Wednesday, December 28, 2016

She'll be right, probably

This bit just fell off my lawn-mower.

Do you think it's important?

Also: Steel-capped boots, kids. They're not just for weddings any more.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Folding chair up-cycling: Number 2

This is the second of a pair of cheap and crappy folding chairs we bought some years ago to have something to sit on while we were camping.

The first is here.

This one is just done in treated pine, with a very light oil stain. Unfortunately one of the seat boards split when I was screwing everything together, but that's not disastrous — I just softened all the edges and called it "rustic".

Friday, December 23, 2016


Here's a couple of doodles I drew while I was watching TV. Both are in black ball-point pen.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Router Lift

It's up-side-down. It normally goes the other way up.
I have a Black & Decker router that I was given as a birthday present quite a few years ago. It's not the worst router ever made, but it's not great. It came with a 3/8" head, and fortunately I found a 6mm collet to fit it, because 3/8" cutter bits are pretty bloody thin on the ground in New Zealand.

I have a much better Ryobi 12.5mm plunge router, so I stripped the Black & Decker down and attached it to a small table that clamps in the bench vice.

The other day, its depth-lock broke. This was a blessing in disguise, because it forced me to build this, which I should have done ages ago. It's a lockable router-lift.

What it does is lift the router up and down by means of a threaded spindle, which I made out of a 10x130mm hex-head bolt. I couldn't find one that was fully threaded right up the shaft, so I cut a new thread for it. The head of the bolt is buried in a plywood disk — you can see it in the picture — with a big bead to act as a winding handle. I may have to put a plywood cap over the bolt-head, just to ensure that it doesn't work itself out.

The bolt passes through a nut buried in the top of the frame, and on to a plywood cushion on the router itself. When I turn the handle, the router goes up or down, and can be locked firmly in place by means of the locking-nut. It will make my routing very much more precise than was really easily feasible when trying to hold everything in place against spring-pressure while fumbling around for the depth-lock.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shelf Building

Stage 1 — 2016-12-06
Note: Those aren't the shelves.
They're just braces holding the plywood in place
while the glue cures.
We have an ever-increasing need for storage space, owing to the ever-increasing amount of stuff we just can't bring ourselves to throw away. Therefore, I am filling up some dead space with some shelves. It's over some older, larger shelves I put in many years ago to take our TV and video stuff, but that's all been moved elsewhere now.

The dead space in question is the niche between an old fireplace (long walled over) and the exterior wall. This creates some issues when it comes to making built-in shelves.

The fireplace is brick, behind the plaster-board, and thus would need rawl-plugs to anchor the shelf supports. That's not a big deal, but it's kind of a pain in the arse.

More troublesome is the right-hand side, the exterior wall. It's lath-and-plaster, which is pretty much just fancy-schmancy wattle-and-daub. It has no structural strength in itself, and to cap it, it makes it really hard to locate the studs and dwangs.

So, to make life a whole lot easier for myself, I'm lining the cavity with plywood, which will take nails and screws perfectly well. The pieces are just glued to the walls with construction cement (No More Nails); I'll put a couple of screws through each for a bit of extra earthquake insurance, but the shelves themselves will provide all the bracing they'll really need.

Note: the glue has to set for 24 hours before I can take the braces away, so this will be slightly drawn-out project.

Stage 2 — 2016-12-07
Small display shelves


It's the next day, the glue has cured, and Stage 2 of the shelf-building project is underway.

This bottom space is quite tall — 700mm — to accommodate a decent-sized TV, just in case that becomes relevant again some time in the future. At the back of this niche I've put a grid of quite shallow (140mm) shelves to display knick-knacks and what-not. The higher shelves won't have this feature; they wouldn't be visible. At the moment it's just held in place (fairly firmly) by friction, but I'll add a few screws just as insurance.

All of the shelves above this are quite deep (400mm), designed for storage, not display. If I get really carried away I may install cupboard doors over them, but not just yet.

Stage 3

Stage 3

The first of the big shelves is in.

They're going to take a bit of fitting owing to the un-squareness of the surrounding house, but this one at least is very, very nearly square on the left hand side, which eases matters a bit. The situation gets worse as I get higher.

These shelves are just 18mm MDF, so I've added a strengthening member underneath which also adds a bit of a curve to soften the otherwise rigidly straight (but not square) lines.

This is all going to be painted white, so I don't have to be all that careful about hiding screw-heads — I just make sure they're well below the surface, and then cover them up with builders' bog. It's excellent stuff, though it does reek a bit while it's curing.

Stage 4-ish, I guess

2016-12-08 — Stage 4

Second shelf is in, and I've jumped ahead a bit and started adding the trim. Things will get a bit cramped up the top when the last shelf goes in, so I thought it would be easier to do the trim first and then the shelf.

The trim serves no structural function at all. What it mainly does is disguise all the gaping gaps resulting from the chronic unsquareness of my house.

I have learned that the existing shelf is not quite strong enough to stand on, and there was an alarming noise from underfoot when I did. I'm going to have to fix that now, whatever it is that made the noise.

About done

Stage 5

The construction is done and done now; all that's left is paint.

I think I have some leftover flat white somewhere — I hope so, because paint is ridiculously expensive.

I might put a strip of LEDs behind the lowest shelf's brace. I'm not at all au fait with electrics though, so I might enlist some aid to wire it up. I'm sure it's quite simple, but imagine how embarrassed I'd be if I burned to death in my bed because my shonky wiring set the house alight.

Painting begins

Stage Whatever

I can't say that I'm all that fond of painting, but painting is sometimes a necessary evil.

Still, it is tying it all nicely in with the surrounds, so that's nice.


We're Done.

I'll want to leave them unoccupied for a couple of days to let the paint harden properly, but that's it for this lot.