Apr 20

Using up offcuts

So with the lockdown in Ireland now extended to May 5 – or The Lock-in as we ought to be calling it the way WW2 was The Emergency – garden centers are closed (apparently the Greens asking us to feed ourselves from our window boxes full of lettuce didn’t make Woodies an essential business πŸ˜€ ). I ran around one before the Lock-in commenced and got a lot of seeds and potting compost (and we already had a general-purpose liquid fertiliser and tomato feed and for high-nitrogen stuff like Basil, well everyone knows that trick of mixing eggshells and used coffee grounds with their compost, right?); but I thought we had more planters than we had. Seems I threw the ones we did have in the bin a few weeks ago because the UV had finally mangled them past maintenance’s hopes. Oh well.

I do have a shiny new brad nailer…

And I also have every woodworker’s inability to throw out wood combined with a large timber storage box πŸ˜€

Why yes, those are a lot of bowl blanks, and yes, my first bowl is all finished off and put to work as well, thanks for asking πŸ˜€

So I found some of the cedar T&G lengths I had which I have literally no other project in mind for but I still had a single three metre length in the house and three or four metre lengths in the box, so those are obviously the sides, and I can do the ends with some plywood bits and pieces and use some 1×3 scraps of deal to tie them together.

For rapidly knocking something like this out, that brad nailer is a bunch of fun. There’s glue providing the actual long-term strenght but a few 50mm brads act as temporary fixings and clamps all in one.

Then an offcut of poplar which was, to be honest, so scraggly that using it for anything proper would have meant a fair bit of work getting it straightened out, but for something that will live outside and be full of earth, this is grand. It acts as the base, and it was about 3″ too long so those 3″ get cut up into feet.

I didn’t have brads in any size bar 20mm and 50mm so I had nothing that really held the sides in place; the 20mm ones pinned them in position long enough to drive longer screws into the 1×3 battens though. Need to buy a few more lengths.

And that was it really. Very quick and dirty, handsaws and brad nailers and even the pillar drill with a fostner bit for the handles (along with a rasp, some sandpaper, a block plane, and some tidying up with a chisel). But it does the job and kept us at home, so that’s fine by me.

Filled with potting compost mixed with eggshells and coffee grounds, then transplanted our basil plants into it and watered with some liquid fertiliser.

Slightly less ghetto than previous solutions πŸ˜€

Apr 20

Fixing Mushrooms

So after the last exploding mushroom, I tried turning the last two chunks of log into their mushrooms. And both times, it was looking soooo nice…

And then on almost the last finishing cut with the spindle or bowl gouge on the underneath of the cap, it caught and half the cap snapped right off, hitting me in the faceshield.

Well, maybe I had more hollowing out to do πŸ˜€
But I figured since these are going outdoors in the woods for the hedgehogs, maybe I can live with a rustic look, so I experimented by using some titebond to glue the pieces back together…

And after a day to let the glue cure (and no, I couldn’t get clamping so these were just rub joints), I put them back on the lathe at the lowest setting just for sanding and finishing.

And they held! I was rather surprised to be honest…
So up the grits from 120 to 320, then a coat of BLO, a topcoat of button shellac and then a polish with some beeswax under a heat gun, and…

So tomorrow I’ll cut off the tenons, drill a short mortice and glue a few inches of dowel into it and we can go plant these up in Fernhill.

...and maybe grab another log. I was thinking if we made a small bowl that it could be a natural birdbath or hedgehog drinking trough…

Oh, and my new nailgun arrived in the post as well πŸ™‚ It even fits the air line connectors so I don’t have to go chasing round ebay looking for an adapter.

It works! Remind me never to glue my fingers together with this thing.
I can’t quite see it being used for much in the way of fine furniture (not that I make much that you could call fine without squinting till you went blind) but I can see it being useful for making quick things like jigs or very small simple things like small boxes for herb plants and the like.

I mean, being able to do a butt joint like that without trying to hold the two boards together and the nail in position and swinging a hammer – that’s kinda neat. And I do need to knock up a quick jig for my woodturning sharpening setup…