Stu & Jess’ Shed .com

Spent much of the day in the workshop, finishing off the kitchen I gave Jessica 18 months ago. Nothing like promptly getting jobs done!

Edges were rounded over using the Festool laminate trimmer (OFK500) I bought for the task 17 months ago. Sides were sanded, and the big (outstanding) job tackled- remaking the wooden hinges for the cupboard door that had broken while carrying the unit into the house for that Christmas all those months ago.

The door, finally attached, and it was onto giving both units (sink & oven) an oil (Danish). Took a lot – lots of surfaces! I really need to prefinish more!

However, despite the long list, I didn’t do it all myself. For almost 5 hours, Jess was a constant companion, and helper. She oiled one entire unit, and sanded much of it as well with the ETS150/5. And had a ball doing it. It was her suggestion that the shed needed the name alteration!

I’ve created a monster! (Awesome!!)

Woodworking inspiring the next generation.

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Future kitchen upgrades

So we have been playing with the kitchen pretty much constantly since it was unwrapped (which is awesome, obviously) – Jess is thrilled with the kitchen, and is also really looking forward to working with me to finish it off (rounding over edges, sanding, oiling).

Few things I need to do to finish the unit off as well – new hinges for the door, drawer dividers for the cutlery drawer

While watching her play with it (and doing a fair amount myself alongside her), I’ve been making up a list in my head of additional items that is needed, that will be added over time.

Rolling pin
Fridge/freezer
Microwave
Toaster
Paper Towel Holder

Can’t think of any more at this stage, but even this list is unlikely to be completed before the big house and shed move.  We’ve begun packing.  It is a huge job, and I haven’t even begun considering the shed.

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!

Oven Rack

Didn’t get a great deal of time over the weekend to really progress things – still a few hours meant things still moved forward.

Got to the end of the weekend, and realised that where I had mock-assembled the stove, it would have been better if I had mock-assembled the sink unit.  Just looked at it with (slightly) fresher eyes, and wondered how the sink will install when I have put a dovetail drawer in the way!  Oops.  Not hard to fix – but a bit of wasted effort making the second drawer that is now not needed.

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Grills and Drawers

The drawer now has the front attached – still needs a handle, but that is a minor issue.  I also had time to produce a shelf for the dishwasher, and the oven.  This is my interpretation of a wire tray, produced on the router table with a straight bit, cutting 1/2 way through.

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The Blowfly Flap Sander

There was a bit of feathering, so I wanted a way to clean it up without too much fuss.  Decided a flap sander would be an effective method, so got out the Blowfly from T & T Design.  By cutting each finger of the flap sander into three, I had something that would really get into the grooves.  Mounted in a drill, it made pretty short work of the issue.

Still need to make the mount for the grill – will end up being a C shaped piece of timber all around, adding some strength to the shelf (especially as it is about 6 lengths glued together).

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Adding the First Side

Finally got to the point that I thought I could start attaching the sides without causing any access issues.  Still have to resort to cheap clamps – don’t have enough decent ones!

So that is where the project ended up at the end of the weekend.  Having a side attached will make quite a difference – makes one feel like the end is in sight.

 

Getting closer

Been popping out to the shed to continue to take small bites out of the toy kitchen project.  This one is taking a lot more bites than normal – partly the detail I am including, partly the timber source I am using (and having to glue up constantly to get the panels I need).

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Drawers (Gifkins Dovetail)

A kitchen needs drawers, especially one for cutlery. I decided to make two – keep things even on the sink unit.  Dovetail drawers were the order of the day, and once again I turned to the Gifkins – takes no time to dovetail up the sides.  Took me longer to machine and glue up the base!  I’ve only recently started using the Bessey clamps with the jig, and they sure do work a treat.

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Tambour handle

The tambour door wasn’t working very smoothly while I was testing the track, but freed up a great deal when I actually secured it in.  The track was sanded, then waxed with Ubeaut traditional wax.  Now it runs as smooth as you’d expect – perhaps even more so!  I needed a handle, so took a piece of the reclaimed redgum, routed a finger hold, then dominoed it to the tambour door with 4mm dominos.

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Stove progress

I am making this kitchen without any plans, so find it really beneficial to occasionally put the components I have made so far together, to get a vision of the final product, and see what needs to be done next. I also find it worthwhile, because it gives me ideas for other items to add.  The dovetailed drawers are one example, and a plan to make some spinning arms for the dishwasher is another.

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Wooden hinges

I was still working on the concept of the kitchen being 100% wood and glue, and so tried to make some wooden hinges that used a wooden dowel.  The result was less than ideal, so rather than force the issue, I will incorporate a minimal amount of metal.

I am still planning on using wooden hinges, just now with a brass pin.  The photo above was during the trial, and is the largest hinge that I can make with the hingecrafter.  It didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but was a good test, and the lessons learned will be incorporated into the remake.  I am planning on making a wooden strap hinge for the oven door – if you have a hinge (especially a wooden one), sometimes it is nice to make a feature of it.  It also means I can make it large without it looking out of place.  I will get back to making the hinges next “small bite!”

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Drawer fronts

Glued up the drawer fronts – a centre of redgum, because I could.  I have moved onto a new glue bottle (Gorilla yellow PVA), and wasn’t used to how far the glue spreads, and how much the nozzle dispensed, and got a bit much here!  At least the joint won’t be dry.  Easy enough to remove when the glue turns rubbery.

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Drawers in place

I added runners to the sink unit for the drawers.  With a small recess in the side of each drawer, and a notched runner, the drawers need no other guide to work successfully.  The fronts still need to be added obviously.

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Frontline Clamps

The Frontline clamps have again proved invaluable – hardly a minute that they haven’t had one panel or other being glued up.  So much so, that I really want to consider a more permanent home for the setup in the new workshop.  I am even considering whether to add an additional three clamps to my setup – either more 900mm ones to match my existing, or even three 1200mm clamps.

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Tops ready for machining

The tops of the two units are now glued, sanded and are ready for final sizing, and for the sink to be inserted into one, and stove elements routed into the other.  Still so much to do!  Just so little time.

Detail Work

Had a small window to make some progress on the toy kitchen, so took that time to rout some 3D carving (with the 3D Router Carver friom Carb-i-tool) into the side panels before assembly.

These were much more popular before CNC machines were readily commercially available.  Strangely though, most workshops don’t have CNC available, so it is a bit surprising that sales of the 3D carver have so diminished.

I find these are pretty easy to do, and a typical pattern takes me about 10-15 minutes.

3D Carver template in place

3D Carver template in place

As the router bit is mounted with a large cone, as the width of the template opening increases, the depth of the router carving goes deeper.

Completed carving

Completed carving

This was the deer profile which I hadn’t used before, but worked very well.

I also had carved a puma, an eagle and a horse.

Puma

Puma

So the final result is each end will be different from one another.  I then glued up each rail & stile, with raised panel, clamped up with the Bessey clamps purchased earlier in the year (I could really do with more of those!)

Next step is to complete the carcasses, and put some flesh on the bones of the units.  Once that is done, it is a matter of adding the details that will set the project apart, and the more, the merrier.

Hopefully it will all come together pretty quickly – I am feeling a bit of time pressure, not only because of it now being December (?!), but the added burden of the house/shed relocation (and the inevitable preparation of the current place, which will be a lot of work, and also has to be done during all the free time I have between now and Christmas!)  Best I knock this project over very quickly!

 

Kitchen Commencement

It has begun!  Unlike projects for myself, I am well-motivated to finish those I am making for others, especially where it comes to Xmas presents!

90×30 Hardwood Timber

This is what I am starting with, and with a few taps with a hammer they come apart easily.  These were assembled well before nail guns were commonplace, so 40mm thin nails were used, and the cross braces are easily encouraged loose.  After running some boards through, they are pretty straight , especially over the lengths I am using.  They are all around 1800 long.

Dressed and sized

After dressing and sizing, the boards come up beautifully.  These have been resawn to 18mm thick.  Then ripped to the width required for the rail & stile joinery.

Glueup

Another set were resawn to 10mm for the infill panels.  I am making these thin, as I don’t want a heavy look to the raised panels, and to minimise the amount of weight in the final unit.  They are going to be heavy enough as it is.

Frontline Clamp

Once again, the Frontline clamps are proving their weight in gold.  As they clamp up, they squeeze the boards flat, then clamp them together.  I could do with another set for larger glueups!

Clamped up

After all the planing, thicknessing, ripping and crosscutting, the first items have been produced, ready to make their way over to the router table.

Components

There will be a lot more produced before this project is completed!

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens

Convert Old TV Cabinets Into State of the Art Play Kitchens
The linked article proposes an absolutely brilliant idea for old entertainment (aka CRT screen-based) units.  Turning them into toy kitchens.

Stunning work, and worth reading the background articles.  Genuine congratulations to both for such amazing repurposing of old furniture, and irrespective, a couple of great toy kitchens!

Giggleberry

(photo from giggleberrycreations.blogspot.com)

Sutton Grace

(photo from suttongrace.blogspot.com)

Another Christmas, Another Commission

Once again (and this isn’t a complaint btw!), a Christmas approaches and I have an order for anther toy kitchen.  Well two actually, if you count one for my daughter (she doesn’t read my blog (yet) 😉 )

Making one ever 1 – 2 years is an interesting exercise, as you get a chance to incorporate the new techniques you’ve learned, new tools acquired, and the skills that have (hopefully) improved.  Not to mention a chance to improve on previous designs, and still come up with a new toy based around the same concept (in this case, a toy kitchen) that isn’t a clone of a previous one.

The first one had a pretty simple request – a sink and stove set.  Last year’s one had a more precise brief for 3 units, including stove, sink and fridge.  This year’s, it is for a small unit that has both sink and stove in the one unit which will present some new challenges.

Although I can’t put the 3 creations alongside each other when they are done, it will still be interesting to compare the three photos to see how the approach changes over time.  Hopefully I will have time to make this year’s one even better than before, but like always, time is not a commodity I have in abundant supply.

Continues….

Today was very much more of the same – I broke down the last 2 sheets of 2400×1200 MDF (one 12mm, the other 16mm) using a circular saw and a guide.  I really have a very low opinion of circular saws – dislike using them at the best of times.  The real danger comes with kickback, and unlike a tablesaw where the kickback results in the piece of timber being thrown, when you are using a handheld circular saw, and it tries to kickback, it is the saw that jumps and bucks, and tries to rip out of your hands.  It doesn’t take much to cause that to happen either.  The blade only has to bind just a little in the cut for the blade to stop doing what it is meant to, transferring the power of the motor into the cutting tips of the blade, and instead transferring the motor power into a rotational force that your hands and arms have to resist or risk a runaway saw (and potentially serious damage).  Even if you get away with it, your large sheet can incur some significantly horrendous scars.

I hate circular saws.  It kicked back more than once on me – each time I twisted the blade slightly during the cut.  It was a moderately powered saw – 1800W with a thin kerf blade, so I don’t know what was contributing to the (user caused) problem.  Was it that the blade was thin, so could distort under incorrect loading easier and therefore bind? Was it the saw itself was too powerful vs its weight? Not powerful enough, so it stopped cutting when conditions were less than ideal?  Whatever the cause, there is an underlying cause – I didn’t cut perfectly straight.  I got past that task, but I’ll be happy if I never have to use a circular saw handheld again (and with the imminent arrival of the Torque Workcentre, which has a circular saw mount and can cut a full 1200 wide panel, I’m hoping it means I will never have to).

You might ask why I am using a handheld saw if I dislike them so much, when I have a large tablesaw?  Simple answer – I might have a big saw, but a small shed – I have to break the sheet down smaller to be able to handle it in there.  There is another reason – single-handedly managing a sheet that size through a tablesaw can still result in twisting the sheet (and having the sheet stop contacting the fence), and there is every potential of a kickback in that situation too.  In future, if I have to do it by hand again I am going to take Marc Spagnuolo’s approach, and have the sheet resting on the ground, with a sacrificial board underneath (he uses polystyrene) – it will take more of the variables out of the picture and result in more ability to focus on, and control the saw through the entire cut. (I found I was overreaching near the end, and that is when things were going pear-shaped).

Despite the couple of….issues during the breakdown, things were pretty productive and I got both fridges made, as well as all the doors and tops cut.  Now they are getting close to needing the finer details made and fitted – taps, knobs, handles and the small things that take the build from the ordinary just up to the next level.

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All coming together

Some of the additional details I want to add include the fridge door- adding a shelf (on the inside obviously, like a real fridge), and an egg holder shelf.  It is little, easy details like that which will elevate the overall build to a level I will be happy with giving these to friends.  I still need to cut the stove elements, and the sink cavity, make the stove knobs, door handles etc etc – now that hard work (not necessarily the heavy work) begins.  I’m really looking forward to this part of the project – when it comes to life.

While I was working today, I found myself using one tool (other than the Domino) a number of times – one I find really useful.  It is the Black & Decker PowerFile.  I’ve had it for a number of years, and it is great for getting into areas, minor shaping, quick hinge mortising etc.

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B&D Power File

It is a belt sander, running a finger-wide belt with an exposed end.  Not very clear in the photo, but the notch seen here in the MDF to fit around the cabinet upright was cut on the bandsaw.  I then needed to round the edge, and that is where the power file came into its own.

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