My blog is of my creations, My furniture, using wood I have collected from here and there, occasionally buying some to make up the difference.
My design is often based around what I have available.
Comments welcome, thanks for your visit.

My Trade Mark

My Trade Mark
I'm into diamonds

Monday, December 25, 2017

Cmas pressies

Probably the best pressie.
Some time ago I wrote a piece on the Canadian wood workers web site about the mirror frame I made with the inlays and carved corners, I have shown it as a post here, the Canadian Woodworkers web site used it in there magazine and as a consequence Lee Valley the Canadian tool store sent me a gift, the marking gauge shown here is that gift, the marking gauge I would normally use is one from my apprentice days so is about 50 years old, I'm not sure I will still be using this one in 50 years.
I have been busy renovating a kitchen for a few days so bowl production has slowed, I did rescue a door sill of Matai from the kitchen reno and turned up 2 good size bowls one I gave to the home owner the other to our Chinese house guest but didn't get photos (big mistake) the small bowl with lid came from what was left of the door sill.
The large bowl here is oak and had a lot of drying splits in it so it was a case of turn and glue up turn and glue up, the edge design is another experiment, the bowl is finished with wax.
The other 2 with live edges are finished with a mat Danish oil
the middle one has thin walls and had been roughed out many years ago it was very bent from the drying out so a challenge to turn, the bowl on the left I started from half a tree that was very dry and I managed to keep all the bark on the live edge so I am pleased with that on.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Selling first bowls

Its been a fun time making bowls and more fun selling them, I sold the one on the far right of the picture I thought it was rewarewa and had some wonderful grain in it that shone under the danish oil, the tall one in the middle also sold it was pohutukawa and a rich deep purple colour both had been a joy to make even though I had some splitting problems that needed gluing up, I could have easily kept them both,the other one that sold was a favorite too it was the first one I turned with a live edge, it was a big learning curve made more so as it had been rough turned a number of years ago and left to dry
in the drying process the shape had changed a lot so it was no longer round  making it difficult to start the process of finishing it I was lucky there was enough thickness in the sides to have a bowl at all and that the bark stayed on as it should I did so like it and am sad to see it sold, I have given away a few of the smaller or experimental pieces so suddenly my collection is smaller.
Here is a photo of a few more I have been busy with in recent days.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bowls and more Bowls plus Booties

I realise there are some bowls I have not shown and now booties too, I don't make the booties, on the lathe.
Some of these are waxed and some treated with Danish oil, I have only made 2 lids the first I gave away and the second is seen here at the back it is a lid I am pleased I made.
This is a bowl I turned these past 3 days it still needs some final coats of Danish oil so there are some dull areas.
I am pleased with the bead around the top edge, it is something I have seen on The Canadian Woodworkers Web Site and thought I would give it a go and whalla what a first attempt.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

From chairs to to to to

So I rebuilt the 2 chairs for the man who sold me a lathe he was pleased with what I had done and asked me to make a new base for a Singer sewing machine.
This is something I had always wanted to have a go at doing, this also turned out as good as I had hoped being made from all new timber, well some of it was an old oak bed end.

For my good deeds he gave me a bowl saver to use on the lathe, this is an attachment that fixes to the lathe bed and is used to cut a smaller bowl from inside a large bowl and dependent on how large the bowl is maybe cut more than one bowl, to my mind this is better than putting all the shavings from inside a bowl on the floor, the cut the bowl saver makes is about 7mm wide and is set at about 100mm radius using the small cutter, I have had to spend some time making a firmer fixing to the lathe and am now happy with it being solid enough to run the lathe on a faster speed.
This is the 4th time I have used it and was brave enough to cut the wall thickness down to about 10mm at the entry point unfortunately the wall thickness increases the further in I go due to the radius of the cutter.
This is today, yesterday I prepared the rough piece of tree someone gave me years ago it still had bark on it and looked as though it was from an area that once had a branch coming from it I was eager to see what the grain was doing under the bark, there is some spalting happening in the sap wood, the tree had been split down the middle with a chain saw so the surface was rough, I used a router with dovetail cutter to cut the first round mounting recess in the flat side and mounted it on the lathe so I could shape the outer side and the bottom creating another mounting recess it was at this point the defects became obvious the splits from the drying process the defects from where the branch of the tree grew so with the end of the day in sight it was time to mix some epoxy with some brown oxide and fill what cavities I could see.
Today I set up the bowl saver after more modifications to make the operation better, when I think I have gone in far enough I take the bowl off the lathe and give the inner bowl a few taps with a hammer to split the 2 apart, in this instance it reveals more of the defects so again out with the epoxy and colouring, I have turned both bowls more to the finished shape before I filled those holes and splits, now its a matter of waiting for the epoxy to cure over night before I re mount them to the lathe, I suspect the smaller bowl will need some filling doing once I hollow it out, for a nawley piece of tree I am surprised this piece of wood has held together, but what fun.  


Friday, September 29, 2017

All the wonders of my world

It has been a wet winter and spring is no different, there are some advantages however, I have never known a rainbow stay in the sky for so long and a double one at that, it was visible for 20 min's I guess right outside my kitchen window.

I took on the refurbishment of 2 chairs one had a broken top, they are old and well used having been covered twice well I took off 2 covers and found a thick wad of dry grass as well as springs under the covers, in each joint there is 3   12mm dowels so not a lot of wood between the dowels and all the glue was dry so had let go and the chair was able to wobble whilst still held together, I didn't break the back of the chair apart but did put new dowels in the front legs and where the rails meet the back legs then the big corner glue blocks, this photo is a before and after shot, the front legs were put on the wood lathe and sanded clean however the old stain has penetrated the wood so its impossible to get it totally clean, I am thinking about 40 hours to get them to a stage to be refinished and I
think it took less than that to build them in the first place.
I was playing with this bowl wondering just how thin I could get the wood and cut right through the bottom there is a recess in the bottom to hold the bowl on the wood lathe so most of the bottom is about 8mm thick, the small block at the side I made today and will be made round on the lathe so the purple hart will become a circular stripe then it will be set in the bottom of the bowl to become a feature of significance and will match the table I showed in the previous posting, the bowl is cherry.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bowls and Bikes

I had enough of bowls so went biking, the cycle shorts date from 1989 I think in the days when I could do 100km now we are out to do an easy 22km along the sand dunes of Opotiki and 22km is just enough on the first day of spring, I anticipated a little rain but it never happened till we were back at the car however it was so cold where we stopped for lunch I was pleased to be back on the bike, like the shorts the bike is from the same time and the tire decided enough was enough and started to blow out the tire wall so a day was spent cleaning the 30 years of gunk from the gears and getting 2 new tires.
Then back to the lathe and bowls now this is fun and so easy to obtain results, the big bowl back right is Matai and the little one behind it came from inside it so I got 2 from the one piece of wood, the dark one back center is a piece of drift wood from the beach either Totara or Pohutakawa, in the foreground is a bowl made from Cherry, I had 2 halves of the tree trunk and have made 5 of 6 about the same most I have given away now, the big bowl is another Matai piece that I thought was too shallow so added a rim of purple hart.
Now I have chairs from many years ago to clean up and rebuild. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

How to use tanalised kahikatea

Someone gave me two planks of wood telling me it was Kahikatea that had been tanalised, one was 40mm thick the other 30mm but cut with a chain saw so had a very rough surface and 2 big knots, I thought about using it for outdoor chairs it being tanalised but then could not bear to think of cutting it up into bits, so table that could be used outdoors however I wanted to cut out those knots so it rendered some of it to bits, upon thicknessing it I realised the tanalising was only surface treatment, so I developed a design as I went along, the kahikatea being so white I thought some colour was needed and glued up some stringing using some very old jarrah, I thought the stringing would add some width and make all the joints have a reason for being there, the kahikatea is soft not sutable for the edge the 40mm looked thin around the edge so a hard edge of rimu seemed right
and the pieces I had that came out of the house I renovated were just right, this is the result with a quick sealer coat of epoxy treatment, it seems to have brought out the dark spots of the tanalising treatment that were not taken away in the machining, the top is 1660mm X 760mm which I think is a good size.
I have a fair amount of kahikatea left and some of the stringing and wanted the legs to have a theme with the top, I like the look of the rail to hold the table legs together with the wedges this method also makes for a table that can easily be dismantled for moving and as I intend to transport it to the other end of the country to me son it is necessary, the top took me a week to build and the legs another week now I can see that time again to do the finishing not that I will be on it the whole time as the polyurethane takes a while to dry in our winter.
Now I have a good lathe it is nice to find a worthwhile project for it and turning those pegs was good fun I had to get them correct the first time as I have nothing else to use so I am well pleased with myself, the ends of the tenons are left protruding for effect, the legs had no polyurethane on at the time of the photos so will have more contrast when finished.
Ho so much fun to build as at the start I had no idea other than a basic shape but it could have gone anywhere, just I'm not sure now its suitable to be put outside. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

In a roundabout way the same but differant

The mirror frame is not yet on the wall.
I have accumulated a bit of wood for turning and have a big old lathe someone gave me, the last time I used it I broke a piece off the face plate, I consider the lathe not very good so have bought 2 more, one of them because it has some good tools and a 4 jaw chuck the other 'cos its heavy and has a good head and tail stock.
This is the first piece of significance to be produced, I think its cherry that someone gave me long ago so is well dry, the bowl is about 75mm high and about 200mm wide, I did have to glue up a few cracks but that is to be expected in my book.
There is a lot to learn about this wood turning and I am not sure where I will go with it, I feel some sort of need to glue wood together then turn it, a need to experiment with more than just spin lumps from a tree as I have done here, the half of tree trunk sat behind the bowl is not big enough to create a bowl so I wonder about cutting it up glue it back together then turn it, into what I have no idea.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Good things take time

By the time this is on the bathroom wall it could be 3 months since I started it, I am now waiting for the polyurethane to cure very well I got some runs in it and scraped them off now what is left feels a little soft and imagine that it won't sand well until it is hard, I would rather not re coat it as it looks thick on the carvings and to sand them would loose the definition of the carving.
I have never carved before so it was a fun interesting few days that I carved 10 in all trying to work out what I wanted, and now was I to make another I would do it differently so that now leaves room to do another one day, now I need a mirror cutting and the ply back screwing on before it goes on the wall.
I now have 2 more wood lathes so there is a whole new world before me, one of them is on a steel base the result a lot of drumming when it runs so I hope a wooden base in place of the steel will cure it.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

I've finished and there's no sun

Its taken a while, and its not exactly what I had planed but flexibility and an open mind (an open mind is half way to happiness) are the pleasures of doing it for myself, that dark ply is some cheap stuff from Malaysia it has all sorts of flaws but I am able to tell myself it adds to the character of the look, I gave it one good coat of epoxy wood treatment and left it to cure well then a light sand (that veneer is thin) then a heavy coat or oil based polyurethane all while it was laid flat so as to avoid runs, the top is NZ Tawa, left over floor boards and matches the flooring in the
Its an en-suit bathroom so for 2 people so 2 draws and a cupboard, the draws go right to the back of the unit so are a pointed shape, I cut a 6mm X 40mm groove in the bottom of the draw and glued a 6mm X 40mm guide to the shelf the draw sits on, the groove is in the center of the draw so goes right to the back and the guide is tapered to the front.
I am so happy with the final result, it has cost me zilch as its all leftovers from the house reno.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trying to make it last longer

I kind of consider the bathroom development finished, well finished enough that it is usable, those two shelves need more varnish on them, directly in front of the toilet is an empty corner that lends itself to a cupboard for this and that, it is behind the door when the door is open, the door hits the wall heater when it opens (see block on the floor) so I figger the cupboard will in some way act as a door stop, so plans are afoot for that.
The mirror is too short and I want a frame for the mirror a fancy frame, I have lots of floor boards left over, how to make it fancy? when I built the dining table I had seen a pattern for some inlay banding and did use a simple version for the table well now I am looking for a challenge that will keep me occupied, I couldn't find what I had seen 6years ago so started to plan my own design, I like the round cutter I have so that had to be used, I drew a few ideas and was in a hurry to get started  but then for some reason had to walk away it was when I was away that this idea came to me, I also wanted to stay with NZ natives as that what the shelves and floor are but this pattern needs contrast.
I am thinking that what ever I use around the mirror will also be incorporated into the cupboard, I am seeing a banding around the flat top and also use some short pieces for handles to the draws and door.
As I write this I am hoping I will remember what the plan is as compared to the construction of the bathroom this is a whole different game of concentration and patience, the process is slow the steps taken are small and already I have taken the wrong steps and had to go back and machine more wood, I think I also made a wrong decision on direction of grain in that pattern I cannot be sure but if the contrast is not a great as I hope so be it, maybe I will start again but then maybe not, it is all a big experiment and if I have to do it again in theory it will be better.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Then and now

Each time I see this picture I wonder if I should have looked further than Whakatane when I moved from Auckland, this is such a magical scene, as I was driving through Karetane I took a walk by the harbor and just so peaceful, we are so fortunate in this country to have such a choice.
That was back then in December.
Now we are May and I have been so busy for 11 weeks getting this bathroom and bedroom ready, I am now wondering how to keep busy to keep warm as our weather has cooled and at the same time take it easier than the past weeks have been as I am feeling some what worn out and could do with a few days laying on the beach above however it will be a bit cooler now than it was in December, if you look closely I still have some trim to put in place around the top of the walls, another coat of varnish on the floor and shelves then a cupboard to build to finish off the bathroom.
It has happened much faster than the first bathroom as we now have a long term boarder staying in the house and I wanted some sort of comfort in the house and not a building site atmosphere with a layer of dust settling through out the house each day even though I kept the doors closed.
This passage and the bathroom were once a small bedroom, now the bedroom that was created by by extensions to the house in 1984 feels very large with room for a settee in the corner on the right, the ceiling in this room is the only one in the whole house that was worth leaving in place I did replace the hall ceiling and in the process dropped it down to 2.4 meters high the result was I had to hide the discrepancy this I did by taking the ceiling cove across and butt the hall ceiling into the back of it, doing this reveled the ends of the ceiling cove in the hall this was made to look good with a bit of sand paper wrapped around a pipe, all that remains to be done is to re-carpet the whole house, its not the whole house as 2 bedrooms have exposed tawa wooden floors as do both bathrooms, someone has told me tawa used to be known as poor mans pine, I think the grain of tawa is far more interesting than pine and the colour has more depth and variety.         

Monday, March 6, 2017

No time to lay in the sun

Once more we have a big hole in the house and outside the house the drain layers came and did what drain layers do best, I had dug the hole for them and was pleased that I had managed to dig it in the right place, things are happening fast now, I have had 2 visits from a local council building inspector and have been informed that I can continue and finish the whole job with one more inspection at the end.
During the digging of the hole I removed a Yacca tree stump and was surprised it is not very deep so removed a second one and found it fun as it is hard to stop them sprouting new shoots, yesterday I removed a third one the one you see in the photo there were 6 planted some years ago so I am half way to being rid of them.
I ground the heads off all the nails holding down the floor, a long difficult job, doing my best not to damage the floor around the nail head then I was able to lay on my back under the floor and slowly ease all the flooring up off the nails with the least amount of damage, since then I have selected the best pieces and cut them to length also plugging the holes that I won't be using to fix the floor back down, the floor joist where I am standing has been removed and replaced with 2 cut to shape to take the shower tray ( the shower tray is made and ready to come home), we have decided to have under the house insulated while there is easy access to get the stuff down the hole, so I spent a day under the house removing the old tin foil insulation much of it torn from plumbing and electrical activities over these
past 2 years.
Now we have much more than this, here we have a new ceiling, some framing to cantilever the hand basin from and one wall a more recent photo would show plumbing pipes under the floor and more new walls, yesterday I removed the old toilet that was in a cupboard in the bedroom only to find it had leaked years ago and the floor is rotten, the floor that goes under the cupboard walls so decision is made to remove the cupboard replace the floor and we have gained a bigger room, I was going to use the cupboard as a second wardrobe but have now increased the wardrobe size on the end of the bathroom.
Windows are due on the 21st and electrical work will be done this week, No time to lay in the sun.    

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hot and Busy

Its our hottest time of year, we have touched 30 degrees and there is not enough rain.
We have 3 of these ranch sliders into the house, the sun belts into this one and they all condensate at times during the year so I didn't want carpet hard up to the aluminum, I have replaced the damaged flooring with tanalised ply then a layer of slate and tile underlay before fixing these tiles, well I have done 2 of the 3 doors.
I have finally submitted the plans to council for a second bathroom it will be an en-suite to a bedroom with toilet, shower and hand basin, the room started its life as a small 3rd bedroom many years ago
before the extension bedroom was added, it will now become wash room and passage way or just a bedroom and en-suit leaving the other bathroom for use by the other bedroom occupants.
I have stripped it back to just wood work, the ceiling was damaged from years of roof leaks the walls were old poor quality gib board wall paper on wall paper then painted, well its all gone now, and now there will be wiring to go in the walls for heater and towel rail for lights and pipes for this and that.
During the stripping of the walls I came across this wasp nest I was lucky that it was a long time dead and while I did try to clean it out much of it is unreachable so I removed what I could but much of it remains just out of reach even with the vacuum cleaner, the black cable is the main feed to my switch board from the meter box outside, the wasp nest is above the soffit on the south side of the house.
The bath room while a different shape to the other one will be along the same theme and I hope that in 10 weeks it will be all done at we have some one coming to use the room, should I panic, or just carry on and enjoy the sun when it shines.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

I Can See The Finish Line

Ho no not the finish line, then what will I do?
Yes I can see the finish line if the kitchen re build, the last few days have been exciting as its what I like doing, I decided to put the skirting on top of the vinyl and I like to get most of the paint on before I fix them in place then touch up later with a final paint I figer I save making dust in the house while we live in it, I always knew the round corners to the gib board would mean round skirting boards so many months ago I made a bunch of corner blanks this is one of the first ones as then I realised I needed a tighter grain wood so used Rimu a native to NZ I found a old strong piece I had pulled out of the house somewhere, I used a hole saw to cut out that inside radius before I glued the pieces together, the straight skirting is 90mm X 10mm pine that NZ imports from Chile yes with all our pine forests and our pine exports we import skirting from Chile, here is the main wood working tool for the job and without it it would be difficult as it involves what at times seems to be endless trips into the garage to take one more bit off I also used a angle
grinder to grind the back out so only the top edge needs fitting, the big one is made of 7 pieces of wood and the smaller one uses 4 pieces, once they are well painted and dry I give them a quick sand outside before I bring them inside and glue them in place later I fill and gaps before one final sand with a vacuum running and paint, some where in there I would get a light sealer paint over any filler before the top coat.
I think I have done 9 of these corners now and do feel as if I have worked out how to do them, I think the trick to success is to take off less during the fine fitting as one more trip out to the garage to remove a bit more is better than removing too much and having to start again as that would lead to 20 more trips to the garage and a long delay.
I do have some tiles to lay inside the ranch slider before I complete the trim around the door frame, then I can hang the last curtain in this area of the house, I wonder if that means wallah before I move into another area of the house, before that I have some coffins to finish.