Thursday 21 May 2015

Upcycled Beach Chair

 So, it was the day before Mothers Day.  My wife had taken the kids out for the day and I had a chance to catch up on some things.  I was looking at the wood that I have sitting in the garage and remembered that I had seen an old wooden beach chair that a friend had and wanted to copy it.  I had some cherry wood that has been sitting around that I obtained from the local wood shops scrap pile and it looked like it might be just enough.  I did not really have any plans written down but I started to build it anyways.  I wanted to make it a hammock type chair but wanted it small enough to be portable.  I glued it with water proof glue and assembled it with stainless screws.  It has been oiled with teak oil.  The seat was sewn with some cloth that I had around.  It is sturdy, and comfortable.  The way that it is built means that the fabric needs to be removable in order for the chair to fold up.  I made some cutouts so that this was possible using dowels to support the weight of the person sitting in the chair.  I quite like this chair and am tempted to build more but would need to purchase some wood.  Anyways, my wife has a new beach chair for mothers day and I have a happy wife.  All is good in the world.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Toy Sailboat

For my son's birthday I had been wanting to make him a sailboat.  It is summer and a great time to have a sailboat.  I have done some sailing and yacht racing so have a working knowledge of rigging and the design aspects of yachts.  The hull is made of western red cedar and drilled out to make it lighter and more bouyant.  Yellow cedar(it smells wonderful when worked) and Padauk used as accents with teak decking. The mast is attached to a steel shaft that is attached to the underside of the hull. It is removable.  Sails are made of light ripstop nylon and the rigging is made of hemp string with teak stops.  The keel is made of stainless steel and attached to the hull using neodymium magnets.  I have not finalized the rigging setup yet but it does sail nicely it is just slow to adjust the sails.  I am not sure at this point if I will add a rudder.  I made the keel removable to make it so that it could be played with on the floor or table.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Teak Patio Table Rebuild

It was my wife's birthday.  She is quite a practical person and had been wanting a patio table for quite a long time.  I had been resisting but she found a deal that was too good to pass up.  A large teak table and benches.  As you can see the table was in pretty rough shape.  Joints coming unglued and the teak had been left to dry in the sun and was quite parched.  Begin the next project...  So after complete tear down and rebuild, the table has been transformed into a very nice set again. The set originally had 4 benches but I had to use one bench for parts.  The bench that was sacrificed was already broken and most of the wood was so dry that it was beyond being revived.  I used stainless steel hardware after finding that the last person had put the table together with drywall screws. I used marine epoxy to reglue and teak oil on the finish and it seems to be very water resistant.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Hummingbird Feeder

So I wanted a hummingbird feeder.  We have a lot of hummingbirds around our house and watching them is a fascination for me.  I have done some photography of them as well.  I could buy one of the standard feeders but I like to create things and I like to reuse items from other places.  I also do not like the idea of using plastic.  I ended up at a thrift store and bought a red glass bottle and a stainless water bottle.  They both have about the same size opening so I figured that I could seal them together some how.  I also went to a craft store and bought some cheap artificial red flowers.
I drilled four holes in the glass and siliconed the red flowers over the holes.  I drilled a hole in the water bottle cap and put a copper tube through to keep the nectar from overflowing out the holes.  I sealed it with a rubber washer.  The problem that I had was attaching the top and bottom pieces.  As is true to almost all of the things that I make there is a rubber wheel from the photocopier holding the top and bottom together.  It is very easy to refill, you would just turn it upside down and unscrew the water bottle.  The perch and top holder are made from computer fan guards.  One advantage that I have found with this feeder is that it is quite bottom heavy so it does not sway much in the wind.  All in all I really like this feeder and the hummingbirds seem to like it as well.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Dremel Circle Cutter

Along with the beam compass that I made I needed a way to cut circles with my dremel.  Another tool creation is born.  This time I was lucky enough to have a threaded sleeve from another dremel accessory that I could use as an attachment point.  Add a few photocopier parts and you have a circle cutter.  It is still in its experimental stage and may need some modification in the future but for now it seems to work fine.

Created January 2014.

Monday 14 April 2014

Beam Compass

I have been working on an project that will stay unmentioned at this time and needed a large compass for it.  I began looking for plans for a compass and came across this very nice Beam Compass.  I built it slightly differently from the plans using some photocopier parts and other things laying around.  The thumb screw is the copier part here.  The brass point is a piece of brass I had sitting around.  I have found that using a dremel or grinder on a piece that is spinning in the drill press allows or some easy creation of symetrical patterns that would only otherwise be possible on a metal lathe.

Created January 2014


This last Christmas saw me once again enter uncharted waters.  I am not really one for repetition and so do not usually repeat projects.  For Christmas, my wife wanted to get a small keyboard for my son.  I am not much for electronics for kids and so suggested maybe a xylophone or... then I had the idea that would spawn yet another period of scratching my head in frustration.  Little did I know at the time but this project would ruin many of my clothes and stain everything!  I decided to make a marimba.  I found the dimensions for keys and tuning info on a website from another DIY guy.  Enter the plans and how to design this thing.  I wanted it to be transportable but did not like the design of most of the portable marimbas that I could find.
Many of the DIY instruments out there use eye hooks to hold the cord that holds the keys.  I am not a fan of the way that it looks.  The other option seemed to be aluminum bar with a groove cut in the top and driven down into the cross pieces.  I thought that this might not be a good idea on an instrument that a child plays with because then they are able to lift the keys off of the instrument which leads me to imagine many different scenarios, most of them not really a good thing.  I also was not sure about my accuracy considering that these posts have to be driven in.  I decided to go with angle aluminum so that it could be attached easily and would hold the keys and look good at the same time :)  And of course I also included some rods from the photocopier as support for the cord.  I sourced the cord from a window blinds place that carried the heavy cotton cord.  I used a special Australian knock-down fastener for the frame that I found at Lee Valley tools.  
The keys are paduak and the frame is rock maple.  I wanted the instrument to have the styling of the large concert marimbas.  Everything turned out right for the most part.  There were several times when I had to walk away because of frustration.  As with most of my projects I make mistakes and have to fix them in ways that I do not prefer.  The marimba turned out really good and was fun to present at Christmas.
Created December 2013