Wipe Clean Memo Boards
A friend asked me to make her a kitchen memo board, and I recalled that when our village hall was extended, the builders used a plastic material to line the walls of the kitchen, as it was washable and thus very hygienic. There had been some off-cuts left over and they worked very well with wipe-off markers. The bottom frame section has a groove for the marker.
Artists H-Frame Easel
My artist friend – for whom I make picture frames – asked me if I could make her a ‘proper’ easel, so I looked around on the ‘net and ended up being impressed by this design, so got the plans.
The design has a moving central frame within an outer frame, enabling the canvas being painted to be raised or lowered for ease of access to different areas. To enable the central frame to be moved easily, a system of pulleys and a counterweight is employed, and I was able to use the pulleys from a bicycle storage lift that I had lying around unused.
I decided to use the included design for the taboret for working space to mix paints, place brushes and other artist’s tools, and, with its extendable trays at each side, this looks to be particularly usefu
When she visited to see the finished easel, which has three coats of Danish oil applied to the pine, I was pleased to hear that she was delighted with it.
It took some effort to transport it and manouevre it into her small studio, but when I saw the pitiful tripod that was her old easel, I realised why she needed something more substantial, so that she can work on larger canvases without her old stand repeatedly falling over.
She later removed the counterweight as she preferred to work without it.
Friends of mine recently had some oak-faced flooring laid, and there were inevitably pieces left over. Having used some for shelves, they asked if I might make them a postbox from what remained.
They had an old iron letterbox obtained from a reclamation yard to go on the front, which would be in keeping with the appearance of their old cottage – which was known in the village as the ‘Old Post Office’.
Dog control Gate
My son needed some way to keep his dogs in the kitchen/diner area overnight - away from their new suites in the lounge. He asked me if I could design and make something suitable. I eventually came up with a design which he liked, and that and the finished version are shown alongside. A pin attached to the brass knob in the second picture holds the folded gate open. It is moved to the top of the other support to keep the unfolded gate closed in the fourth and fifth pics.
Box for local egg sales
My neighbour keeps chickens and wanted to sell her surplus eggs in our village, so I made her a box out of an old computer desk she was throwing out and some white melamine board I had spare. Originally I was going to give it legs to raise it to a convenient height for purchasers, but then cut the extended box sides so that it could mount over the coping stones on her front garden wall (pic 2). I cut some holes in the back, at the top and bottom to allow air to circulate to prevent the eggs frying in hot sun, but covered them with mesh to keep bugs out, and an odd piece of whiteboard on the inside of the door can be used to show prices. (pic 4). A concrete screw into the adjacent wall column keeps the box securely fixed.
In my usual rush to get things done quickly, I totally forgot to use exterior glue as well as the screws used to hold it together, although I did put mastic under the lid to seal that. I intended to coat it with some garden shed and fence paint I had left over but when I checked the tin it had dried out, so I painted the box with some indoor emulsion from another unfinished tin. Again, I failed to use some melamine primer before applying the emulsion, so with the wrong paint and no primer it probably won’t be long before it all flakes off!
I added a window on the door for the ‘For Sale’ sign, so that it can be reversed (pic 3) to advise would-be purchasers that they didn’t need to sort through empty boxes.
My neighbour was delighted with the box, but will she still feel the same when it weathers?.
Friends from the village asked me if I could repair a couple of planters that were falling to bits. As usual, I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture, so can only show the finished result. The second picture, however, includes the 5-inch pieces cut off the bottom of each leg and does show how rotten they were. The bottom rails were in a similar state, with one missing completely and the side boards hanging loose. I initially thought that I could just move the rails up after shortening the legs to remove the rotten areas, but of course as the shape is tapered, the rails were then too short, so I had to make all eight new ones. Again because of the taper, I could just about prise the side boards out of the top of the frame without dismantling completely, but it was a struggle to get them free for shortening on my bandsaw.
I did intend to use dominoes to fix the new rails, but the Domino tool was too large to go in the gap between the legs, so I resorted to pocket hole screws. Even then I had to shorten the star-shaped driver bit to get that in. After repainting with garden paint – three coats on the new wood – I added some nail-on nylon feet to the bottoms of the legs to reduce water take-up, so perhaps it might take longer for the repaired planters to need renovation again.
I was asked to make a rack for ribbon reels, and provided with a page from a magazine illustrating one made from a Boston Shelf sold by Dunelm. The shelf seemed to be no longer available, so I used some cleaned-up offcuts of pine and simply glued and air-nailed them together.. The only part that had me scratching my head was how to fix the knobs on the ends of the support dowel. Initially I used a screw through the knob, but that meant the user needed a screwdriver each time reels were changed. I then thought of cutting screw threads on the dowel and into a recess in the knob, but the metal-working dies I have did not work on the wooden dowel. Finally, I came to the modern standby for this sort of thing, rare earth magnets - one araldited onto the end of the dowel, and another in a recess on the knob. I included one of the plastic spacers supplied with the magnets in the recess to reduce the strain on the araldite when removing the knob.
I left the task of painting to the recipient, and the positioning of the holes for wall mounting - which is why it is balanced on a chair for its picture.