Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Tag Archives: Recreation

Solsbury Hill Survivors

So, today I made the awaited return trip to Little Solsbury Hill as leader of the local walking group. I was a little disappointed (and surprised) by the relatively low-number turnout compared to some of my previous walks. Then again, it was raining around 7am when I woke up this morning and the forecast was for at least a cloudy day…

“Forget the cud, they want blood!” – Apocalypse Cow

But, the forecasters didn’t get it quite right and we really enjoyed our walk, keeping up a great pace, too – we somehow completed the circuit in less time than my second pre-walk 8 days ago!

However, the real tale from this walk was in our latest bovine encounter…

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Climbing Up Solsbury Hill

With the weekend very nearly upon us, it’s about time I share with you the experience of my most recent walk from almost a fortnight ago. I also get to show off my brand-new walking boots, before they set off on their debut adventure! They’re made by Karrimor and I think the model name was Kalahari – perhaps unfitting given the way in which British weather can be perceived but on this occasion, it was dry and very desert like for an early weekend in March.

New boots, ready to get wet!!

My goal for this one was to reach the long-anticipated Solsbury Hill – it’s actually Little Solsbury Hill, to be pedantic, but then you might feel as though perhaps it had a lot less in common with one of Peter Gabriel’s best-known solo hits.

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Magnetic Knife Block Design

While I’m pressing on with various things at the moment, I recently came up with an idea for a magnetic knife block design that I might like to make for my own personal use. I was asked about making a universal knife block a few months ago. Typically, those are fitted with carbon fibre rods or sometimes bamboo skewers. I couldn’t find a supplier of the plastic rods but that one didn’t come in to fruition anyway. Someone else later asked me about magnetic blocks (where the knives stick to the side of a block) and that’s what got me thinking with this design.

Magnetic Knife Block

I’ve grown up in a house with ‘common sized’ slots in each block. But how do you know what knives you’re going to need? Their size. Their quantity and what if my future plans change and I really want to get in to cooking and preparing food? That’s where I like these ‘unrestricted’ designs.

My own brief illustration is quite typical of what you might expect from an upright magnetic block. I see it as an opportunity to use up some scrap wood, with an interior constructed of offcut strips in a stack-lamainated formation, one on top of the other. With end-grain exposed at the ‘front’ end of the block, it could become quite a feature. There would be magnets embedded in to either side and these would then be sealed behind a thick veneer of something – in this case, I’ve drawn it in brown but I quite like the appearance of lighter woods (maple and sycamore) in a kitchen environment.

Both the shape and dimensions are only approximate at this time but, each time I head out to the workshop, I feel a desire to come up with a few scrap wood projects before I end up giving the stuff away!

Thanks for reading.

Woodworking Safety Day 2013 (Video)

Today is May the 4th and, just reading that aloud, you can imagine some of the Star Wars-related jokes that often occur around this time each year. Now, the 1st of May for this year was known as Woodworking Safety Day. It’s very similar to the Safety Week we’ve had for the last few years. I can’t remember whether I even wrote a blog post for this in 2012 but this year, I knew that I wanted to make a video that was perhaps a little different to what the average woodworking enthusiast might be planning.

I wouldn’t like to claim that my video or its content is an entirely original concept but I chose to focus on the sliding compound mitre saw. This video also covers a couple of common maintenance questions for the Makita LS1013 that frequently brings traffic to this blog. I am my usually nervous, anxious self for the most part but I end this 23-minute film with two short tales of personal experiences where my health and/or safety has been compromised…

As always, comments and feedback are always welcome. Before I end this post, I’d like to share with you an interesting video I found on improving a mitre saw purchased at the lower-end of the market…

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Pencil Sharpening

While the cutting boards I’m working on are slowly nearing completion, I found a little time yesterday evening to shoot a brief video on sharpening a pencil in the workshop. It’s hopefully a little bit of fun and a little light-hearted more than anything else but it’s mostly to keep my channel ‘busy’ as I’m well aware that it’s been a couple of weeks since Part 1.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you have any of your own suggestions for sharpening then please feel free to share. What would be even better are your tips for not losing pencils in the first place! 😉

Thank you.

Wood Shoppin’ Time!

If I look back, it’s more than three-long-years since I last splurged a serious amount of money (more than £35) on a quantity of sawn hardwoods! That’s quite a saddening statistic that makes me question what the heck I’ve been doing since I bought all that ash and walnut for the chair in my final year of college.

Stack of 2in black walnut at Oscar Windebank.

That ended this morning, with a trip to Oscar Windebank in Box (between Bath and Chippenham).

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Snowfall

It feels like a long time has passed since we had this amount of snow fall in this part of the UK. There were threats and warnings that we might have seen a few flakes last week but, it only landed elsewhere. Some were sceptical as to whether anything would happen this time. I kept my hopes up though; seeing the forecast on the local news of how one white blanket would cover the entire west country area filled me with optimism…

As soon as I got up around 6am, I was greeted and delighted by the sight you can see above; captured rather poorly by my smart phone‘s camera, which doesn’t particularly like the dark (and, I don’t like flash photography so, we can never agree).

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