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Beech Waney Live Edge Slab Coffee Table - Table Top (part 1 of 2)

Recently I got a few waney edge slabs of what I think is beech.  Here's one of the lengths, which I'd already cut in half so that I could fit in my van.  This piece had been stored in a disused warehouse for over 10 years so I expected it to be dry and when I checked with my moisture metre, it was showing at only 6% moisture content.  So I knew that after all this time the wood should be stable enough and ready to use.  It looked like it'd be a really beautiful piece of wood once cleaned up and as it was also a really good size it seemed like it would be a huge shame to cut it up in to pieces so I decided I'd use it to make a really simple coffee table top and retain most of it's natural shape.  
This piece measured around 117cm in length, between 48 and 54cm wide and 4.2cm thick.
Sighting down the length of the board, I could tell that there was a slight twist in the slab - you can see here that the back left and front right corners are high points.
And across the width of the slab there had also been some warping you can see here that the sides are higher than the centre by around 10mm.
I started to flatten what would be the bottom side of the coffee table top using my cordless planer. I'm making several passes down each edge to try to get it more flat.
I took some passes at roughly a 45 degree angle to the grain too to even everything up.
Then I rotated the piece so I could work on the other side which had a high point in the middle, so I worked on flattening that side too.  
This was a pretty lengthy process so I took this timelapse footage.
I kept using a ruler to check my progress. 
Then I brought the slab in to the workshop so that I could work on removing the twist from the board.  By placing the slab on to the flat surface I could use my hands to figure out which corners were the high points, and then I rotated it again, marked up the high points and removed more material.  This is the bottom of the table top, and I wanted to get this as flat as I could so that the table frame that I'll make later can support the top evenly.
And I kept turning it over, brushing away the chips and checking for wobble again.  And you can see here that one corner is getting quite thin at this point, but that didn't really matter as I knew I'd be cutting away some of the length later. 
Here I'm checking again for flatness with my ruler marking up any high spots with a pencil and doing some more work flattening with the planer.  
At this point the bottom was flat enough so that all the wobble was gone, and I'd been working on it for a solid 6 hours so I was pleased with the progress.
Then I started working on the top side of the slab again and i'm trying to flatten it, remove all the rough sawn areas, and keep the thickness consistent across the whole slab - so again, there was lots of stopping and checking.
Recently I made a video about all my cordless makita tools, and in that video I said that this planer was a tool I bought on a bit of a whim and that I could definitely live without it, but it was a "nice to have".  Well since working on this project, I've realised that there's no way I could have done this without this tool.  The slab is too big to manouvre on to my jointer, and too wide as well, I couldn't have done this with a normal hand plane because it would have taken me weeks if not months to remove the amount of material I've removed with this, and I couldn't have used my belt sander with a course grit because that probably wouldn't have been an accurate enough way to get the slab flat and it would have also taken much longer.  So my opinion on this tool has changed, it's handled a whole day of almost constant planing. The batteries have lasted really well I think I've swapped over for a freshly charged one maybe 5 times.  And now I consider it to be a really good tool to have, especially for a project like this one.
Next I started to remove the bark from the edges.  If all the bark had been entact I probably would have left it on there, but there were a few areas missing it so I decided to take it all off.
That was the end of day one.
On day two I had an idea to use some winding sticks to check that the twist had been removed. And I don't have any winding sticks, so I'm just using a couple of straight offcuts of particle board.  These help to emphasise any twist so that it's easier to see, so by placing one at each end, I could sight along the top of each of the sticks to check for twist, and it looked pretty good, but I could see that there was still some twist in the board, so it was back to flattening the bottom and checking for wobble once again until I was happy that it was as flat as I could get it.
And finally I took some really light passes with the planer in the direction of the grain just to get as good a surface as I possibly could with the cordless planer. 
Next I started planing with my no.5 hand plane with a freshly sharpened blade, and I'm just taking light passes to remove any ridges left by the electric planer and get everything nice and smooth.
To cut the table top to it's final length, I first marked up a centre point at each end of the slab, and then clamped on a straight edge lined up with those marks, and then using a framing square I could mark up a cut line knowing that they'd be at a perfect 90 degree angle to the centre of the slab.  There might be another method to do this, but this is just what I came up with at the time and it worked well. I did that on both ends and then extended the line the full width of the board. 
And then I clamped on a straight edge and made the cut in two passes to make it easier on the blade because this wood is really quite thick and dense.  I cut both ends.
Then I moved on to sanding, I started at 100 grit with my random orbit sander.  The top was already very smooth from the hand planing but I decided to sand mainly because there were a couple of small areas of grain tear out where there were some imperfections within the wood grain caused by the electric planer and sanding those away seemed like the best option.
And then I did some scraping with a card scraper to get a the finish nice and smooth and remove any swirl marks left by the sander.
I did some more sanding to ease over any sharp edges.
To clean up the edges I used my electric power file, I also used this to round over the corners.
Next I could add finish, and I first applied some boiled linseed oil.  I applied quite a lot, and just left it to soak in to the wood as much as possible. The end grain really soaked up the oil quickly so I re-applied a few times until it stopped soaking in.  I gave it three coats of oil in total.
The oil raised the grain slightly, so using some 400 grit wet and dry paper I smoothed it over again.  It didn't take much time or effort to get it super smooth again.
Then I removed any dust with a cotton cloth.
To make the table top more hard wearing I used some spray varnish. I applied three coats of this in total, and did some de-nibbing inbetween each coat once it was dry with some 600 grit wet and dry before applying the next coat.
And then I could clear away all the shavings, of which there were enough to fill two big black bin bags!
It took much longer than I expected to get the slab nice and flat, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out so far.  This project has taken me a day and half so far, and with the table top now done I can start working on the frame for the table.  And I've got some good ideas about how I'm going to go about making the frame and what it's going to look like, and that will be covered in part 2 which will be coming soon.
I hope you enjoyed watching this as much as I enjoyed working on it.  Please subscribe if you haven't already. Thanks for watching.

Restoring Two Old Spokeshaves

I donned a pair of gloves for this as it was about to get messy.
I'd start the cleaning process with some 80 grit abrasive paper and some 220 grit wet and dry paper stuck to a melamine board with some sticky back tape.
I started cleaning up the top of the cap iron, and eventually revealed that it was made by Record, which was a pleasant surprise. 
So here I'm just removing the rust, I'm not trying to make it look new like it just came out of the factory, I actually like my tools to look like they've had some use.
Next I worked on the front bevel, so I'm just gradually changing the angle against the abrasive paper until all the rust was gone.
Then I did the back of the cap iron
I sprayed some water with a drop of washing up liquid in it for lubrication on to the 220 grit wet and dry paper and then repeated the process just to polish up the metal.
I also needed to clean the edges, so I did that by hand and that was the cap iron done
The cutting iron eas very rusty, so I gave that some 80 grit action too.
I was only hitting the edges, as there was quite a big hollow in the centre - but the tip was nice and flat and that's all I wanted so rather than spending ages getting the back of the blade flat for no good reason I just cleaned up the centre by hand.
And for the second surprise under all that rust, the cutting iron is actually made by Stanley, so it's a Stanley cutting iron, and a Record cap iron... No idea if the body is a Record, a Stanley, or someting else entirely!
Then I cleaned up the top of the cutting iron, and here's a really nice camera angle.
After polishing on the 220 grit this is how it looked. 
The cutting edge was really blunt, and to demonstrate that I tried it out on some paper and as you can see it doesn't cut at all at the moment.
To sharpen it I'd start with my 360 and 600 grit double sided diamond plate.  I'll leave links in the description box below this video to all of the products I use for sharpening.
I sprayed on some water and started to clean up the back first at 360 and then 600 grit.
Next I'd use my whetstone, which I'd already put in some water a few minutes before, this is 1000 grit on one side and 6000 on the other.
And I love this stone because it cuts through the metal really really quickly as you can see by the grey slurry.
After using 1000 I moved to 6000 side and this gets the metal really shiny, almost mirror like.
Usually for sharpening the cutting edge, I use a honing guide, this helps to maintain a consistent bevel angle while you're sharpening, but the spokeshave blade is too small for that so I'd need to do it by hand and I've not had much practice at that.  
I started by finding the bevel on the diamond plate, and then this happened...   Here it is in slow motion - not good at all.
Then I realised that if I held the blade at roughly a 45 degree angle, there was much less chance of me repeating that mistake again, and that worked much better.  After a while I could feel a burr along the length of the cutting edge which is a good sign...  I couldn't quite capture it on camera, but you'll see it later on when I remove it from the blade.
So now that the burr was established I moved up through the grits again - 600, 1000 and 6000.
The great thing about having  both a diamond plate is that you can flatten the whetstone on it, as the whetstone is much softer than the diamond plate.
Finally I used my strop, this is the back of a piece of leather which I salvaged from a leather foot stool, glued on to a block of MDF.
I charged the strop with some green polishing compound.
I first removed the burr from the back of the blade, and here it is.  
I polished the cutting edge and got a really nice mirror like finish.
At this point I did all the sharpening cliches like shaving my arm hair off and slicing paper, because I don't think it's possible to make a sharpening video on YouTube without that.
To protect the bear metal parts, I'd use this, it's a piece of cloth soaked in 3 in 1 oil stuffed tightly in to a plastic lid, this is something I learned from Paul Sellers YouTube channel. 
I rubbed that on the cutting iron and cap iron too.
The sole of the spokeshave also needed some cleaning up.  I did that on the diamond plates again, at 360 and then 600 grit.  I didn't bother going higher as it wasn't really necessary. Then I oiled up all the other parts, includig the screw threads.
I put the spokeshave back together so I could try it out.  
I started with pine and it worked well.  And then I moved on to some oak and it had no trouble with that either - it cut nice and cleanly.
Then I remembered I had some metal paint left over from when I restored my vise, so I thought I'd take the clean up a bit further.  I removed all the parts from the body again and sanded it down.  I wasn't aiming to get down to bear metal - just to roughen up the surface so that the new paint would adhere.. I cleaned off the dust with some white spirit and then dried it with a paper towel, and then applied the paint.  I just did two coats as this stuff covers really well.
For the second spokeshave, I first removed the blade.  It was quite rusty.
I flattened the back working up through the grits as I had for the previous one.
Then I could start working on the cutting edge, and for this I couldn't sharpen it on the diamond plates or whetstone because of the pins being in the way, so instead I used a method I'd seen in a Paul Sellers video.
I stuck some sticky back tape on to a scrap piece of pine, and then added some 240 grit wet and dry paper.
I made some marks with a sharpie on the cutting edge, and then added a block in to my vise which the blade would rest on.  I did some sharpening and I could see that the marker pen was being removed from the tip of the cutting edge which was what I wanted.
As you can see with one end of the stick referencing on the surface workbench and the other end on the cutting edge, a consistent angle is maintained while sharpening.
I added some 400 grit paper on the other end of the stick and polished the cutting edge some more.
The great thing about this system is that it's adjustable via the block in the vise so you can get the exact height you need to hit the cutting edge.  Here I'm using another stick with 1200 grit.  
And then I added some polishing compound to the other side so that I could polish the edge even more.
After oiling the blade I could re-fit tehe blade and set the cutting depth.  And as you can see this one worked well too.

Making Cat Or Dog Bunk Beds

Recently I found some pine bed slats and a broken double bed frame, and in this video I'm going to be making some bunk beds for cats or smallish dogs.  
I previously designed and made some single versions of these beds which was an earlier video on my channel.
The slats had some straps attached with staples so the first job was to get those off
And I removed all the metal fittings.  
The slats measured just shy of 1.4m in length and from that I decided what size to make the beds.  I'd make the length 60cm so I could get two pieces out of each slat, and the width around 44 which would give me 3 pieces from each slat.
I cut the pieces to length using a stop block at the mitre station to get consistent cuts and I worked out I had enough to make two of the bunk beds.
And I kept all of the short offcuts to one side, as I could make use of them for the leg assembly later on.
I assembled the rectangles using glue and brad nails and a speed square to ensure that the corners were square, and these rectangles will later hold the mattresses
Next I started making the cuts for the leg assemblies and these were around be 70cm in length which would be the height of the bed, and with the pieces cut to length I offered them up.
Each leg would be made up of two layers of slats, a long piece on the outside and several short pieces on the inside, and here I'm offering them up to work out where to apply glue.  Imagine this is the top of the leg and this is the bottom of the leg and these legs would form the headboard end of the bunk beds.
At the bottom of the leg there'd be a small offcut and then there'd be a space for width of the slat which the rectangles I'd already made will slot in to later and I'm using the same piece here rotated 90 degrees to get the right size, then there'd be a longer piece to seperate the two bunks and then the second rectangle piece, and above that would be a headboard which I'll add later so again i'm using an offcut to get the right spacing.
Then I could apply wood glue and nail on the bottom of the leg.  I'm making sure that the pieces are level with my hands before nailing.  The nails would be on the inside so they won't be very visible and I'll fill them later anyway. 
Then I apply glue for the piece that seperates the bunks and use an offcut as a spacer again to get the spacing right before nailing.  These nails are just to stop everything moving around but these glue joints wouldn't be particularly tight without something squeezing them together, so then I added clamps.
And started making the cuts for the legs at the footboard end of the bed.
I used my oscillating tool to cut the piece free and then squared up those cuts on the mitre saw before cutting the leg pieces to length.
I used a card scraper to remove the finish, and then I could glue up the assembly for the legs at the foot of the bed in the same way as I had done the head of the bed.
I clamped those up too this time using my vise.
The next job was to rip the edges of all of the legs clean at the tablesaw to remove the rounded edges on all the slats.  
And if you're wondering why there's so much dust here, it's because I had pulled the hose off the tablesaw earlier and forgot to re-connect it - so the dust extraction is turned on, but it's not connected to the saw.... Which was pretty stupid and it took me a while to realise.
I could now add the rectangles to the leg assemblies and nail them in place.
And I added some wood filler to all the nail holes. This is actually oak filler but it's not a bad colour match for the pine - you can see that the holes almost disappear. 
I had this piece of blockboard and I'd use this to cut some cleats to support the mattress in each of the rectangles, so I ripped some pieces to 20mm square.
I glued and nailed them in place and then added screws to re-enforce them and pull the joints together nice and tight.
For the bottom of each mattress I had some veneered particle board which I salvaged from an old wardrobe that was left by some bins so I ripped these to size so that they would fit inside the rectangles and be supported by the cleats.
This piece of pine was one of the sides of the bed frame, and it was long enough for me to make the head and footboards of the beds. First I needed to remove the cleats.
And unfortunately they were glued on so I used a hammer and a screw driver to pry them off - some pieces came off quite cleanly but in some areas the wood split and left a bit of a mess.
I then roughly marked up the pieces for length and cut them slightly oversized with a circular saw because the workpiece was too long to fit on my mitre station.
I could then clean up those rough circular saw cuts at the mitre station, set up a stop block and cut all the head and footboards to length.
Next I could clean them up with a hand plane.  There was some tear out on a couple of these pieces, but I worked out that I could face the torn out faces at the footboard of the bed on the inside, so they would be hidden which was good...
When I offered up the head and footboards I decided to add a subtle curve  for decoration, so I marked up where the curve would start and then marked up a curve free hand.  I cut that out on the bandsaw following the line and then I could use the offcut as a template to mark up the opposite side and cut that out too.
I used a block plane to clean up those bandsaw cuts and also to refine the curve.
The headboards got glued and clamped on.
And I cut the same curves on to the footboards and glued those to the rectangles with the torn out faces facing inwards. I secured this with screws from the inside as these wouldn't be visible and it was quicker than clamping. 
I ripped off the top part of the curtains which won't be needed. Then I could start upholstering.  
I placed the foam on the fabric in one corner, and added the backing board.
Using my air stapler I first secured one of the short sides in the middle and then ripped the fabric to size. then I pulled the opposite side as tight as possible and secured it with staples in the middle too.
Then I did the same again but on the long sides.
And then I worked on the corners, pulling them tight, firing in a couple of staples and then folding the sides in as tight as possible.  The more I do this the better I get at it, but I'm still great at it but here's how they looked when they were done. 
 Next I sanded the bed frames with my random orbit sander.
I decided to finish one of the beds with boiled linseed oil which brings out the grain really nicely and adds a warmer tone to the colour of the wood.
And the second bed I finished with some rustic pine Briwax, and this adds more of a brown colouring to the wood and brings out the grain a bit too. 
After a few hours I could buff out the wax and the beds were done so I could add the mattresses.

My Makita Cordless LXT Tools Review & Opinions

A video about all my Makita Cordless LXT tools and my opinions of them.    Also why I chose Makita, why I prefer cordless tools to corded and what I'd like to own and what I wish existed in the range!
Thanks for watching! Please subscribe!
Makita tools in this video:
Makita Cordless LXT Impact Driver http://amzn.to/2wqHnwG (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/V8zeUK (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2wqByiB (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Drill http://amzn.to/2wuoYgG (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/azH5fK (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2iPGIzV (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Circular Saw http://amzn.to/2gxCEDU (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/c8Zq3F (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2wuiXkj (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Router http://amzn.to/2DlzzkQ (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/zWd1RC (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2rhlsYj (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Oscillating Tool http://amzn.to/2EQjQGZ (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/LdCvz4 (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2wZ7I6k (US)
Makita Cordless LXT Jigsaw http://amzn.to/2xE6nPE (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/5numL6 (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2eqNRly (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Random Orbit Sander http://amzn.to/2gqckrs (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/4iEVy1 (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2vyeAYp (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Hand Planer http://amzn.to/2xDIasv (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/b6DzfV (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2iPxZhm (Amazon US)
Makita Cordless LXT Angle Grinder http://amzn.to/2wqfIvG (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/zYbbEj (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2gqkL6p (Amazon US)
Makita Twin Rapid Battery Charger http://amzn.to/2Dde1ms (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/PEMvbs (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2DGMTNH (Amazon US)
Makita 5.0Ah 18v Battery http://amzn.to/2BbEAGS (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/mJ9Fgb (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2mGl4Nt (Amazon US)
Makita 4.0Ah 18v Battery http://amzn.to/2FMQOJF (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/WHe2UQ (Mano Mano)
Makita 3.0Ah 18v Battery http://amzn.to/2Bas4ax (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/Rc5zg9 (Mano Mano)
Makita 2.0Ah 18v Battery http://amzn.to/2FNm4rC (Amazon UK) http://goo.gl/ZvvHkM (Mano Mano) http://amzn.to/2DERSON (Amazon US) 
Other tools mentioned in the video that I think highly of:
Bosch PSB1800 Drill http://amzn.to/2mJDRrk (UK)
Bosch PST700E Jigsaw http://amzn.to/2mN7UPw (UK)
Silverstorm Power Belt File http://amzn.to/2BavcTR (UK) http://goo.gl/3exceh (Mano Mano) WEN Power Belt File appears to be the same tool http://amzn.to/2rmnkPF (US) 

Making A Small Air Filtration Unit (FAIL)

In this video I'm going to be making a small air filtration unit for my workshop.

Recently I upgraded the dust extraction for my shop by installing a new extractor to my shed extension, and ducting to all my machines in the shop to collect as much dust as possible at source.
And that's working really well, but it was never going to be a perfect solution as some dust particles are always going to get airborn.  One example is my tablesaw - most of the dust from this goes downwards towards the dust port as it should, and gets sucked up by the extractor, but some of the dust also goes forwards, and I know this because when I use the tablesaw I notice a bit on my clothing, and also I usually find a fine layer of dust settling behind me on my bandsaw table.
Other things like sanding or routing will also create a little dust in the air even when connected up to the extractor, and those small particles of dust are the ones that are most harmful for your lungs.
As I looked in to solutions for cleaning the air in my shop there seemed to be two solutions available to buy.
The first is to buy an air filtration unit like the ones on screen now by various brands.  These seem pretty good, and the cost of them seems to range between 150 and 400 pounds.  I have a few problems with these - firstly their size - I don't really have space for something so big, I don't have any wall space, and if I mounted it on my ceiling i'd lose too much headroom. The best space I have for something like this would be above my tablesaw in the middle of my shop, but I also use the tablesaw as an extension to my workbench and if I'm working on something large I think it'll just get in the way.  The other problem I have with these is that even the smaller units are designed to clean air in spaces much larger than my shop.  The smallest unit I can find is designed to clean spaces up to 113 cubic metres of space.  My workshop is 2.6 cubic metres.  So I don't think I need something as powerful to clear such a small space.
The second option is to install an extractor fan to one of my walls, but the problem I have with that is an extraction fan will also remove the heated air from inside my insulated shop and in the winter I want to try and retain that heat to keep my shop at a reasonable temperature.  
So instead what I decided to do is attempt to make a small air filtration unit that does not get in my way as I'm working, that's adequately powered rather than over powered to clean the air in my small shop and that filters out the smallest micron dust particles that are the most harmful to my lungs and that's easy to maintain.  It also preferably needs to be relatively quiet running too.
To get started I needed a small fan and some filters.  
For the fan, so I looked on Amazon and chose this one here - I chose this because firstly it's rated at 230v which means I can just wire it up to a normal UK plug, it's a "silent" operating fan, so it should be nice and quiet, it has good reviews on Amazon, and also it was relatively cheap at about £33.  I'll provide a link in the description box below
For the filters, I decided it'd be good to have something washable so that I don't need to replace the filters regularly I can just clean them and re-use them, and I wanted a HEPA rated filter to filter out the smallest particles of dust.  So I put washable HEPA filter in to Amazon and found this pair of filters designed for a Dyson vacuum cleaner.  These are roughly the same size - slightly bigger actually - than the 100mm outlet of the extractor fan so they seemed to be a good option. 
This concept didn't work unfortunately :-( I think it's a combination of the fan being underpowered and the filters being quite thick, and I als got a lot of feedback from YouTube from people saying that the fan should be sucking air in through the filters rather than blowing air in to the,...

Making A Giant Mallet

In this video i'm going to be making a giant mallet as a commission for one of my YouTube viewers in the United States.  The client has a collection of hammers and mallets and said he'd like to have something made by me and he suggested a carnival or strongman style mallet and I really liked that idea.  Traditionally, carnival mallets have a metal banding around the head and I don't really have the right tools or knowledge to do that kind of thing, so I reached out to Alec Steele, a popular YouTuber and talented blacksmith based in my home town with the idea of collaborating on this project but unfortunately I never heard back from him - he's probably busy with other things, so this mallet is going to be just wood - and the client wanted it to be made from oak, which is a good choice as it's very strong and dense.
He sent me some measurements he wanted the mallet to be so I wrote them on my whiteboard before getting started so I could refer to them.
For the head of the mallet I'd use some oak reclaimed from a local church refurbishment, this wood is around 100 years old, and has some great character, and I could make use of the short lengths for the head.
I started by planing one face of each piece flat.  I marked the planed face with an X so I wouldn't lose track of which surfaces I'd flattened. Then I could work on getting the edges of each piece square to the face that I'd planed. I first checked the fence was square to the table with a small square and then with the planed face pushed firmly against the fence I squared up both edges.
So now I had two edges which were perfectly square to the planed face on each board. 
Next I chose which pieces I could laminate together to get enough width to form the head of the mallet and glued and clamped them together with the planed faces face down on the flat surface of my bench.
After leaving them for an hour or so I scraped off the excess glue with a card scraper and then left them overnight, and I then planed down the laminated blocks planing the already planed faces again just to make sure all the pieces were flush with one another. 
Then I set up the planer as a thicknesser, and did several passes on each piece to get the unplaned faces flattened and square.
I used the mitresaw to trim one end of each block and then set up a stop block so that I could cut each block to length.
And here's one of the four prepared blocks ready for gluing.  I glued up the pieces to form two halves of the head and I'd glue up the two halves later on after I cut the joinery for the handle.
I applied some weight and left it over night again and the following day I cut the blocks to width on the tablesaw and I took this in a few passes raising the blade inbetween because the oak is so dense.
With the two halves of the head together I then found a centre point and marked up as big a circle as possible using my compass.
Next I looked for a piece of oak to use for the handle and I had a few of these 50 by 50mm pieces which were the upright pieces from some reclaims oak hat and coat stands. these pieces had a cove on each corner, so I marked up some cuts to get rid of the coves where the handle would be joined to the head.  I made the rip cut on the tablesaw. And then I did the cross cut with a pullsaw and removed the rest of the material with a chisel to fom the joint.  Then I did the same on the opposite side too.
I also removed the old finish from the sides so that the glue would adhere to it.
 To cut the joinery on the head, I first centred the handle on to the head, and used a marking knife to trace the outline. I extended those marks using a speed square on to the sides of the blocks.
I used my calipers to measure the thickness of the handle and it was just over 30mm, so I set the calipers to 15mm and then scribed a line on the end of the blocks.  I used a pen  just to make the marks more visible and then raised the blade of my tablesaw to the depth line. I set the fence to cut within the marks and then made a series of cuts to remove most of the material
I then used a chisel to clean up the joint.
The handle was a fraction too wide to fit in the slot at first, so I took a few passes off the top of the handle with a handplane and then it fitted really nicely.
I decided I'd shape the head of the mallet using handtools as I wanted it to look hand-crafted, rather than looking like it came out of a factory or something... But first I tipped my tablesaw blade to 45 degrees and cut the corners away just to remove most of the material to save myself lots of work. 
I also cut a slot in the centre at the end of the handle for a spline which will be added later.  Rotating the workpiece made sure that the slot was perfectly centred.
Next I did a dry fit just make sure everything went together ok.  And it didn't there was quite a big gap, so made some adjustments with a block plane and chisel.
Then I did another dry fit, and there was still a small gap so I took a little more off and then it seemed perfect.
Next I set up the tablesaw to make a 45 degree cut to remove the coves down the length of the handle on all four corners. And then I rounded over those 45s with a block plane.
 I used this piece of sapele for the spline, I first marked it up and ripped it to the right width for the handle at the tablesaw, and then I ripped down the thickness so that it would be slightly too wide for the slot in the handle.  I think the slot was around 4mm so I ripped this to 6mm. I cut some of the length away at the bandsaw and then checked that it was wider than the slot, and it was which was good.  Then I took some more of thickness away at one end to shape it as a wedge.  And then it slotted in nicely.  This spline probably isn't strictly necessary for strength because the wood glue is plenty strong enough, but it will help to secure the handle in place really tightly to the head, and also it's going to look cool.
So now I was ready to glue and clamp everything together and it went together nicely. 
Once I'd got a couple of clamps on, I added some glue to the slot and hammered in the spline. I cut off the excess with my pullsaw, and then added more clamps and left it to dry overnight.
Next I could start shaping the head, and at the bottom I used a spokeshave for this, but because the handle was now fitted I also used chisels and a block plane to shape the bottom of the head. 
I also used a card scraper just to get everything nice and smooth.
For the rest of the head I mainly used my hand plane. 
Here you can see the spline joint being cleaned up and it looked really nice.
As you can see this created a nice big pile of shavings.
To clean up the ends of the head of the mallet I used my belt sander and that worked well.
I used a roundover bit in the router to ease over the edges of the head.  This left some burn marks so I came back with a sander to clean it up. 
Now that the mallet was together, at this point I wasn't too keen on how the handle looked, it was just straight and kind of boring, and also it seemed a bit too thick, so I decided to shape it a bit using the spokeshave and smoothing over again with the card scraper.  The final shape was thick at the bottom, thinner in the middle and then thick again towards the head, and I thought that looked much better.
Then I did some final sanding at 120 on the random orbit sander and then 240 grit by hand. 
I decided to also adda a roundover to the end of the handle too, as without it it kind of looked unfinished.
I cleaned off the burn marks again by hand.
And then it was time for finish and I used boiled linseed oil which brought out the grain really nicely. 
Finally I added my makers mark to the top of the handle near the head.
With the mallet finished all I have to do now is package it up and get it sent over to New Jersey in the States.  
I really enjoyed this one, I'm happy with how it turned out.  I don't think there's anything I would have done differently if I were to do it again. The oak head has a few imperfections as you can see, but I think that really adds to the character.  
It's pretty heavy, i
It took about 15 or 16 hours in total to make this.

Radio Studio Desks Commission

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

VLOG 2 - Expanding My Business / Dust Extraction / What's New / Tool Talk / Christmas

Section times:

0:39 - Expanding My Business

3:19 - Dust Extraction Follow Up

5:35 - What's New

8:09 - Tool Talk

Products mentioned in video:

Trend Air Ace Respirator: http://amzn.to/2kM8XOA (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2D1D2Ao (Amazon US)

Orazio 24l Silent Air Compressor: https://goo.gl/oxZMNT (AIM Tools)

Crenova Hot Glue Gun: http://amzn.to/2zk3pzh (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2l3DfeX (Amazon US)

Makita LXT Trim Router: http://amzn.to/2C11JjD (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2BUc1ja (Amazon US)

Borderlinx service: www.borderlinx.com

In this video I talk about how I'm expanding my business, dust extraction follow up, what's new and some new tools in tool talk, plus a Christmas message featuring Dylan

Making A Large Beam Compass

I looked through my scrap pile and found a piece of what I think is ash, which measured 600mm in length and 27mm square.
I'd start by drilling a hole for the pencil, and using calipers I measured the width of a pencil at 7mm.  I drilled a 7mm hole, but that was a bit tight so I came back with an 8mm bit, and then the pencil could slide in. 
I raised the blade on my tablesaw and then moved the fence so that the workpiece was centred to the blade, and made a cut through the hole, and a bit further.  I rotated the workpiece making cuts from both sides to make sure the slot was even on both sides. Then I gave it a squeeze by hand to check how much flex there was, as this part would be the clamping part to hold the pencil and it seemed fine.
I needed an m8 bolt next, and unfortunately I didn't have any in the shop, but I did have some m8 threaded rod so I used that instead.  I just needed to cut it to length with an angle grinder.  This heats the metal up quite a lot so I used some water to cool it down.
Then I rounded over each end on the bench grinder to remove the burrs - this made the wingnuts screw on really easily. 
Next I marked up where to drill a hole for rod and drilled with an 8mm bit.
I could then add the rod, and a washer and wingnut to each end.
I tested this out with a pencil inside and it sinched it down nicely.
Then it was back to the scrap pile and this time I pulled out a small piece of oak to use which would hold the compasses pin.
I marked around the end of the bar of the compass on to the centre of the oak and used a 25mm forstner bit to remove most of the material inside the pencil marks, then I drilled some 3mm holes in the corners of the square and removed the rest of the material with chisels.
And the piece of oak fitted nicely on to the length of ash.  
I did a bit of hand sanding to the inside of the square hole.  
This piece needed a hole for a piece of threaded rod too.  I drilled that on the pillar drill because the piece of oak I used was quite thin, and I wasn't confident enough to drill the hole by hand in case I didn't get it straight enough. But the pillar drill did a perfect job.
Then at the tablesaw I made another relief cut along the centre of the piece of oak in to the square hole.
I added another piece of rod, washers and wingnuts so that the piece of oak could be sinched securely on to the bar of the compass and that worked well too.
Next I marked up a pointed shape for the piece of oak where the pin would be added.  I used a speedsquare to mark up the shape and cut it out on the bandsaw.
I cleaned up the bandsaw cuts at my bench sander.
I used a nail for the pin of the compass. I used the grinder to shape the head of the nail in to a point.  Then I drilled a pilot hole slightly smaller than the thickness of the nail, added some super glue and hammered the nail in the hole.  
I could then shape the other end of the nail to form the compass point.
I used my block plane to ease over the sharp edges of the bar of the compass to make it more comfortable to hold. And then I did some final sanding.
I decided to add some measurement markings using a black pen.  I first marked up where the centre of the pencil point was. 
Then using calipers I measured up the distance between the pin of the compass and the face of the oak piece which measured just over 7mm.  This gave me a distance to offset my ruler by - so I lined up just over 7mm on the ruler with the mark representing the centre of the pencil and then made marks down the length of the bar at 50mm intervals.
I used a small square to mark up a line at each of those marks.
Then I wrote on the measurements - with radius at the top and diameter at the bottom. 
I used spray varnish to seal the ink and protect the wood. I gave the pieces 3 coats in total, de-nibbing in between each coat with some 600 grit wet and dry paper.  
The opposite side of the bar to the measurements got my makers mark, and I sealed that with the spray varnish too.  
When the varnish was dry, I applied some clar briwax with a cotton cloth.  After a few hours I buffed out the wax with a cotton cloth.  
I could then add the rod, washers and wingnuts again, and try out the compass for the first time.
So I set the compass to 200mm radius, or 400mm diameter and drew a circle.  Then I used a tape measure to validate that the measurement markings were cor rect. 

My New Dust Extraction System - Installation & Demonstration

Welcome to part 2 of 2 videos about upgrading my workshop dust extraction system.
In part 1 I talked about my reasons for making the changes, and in this is part 2 I'll show you what I did and how I did it.
Dust Extractor
So I'll start with the dust extractor itself - this is the Numatic NVD750 from Axminster Tools.  Axminster are not a sponsor, and I paid for this with my own money. I paid £570 for this (about 770 dollars).  This is the model with 2x 1200w motors, Axminster do sell a cheaper model which is the NV750 which has a single 1200w motor, but I wanted the extra suction that the more expensive model should provide.
This is an L class extractor, and in order to upgrade it to M class extractor which is capable of dealing with the smallest micron particless of dust like those from sanding and working with MDF I also bought the additional HEPA module for this machine.  This was an additional £334 (about 450 dollars).  This module fits directly on to the extractor with some mounting clips.  
So in total this machine was just over £900 (1200 dollars) which is much more than I had planned to spend - but I did a lot of research before choosing this model, and this one was the best option for a few reasons: firstly it's M class like I already mentioned. Secondly it's size - it's relatively compact and will fit nicely in my recently build workshop extension.  And thirdly it's very quiet.  The best way I can demonstrate how quiet it is is to show you some footage of my cat, who is terrified of any vacuum I've ever used.  This is the first time I turned it on, and my cat just happened to come in to the room to see what was going on.  So I decided to turn it on again while he was there to see how he responded.  
The extractor also comes with a wheel base but I don't need that part for now, so I unclipped it and I'll pop it in my loft for storage.
I'm really impressed with this machine, the build quality is excellent, the suction is really powerful, it's incredibly quiet, it's M class, and it's so much better than any other vacuum I've ever used - but then it ought to be because it's 6 times more expensive than my old Fox F50 and 18 times more expensive than my Titan 30l.
Cyclone Seperator
The next part is this, my new home made cyclone seperator.  I won't go in to too much detail about what this does as there is plenty of information out there and I'm not an expert, but just in case you're not aware of what this is for the cyclone sits between the dust extractor and the air that's being sucked in, it creates a vortex which seperates most of the dust and chips before they reach the extractor itself.  This is good for a few reasons, but mostly for keeping the filters or collection bags in the extractor cleaner for longer, which means less hassle and maintenance, and it also makes for a more convenient way of disposing of the dust
This part is the cyclone itself which I bought from Amazon this was £22. Link in the description box below if you're interested in it.
And below that, this is a 70l airtight plastic container also bought on Amazon, and again link in the description box below - it was quite expensive at £32 but it's the only airtight plastic container I could find that would had a big enough capacity that would fit within the space I had available.  A great alternative to this would be this 60l airtight container which is also from Amazon - I'll add a link for this one too.  This is actually the one I ordered and intended to use originally, however after measuring up, I found that with the cyclone on top, it would be slightly too high to fit in my extension, so I had to send that one back for a refund.
Here's what I did to fit the cyclone to the lid of the box.  The cyclone came with a cutting template sticker.  So I put that on the lid.  The main hole requires a 75mm holesaw, and I didn't   have one that size, so I first drilled a clearance hole, and then we used a hacksaw blade to cut the hole.  This worked surprisingly well.  Then I drilled the holes for the screws and removed the template.  I added some sealant to the bottom of the cyclone, and then from the underside of the lid we added the screws and washers.  I then made sure it was well sealed as it was important to keep the box airtight.
Air Flow 
 So while we're at the extension, there's just one more thing to explain and that is these fans which are on each side of the new extension.  
One of them sucks fresh air in to the extension and the reason for that is firstly so the dust extractor doesn't overheat, but also because I'm also storing my air compressor in here which obviously needs a supply of air, and this intake valve here is positioned facing towards the fan. This compressor is new to me too so I got rid of my oild compressor and got this one instead because it's extremely quiet.  But as this video is about dust collection I'll probably upload a separate short video covering that.
On the otherside there's a fan that blows air out of the extension and that's just to ensure good airflow throughout the extension to replace the air that gets exhausted from the dust extractor.  Now this may or may not be necessary - to be honest I don't really know about this sort of stuff, but I as I was adding one intake fan I figured it would be worth adding an outtake fan too just as a precaution.  Hopefully someone in the comments sections will point out what I've done right or wrong here.
These are the fans and grilles which I bought from Maplins in the UK but you can get these cheaper on Amazon, links in the description box below.
To fit the fans I first traced around the grills, drilled a clearance hole and then cut out the circle with my jigsaw.  
The grill could then be fitted with bolts through the wood cladding and the fan secured with bolts from the inside
The first job was to link up the extractor to the cyclone, and I bought a new vacuum hose on Amazon for this which came with two free size adaptors which helped to connect the hose to the cyclone.  Link in the description for that too.
This hose is the threaded type, so I could cut it to the length I wanted, screw the cuff that came with the adaptors on to the pipe, and then push on the screw on adaptor that fitted to the machine.
I could then screw on one of the adaptor that came with the hose I bought separately, and this pushed snugly on to the top of the cyclone fitting which was an unusual size, as they all seem to be.
I didn't have a good fitting for the other cyclone port so I used the closest one I had and used gaffer tape to fit it.  I'm still looking for an adaptor that's the right size for this so I'm hoping to  replace it for a proper one some day. 
So I wanted to connect all my machines in the workshop up to this one dust extraction system.
And I wanted to keep the pipe runs to the machines as short as possible as I didn't want to lose too much suction and the most direct route was to mount to the ceiling.  Running the pipes under the floor or through the roof would have been better for neatness, but unfortunately wasn't an option due to the roof rafters and floor bearers of my workshop being in the way, and drilling through those for the pipe would certainly compromise their strength. THose options would also mean longer pipe runs, and a loss of some suction.
Next I needed to get the hose connected to the ducting in the workshop, and for that I'd use 40mm PVC waste pipe and push fit fittings which I got from ScrewFix. I got the idea for this from Matt at the Happy Wife Happy Life YouTube channel, and I really liked the idea because the pipe is relatively small  and unobstructive.  
I used a long drill bit to drill a pilot hole all the way through the wall in to the workshop, and then came back with a 40mm holesaw. Then I realised I was trying to drill through the workshop frame which you can see here, so I abandoned that and drilled another hole below it.  I could then drill through from the inside of the workshop out and insert the PVC pipe through the wall. 
I had another fitting which seemed to connect nicely to one of these 90 degree fittings, and I tested that  by blowing through it blocking the air with my hand and it seemed really good, so I threaded that on to the hose and connected the 90 degree angle up to the pipe through the wall.
Then I could attach more of the push fit fittings and pipe leading to each of my machines using clips to secure everything.
Because the pipes were offset from one of my walls due to one of the T fittings, I made a simple storage box thing out of some scrap OSB mounted to the wall just so that I had something to secure the pipe too.  And I gave that a coat of paint just so it would blend in better with the wall.
The most difficult machine to get the ducting to was the mitre saw - it was a tight space and I needed to ensure the pipes wouldn't get in the way of the saw movement as it rotates and pivots. I drilled a pilot hole from the top down, using a right angle chuck attachment in my drill, and then drilled up from the bottom with a 40mm holesaw, and then I could add the pipe and blast gate which I'll talk about next.
Blast Gates
I needed the ability to isolate the suction to each machine in order to get the most possible suction to whichever machine I needed to use, so I decided to make a blast gate for each machine.
I used some offcuts of 6mm plywood to make them, I first cut some pieces about 11cm square on the tablesaw. 
Then I ripped some thing strips about 15mm. I offered them up to opposing edges of the 11cm squares and measured the distance between them which was around 71mm so I cut some more strips at 71mm.
I glued and clamped the thin strips on each side sandwiched in the middle of another of the square pieces,and then inserted one of the 71mm strips making sure it was a snug fit between them and then I removed it and I could leave that to dry.  I later added some small screws just for extra re-enforcement.
And this is what I had.
And then I added some more thin strips to each side of the 71mm strip to act as stops for the gate. 
When I ran out of spring clamps I used bulldog clips instead.
A couple of the gates came out really tight so I added some candle wax to the inside and that helped them to open and close more easily.
I cleaned up the edges of the gates with a block plane.
Then I found the centre of the square and drilled through all three layers of the ply at the drill press. 
And that made the gates open and close.
Next with the gate in the closed position I could add the pipe to one side of the gate, this was quite a tight fit so I used a hammer to persuade them in 
And then I used sealant to ensure they were air tight.
I could then do the same to the other side of the gate, and that was those done and ready to fit to main pipework.
Connecting each machine
Next I needed to attach more hose to the pipes with the blast gates installed.
And the best solution I found for this was to use these adaptors which I found on Amazon - link in the description box below for these too.  These come in three pieces, the first part pushes on over the threads. The second piece screws on to the threads, and the third piece slips over the cuff and clicks in to the first piece. And this nozzle fits really nicely in to the 40mm pipe
 get the pipes attached to the blast gates attached to each machine, and all of my machines seem to have different sized dust ports, there doesn't seem to be any consistency which makes doing this sort of thing much harder than it should be.