Monday, January 30, 2017


 I made this little box (it's about 100mm long) to keep my sweetener tablets in.

It's made from a scrap of heart rimu, with a couple of strips of cedar inset.
Regrettably, the rare-earth magnets I used as latches aren't strong enough to hold it closed against the spring of the hinges, so I'm going to have to come up with some alternative means of keeping it shut. I have an idea, but whether it will work or not is yet to be seen.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chip Rack

 Today I made a chip rack — a rack, for poker chips.

I don't use them much, but when I do, I always end up with a bunch of messy stacks. This will tidy things up a lot, as well as making the chips easier to handle.

It's all plain old pinus radiata, except for the thin cedar gussets in the bottom of each column. The bays are each made of two pieces of moulded coving — I was going to make my own until I found out how much a 20mm radius coving bit for my router was going to cost.

If I were doing it again, I'd plane down one of the sides of the moulding a bit to make the whole rack a bit more compact; I think they're a bit too far apart.

I made the rack and stand as two separate pieces. In theory, this should make storage easier. We shall see.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Some new earrings

It's been a while since I designed any jewellery.

Here's a new pair of earrings.

They're available for purchase, in a variety of materials, at

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Scrap Box

When we were clearing out the workshop at the end of our cabinetmaking course a few years ago, I nabbed a bunch of 70 mm by 9 mm thick pine tongue & groove that was destined for the skip. Not enough for a project of any size, but it's a useful board size for making little utility boxes.

Normally I plane away both the tongue and the groove, leaving me with about 60mm of width, but this time I got rid of the tongue entirely but just planed down the groove side enough to take out the bevel and leave me with a square edge. Then laps were cut in the ends of two of the pieces and the walls were glued, butted, and nailed. It's a very quick and easy way of whacking together a box that doesn't have to withstand a lot of stress. The bottom is just a piece of 3mm MDF.

Total construction time for a simple box like this is about twenty minutes, I guess. What I like about it is the visual effect of the groove running around the lip, and I suppose if I wanted to make it just a tad fancier, it would be a pretty simple matter to inset some darker wood in the groove and use something a bit nicer for the bottom.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Photoshop Brush Experimenting

I tend to collect things like brush sets for Photoshop and then never get around to actually using them.

The thing is, most of them are unlikely to be of much use, but buried in amongst the huge pile are some that I really like. I'm trying, therefore, to work my way through as many as I can, experimenting with them, to see whether I want to keep them or not.

This guy is a combination of two brushes: a very large textural brush that I used to create the canvas vignette effect, and a rough charcoal pencil brush that I did the drawing in, in pure black and white. It's about a five minute sketch, so not much of anything really.

I like these two brushes enough that they'll go into the "keep" pile.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Box Project — WiP

Project for the moment: a box cobbled together out of some old rimu tongue & groove and some 1/8" meranti plywood. Next step, after the glue has dried, is to cut some slots for pine corner splines to give the mitres a bit more strength. I appear to have run out of the wide cedar venetian-blind slats I like to use as box liners, so it may be time for another trip to the Eco-Shed.

It should be big enough, when lined, to take an A4 thingy, so it will probably end up being a document box of some sort.

It strikes me now that cutting this into two parts — box and lid — would be a good job for a kerfing plane. Perhaps I should make one.

Next day

I've got the corner splines in, and I've part-cut the lid off — I cut it on the table saw, leaving about a millimetre of wood holding everything together. I'll finish cutting it with a hand saw.

The table saw blade has a fairly hefty kerf, about 3 mm. However, I think I can afford to lose that much on this box.

I really don't like meranti at all. I don't like the colour, I don't like the grain, and I don't like the fact that you can never ever get its raggedy grain feeling smooth to the touch unless you cover it with about three millimetres of varnish.

 Later on

Finished. Sort of.

I didn't notice when I grabbed them off the shelf at the shop that they'd shelved two different types of latch together, so I accidentally got one of each.

Not to worry; I think I'll be replacing those latches in any case.
I ordered some hinges and box-latches from China, and these are the first to arrive. They're very cheap — they work out to about $NZ 1.50 each, and they just some sort of brass-plated zinc alloy. This particular latch isn't at all secure; it prevents the lid being opened, but the latch just hangs in position over its studs, there is no spring action or anything like that. So it's more decorative than functional, but that's OK for this box. It looks nicer than the latches I was using before, and that's its primary purpose.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Desert Rocks

Ball-point pen and aquarelle pencils on A5 cartridge

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Technical pen & coloured pencils on A5 cartridge paper

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Project #01 — Shedlette

My first project for 2017 is the building of a little shedlette or shedling or mini-shed or whatever you want to call it. The first stage is complete, the clearing of the ground — in the foreground you can see about a quarter of the pile of crap that came out of that little area by the fence.

The space is an odd shape, because of the tree that's grown up over it. That tree prevents the left-side door of my workshop from opening right up, which is no big deal from my point of view but it does mean that the building will never again be any use as a garage.

My intention is to build it as simply and cheaply as possible, probably out of treated exterior plywood with just enough framing to join it all together and to hang the doors, and sitting on a couple of ground-treated wooden skids. What I haven't quite decided yet is whether to build it in situ, or to build it and then manhandle it into place — probably the latter, since it won't be very big or heavy, and that would ease construction enormously.

More than a week later....

Rain (or forecast rain that never eventuated) prevented any progress until today. However, now I've got some framing and a ground-treated fence post to cut up for skids.

Here's the state of play when I packed up for the day:

The floor area is 2000 x 600 mm, made of 18mm strand-board, and you can see pretty clearly here the carpenterial gymnastics I'm going to have to perform to work around that tree.

I kind of wish I had access to a Paslode gun, or at the least, a framing nailer I could use with my compressor.

I was originally going to make the walls of treated plywood, but I find that I've got about a dozen old sheets of roofing iron out the back (currently hidden behind a wall of ivy) so I'll probably use that instead. It means the framing will have to be a bit more involved, since the iron will provide no real structural strength, as plywood would.

Next Day

I've completed the back framing. I compromised on the joinery: rather than going all-out with mortice & tenon joints, I settled on quicker nailed lap-joints throughout. It's not a strong joint, but it does provide a bit of torsional support.

Now I will have to wait until I can afford to buy more framing timber, since I gravely underestimated how much I'd need.

The vertical section on the right will have a roof sloping up and forward, more or less following the line of the garage's roofline. The lower left hand side will slope down to the left, to avoid the tree.

Some time later

Having bought some more framing timber, the box is more or less complete except for a few more cross-pieces. It's threatening rain, so I've cleared up for the day.

Next stage will be to clad the sides that aren't accessible in place, then lift the whole shebang on to its floor and nail everything down.

After that, the remainder of the cladding is finalized, and the doors get made and hung, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

Owie on my fingy
I managed to skip off the head of a nail and smoosh the side of my finger. Which kind of hurt. There was swearing.

Coupla days....

Translucence abounds
I've clad the top, back and sides in gossamer sheets of only the finest plastic.

The sheets of corrugated PVC are cheap, but it cannot be denied that they look pretty crappy. However, little of it will be immediately visible when everything is in place, and the front will be in proper lumps of wood.

Now I have to get it on to its floor-pad. It's not amazingly heavy — one of the advantages of the PVC — but it's awkward, and I'll have to enlist some muscular help to get it shifted. Once it's in place, it will be usable to an extent, even without the doors.

Coupla hours....

Well, I managed to manhandle the thing into position and secure it on its base. No easy task single-handed, I can tell you.

Still, it's done.

I have to do the front now, and hang the doors. That'll be for another time though; I've already spent quite enough money on this little project.