Using the leftovers…

Using the leftovers

While making a dog house or installing a wooden floor board, much of the planks are left as scraps. Some are too small for any other use. So I will tell you some creative ways to use these scrap material.

  • Make a wooden doormat – Yes you can make a real classic wooden doormat from the leftover planks. It looks cool. Just cut lengths to 12 inches and drill holes in side. Use string to keep it together.
  • Tool to smoothen wallpaper – You can build a small tool to smoothen the wallpaper. Just cut a small plank and use foam board to make a handle. You can use this to smoothen the wallpaper removing any air bubbles.
  • Cover the ceiling – If the scrap is enough you can use it to cover the ceiling. It will give the vintage look and give weather protection also.
  • Make a classic frame for a desk photo – You can cut and size up a scrap wood plank to design a photo frame. You just need small pieces to work upon. Use another scrap wood plank to screw at the back to make a classic wooden photo frame.
  • make a soil hoe handle – You can make  hoe handle out of the scrap which can be used to level out soil in the garden.

There’s a Lot to Know about the Different Woods

Wood is so important for so many projects around the home. I love carpentry, and to do a job properly you have to know your different woods. Hardwoods are those that comes from those trees that shed their leaves like Oak and Beech for instance and the softwoods comes form coniferous trees such as Pines and Cedars. A carpenter has to know wood. You can’t just saw up any wood and use it. Wood also has a high moisture content and it needs to dry out before you use it. Wood is tricky because it can also distort during the drying process and there are techniques to avoid this too. Fortunately supplies have stepped in and made life easier for us carpenters and we can get kiln-dried lumber which cuts out a lot of problems.

wood carpentry

These days too, with our forests disappearing at alarming rates, you’ve got to be careful where you get your wood from too. As a carpenter and looking around for good priced wood, I have to be constantly doing research to make sure the wood comes from a sustainable source. Recognized, legit sources usually will have a stamp on indicating it comes from managed forests. So as you can see, there’s a lot to wood  such as knowing what to buy and where to buy so that you can make a piece of furniture thats going to look beautiful and last for a long time too.

3 Secrets to Good Carpentry

Some basic carpentry skills

Carpentry is not about cutting and gluing wooden pieces together. It is an art and needs to be learned carefully.There are few basic things you need to learn to become a good carpenter.

  • Measuring – Right measurement is the soul of carpentry. The most important tool is not the saw, but the measuring tape and the pencil. If you learn to make right measurements  half the skill is learnt.The pencil helps to make markings, and you are on the way to become a great carpenter.Always measure twice to make sure you get them right. Right measurement saves extra work done due to wrong measurement.
  • Marking – Marking is another skill that you will learn in time. It is a fact that proper marking makes you cut better. Beginners make the mistake of marking a spot with a straight pencil mark. However the best way to mark is a “V” as it is the right way to mark if you are sawing after the cut. The other important tool in marking is the triangle tool. It is a right angle triangle which you can use to go straight while marking the other end of the wooden board before cutting.
  • Support the Board that is to be cutSagging while sawing is a major problem faced by beginners. The way to save on this is to give ample support to the board to be cut.

There is more tips for beginners coming in the next blog. See you soon!

Master the Basic Techniques for Woodwork First

What I love about working with wood these days is that you don’t need the biceps like bygone foresters needed to work with wood. Anyone these days can use the modern power tools available to make anything from tiny shelves to complex furniture pieces. There are a few basic techniques to master, and it can be satisfying and economical to build even the simplest objects.
On the Internet you can actually find some excellent basic tutorials on woodwork which avoid all that inhibiting jargon and introduce useful techniques clearly and simply. They get you started with making simple items like a small wooden wine rack where the only tools you’ll need are a saw, a carpenter’s square, steel tape and a chisel.

Of course as you progress you move on too much more advanced stuff with special purpose-tools. Recently I made a stunning little shelf unit or spice rack, and after years of practice and using accurate machinery, there are pretty few imperfections. This is great for the kitchen and with the dimensions  the unit can be altered easily to make it suitable for holding books, bottles or tins.

All woodwork will need finishing if you want to prevent it from warping and becoming dirty, but that’s another topic altogether.

5 Simple finishing Tricks

Finishing Touch

Finishing is  the difference between an ordinary piece and an amazing piece in Carpentry.You must be wondering how a particular person can finish better than others.It is not magic but some careful tricks which helps to finish a piece better.


  • Practice the work If you trying the work for the first time, the best way is to try it out on some scrap wood. It will enhance your skills and also you will make a great finished final piece.Practice makes a man perfect is it not?
  • Careful with Glue  – Glue is an essential for making a wooden article. However it can leave bad stains if you are not careful.Use the glue with care and avoid excess usage.
  • Always cut down –  The best results in cutting wood can be had when you are cutting down. There are less chances of mistakes as you can keep a continuous watch. This is the secret to straight cuts using the saw.
  • Use of nails When using nails try to be careful when binding the edges. The nails might cause a split in the frame. It will ruin your work. So be careful and use standard nails rather than one from the local shop.
  • Corner Handling – In all articles that you will make corners are a problem. Too blunt does not look good and too sharp can cause injuries. The best way is to use decorations to make the corners smooth.

If you follow these simple techniques the finishing will take a lift. Believe me I was most happy when I made my first well finished article a small chair.

Building my first pieces

So far, my attempts at carpentry have been going quite good. I haven’t managed to chop my fingers off (or others) and I have managed to challenge myself quite often. Last week, I completed my first challenge- I finished a table. It was a 5-square foot beauty that is not worth a lot, but it certainly means a lot to me. I initially planned on gifting it to a bunch of friends, but I certainly don’t think I have the heart to give it up now.

First table carpentry

Here are some of the things I’ve learnt in my attempt to build the table. First of all, I’m glad I invested in a good workbench. Secondly, it took a lot of time getting the joints and the legs right- but I did not want to build legs that were not absolutely perfect or would start wobbling after a while, so I am glad I spent a lot of time on those. Third, I’m glad this is a learning process as well, because I had no clue that temperature and moisture had an impact on the wood. I moved the table from the garage one night because I was sure the rain would damage it and the table measurements slightly changed when I was working on it at the house basement (this added to the extra working time as well).

But hey, that was an amazing experience and I’m thinking of tackling cabinets next. Or maybe another table. Just for practice.

Winter Weather…

Birdfeeder for the garden can be decorated in anyway you preferHad a lot of fun on these wet and snowy and cold days planning which bird house I would build, decided on two, one for us and one for the grandkids. As always the wife gets a say but we did both agree that this one suited us. I would do the putting together and she will do the decorating. Plan to involve the kids on how they want to do theirs – that will be a fun day!

One big downside of this month has been the weather, really too cold to be outside in my work shed and then to top it off the roof collapsed. Don’t know if it was wind, snow or age, our all three.woke up one morning to see it all caved in. isn/t it funny how you don’t notice things immediately if you not expecting it? There I was drinking my morning coffee absently looking out the window at the weather when realized something not quite right with the picture, took wife coming to look with me to point out my shed had no roof!!! Honestly maybe I deserve her comments of day dreamer.  So, onto the internet to suss out options. Eventually decided to get a complete new shed,  didn’t take much persuading  as really need one slightly bigger and wife wants something less of an eyesore. Decided on a 12 x 8 wooden shed with 4 windows for good lighting; going to have it delivered free and bought it in the sale. We also decided to pay extra and have the old one properly demolished and the new one installed along with electricity. All in all about £1000 give or take a few quid, As we didn’t want to miss out on the sale and this month cannot draw out of savings again we decided to go for a loan. Back to internet and friends and in the end went with No fuss, easy website and good terms, so quite excited now, hopefully if weather allows I will be in and making those bird feeders by next month.

Wooden shed that is modern, stylish and functionable

The one I wish I could have.

Wooden Shed for the garden with double doors and 4 windows

My new Shed

Winding down for Christmas…


Adirondack style rocking chairWell I made 7 more shadow boxes! Wife loved them so much she decided they were perfect presents for her, sorry our friends. Not really had time for very much else. Combine that with the weather and its not been a get and go sort of month. I have done quite a bit of internet searching though. Very impressed with some of the sites I have found. There is everything from simple plans to complicated courses; you can even watch what to do on YouTube. I found it all quite fascinating.  The wife has even introduced me to Pinterest and got me started with a board, been putting items I fancy making on it, mind you so is she. Already got a table and rocking chair on there! I quite fancy keeping it simple and plan to make January my bird table month so keeping an eye out for one that is unusual, not too complicated and functional. I also been thinking about doing some woodcarving, but that is not at the top of my list yet, although did find an interesting site that suggest starting with one tool, now that idea I like, not spending a fortune on tools I might not even use again is a good plan to me. Another site I want to mention is Lees wood projects, well explained and good plans but I especially like his safety page.

My ego takes a battering.


Building shadow boxes to hold  a variety of items

Shadow box containing family tree

Well had two projects on going this month. Priority no 1, the wife’s. Now my wife likes to wander the internet looking for inspiration and then expects me to come up with the finished result, plus her minor alterations. The newest project is shadow boxes, basically fancy shelves to hold her what nots. I had very clear instructions as to size, shape and decorating – oh yes I have to paint them as well as put them up in the correct place -something that can take hours. I learnt many years ago not to fix them in place at the first suggestion, but to let her try them in multiple places until the desired effect is achieved then I get my drill and wall plugs and fix them up. Oh yes forgot to say not only did I have to make them but I got a printed Martha Stewart ‘How to’ sheet. Seems I’m not to be trusted after the kite debacle.

Building kites the  2 skewer box kite

Oh yes the kite. My grandson asked for a kite, well that simple enough isn’t it? Apparently not because he wanted a 2-skewer box kite. I knew what I was doing, ha! As you can probably guess it was a complete and utter failure,  first off it was way too heavy and my  battered ego took second place to my grandsons disappointment. So taking the wife’s advice I searched the net and found an excellent site which clarified where I had gone wrong – wood to heavy being one. So I now have a happy grandson, an even happier wife cause she got to say, “ I told you so” and a much better appreciation for the uses of the internet.


Beginner tools

it doesn't take much to make a happy carpenter

A lot of people I speak to are put off the idea of trying carpentry themselves by the often mistaken idea that they’ll need loads of expensive tools and a shed. Sure, these things help as you go along, but for the beginner, this is not necessarily so.

If you do want to just try a simple project, maybe one of the ones I mentioned earlier, then a bit of planning is your main resource.

1) Choose your project and make sure you get clear simple instructions for its completion.

2)Do an inventory of all your tools, you’ll be surprised what you have tucked away in the cupboard, and you won’t need to much for a basic project, – make sure they’re in good working order, or give them a clean up. If you don’t have something, try and borrow it to begin – many of your friends and family will have basic equipment (maybe even unused wood) they’ll be happy to lend for a drink! And while you’re at it make sure you have all the necessary bolts and screws – these won’t cost the earth and a multi box will never get wasted.

3) Space – this is often the deal breaker, but it doesn’t need to be. If space is limited, consider doing a deal with your other half – perhaps treat them to a weekend away to allow you complete run of the house. Failing that break down your project into times, if something is going to need drying time plan a break around that, so it won’t be in your way. Store everything in an organised way based on when you’ll need to access it. For a simple project like a bird house or bookcase you’ll be surprised how little space you need with the proper organisation, even most balconies will do.

So, give it a go, with little expense you’ve got nothing to lose.