Monday, 5 August 2013

Handmade bathroom set (part 3 - Toilet roll holder) ...

Last but by no means least, a toilet roll holder, which is the easiest of the three things to make, you should be able to make this in about 20 minutes (no more than half an hour) at least the actual wood working part, it'll take longer because you'll need to let the stain dry.

Here's the very simple toilet roll holder -

Not much to say, it holds a toilet roll.

Again this (like the towel ring) is made entirely from scrap bits of wood, and cost nothing apart from the time to make it, I also used the same homemade stain, even the piece of dowel that holds the toilet roll was a small scrap piece left over from siege engine building.

Here's a picture without the toilet roll - 

You can see how it fits together.

Size wise, well it should be more or less a standard thing really, having not carried out much research into the size of toilet rolls, but I guess as long as it's big enough for a toilet roll, obviously you don't want a massive one, although this could be adapted to hold rolls of kitchen towel, for reference the toilet roll I used measured about 4 inches / 10.5 cm long and about the same in diameter.

The whole roll holder is about 6inches / 15cm in length, that's 5 inches (12.5 cm) for the back plate that holds it onto the wall and about half an inch (1 cm or so) either side for the arms that hold the toilet roll, the piece of dowel is 5 and a half inches long (14cm)

Here's diagram with the sizes on it - 

Does the job.

To get the dowel to sit in each arm I used a small Forstner bit (hinge cutter) to make a hole, and to get it so that each arm had half the hole I clamped the two arms together and then once I'd measured where I wanted the hole to go I drilled the hole, so that the point of the Forstner bit (hinge cutter) was lined up in between the two arms, as the next few pictures show.

Marked the line and clamped into a vice - 

Ready to drill.

Drilling commences - 

Making holes is boring.

Obviously you'll need to make the hole deep enough to fit the dowel into it, other wise every time you use the toilet roll it'll fly out of the holder.

Hole done - 

When separated each piece should have a semi circular hole in it.

A quick check to see if it's deep enough and will hold the dowel - 

Now that's done it just needs assembling.

To fix it all together I drilled into each side, and again I've used plugs to cover the screw holes, I only used one screw on each of the arms, normally I'd use two, but as this doesn't need to be super secure I used the one screw and some wood glue.

Here's a picture showing where the side fixes to the back plate - 

Two fixings would have been too much.

And that about it really, a very simply made toilet roll holder.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Handmade bathroom set (part 2 - Towel ring) ...

Okay onto part two, the towel ring, which is so we can hang a small hand towel some where near the sink.

In some ways this is a little more complicated than the towel rail, on account of the ring, well I say complicated what I mean is it takes a little care to get it all put together.

Here's the finished towel ring -

Once again made from Pine and stained using homemade stain

I've made a small diagram to show the three parts that make up the ring, it's pretty simple really, it consists of three parts, a wooden plate so it can be fixed to a wall, and so you can fix the ring bracket to something, the ring bracket, which is a small piece of wood with a hole in it, and of course the ring, and unlike the towel rail, this is made entirely of scrap bits of wood, so cost nothing apart from a little time to make it.

Here's the diagram - 

No measurements as size is up to you.

Once again I haven't included sizes as it's up to you, but as a reference here is how big each part I made is.

  • Back Plate - 6 inches / 15cm long
  • Ring bracket - 3 inches / 7.5cm long
  • Ring - 8 inches / 20cm in diameter
  • Ring thickness - 1.5 inches / 3cm

For the back plate I cut a piece of wood to the size I wanted, then marked out the centre, this is where I fixed the ring bracket, I also marked out a screw hole on each end, and drilled them out so that I could fix it straight to the wall once it was finished, again as with the towel rail I found it best to do all the staining and sanding before fixing it together.

Next for the ring bracket I cut another piece of wood, and made sure I had enough wood to make a hole for the ring to go through, and have enough to fix the bracket to the back plate, as the ring I made is about 3cm thick I made the bracket 7.5cm long, and before fixing using a Forstner bit (or hinge cutter as they are also know) I made a 30mm (3cm) hole through the bracket.

Forstner bit -

These can be picked up quite cheaply.
I used a couple of screws and fixed the ring bracket to the back plate from the side that will be against the wall, this way you can't see the fixings, I used the mark I made on the back plate to get the bracket in the centre.

Here's a picture of the back plate and the ring bracket, basically I made a 'T' shape, with a hole in one part.

Back plate and bracket -

A simple 'T' shape, easy to make.
The ring is probably the most complicated part of this, and to be honest I'm not sure I'm totally happy with it, or the way I went about fixing it to the bracket, but there you go.

I cut the ring out of a piece of scrap pine sheet, I marked the ring out on the wood using a compass, and then measured in about 3cm and made another mark, then I cut it out using the first mark (the larger of the two) once I'd done that I then cut out the centre using the smaller mark, this gave me the ring shape (which I forgot to take pictures of)

Then it was just matter of sanding the ring to round off the edges so the towels will slide of and on easily, and staining it the same colour as the other parts.

Now comes the tricky bit, how to get the ring onto the bracket ? this I did by cutting the ring at a point I chose at random, as it's circular it doesn't really have a top and bottom, then *very carefully* holding the ring on either side of where I'd cut it  pulled it apart very slowly, and only just enough so that I could slide it over the ring bracket and into the hole, this is probably not the best way to do this.

Then I glued it back together using wood glue, I also made a small peg joint just to make sure it won't come apart, but a good quality wood glue will be secure enough, I clamped it together to make sure I got a good secure join, as I used fairly thin wood this worked with out me breaking the ring into a couple of bits luckily, if the wood had been thicker I probably wouldn't have got away with it.

And that's about it, I used small plugs to fill the screw holes where it fixes to the wall.

Screw holes plugged -

All done and ready for a towel.

And here's the finished towel ring - 

Maybe could have done with a bit more sanding.

Okay that's the towel rail and the towel ring done, next up the toilet roll holder, which couldn't get any easier.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Handmade bathroom set (part 1 - Towel rail) ...

Recently we've been in the market for some new stuff for the bathroom after a spot of re-decorating, we needed a new towel rail,toilet roll holder and a towel ring, or something like that to hang a towel next to the sink.

After looking about my wife decided she quite liked those towel rails that look sort of like an old wooden step ladder (in some cases they were actually half an old wooden step ladder) I should admit now that my inner Scrooge started to show his face, some of those towel rails are over a hundred pounds !

I figured I could make something similar for much less, so I did, and although it doesn't quite look like an old ladder, it does the job and my wife likes it.

Here it is -

Turned out nicely.

It's made from pine batten,pine dowel and a piece of pine for the top shelf, if you're thinking that doesn't really look like pine, then you'd be right, the colour it has to be said was one of my wife's main concerns, she wanted it to look like it was made from old (ish) wood, so I made some wood stain as well.

To make this all you need are two bits of wood for each side, some dowel for the rails and a piece of wood for the shelf, the size is up to you, but for reference the finished towel rail is 50cm wide by 148cm high and the shelf is 10cm deep.

Making it is pretty simple, basic diy / wood working skills are all you need, and a few tools.

I would recommend making the towel rail slightly angled away from the wall, we have ours over a radiator, and having a slight angle on the rail will allow the towels to hang in such a way that they'll dry faster due to better air flow.

You can put the angle on by eye, or if you have a bevel you can lean one of the side parts against the wall at an angle and use the bevel to set the angle, then you can transfer it to the wood.

Carpenters bevel -

An angle finder works just as well.

The rails fit into each side, the best way to get the holes for the rails in the right place is to clamp your two sides together, use tape if you don't have clamps, and then using a square make a line across the two pieces, then you need to find the centre of each piece where you've marked a line.

Like so -

Obviously this isn't the towel rail.

Once you have marked out where your rails will go (again for reference I marked mine out so each rail is 25cm apart) all you need to do is mark the centre, if you use shop bought timber it's easy enough to find the centre, if the wood is 40mm (4cm) then the centre is at 20mm (2cm) once it's all marked up onwards to hole drilling.

I made holes in each of the sides to hold the rails (bits of dowel) which I glued into place so there are no obvious fixings, to make the holes I used a spade bit, and using a bit of black tape I marked the depth I wanted to drill to, the main reason for this was because the wood I used is quite thin, and I didn't want to go all the way through.

Spade bit marked up - 

You can do this with drill bits as well.

Holes drilled, dowels cut and ready for fixing - 

I built it like a kit, so I could make sure it worked.

For the rails I used 18mm dowel, which most diy type places will have, they'll have other sizes, and you can go thicker if you like, I'd say 18mm is the thinnest you want to go though, towels can be quite heavy when damp.

Before I go any further I'll mention the stain (this is something I've been wanting to try for a while) below is a picture of the original colour of the wood and what it stained to.

Colour difference - 

It's a nice colour.

Here's the stain - 

Looks like ... well it doesn't look good, put it that way.

If you frequent wood working related forums and sites, and Pinterest you'll already know about this, but the stain I used requires two ingredients, fine steel wool and white vinegar, to make the stain chuck a bit of steel wool in a jar and fill the jar with enough vinegar to cover the steel wool,but make sure you'll have enough stain for the job in hand, then leave it for 24 hours or so, then take the steel wool out, easy, just remember to give the jar a shake before you use it.

I gave the wood a good sanding first and then to apply the stain I just used a small paint brush, but you can use a rag as well, just try and get an even coat on the wood, if you want it darker then apply a second coat once the first is dry, and if you make something like this it's best to stain each piece before you put it together, you'll get a better finish.

Next the shelf, you don't have to add a shelf, but I think a shelf always comes in handy, and in this case it made the finish towel rail look a little more like an old ladder.

Here's the wood I used for the shelf - 

Already cut the notches out.

Now because the towel I made sits at angle if I'd just fixed the shelf in then it wouldn't hold much as it would slope down, to get round that when I cut out the notches on each side, I cut them at an angle that matched the angle the towel rail sits at, this way the shelf is level even though the rest of the rail isn't.

Like so - 

You should get an idea of what I'm on about (hopefully)

Here's a picture of the towel rail fixed to the wall, this should give you a better idea of why I cut out the notches at an angle, again I used my trusty bevel to get the angle right.

All fixed - 

Not quite as neat as I would have liked, but it works.

Lastly you may have noticed that there's a wooden plug where I fixed the shelf to the rest of the rail, I could have glued the shelf in place, but as I've used the shelf as the main point to fix the rail to the wall I wanted it a bit more secure, so I used a screw and glued it as well, the trouble is that a screw hole doesn't look nice, does it ?

Bare screw hole, not nice - 

I think leaving it would have ruined the look.

The plug is made from a piece of 8mm dowel, which I stained and then glued into the hole, it's a much nicer finish, well I think it is, and on the other things I've made for the bathroom I've used the same method of adding a little plug to cover any screw holes, and leaving them slightly proud turns them into a design feature of sorts, once I'd made all the bits and fixed it together I gave it all a good waxing with a hard wearing wax, but a good varnish would work just as well.

To fix it to the wall I just used a couple of corner braces fixed into the shelf, then into the wall.

And there you have it, a hand made wooden towel rail, that cost less than £8 to make, looks good and saves money, can't be bad.

Thanks for reading.