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Robski's WIP Thread (Current Project: Desk)

I thought I might as well document a couple of projects, so lets kick off with a desk build.

I picked up a full length stave beech worktop from my local timber merchants a couple of months ago with the intention of using it as a desk top. I'd been umm-ing and ahh-ing about how to make the legs or whether to just get some welded box section jobbies from ebay. Having rewatched a few Ishitani videos I fancied having a go at making something along the lines of his Walnut Trestle/Kigumi style base [without a fraction of his talent or accuracy (link to videos below)]

Decided against going for the full sliding dovetail substructure shown in the video, but really wanted to try having a go at the bridle(?) joint connecting the horizontal and upright pieces. I had a big old chunk of sapele/utile about 40mm thick, 400mm wide and 1.8m long. I'd planned to make some guitar bodies from it, but reallised that was probably not going to happen, so it was the first thing to get hacked up...

Picture Frame

I don’t know about you guys but it feels to me like we are short on builds at the moment, so in an attempt to be a part of the solution more than the problem (that and I want to try out the new direct photo posting), here’s a picture frame WIP.

It’s based on my “standard” design which I think is fairly good, good design being both appropriate and tolerant. It’s going directly in front of someone’s front door and it’s quite large, so as it’s the first thing she’ll see as the door opens and I work with her, I’d better get it right.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, any good woodwork starts with some wood, (on this one is quite resolute) and a plan is rather helpful too, off to the scraps box we go... Unusually I have version 1 of the actual picture to work from, so here we are...

Some beech veneered MDF (because I have no MRMDF to hand), some beech, cherry and quilted maple for the face and plain maple for the back and a little bit of oak, and a big picture of a hole in...

Oak settle: minor alterations (finished).

Oak settle: minor alterations (finished).

Goodness knows how many years ago, maybe 15 or 20, I made a couple of oak settles. I even posted about it on a forum somewhere, and one or two of you have been around long enough to perhaps have seen them back then. One of them has had a really tough life, having been parked in front of the underfloor heating manifold at my last house for all of its life until we moved house. Being in the kitchen, it has also been mopped at the bottom repeatedly:

As you can see, it has really suffered. Time to give it a bit of TLC, I thought, so I popped it out to the workshop. No mean feat as it is solid oak throughout and weighs a ton. I needed a sack barrow for the task.

It's quite nice inside, and features an absolute rarity....some turning of mine:

I popped the bottom out:

Then made some minor adjustments to the sides:

This was rather unfortunate. A loose panel that wasn't as loose as it should have been:

I've discovered that I used PU adhesive in building this, so...

Adirondack style chair in sweet chestnut

Eight years ago, I made an Adirondack style chair, using some nice oak I bought at Westonbirt Arboretum. I copied the design of a commercially made cedar chair and wrote up the project here.

The oak chair is still looking fine but the cedar one is decidedly scruffy and uninviting. It's time to make another one. As far as I know, the Friends of Westonbirt can't offer wood for sale at present, while they pursue a big building project. So a trip to a sawmill was in order.

I'd read about Wentwood Timber Centre on here before and thought it sounded interesting. (See post1181307.html#p1181307 in Neil's useful list of timber suppliers.) It's a smallish operation selling native hardwoods. I went and had a look.

It's not hard to find if you follow their clear directions - from Bristol you go over the bridge to Chepstow then turn right off the A48.

It's a friendly place and well set up for the hobby woodworker. They have an old office building with a number of rooms, each of which has...

MFT top with the RS CNC jig

After DiscoStu's excellent review of the Parf MFT system and PAC's subsequent recommendation of the RS CNC's jig, I bought the latter. I did not realise at the time that he also sells the dogs, otherwise I would have bought them, too, but by the time I found that out I'd already bought the Veritas Parf dogs from Axminster. Pricey at nearly £26 – more if you have to pay for delivery – but they are superbly made and come in a plastic tube for storage. Very excellent. They are also stainless steel rather than aluminium, and taller than the RS ones, so we are not completely comparing like with like.

The RS jig arrived in a cardboard box. Well not really a box, to be honest, more an assemblage of pieces of cardboard taped together. Once I'd opened it all up I no longer had a box in which to keep it! I'm trying to make a box out of the bits, but I'm finding that Duck tape doesn't stick to cardboard very well. I'll have to find my parcel tape gun.

The jig itself looks superb. It has...

Fitted bedroom furniture

Here are some photos of some fitted furniture I made for my neighbours. It's the first time I've done work for somebody else so it was an interesting experience taking their ideas, building on them / moderating them and turning them into a design for approval.

Timber Ready for face frames

Ripping down some oak for the worktop.

Stickered in the house for a bit

Face frame glued up (sycamore, was very cheap as some mould stains)

Carcasses in production on the driveway

Face frame test fitted to carcasses in my front hall to allow door fitting.

Solid oak drawer boxes made from local 3/4" northumberland oak (offcuts friends at local joinery firm). Bases from 6mm oak veneered mdf. Drawer sides joined with groove/rebate and PU adhesive. Man the squeeze out was a pain... finished with osmo Poly X.

Doors glued up from 22mm MR MDF

I didn't take any pics during the install apart from this!

Finished project, all components hand painted prior to install to minimise...

Blanket box in English Oak - *** FINISHED *** + WIP piccies

With no constructive postings since my New England saltbox shed and with the moisture content of my pile of English Oak now low enough to work with (14 - 15%), and just as I was contemplating a bookcase, my daughter asked if I would make her a blanket box. As this is likely to be a smaller project than the bookcase, I decided that I'd do this first, and never having used english oak I thought it would help the learning curve. I'm not a SketchUp user and my 1/2 scale pencil drawing is too faint to photo, but we're talking of a traditional frame with inset raised panels. Dimensions are 90 cms x 50 cms x 50 cms.

So here's the starting point. One large plank of 1" oak, plus a short length of 2" for the corners.

Having carefully selected pieces wide enough for the panels, they were just too wide to fit through the p/t - aaaggghhhh! So ripped them down the middle, planed them to thickness (18mm), and rejoined them. For the first time I used my Incra wonderfence to joint the edges...

Adjustable dado / housing joint jig

Want to create perfect dados without any fuss? Then you NEED this jig. It’s quick and easy to make and even easier to use….

Haven’t included any measurements as it can be made to pretty much any length (within reason) to suit your project. I made mine out of scrap I had in the workshop.

Head to Head Mitre Gauge Reviews

This review was meant to be done a long time ago, but as usual my health has put paid to any plans I make, and so my apologies go out to Charley and Incra for the rather slow progress.

The piece of junk that came with my saw
Even though manufacturers have been making table saws since Noah built his ark (well maybe not that long) most of them still refuse to take notice of their customers and supply a decent mitre gauge with their product. The internet is full of disappointed buyers (myself included) who after opening up the box to their shiny new cast iron saw find a cheap bit of plastic stuck on top of a crude length of steel or aluminium, which is often a sloppy fit in the slot.


f these companies are incapable of producing a good one themselves, then I am sure that they could do a deal with someone like Incra or Osborne to supply one of their gauges with each saw, and because of the large amounts purchased it should not add much to the overall cost. That way after setting...

How to make a Luthier clamp

In this new video from www.workshopessentials.com Steve Maskery shows you how to make a Luthier clamp with material from your scrap box.

Adjusting Wooden Planes

How to adjust the iron on a wooden plane – a common problem for first time users.

Woodwork: Setting gauge

A handy gadget for all Biscuit Jointer or Festool Domino users

Dealing with snipe on a planer & thicknesser

How to set up your jointer / planer / thicknesser to eliminate snipe, presented by Steve Maskery from www.WorkshopEssentials.com and British Woodworking Magazine.

Dust Extraction in the workshop

Steve Maskery from www.workshopessentials.com shows two ideas for improving dust control in the home workshop, one on the router table and one on the SCMS.

Sharpening a chisel

Sharpening a chisel using a Veritas Mk II honing jig, diamond stones and very fine (0.5 micron)microfinishing film.

Grinding and honing a chisel freehand

Using a high speed bench grinder with a Norton 3x 46 grit stone, to grind a chisel freehand. Then proceed to demonstrate how to hone the hollow ground blade freehand on a diamond (DMT) fine grit bench stone. Any minute burr left from the process is removed (stropped) on a piece of 3/4″ MDF with some metal polish (Autosol) used as a honing compound. Finally demonstrate how sharp the blade is with some paper, the hairs on my arm and some end grain pine.

The Ultimate Bandsaw Tenon Jig

New from Workshop Essentials is The Ultimate Bandsaw Tenon Jig. It references of just one face, as in traditional joinery, making it intrinsically more accurate then flipping the workpiece. It makes tenons, offset tenons, twin and angled tenons as well as lap and bridle joints. They are flush when they should be flush and set back precisely when they should be set back. The fit is guaranteed and there is almost no set-up. Right First Time Every Time.

Fine Height Adjuster for the PC7529

MKI (left), MKII (right)
I use the Porter Cable/Flex 7529 in my router table. It has a handy fine height adjuster which allows me to accurately set the bit height exactly where I want it. The trouble is the dial is small and when the router is inverted in the table, it’s working against gravity which makes it tricky and awkward to use. To get around this I made a simple ‘thingamajig widget’ which simply slips over the built-in fine height adjuster to give greater control. It’s simply a scrap piece of wood with the right diameter hole drilled in one end and shaped for comfort.

Turning the peice on the lathe

I made the first one a few years ago and as I didn’t have a lathe then I shaped it with just a block plane and sand paper. It’s had a lot of use over the years and is pretty worn now, so much that it’s lost its grip – time to make a new one.

I started by planing a piece of oak to the correct dimensions, then cutting it to the rough length. I then planed the 4 corners with a...

Cleaning Cast Iron Tables

A quick guide showing how to get your cast iron machine tables rust-free & looking like new…

In my workshop, like many people I have a problem with rust and without regular care my lovely, shiny cast-iron tables turn a not so lovely rusty brown. My bandsaw table is quite an extreme case mainly as it’s been stuck in a corner and hasn’t had any use for a few months. But fear not, it isn’t as bad as it looks, with a bit of work it can once again look like new. There’s no magic involved – just plain old fashioned elbow-grease…

The first step is to brush the table down and clear away any dust or chips. To get the rust off I use webrax. I normally either use the grey or brown sheets on my tools and machines. As the bandsaw table was in pretty bad shape I used ‘brown’ webrax which is courser then the grey sheets. I like to use CMT router cutter cleaner as it helps removes the muck and I find it’s a good lubricant for the webrax. I’ve also used...

Importing Power Tools from the US

Before I start I must mention that I am not a qualified electrician so therefore we can’t take any responsibility – the information below is just purely my experience of importing a power tool from the US!….

I’m quite fortunate that my sister has a US postal address and the other week when my mum was going to visit her seemed to be a good time to order a few bits from over the pond. I had a rough idea what I wanted and visited the WoodCraft, Rockler and Amazon websites to see what I could find.

I ended up ordering a Porter Cable 690LRVS router. Okay, I do admit I have a slight router problem, whereas certain people have a plane for every day of the week I seem to collect routers instead! Saying that, I only have two routers which I permanently use for hand held jobs, a T5 and an old and slightly knackered Bosch 500A which I often feel are under powered for most jobs – and I find my self having to take my 7529 out of the table which isn’t a job I enjoy. Also I’ve always wanted to...