Let’s start by comparison.
Just recently as I perused the soon to be latest member offering in Show and Tell, while standing in my workshop gazing down at my prospective offering with somewhat slumped shoulders, wondering if I have the right to inflict my latest project on an unsuspecting audience.
I really did hesitate. I am and never will be a true woodworking artisan producing the works of art I often come across in the forum. So, what to do with this self-inflicted dilemma
My work history consists of a poor plumber for twenty years, eventually ending up in a College in Scotland as a poor lecturer in construction for the last twenty or so years until I became once again a poor retired plumber. But at no time during my career did I ever get the chance or inclination to try my hand at the skills on display within the forum.
So, what next, well I do not kid myself in that I will ever be able to elevate myself to produce the work I see, but what it has done over the time I have been a member is raise my game. I now look to improve on the finished article, spend a little more time and reflection on how to improve my limited woodworking skills, so keeping that in mind my next story is offered for I hope your enjoyment
Hi honey, struck the back of my flat head as I stood in my happy place. (Workshop). In case you are wondering, apparently, I have a flat rear head. I’m almost hitting 70 and I had no idea, until I was informed by my first wife a few months ago.
As you will know if you read any of my posts, I was dragged into my wood turning lathe and lost the use of my hand for about 6 months. My wife had to help me with various tasks one of which was combing my hair as I couldn’t raise my hands high enough.
One day as she was brushing around the back of me, she uttered, that’s the best I can do. What do you mean I asked perplexed? Well if you didn’t have a flat head it would be much easier. I have a what I exclaimed. A flat head she repeated, it’s akin to a snooker table, she added. I have a vertical snooker table head I asked. Oh yes, except it’s grey instead of green.
That was the start of one of three. Number two was my last visit to see the surgeon who operated on my injured hand. After the examination which he concluded that no more visits were necessary, he finished with, quote and look after that arthritis in your hands. I have arthritis I asked. Oh yes, he intimated. I don’t feel anything. You will and left. That was number two. Flat head and looming arthritis. Does it get any better than this?
My daughter asked us down to Bournemouth for some recuperation and off we went.
Now Bournemouth being one of the most southerly points of England has an almost tropical type of climate, unlike my native north of Scotland and it was hot when we arrived.
Next day she took us shopping to get the equivalent of Bermuda shorts as my denim work overalls were making me uncomfortable.
As my daughter, wife and son in law waited in the clothes shop anticipating the fashion show I was about to provide for their amusement.
I eventually stepped out of the changing room with what I thought was quite a fashionable and acceptable pair of summer shorts. As I proudly displayed my attire, my son in law quipped. Oh, look he has chicken legs. I have what. All three in unison replied, chicken legs. What’s chicken legs I asked. What you have got, came the reply. And that was number three.
So, it was dungarees for the remainder of my visit, with the sweat flowing down the back of my flat head, looking down at my hands wondering when the arthritis would kick in. As I said earlier does it get any better than this.
So back to my happy place. Yes dear, are you lost. No came the annoyed reply. I need you to make me a box she replied. No problem, just let me get my tape measure to get your height and I will get right on to it.
As it happens when we were last visiting my son in Houston Texas, they had a garden version of Jenga, which my wife enjoyed playing and decided on returning to purchase the UK equivalent. Unfortunately, as you will realise everything in Texas is bigger. And the UK set is more akin to a set of dominoes, but it arrived, but without any substantial container, so it fell to me to create said box.
Now excuse the pun but I decided to think outside the box to create the container, and the photos demonstrate what my limited intelligence came up with. I wanted to demonstrate the contents inside on the outside, thus the render of Jenga blocks.
One little addition I included was to give the impression one of the Jenga blocks was slightly pushed through like the actual game.
Did it work, again yes and no. I knew it would not be substantial enough to hold the game so the main structure is 9mm ply with the blocks purely as decoration. Unfortunately, the lid was a disaster. All my attempts at creating the same effect failed due to the bulk and constant breaking of the blocks mainly due to the poor quality of the wood and the carpenter.
This I think was due to the choice of wood. I did not have any hardwood or close-grained wood available. What you see is redwood left over from a stud framing and did not want to be trimmed or sanded and constantly kept breaking and chipping away. So, the lid is one piece. I just glued two pieces together and fitted a large temp base plate to the router and reamed out the inside.
Also, I couldn’t even start with 60 or 80 grit for that very reason and ended up with a very lengthy process of starting with 180 ending with 240 grit.
I was caught out on a number of occasions. Firstly, using cheap wood with really wide growth rings that would not allow me to get that exacting finish. Secondly when applying the finishing oil, the end grain wood created a very dark texture compared to the linear cut that stayed very light in comparison. I did think about staining but couldn’t get just the right look, and I had to keep reminding myself what this was actually for.
I finished the underside and the top of the box with some fablon sticky backed
Three coats of finishing oil and Amazon hard ware and that’s it. Was she eternally grateful? Well I still get fed and watered, so no complaints.
You may notice in some of the photos a black plastic tray. It’s a gardener potting tray used to keep the mess contained in the greenhouse. I use this all the time especially when using any cleaning liquids or WD40 or just to keep everything neat when working. Cost £15 well worth the money.
Somewhere in Scotland