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The Chess Set (Part 1 of 3) - The Board

In this video I make a chess board.
 
In terms of materials for the chess board, I had four offcuts of mahogany, these are the feet from some salvaged hat and coat stands.  And I had a piece of what I believe to be Iroko although I might be wrong - I've had this for a while and I don't remember where I picked this up.
 
First I needed to prepare the two materials.  I started by flattening one edge and one face of the piece of Iroko on the planer and then I did the same with the mahogany.
 
Then I ripped the opposite face of the mahogany at the tablesaw to make it square.
 
And I ripped the piece of Iroko in half and then thickness planed the other faces and edges of the Iroko to the same size as the pieces of mahogany.  
 
I then chopped the Iroko to length to be similar sized pieces as the mahogany using the mitre saw.
 
I also cleaned up the ends of the mahogany pieces
 
With all the pieces prepared I alternated the two woods ready for gluing up.  
 
I used a couple of bar clamps for the glue up, and used a framing square to check the shorter pieces of iroko were level and then I could tighten the clamps and wipe away the excess glue with a damp cloth.
 
I then added some F clamps to make sure that the pieces were seated on to the bar clamps
 
Once the glue had dried I cleaned up the ends at the tablesaw using my panel sled.
 
And then I cleaned up the faces of the workpiece with my handplane.
 
Next I needed to cut the block in to strips.  The tablesaw would have been the best tool to use for this but I used the bandsaw because the blade has a thinner kerf and I wanted to get as much material out of the block to work with as I could.
 
A little bit of blade drift on the bandsaw is inevtiable, especially when using a pretty dull blade like I am here, so before cutting the next strip I made sure to flatten the face of the block with the hand plane. I checked for flatness with a steel ruler and then I could cut the next strip and so on.
 
The bandsaw left a bit of tear out so I cleaned up each strip on the belt sander.
 
With all of the strips cut, I then made sure that they would all mate together properly by flattening the edges with a couple of strokes of the hand plane.
 
Next I could glue the strips together to create the chess board. I used a ruler to make sure the board was straight.
and I added clingfilm and a couple of small boards and F clamps again to make sure that the board would be as flat as possible while the glue set. The clingfilm was used just to stop the chess board sticking to the scraps of wood.
 
Once the glue had dried, I used a cabinet scraper to get rid of most of the excess glue and then I made sure the edges of the board were straight with my block plane.
 
I wanted to make a mitred trim for the board, and I had an offcut of oak which I'd use for that.
 
I cut the mitres at the mitre saw, and glued and taped them to the sides of the board.I used another mitre just to check that each corner would marry up well together
And once all four side were held in place with tape, I added some elastic bands and these would help to apply pressure and get nice tight joints
 
Once the glue had dried I then used my belt sander to flatten the board, clean up any dried up glue on the surface
and also get the trim flush with the board.  I sanded both sides at 120 grit and then moved on to sanding with my orbital sander with 120 grit also.
 
I marked up the size of the board on to the ply and cut it out with the jigsaw making sure to keep on the outside of the pencil lines.
I applied glue to the face of the ply, spread it out and then used a couple of scrap boards to make kind of a sandwich which would 
help to distribute the clamping pressure across the whole board.  I used F clamps and couple of long reach C clamps to reach near the centre
 
With the glue dry I then used the hand plane to get the ply flush with the oak trim.
 
Then I added another mitred trim out of some offcuts of mahogany and this would hide the edges of the plywood. 
 
I made this trim  in the same way as I made the oak, so I didn't bother filming it in detail.
 
I brought the trim flush to the board with my block plane and then I added a decorative edge to the mahogany trim using my router.
 
I used some abrasive paper wrapped around a pencil to sand the profile left by the router bit.
 
I then sanded the board by hand at 240, 400, 600 and finally 1200 grit to get it nice and smooth.
 
The first coat of finish I used was Teak oil.  Because this is an end grain board, the oil soaked in extremely quickly so I re-coated it once or twice straight away and then left it alone to soak in.
 
After applying oil, I decided to add a spray varnish, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly as there'll be chess pieces moving around the board I wanted quite a hard wearing top coat of finish, and secondly I wanted a nice glossy sheen to the board.  
 
In between each coat of spray varnish I sanded with 400 grit wet and dry paper to keep the surface nice and smooth before applying the next coat.  It got three coats of the spray varnish in total.
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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.

Handcut Dovetail & Brass Inlay Mahogany Wedding Box (Part 3 of 3)

The next job was to fit the piano hinge for the lid.  I cut the hinge to length with a hacksaw.

The hinge was around 3mm thick so I wanted to cut a recess for the hinge to sit in, in the rim of the box. 

I set up a straight edge and used my router with a straight bit to make the cut, squaring up the corners with a chisel.  Before adding the screws, I first glued the lid to the hinge using some epoxy so that I could ensure the placement of the lid was right.  After the glue had set, I could then fit the hinge with the brass screws after drilling some pilot holes.

I sanded the box by hand at 120, 240, 320, 400, 600 and then 1200 grit - much higher than I'd normally go, but that's because I wanted the brass to look really nice.

For finish, I'd use Teak Oil which I applied with a cotton cloth.

Finally I applied some clear Briwax, and buffed out the finish once dry.

I used some upholstery pins as feet for the bottom of the box just to create an air gap under it.  These were fitted with a mallet, evenly spaced in from the 4 corners.

I bought a brass plaque to go on the inside of the lid which I purchased from The Engraving Shop - this was mounted with screws.

I had some difficulties finding a good quality brass latch that was the right style - I bought many different ones and none of them looked right.  Eventually I found one on Etsy that was nice but needed some adjustments as it was too big and not shiny enough.

I adjusted the height of the latch at the disc sander which worked quite well.

To get it to be shiny, I sanded it by hand at 600 grit and then buffed it using some green polishing compound on a buffing pad in my drill.  That worked really well.!

I could then fit the latch with screws and the box was complete.

 

 

 

 

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Handcut Dovetail & Brass Inlay Mahogany Wedding Box (Part 2 of 3)

With the four sides of the box assembled, I needed to flatten the edges ready for the top and bottom panels to be added.  I used some sandpaper stuck to a piece of flat melamine with sticky back tape for this.

I cleaned up the edges of the box and the dovetail joints at the belt sander.

With the remaining piece of mahogany from the same wardrobe panel as the sides had been made from, I could get a top and bottom panel.  I marked them up and cut them out oversized with a circular saw.  I then cleaned up the faces of the panels with a handplane and checked for flatness with a steel ruler.

I then glued and clamped the top and bottom panels on to the box at the same time using F clamps.

When the glue had dried I could trim off the excess from the panels at the bandsaw, and refine the edges with a hand plane and belt sander.

I wanted to add a brass inlay to the box, so I contacted some local metal suppliers and one company could cut off some 1/4 inch brass square bar for me - just the amount I wanted.

I cut a housing joint in to the lid of the box at the tablesaw by setting my blade height to the thickness of the bars and making two passes for each inlay.

Once the brass bars fitted nicely, I glued them in with epoxy.

My 1/4" chisel wouldn't fit in the joint, so I cleaned them up by using a small screwdriver as a scraper.

I wanted to give the top of the box a decorative look so decided to use an ogee bit in my router to cut an "s" profile around the edges.  

I was surprised that I could route through the brass as well as the wood - I had googled and found it could be done!

Next I cut the lid free from the box at the tablesaw.

I could then use  the piece of melamine with sandpaper taped to it to flatten the lid and box so that they met nicely.

 

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Handcut Dovetail & Brass Inlay Mahogany Wedding Box (Part 1 of 3)

In this video I'm going to be making a box as a gift for my brother and his fiance's wedding.  As it's a special occasion I wanted to make something a little special, so this is going to be my first attempt at handcut dovetails.
 
For materials I'm going to be using some reclaimed mahogany wardrobe panels.  Recently a work colleague of mine mentioned he had a couple of solid mahogany panels from an old wardrobe and he asked me if I wanted it for anything.  To be honest I was expecting the panels might be plywood with a mahogany veneer applied, but to my surprise, they were indeed solid mahogany panels - and I've been keeping them aside for a special project as I don't come across mahogany very often.  
 
There were a lot of old nails to pull out of the mahogany, mainly in the sides of the panels but there were also a few random ones elsewhere.
 
With the material de-nailed, I clamped a straight edge to it and used my cicular saw to cut a new clean straight edge. to get rid of some of the old nail holes.
 
Then I cross cut a piece of the panel  in the same way to the size that I wanted the length of the sides of the box to be.
 
This piece would form the four sides of the box. I first checked that my cuts were square with a framing square and then ripped 4 equal pieces ot the tablesaw.
 
Next I used the planer to get one of the faces on each board flat, and then thickness planed the opposite face of each board, and at this point I think they were around 19mm thick.
 
Next I cut the pieces to length at the mitresaw using a stop block to get consistent cuts.
 
With my four sides of the box cut the next job was to cut the dovetails.  I'd never cut doevtails before, by hand or machine.  I first watched some instructional videos on YouTube by Paul Sellers.  And before I started working with the mahogany I wanted to do a test run on some scrap pieces of pine.  I'm really glad I did this as I learned a lot.  I also tried a couple of different saws for the cuts to see which worked best.  The dovetails didn't turn out brilliant, there were some pretty big gaps. but it didn't really matter as I knew that when I was working on the final piece I would take my time a bit more and concentrate on getting them as good as I possibly could. 
I transferred that on to all faces and edges of each board, and then started to lay out the dovetail cuts, marking up the waste material with an X.  First I would work on cutting the pins, and then the tails. I took my time with these cuts, continuouslly checking to make sure that my cuts were accurate.
 
I used a chisel to clean up the joints and could then assemble the four sides of the box
 
The dovetails turned out pretty good for a first attempt, but I did have some small gaps so I filled those with a glue and sawdust mixture
 
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House Tour / Past Projects Re-Visited (part 2 of 2)

Tour of my house and some of the things in it - talking about past projects some which have been featured in videos and others which haven't.

House Tour / Past Projects Re-Visited (Part 1 of 2)

Tour of my house and some of the things in it - talking about past projects some which have been featured in videos and others which haven't.

Restoring A Hand Plane - vintage Stanley No. 4

In this video I restore a vintage Stanley Number 4 hand plane which I purchased on eBay.

This handplane dates from 1948-1961 which is a really old model.  I used this website to check the age of the plane.

There was some rust to deal with, a loose handle, and the plane needed a set up as the frog was set too far forward.  The blade was also in need of a thorough sharpening.

I started by dissambling the handles and frog from the plane and I cleaned up all the rust from the bear metal parts with 80 grit sand paper.  I also oiled the bear metal parts once they were clean.

I could then re-fit the frog further back from where it was originally.

I used a knife blade to scrape off the old lacquer from the handles, and then sanded them with 80 grit abrasive paper.

I used Teak Oil to finish both handles.

I needed to shorten the bolt which held the rear handle in place so I used the grinder for that.  The bolt then sinched down the handle nicely, and I only needed to remove a couple of milimetres.

Next I flattened the sole of the plane.  I used a Sharpie to mark up the base of the plane, and some 80 grit paper on a flat surface (piece of melamine.  The sole had a big hollow in the centre, so it took quite a bit of sanding to get flat.

I also sanded the sides of the plane in the same way, and eased over the sharp edges to make it more comfortable in the hands.

I then cleaned up the cap iron and cutting iron, again with 80 grit abrasive paper and again adding oil to the bear metal parts to prevent them from rusting.

I then used my usual sharpening technique to bring the cutting iron edge to a mirror finish using the products listed below:

Draper Honing Guide: http://amzn.to/2rIhK9h (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2reUdvx (Amazon US)

Taidea 360/600 grit diamond plates http://amzn.to/2toED25 (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2rIolkm (Amazon US)

King Japanese 1000/6000 Whetstone: http://amzn.to/2shn7cH (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2qEpTaE (Amazon US)

Green Polishing Compound: http://amzn.to/2ro1do1 (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2qEzvCq (Amazon US)

After re-installing everything and a quick set up of the frog and cutting iron alignment, I tested the plane out and it works brilliantly.  This is already my favourite hand plane to use, it has surpassed my expectations. Previously my "go to" hand plane was my Record no.;5 buton this one the cutting seems to hold a better edge and the plane feels great in the hand.  I LOVE IT!

Simple Workbench Dogs

In this video I make some simple dogs for my workbench.  

Before I started, I wasn't sure I'd need/use them, but fancied giving it a try - and now they're installed I haven't stopped using them

I started with a scrap of oak that was around 33mm square which I'd use to make the dogs.

I picked the back left hand corner of my workbench for a few reasons - I have access to the underside of the worktop in this area, it's also in a good position to plane/sand etc, and finally it's out of the way of the main surface area of the worktop.

I started by drlling 30mm holes through the worktop with a forstner bit in my drill.  I drilled a few more holes with and then chiselled out the rest of the material until I had a square hole to fit my piece of oak. My worktop is plywood which wasn't the easiest thing to chisel, but it worked OK.

Once the dog fitted the hole, I then mounted an offcut of plywood to the underside of the worktop with woodglue and brad nails to cover half of the square hole. Then I inserted the dog, and made a pencil mark from underneath. 

I cut away 5mm in from the bottom of the dog and halfway through the workpiece on the bandsaw so that the bottom of the dog fits in and protrudes below through the plywood mounted to the bottom. With the dog seated fully in the hole, I then drew a pencil line around where the dog was flush with the worktop surface, and cut all the way through the workpiece with the bandsaw.

The dog can then be used by pushing it out from underneath, rotating it 90 degrees, and re-inserting so that the dog sticks out around 5mm from the top of the worktop.

I ended up adding a second dog level with the first one which will be useful for working on wider boards.

This was a really simple project that only took a couple of hours and has been a really good addition to my workbench.

Making A Quick, Simple and Strong Workbench

Recently a friend of mine got in touch and asked me for help building a workbench.  He wanted something simple and strong to fit in to a space in his garage and he sent me these dimensions. 
 
So I did a drawing on SketchUp, I designed a simple frame made from basic 63mm x 38mm construction timber these are more commonly known as 3x2s, although they actually measure less than 3 by 2 inches.  I also worked out a cut list and worked out that we needed 7x 2.4m lengths of the 3x2s to complete the frame which Steve bought new. 
 
For the top and the shelf, I already had some salvaged pieces of 18mm plywood which I found dumped by some bins, they were painted and a bit dirty on one side, but fairly clean on the other side. 
 
Free plans showing all the dimensions and a cutting list will be available on my website if you're interested in building this bench.
We started by cutting the outer leg pieces to length. I used the mitre saw to cut all of the pieces for the frame to the right length based on the drawing. 
 
Next we cut the inner leg pieces which would later support the apron rails, or stretchers that would support for both the shelf and the worktop.
 
I set up a stop block at the mitre station to cut these pieces to a consistent size.
 
And then we cut the apron rails or stretchers to length.
 
So these are the pieces we cut, the four pieces on the left are the aprons and on the right are all the pieces that would form the legs.
 
So we positioned the small pieces flush with the bottom of the outer leg pieces, then used an offcut as a spacer to get the distance correct for the apron rails, and applied wood glue.
 
We drilled some holes with a countersink bit and screwed the pieces together.
 
I marked up with a pencil some positions for the screws just so they were centred and spaced equally apart just for aesthetic reasons. 
Next we applied glue and added the apron rails which we attached with 2x 60mm screws. I used a large sash clamp to hold the pieces in place
 
Then we cut some shelf supports that would go in between the apron rails to support the shelf and the main worktop.
We used up some of the short scrap pieces of the 3x2s by ripping them in half to create some cleats.
 
These were then cut to length and glued and nailed to the sides of the shelf supports and would later be used to attach the shelf and worktop from underneath, so we pre-drilled the holes for that.
 
Then we cut the side pieces for the frame.
 
Next we did a dry assembly of the frame just to check we were on track with our measurements for shelves and started cutting the plywood to size starting with the main worktop.  Because these were salvaged pieces I first checked to find a corner that was a perfect 90 degree angle with a framing square and then I took all my measurements from that corner.
 
I set up a straight edge to cut it to the correct width.  My straight edge was a bit too short to use clamps so I got Steve to stand on one end instead.
 
I made the cut with my cordless circular saw.
 
And then I could cut it to length.
 
Then we cut the shelf to the size we wanted.  And to fit this piece between the legs, we needed to make a few cut outs. I used the jigsaw for that and a speed square to mark them up,  And that fitted in place just fine.
 
We wanted to cover the plywood edges at the front of the workbench to make them more hardwearing.  I had some reclaimed pine bed slats which I ripped to strips of 20mm on the tablesaw.  Then I glued and brad nailed it to the front. 
 
And for the worktop we did the same again except we also mitred the corners and did the sides of the worktop as well as the front to give it a cleaner look.
 
I used a block plane just to break the hard edges of the trim pieces.
 
Then we went to Steve's to assemble the bench.  We could add the shelf supports with glue and 2 screws on each side. There were two for the worktop and two for the shelf.
 
And then we could add the side pieces which would also support the shelf and worktop.
 
THen I tipped it on it's side to add the shelf and it was quite a tight fit now so I used my body weight to force it in.   
 
I could then add screws through the cleats in to the plywood to secure the shelf.
 
We didn't add wood glue here as we thought it would be useful to be able to replace the plywood at a later date once it gets worn out.
 
And then I added the top, making sure it was nicely centred on the frame.
 
We then offered up the workbench to the space and we'd deliberately left an overhang at the back of the shelf and worktop so that we could fit the bench around the brick pillar along his wall. We marked up where the pillar was on to the shelves, and cut it out with the jigsaw.  So the pillar stuck out 12cm from the wall, so we'd left a 12cm overhang between the edge of the back of the shelves and the frame to account for that.
 
And it fitted in place nicely.
 
This was a nice quick and simple project and the total cost of materials was £21, that was for the 7x 3x2s.  Everything else was either salvaged or stuff I already had in the workshop.
 
If you'd like to build your own then full drawings, dimensions and a cut list will be available on the Resources page of my website.
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