Thursday, 26 July 2012

Another homemade trug ... ...

Warning contains yet more ways to use bits of pallet ! ! !

A while ago I made a small trug from random bits of plywood I had lying about, you can find the post here (opens in a new window) to be honest it was more a decorative thing than an actually functional carrying device.

The other night I was watching Super Scrimpers on channel 4, if you don't watch it you should really check it out, it's a great program, on the episode I watched I saw someone using a trug type basket for collecting their foraged items, so I thought (as I often do) I wonder if I can make something like that, and so today I did, and yes I used bits of pallet.

Here it is -

Mines a little different to the one I saw.

I'm oddly pleased with this for some reason, normally once I've made something I tend to look at it and start finding faults with it and thinking about how I could have done things differently, this however I'm finding faultless (at least from my point of view) you can see how it's made, it's just two curved bits of wood held together with thin strips of wood, with some natural fibre rope as handles.

This is very easy to make, and another good project for kids to try, especially if they are getting bored, the curve on the bottom is really easy to do, all you need is a few small nails and something bendy.

As I said the curve is easy to make, just mark out a length of wood to use as one of the sides, I made mine 18inches long, but it's up to you how big or small you want to make it.

Here's how to make the curve - 

Here's the wood marked at 18 inches.

Once you have marked out how long you want to make the trug you next need to mark 2 inches done from one edge, do this on each end.

Marking 2 inches down - 

There is a mark at 2 inches, honest.

Once you've marked each end you then need to find the middle of the section of wood, so if, like me you've made it 18 inches long then you need to put a mark at 9 inches.

The middle marked out - 

Next we need 3 small nails.

What we need to do now is put a small nail on each of the marks we've made, so a nail each end at the 2 inch mark and one nail at the 9 inch mark.

Nails all ready - 

I used small brass pins, I also used them to fix the trug together.

Now for the bendy bit, I used my steel ruler, but a piece of plastic trunking, or some other flat bendy substance will do, what you need to do is bend your ruler/trunking and use the nails to hold it in place, see the pictures below.

The curve already to be marked onto the wood - 

You can see how it works.

Here's a rough diagram of how to arrange it all - 

Simple really.

Ta da ! ! ! one curve - 

Not the greatest of pictures.

This is a quick way of making curves on bits of wood, and to be honest this is probably the most complicated bit of building this trug, adding the wooden strips is just a matter of cutting a load of wood and sticking it to the curved sections, I fixed mine with glue and brass nails.

All you need to do is fix the strips onto the curved part of each side - 

Roughly half an inch gap between each strip.

Now you may have noticed that the two centre strips are slightly thicker than the rest, this was just because I had cut enough wood, and I couldn't be bothered to get my table saw out again.

Here's what it looks like underneath - 

Probably best not put anything small in it.

It has gaps in it, so this is more a trug for collecting apples or other such things, as for the handles I had intended to bend a piece of thin wood over the top to make a loop type handle, but the wood I had wouldn't bend very well, so I went with plan 'B' 

(when undertaking any project it's always good to have a plan 'B')

Plan 'B' uses some natural fibre rope, which to be honest I like better, kind of makes it look more rustic ?

To make rope handles is just a case of making two holes in each side and then threading rope through and tying it off, you could also use an old leather belt as a carrying handle.

The rope handles - 

Thread through from the outside.

A simple knot does the job - 

A bit of super glue on the knot will stop it from undoing.

And there you have it, takes hardly anytime or money (if you have a load of wood lying about) and is a good sturdy functional thing, great for collecting fruit and veg when you next go foraging.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Homemade bookends ... ...

I've been meaning to make some bookends for a while now, not that we actually have any room on any of our book shelves, too many books, which reminds me I have to make some new book shelves.

I made them from ... ... yes you guessed it bits of pallets, offcuts from other jobs to be exact.

Here they are -

Complete with books.

Now apart from the artistic bit, which I cut out of odd bits of wood using my scroll saw, these are really easy to make, and you can use any shape you can cut out for the decorative bit, maybe letters or numbers if these are for a kids room, or a dinosaur shape maybe, you are only really limited by your imagination, and perhaps a few tools.

To make the main part of the bookends you need four bits of wood, which you basically stick together in 'L' shapes, and what you should get is something like the picture below.

All fixed and ready for the arty bits - 

I used some wood glue and small brass pins to fix them together.

I made mine about 6 inches in height, but you can go as big or small as you want, I guess it depends on the books you have.

For the rest of each bookend I marked out a piece of wood with a hand drawn design and then cut it out with my scroll saw, if you don't have a scroll saw you can also use a coping saw, but it will take much longer to cut out, although it has to be said that does depend on what sort of design you go for, mine might have been a little over complicated, but I never do things the easy way ... ... well not all the time.

The arty bits - 

Perhaps a little too fiddly, but I like them.

In case you aren't sure what a scroll saw or a coping saw is, have a look at the pictures below, a coping saw is a lot cheaper than a scroll saw, but harder work.

My scroll saw - 

It's a great tool to have.

My coping saw (well one of them anyway) - 

Works just as well, but will make your arm ache after a while.

Once you have your design all you need to do is fix it to the two 'L' shaped parts you've made, I used wood glue again, and there you have it, two simple to make bookends, I gave mine a good sand and then just polished them with our homemade beeswax and linseed oil polish, which you can read about here (opens in new window)

Here they are again, only a different way round - 

Not sure they look as good this way round though ?

What do you think ? long ways (like the above picture) or like the picture below ?

This is a simple make that anyone with even basic wood working knowledge can try, and it's also a good project to teach kids about wood working and using different types of tools.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Handmade leather cuff type bracelet ...

I thought I'd post a quick how to on how to make a leather cuff type bracelet, for just a couple of quid.

It's pretty easy really, all you need is an old leather belt, the thicker the better and some press studs, which you can buy in various places, but if you buy on line you could probably find them very cheaply.

Here's what I'm on about -

Total cost is about £1.00

It's made from an old belt, this one I got from a charity shop for £1.00 it was just a plain black leather belt, and I should be able to get at least 2 bracelets from it, although this does depend on how big they need to be, I don't have very thick wrists.

You will need a few other bits and pieces as well as a belt and a press stud kit, you'll need a hammer to fix the press studs together, a tape measure (or another bracelet) to work out how much of the belt you'll need, some strong scissors to cut the belt, and something to punch holes into the leather with, I have a leather punch, but you could use a drill bit, or a Philips type screw driver.

Supplies at the ready - 

Of we go.

I started by cutting the buckle off the belt so that I wouldn't have any holes in my bracelet, but you could use the section with holes in, maybe put studs in the holes or some other type of decoration.

Belt sectioned up, ready for phase 2 - 

A good pair of scissors are handy for cutting leather.

I used the first bracelet (prototype if you like) as a length guide for this one - 

Nearly done.

The next step is to position one part of each press stud on the leather strip and mark the leather so you know where to punch out the holes that the press studs will go through.

Marking the ends - 

Use something pointy to mark where the holes will go.

Both ends marked.

You need to make the holes about the same size as the part of the press stud that goes through the material, which is about 4mm, then once you have a hole at each end of the leather you can go ahead with adding the press studs.

Press studs ready - 

There are actually 4 separate parts which will make up each half of the stud.
The press stud kit came with the little tools that you use to fix it altogether, it's basically a punch that bends the metal of one part of the stud round the other part, which is why you need a hammer, a couple of fairly hard hits and the stud should be fixed, as this is made from leather I went for some heavy duty press studs.

Studs fitted and secure - 

Part 'A' this part fits over the stud and snaps into place.

The other side of part 'A' in the picture above.

Part 'B' the stud.

The other side of part 'B'

Now all that's needed is a little tidying up of the ends, I just rounded them off with the scissors, I used a circle to draw round with a marker, then cut round it.

Ends marked and ready for cutting - 

Just cut round this end.
And this end.

And that's it all done, one simple to make leather cuff type bracelet - 


I might need to make the ends a little tidier.

I've seen plain leather bracelets like this for as little as £5 and as much as £30 ! I've made two (so far) for £2 and I have enough leather to make at least two more, not bad and saves money, which has to be a good thing, and if you don't like the plain look you could always find a patterned leather belt, or add some kind of decoration to a plain one, the other bracelet in the pictures above was made for me by my wife for our third wedding anniversary, it's also made from leather, you can read about it on my wife's blog (opens in new window)

" But times are hard and thrills are cheaper
  As your arms get shorter, your pockets get deeper "

                        Guns n Roses -  Right Next Door To Hell.

Thanks for reading.