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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...