Small tables

My wife asked me to make a couple of side tables for the new bed recently. These had to reasonably match the bed, I.e. a rustic look.

I had some scaffolding plank pieces left so I cut four small pieces, enough to make two tables that were approximately square.

The legs and support pieces were some 3″ x 2″ (75 x 50) that was left over.

The legs were all cut to size and sanded.

The positions of the legs were marked on the underside of the tops then the support rails were drilled, glued and secured into position.

the legs were glued into position, squared up and supported until the glue was dry.

Small diagonal braces were cut and glued between the legs, support rails and the tops.

The legs were screwed into position the day after and the whole lot sanded, stained and painted as requested.

Clash of the Titan

Before I retired I had an old circular saw fastened to a home made table as a bench saw.

This served me well for years until it burned out, enter the Titan…

This was bought from Screwfix and while not the best, various reviews said it was worth the money.

I found out that out of the box it worked fairly well but some proper setting up was worth while for more serious use.

Things I noticed:

The handle for blade height adjustment was far too small and flimsy.

The height adjustment screws clog up with fine sawdust.

The fence did not stay at 90 degrees.

The slots for a cross cut sled were not fully in line (the table top was pressed and welded steel).

The saw on it’s stand was not rigid enough.

The blade not stay sharp for long. To be fair I was mainly cutting oak and it is only a general purpose one.

The protractor assembly was too slack and not accurate.



I made a longer handle in steel for the blade height adjustment. This was Made as long as possible while still being able to fully rotate and is so much easier to turn. I clean the adjustment threads before prolonged use and also use a non- oily silicone based bike chain lubricant.

I made an oak extension for the fence. I also filed and shimmed the fence until it was exactly parallel with the blade. I then scribed reference marks on the table. This made for much more accurate cuts.

I had also noticed that the fence deflected sideways on occasion so I made a sliding clamp to prevent that, as below.

I secured a slotted bracket to the side of the saw and made the adjustable part from two hardwood strips with spacers at the ends. This had a right angled bracket at one end to hold the fence connecting bolt. The bolt was a 60mm x M6 long coach bolt with the head located in a fence groove and nuts to secure it in place. So far this has really helped.

I made a dummy crosscut sled and eventually a proper one (details to follow) and used this to check the high spots on the table grooves. These were filed until the sled moved freely all the way along the grooves. The slides, tabletop and sled were all treated to several coats of wax.

To prevent the table and stand combination moving too much I cut a piece of kitchen worktop to fit in between, this was cutout under the saw to let sawdust drop through and made the whole more stable.

The blunt blade was the cause of the blade raising threads jamming – the bluntlade produces more dust than clippings.

To aid dust extraction I added a cyclone type vacuum onto a platform at the rear and connected it to both suction points. To provide power for both I added a power strip to one side.

The final mod to date was to add two screws on one side to hold the wood pusher.

Kitchen Table and Benches

After remodelling the kitchen we needed a new kitchen table and matching benches, so measuring the space available (narrow kitchen) I went om t’internet thingy and gurgled (new word: searching while drinking) “kitchen seating dimensions” to find best seating heights, table heights etc.

My wife wanted the table legs to be flush with the table top, but the two benches had legs under the tops. The table and benches were all to be made of oak.

The construction of these were very similar, each had four 75mm square legs with 70 x 25 connecting rails under the tops. The table had steel leg connecting brackets, as I had a spare set and the benches had wood reinforcing diagonals in the corners.

The table top was a spare piece of solid wood 40mm thick worktop left over from the kitchen remodel. The bench tops were some 18mm thick oak that I already had.

The benches were dimensioned so that they would fit completely under the table when not in use.

Table Construction:

The table top was cut to size and the corners marked and cutout to suit the legs. The legs were cut to size and then all these were initially sanded.

The next step was to set the top upside down on a level, flat bench and pack it up by 2mm, this was to let the legs protrude that amount and allow them to be finish sanded later. The outsides of the legs were flush with the tabletop.

The legs were glued in place, squared up and braced while the glue set.

I cut the connecting rails to size, drilled and counterbored them and then gave them an initial sanding before screwing them to the table. I marked out the positions for the steel corner brackets and cut the required slots for the bracket ends.

The rails were finally glued and screwed into position and the brackets installed and screwed securely.

After letting the glue set I cleaned up the rail areas and finish sanded them. I then drilled and counterbored holes in the legs and into the rails. I used long screws to secure the legs to the rails then inserted wood plugs. These were left to dry, cleaned up and finish sanded.

With the table upright on a firm level surface I sanded the tops of the legs until they were flush with the top. I finish sanded the whole top and applied coats of oil followed eventually by coats of wax.

Bench Construction

The bench construction was similar to the table, except that the legs were underneath the top, the legs had 45 degree wooden corner braces screwed to the legs and top and the tops were bigger than the bench by 20mm all round.

The legs were secured by counterbored screws as, the table but I also drilled and counterbored through the top and into each leg.

The Brick Oven Saga…

This feat of construction started when I was given some refractory blocks:

These were from an old electric storage heater and were about 200mm square by 50mm thick (and EXTREMELY heavy!). These hung around for a while until I found a use for them.

For some time Ihad fancied an Italian bread/ pizza oven so set about looking at others builds. There seems to be two basic types, the proper dome type (like an igloo) and the barrel vaulted type ( like a barrel cut in half lengthways and with the cut side down).

The best type was the dome but the barrel are easier to make, so that’s what I made.

These ovens work by making a wood fire inside until a good heat is achieved and then scraping it to one side or removing it to cook.

At the top, near the front is a chimney. There is an opening at the front for adding the wood or food.

The air from the opening is drawn inside by the heat, across the fire to the back of the oven then up and back along the roof and out of the chimney. This is the reason that the chimney is at the front. A door for the opening is optional but lots of people use a push in wooden door. The door can be soaked in cold water when cooking bread, this boils off as steam and improves the crust.

I found out from looking at LOTS of information that the only important dimension is the ratio between the roof inside height and the height of the door opening. The door height should be 82% of the inner roof height.

The base needed to be at a good working height so I built a concrete block stand with a concrete working top. Onto this I cemented the refractory blocks as the fire / cooking surface. The size of the top was determined by the refractory block size. The base was built against a stone wall so this provided the back of the oven and wood storage underneath.

At this point I will digress and say that my present oven is my second one. My first one was made about twice the size I needed and the front face was not thick enough or secured to the rest of it well enough, so when it started falling apart I demolished it and rebuilt my current one.

This one is about600mm square inside and about 400mm high inside, this again was determined by the blocks I had. I used blocks 300mm x 150mm x 75mm.

The back inside the oven was faced with crushed up refractory and cement.

The side walls were built about 300 mm high and left to dry for a while.

While they were drying I made an arch support that just fit inside the walls and gave me the required height. This was made from old plywood for the ends joined by 40mm x 20mm wood laths.

With this in place I cemented a layer of refractory over the arch support. These were cut into smaller pieces to make building easier and held in place with the same type of cement as the back face.

I placed a layer of heavy mesh over the arch blocks and then built up the top to about 150mm thickness, not forgetting to leave a 100 x 75 opening near the front.

NOTE: If you want a long lasting heat use plenty of mass in the oven construction, it just takes longer to get up to temperature ( about 2 hours for my current oven). For a quicker to temperature oven where the heat dies quicker as well use less mass. My walls were 75 thick and seem OK.

As the building progressed I added the front blocks and a suitable stone lintel for the front. The oven front and back walls were taken to a peak (45 degree slope) so that I could add a roof.

The roof was a wooden frame made to fit the walls onto which slate tiles were added. This was done to match our house roof. The roof was secured to the walls and then cemented into place. Slate was cut and used to make the chimney walls, these stuck up  about 100mm above the roof

The slates were cut and screwed to the roof construction and then any gaps cemented up.

The door was made from a couple of old bits of oak glued together and shaped to fit. A simple wooden handle was added and that was the oven essentially finished.

Because the new oven finished up lots smaller I cemented four half pieces of block in place on each corner of the other side of the base. On this I placed a steel grid as a barbecue area.


I have made several different lights so far, mainly table lights but also the odd freestanding one.

I make these out of reclaimed items and leftover bits from other jobs. Most of the actual light fittings come from charity shops (the screwed tubes are quite hard to get hold of in small quantities) and I discard the unwanted parts.

The freestanding light I made from a £10 camera tripod from a local charity shop, this is the one I will describe first:

Tripod Light:

Having obtained a tripod quite by chance and with no planned outcome Idecided to convert it as I had a suitable lampholders with a long lead spare.

I decided to leave the top adjustment (glad I did!) so just removed the camera mount.

I then cut off the top of the tube to give me a suitable size hole for the lamp holder – I used an old one designed to fit in a bottle but even a standard one can be adapted by drilling the base out and inserting a short piece of tube, a wine making cork can be installed over this and into the tube.

The wire was removed from the lampholder, passed though a suitable tube sized grommet and fed upwards through the tube.

The grommet was located in the base of the tube, the lampholder was re-connected and the lampholder glued into place with high modulous silicone sealer in the top of the tube.

After the sealer had set (couple of days), I installed a suitable bulb and shade to give the finished job:

The light is shown here in the fully raised position but can be lowered to approximately half that. Total cost for this one was less than £15.

Most of the table lights I have made involve wood in some form, generally unusable offcuts. One I made was from a short branch offcut saved after chain sawing firewood and two others from a hunk of Lakeland slate that had been in my garden for the last twenty years or more.

Wedge Lights:

My favourites are a pair that I made from a left over block of oak we found while exploring a sawmill.

This block was about 200mm square and 250mm high so I marked about two thirds of the way across one of the smaller faces and then chainsawed it slightly diagonally to the bottom face to makeover matching wedge shaped pieces.

I drilled vertically upwards from the wider base of each one with a long 13mm wood bit until I was about 50mm from the top, then switched to a 10mm drill for the last bit. This gave me the correct diameter for two existing tubes that I had from old lights, and a bigger diameter to enable easier feeding of the wire.

I drilled in from the lower back at about 30 degrees upwards with the 13 mm drill until I met the vertical hole.

The tubes were glued into the top and left to set.

The blocks were lightly sanded and wire brushed to give a rustic finish and then the whole lot sealed with Polix Oil (used for hardwood flooring).

After a few coats and letting it dry thoroughly I fed in the wires from the base and screwed on threaded lamp holders.

Total labour time was about two hours for the pair and the cost was minimal as I already had the light fittings and shades.

Incidentaly the tables these lights are on are two I made for each side of the original bed, these will eventually feature on the tables page. They just use up one short scaffolding plank offcut said.

Slate Lights:

These were made because I needed to either use or throw away a large piece of Lakeland slate.

I employed my trusty big grinder with a diamond disc to cut the big chunk into smaller ones, even these smaller ones were deemed too heavy by my wife to move when cleaning so I cut them in half again.

The intention was to have some cut or partially cut faces and some more natural ones, so Iacked away at two blocks until perfection  was achieved   they looked more or less OK and they were stable on a flat surface.

Using a 10mm masonry drill, I drilled centrally from the top right through the blocks.  A groove to hold the wire was cut and chiselled from the hole in the base to the rear face in each.

After a good cleanup I glued the lampholder tubes in place (just a good quality wood glue, it’s been fine!), brushed the slate blocks with slate oil and left them to set

When everything was dry I installed the wires from the base, wired up the lampholders and installed them both before testing.

My final touch was to glue a felt base to each one, to prevent scratching and to hold the wires in the grooves.

photo to follow…

I have made several more lights since and currently have a pair under construction. The construction details are mostly very similar, so Iwill just show some photos to give ideas.

Old branch offcut light


Table leg offcut light


Spare random blocks light – use your imagination at the moment for this!




The Beds

So far I have made three beds, two king size and one double.

The first one was started because we had a very good quality mattress on an old pine bed frame in a spare bedroom. My eldest son rang one day to relieve so of the frame, so instead of buying a new one we decided on a similar “rustic” design to one we had seen in Harrogate.

The one in Harrogate was very high quality wood, American Oak etc, but was LOTS of money.

After looking at available timber I decided on one where the main frame was new scaffolding planks, the legs were battens from between packs of timber at our local timber merchants and the slats were my old fascia boards that I had only recently replaced.

The finished cost was approximately £100 and the time taken was about a week, I hade some of the bits I needed and being retired I had no need to rush.

The whole thing was made using a cheap Screwfix tablesaw and hand tools.

All three beds were essentially the same design, the main variation being the frame size to suit the mattress to be used and the style of headboard.

I looked up on line the range of mattress sizes I would need and then added  20 mm to each dimension. On reflection I would add a little more in future to make adding bedding easier, possibly 50mm, but it works so far.

Photo 1


Sizes and Dimensions Used

the bed described here is a Superking size, 2000 x 1800, the only sizes changed were to accommodate any different mattress size and possibly any variation in bedhead requirements.

A point to beware of before starting is that the mattress is supported on slats. The tops of these slats need to be a small distance below the tops of the main rails so that the mattress is retained all round. I chose 25mm but this can vary if required.

The bottom of the lower rail of the bedhead (Not the main frame rail, the one above) ideally needs to be slightly below the top of the mattress to retain the pillows, again this is not critical, just space them to suit.

The timber sizes I used were :

scaffolding planks – nominally 225mm x 38mm, available in various lengths. And other thicknesses. Cut down by 38mm for supports.

legs – 75mm x 75mm, lengths to suit leg lengths. See construction details.

slats – 70mm x 20mm, cheap pine so wider used, could be narrower for better timber, alternate is proper curved slat sets available on line.

side/end slat supports –  38 x 38mm off cuts from the scaffolding planks.

centre slat support – same as slats, could be different if needed.

Connecting Details

The ends were joined using glue and screws through the legs and into the bed head and footboard, these were then plugged. I first tried dowels but these lacked rigidity.

The sides were joined to the ends with steel angles and threaded inserts. The angles were permanently joined to the ends with three screws, while the threaded inserts went into the main side pieces.


This is how I made my beds, yours may differ of course.

I chose to have the base of the mattress at 425mm from the floor. If yours is different adjust the legs to suit.

I chose to have the side rails flush with the inside faces of the legs. These could be outside or central, but this affects the space for the mattress.

Measure the mattress sizes and thickness and have these dimensions to hand. Mine was 2000 x 1800 x 250 approximately.

Cut the legs to length, I chose 450mm and 1000mm.

Cut the two main side pieces down by 38mm along the lengths and cut to the finished lengths. Mine were 2040mm.

Cut the two main end pieces down by 38mm along the lengths and cut to the finished lengths. Mine were 1840mm.

The offcuts are the slatupports. The scaffolding boards could be left full size but Ithought this looked too big in proportion to the rest of the bed.

Cut the 38mm side slat supports down to the same dimensions as the main side rails. Position these 45mm down from the top of the main side rails and 38mm in from each end. Screw in place (remember, these hold the main weight of the mattress, slats etc, use plenty of screws) – see photo 2.

Photo 2


Now place the angle connectors on the ends of the main side rails, mark the size of the angles onto the slat support and cut the slat support away (essentially a slot) so that the angles can fit completely on the ends of the side rails – see photos 3 and 4. These are not the same bed but show the principle. The triangular wood pieces were added to the second bed as reinforcement.

Photo 3

photo 4


Cut the main end rails to size. Mine were 1840mm. Add the slat supports but make these the same length as the main end rails. These aren’t strictly necessary to carry the weight but I had the material and it looked better.

Cut the two (or however many you use) bedhead pieces to length, same as the main end rails.

Lay out the two long legs, the headboard pieces and one main end rail. Position the main rail top at 450mm from the base of the legs with the support inboard. Position the  base of the lower of the headboard rails just below the mattress top and the other one just slightly below the leg tops (I chose 25mm ). Mark the positions, glue and screw into place. Don’t forget to sink the screw heads if you want to plug them. Check that everything is square and flat.

Layout the two short legs and the other main end rail, with the rail top flush with the tops of the legs – NOTE: if you want the short legs above the main end rail, just cut them longer. Mark, square up, glue and screw etc, as for the bedhead.

Make the connecting angles. I used 30 x 30 x 3mm steel angle because I had some spare. In future I would use bigger angle, but not too thick, even folded 3mm steel would be OK. These go at the ends of the main side rails under the slat supports, a distance of nominally 162mm. If you want these longer then cut the main end rail slat supports back 38mm at each end, as the main side rails. This will give you a length of  20mm. Mark off for three screw holes in each face, taking care to avoid the main side rail slat supports if you have gone for longer angles. I chose M6 threaded wood inserts so I made the holes 8mm diameter in the faces that go against the main side rails and to suit the screws used in the end faces (use good thick screws!). Use M6 screws, flat washers and spring washers (I used M6 x 20 Socket Head screws). Make sure you have two pairs of angles. Pre-fabricated connectors can be bought but these seemed quite flimsy compared with the angles.

When the ends are completely glued and set position the two ends and side rails and mark for the connecting angles. I laid a main side rail on a flat floor with the slat support uppermost and positioned and supported the bedhead and foot assemblies in the appropriate positions. The angles were dropped in place and the hole positions transferred to the ends and sides. I drilled the holes to suit and put the threaded inserts in place, added the M6 screws, tightened them slightly and inserted the wood screws for the ends. The whole lot was then checked for squareness and the process repeated for the other side.

The ends and sides were assembled and squared, followed by a central slat support front to back on the bed. This was the same size as the slats. I cut this to suit the main end rail distance with cutouts for the slat supports and then secured it into position with small end blocks.

The slats were positioned along the length of the supports and the gaps equalised. These were then screwed into position, including a few screws into the centre support. I marked each slat with a number and marked the positions along the supports to make reassembly easier. Alternatively two straps could be secured front to back to retain the slats as an assembly.

When all was finished, the bed was disassembled into the main components, the leg screw holes plugged and the whole bed sanded. I used stain and wax to give the required finish. See photo 5.

Photo 5


What I do…

Hello All

An update…

I have had my hernia op and am well recovered, my hormone treatment for prostate cancer is leaving me tired easily and with hot flushes (my wife is VERY sympathetic) and am booked in for a radio therapy setup in a few days followed by a radiotherapy session each day for a month! We did a trial run to find the place today, it’s in the middle of Leeds, a town in the North of the UK and the traffic is horrible even on a Sunday so that’s going to be a fun time – ah well!

I am just gathering info for my next project updates so that I can try to get ahead of the therapy requirements, will update very soon


My name is Bob Hardy and I am currently located in West Yorkshire, England,  (We think of it as the UK equivalent of Texas).

This is a blog to document the various projects that I have either done, am currently doing, or will be undertaking in the future.

At the time of writing this (December 2017) I am rapidly approaching 70 and am a retired Engineer and Technical Author, I have a Pacemaker recently installed. I have in the past made lots of things from metal But because of the pacemaker I cannot now electrically weld things, so am still looking at getting round the restriction.

My past projects have ranged from big steel gates, wooden beds etc to rooftop trailers, table lamps and small steel jigs and gadgets to make life easier.

I work  in a 900 square feet custom built workshop with every tool known to man  a twenty foot square garage that contains so much junk I can only get one car in. I have plenty of hand tools, most of them for engineering, but am slowly acquiring more hand tools. I have a big 16mm pillar drill bought on Gumtree and a Screwfix tablesaw (more about that later) plus an electric plane and sander and also plenty of bench space and a very level concrete floor. I tend to work in there on cold days, so next to the pillar drill is a large pot belly stove (lovely!).

The projects that will end up on here will probably be in no particular order. I will endeavour to provide enough information and insights to make these and I am always able to help with more info if needed, email preferred, but do not look at it every day (I had enough of that while I was working), so be a little patient please.

If you can think of any better detail or way to do things please say!