The photo are a little blurry, but the top of the tube is marked ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Birmingham’. Not sure if it’s connected with carpentry or woodworking. The ‘Birmingham’ stamp would in any case distance it from the Gabriel we all know, but any ideas as to what this is?







Getting there…

work on house
The work on the house renovation continues and this morning I had to strip off a ceiling. The old plaster and lath had had it’s day, (well, it was over 130 years old) and was sagging in quite a few places. As the plasterers have been in skimming the walls, it made no sense to skim over something with dodgy foundations. So down it came and ten bags of rubble later, I’m ready to get it boarded over and skimmed.
I spent a while stripping the ceiling, because I wanted to retain the original cornice, so I had to part the ceiling from the edges, before swiping the main part off with a shovel.
A very dirty day, but still some progress. Once these two rooms are skimmed I can get on with the kitchen renovation and once that’s done, it’s really just painting and making storage units.
Onward and upward.


Diy dad (again)

It’s been a while since my last post, the reason being I’ve purchased a house and have been spending most of my spare time there, working on the million and one things that need putting right.
When it’s completed, the house will be rented. The renovation work I’m doing is mostly cosmetic and I’m trying to be realistic about how much I really need to spend on it and degree of finish I should aim for. Today’s young professional expects a certain quality of decoration, but then again I have to turn this round in a sensible time and start getting money from it to pay the mortgage.
A lot of it is simple stuff, stripping off 70’s features, such as polysterene ceiling tiles (!) and removing a lot of tongue and groove boarding which covers things like the balustrades on the stairs. Today’s tenants want period features and the (Victorian) house has some nice bits that should be exposed again.
This week I have been tending to the windows. The actual windows are UPVC, but I’m not going to be pulling them for proper hardwood sash boxes, as much as I like them myself. For now, it’s just a case of making the interior trim a little nicer to add a little more period charm.
The trim inside the windows was a real dog’s dinner. The wood used was a dark hardwood, which already looked very dated. The side jambs projected about an inch into the room, instead of being flush with the wall. Therefore the side casing was floating off the wall and had been bodged to fill the windy gap with Polyfilla and even toilet roll (!!).
I had to take everything off and trim the side jambs back to level, then add a better side casing that sat flush to the wall. Today I smoothed some bonding plaster over the walls to take up the slight undulations and brought everything to level. Tomorrow I will install a proper ogee trim to the outer edges and run a bead on the inner join to hide any fine gaps. The plasterer can then skim up to the trim and all should be good.
Every day I work on the house I have two or three big jobs I try to get done. Whilst speed is of the essence, I try to make time for doing things to my best ability and for doing a proper job of things like keeping tools sharp. It’s very nice to be working somewhere where I can make a big mess without looking at my watch all the time to check when I need to get the house clean again for the family’s return!
I can also appreciate I need certain power tools to speed things up further. I can see myself parting with some hard-earned cash for a nice plunge saw soon, as there will be a lot of storage to build. The need to cut large sheets ‘on-site’ has meant I’ve been looking into how other people do this and there are some very interesting tools and techniques out there. The saw should pay it’s way easily and I may also get a Festool Domino and maybe a ‘Centipede’ table. The MFT would be nice from Festool, but it’s not huge, so I can just square the rail up manually and work like that. Slower, but at the end of the project I need to store this stuff and I can find space for a Centipede table, not so easy with the MFT.
A new garden wall will be built soon by a local bricklayer and hopefully the plasterers can arrive soon to skim upstairs, just have to get the sparky in first to check electrics and find out why certain things don’t work. Joy!
I’ll post some more pics soon…


Old-school sharpening station

There seems to be no end to the sharpening discussion in the woodworking community. I guess people just have a bit too much time and money on their hands these days, and some decide they need that dovetailed maple and cherry sharpening station in their lives. Me? I find myself more impressed with the guy who built this into his old bench. Need a sharpen? Pull it out. Sharpen. Get back to work. End of.


Merry Christmas!


A bit of commotion from the stables round the corner and upon investigating it, I found this lying in a bunch of straw?! Merry Christmas to all my blog readers and best of luck with all your woodworking endeavours in 2015.