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.


Glueups Progressing

Much of the evenings this week have involved short trips out to the shed for the next small step, primarily glue ups.  Sure have gone through a bit of glue this project!


Sink Lip

I cut the opening in the top of one unit for the sink using the Worx Sonicrafter.   To stop the sink falling through (and add strength), I created a rebated mitred lip around the sink.  I don’t have four corner clamps the same, so ended up using both the corner adapter on the Quick Grips for to corners, and the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp Set for the other two.  Interesting comparison – the Quick Grips were more convenient, the Woodpeckers did a better job.  The design of it really allowed the corner to load up and get pulled together.  I also made good use of the Woodpeckers Mitre square.



I can really see how having the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp set mounted to a jig would give a very good result.


Dry Fit

Tried the sink out (and no surprise), it fitted like a glove.  No surprise because I’d already tried a couple of times already 🙂


Mitre Inserts

I wasn’t happy how the mitres went – not close enough for what I wanted.  I’ve not had good results from mitre joints so far, and this one was no exception.  Nothing wrong with the clamps, everything to do with my technique.

So I decided to try another idea.  I ran the sink back over the saw, with the blade carefully set to the height just to cut through the top, and created a kerf at each corner.  Into that, I inserted and glued a piece of Solomons Queen Ebony.  Once it is dry, I will sand it flush.



Finally, before I ran out of time, I added some support to the front and rear edges of the trays – didn’t want to risk a split/breakage when loaded up and in operation.

Still seems so much to do, progress is dragging.  And Christmas is only a few days away!

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).


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.


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.


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.


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!”


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.


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.


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.


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.

Bending Timber

Many years ago (I can say that now, being 5 or so years ago!), I wrote a post about bending timber using kerfing. To this day, it remains one of the most clicked-on posts of all time. It would certainly justify a revisit, and expansion to the original post.

Out in the shed today, I was using the Amana Tool Tambour Bit set to make a large tambour door for the toy kitchen (and the full article about the construction will be in the next edition of ManSpace magazine). When I had finished it, and assembled all the slats, it was surprising to see just how flexible the interlocking slats were. It made me think of kerfing, with a different surface texture (obviously). (The bit set is available from

If flexibility was not the desired end result, but the forms that could be created during assembly, this could produce some really organic structures – lounge chairs, curves around structures etc. Although (like kerfing) there are some inherent weak areas, (which don’t compromise the structure if used for a roller door but would if used for a deck chair), these could be easily overcome with good glue, and supporting structure, allowing the form of the tambour, with the strength required for the alternate purpose.

Tambour Door

Tambour Door

So there is the teaser. The full door (and in this case, it will be a door for the toy kitchen), is 450mm wide and around 750mm in length, and is made up of 52 individual slats that require no joiners, no backing tape or canvas: just pure, interlocking timber slats. Total distance of timber passing through the various machines in getting it sized correctly, then shaped by the router table was around 1/2 a km. Not relevant, just interesting!

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.



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.


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.


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

The Finished Kitchen

Got to see the kitchen I made before Christmas in its final, painted glory.  The model is my daughter at her friend’s birthday party.

Toy Kitchen

Inside Fridge

Sink & Stove

Making Dinner

Some Final Kitchen Photos

These are the last photos I took before the kitchens were delivered to their new homes.  When the painting is finished (by the new owners) I hope to get some of them in their finished state (might be Xmas day photos, given how much time is available to them to get the paint jobs finished!)

Modelling the new kitchen!

Points to note- the handle of the oven is designed to rest on the ground, to provide the door some extra support if stood on.  The hinges are screwed into solid timber, not MDF, to give them greater strength.  The door is still MDF, so if anything fails, it will be the hinges in the door, or more likely the door itself.  These units are build strong (I accidentally dropped one at one point, with no damage to the unit at all.  Try doing that with a shop-purchased unit!), but I still design them with a plan for likely points of failure, and ease of repair or replacement.

Fridge doubles as toy storage

The Final Units

Paying Lip Service

When thinking about the kitchen as a whole, the sink has some ‘special’ features – the sink, taps, faucet.  The stove/oven has as well – a grill in the oven, routed stove elements, the door and knobs, but when I thought about the fridge, it seemed a bit plain, and more cupboard-like than fridge.

So I decided that it needed some fridge-like elements to bring it more to life, and I decided the door provided some low-hanging fruit.

Fridge Door Components

I went with a bottle shelf, and storage for eggs, which was just the sort of extra detail I was looking for.  Just in the door, you can see the Dominos that are there as shelf support for the removable internal fridge shelves.

So that bought the build to an end – no idea how much time was involved.  A lot!  It obviously took more time building two complete kitchens, but the second one was significantly faster – may have added 30% more time to the overall build, perhaps 50%, but not more.

So the build was finally finished, and already the first kitchen has been collected!  1st December – whew – wouldn’t want to leave the completion any later than that.  Looking forward to seeing what the child’s parents come up with for the paint job (they wanted to do that part, and the reason it was made from MDF rather than a more aesthetically pleasing material.)  Just need to deliver the second, and the shed will once again be mine, at least after it has a massive cleanup!

The Ghost of Weekends Past

Not really sure what happened to the weekend – vanished in a puff of ethereal smoke (or was that just a cloud of MDF dust that got so dense it momentarily became self-aware?).  The workshop is covered in the stuff, despite 20 cubic metres/hr of air filtration, and the 2HP TruPro dusty.  Some of the tools are insufficiently (dust) guarded, particularly the router table, which, being under significant rework has lost connection to the standard collection system.  If all the MDF dust got wet, it’d probably papier mache together into to a mold that I could cast copies of Stu’s Shed from.

Come the end of the current project, there will have to be a major cleanup/dust-off out there, and a vow (which I typically can never stick to) of not starting any more projects until the proper systems are fully in place and working.

I was out there last last night (hope the neighbours are still talking with me!) fighting to get the kitchens close to completion.

Aaron from Torque Workcentres came for a visit yesterday morning (we started the day at 6:30am to get the maximum possible done), and we got my Torque Workcentre running like an impressively well oiled machine (or not, as the case may be – inside joke).  It is working exceedingly well – the main arm that supports the tool (router typically) now glides along the X axis with the lightest touch of a finger.  There are more adjustments for the machine than I was aware of – there has been a lot of thought put into the engineering, and it really makes a difference all the subtle tweaks that can be done.  I’ll document those in future articles.

I was going to have the MDF top flush with the cast iron router table, but late last night got sick of trying to get it all sorted, so decided instead to stick with how it was originally designed, and mounted the MDF directly to the workcentre.  I still maintained the cast iron router table at one end, and just accepted I’ve lost some working range.  It isn’t a huge amount, and it may not have any real impact on me anyway – time will tell.  I was using the router table, and the Torque Workcentre happily last night, so both router positions are well justified.  If you don’t have/need a cast iron router table, then cutting an opening for the router mounting plate at the right end of the table, directly into the MDF is a good solution.

I didn’t photograph it, but I set the pin routing guide into the table – this is a metal pin with a small diameter end (7mm) that engages into a template channel so the overhead router cuts identical items.  In this case, my “channel” was a single hole, and the router was offset to one side, resulting in probably the easiest circle I have ever cut or routed.  Ever!

In this case, I was only routing a partial depth pattern – a circle cut with a cove bit, repeated in 4 locations and with 2 different diameters to produce the stove ‘elements’

Kitchen Detail

I was quickly switching from tablesaw, bandsaw, disk sander, linisher, router table, torque workcentre, drill press and Domino, turning out component after component.  When a workshop is set up properly, it is amazing how easy and quickly tasks become.

Cut an opening for a sink? Done.  Duplicate the opening on the router table? Done.  Stack-cut a handle for the oven, then round the edges? Done.  Join it accurately and strongly to the project? Done. Elements cut, wheels made. Fun stuff.

Cutting Toy Wheels

Using the Carb-i-tool wheel cutter, scrap MDF was utilised to produce stacks of wheels.  Here the Lidwig Claw can be seen being used to good effect, holding the 4″ dust collection hose right at the point of shaving and dust creation.

So a profitable weekend – just don’t know where it went so fast. There is still a few small tasks to do to finish the cabinets off, then they can head out to their new homes for painting, and playing.

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