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Radio Studio Desks Commission

In this video I make some desks for a local radio station studio as a commission

Circular Plywood Coffee Table

I had a few small offcuts of this 18mm spruce plywood, and they were kind of getting in the way in the workshop so I wanted to find a use for them.  These were offcuts from the hifi unit commission that I made recently.
I wanted to make another plywood table top because I really like the last one that I'd made.  But I wanted this one to be quite different in style.
I started by ripping the pieces of ply in to 35mm wide strips at the tablesaw
Then I laid out the strips to check for any imperfections in the layers of ply, and this is good quality stuff so there weren't really any voids in it but there were one or two knots, so I pulled out the worst pieces.
And I was left with enough material to cut a circle around 570mm in diameter. 
I found the centre point and then marked up a circle by measuring the radius of the circle from the centre point. This didn't need to be an accurate circle, this was purely to help position the strips correctly and to help line up the pieces correctly during the glue up.
Next I applied wood glue to each piece, spread it out and lined up all the circle markings. 
I used some bar clamps to clamp the pieces together.  
Originally I was planning to glue up the whole lot in one go, but as the glue up took some time I wanted to apply clamp pressure before the glue set, so I ended up doing the glue up in two halves instead.
I used the edge of a steel ruler just to make sure that the pieces had been clamped nice and flat.
And then I could glue the two halves of the circle together.
After a few hours I removed the clamps and used a cabinet scraper to remove any glue squeeze out.
I could then work on getting the pieces of ply perfectly flush with one another and ensure the table top was flat, so I used my no.5 hand plane.  It was close to flat anyway so it only needed some light shavings removed. 
Next I needed to cut the circle, and I'd do this using the tablesaw.  I needed to make a quick jig to help with this.
I first ripped a piece of oak to the width of my tablesaw slots.  On first attempt it was a bit too tight, so I moved the fence by a very slight amount and took a second pass and then it was a nice fit.
I glued and nailed it on to a scrap piece of veneered MDF, making sure that it would overlap the blade by a few centimetres, and then made a zero clearance cut.
Next I needed to add a pin at the distance from the blade that I wanted the radius of my circle to be.
I used a nail for this, which I hammered in place and then used my angle grinder to remove the head of the nail. I made a few tweaks to ensure it was upright.
 I was all ready to make a start cutting the circle, but then I decided it would be good to add a slight angle to the sides of the table top so I ended up flipping the jig on to the other side of the blade. SO I needed to reset the pin again.
I could then drill at the centre point of the underside of the table top, and put it on to the pin on the jig.
Then I swapped out my insert and angled my blade to 5 degrees.
And I could start making the cuts.  
I'd never tried this method of cutting a circle before, and I was a little bit worried about the blade possibly catching the circle and kicking back as I pulled the workpiece back towards me before making the next pass.  But I just made sure that I was applying enough downward pressure to the circle so that it wouldn't twist, and fortunately I didn't have any problems. 
When it was almost a perfect circle I could then slightly advance it forward in to the blade and spin it to shave off the rest of the material.
The layers of ply looked really cool. 
Next I did some sanding with my random orbit sander at 80, 120 and 240 grit. 
And then I sanded by hand at 400 grit.
And then I applied some boiled linseed oil to pop the grain. 
For the legs of this table I'd use these painted hardwood dowels which came from an old broken parasol. You can see one of them has a crack in it.
I cut away the pieces I didn't need
Then I set up a stop block and cut them to length and I only had enough good material here to make three legs, but I thought that would make for quite an interesting look.
I used a cabinet scraper to remove the paint. I'm not sure what wood this is.
I wanted to taper the legs, and I don't have a lathe so to do this I first marked up a smaller circle on the end of the dowels just as a reference and I used my spoke shave to taper the legs.
And the legs kept getting away from me while I was spoke shaving and scraping
So I ended up putting a couple of scrap pieces of wood in the vise to stop them jumping away, and that worked well.
I also used my block plane to do a bit more shaping.
And then I sanded the legs by hand and this is how they looked.
Next I needed to make some leg support blocks, and I'd use this piece of pine pallet wood.
I first cleaned up the faces with my hand plane. 
Then I cut it to the right thickness at the tablesaw.
And then I cut the blocks to length.
Then width.
And then I cut a 45 degree angle on one side of each of them so that the blocks would be less visible.
And I marked up the centre of each block ready for drilling.
Next I made a simple jig to help me to drill consistent angles through each leg block.
This was just a scrap of ply with some small pieces of wood nailed to it. 
And this shot is just showing what the angle of the leg would be once the holes were drilled
The dowels were 36mm so I chose a 35mm forstner bit to drill the holes. 
I moved the jig so that the drill bit was lined up with the centre mark , and then clamped it to the table.
And then I could drill the hole for each leg.
So I cut another 45 degree angle on to the other side of the blocks,
And then cut a 90 degree angle on to the other side.
Next I needed to take off about 1mm from the diameter of the dowels so that they would fit inside the leg blocks, so I used an old sanding belt for that.
Then I could add glue to the leg blocks and push the legs in. And I drilled a hole with a countersink bit for a 40mm screw which would re-enforce the joint.
Then I needed to remove the excess material at the top of the block which I did on the bandsaw first, and then I cleaned it up with a hand plane.
Next I needed to position the three legs, and I knew that the inside angle of an equalateral triangle was 60 degrees so I set my protractor to 60 degrees, and that helped me to mark up a triangle. I made sure that each point was roughly the same distance from the next, and they were within a couple of mm which was ok.  I wasn't bothered about getting it perfect - I just wanted the table to be supported well and for it to look right by eye.
So now I had the position for the leg blocks.
I decided not to glue the leg blocks to the table and just use screws instead, as I was making this table for sale to be listed on my Etsy shop online - and if I need to package it up and send it to the buyer, it'll be a lot easier to do that with the legs removable.
Finally I just needed to shape the bottom of each leg, and I used my electric file for that.

Converting A Dining Table In To A Coffee Table - Habitat Kilo

In this video I convert a Habitat Kilo dining table in to a coffee table for a friend.

Restoring A Mid Century Modern / Ercol Style Coffee Table

In this video I restore a mid century modern / ercol style coffee table that was given to me at car boot sale. 

It had one or two broken legs, and the top had some heat marks and stains and generally looked dry and in bad condition.

The legs had wooden threads which screwed in to the leg mounts on the bottom of the table.  I didn't really like this method of construction so I wanted to come up with something better and more solid.

I started by sanding the top starting with 80 grit and then on to 120. It cleaned up really easily and revealed a nice bookmatched graindesign..

Next I started working on the leg mounts which were glued and screwed.  I used a mallet to knock them off after removing the screws.

When I removed the mounts I could see from the tearout that the table top was plywood.

I next worked on the solid wood legs, cutting off the threads at the bandsaw, and sanding them down, 

I then glued up some scraps of beech which I would use to make the new leg mounts.  When the glue had dried I cleaned up the work piece with a scraper and hand plane, and cut the leg mounts to size at the mitre saw.

I then rounded over the corners of the blocks on the disc sander to match the old mounts.

Next I needed to create a simple jig which would allow me to fix the tapered legs at a slight angle.  I used a wedge of wood to get the angle I wanted and mounted it to a scrap of plywood.  I then placed a leg mount on the wedge, and added some small pieces of wood around the mount which I attached to the plywood with brad nails.

The jig could then be clamped to my drill press table and would allow me to keep all of the holes in each leg mount nice and consistent and centred.

I used a 35mm faustner bit to drill the holes - the top of the legs were around 36mm in diameter.

I drilled all the holes and could then work on getting the top of the legs to the right size to fit the mounts.  I used the belt sander to remove material from the top of the legs and eventually got them all fitting nicely.

I glued all of the legs to the leg mounts, and then trimmed off the excess leg material on the bandsaw. Then I sanded the top of the mount on the belt sander to make sure it was flat.

Then I could glue and screw the leg mounts to the bottom of the table.

Because the leg heights had been altered, I next needed to level the legs.  I placed the table on a flat surface and used my electric file to remove material until the table sat on all four legs with no wobble.

I did some final hand sanding with 400 grit wet and dry paper.

I then applied Teak oil (two coats) with a cloth.

Finally to give the table a more hardwearing finish, I applied 3 coats of spray varnish, gently wet sanding with 400 grit wet and dry in between each coat to keep the finish nice and smooth.

I posted a photo of the finished table on facebook and the same day someone got in touch to buy it and I took it to it's home - the buyer seemed very happy with it.

I was happy to be able to give this nice looking table a new lease of life.


Custom Desk And Speaker Stands With Ikea Lerberg Legs (part 2 of 2)

In part 2 of the build, I got started making the monitor stands.
I used some scraps of ply I had in the workshop, and they were varying thicknesses – so I needed to compensate by cutting some of the panels 3mm wider to keep both stands looking consistent.
I cut and assembled a simple plywood frame consisting of two side panels and a top panel with glue and nails.  Then I cut a back panel, which I cut a 35mm hole in the centre of for cabling as the inside of the speaker stands would be used for devices such as external hard drives, etc.
Then I started cladding the monitor stands with the remaining offcuts of the floorboards that I had.  These were cut to size, and glued and brad nailed to the ply.
I also added a mitred trim to the front of the monitor stands to keep them looking consistent with how the desk top looked.
I cleaned up the stands with the hand plane and sanded them on my bench top belt sander, followed by my random orbit sander.
Then I applied the same finish to the stands as I had for the desk top – walnut stain, and three coats of spray varnish, wet sanding in between each coat.
I added some adhesive backed felt feet to the bottom of the monitor stands – these would help to minimise vibrations from the speakers and also protect the desk top from scratches.
The next job was to fit the Ikea Lerberg legs to the underside of the desk top.  The Lerberg legs do not come with any fixtures or fittings, and I originally thought about simply drilling some holes and screwing them to the bottom but then I realised that if the floor was uneven where the desk would be sitting, or if the desk gets moved at any point, the screws would eventually end up tearing out of the plywood.
So instead, I cut some bracing pieces out of some pine (reclaimed bed slats) to encase the top of the legs.  These pieces were glued and screwed to the bottom of the ply wood, and the legs simply push snugly in to the bracing to support the desk while also allowing for some movement.
That was the desk completed, and the client seemed very happy with it.
I enjoyed the build (apart from my belt sander breaking!!!) and it took around a day and a half of my time in total (spread out over a week or so) to complete.  The cost of materials was around £40 in total – the Ikea legs were a bargain at £5 each, the ply was around £18 a sheet, and the varnish and stain came to around £16

Custom Desk And Speaker Stands With Ikea Lerberg Legs (Part 1 of 2)

In this video I make a custom desk for a friend, who is a local musician.  She was looking for a desk where she could sit and work on music production and mixing with some stands for her monitor speakers.  She wanted a desk with character in reclaimed wood, and she sent me a few photos of the sort of thing that she was hoping for.  I did some 3D drawings for her in SketchUp and we settled on a design.
For materials, I’d use some reclaimed pine floorboards which I acquired from a neighbour (they were going to be thrown away).  They were 15mm thick and various lengths, and I’d had them on my wood rack for a couple of years just waiting for a project like this one.
The floorboards were not thick enough to glue up in to a strong desktop on their own, so I went to my local timber merchants and found two 18mm thick 8x4ft sheets of spruce plywood that had been pulled out because they were dirty and had some damage to the edges.  They offered them to me for half price, so I bought both (even though I only needed one, I like a bargain!).  The damage wasn’t an issue as it would be on the waste part of the board, and the dirt could simply be brushed off.  The timber merchants cut the ply to 1.5m length which was the length that the desktop needed to be and also allowed me to fit it in to my car.
I started by cutting the ply to 750mm to give me a 1500mm x 750mm piece of ply. 
Then I laid the floorboards on to the ply to get an idea of how much material I needed to clad it, and marked up the boards to keep them in the order that I wanted and also figure out which boards would be butted up against each other.  
I cut the longer floorboards to length using a speed square and circular saw, and the shorter ones at the mitre station, and then I made some light repairs to the boards as some pieces were torn out – I used glue, masking tape and spring clamps.
Next I needed to rip each edge of each board to get clean edges and straighten them up.
Some of the floorboards had a lot of paint/varnish which needed to be removed, so I used my belt sander with a 40 grit belts.  The belts clogged up pretty quickly with the paint/varnish so I went through 3 or 4 of them in the end.
I used glue and brad nails to fix the boards to the ply, firing most of the brads near the existing nail holes in the board so that they would be hidden.  I also glued the edges of the boards together, until the whole desk top was covered.  I wiped off excess glue with a damp cloth and filled some small gaps with a bit of sawdust.
Next I knocked the nails beneath the surface of the wood with a nail punch and then used my hand plane to remove any high spots and get the desktop flat and the boards flush. I worked across the grain first to even up the boards, and then with the grain to get a nice finish.
I used a flush trim bit in my router to get the edges of the boards flush with the plywood.
I ripped some more floorboards to 30mm wide to use as edging trim for the desk top.  I mitred the corners at 45 degrees at the mitre station, and then I could glue and nail the trim to the edges.  The trim gave the desk top a nice chunky look.
Then I did yet more sanding to the desk top with the belt sander, sanding in direction of the grain with 80 grit, and later switched to my random orbit sander with 120 grit.
Unfortunately my belt sander (Ryobi EBS 800) broke at this point – something was rattling inside and the drive wheel wasn’t turning…  So I used a combination of my hand plane and random orbit sander to clean up the edges.
I used a block plane to break the sharp edges of the desktop to create a subtle roundover – mainly so that it would be comfortable on arms and elbows.
Then I applied a walnut stain by Liberon which the client wanted, to match the walnut stain applied to her floorboards in the room.
I used a spray varnish to finish the desk top – I chose it because I knew it would be hard-wearing and provide a seal to the surface.  I applied 3 coats in total, wet sanding in between each application with 400 grit paper to help keep the surface nice and smooth, then removed the dust with a wet cloth prior to the next coat.
I applied my makers mark to the bottom of the desk top

Making A Treasure Chest Blanket Box / Ottoman (part 2 of 2)

In this video I start by finishing off the arcs for the lid that I started making in the previous video.  I cut one of them in half on the bandsaw to give me 2x thinner ones (for each end) and one wide one (for the middle of the lid).

I needed to cut a rebate joint in to one side of each end arc and both sides of the central arc.  I did this by putting my trim router upside down in the vise to use as a makeshift router table - which worked well.

Then I glued and clamped the arcs in place.

I started cutting some pieces of pine for the lid while I waited for the glue to dry.  I cut them in to thin strips, and planed them to the same thickness.  I also cut a rebate in to the end of each piece on the tablesaw which would then fit inside the rebate of the sapele arcs.  

I glued the pine cladding to the lid, and once the glue was dry I used a handplane to get the pine flush with the sapele.

I fitted an old piano hinge that was salvaged from a dropleaf table to attach the lid.  I routed out a small savity in the top of the box to accept the hinge so that the lid would sit on the box without any gaps.

I secured the hinge to the box with screws, and then the lid to the hinge with hot glue which allowed my to position it where I wanted it, then open the lid and secure with screws. 

Then I used the belt sander to bring the edges of the lid flush with the box, and sanded the rest of the box with the random orbit sander and detail sander.  

I used Rustic Pine Briwax on the whole box, to give it bring out the grain and make it look older, and I thought that this would also help the pine from turning less orange and more brown over time.

I added a couple of handles to the sides of the box, and a latch to the front of the box - I got both of these from eBay.

That's the box finished and I am really happy with it.


Making A Treasure Chest Blanket Box / Ottoman (part 1 of 2)

In this video I start making a blanket box in the style of a treasure chest using a donated slab of sapele and some pieces of pine from my workshop.

I started by drawing up a 3D model of what I wanted to make in SketchUp.  

Then I ripped the sapele in to 40mm thick strips, thickness planed them so that they were 40mm x 40mm, and then cut a 12mm x 12mm rebate joint along the full length of each piece on the tablesaw.

I then cut 45 degree mitres at the mitre station to create 3x rectangles with rebates in them : 1 for the bottom of the box, one for the top of the box and one for the lid.  I also cut upright corner pieces to form the box out of the same lengths of sapele.

Then I could assemble the rectangles using glue and tape, and a couple of brad nails.  

I glued to corner posts in place to form the box, keeping the edges as flush as possible, 

Then I cut a bottom panel for the box from some oak veneered plywood, and that was glued and nailed in to the rebate joint at the bottom of the box.

Next I started to rip lots of pine to clad the box, I used the bandsaw to resaw some of it in half to give me more material and each piece of cladding ended up around 12mm thick,  

Then I could glue and brad nail the cladding from the inside, and it sits within the rebate joints - nice and tidy.

With the box assembled, I needed to start working on the lid.  I started by using a salvaged piece of a drop leaf table top to draw an arc on to some more sapele that would fit within the rebate joints of the lid rectangle. I cut out the arcs on the bandsaw and shaped them on the bench top sander.




Oak Bedside Tables

This project was mainly driven by the need to make use of some left over oak veneered MDF.  It's the same material as I used for the previous project - the coat and shoe rack, and I needed to clear some space in my workshop which meant using up the rest of it.  Because some of the pieces were quite short, I had the idea of making some bedside tables, and when I started using SketchUp to make a 3D model I found that I had just enough material to make 2x matching ones.  Unfortunately some of the material had some mould on it, so I couldn't use everything that I had.

I cut the larger pieces to length on the mitre saw and the shorter pieces on the cross cut sled on my tablesaw as they were more manageable.  

I assembled them using cleats as they would be hidden by the solid oak trim on the front of each shelf, and I knew they'd be nice and strong and it would be quicker than cutting dado joints.  I used some offcuts from the oak parquet coffee table top that I made recently for the cleats.

I used some scraps of oak to cut some trim for the sides of the top shelf to hide the MDF edges and glued and taped them in place I used some boiled linseed oil to better match the colour to the finish on the rest of the pieces.

Finally, I used a rabbet bit on the router to cut a channel on the back where I could flush fit a piece of 4mm plywood.  This was then cut to size and glued and nailed on.  

I didn't have any use for the bedside tables so I listed them for sale on Gumtree, and they sold within a week!



Restoring A Mid Century Modern Sideboard

In this video I buy and restore a secondhand mid century modern style sideboard.  

I came across this while browsing through my facebook feed, it looked like someone was going to throw it away, so I bought it from them, paying £20.  

It wasn't in too bad condition, but it had some scratches, heat and water stains and one of the drawer runners was missing.  The finish was also quite dull.

I started out by making a new set of drawer runners for it, as the old ones were softwood and only attached with staples and very little glue - not very well made...

I made the new runners out of some scraps of oak that I had in the workshop, cutting them to the same size as the old runners.  

I carefully positioned them where the old runners had been, using a couple of scrap pieces of wood as "spacers" to keep them at consistent heights. I first glued and nailed them in, knowing that if they didn't quite fit I could pull them off again before the glue set and make adjustments.  This method worked quite well.  Once I knew that the runners were positioned correctly I attached the new runners with glue and screws making sure to countersink holes in the runners so I wouldn't split the thin pieces of oak.

All three drawers fitted quite nicely apart from the middle drawer, which was a little too low, so I pulled the runners off, placed a couple of shims under the spacers to lift it by a couple of mm and then screwed it in place.

To rejuvenate the finish, I first tried to get rid of the heat and water stains with an iron and a piece of cloth, a method that worked really well when I restored a sapele chest of drawers recently.  However it didn't work well on this piece, perhaps because the stains were quite old.  So instead, I sanded, and applied some Superior Danish Oil which really brought out the grain nicely and it looked really nice.  Finally, I applied some clear Briwax for a bit of extra protection and buffed the whole unit to a nice sheen.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out and it's a perfect fit in my dining room.