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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...

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...

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...

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...

Small Step Stool

Cutting List

Job Title: Small Step Stool (all dimensions in mm)








340 230 15




200 200 20




260 130 20

When I was reviewing the Miller Dowel system, I needed a simple project to try it on. I got the idea to make this step stool from the Miller Dowel leaflet itself and you can’t get a project any simpler to make than this. It can be made in less than a weekend and only requires a basic tool kit.

I chose pine as that’s what I had in the workshop and I used the walnut dowels as I feel the contrasting timbers give a great effect. To read the Miller Dowel review and to find out where to buy it click here…

I started by preparing all the parts for the stool by planing then glueing and clamping up the pieces. All I used was glue – no biscuits.

When the glue cured I cut the pieces to their final dimensions.

I drew the centre lines on the two end pieces...

Houndstooth Dovetails

In my opinion, the most important considerations (in order) are:
Accurate stock preparation – no planer marks and very square ends
Marking out
Accurately cutting to the line

I used some maple that a friend gave me as an offcut and some mahogany I got from the old lab benches in my lab at work.

First off, I needed to resaw the wood. After resawing, I thicknessed all pieces before hand planing to final dimensions.

The hand planing is very important on faces and edges as we need to remove all marks from the machining operations to ensure an accurate joint. Rob Cosman says that this is essential and who am I to argue with him?

When planed, look at the boards and choose and mark the outside faces with a pencil.

The ends need to be absolutely square and a shooting board is the best method to achieve this. My board is designed to clamp in the bench vice and to clamp the workpiece and thus allows me to plane using both hands which I find more accurate and much easier


Introduction to Shellac

While I am certainly no expert at furniture finishing, I thought I would share with you my favorite method of finishing wood. I find the finish part of wood working to be the most relaxing and rewarding part of my hobby .I do not like to stain wood if I can help it, nor do I like the look and feel of polyurethane type finishes. I do admit though that they have their place, as there are times one needs a waterproof and heat resistant finish. I prefer to add color to wood, if need be, via shellac.
What is shellac? Shellac is made from the resin of the Lac Beetle larvae, most of which comes from India. It gets it's different color due to the time of the year it is harvested and the amount of refining that the lac went though. Some Shellac is dewaxed. This shellac has the wax that is found in shellac reduced to a low level.

Shellac is an excellent choice for a quick drying, non waterproof, finish for wood .It gives wood a wonderful warm natural look that enhances the natural beauty of...

Tenon Jig for the Router Table

The router table is one of my most favourite tools in the workshop. A lot of people don’t realise what a great job the router table does cutting tenons. Before I made this jig I used to use the standard mitre gauge to cut tenons then I saw this simple jig featured by Pat Warner in FineWoodworking magazine.

As you can see from the photo it can’t be any simpler. All it is, is two small boards of plywood and pair of toggle clamps.

It works great! Setting up a ‘stop block’ stops you from going to far and cutting into the jig and using a scrap of wood as a ‘back up’ piece helps prevent any tear out and again stops you from cutting into the jig.

I really need to replace the toggle clamps with bigger/stronger clamps as the ones I currently have are a tad to small. They cope fine with the work piece in the picture (45mm wide) but anything bigger and they don’t hold down as well.

It’s a very easy jig to build. Taking your time it will take less then half an hour to make. Just make...

Clear Wax Finish on Oak

Wax is one of my favorite methods of finishing, especially on oak. It’s
easy to apply, gives a great finish and you can see the results near enough

I start by filling any nail holes or marks there might be on the work
piece. In this case there was a nice big dent on the front where it was
knocked off the workbench. I’m using ‘Natural Oak’ Brummer stopping which
you can get from many places including Axminster.

Sand the piece thoroughly
and always sand with the grain.

An electric sander isn’t essential but it sure does take the effort out
of sanding. I normally start with a 80grit disc then switch to a 180grit
and finally finish with 320grit. I’m wearing a dust mask and I’ve got
the ROS sander connected to my shop vac to take away the dust.

I’m also using a ‘router mat’ (the blue mat) to keep the work piece from
moving about while I’m sanding. You can buy them from Axminster but I
got mine from Wilko’s in town.

Using a tack or damp cloth wipe the work
piece to...

Garden Planters

Nearly two years ago now I drew some plans to build these garden planters and do a guide for UKW – but they never got made – until yesterday, with the help of Tom. I’m glad we’ve finally made them! They look good, are very strong, easy to build (as long as you have a router) and the woodwork can be done in a day.

I’ve done a plan which includes a cutting list and you can download it by clicking here.

Start by cutting the 45x45mm posts and rails to length. We’ve used the powered mitre saw and set up stop blocks to make the process go quicker and to make sure all the pieces are the same length. Cut the four posts to 450mm long the eight rails to 350mm.

Take one of the four posts and on one face make a mark 30mm down from the...

Tormek – Sharpening a Bevel Edge Chisel

In this guide I’ll be using the Tormek 2005 with the straight edge jig, to sharpen a bevel edge chisel.

Start by sliding the chisel into the jig with the bevel facing down. Making sure the right hand side of the chisel is against the two stops on the jig (where the two arrows are pointing in the picture)

The chisel should protrude from the jig about 2" (50mm)…

Tighten the two knobs on the jig to clamp the chisel in place, making sure it’s applying even pressure on the chisel and that the chisel is still resting against the two stops.

Grab the Pro AngleMaster and set the to the angle you require. I’m setting it at 25°…

With the universal support placed in the vertical sleeves, slide the jig & chisel onto the support.

Resting the back end of the Pro AngleMaster on the stone and the other end on the back of the chisel, set the angle by lifting or lowering the universal support. When the AngleMaster is resting flat on the back of the chisel, the chisel is set to the correct...

Router Bit Box

Now that I am collecting new router bits, the drawer which I used to keep them in ran out of room, so I thought I’d build one. Remember that your router bits need to be stored safely as they cost a lot of money and you don’t want to damage them. If you haven’t got any storage for them then this project is ideal for you…

If you have got Acrobat Reader then you can download the plans for this project here…

You start off this project by cutting all the pieces. The cutting list is included in the plans so you can get all the measurements from that.

Once all the pieces are cut to size….

Set your pencil gauge to 100mm and mark the outside faces on all the long 400mm base & top sides, at both ends.

Then with a ruler or tape measure mark 200mm in at each side and each end of the 400mm base sides. Mark 17mm in at each side and each end of the 400mm top sides.

Set your drill press up with a 10mm drill bit. Set the depth to about half the thickness of the sides. If you haven’t...

Using a Biscuit Jointer

In this guide, I will be using the T20 biscuit jointer.

The review for the T20 biscuit jointer can be found here.

First you have to decide which biscuit size to use (0,10 or 20). I’m going to use no. 20 biscuits.

You now need to draw witness lines across both of the boards to be joined. These witness lines are where the biscuits will be. It helps when marking the witness lines if you take a biscuit and roughly mark a center line on it. (Just to help you layout the witness lines.)

Make sure you set the biscuit jointer to the correct depth. In my case I’m setting it to 20, for No. 20 Biscuits.

The blue arrow is pointing to a small lever; turn this anti-clockwise to loosen the fence. Set the fence height to about half the thickness of wood you are joining, so the biscuit slot will be in the center of the wood. Tighten up the fence by turning the lever clockwise.

When setting the height of the fence, make sure it’s level. The red arrows are pointing to two scales, If they read...

BeadLOCK Setup Guide

In this guide I am using beadLOCK with the 3/8" guide bar.

First dry-fit your mating pieces together, as you have to draw a witness mark across both pieces. It helps later on if you draw the line as finely as possible.

The photo on your right shows me holding the tenon stock in the center of the wood. I judged this by ‘eye’ – and then you have to mark the witness line across both mating pieces, using the center of the tenon stock as your guide.

Carefully line up the witness mark to the edge of the ‘half moon’ on the jig.

Clamp the jig to the piece of wood using a bench vice or workmate. You could use a clamp, but this way both the jig and the work piece are secured.

Set the jig to the ‘A’ position by loosening the knobs and sliding the guide block to the left. (Three holes should be showing).

Make sure you tighten up the knobs before drilling.

Using a 3/8" or 9.5mm twist drill bit and masking tape to act as a depth stop, drill the three holes.

Undo the two knobs...

Lock Mitre Router Bit Setup Guide

I’m using the CMT baby lock mitre router bit, which can
handle a maximum 19mm and minimum 9.5mm thickness timber.

It’s for use in a router table and it produces strong mitre joints. It can be a pain to set up so
I’ve made a step-by-step guide.

As one of the
pieces to be joined has to be run through the router table vertical against the fence, I decided to add a new fence front. My normal one is too small to support
big pieces. I added a length of plywood about 200mm high..

As I said before, it can be tricky to set up. In the Axminster catalogue (CMT section) it says
to set the bit to the center of the timber. The first time I set the router bit up by following these instructions and ran a sample, the joint didn’t fit.

You have to be lucky or have a very good eye to set this bit up correctly the first time. So to set the bit up it’s a trial and error process. However, if you
follow the these steps you’ll be able to produce perfect joints and it only takes about 5 minutes to set...

Raised Panel Setup Guide

In this guide I’m using the CMT Raised Panel Set!

I’m making a single panel door 635mm x 485mm using 45mm x 20mm pine.

I want to cut the cope cuts on both ends of the rails first, so I installed the cope cutter (the one with the bearing in the middle).

You want to set the height of the bit so the top cutter is about 2mm above the wood.

You must make sure you turn your router speed to a low speed, CMT recommend 16,000 rpm for this bit.

With the height of the bit set, move the fence so it’s level with the bearing.

Although these bits are easy to set up, its still best to run a sample piece first.

Note that I have a scrap piece of wood behind the real piece, which helps prevent tearout.

Perfect… You can now run the real rail pieces through, face down.

Remove the cope cutter and insert the stile bit. This is the bit which cuts the groove and the ogee pattern on the inside of the rail and stiles.

This is where you have to be careful, when setting the height of this bit...

Corner Bridle Joint

The Corner Bridle Joint!!

The tools you will need are:-
1. Tenon Saw
2. Mortise Gauge
3. Try Square
4. Sharp Bevel Edge Chisel
5. Pencil
6. Drill and drill bit.
7. Ruler/Tape Measure
8. Bench Vice or Workmate
9. Bench Hook

For the bridle joint, one of the pieces to be joined needs a tenon and the mating piece needs a groove.

To make this simpler to explain ‘A’ will be the piece with the groove & ‘B’ will be the tenon piece!

Take piece ‘B’ and lay it flat on your workbench/workmate. Then take piece ‘A’ and lay it on piece ‘B’ as shown in the photo to your left – making sure the side of piece ‘A’ is flush with the end of piece ‘B’. (ie at right angles to each other)

With a pencil, mark the width of the timber onto piece ‘B’ using the mating piece ‘A’ as a guide.

Using a try square and pencil, follow the line all the way around.

Do this and the step above on the mating piece (‘A’).

Using a ruler, you now want to set the mortise gauge.

When doing mortise and tenon, the...

Mortise & Tenon Joint

The mortise and tenon is a very traditional joint and is popular due to its strength. A mortise is simply a hole in the piece wood and the tenon piece slots inside. There are many different forms of mortice and tenons and also uses – but they are mostly used in tables and doors.

The key to a strong mortise and tenon is a snugly fitting joint. If the joint is too tight there will be no room for glue, and there is a chance of the mortise piece splitting. If the joint is too loose and you need to ‘pack’ the tenon, the joint will be weak. For a strong joint you should be able to push the tenon into the mortice just with hand pressure.

The tools you need are:-

Tenon Saw, Mortise Gauge, Try Square,Mortise Chisel (you could use a normal bevel edge chisel), Bevel Edge Chisel, Mallet, Bench Hook (optional), Bench Vice or Workmate, Ruler, Pencil, Marking Knife or Stanley Knife, Masking or Electrical Tape

For this guide, piece ‘A’ is going to be the tenon and piece ‘B’ is going to have...