Making Stuff Part 1

IMG_0502One of the first projects I undertook in my new workshop was to make use of the pine table that my son had donated to me (this new table had been damaged in transit so the company sent him a replacement and told him to keep the faulty one).

I immediately got to work ripping the wood down using my new table saw, creating a few planks for the task I had planned for it…to build a run for Matt and Chloe’s new tortoise Zoom. 4C31038E-C195-4E76-AD3E-BD4B1A6A6D69I bought some wire mesh and a found some roofing felt and soon knocked up a run fit for their special one. I even managed to add his name to the side using my router.

Pleasingly Matt & Chloe loved the run and throughout the summer Zoom spent many a happy day sunbathing in his new surroundings.

IMG_1204For my next project I got inspiration from a YouTube video, making a pine version of the Adirondack chair. This was more practice piece rather than a useful addition to the garden furniture, and although it is still on the lawn, it’s looking a bit weathered and will need a cleanup if it’s going to be used again this coming summer. I did add the extension later on in the year which makes it a bit more comfortable to sit in, but the seat is very low and Tina does struggle to get out of it. The mark 2 version will be made out of wood that is better suited for outdoors use and easier to get on and off it.

IMG_0436My first commission was something Tina asked me to build for her…a cotton bobbin holder for her sewing room. Again I investigated online to find a suitable version and eventually found some that I could enhance to meet the exacting requirements of the wife 🙂 For this project I also managed to make it out of recycled wood; this time I broke down a wooden bathroom shelf unit we no longer required. The holder came out pretty well and helped me get to grips with accurate drilling.

Having seen how simple it is to re-purpose and recycle wood, I realised that with the right tools and a bit of thought you can recreate lots of things easily.

Next I wanted to have a go at creating something from hardwood so ordered some planks of oak online and also managed to pick up a job lot of timber from eBay for a very good price. The latter was such a bargain, it’s actually kept me going in my return to woodworking. I’ve made quite a few tea-light holders, cutting boards and coasters from reclaimed beech, sapele, oak and maple.

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My next post will cover some of the finer pieces I’ve built in oak I purchased; this is part of woodworking I’ve really enjoyed, especially as the furniture was designed from scratch.

In the name of recycling…

Having just got back from walking Rio I was shocked to see the state of the streets where I live, and all in the name of recycling. Now I was all for the new wheeled bins when they were first deployed eighteen months ago but I soon came to realise that these are not the ideal solution, especially when we have windy weather. Unfortunately what tends to happen is on collection days the lids get lifted off and the contents get blown out and deposited across the road, path and gardens making the whole place look untidy.


This morning it is even worse as there is almost a months worth of recycling material being left outside due to the inability of the bin men to get their lorries around the untreated roads following the snow. And I don’t suppose the bin men will have time to pick up the loose packaging that has got away from the bin either.

I’m all for recycling; I think it’s worth the effort to sort through the rubbish and better it gets reused than put into landfill but there must be a better way than this to ensure our streets are kept clean?

Recycling Fun

A couple of months ago we received a leaflet through the post from East Northamptonshire Council stating that a new company had won the refuse and recycling contract. The company would be delivering new bins to all properties in the coming weeks in preparation for the new collections that would start in August.

Our existing refuse collectors did do recycling too; we had small green, red and blue bins for the recyclables and we filled black plastic bags with the rest of the rubbish. The small bins were OK, although the green bin was far too small so we ended up buying a dustbin to hold the vast amount of packaging that could be remade into other packaging. But the fortnightly collections soon cleared the boxes/bins so it was easy. No so good were the plastic bags that were collected weekly. Obviously these bags contained a mixture of non-recycling materials, along with waste food etc. and in the summer these bags got a bit smelly and attracted the local cat population, who loved to open the bags and spread the contents on the path on collection days.

And so back to the new wheeled bins.

Today the new bins arrived; we have four in total. One for recyclable items, one for general waste and two for foodstuffs (one small caddy for the kitchen and a large one which you fill as the week goes by). Along with the bin delivery was a leaflet and a recycle wheel, showing what items go in what wheeled bin. I’m sure there must enough questions for a Mastermind interrogation entitled ‘Things you can and cannot put in the green recycling bin’!

So is it going to affect the family?

Oh yes!

Unsurprisingly it is the kids that don’t seem to bother with the recycling chore. Their rooms get emptied of rubbish once a week and it all goes in the same bag. No care for the environment in their eyes. Similarly in the main kitchen bin there has been many occasions where I have rescued a tin can or drinks bottle that would have been destined for the landfill rather than the recycling factory.

But it will have to change now as I’m sure the ‘Council Refuse Police’ will be checking the contents and giving householders feedback (and fines) should they stick the wrong the items in the wrong bins.

I am actually pleased we have the new bins; it will be so much easier to recycle and I am looking forward to the changeover (little things…)

The new bins have for now, until the launch day, been stored in the garage, but immediately I have realised they take up much more room than the existing boxes so I will need to have a garage clear out.

I wonder if I can get away with wrapping the old washing machine, exercise bike and TV up in black plastic bags for the refuse collectors to take before the new bins are needed?