#CTBO and the Melbourne Woodworking Show

I had grand plans for today. It is the final day of the Melbourne Timber and Wood Working show, pretty much the only wood working show in Victoria all year, definitely the biggest and best at least. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.

I had to work all through the WW show weekend so arranged for my Sunday shift to be covered so I could spend the last day there. The plan was going well, until morning came and I found my little 3 year old boy coughing up a storm and throwing up everywhere. Bugger. Oh well, I’ll never choose my hobby over my kids, so I cancelled my plans and stayed home to help take care of him. Not fair to leave my wife alone all day with 3 kids including a very sick one. He seems to be coming good now, but he’s had a poor day unfortunately.

My sick little Monster

My sick little Monster

So we spent most of the day cuddled up together watching cartoons, not so bad really! He drifted off for a few sleeps so I used that time to get to some jobs I’ve been putting off for a while; working on a couple of broken parts in the car and playing in sketchup.

I hate working on cars, everything is designed to be put in and removed with special tools and in a special order. I don’t have the tools or know the order, so my hands always end up sliced, greased and red raw. I can’t believe I used to love doing this sort of stuff when I was younger. I used to rewire cars for fun!

A small plastic cog has broken inside one door lock, which means the entire car cannot be locked. Ugh. To fix it I had to remove the entire door trim, latch and take the lock mechanism apart. Not fun at all. Especially after I fixed it, put it all together and then heard it snap again straight away…great design, thanks Ford.

Later in the day though I got to spend a little time in sketchup. I’ve been mentally working on a design for a Coffee table for the #CTBO event that the Cronkwright Workshop is hosting through November and I wanted to see what it would look like visualised.

Here’s the first version of it, it’s pretty much what it was like in my head, though I still need to nail down the dimensions. What do you think? It will be made from pine and an as yet unknown hardwood, basically whatever board I can find that is long enough, cheap enough and pretty enough to use.

An 'ovaled rectangle design'. I'm sure there's a better word for that shape...

An ‘ovaled rectangle design’. I’m sure there’s a better word for that shape…

#CTBO design

#CTBO design

Are you entering anything in the Coffee Table Build Off? I *think* there are prizes on offer, but I know there will be plenty of links to talented woodworkers who will be showing off their skills.

I’m happily just making up the numbers :-)

Rainbow Loom Nail Art

Every few months there is a fad toy that every kid wants. When I was a child it was at different times; slap bands, ninja turtle figures, tamagotchi, gameboys, the Atari and a whole lot more that I can’t even remember. Basically these toys had one thing in common; they were loved overwhelmingly and played with endlessly…until the next fad came along and they were thrown unceremoniously into the cupboard of forgotten toys.

Well the fad at the moment is still the Rainbow Loom. What is it? Basically it’s a plastic loom used to weave colourful rubber bands into bracelets and charms. Kids have been going nuts for them for the past couple years which is a pretty good run for a toy. In our house we have two looms and about 200 million rubber bands, they’re just all over the place. The problem is that the fad is starting to wear off, and my kids are getting bored with them. Rather than throw them all out or pack them away, I thought we’d try our hands at making some artwork out of them.

I’ve been meaning to do a string art project with the kids, the one where you wrap coloured string around nails in a board to make shapes and patterns. It dawned on me that I could use the rubber bands in the same manner. I headed into the newly renovated ‘shop and quickly put some boards together from images that the girls selected. You can find the full details in the short video below. I don’t know that it counts as woodworking but it was a fun project to do with the children.

It’s a very simple project; no breaking the budget or head scratching here. I thought up the idea and then had the boards ready to go within a couple of hours. For me it was entirely free; scrap board, scrap paint, spare nails and obviously we have the spare rubber bands. Even if you had to pay for everything brand new, you could make a dozen of these for about $15.


Homer, My Mentor.

And to be honest I think this idea has a bit of potential. I didn’t spend much time thinking about how I could best layout the bands on Homer, but I still love the finished result. I think if you put a bit of effort into it you could make a really attractive piece of artwork to hang. Well, to hang in a kids room at least. :-)

So have a look and then give it a shot with your kids, be sure to send any finished pics through to me too!

Rocking Horse Build Gallery

This is a photo gallery of a rocking horse I built for my friends new bubby. The design came from toymakingplans.com

You can find a bit more info about the rocking horse here.

Have you built something similar or another rocking toy? Let me know, I’d love to see some photos too!

A Rocking Horse

This is the only woodworking project I’ve been able to work on for the past few months, a rocking horse for a good friend of mine who has just had her first baby. It really should only have taken a few days, but in between building the shop and working, meh, what can you do? An hour every few days was all I could dedicate to it.

The problem is that Monster doesn't realise it isn't for him!

The problem is that Monster doesn’t realise it isn’t for him!

All finished

Click to zoom


I’m exceedingly happy with the end result. I think it looks lovely, it’s nice and soft to the touch, solid (yep I can ride it), and rocks very well. But yeah, I guess I’m biased. :-) It certainly has it’s faults, the finish for one, but nothing so bad that I’m not happy handing it over.

This was made using my scroll saw, router table and disc / belt sander. The pattern was bought from toymakingplans.com for around $12; a fantastic investment as I will definitely be making more of these in the near future. I highly recommend toymakingplans.com, the plans were very clear and straightforward. I toyed with the idea of designing my own horse but I figured that would only drag the project out for longer, I’m very happy with the bought plans.

You can find a gallery of the build photos here, I’ve got plenty of notes on the photos too.

I took lots of photos as I went, but filming wasn’t really an option due to the short periods of time I had to spend working on it. However I’m happy to say that I’m making two more rocking horses soon (of a different design) that I’ll be able to film, after all, I now have a nice bright workshop, be a shame not to take advantage right?

Click the image to view the full gallery

Click the image to view the full gallery

If you’ve never made a rocking horse, you are missing out. It’s a lot of fun to build one and watching a child play on it is just awesome. If you have built one, send me a photo or post it on my facebook page, I’d love to see what you came up with.

“New” doors

A bit of an impulse buy this week.

A diamond in the rough? Don't know about that, but it was cheap!

A diamond in the rough? Don’t know about that, but it was cheap!

I’ve been wondering what I’d do for doors in the shop for a while now. My preference was always two large barn door type dealies that I lovingly handcrafted from….ok that was never really going to happen. Doors like that take time, skill and money. I didn’t want my first foray into the world of door building to be a 2.4m wide feature of the backyard.

So I thought about glass sliding doors instead. While it means the doorway opening is reduced to half the size of the barn door style, it also means they don’t take up any extra room when open. And with the garage mouth being so wide, the opening is still 1.2m, more than a standard doorway.

No door, just a big empty hole where bugs fly in.

No door, just a big empty hole where bugs fly in.

I was pleasantly surprised once I started fitting it into the building, it seems I’ve picked up a few little tricks over the past few months while labouring for a builder. I got the whole assembly in on my own, inside of 30 minutes. The only sticking point, mind the pun, was one of the wheels was broken on the door which made it very hard to slide. I figured this would happen though so a quick trip to the hardware store had it sorted.

Around 20 minutes later.

Around 20 minutes later.

I’m very close to finishing off this renovation now that the door is done. I need to finish installing some lights, do a little bit of plastering around the new doorway and sort out the fireplace, then all the major work is done. Soon enough it will be time to start thinking about building a workbench.

Life is good when you have a Monster on hand to help out :-)

Life is good when you have a Monster on hand to help out :-)

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