Thursday, March 30, 2017

Modular Sharpening Station

I recently bought some 80x230mm diamond lapping plates in 100, 180, 320, 800, 1500 and 3000 grit. They're on steel, about 2mm thick, so they need some support to make sure they stay flat and still while I'm sharpening things on them.

I've mounted them with silicon on individual bits of 18mm MDF, sealed with acrylic varnish, and rebated down the long edges underneath so that they'll sit handily in a vice for use individually, or in the four-plate station you can see here — the blocks sit snugly in cavities in it.

With the blocks in place, the sharpening station probably has enough mass that it's unlikely to move around under normal use. However, I might add a tab underneath that can be gripped in the vice, just to make sure. Or maybe a non-slip rubber mat will be sufficient — I'll try it and see.

I was originally going to make a station that would take all six blocks simultaneously, but that would be rather unwieldy, so I settled for four. The blocks in place now are the ones I think I'm most likely to want most often, and if need be I can swap in the 100 and/or 3000 grit plates, or just use them individually in the vice as and when I need them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New earrings, in the flesh

These just arrived on my doorstep from Shapeways — my most recent earring design.

These ones have been produced in their Raw Bronze material, and I'm pretty happy with the way they've turned out.

They can be had at

Friday, March 10, 2017

Stanley 45

The Stanley 45 plough plane I bought on TradeMe just arrived.

It seems to be complete, except for the cutters (there's just the one, a ½"), but it's going to need quite a bit of TLC.

At the moment I just have CRC soaking into all the joints and threads to loosen it all up before I get in there with the steel wool and what-not.

Judging by the price people are asking for fairly basic sets of cutters on Ebay and the like, I'll be better off getting some tool steel and making my own.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Filigree Cone Earrings

Here's a new pair of earrings I designed.

They're available for sale in a variety of metals at my Shapeways shop.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Narsil Reforged

OK, maybe not Narsil.

This is an old dinner knife, one of a bunch that we've picked up over the years. It originally had a casein handle that was supposed to mimic ivory, but at some stage of its life it looks like it had been left to soak for too long, and the casein had gone all woogly and disgusting looking. The blade was a bit misshapen too, from some inexpert sharpening back in the distant past. Nevertheless, the steel is good; thin, flexible, and holds an edge. I like these old dinner knives.

So I thought I'd renovate it a bit.

The casein handle was stripped off and replaced with a piece of ash, a bit longer than the original handle. It's not one of my favourite woods, but that's what I had to hand. I re-shaped and re-sharpened the blade, so now it's scalpel-sharp — which is maybe a bit of overkill for its intended purpose, but I feel you can never go wrong with a really sharp knife.

So, now I have a knife that will definitely cut steak.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

First Order Retrievability

There is not much space here.
Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm getting my workshop organised to the point where I can be productive in it without having to constantly climb over things to get at other things, or fossick around in drawers and cupboards to find the things that I was sure were there but turn out to be somewhere else entirely.

Today, that has mainly meant hanging things up on walls so that I can see them and get at them easily. There's still a bit of space available on my bit of plywood for some more Useful Things, and I'll add hangers for them as and when I need them.

Wall-based tool storage

The next stage will be to move the right-hand workbench out into the middle so that I can lay a brick and concrete floor under it. At the moment it's resting on ancient semi-rotten floorboards on ancient semi-rotten bearers on ancient semi-rotten dirt, and that does not make for a particularly solid or stable work surface.

It's going to be a pain of a job; I shall have to unload all of the drawers and what-not to make it light enough to move, and find somewhere to store all that crap while I'm doing the concreting. Then I'll have to practice my contortionism to get the new solid floor down in a fairly constricted space.

Still, once it's done, the workbench will be much more pleasant to work on, and that's got to be a good thing.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Much fudging going on here. I got the hands very wonky.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stacks of Stacking

Today is the day when our firewood for the next winter arrives.

Now I have to stack it all. That pile is about 9m3, and on past performance, it will take me about three days of intermittent activity. Naturally, the next three or four days are forecast to be stinking hot.

I may need beer. Quite a lot of beer.