A silver lining? Duck Off Episode 7


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AJB Temple

Finely figured
13 Oct 2015
Reaction score
Tunbridge Wells
Well, I have been in lockdown really since pretty much mid December 2019 as had a big deal lung infection and pneumonia so I have more drugs than a pharmacy. Being asthmatic I am quite high risk, but luckily we live in the middle of nowhere in rural Kent, have a 2 metre fence all round, a longish drive and no visible neighbours at all. So isolation is pretty easy. Now that the weather has improved, the hedges trimmed and the lawns cut, the Koi pond reinvigorated and anything else I can use as an excuse for not making stuff....I finally got cracking in my temporary workshop today.

I’m supposed to be making a new kitchen and separate utility room, and I have set up shop in it. The building is basically done, though the walls are yet to be panelled. There is a 5 metre high vaulted ceiling down the 10 metre long side. We put the glazed doors in on Friday last week just before shutdown! That was lucky.

Although I have almost all the big appliances on site, unfortunately I am not fully supplied with everything I needed to follow my original design, so today I decided to do some adaptations.

This is the distracting view from my "workshop". It looks out over a newly developed Japanese style stroll garden. Lots of oak bridges and stuff that I made last year. It’s a bit scruffy as it has basically rained seemingly forever until this week.

I made the doors you can glimpse on the left, during the winter. It was freezing as the glass doors were not in and I had no heating.

The plan is to have a wall of ovens etc on the north wall that you can’t see, and a single island 6 metres long where the temporary bench is now. The utility room is a separate space off to the left. The floor is big slabs about a metre by 70cm each, of black limestone laid over insulation and a lot of concrete. It’s level but not smooth. When finished it will be gloss black. Right now it has a film of wood dust on it and is grubby grey.

Progress will be slow, but I will try to post here from time to time so you can criticise my absence of skill, poor design sense and so on.

The trestle table in front of the entrance doors is pretty fully loaded with a lot of very wide planks of maple and wenge. I have yet to decide what I will use it for. The original plan was a white maple work surface for the island, edged in wenge. Might still do that, but presently favouring white quartz (needs two slabs to do 6m by 1.4 m).

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I didn’t intend to make the island this way, but I need not to waste the opportunity of lots of free time, and so I fished out four 6” by 6” lumps of oak from my stock and gave them a quick sand off. The shortest one is 3 metres. (I know - mixing imperial and metric).

These will be the legs of the island. Chunky and a bit rustic. Not sure yet whether to have six or eight. The stretchers will be 4” by 4” oak probably, as I have lots in stock, or maybe some bits in 2” by 4” as I have lots of stock of that as well. All of it just sawn (but nicely sawn - it is not rough).

As I am tall, I am going to make it a bit higher than the normal 90cm to top of work-surface. Probably about 95cm.


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It's interesting how much quicker the big sander is when hooked up to the vac as opposed to using the bag that comes with it.

Still working out design details - might have a high section and a low section in the island as I will have to have a joint in the top.

There will be no kick boards / plinth as I want the Island to have a clear space underneath of at least 25cm / 10".

The island will house a 90cm wide rotisserie oven, a pop up extractor and an induction hob (at least). Underneath will be a wide service fridge with two pull out drawers. I think that is a metre wide.

I made these today as well. Frankly my bread making is better than my kitchen making I fear....

The point of this thread is to create a bit of interest on the forum during lockdown. I am a slow worker as I have other stuff on as well. But feel free to poke fun, make suggestions, criticise, call on input from Jacob or whatever. This kitchen has to be made mostly from stuff I have already got though!

(I do need to get some Hafele supplies so finishing will depend on that and me not being dead from Co19. 8) )


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PS. I made the board a couple of years ago. It was a trial run. It's 2 feet by 15" and 4" thick. Has 4 steel rods through it. Really I should have edge banded it, but it was just a practice for making and end grain prep board. Glued up with old style cascamite.

That's it for today. Have to cook dinner now.
Excellent! Should be an interesting thread. For lumps of green oak stored away, those bits of oak are remarkably straight and shake-free.

Can you talk us through what is going on overhead. I see an acrow, and pairs of exposed joists. I don't see a vaulted ceiling. Is that perhaps a an opening for a lantern or similar, boarded over? What is going to take the place of the acrow?
I follow with interest. The acro prop caught my attention, and my eyes were green with envy over those oak lumps.

Co19 will be interesting times, I called into a meeting today that I normally avoid like the plague, I needed social interaction with someone who was not family and so wouldn’t argue so much.

Hi Mike.

This was originally a six car garage. Roof held up with fink trusses. The structural engineer allowed me to remove the centre span of every other truss, if I reinforced the remaining ones. In fact I doubled up the reinforcing.

You can't see the vaulted roof because that bit is temporarily boarded over to provide access for the plasterer. My wife and I put all the ceiling plasterboards up ourselves, then our regular plaster guy did two coats. (Top job actually).

The props are superfluous and if you notice are removed for the second picture. I just used them as belt and braces when I put the oak frame in for the sliding glass doors. Their main purpose was to stop the glazing guys running into a table saw I had there!

The exposed and reinforced trusses will be clad round, possibly in oak, when I get round to it. Not sure what to do with that yet.

Most of my oak is in very good nick. Some of it I bought from Wealdon Oak and some is from my barn where I store my stocks. I can sell the large stuff for nearly twice per cubic foot that I pay for new green oak. So for small stuff like this I buy it in. However, this stock was bought in 3 years ago (I always get lots extra) and kept dry in an outbuilding.
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Progress is a bit tedious. For anyone who is used to buying their wood from the DIY sheds or PAR all round from timber yards, and then getting on with making stuff - I am jealous.

All of my wood has been stored in stick either outdoors under cover or in a barn. Most of it was cut roughly to one of the sizes I typically use, on either a sawmill bandsaw or my own Jet bandsaw (which I think is 18"). The former especially shows a lot of blade marks. This is what I typically start out with. I try to pick lengths that are straight and true - this one actually isn't, but it will be fine to make short stretchers which will be no longer that 1.2 metres plus tenon ends.


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In an ideal world I would run this through my planer thicknesser. Mine is an Axi trade 10" machine - so not a lovely Wadkin or Sedgewick - but the biggest snag with it is that it is in my workshop which is a 100 metre walk from where we unloaded the oak. Also my workshop is actually a former racing pigeon loft and as a result is long and narrow. Handling long bits of wood in there is a right pain.

Pieces like any of the beams or even the piece of 4" by 4" in the post above, are too heavy for me to lug that distance back and forth on my own, and I don't have a vehicle suitable for shifting the stuff to the workshop or relocating the PT and dust collection system (access is via a small woodland path).

Hence everything has to be prepped on site in the new kitchen. This takes ages. I spend a lot of time just getting the oak ready to start working with.

The oak is very variable. Some has hardly any knots, some is highly figured, and some is straight grained and plain. I don't mind character, like this:


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It took me all day yesterday to get the pile to this size. I need to prepare a lot more yet. I won't do final surface finishing on anything until I have cut pieces to size. I am super careful not to waste timber, so I don't work up my cutting list until I have my stock of material dimensioned and with at least a rough surface finish on it as per the photo above.

It took me all day yesterday to get the pile to this size. I usually only have time to do six hours a day. Yesterday I was super lucky and received the last pre-lockdown delivery of galvanised steel guttering, which took two hours to shift from the roadway to one of the outbuildings.


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I am watching with interest too.
Your audience of fellow woodworkers on here DO appreciate just how much hard work those pictures represent, especially in these strange times when you really mustn't ask a friend round to help with the lifting and carrying.

I predict that even more of us will find time to rewatch Leo of Sampson Boat Companyas he rigs up block and tackle to shift and shape big heavy timbers on Tally Ho, especially in the episodes where he is working all on his own.
Blimey, that was a dull day! But it gets a seriously tedious task out of the way. I usually prepare my pieces as I use them, thus spreading the drudgery out. How did you do it? Electric planer and belt sander?
nice shop!!

yessir on the belt sanders - the baggies keep them rolling their own dust around on the surface, spoiling the abrasion.

Not a tool I use a lot, but we have refinished some house things here with them, and they are miles better with something taking their poop away from them.

Love the pot loaves - we've been making the bread fresh here every day during lockdown, too - something I can't get the mrs. to agree on in regular circumstances (she doesn't make it, but often shows up with bags of bread from the store to thwart my making).
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A couple of people have asked about what tools I am using, both here and in email. I already explained it's not practical to use my P/T as its too far away. This is my main kit.

The belt sander is a 4" heavy duty Makita. Something like this is more or less de rigeur for anyone timber framing. I run across the work diagonally across the grain first to take the high spots off and reveal the bandsaw marks, then run down the length in the direction of the grain. I use 40 grit belts for this, which last well, though I broke one yesterday unexpectedly.

The sander comes with a dust collection bag which does work, but it is FAR better hooked up to a vacuum. This both clears the dust off the sanding surface, stopping the dust rolling effect and keeping the belt clean, and also lets the machine run much cooler. I use my Festool vac with a smooth hose for this.

These sanders are excellent. Nice and heavy, which reduces work fatigue as the sander does the work. Plenty powerful enough.

I also use the Triton plane if I need to shift a lot of material. I know people on this and other forums can be sneery about electric planes and in someways I agree they are a bit of a blunt instrument. The big snag with this one is that I can't hook it up to a vacuum as the ports are not designed for that. However, I originally bought it to clean up tenons cut in big oak beams, as the side protector flips out of the way and the plane can get right into corners.

This plane will do up to 4mm cuts I think (same as the small Festool) - but, you do NOT want to do that! It is tempting to want to shift a lot of material in one go, but if the wood is wider than the planes 83mm base - as is the case here most of the time - you get tramline cuts in the wood, which are hard to shift. It is therefore better to take shallow cuts of say 0.6mm. I still find that I need to finish off with the belt sander.

Last night I bought a Festool electric plane off eBay. Allegedly used twice. It was very cheap so I will see what that is like in due course. They work in a different way, as they have a spiral cutter and peel the wood off rather like a hand plane apparently.


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I also use hand planes. Depends what I am doing, but on narrow stuff such as the 2" edges on the couple of dozen two metre lengths I a prepping, a hand plane is fast and clean.

These are my weapons of choice.

Both Bailey pattern Stanley's. The number 5 was from a member here - though I also have another one. This one is destined for my son, but is being tuned up currently. It looks almost unused. It's being used now though :lol: The number 7 was £25 off eBay and is an excellent tool. This one has the grooved base. I don't really know why they had grooved bases, but the main thing is it is long enough not to ride bumps and hollows, is nice and wide, and it cuts well.

I am not a sharpening obsessive, which I why I usually ignore the barmier threads here. I whip the blade out, quick 10 secs on the Sorby Edge Pro, few seconds hone on a fine diamond plate that lives on the temporary bench, and back in the plane in under a minute. It's good enough for what I am doing. Occasionally I will refresh the primary bevel. It helps that I bought a plate slider for the edge pro, as that helps keep the angle spot on from side to side. I use some fancy grit belt, which produces an effortless mirror finish. Job done.


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Yes, that's the way I tackle stock preparation with these big timbers. You use the electric plane like a scrub plane/ jack plane, rather than a smoother or jointer. It's there to do the major adjusting if there is twist or bowing, but they make a mess that needs a lot of cleaning up. Leo Sampson (Tally Ho) has a new electric plane which is 200mm wide, I think, and that would be a bit of a game changer.

Did you catch the sanding belt in a bit of sticking up grain when moving sideways across the grain? That's the way I usually destroy them, and they can break up quite spectacularly. I have the same 4" Makita belt sander, and they're a real workhorse. They'll work hour after hour for just about ever.........
The mask is a unit I got from Axminster ages ago. I know that there are gladiatorial contests about filtration levels and this one is not the best. However, it is all day comfortable, it does not mist my glasses up, and is fabulous for sitting on a ride on mower and keeping my hay fever at bay.

In my actual workshop, I have a proper extraction system and centrifuge with super fine filtration. Here, in the temporary workshop, hand planes produce negligible dust, and the belt sander is sucked out by the Festool vac and is very clean, so wearing the mask is enough safety. I also wear safety work gloves as I am allergic to wood tar (I know - not intelligent to do woodwork) and the oak has a few splinters :cry:

The electric planer is very messy and the electric mask is essential for that. Bucket is about an hours worth of planer chippings, which go everywhere, including all over me. Not that dusty though. My wife puts these on her paths in the vegetable garden I think. Anyway, they disappear. I avoid the veg garden in case I get asked to make a raised bed.


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