Category Archives: Woodery

The Lime and the Coconu…

Sorry. No coconuts. And no singing.

The latest in candlesticks/tealight holders are emerging from the workshop though. A marriage of lime and meranti woods creating a nice contrast and a curvaceously tactile shape, these are a joy to make.

Two Tone Candlesticks

A couple of these have now hit the shelves at Homemade Wales and more will follow shortly.

Crumbs, A Bread Board Pen

Just for Mum…

A while ago I made a new bread board for my mum (article here) as the old one that had been on the worktop since year dot – at least, as far back as I can remember – had over the years become somewhat… knackered.

Mum's Old Bread Board
The Old One
Mum's Bread Board
The New One

But… what to do with the old board? I try to keep the place as clutter free as possible but, to be fair, I’m quite rubbish at it; lots of strange bits of wood are stacked away for ‘something one day’. Anyway, I’m rambling. I made a pen! Chopped a bit of the old board off, popped it on the lathe and squeezed in a few bits of metal with a spring and voila!

Mum's Bread Board Pen

It’s even got a dollop of rubbery stuff on the end so Mum can stab at her Kindle more efficiently.

A Lovely Pear On Camera

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely. And SUBSCRIBE too please; that’d be lovely 🙂

Half A Pear Tree

I recently put feelers out on Facebook asking if anyone was, or knew of anyone, taking down any fruit trees that I might be able to purloin a few bits from.  I’ve fancied having a play on the lathe with some ‘green’ wood, and coupled with the facts that fruitwood seems to be nice to work with, and can have lovely figuring (patterns in the grain) I thought it was a worth a shout out. I’d already got a couple of chunks of cherry from a friend, and that was drying out nicely ready for working.

And what do you know… just about a week-ish later, a ‘phone call…

“I’m just taking down a pear tree. Half of it’s in the boot. Shall I come over?”

Err… I’ll put the kettle on!

Pear Logs

And so it arrived. Very heavy, being so fresh, but I could see it was going to be beautifully figured. It was more than sixty years old and had been planted by my friend’s grandfather. The sapling had been bought from Abergavenny Market when its planter’s daughter was about two years old, so from that we could work out its age, more or less. Why is that of any importance? I’ve decided that as far as I possibly can, everything I make now will have provenance to go with it. So anything I make from these lovely chunks of pear will go out with a tag that tells the new keeper exactly where the wood came from, and in this case, how old it is, who bought it, planted it and nurtured it, and when it was felled.

The piece you see in the header of this article – from close to the base of the trunk I believe and a bit more than a foot across – was cleaved in half shortly after arrival and a section put through the bandsaw to see how it looked. And it looked good…

Sawn Pear Wood

So now these pieces are being laid out to dry and will take a  long time (years, probably) to become properly seasoned, but I’ll be having a play with a few pieces while still wet/green/fresh.

Let’s see what they turn into…

Mum’s Bread Board

When I was a child – so not that long ago – I used to love fresh bread, cut nice and thick on my mum’s bread board and slathered in great dollops of butter. I sense you salivating there. Steady now…

Anyway, that very same bread board was there when I was small, and still there when I was less small, and up until not long ago when I was even less less small, it was still there. But it was tired. VERY tired.Mum's Old Bread Board

Mum wanted a new one but couldn’t find what she wanted; something similar to what she’d had for many (many) years. Odd really; just a wooden board with a slot in it for the knife.

At about the time I realised the board was on its last legs (do boards have legs?) I’d been given a stack of wood by someone in the village who had inherited it from a recently passed craftsman (the sort of chap who made guitars, rocking horses, and other fine things). A few pieces, I was told, were cherry, but I wasn’t (and still aren’t) so sure. I think it may be black or English walnut, but suffice to say it’s lovely. In fact, most of the pictures of spoons on this website have it in the background.

In a nutshell then, I made my mum a new bread board. I didn’t make the knife, but I did create a nice slit for it to slot into.

Finished with several applications of Danish oil it’s food safe and looks flippin’ gorgeous in my humble opinion. And, more importantly, Mum loves it.

Mum's Bread BoardMum's Bread BoardMum's Bread Board Mum's Bread BoardMum's Bread Board - knife slotMum's Bread Board - knife in slot


Giant Deckchairs Ahoy!

Ok so sometimes making small things is rather complicated, and being a magician (yes, really) ‘in the know’, sometimes the things I’m asked to make are quite… umm… unusual.  Time to make something a bit easier, but BIG. This ‘simple’ project wasn’t all that bizarre, but it was quite fun to design and put together and – in the end – five of these monster chairs were built (the frames anyway).

So the first job was to go and look at a normal deckchair and get the geometry figured out, and that meant a decidedly non-covert mission to Barry Island with a tape measure… Then, fairly obviously, I scaled up – a lot – and went off to get a pile of bits…

Giant Deckchair pile of parts

All timber parts were made from treated CLS timber that came from sustainable sources, and all the steel fixings came from a big box.

I made my plans to work – in the main – with off the shelf lengths of timber, but obviously they all needed a bit of attention. Long bits made readyMaking the relevant holes wasn’t quite as straightforward as anticipated; wielding such large lumps of wood in a relatively confined space and getting the holes perfectly straight (so everything would line up during assembly) was one thing, but setting up the the multiple drilling required to create the ‘bolt head sockets’… sheesh. Quite the little production line I had going in the end.

Homemade Drill GuideGetting the holes nice and straight was done initially with my bench drill on the floor, but the wood wielding was a bit much so decided a more portable drill press was in order. Now being slightly impatient when looking at anticipated delivery times, and reading bad reviews on marketed products, I did what any fool would do…
Homemade Marking GaugeI made my bloomin’ own! Worked a treat to be fair, and now has a special place on the shelf.

Oh and I needed a new marking gauge too…

Several high precision techniques were used throughout the build, such as the leg radius production, caught here on camera just before the saw and belt sander were applied…Marking out the end radiuses

So after all the bits had been cut, drilled and shaped, it was time to put the thing(s) together. Now these units were/are big, and the easiest place to assemble was on my drive…
Heaven knows what the neighbours were thinking.

Frame pre-assembly

Et voila!

Giant Deckchair frame assembled

Giant Deckchair fully assembled

The fabric ‘slings’ for these were made by someone else and I needed to provide an easy way for them to be fitted and changed; the design is such that they can be, in just a couple of minutes.

These chairs were seen on/at Cardiff Bay’s ‘urban beach’ throughout the summer of ’14. They were commissioned and officially supplied by InHouse Entertainments who also made the slings.

During the multi-unit project of five chairs, I decided to film the assembly (of Chair No.4, in case that matters)  just for fun and posterity really (and that’s nothing to do with bottoms)…

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely. And subscribe too, that’d be lovely 🙂

ADDED NOTE: Since the build in 2014 and posting the video on YouTube I have been asked a number of times if I have plans available for these chair frames. My workshop guide at the time was a rather rough set of sketches and scribbles on a piece of cardboard packaging (and you thought I used CAD) so the answer so far has been “Not really. Sorry”. But, maybe it’s about time I drew up some proper plans for the build; watch this space. 🙂

Giant Deckchair Frame Assembly

Please do go and view this on my YouTube Channel too, so the numbers can go up nicely. And SUBSCRIBE too please; that’d be lovely 🙂