Monday, 30 October 2017

Plodding along

Jan decided it might be nice if the top drawers under the new bed had a central divider.  You might recall I had cut down some pine to make the headboard mounting.  The bevelled off-cut looked to be just the right size to make divider mounting brackets so I sanded the edges down and did a test fit.
It was my decision not to have the divider flush with the top of the drawer.
I’m rather pleased with the end result
All four top drawers have now been completed and I’ve moved on to the assembly of the two large Jarrah panels that will clad the end of the bed.  I’m using the damaged Jarrah salvaged from the display cabinet.  The damaged Jarrah was cut into strips removing the bulk of the damaged areas.  It was then biscuit joined, glued and clamped.  This task is taking some time as I can only simultaneously clamp a maximum of four pieces.  Hopefully all the joining and gluing will be completed by tomorrow and I’ll then be able to start on smoothing the outer surface.
Ever since we moved into the house the TV picture has been pixelated.  I always try to remember to look for the easy things first and replaced the lead between the wall socket and the TV.  When this didn’t rectify the problem I moved on to the next easiest component.  If a cable breaks then that is likely to occur within 6-8” of an end.  Today we visited Jaycars (Oz version of Maplin) and purchased a new male coaxial plug.  I selected the cheapest, but at $1.74 I almost cried.  We could probably have purchased 10 from China at that price; provided we were prepared to wait a month for delivery!
I cut the old plug off 6” from the end and fitted the new plug.  Pixilation problem solved!
Meanwhile Jan has decided to knit baby blankets.  No… we’re not expecting!  Well if we are I’ll want to know why!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

The Sled

The sled project is complete.  However before I explain what I did I must mention the media server project.  We have been able to wirelessly stream (view) videos on the media server around the house on our local network.  Yesterday I managed to complete the configuration for external access.  You might forgive me for feeling slightly smug when our youngest emailed to say he was walking around Manchester watching a high definition video on his phone being streamed from our server in Perth.  My brother in another Perth suburb wasn’t so fortunate.  His internet connection is so slow that the server couldn’t send his TV video data.  Australia really has “missed the boat” when it comes to a modern internet system.

OK, the sled.  The glue had set on the runners overnight and I turned the base over to add some screws to the runners.


The front fence was made from a scrap of 19mm plywood.  It doesn’t have to be square to the saw blade and is only required to stop the leading edge of the base flexing.  I needed to cut a chamfer on the base of the leading edge of the back fence.  I just tilted the saw blade to 45° and ran the timber through the saw.


you can see the chamfer on the top right corner.  This is actually the bottom edge and the timber will be rotated 180° when fitted.  The purpose of the chamfer is to avoid a build-up of sawdust at the bottom of the fence.


The next step was to screw one end of the fence to the base leaving the other end free (actually I just clamped it).  The sled was placed on the saw with the blade down.  Once the sled runners were in the grooves on the saw top I raised the saw blade so it came through the base.



The sled was then moved backwards and forwards cutting a line in the base of the sled. I left some uncut base at ether end.


This saw cut then because my reference line and using my large square I adjusted the angle of the back fence until it was exactly 90° to the saw cut.


All that was then required was to screw the back fence to the sled base  and complete the saw line.  

It’s possible to lose “situational awareness” when using power tools.  As I want to be able to continue to count to ten rather than eight I decided to make a safety extension for the rear fence using the offcut from the fence.


I used a jam jar lid to mark the curves and then cut them out with the jigsaw


The idea is this extension will prevent me from accidentally leaving my thumbs in line with the saw blade.

Back to the bed tomorrow

Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Professional Piano Mover and a canal reminder

Paul of ‘The Manly Ferry’ left a comment asking how many Maori’s would be required to move the new bed frame into the house.  The answer is none.  When I first met Jan she was a professional piano mover and despite now being a great grandmother still has plenty of grunt.  The two halves of the bed frame are now standing vertically in the master bedroom.  We’ve decided not to complete the final frame assembly until the mattress arrives.  Obviously this means the two fat little pink piglets are still squeezed into the 4’6” bed. We can’t simultaneously breath in because one of us is likely to fall out of the bed.

I removed all the bed drawers from the new bed to reduce the weight for the move (well she is a great grandmother) and have taken the opportunity whilst they are out to cut 20mm off the top lip.  This will give me more “wriggle-room’ when fitting the Jarrah drawer fronts.  I’ve also decided to use the damaged Jarrah from the display cabinet on the bed.  It’s only damaged on one side, so that will be the side that will face the interior of the bed where it won’t be seen.  I can then use the ‘good’ Jarrah purchased for the bed as part of the rebuild of the display cabinet.

After some thought, I’ve decided to make a sled for the portable saw.  The sled will make it easier to cross-cut smaller pieces of timber.  I used some of the damaged Jarrah to make a couple of runners for the slots in the top of the saw table.  They had to go through the thicknesser a few times to ensure they were an exact fit.

IMG_1911 The top of the Jarrah isn’t quite flush with the saw top.  This is deliberate as I want a gap under the Jarrah to reduce friction.  The next step was to place spacers under the Jarrah to raise it above the height of the table.  I used steel washers.


The Jarrah went back into the slot and was then proud of the saw top.  Some PVA glue on the Jarrah and then I placed the plywood base of the sled on top.


The grinder is on top to provide some weight whilst the glue sets.  Tomorrow I’ll fit the front and back fence to the sled and the job should be done.  I also need to make a sled for the router table.  That is likely to be slightly more complicated.

The MythTV computer is now working and I can access it remotely using MythWeb (using the pc internet browser).  The following is a screen dump of the MythWeb electronic program guide (EPG).  All five TV capture cards are working and each card has two tuners giving an ability to simultaneously record 10 FreeView channels.


Last night there was a serious reminder of our time on Waiouru.  No boater who has visited Bugsworth Basin could forget the smell when passing the Swizzels Factory and guess what I noticed Jan doing.


Yes, we do miss the canal community and life afloat!  Boater’s blogs are religiously read every day.

Monday, 23 October 2017

More on that bed

Another visit to the waterbed factory shop today.  This time we firmed up our requirement and placed an order.  The mattress will be soft sided with individual water bladders and heater elements.  The difference in price between a single large (king size) bladder with one heater and two bladders with heater elements was so minor as to not bother with the lower cost option.  It will take 1-2 weeks to make the mattress.

Meanwhile I’ve managed to get a 3rd coat of varnish onto the Jarrah cladding.  I also gave some thought as to the mounting of the bedhead.  Jan has decided on a design and we have agreed on the height. 

I’ve opted to make the headboard mounting from radiata pine.  The headboard will be one of the last components so it will need to be fitted after we start using the bed.  I ripped a 45° angle on the pine which will enable the taller headboard posts to slide into the lower mounting.

This next photo shows the concept from the base of the mounting system.


And this next photo is a mock-up of how it will look


I glued and screwed the lower mounting pieces to the end of the bed.


And then cut a number of 45° angles on the lower end of the mounting post.  The idea being this will make it easier to slide them into place when the bed is assembled.


Then it was a case of doing the same to the other half of the bed.

Whilst doing this I noticed a right-angle edge on the Jarrah at the foot of the bed.  This seemed to be a potential hazard for grazing a finger (or two) when making the bed.  The problem was resolved by me using the small router to round the edge.


There isn’t much more I can do on this project until the bed frame is moved into the house. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Good News and a project is completed

The good news is the Veritas sharpening guide has done a terrific job on the chisels.  They are so damned sharp I’ve managed to slice open two fingers without even realising I’d done it.  It wasn’t until I noticed the blood on the timber that I realised I was bleeding out.  Fortunately Jan was able to placed two band aids on the affected areas enabling me to return to work.

The Dyson vacuum cleaner is working (another project completed). The $1.45 Torx T15 screwdriver arrived from China yesterday which enabled me to remove the final screw and gain access to the clutch.  I was hoping there was nothing wrong with the clutch but as I’d disassembled much of the machine I’d decided to check it anyway.  Well the clutch was OK, so I started reassembling the Dyson.  Fitting the belt over the roller was always going to be a bugger of a task.  There is a special tool for the job but I didn’t want to spend the money for what will (hopefully) be a once only task.  With the help of Jan and two screwdrivers I managed to get the roller under the belt only to realise I’d fitted the wrong end.  By now there was more blood, requiring a replacement band aid.  Jan suggested I leave it until the following day before my temper got the better of me.


The roller is in the wrong way around <grrrrr>

The obvious thing to do was continue working on the bed.  I had a comfort stop in the smallest room in the house; washed my hands; then fitted the Jarrah face to one half of the bed.  I had a nagging itch in my shorts during this time and eventually decided to quit.  Back inside I went to wash my hands and noticed one of the band aids was missing. 

Jan made fish & chips for dinner whilst I sat in my chair scratching.  One beer later nature called and I went back to the little room.  Huummm…. So that’s where the band aid went and why I had an itch!  Smile

This morning I managed to correctly refit the roller and test the Dyson.  It’s working fine.  For the price of a screwdriver and $1.53 for replacement bearing (we now have three spares) the vacuum is OK.  This just reinforces the expression “look for the simple things first”.


It does look a strange colour after six years in storage.

This morning I managed to complete the fitting of the Jarrah cladding to the sides of the bed.  They are screwed from the reverse which has eliminated the need to use plugs.  The Jarrah also received a first coat of satin varnish.





The varnish has bought out the colour in the Jarrah.  When the cheap router bits arrive from China, sometime next month, I’ll start on the drawer fronts.  We might even be sleeping on the bed before that happens.   

Thursday, 19 October 2017

More on that important bed

The bed project is progressing very slowly as I’m trying to ensure there are no mistakes.  Jarrah timber is expensive and wastage isn’t something we want.
Today started very holy holey.  When the boat was being fitted out we bought oak plugs in bags of 100.  They were used to cover any screw heads that might have been exposed.  When planning this project I didn’t believe I’d need 100’s of plugs and then Aldi provided a solution selling a set of plug cutters during one of their weekly ‘Special Buys’.  I was quick to nab a set and today they were put to use making the first of the required plugs.
The plug cutter leaves a central ‘core’ in the hole which I break out using a screwdriver.  Aldi was also the supplier of the countersunk hole maker for the screws.
This next photo is of one upside down side frame I’ve glued and screwed a vertical lip.  Whilst the screw heads wouldn’t be seen unless you were to lay on you back beside the bed and look up I decided to conceal the screw heads with plugs.
The plug gets glued into the hole and then the protruding portion is carefully cut off with a chisel.
This actually reminded me if yet another task.  My set of chisels were ‘acquired’ from a drain before I met Jan.  They have never been looked after and have received a hard life.  The last attempt to sharpen them involved an electric grinding wheel.  I’d planned for this eventuality and purchased a Veritas sharpening guide whilst we were in the UK.
The guide consists of two main parts.  A holder for the tool or blade requiring sharpening and a gauge to set the angle.
Reverse side
Note the roller on the blade holder.  Once the tool or blade has been aligned by the guide you remove the latter.  The holder is then turned over and placed on a sharpening stone.  I’m using an oil stone (another found tool).
In position and ready to be placed on the stone.  It was then a case of running the chisel tip up and down the stone using the roller. 
This operation is very slow.  Especially if you haven’t been taking care of your chisels.  As you can see in the above photo the bevel on the tip of this chisel was badly out of shape.  Twelve chisels and one Jack Plane blade later it was time for lunch.
With sharp chisels it was an easy tasks to cut the tops off the plugs .
I decided to round the edges on the side of the bed platform.  Thrusting sheets and blankets under the mattress might easily result in a fingernail being caught on a sharp edge.  I used the router to make a curve on the horizontal edge.  That wasn’t too difficult.  however doing the opposite edge was going to be difficult as the router base would only have a 19mm flat surface to slide on.  The strategy I adopted was to clamp two pieces of packing to widen the base.
Right arrow points to the edge to be shaped.  Left arrows point to the temporary packing.
That worked!
Now the outer edge of the base is rounded.
There was just enough daylight left to fit the Jarrah frame to one side of the bed and clamp the other temporarily in place.
The next step is to start sizing and shaping the bed end Jarrah cladding.  I’ve decided to recycle some of the damaged Jarrah from the former display cabinet for this part of the bed. 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

More on the bed

The task for today was to make a start cutting the Jarrah for the exterior cladding on the bed.  This timber is EXPENSIVE and I’m trying to take my time in an effort to reduce the possibility of avoidable costs (ie, have to buy more timber).  It’s a case of “measure three times and cut once.

I cut the three horizontal lengths together in an effort to ensure they were all EXACTLY the same length.  The frame consists of a top and bottom rail and a 60mm plate fixed at 90° to the top rail.

Of course (my luck) one of the lengths had a bow in it which meant additional clamping.  I used my large yellow right angle square to ensure everything was correctly aligned. 

The photo below shows the reverse side of the frame which will be concealed when fitted to the bed carcass.


I left this clamped for four hours to allow the glue to set.  It’s actually held together with Kreg screws and glue.  The latter having the greater strength.

Then I ran a length of 40x19mm through the bench saw to produce two 15x19mm lengths.  These then went through the thicknesser to get them down to 12x19mm.  One of these lengths was then glued as a bead to the top of the frame.  The edge of plywood top to the bed will butt against this beading concealing the edge of the plywood.


Tomorrow I’ll make a start on the frame for the other side of the bed.

I’ve decided to make ‘shaker’ style faces for the drawers and the panels at the foot of the bed.

Monday, 16 October 2017


Last night Jan confessed she was going out of her mind with boredom being stuck in the house with little to do.  I have the bed and 4x4 projects to keep me occupied during the day and the computer projects in the evening.  Therefore I’m not suffering…. except from too much work!

To break the monotony we decided to go for a drive.  West quickly takes you into the Indian Ocean, so I decided to go east.  We’ve never travelled up the Avon Valley to Toodyay and therefore decided that would be today’s destination.  It’s approximately 100km from Perth.


The early European settlers had a habit of naming locations in their new country after places they had left behind.  Toodyay is no exception, being initially known as Newcastle until it was renamed at the beginning of the 20th Century.  The Avon Valley and River Avon obviously have a connection to England.  Although over the centuries the pronunciation has changed.  In the UK it’s the River A-von whilst in Western Australia it’s the ave-on (ave as in have).

Every year, at the end of winter, the Avon Descent is held.  The descent is a two day water event on the river.  Powered and unpowered craft of all types attempt to transit the 124km as quickly as possible.


As you can see…….. the roads are not all that busy


Once over the Darling Ranges we are in the Western Australian wheat belt.

Toodyay is a typical rural Australian town with most of the original buildings in a line either side of the main road.


The pubs (hotels) all tend to be two story with an ornate upper and lower veranda at the front.



The early settlers quickly realised English style homes were not suitable in the hot and dry Australian climate.  A unique local design started to appear.  Building had steeply pitched rooves allowing the heat to escape into the roof cavity.  Walls were thick with small windows to keep out the heat.  A covered veranda encircled the house providing further shade and preventing direct sunlight from reaching the windows


In 1870 a steam powered mill was built to grind the local grain.  It was subsequently converted to generate electricity


The post office has been converted into a store selling local fresh produce.


The railway arrived long before motor vehicles.  Toodyay’s railway station has survived.  Probably because the route of the main rail line from the eastern states was diverted through Toodyay in the mid 1960’s.


Except for NSW and Tasmania all Australian States have at least two rail gauges.  The main interstate line in Western Australia is Standard Gauge and the remainder of the network is Narrow Gauge.

By coincidence Toodyay was holding it’s monthly Farmers Market today.  Both of us noticed how small it was in comparison to UK markets.


We visited the local bakery and purchased a hot drink.  On returning to the 4x4 we discovered it had handy cup holders in the dash.


The Avon River


We retraced our route for a few kilometres noticing the water pipeline adjacent to the road.


Towards the end of the 19th Century gold had been found around Kalgoorlie some 550km from Perth.  The area was hot and dry with little local water.  Thousands of prospectors and others had flocked to the region and the State government decided to build a pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie.    The scheme was devised by CY O’Connor an Irish engineer.  Many people, including the political opposition, thought the scheme wasn’t feasible and would bankrupt the state.  O’Connor came under tremendous pressure over his scheme committing suicide some 12 months before the project was completed.  After the scheme was completed the government held an inquiry and found no basis for the press accusations of corruption or misdemeanours on the part of O'Connor. 

We decided to head south towards Northam and the main highway back into Perth opting to take the longer ‘scenic’ route.  Actually I think it was just the winding old road.


There are large grain holding a distribution centres across the wheat belt.  The grain is delivered to the centre from the farms by truck (lorry) and then moved by rail.   The majority of it goes to the ports for export


We never actually made it into Northam opting to divert onto the Great Eastern Highway and head back to Perth.


This is the main highway into Western Australia.  The equivalent of the M1.  Busy, isn’t it! Smile