Thursday, 29 March 2018

Keep on trugin...

It's been a while since a made my last trug (about 6 years I think) and as I had some wood from an old shelf unit I though it was about time I made another, this time I've made one with a fold-able handle.

And here it is -

One rustic trug.

Here's the material for this project -

Doesn't scream trug does it?
As I said this is an old unit, which up until recently was in my daughters bedroom holding her ever expanding book collection, she now has an antique oak bookcase which I recently restored so this old slot together unit was surplus to requirements, I was just going to lay it on it's side and line it with plastic to use as a planter, but as we're changing the garden around this wasn't very practical.

There's quite a bit of wood here, but I felt like a trug was in order, and because all the bits of wood have notches cut out I was wondering what else I could do with it, there are loads of things I could make, but I like making trugs.

Firstly I cut two pieces of wood with a curved side, these make up the sides of the trug, then the idea is to nail slats between these two pieces to make up the basket part of the trug.

Sides cut - 

Should make for a good trug.

Marking curves onto wood is easy enough, have a look here at the last trug I made, it also has a quick guide on how to make curves on bits of wood - Simple trug how to (opens in new window)

So with the sides done it was time for the slats, these I cut using my bandsaw, but a table saw or even a hand saw will do just as well.

Slats cut - 

I'll tidy these up later.

Each slat is about 20mm thick (3/4 of an inch) and 25.5cm (10 inches) long the length of the slats gave me the width of the trug, so it ended up being 25.5cm (10 inches) wide and about 35.5cm (14 inches) long and about 9cm (3 and 1/2 inches) deep, so it's not huge but will hold a fair amount of stuff.

I glued and nailed the slats to the sides of the trug - 

Yes it has gaps.

The gap between each slat is roughly 20cm (3/4 of an inch) so it has gaps, but it's okay for apples or spuds and other things, and it's easy enough to put a bag or cloth liner in it for smaller items.
I used a good quality wood glue and annular nails to fix the slats, it's a good idea to drill small pilot holes for the nails to prevent splitting, just use a drill bit that's thinner than the nail.

Annular nails have what looks almost like a thread running along part of them, this helps the wood fibres to bind to the nail and helps prevent the nails being pulled out, if you've ever taken a pallet apart you'll have no doubt come across this type of nail.

Annular nail - 

You can see what looks almost like a thread.

With that done it was on to the handle, this is made in three parts, two sides and a top piece. The two sides are held to the main body of the trug using a wooden peg, this is what also allows the handle to fold.

To make the handle I drilled out the hole for the peg in two bits of wood, and then set about drawing a shape onto each bit of wood, then I cut out the shape on the two bits of wood, I ended up with a kind of fish shape.

Two sides of the handle - 

I did say kind of fish shaped.

The top piece of the handle is fixed to the side pieces using a couple of screws and glue on each end.
Rather than have just a flat handle I've cut it into a bow shape to fit the hand better.

Marking out the handle shape - 

It feels better in the hand, rather than just a flat bar.

To fix the handle to the body of the trug I've used two pieces of 9mm dowel, the dowel is glued into the body of the trug and the handle is held onto the pegs using a small pin, this gives the trug a more rustic look, well I think it does.

Handle peg (trug body) - 

You can make out the wooden dowel.

Handle peg and pin - 

The pin is easy to tap out if the handle breaks.

And here's the finished trug after a coat of wax - 

Perfect for apples.

That's about it, it's a really simple thing to make, it uses very little wood, I've still got enough to make a few more like this left over, it's something that would make a good project for kids to try, you don't need loads of power tools, it can be made totally by hand and in numerous different designs and it's practical as well, even if you don't use it for collecting apples it would make a great fruit bowl for a kitchen table.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Simple bottle drying rack...

At present we have numerous tubs around the house, tubs with wine at various stages, we also have a load of demi johns full of wine as well, and today I decided that some of that wine was ready for bottling, the problem is it was about 20 litres of wine or more, which is a lot of bottles that needed to be sterilised and dried.

Usually I put the bottles into some of the empty brewing tubs we have, but as they were all full I decided on a different method, that being filling the bath (after a good clean) with hot water and sterilising powder and chucking the bottles in.

This works well, but drying the bottles can be a pain as you need to let them drain and it's not always practical to stand them upside down on a draining board or other surface as they have a tendency to fall over so I made a very simple drying rack.

Here it is -

Not a lot to it really.

At this point you might be thinking it looks like a sheet of plywood with some holes drilled in it, and you'd be right because that's exactly what it is.

Basically what I've done is take a sheet of plywood and drilled holes in it, holes big enough to fit the neck of a wine bottle in so you can stand it upside down over a bath.

To make it I first measured the width of the bath, which as it turns out is about 660mm (about 26 inches in old money) so using that measurement I made it 660mm wide and the same in length, so I ended up with a square 660mm wide by 660mm long.

I measured in 50mm (about 2 inches) on two sides to allow for the sides of the bath.

Then I marked out a grid so that I knew where to drill the holes for the bottle necks, to mark up the grid I took two measurements from the wine bottles we have, the diameter of the neck and the diameter of the base, this as it turned out was about 32mm for the neck and about 80mm for the base.

Measuring in from the marks I'd made to allow for the bath sides I made a mark at 80mm intervals until I reached the end of the wood, then I did the same the other way which gave me a grid of 80mm squares.

Grid marked out - 

Now to work out where to drill.

To mark the drill holes I put marks at 40mm on each line, this gave me a total of 49 holes to drill.

Then using a 35mm forstner bit I set about drilling 49 holes, these holes are where each bottle will sit while the rack sits on the bath, think of it as being like one of those over the bath racks everyone used to have, the wire things that had soap and sponges and all manner of other stuff, I bet your nan had one.

Drilling points marked out - 

On to drilling.

And with it all marked out I then drilled a lot of holes - 

Drilling holes is boring.

And that was about it, I gave the hole thing a sand and it was done, and I have to say it works well, and it saves me having to take up loads of space in the kitchen and the bottles are much more secure now, I may give it a coat of something to protect the wood a bit, and I may add some extra support at some stage, but all in all it was a cheap solution to a problem.

Here it is in use - 

Bottles drip drying.

Works like a charm, and as it's flat it will be easy to store away, shortly after this picture was taken these 26 bottles were filled with wine made from grapes we grew on our allotment plot last year.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Simple swivel boxes...

So while we're waiting for the allotment and gardens to defrost I though I'd write a quick post about the valentines gift I made for my wife this year (yes I know that was last month) it was a quick make and I used mainly hand tools to do it, I did also intend to pyrography the lettering into the wood on the inside of the box, but ran out of time (hence the piece of paper)

Here it is, a simple heart shaped swivel box -

Made from tropical hardwood.
These types of boxes aren't a new thing, but they are easy to make if you don't have a lot of time, I didn't take pictures of the heart shaped one as I made it, so I made a couple more quickly to demonstrate the method, which have since disappeared into the depths of my daughters bedroom.

So I took a plank of wood, for this box it was just a bit of pallet - 

It is what it is, a plank of wood.

I cut it into three pieces roughly 7cm square, top, middle and bottom, I cut a hole in the middle piece with a forstner bit, but you could use a hole saw or spade bit, there are numerous ways to make holes in wood.

Once I'd made a hole in the middle piece (this makes up the void where things will be stored) I glued the middle piece to the bottom piece with wood glue and used some clamps to hold it in place.

Here's a picture of the steps mentioned above - 

Once the glue had set it was on to the next step.

Okay so now we need to make a swivel point so that the lid can slide open and closed, you can just line your pieces up and drill straight through them, but I didn't want to see the pin from the outside of the box, so I used a dowel setting tool (I have various sets in various sizes)

Basically these are small metal inserts that have a point on one end, the idea being you drill a hole in the wood (using a drill bit with a depth guide) place the insert in the hole and the use the point to mark where the other holes should be drilled, and in theory when you drill out the holes they will all line up and your dowels will be nice and straight.

Hole for the peg that the lid will swivel on drilled - 

That was easy.
If you have access to a post drill or one of the guides that you can mount a drill in it's best to use it, the straighter the better for this as you want your holes to be as straight as is possible, you can also make a guide block from two bits of wood in an 'L' shape.

Once the first hole is drilled you place the metal insert in the wood - 

Like so.

And with that done you then press the other bit of wood down on top of it to mark the next drilling point, and that's it, it's worth taking your time to make sure things are all nicely lined up and I've found that making the swivel point before the final sanding and shaping is better because if things are slightly off you can then shape and sand any miss-alignments out.

Next drilling point marked out - 

You can just make out the marks in the picture.

And that's about it, once you have holes in both pieces of wood you can put a pin in, I used a piece of dowel, but you could use metal or plastic, the length of the pin will be determined by the depth of each hole in the respective pieces of your box.

I decided to go a step further with this particular box, I've added a couple of small magnets to help keep the box closed, and I've used the same method as I did with the swivel part, that being using dowel setting tools to mark out a couple of shallow 8mm holes in the base of the box and the lid, which are a perfect fit for the 8mm neodymium magnets I have. 

Here's a picture of that process - 

Basically the same, just a larger hole.

Once that was done I roughly shaped the box with a sander, I also made a small round box on my lathe with a swivel lid in exactly the same way, I turned the two halves of the box and using the dowel setting tools made a swivel point on it, obviously if you want to make a shaped box, be it heart shaped or whatever floats your boat then cut each piece into roughly the right shape and once you've got everything lined up then do the final finishing.

There's no reason you can't make the boxes deeper by adding more sections, or why not take a log and using a hole making bit (forstner or spade) hollow it out for a rustic looking log box, you can buy small metal (brass etc) catches which are easily attached with small pins or glue, planning on getting engaged ? why not make a small wooden swivel ring box ? just a thought.

The finished boxes - 

Thanks for reading.