I’m Back!

After a long hiatus, I am back, whilst my woodworking slowed I didn’t really stop. For the last few months, I’ve been tinkering more with steel which has been an interesting change.   Make a mistake and you can fix it, no waiting for glues to cure and sanding etc.

My next project is going to be a hybrid of woodworking and metalworking. See we foster and socialise a number of cats, dealing with kitty litter etc is a pain.  So im making a mobile kitty cart to store and deal with the stuff we regularly use.   Believe it or not, it’s not unusual for us to be lugging around 60+ Kgs of stuff every week or two.



Mobile cart will have space at the top for a couple of storage tubs and two shelves underneath to store kitty litter etc.


The steel part of the trolley will be 20mm tubular steel. Not sure at this stage about adding a handle.Thats  something I will tinker with when the carts assembled and I can take it for a test run.

Small Ball & Claw Table

Lets face it 99% of woodworking is just working with straight timber and 90 degree joints. Being able to work with compound curves and even a little carving will open up your woodworking to a whole new level.

I am jumping into curves by attempting a small table using Ball and Claw style cabriole legs.

Ok let the fun begin, the table is based on an episode of “Rough Cut Woodworking” (Episode 11, Season 1). The timber used is some spare Melunak.

Leg templates were printed and glued onto some 3mm mdf then cut on a bandsaw and sanded smooth. I know it may seem like a lot of work but I will keep these templates for future projects and hope to get plenty of use out of them.

I used regular PVA glue and it was ready to go in about 20 minutes. The templates I am using were included in the rough cut DVD and just printed via laser printer to A4 paper.

Rough Stock
All the materials were rough cut and labeled to allow me to match the ears/knee blocks to the legs for the best grain match possible.


Round mortices were drilled on the leg stock before any cutting took place ,its much easier to clamp the stock down while still square.

Tenons were hand cut and rounded with a rasp to fit the round mortices. Couldnt resist a quick dry fit of the progress so far.

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Now the fun starts, templates were traced and legs were cut on the bandsaw. All the curves were smoothed over with a spokeshave and the corners rounded over using rasps.



Closeup showing the finish straight off the rasp and an updated dry fit.
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Carving the foot.

The toes and a general outline of the foot was marked using compasses to ensure all four feet are the same.

Two circles are drawn on the base, the larger circle represents the outside diameter of the ball and the smaller circle is the base diameter of the ball.
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The toes are carefully cutout with a handsaw to meet the outside ball markings and the excess material is carefully pared away with gauges to define the outside diameter of the ball.
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Updated Dryfit with the talons and basic ball visible. Some of the excess material has also been removed above the knee, this was done to mainly aid in clamping, in the begining stages the excess material serves to protect the top of the leg from damage.


Sides glued up and the ears/knee blocks have been glued on with hide glue and contured to fit. Conturing was roughly done on the bandsaw and finished with a blockplane and shoulder plane.

When doing the final carving of the feet, I found it easier to complete one leg and then carve the other 3 legs in stages take measurements off the first leg.

Finshing began with some Linseed oil. When freshly oiled the whole piece darkens and highlights any area’s needing more attention.

Finished Table.

After the oil had dried and any issues sorted it was time for the final finish. I sprayed the whole table with a mixture lacquer tinted with a little walnut stain. This helped to even out the tones through the whole piece.

Then applied several coats of full gloss lacquer as a final topcoat, when this completly dries I will rub back the gloss and apply some furniture wax til sliky smooth.

The final finish

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Bit and Pieces

Sample Mirror

With a couple of weeks annual leave under my belt I set off to tackle and finish the console table. To aid me in cutting and fitting the drawers I made a new moxon style vice and a bench helper to support the drawers for final fitting.

Sample MirrorSample Mirror

The Bench Helper, provides support for larger pieces and is great when plaining drawers to final fit. It only took a couple of hours to make using some scrap. I have already used it a dozen times. Its one of those handy jigs you wish you made years ago.

The Moxon vice is used to lift the work to a more usuable height, perfect for cutting dovetails. I was lucky enough to score a cheap Benchcrafted vice in a group buy with some friends (http://benchcrafted.com/).

Ok so here is the finished table, minus the lacquer and stain. I am very happy with the way the table turned out, it was a lot more work than I was expecting, but I learnt a lot from this piece. Every drawer was assembled using handcut dovetails, which was a first for me.

Sample Mirror Sample Mirror

Sample Mirror
Heres a close up showing the dovetails and the applied drawer front. The drawers and made out of hoop pine.

Matching corner table…

While working on the table I also decided to make a matching corner unit, to replace a recently broken vase 🙁

Luckly I had just enough leftover Durian to build this:
Sample Mirror

I didnt have any plans for this, I just match the main design elements of the console table and made sure I had enough Durian to complete the unit.

Console Table cont…

Got to spend a little more time tweaking and refining the console table.
The top and bottom shelfs were finished and rough sanded. The final height of the bottom shelf was decided and the legs have all been given a slight taper.

Marking out the taper

For the sake of a little practice I hand planed the tapers instead of cutting them on the bandsaw.

The ends of the legs were marked on the inside faces with a 6mm taper and ran 150mm up the leg.

Vic Ash The majority of stock removal was done with a scrub plane. I am really starting to like this plane more and more. Boy does it remove stock fast….

Vic Ash Shavings from the scrub plane were around .75-95mm thick no wonder it took less than 2 dozen strokes to get the taper down.

Vic Ash Then a quick going over with a jack plane to the line.

Vic Ash And ofcourse another dry fit , this time in the location its destined to end up in 😉

$24 Moxon Style Vice

With 9 handcut dovetailed drawers on the cards, I thought I should invest in a moxon style vice to aid my dovetailing.

After googling around for some idea’s I remembered some cheap “Press Clamps” I had seen at McJings tools and thought they might work well in a vice:

www.mcjing.com.au Press Clamps @ $12 each

Press Clamps
I order a pair online with some other goodies, and they turned up in 2 days.

The Press Clamps look pretty good for $12!
Excellent fit and finish.

I drew up a quick sketch, using sketchup based on some scrap f17 hardwood I had lying around

I drilled 28mm holes, which provided a nice press fit for the vice parts. You will need to file/rasp out a little notch where the locking screw sits on the tail portion. Notice how much play there is in the vice….

With the parts pressed in place, I marked the rear plate with a knife and cut a shallow mortice for the plate to fit in flush.

This is then held in place by a second slightly wider piece of f17 that is also used for clamping the press to the benchtop.

Finished Vice
Heres a picture showing the clamping beam in place covering the press plates. The entire vice is very easy to take apart if needed.

Vice in Action
The complete press works really well. the clamping power is way more than you’ll ever need for dovetailing.

When I tried to move a clamped board I moved the whole bench, which probably weighs in at 200kgs!

Tapered Clamping
There is a little play in the jaws, which I think might actually be a good thing. If it becomes an issue i’ll either add a bushing to the rear hole or re-drill the back peice with a 28mm hole in the rear and say a 20mm hole in the front.

Sample Mirror

There is about a 45mm range available for clamping tapered objects.

Sample Mirror
In use you’ll only need to open one end to get a board in/out when the jaws are correctly set.

Finish Vice

Overall I am very happy with the way it turned out, I am sure I’ll be using more of these presses for other jigs in the future.

Even if you had to buy the hardwood and not raid your scrap pile, the whole vice would only cost $50-60 to make.

Console Table – Dry fit.

Managed to peice together the console table this weekend. The legs have not been tapered, and the top/bottom shelf are not assembled yet but you get the idea.

The press parts have arrived for the Moxon Vice so I’ll need to sort that out before attempting the drawers…

Console Table

The Legs have only been screwed in place, so I can remove them to tweak the taper and the height of the bottom shelf etc. This worked out well, because the location of the bottom shelf would have been too high based on my guesstimate.

Console Table

Time for a new project, I have been looking for something to replace a little table we have in our main living area. Spotted this via google images and I really like the style. I was only able to find this picture, the company selling the table no longer carried them and the link was dead.

Console Table

With not much to go by in regards to dimensions out comes sketchup to the rescue, I quickly roughed out the dimensions and proportions:

Sketchup RenderSketchup Drawing

In order to match the other furniture in the room, i’ll be using some left over Vic ash I have from a previous project.

Vic Ash
Side panels and legs have all been glued up, at this stage I am going to taper the legs not curve them as per the original picture.

Construction will basically be 3 boxes and joining them up to create the main carcass. Might even give hand cutting dovetails a try. I am working on a Moxon style vice to help out with them, will post up info on that as I figure it out.

I have put aside some 35mm stock for the top and bottom shelf, but I am starting think it will be too thick for the bottom shelf.

Router Table

I managed to obtain a nice benchtop offcut through work, so I decided to build a new router table.

The benchtop is from a server room so its a heavy duty 35mm thick benchtop and weighs a ton.

Front Back

My original router table was never fully completed. It was based a router table made on an episode of New Yankee Workshop.

The new table uses the router, handles, router insert and drawerslides from the original table.

New Yankee Workshop Router Table

After using the original table for a few years, I tweaked the dimensions and made a few changes to suit my style of woodworking better. The main differences between the two are:

Larger table
Wider bit drawers
No mitre track
Increased duct sizes for the dust collection
Router plate setback further to provide more support for work pieces.

The increased port sizes on the dust collection made a huge difference, so much so I had to increase the vents on the main door to cope with the increased air flow.

The router table is also now mobile with a set of levelling casters from Woodcraft. They are fairly expensive, and I havent been able to find them locally. But the locking action is much better than regular castors and with the added bonus of being able to level the table and account for uneven workshop floors.

I’ll grab some more in the future and add them to my workbench.

Wood River Leveling Casters

Lastly I upgraded from a home made fence to a Kreg router table fence, still not 100% sure whether I like the lower profile. But unit is very rigid and locks well in position.

Overall I am very happy with this cabinet, only time will tell if I will need to refine it further.

LowLine TV Cabinet

I have a few projects on the go at the moment, one of them is a TV Cabinet for a friend.

The Cabinet is made out of Solid Durian. Durian is very similar to Victorian Ash, if anything slightly better, I find it sands better, doesnt have gum veins and is less prone to chipping.

The unit will be 150cm Wide, 60cm High and 45cm Deep, finished in a Walnut stain and semi-gloss Pre-Cat Lacquer.

Since there were no plans or designs, I drew up some sample pictures this is the one that was chosen, here’s a render of the sample drawing.

Sample Drawing

Next Step was to select a final color, I used a walnut stain and shot some samples, using a varying number of coats. In this case the color chosen was a touch lighter than the four coat sample.

Finish Samples

Now onto the fun stuff, the Durian was cleaned up, all panels were glued and rough sanded to 80 grit. The majority of the cabinet was made using 20x185mm boards, the top was made using 42x150mm boards.

Durian Wood

Gluing Up the panels

Here is a picture of the cabinet, without the drawers and door, I will disassemble the cabinet before finishing.

Dry Fit

I screw all panels that require finishing on both sides to feet. This allows me to spray all round easily, this saves a lot of time and another bonus is the feet allow you to handle the peices safely before the finish has fully cured.

Boards Drying

Here is the finished cabinet the following day, the finish is still drying and leveling out and really needs a couple of days to fully dry. During this time the finish sinks into the wood and keeps looking better and better.
Finished Cabinet

I really enjoyed building this cabinet, and was very impressed with Durian.
Thanks for looking Joe 😉