.

I hope you’ve found this quick-tip to be useful.

Thanks for reading.

Too Many DVDs?

When I first started woodworking at home, back in the summer of 2005, the very first piece I made was a simple ‘Craftsman-style‘ wall shelf in pine (Scandinavian, joinery-grade redwood). I took the plans directly from a book [The World’s Best Storage and Shelving Projects] and modified various dimensions in order for the unit to accommodate my stash of DVDs. Despite its garish appearance with the tung oil finish and the crudeness of some of the joints I used (particularly the beech dowels used to peg the shelves), this wall shelf made the move with me to my new home at the end of March this year. All in spite of the fact that, with a total capacity for forty-eight DVDs on each of the two lower shelves, it wasn’t long after the completion date that my DVD collection had over-grown [thanks, Play.com and CD-WOW!!] and I was having to stack cases on top of the unit to try and keep things ‘organised’!

One Shelf... Too Many DVDs!

It’s taken me almost six-years to make this decision but, I’ve decided now that the time is right to build a new wall shelf with increased capacity!

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Almost Show Time!

If you’re anywhere near Bristol or the south west of England within the next couple of months, it would be worth keeping an eye out for three furniture exhibitions. Two of these shows follow on from similar events that took place a year earlier. Sadly, due to financial reasons, I’m unable to take part this year. But, if these show are anything like what was witnessed last year then, you won’t want to miss them, if you have the opportunity to pay them a visit!

‘Inspired’The Great Oak Hall, Westonbirt Arboretum, Tetbury.
Thursday 26th – Tuesday 31st May 2011

More info: Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum / Inspired-to.co.uk

‘Furnish 2’ – Paintworks Event Space, Bristol.
Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th June 2011

More info: Paintworks: What’s On / Furnish Bristol

‘Inspired’The Hayloft Gallery, Ashton Court Estate, Bristol.
Saturday 16th – Sunday 24th July 2011

More info: Inspired-to.co.uk / Ashton Court Estate

Of course, there is also one annual show for this region that I haven’t mentioned above and that’s the acclaimed Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in Cheltenham. But, that’s not until the end of August.

Thanks for reading.

Drawer Repair

Shortly after moving home at the end of last month/beginning of this one, I was asked to repair a drawer for someone. Sadly, it wasn’t of the traditional all-wooden construction. But, with a thin sheet of paper containing an image of the Queen being waved in my face, I said I’d have a look at this chipboard conundrum.

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