Monthly Archives: June 2012

This one is for sharing

I will enjoy going back over this again, but I feel the need to share. This was shown to me when I expressed my lack of pateince with an author. I read the books before I heard of the tv show so at least I have that to look forward to. Waiting for an author can be a hole in a persons life for a time. Some people see the lighter side thankfully. Hope the link works.


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I have to get them sorted.

Getting the angles to correctly match is for me the tricky bit. The sharpest tools I have are needed for a decent finish and I have to resist the temptation to force the last bits due to impatience. I like the idea of working with hand tools, but as I get older, I look more kindly on the dovetail machine cutter. May get one before I feel I have to get one.

This joint is liked by all who use it for strength and most who see it. I think it shows a delicate and refined touch to working with wood. It works well keeping two angle joints together where the force is from 90 degrees to a side. For any who may read this (including me in 6 months time) it means this. The force (pull or push) on the joint is head on from one side. The drawer is pulled directly out, the weight of the books pusk directly down. A dovetail joint does not work well when it is pushed or pulled by a force working at the corner. If you were to break the sides of a drawer with a hammer, you could hit it on one face or another till the timber itself broke, but tilt the drawer and hit it with the hammer down onto a corner (mind your fingers) and the joint will part. I think it is a good joint for the outside corners of a bookcase. Must get good at it.

I know I have posted links and this invites spam, but the links help.

Wait, wait, before you or I go, heres a picture of what I mean. A member of posted it as his work. Very nice it is too. The type of dovetail is a half blind as it does not show through the wood at the front of the drawer.



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The humour to blog.

Blogging takes some reading, of our own, as well as others. I saw a freshly pressed yesterday on the bloggers personal rules. It takes rules to blog in a good way, firstly for the blogger, secondly for all other readers. In light of my previous posts and other peoples I have encountered –

Personally –

It needs to be treated in a good way, some thought put into the form of the post without any “presentation” veneer or gloss over it. I need this so that when I read it again, I do not have to ask who I was writing it for.

Do not use the blog to “vent” as it does not reflect over time how I felt – just the release of the steam above the emotion. I think Poplar is a perfectly good timber and it has a wide range of uses. I disliked the use of its class as Hardwood as a label to convey something it was not – for profit. Venting is rarely expressed well.

Enjoy people reading my posts and stick to the subject at hand. I thought it was work starting, and I think its worth going on with.

Leave the timing organic. Deadlines are for business and my blog is not business.

Try to ensure I will be as happy reading this in 6 months time as I am typing it.

Finish with making up how this is to be done and get on with it.


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This is rather a specific post, but It is on my mind. Have any of you encountered Poplar? Furniture makers – specially kitchen makers bless this timber. Why? It has very little grain to speak of – no hallmark lustre, depth or grain pattern.

Its as cheap as Finnish or Swedish red deal (pine) and it is classed as a Hardwood. AHEC have rebranded it as Tulipwood. It is soft, easy to machine and finish. So someone can now buy a Hardwood kitchen that has none of the qualities of a traditional hardwood kitchen, for the same or slightly cheaper than an Oak kitchen. The difficulty with an informed choice is who is informing buyers. Anyone interested in informing people on a good, long lasting, hard wearing kitchen is usually selling one. Vexing, but as it is progress, whats to be done? I’ll try and think of something, its just that free advice is usually valued at its cost.

I also like the idea of an environmentally friendly kitchen. Keep it in good shape and when it has eventually worn down beyond repair – bury it at the end of the garden and let it rot happily away. Keeping a kitchen in good shape can take some effort every now and again. Think of the formica surface as opposed to the hardwood worktop. Once the plastic coating is worn down or cracked, rip it out, dispose of it  and get a new one. Say it will last 5 to 10 years on average. Nobody says this when selling them. Oil the hardwood worktop every 6 months or so and it will last for longer than any of us here now. If it takes a knock, sand it down a wee bit and pop some oil on again. Ok, in another century or so, you may have an oil saturated wafer thin hardwood work surface, but it will look as well as it did 100 years ago and be part of peoples memories.

Its the same with shelves. A fine piece of furniture will pay for itself in the end. I agree with Terry Pratchett on this – spend 180 on boots and they will last longer than 2 pairs of boots for 100 each. Just buy the right boots. Where did I see the sentence – “Even if a mixed metaphor flies, it should be derailed”? Never mind. It pays people to get themselves informed.

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My favourite library

I do not profess to be any good at it but I do like to work with timber. A wonderful and beautiful resource. Humanity can express their creativity with it in so many forms. Of course the peak of expression could be a wonderful set of shelves that are complete with books. No, make it a room of beautiful shelves complete with books. A large library perhaps. But for now, back to the root of it all.

A hardwood suppliers range of timber

A hardwood suppliers range of timber

Suppliers from time to time will distribute a range of samples, in order to help their customer, or their customers customer to pick what they like the look of. Years ago, a qualified carpenter would have to make informed choices without recourse to the internet, suppliers or books. He or she was meant to know what they were talking about. They would then put in an order and it was up to the local supplier to find what they needed. This could take quite some time, but people were used to a slower pace.

The carpenter had his own library – my favourite.

Some of the timbers are not now available. Number 27 weighs a tonne. Greenheart was so hardwearing it was used for underwater work. If you can read the list, you will see that some of the countries are also no longer available. Its my best library. I didn’t earn it, but perhaps someday I will.


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Starting afresh

Life seems to roll over me now and again and my carefully stacked balance in life wobbles. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. I wanted to get back to this sooner, yet feel compelled to post before I have fully prepared. This is in part due to the attraction of blogging. One of those things that works. I have never had a diary in the sense of recorded thoughts or even events outside business and Family Musts. I have come online and posted as I felt the need to. The result has been interesting (to me). When I look back I do see the wandering thread, but perhaps thats just me. I saw somewhere that to write a blog, you should read blogs, and I have to say, I found some I do enjoy for various reasons. If I am to continue I should give thought to those (apart from myself) who read and reread this “thread” of thought. So, between Family, Fathers day, friends, work, Irelands last match, prep for the new course, gardening, perhaps shooting, the gym, walking, reading and even working with timber, I will attempt to put together a few posts that can be read by someone who can get an insight, as well as the one person who already has one.

Focused text, shorter sentences and paragraphs, photographs, wait, wait, good photographs, try to keep it upbeat (not hard given my chosen subject) and an orderly flow that is easy for the reader. The photographs, the photographs. I wanted to avoid bookporn photos and maintain what I thouht was as personal and “honest” approach, but If I feel the need to put across a graphic point and do not have the ability to take the shot, I will use anothers and give due credit. Yep, sentences shorter than that should be good. Why do I feel the need to blog on this? Because I love them. I continue to buy books so I will be in need of more shelves soon. You?

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Preparing for a new adventure

As I think about the course in Archaeology a few things come to mind.

There will be more books to be read (bet you didn’t see that coming). These will be both about the core and on the edges of the subject. I always find the edges at least as interesting as the core subject. Take the history of digging for buried treasure, excuse me, artifacts of scientific interest. Gone are the days when you went off to some hot place and hired a few locals to see if you could dig up a king or two. Perhaps a whole lost city if you were lucky. Now, its more scientific and in some ways more brutal. Take the robbery in North Africa. Both factions were fighting for the town at the time and a team (from one side or another or perhaps someone else hired for the job) went into the war zone and blew the museum. Apart from gems and priceless statues, I seem to remember some 7000 coins were taken. Only 7000 you say? The last one on the open market went for approx €300,000 if I remember correctly. Anyway – more shelves needed for this thought.

The other thought is that I wish I lived somewhere warmer and drier. Yes, drier would be good. Specially when you may spend a good part of your life in a hole in a field. Nevermind another reason for holidays, excuse me, trips of significant interest.



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