Sunday, 5 December 2010

The End of my Week Off

Well, I got a fair amount done. The cabinetry took a lot longer than I thought it would, but  I did it myself! I’ve put up some curtains too. Oddly, I had this huge fear of putting up curtain rails, but when it came to it, I actually found it quite easy. Although a longer spirit level would have been helpful.

 Here is my study.

 Some things need more work to make them steampunk - I will stain the craft cabinets to match the rest of the woodwork soon.

I didn’t get around to covering the books with leather paper, but I have got it and will begin.

These are my steampunk objects. The prints I ordered didn’t come in time to be framed, so they aren’t up yet.

I have just rounded off the day (and week) with a massive meal. Sweet potato soup, oatcakes with smoked mackerel pate, goat’s cheese and red onion tart, and sticky brownie cake. 

I enjoyed this project, but things still seem incomplete. I’m aiming for a scientific steampunk theme - can anyone suggest anything to make it more obvious?

Building a Cabinet whilst Clueless

First, draw some plans and work out what dimensions you want the thing to have. (OK, given I did actually do that first maybe I’m not totally clueless).

I wanted my cabinet to fit into the window, so the dimensions I needed were 80cm high, 25cm deep, 102cm wide at the back and 116cm wide at the front. For simplicity’s sake I decided to make the box part of the cabinet a cuboid and just stick a wider front and a trapezoidal top on. 

First obstacle - bits of wood 116cm long by 25cm wide are relatively expensive. I didn’t want laminate, chipboard or MDF because I was planning to stain it to match the other furniture. So… I bought 2 14cm wide planks and stuck them together with glue. I should have used floorboards, because they have that little notch that makes them stick together accurately.

I was a bit worried it wouldn’t be strong or smooth enough. But it was! 

I made the front out of 14cm wide planks, using a chisel for just about the first time. Funnily enough, my Dad taught me how to use an electric jigsaw and a power drill, but never a chisel. I marked and cut my notches for my step joints, and they actually fit! So I glued and screwed them together quickly, before something went wrong.

On to the sides. Because they are so narrow, I made them out of solid blockboard I found in the cellar. Next obstacle -  my jigsaw Did. Not . Want. to cut the blockboard. Well, one piece - it cut the rest fine. I still can’t work out why it threw such a tantrum, but I finished the cut with a hand saw. 

Then I made a box with the ends and three narrow beams, about 2cm x 4cm. The back was just a bit of hardboard, the thin stuff, left over from covering the bathroom floor. Then I screwed on the front to the framework. Everything just about matched, and I was very elated. I was also tired, and it was 11pm. So I glued on the top and left it to dry overnight.

In the morning I removed the clamps and sawed the top to the desired shape, and checked it fitted in the window where it was meant to go. It did.

Lastly, the doors. I had wondered about just shelving it and not having doors, but the scrap wood I used for the sides was bright blue. Not a good look with my red, cream and dark wood. I thought about making them solid but that would require more wood than I had. So I just built them like picture frames and nailed black cotton on for the panels. 

I gave everything a double coat of varnish, and (after my third trip in 2 days to the DIY shop on the corner) hung the doors using brass hinges.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wednesday Night

I’ve got a lot done over the past few days but most of it not photogenic. However, I have a new pile of loot.

Why yes, that would be a Black and Decker jig-saw. Oh, the fun I can have now!

As I was getting back from Glasgow at about 7pm, the man came to deliver the carpet. He was a fairly tall man, carrying a 4 metre long roll of carpet over one shoulder. I was getting lots of things in from the car and walked up the path behind him, when he shifted the carpet to put it down in the hall. 

It smacked me squarely on the top of the head.

I squawked, as one does when unexpectedly hit on the head. He turned around as the carpet hit the floor, and I thought his eyes were going to pop out. Then I started laughing, and after a moment he joined in.

“There were visions of claims and compensations running through my head there,” he said. I assured him I was completely unhurt, so he gave me a bit of brass stuff to fasten the carpet down in the doorway, and left. They say we live in a compensation culture - I do wonder if anyone would consider claiming on something as insignificant as that. 

I’ve stained my big wooden storage thing from Pine to Rosewood. That took care of a lot of little marks as well. It’s been sanded too, and looks much more in keeping with the period. I was going to put on another coat but it looks like that would make it too dark, so I’ll settle for lots of beeswax instead. I’ll treat my cabinet the same way, when it’s finished.

Ah yes, the cabinet. It will be finished tomorrow and then I’ll post notes on how to make a cabinet whilst learning how to use a chisel.