Category Archives: stuff

New box built.

My latest piece of woodwork, a box with hidden compartments.

It’s mainly American white oak with English yew bands and a bit of Sumach decoration. The pins are all walnut. It’s loosely based on a Japanese toolbox and old ammo boxes.

It’s made for Birk my grandson [who took the photo].

The varnish has specks of luminescent stuff that show up after dark.

The Yew was photoed in my last post and will make up the bulk of my next side table which I have started on, I just have to finish a new knife for my other grandson and then I’ll be free to concentrate on some proper furniture making.

Too hot to stay in the workshop this week, but hopefully I’ll get something done before Wimbledon….

We’ll see…

More later




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A difficult thing…

Making geometrical objects by hand is always difficult. The eye is a very accurate organ and we can always detect when things are a little “wonky”. All handmade objects are a little wonky and that’s what makes them pleasing to the eye.

Well, my mirror takes wonkiness to a new level, but I’ve come to terms with it and realise I would have had to use some machines (e.g. router) to make it more geometrically perfect (or more skill and time).

I started off with some sweet cherry from a tree I had felled in a clients garden…

I needed 8 pieces of wood and they had to be very well joined and pegged as a very thin structure would have to support a heavy old mirror. The mirror was given to me, it came from the door of a wardrobe and it had “excelsior 12 10 1903” marked on the back. It has a few “shades’ internally, like old mirrors do, but not bad at all.

I painted it with a pearlescent paint over a pale turquoise base and varnished it with a burnt umber glaze.

I used two vertical aluminium strips, 3 x 12 mm, to link the top and bottom rail at the back so the weight would be distributed evenly (otherwise I would have had to hang it vertically).

So, it’s gone into the spare room which is the darkest room in the house and I’m fairly happy with it.

I’m currently working on an inlaid side table (end table) in oak with walnut or ebony inlay …. I haven’t quite decided yet. Both the walnut and ebony are reclaimed, the oak is from the big tree that has supplied all my previous oak pieces.

More later…



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A simple thing

A small tray/ plate, just about a foot across, carved from a piece of tiger oak.

I saw a few online that were made by a a japanese guy for sushi and I liked the look of them, very basic. His were slightly more regular in shape.

…back to my oval mirror frame…





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New folding knife

I have just finished making a folding knife, my first.

I didn’t make all the bits, I ordered some off the web and put it all together with a bit of enamelling and some woodwork with a thought to selling it…. maybe others too. It was basically a trial run.

Well, it worked out OK I think for a $50 or $60 price tag. Whether or not it would be worth doing more …. I’m not sure.

The wood is from a local oak, a burr [burl], the steel is medium quality and the brass has a few little impurities…. I’ve already got new scales (the wooden bits) for my next one.

…and I’m well into my next project, a little side table … after I’ve finished my oval mirror frame, which is proving to be a very difficult thing to make.

This is for my oak side table… I have got some recycled ebony to inlay into it….This is the design for the top.

trefoil table design 2

Anyway, will post more when the mirror frame is finished..




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Tallboy in oak, finished

Finally finished my corner unit tallboy.

This is it finished, at last..

I did a bit of carving as I said last post and decided to paint it…

The top is inlaid with some plum wood and walnut and the drawers are half made in spalted beech and half in oak. The bases are painted plywood.

I had trouble with the handles, I wanted to make them in metal and I guess I should have done so but I wanted to finish it so I made them from wood. The first set I hated and so I had to remove them and make a new set.. that all took time but I’m fairly happy with the new ones although…. I should probably have gone for metal.

It takes a lot of time to get the drawers sliding in and out smoothly but I got there in the end.

This has been a 5 month project … my next one should be shorter, I’m carving an oval frame for a mirror in cherry.

More later…


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Tallboy, in oak.

It’s a while since I blogged, I’ve been busy this year cutting up large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. It’s a hobby.

I’ve stretched myself this project and am making a tallboy. It has almost 100 pieces of wood and some carving and some inlay work, so it’s going to be a real ‘grown-up’ piece of carpentry.

Some photos….

Firstly, around Christmas I borrowed an electric motor saw to cut my lumps of oak into slabs…


Then I spent the next month cutting these into usable pieces



I did some old school ‘data transfer’…



This is what I plan on making..

chest 4 blank coloured

So, I started gluing it up..



And now I have to start on the drawers. You’ll notice that I haven’t drawn any handles on my sketch, that’s purely because I can’t decide which ones to make.

They’ll be in metal … and I’m going to make them… but … I can’t choose between lizard shaped and plain round forged ones….

I’ll post more photos when I know more myself…


Time will tell…




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A Working Studio

I poured my first resin today in my garage/studio, an indication that I have finally ‘moved in’.

It’s not exactly as I want it, I need to build a longer bench and there are still bottles and tubes of goo that need unpacking and placing somewhere ergonomically available… but it’s good enough to start work.

As you can see there is good light, though maybe not in midwinter when it’ll probably be too cold for resin to set anyway.

I found my brain was getting to the state where it was re-running stupid, everyday nonsense like a scratched CD and I figured I had just too much unused Bio-RAM because I wasn’t creating.

Creating stuff, I am sure, is the only thing that really keeps me sane [-ish] and dealing with everyday crap is just boring and, somewhat, a waste of time if you allocate more than the minimum necessary brain power to it. I find myself getting annoyed with how much I’ve been “mugged” during this whole move and the negative side of life can just mushroom if not curtailed and buried in some beautiful blue resin, for example.

I have a couple of new paintings I want to do too, and an old one that needs serious work [it came out of the attic and I was sorely disappointed in a colour choice I had made before, so I can’t hang it in the house before remedial works are completed] … so, time to get cracking again.

I haven’t had such a nice space to work in for several years and so I’m looking forward to a new flush of activity.



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Acquisition and Adventure.

Watching Job’s acolytes streaming out of the Apple stores waving their trophy i5’s above their heads made quite a contrast to my own personal experience of the last month. It has been quite a hard month for me mentally and emotionally.

Being dragged out of your comfort zone into a sort of drab but dangerous adventure has rewards which are somehow more life-enhancing [it seems to me] than a new status toy.

It started over a month ago with me wishing to improve my lot by finding a more harmonious hovel than the one I have been living in for the last two and a half years. I had not realised how much the world had changed in that time and the consequences of such a seemingly harmless endeavour.

The asylum is not run by the lunatics, if it was it would be a far more interesting world that we lived in. People so disinterested in what they do that they are semi-comatose most of the time are those that seem to man most of the interface between customer/client and corporation/business. The “whatever” wage slave.

Now that I can sit back and review the whole thing I have to liken it to wresting treacle. Systems have been set in place to service 80% of the public with the absolute minimum of effort and risk, and these systems are staffed by people who are forbidden to use any intelligence or initiative [assuming they have either of these qualities in the first place]. A case of the classic “Computer says No”.

So, running out of an Apple store with a new toy is obviously a lot easier and less demanding.

However, comfort and ease do not necessarily tax the highest of our attributes. Having demands made upon our mental stamina, problem solving and stoic natures makes success, (however limited) sweet indeed. Comfort seems to have elements of both laziness and greed mixed in to it and, by our natures, we fall prey to it readily and willingly.

Having thrown everything up into the air and watching it land has proved to be rather satisfying and I feel a renewed sense of creativity, it seems to have shaken off some of my sloth and given me a new energy … but I have to say that it was bloody hard work; drudgery.

So, now, with a good majority of the Augean Stables cleaned I can turn my hand to more creative construction … creating a studio… yummm.

this is the ‘before’ photo

The 5th task of Hercules and the 5th iPhone … give me the stables anytime … but not too often.




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Winners and Losers.

[rant warning]

It’s not been a great week for me. I’ve been messed around by rental/letting agents for a month now and while they finally surfaced on Thursday and decided they wanted my money, the Friday moving-in was a disaster. Their software wouldn’t work and so they could only take half the payment leaving me without keys until Monday, it seems.

I had planned to spend the week-end painting so the place was good before I moved furniture in … hadn’t realised how inane these people are. Damn.

Even if you have money, you can’t pay by cheque, or banker’s draft, or cash …. you can’t transfer the cash online. They have to take the money via a debit card over the phone for their system to accept it…. but their system was buggy and the transfer didn’t happen. What a bunch of morons, if I ran my business like this I’d be out on the street very fast, begging.

[rant ends]

On a brighter note … I made a new tree this week on Ngrid and I am quite pleased with the result, obviously parts of it have been shown before on InWorldz, but not in this composition… I still don’t have a great name for it, so any ideas are willingly received…



It’ll be nice to pepper the ground with some mushrooms etc. as I won’t be painting my new house as I had planned.

Two very different experiences, then.

…and it seems to me that these two events are not unrelated.

More and more systems are being put in place, like those of the rental agent, which are not working. Computer software, ‘mission statements’ and fancy logos paper over the cracks.

The basic problem with this corporate system that we are immersed in is that, in order for the shareholders to receive a bigger return every year, we (the 99%) have to pay more for less.

There are those, fully immersed in the “real” world, who see those of us spending time in VW’s as losers who retreat to live lives of phantasy and illusion.

These  RL barbarians have, in my opinion, totally missed the point.

We try, using whatever talents we have, to create a world, or a part of a world, based on beauty, integrity and enterprise without much thought of financial gain, fame or other delusional motivation. We create because we can and because we love what we do.

We are the winners, the heroes, and, on a good day, we know it.





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Metaverse ramblings

Lots of things have been going on since I last put pen to paper  …..

LL made a bit of a statement around their year-long endeavours to enable hypergridding (if that’s a verb) to OS grids…. Torley vid of the result…. apparently this is 4 years old… so…. I thought it was recent when I saw Wizzy tweet it, but it just goes to show, well, nothin’ much.

…which sort of ties in with a post I did years back where I suggested that SL could become the shopping mall of the metaverse with people popping in to buy stuff etc etc…. ancient history now as they cut links to OS.

They have apparently also declared war on lag… not bad after 5 years…
but it doesn’t quite tie in with any of my recent experiences on SL.

It seems to me that I need to upgrade my computer a bit since the introduction of mesh. As I predicted (and loads of people got annoyed with me over this) mesh has not reduced lag one iota and, in fact, appears to have made matters worse. I had a friend on SL before the introduction of Windlight (obviously not something I would want to do away with now) who had to drop out of SL because his computer couldn’t take anymore even after reducing his Prefs to the minimum. That’s progress I guess…

..and the announcement of new graphics tools

are bound to help make SL a little more glossy, but I can’t imagine that it will not put further strain on my hardware, if and when it eventually happens.

This new-found Glossy Drive will surely help LL justify a rumoured price rise…we will see.

Anyway… partly spurred on by Fleeps recent blog post (with very good posts by Botgirl [although I disagree and accept no responsibilty of LL’s failure])….and partly for no reason at all… Wizzy and I had a little bit of a trip, first to Avination

Now, as you have to pay for uploads (a mistake in my view) I was stuck in the no mod skin and shape and looked like a cross between a secretary and a school girl… Wizzy had spent some cash and looked a lot better. Of course, because I didn’t know anyone the place looked deserted and I didn’t spend long there.

So, as a lark we decided to meet in World of Warcraft the next night… Downloading the huge file for WoW was not something that you could do in 15 minutes, but, as it was a free trial we decided to go with it the following day…

We didn’t meet up… maybe we were in the wrong regions, maybe we were in the wrong continent and maybe the freebie trial didn’t allow for much socialising. I did, however, start to find my way around the UI which, in my opinion is far less intuitive that the old Imprudence style one. So.. if I want a hobby killing pigs for fun, I know how to do that.

The size of my hands though might put me off… gawd I could dig a mine with hands like that.

After a great Facebook chat with Alpha Auer I eventually got to Ngrid which seems to be where some of the cool kids are hanging out (Alpha and Selavy, for example)… the login screen is not for those with hangovers…

Grid manager details…..


I have started de-Ruthing… but the av I got is fully mod….so it isn’t a pain, I imported my shape and some textures for a skin..all free.


Back on InWorldz, however, the fashion show thingy was finished and they raised a Grand Total = $2,011.56 USD for St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital. Well done to all involved.

Trials of the long-awaited PhysX have been going ahead and it all looks good. Wizzy crashed the beta grid, just to help… but it’s all getting very close now.

A couple of new trees are available for sale on InWorldz too..

The Steamfunk Tree..

…and the Tree of Rings.

On the Art Front…the whole IMAB…(Intergrid Metaverse Arts Biennial) thing is worth considering too…I signed up for it..

“About IMAB:

The future of virtual reality is the hypergridded metaverse. New worlds are being set up in OpenSim every day, each has its own creators and arts scene, and you can visit them all with a single avatar. Do you have art you’d like to show others? Do you want help in bringing residents of other worlds to see your creations? Whether you’re into virtual sculpture, architecture, installation art, 2D art, literature, video, music or performance, The Metaverse Arts Adventure is here to make that happen!

We offer:
**a dynamic website directory of artists, where you can post pictures and descriptions of your art, poetry, literature, music links etc.
**a long-term series of festivals, exhibitions and open house events, where you can network, explore and share ideas
**a an E-book (available also in print), published at the end of the first round of the expo, which will include a catalog of all the participating artists

More info:
Josina Burgess and Velaquez Bonetto, heads of the IMAB, organized “Metaverse Art” in 2010. It was a similar show but limited then to just Second Life art.”

“The 6 month long Intergrid Metaverse Arts Biennial will begin on September 6 at CARP in Second Life. Josina Burgess, Medora Chevalier, Juniverse Stockholm and Velazquez Bonetto present THE CHANGE, a brand new dynamic theater performance, marking the centenary of Nicolas Schöffer. Our second event will be “Acquarella Rising” by Alizarin Goldflake in InWorldz. IMAB will continue for 6 months thereafter with new openings biweekly.”

In other (RL) news…

On a personal note I am grappling with rental agents and trying to move house, still. It looks like they will condescend to robbing me blind if I pay 6 months rent upfront … words fail me..well, words that I could print do.

Don’t be surprised if I am a little busy for the next few weeks, but I will probably be around..

..if I haven’t been jailed for GBH (grievous bodily harm)…



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