Friday, December 2, 2016

Corner Caddy

  In the corner of our living room sits my big chair.  For a long time my chair has been surrounded with books, magazines and miscellaneous electronic devises.  Like everyone else I have a phone, a tablet, a lap top computer and an e-reader plus books and magazines.  Often those things drift into the corner and settle in  small piles around my chair. The television remotes and all that stuff is up stairs in the family room.
  Yesterday I looked at the collected chaos, considered the coming month with all the traditional comings and goings and decided it was time to bring the 'stuff' * under control.

  Again this is when a workshop in the basement is wonderful.  I designed this caddy to hold my phone and tablet/e-reader a pen or reading glasses in the narrow front slot. The larger compartment is for books and magazines. The handle means it is easy to move around the room and can be easily stashed behind the chair when there is a crowd of folks hanging out.

   The first stage of this project was decided its over all size.  I opted for 6 1/4 by 13 by 5 in front 8 inches in back.  I made the box so it would fit on the window sill if I wanted it handy while sitting and reading. 

  I had some Baltic birch plywood in the bin down stairs but made the front panel from thinly planed pine.  I stained the bulk of the box but left the front unfinished as I plan a wood burned pattern for later.

  Making this type of project is interesting because when I am making for myself I often use nails to put things together.  Had I been making something like this for someone else I probably would have glued it together or made an effort to hide the fasteners, thereby taking twice as long.  I like my projects to get going and get finished in a hurry, I'm afraid. 

  Here is the box sitting on the arm of my chair.  I can throw all my corner stuff into the box and find it  quickly and easily.  

  A project like this is really an apartment workshop style project.  Sheet stock can be bought in bite sized pieces at building supply stores and the tools necessary to make a nice job of this project are limited.

  I used a saw, if you have only one get a jig saw. Hammer and a few nails. Wood glue. Then I sanded everything and stained it.  You can sand a small project like this by hand or spend a few dollars and get a reasonably priced random orbital sander  to make finishing easier.   In fact a project like this could be covered in wall paper or stickers or if that  suits your style and taste. 

  The reason  to make this is simple.  It is wood, it will last.  Some  cheap plastic thing from a $ store won't look as good, last as long or provide the satisfaction you get from making your own thing.  Also since it is wood it can be refinished to match evolving decor in a way that a plastic thing can't.

  Wood is Good.

cheers, ianw

* there are other names for stuff, but this is a family show.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A hippo's nose job !, I love wood working

  It has been an interesting wood working day.  I visited a potential client that needs repairs and refinishing done to their live edge table.  A deer crashed through their front window and smashed the furniture on the ground floor of their home.  Regular repair guys are fixing flooring and book cases but the table needs an irregular guy like me.

  What else did I do with my day?  I repaired yet another box for 10,000 Villages like this one:


  The boxes come from India and often the lids warp with the temperature and humidity changes.  The hinges are maddeningly attached with nails so all the work on the boxes has to be done fully assembled. I have developed a whole bag of tricks for clamping, planing, sanding and re-staining these boxes. 

  Today was  another first for me.  I was so carried away with this project I didn't take a before picture, only after pictures.

  The hippo began with a symmetric face but somewhere in his travels from Kenya to Canada his right nostril got broken completely off.

caution: hippo at work.
I have no idea what sort of wood this is. It didn't help that I was working on the end grain but  I learned from trial and error  that it was better to use files and rasps than to try and carve it with blades.

  With some patience and a bag load of tools I reshaped  the face then sanded and polished my work.  I know that it has been repaired just looks hand carved and individual to the uninformed eye.

  Do you remember the scene in Toy Story 2 where the guy  repaints and restores Woody.  He has a super tool box with all the specialized tools he needs. 

carving tools on left
Dremel tool box on right
small box of needle files, sanding jigs
 and other tools spread all about. 
  When I do those small repairs I use every tools I can lay my hands on.  There is always filing, scraping, shaving and trimming in those jobs for 10,000 Villages.  I have carving knives, about a dozen, a whole bunch of needle files and rifflers as well as various bits for my Dremel tool. 


   As a by the way this tool box was made by my father as a shop project when he was in high school, a long time ago.  It would be great if one day it was a tool box for one of my Grand children. 

 cheers, ianw