Christmas Cooking

The kickstarter for this project came just over a month ago, and it has consumed a great deal of time and effort, but it is all worthwhile.  And she is the reason why.

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My little one

Soon to turn 6, it was well overdue for her to have something significant out of the shed she loves visiting.

With a combination of conflicting priorities, it was always going to be interesting to see how it came out.  Short deadlines, a house purchase and a particularly busy work schedule all competed to derail the project, while making a great kitchen for my daughter, making the kitchen entirely from timber and having the experience of making two different toy kitchens before worked towards a decent result.  Especially wanting Jessie to have a kitchen that I’d made her.  I’ve never finished a project so late (and during the build I knew it wouldn’t be fully complete, as far as being fully finished, so already had some compromises), nor have I had so many nicks and cuts from rushing around a shed that was quickly running out of space, and being pushed for time meant I wasn’t working to keep things as orderly as needed for a limited space, while splinters were common from the hardwood.

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The unwrapping begins

The two large wrapped parcels hardly gained a second look during the morning, but there were tonnes of distractions in the form of wrapped parcels!  Finally, it was time for the reveal – two large, fully wrapped presents.  It didn’t take long to reveal what was within, and it was pretty exciting!  You cannot tell from the photos, but I can see the different expressions there, and can still hear the excited squeals.

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The great unwrap!

It did look very cool breaking through the wrapping paper.

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Amidst torn paper

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Kitchen full of……wrapped stuff

Once the main sheets of wrapping paper were removed, there was another surprise.  The units were packed full of more presents (and this after a morning of unwrapping).  It was all the real tools of the trade- saucepans, cutlery, mashers, bowls, jugs etc.  We had been shopping at Kmart a week earlier – they have a whole range of kitchenware, most with a $2 price tag.  At the checkout, they fully expected us to be first-home buyers given the range of items in the cart.  They are perfect – cheaper and better than any sold in toy sections, and that they are ‘real’ not ‘toy’ added to the experience during the reveal.

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Proud new owner

I’m very pleased how the units came out, and the small details of jarrah and redgum stood out against the quality of the Tassie Oak.

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Learning the ‘controls’

I couldn’t help myself from pointing out some of the details I had included (mainly what each of the controls said, that I had burnt into the knobs with the pyrography set).  Then it was a matter of sitting back and enjoying the soups, cupcakes etc that were being produced for the family.  With playdoh food, the imagination play is endless.

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Checking out the oven

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Cooking up a storm

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Making tea

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Washing up

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All fitted out

Some of the details then: the sink is laminated Tassie Oak and Redgum, as are the drawer fronts (with a jarrah handle).  It is all glued, and in some cases also using Dominos.  I avoided any metal fasteners until near the end, when it became obvious that it would be a significant compromise to continue with that ideal.  That was when I first made some hinges for the oven, using wooden dowels, and that caused breakages.  Once I had decided on brass hinge rods, then a few other places benefited from a minimal amount of metal.  The drawers are dovetailed, the shelf a lattice, and the lower shelf using offcuts.  In fact this project had less wastage from offcuts than I can remember seeing in a long time.  There are hardly any at all, with wastage being small pieces assigned to the firewood bin, or are sawdust in the collection bag (and that is full).  I went through two full bottles of glue – about a full litre of yellow PVA on this project.  Again, the result of joining so many boards together to create the panels required.  The Frontline clamps got a significant workout.  The side panels each have a routed picture – one of the little surprises.

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Oven detail

I love the strap hinges – they came up awesome!  The Incra Hingecrafter was a significant asset.  The Hingecrafter is not just the drilling jig, but also the box set of router bits that match.  Being able to make your own hinges is a great feeling – you really come away ‘owning’ the project being able to make, rather than buy the accessories.  About the only thing I purchased for this was the castor wheels.

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Stove / Oven controls

The toy wheels, repurposed as control knobs were supplemented with the pyrography kit burning in names, and values.

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Oven hinge detail

The hinges for the oven – very functional, strong, and compared to commercial hinges I have used before in the same situation, less likely to rip out of the timber as the load is distributed over a larger area.

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Sink

A bandsawn faucet (rounded over on the router table), and a couple of oversized wheels for taps made with a wheel cutter on the drill press.

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Dishwasher

The tambour door looks the part, and I added a spinning nozzle to the base to complete the dishwasher.

To finish this project off, I need to replace the hinges on the cupboard door (a short job with the hingecrafter), sand, roundover edges, and apply an oil finish.  Even so, a very satisfactory conclusion to the project (or at least a major delivery point).

Next, the kitchen needs a microwave, sandwich press, toaster (to start).  A storage cupboard may be in order, and a fridge.  The possibilities are endless.

Merry Christmas Jessica!

3 Responses

  1. There’s not much to say more than what those photo’s say. A very proud dad and his happy little girl.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Stu.

  2. What an awesome series of blog entries. I have twin daughters that are now in high school. I wish I had done something similar when they were that age. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I made an oven for my daughters many years ago (not quite as much detail though!) – I just remember the sheer pleasure of creating a unique gift with my own hands. Your daughter will treasure this for years to come. Enjoy these times, they grow up so quickly.

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