Tag Archives: Furniture

Memory in print

Memory or the lack of it gives us the requirement for books. I have what might be called a relatively poor memory. When it comes to reading fiction books it really gives me value for money. I have a feeling for the tone of a book – I can almost always feel what a book is like by looking at the spine, without remembering any of its particulars. A handy combination and a good reason for keeping books (on timberbookshelves). I need a specific filing/sorting system when it comes to factual books. No good having an idea that the book I am looking at might help me with a question on travel, geography, history, archaeology, astronomy, cooking, carpentry, etc. This would leave me with the situation of needing to read the book again to find out if I need to, well…….read the book to help me with my question. Does that make sense to you? So I am partway towards sorting this out. Not a huge issue till there are deadlines for completed work, but now that I have deadlines and a mounting compilation of books on various helpful core and periphery subjects. Pretty soon I will need something more comprehensive. Anyone have a Dewey Decimal System cabinet I could use? I do love using them and no offence to OCLC but computerised referencing is just not the same.

Should have mentioned it sooner so I might have got one for Christmas.

It occurs to me that given my prize memory I should read back over my old posts to see how I am doing. Does anyone else do that? Or perhaps even read over their posts before publishing? As I have seen elsewhere, spellcheck is my worst enema.


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Should I do this as a business?

Asking the question probably answers it to a certain extent. Its either do it or don’t. Making shelves for people in return for money is in theory easy. The issues are demand and supply. Firstly there needs to be the connection between people tripping across piles of books and getting shelves to solve this problem. Secondly there is the idea of the shelf. Primarily it should be furniture. My reasoning for this is it is the best return on investment. Anything stuck to the wall can not be rearranged and if removed leaves holes. Holes in any wall are not viewed as a positive feature and doubly so if the property is rented or you are thinking of moving on in the future. Shelves as furniture are an asset. They look well and if made well, they last well. They can be rearranged, moved, sold or given to someone who will appreciate good quality. On the supply side there are numerous sets of shelves and bookcases out there. The issues there are value for money too. You shouldn’t need a mortgage, nor should you be forced to buy low cost kits that after the slightest damage turn out to be temporary.

Reading Pratchett I find I agree with the character Vimes when he looks at the price and quality of boots. The rich pay 150 for a pair of boots that are waterproof and last for 4 – 5 years. The poor buy boots that cost 40 and leak almost straight away and buy a pair each year. So the poor pay more and still have wet feet. Good quality shelves or bookcases are in the same category. They look well and keep the books well. They last well and tag along with you through life. They are worth something if you want to sell them. I like value for money – either getting it or giving it, but I am living in a society where a company pays more for advertising than manufacture. Needs more thought.


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Buying petrol without having cars

I looked about on the net recently.

There seems a distinct disconnect between selling books and selling bookshelves. We have book supermarkets, bookshops and online traders. The online traders seem to have the closest relationship and have sections to sell shelves, yet there is seems quite poor uptake – ebay had no bids on any of their shelves listings that I looked at.

People do seem to get as far as books and leave it at that. I find it amazing. Why not pile the shopping in one corner and clothes in another?

It occurs to me that a closer link, done correctly might work, but the sellers and others may have to help people to see that books are more like food than shoes.

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Just a quick line or two.

Shelves to build – looks like Walnut, Beech and Oak will figure in them. Looking forward to that as both my sons will be involved.

Archaeology if working out very well – 1/4 way through the year now with some exams done. First trip today – Couple of megalithic burial sites (one urban, believe it or not) from the Neolithic and an abbey. The class I joined are a decent bunch which is always a wonderful bonus. Have to pack, and not sure what to bring – its my first trip!

Glad to be back.


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Timber in our weather

Starting the archaeology course soon so have been looking at, and relooking at texts and maps related. Here is the thing – I live in a wet country. The weather has been worse that usual this year (the facts match the feeling). I heard a bone digger a few weeks ago saying if this weather was 200 years ago people would starve this winter. Anyway – people “long ago” used stone in dramatic ways. I saw a single block stone that was used to cap a passage tomb – it was well estimated at 70 tons. The thing is – if they didn’t use stone and earth as they did for various rights and rituals we would never have thought of them – they are the only reminder.

The normal, everyday buildings were of timber. Enviromentally friendly, yes – it all fades away. The only exceptions to this are where air and or water are excluded – bogs and caves type of thing. Everything we have made of timber will go too. These were my rough thoughts as I looked at our garden furniture.

Garden Bench - 7 years in the elements

Garden Bench – 7 years in the elements

Close up of the elements effects on timber
Close up of the elements effects on timber


Generally I have no problem with being enviromentally friendly, but I wanted to hang on to the garden furniture for a few years yet without the inlaws falling through it. I suppose its a balance between being careful with toxic treatments and not being wasteful and using up more timber every few years, replacing it as it rots.

I vould never use a treatment that contained VOC (volatile organic compounds) in any amount indoors, but I found a low VOC Danish oil for this one. By the way – VOCs do not improve the treatment of the timber in any great way – they are for the finish mostly – how smooth and how fast. They do however make the oil more viscous so it flows smooth and fast into grain and cracks. But thats the easy bit. It had to be sanded first. It took us (myself and my sons) some three hours to get it sanded down by hand. I dislike the use of power sanding tools (although I do have a small 82mm hitachi plane) as they throw up so much fine dust that is just not good for people. As I do not do this for money, it also is easier to control the results by hand, and there is no harm in staying fit. So sanded and then oiled. The oil cloths were hung on the line till dry and then disposed of (see previous posts on finishing timber and not burning your house down).

Result looks good.

All for less than €10.00.

All we need is the weather to use them now!


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The Archives

The General Archives of the Indes is now in a building that used to be the Merchants Guild for Seville and America. The building stands (to show its importance) between the old palace and the cathedral. On an aside, the pillars around the cathedral that are chained together indicate that church law applies inside the chains. The merchants put pillars and chains around their building as well – for merchant law.

To highlight that you are entering the real deal, you will meet something like three security people and a metal detector – on the way in. Upstairs there are one each for each vantage point in the archives – do not attempt to take a photo. Downstairs it’s ok. Now is a somewhat back to front way – what is the “Archives”? It houses all documents that relate to Spain and its interaction with the Americas – from the start to the start of the last century. The documents are sometimes beautiful (some are always on display) but all seem to be actual working papers – so they are in spanish, not latin. The maps and illustrations are of interest to everyone. Would you like to see the original drawn line of Agreement? Everything to the west was to be for Portugal – the east, Spain. Thats where Brazil got its language from. All beautifully done – sometimes illustrated with the writers House coat of arms, scroll work, etc. The shelf uprights are of carved Cuban Mahogany and the shelves themselves are of Cedar – done by a sculptor. The downstairs shelves are of the same shape but of more robust metal. The also have some artifacts of the conquest and just after.

Worth a visit if anyone is passing. I saw three other people. It is also (of course) temp and humidity controlled.

The only picture that needs some explaining (as I see it, feel free to ask) was the artifact picture I will put here. The heads are stirrups and the spur spikes are some 5 inches long.

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More from Seville

Inside the Cathedral is, among other things, the biblioteca. Christopher Colombus had children. Not his most famous achievement. His tomb is in the cathedral, couldn’t find Amerigo Vespucci though. Anyway, his son made a better fist of his life. He travelled to the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Far East. He brought back some 20,000 books and donated them to the church. This was all done in the first 100 years of printing so most would have been produced by hand. When I asked could I visit I was told in a very nice way that the only people who could visit the books would have “large science”. The above pictures were through some open windows. No climbing was involved. And now – to bed. I am shattered from the diet changes, driving and surviving the heat, the desire not to miss anything and the excitment of seeing all that I did. And the beer. Hopefully more tomorrow. Blogging that is.


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