Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Match and a disaster

Hi all,
There are times when all goes well, but there are other times when you may just as well chuck your plums at the clock. I have just had one of those days in my workshop and I'm a little bit fed up. You may recall the oyster box I was making. I'd done the base.

And I was about to go into serious sanding mode on the lid.
I did do the sanding. Firstly, I shaped it out roughly with my belt sander before attacking it with my Dremel. This took about an hour and I then began sanding by hand. I started of with 120 grade and slowly worked my way through all the other grades to 400. By the time I'd finished it was really smooth and very tactile. The next thing to do was drill holes in the lid and the base to take the special hinges that I'd bought especially for this box.

This was the first time I'd used these hinges, but I thought I knew how they worked so I didn't pay much attention to the detail. This was a big mistake because they didn't work how I had expected them to and I'd now drilled the holes in the wrong places. Whats more, my design wouldn't allow me to put the holes in the right places even if I could work out where that might be.

The box was a disaster because the hinges did not allow the lid to sit flat on the box. Here is a picture of how it looked when I put it together. Not bad when open, even if I say so myself. I could imagine the inside covered with a nice dark blue flock.
However, when I tried to close the lid  you can see the problem.
Not a pretty sight is it. I guess it's no good crying over wasted saw dust and I have learnt a lesson. In future, I will make double sure I know how the hinges work.

The question is now, can I save the box and some of my hard work? I will show you what I've come up with in my next post.

By the way, I have another free book for download from Amazon today and tomorrow, 7th and 8th of April. It is called "The Match" and is a good read even for non anglers.

 Please grab a copy and enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Oyster Box

Hi all,
I'm finally making some headway with the oyster box. The base is done; it was cut out with the scroll saw set to a small angle and then sanded on the belt sander and by hand.
I am now working on the lid, which is made up in layers like this. These were the first three layers glued with wood glue and clamped. I have also done a bit of rough sanding on the belt sander to reduce the corners on the second layer to see how it looks.

Here I have put the last two tears on the lid and, although it looks a little bit like an ugly duckling now, I'm confident that it will turn into a beautiful swan.
I will show it you in my next post.

When I was doing this oyster box it brought back memories of my time as a "Reluctant Pom" in Australia when 16 years old. An Aussie friend of mine had heard that a shell fish called Abalone was worth a lot of money to high end eating places in Melbourne. He said he knew where to find some, so off we went Abalone fishing with two kitchen knives and bucket.

If you would like to find out how we got on with this money making caper, you can find out for free if you download a copy of the book, "The Reluctant Pom" from Amazon on either the 31st of March or the 1st of April.
To get your free copy, click on the books tab at the top of the page and then click on the book's cover. Please enjoy.

Thursday, 24 March 2016


Hi all,
I will be doing a scroll sawing and pyrography post soon now that the weather is warming up. I have done a bit of work in the workshop recently and have made an extractor for when I'm sanding with my rotary tool. I made it from an old washing up bowl and a brush attachment from the vacuum cleaner. My wife won't find out because she is a stranger to the hoover. Anyway, I will show you the finished article in my next post.

What I wanted to share with you today was a couple of things to do with buns. Tomorrow is Good Friday, so I decided to have a go at making some hot cross buns in the bread maker that my wife got me for Christmas. I kid you not, I have been making all our own bread this year and very good it is too. The bread maker cost only £50 and I would recommend it to anybody. It is so easy to make a loaf, it saves money, you know what ingredients went into making it and it tastes amazing.

Here is a photo of one of my loaves.
Not bad looking even if I do say so myself. The hot cross buns I made today don't look bad either although I think I could have used a better recipe.
The other bun I wanted to tell you about is my second book in the Fishing Detectives series, "Bun In The Oven" is free today and tomorrow (24th and 25th March 2016) to download from Amazon.
To get your free download, just click on the books tab at the top of the page and click on the book. I hope you enjoy it over the Easter hols.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

A Staffordshire Boy, Free Copy

Hi, just a quick between post to let my regular readers know that "A Staffordshire Boy" is free to download from Amazon today and tomorrow (17th and 18th March) please grab a free copy. This is the first time I have offered this book for free on Amazon, so please enjoy.

To get your free download, click on the books tab at the top of the page and then on the book cover.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Good News

Hi all,
I've got good news and bad news. First the bad news. I'm afraid I'm going to have to increase the price of my books, I have been selling them at silly prices that couldn't last forever.

The good news is that I am doing it slowly by changing the price of one book each week. The other good news is that several of my books that have never been available for free on Amazon will be doing exactly that in the future.

This new regime will start today with a price increase on "The Fishing Detectives: Carp Rustlers."

However, for those of you who are following this blog, you will find "Carp Rustlers" will be free to download from the 9th until the11th of March, so please grab a copy while you can.

"Carp Rustlers" is the first of three books in the "Fishing Detectives" series so it make sense to offer that one for free first. The other two books in the series will have their prices increase shortly so if you would like them at rock bottom prices, please download them soon.

If you are wondering why there isn't any news on the scroll sawing or pyrography front, it's because there isn't any. My work shop is still colder than an Eskimo's mitt and I'm not working in there till it warms up a bit.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Up cycling

Hi all,
Sorry to say that I haven't made much progress with the oyster box since my last post. Here it is so far.
I need to make the top piece, sand it down to shape and add the hinges. I hope to do all of that before my next post. The reason progress has been slow is because my wife decided to de-clutter our dining room, which meant a trip to the jolly old tip, a trip to the charity store to donate some nice but no longer required items.

A wall cupboard and side board were also declared redundant and, I while I could make use of the wall cupboard in my workshop the sideboard would need to be cut up small enough to fit into our Nissan Micra before going to the tip. Anyway, while I was dismantling the sideboard I decided that I could use the wood to make a nice bit of furniture to store art pads and the like, so I set about it with my scroll saw and here is the result. Not bad, all my art pads and other flat items are now all in one place.
Before I go, I'm pleased to let the followers of this blog that one of my books, "No Fishing In Here" which contains a collection of short stories is free today and tomorrow (25th and 26th Feb 2016). To get your free download, just click on the books link at the top of the page and then click on the book.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Oyster Box

Hi all,
I have had this idea for a box running around my brain for a few weeks now, so I've started to make it.
I am calling it an oyster box because that is about the shape of it. The thing about the box shape is that it is completely organic. I drew something that looked a bit like an ear and then cut it out of a piece of 1inch thick maple.
When I did the cutting on the inside and the outside I put the saw at a 35 degree angle to give them some shape. The fact that the scroll saw, rather than the table, can be tilted is one of the best features of an Excalibur saw. I imagine cutting a 1 inch thick piece of maple on a tilted table would be a bit grim and one's piano playing days could soon be over.

I used a no9 Olsen blade with reverse teeth and it it cut pretty well. After giving the outside of the box a bit of a sanding,  I stuck a piece of 2mm ply on the base and then sanded that as well.

It is coming along quite nicely and I will share my lid making experience in my next post.

By the way, please be aware that one of my books "Bossyboots" is free on Amazon today and tomorrow. That's the 18th and 19th of February.

To get a free download of this laugh out loud book, just click on the books link at the top of the page and then click on the "Bossyboots" link.