Latest news and features

Simple Solution

Hydroponics is all about growing without soil. In many ways this simplifies the lot of the gardener, but it gives them added responsibility for providing plants with the right level of nutrients. As water with nutrients tastes, feels and looks much the same as plain water, a testing instrument called an “EC meter” or “CF meter” is used.

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Bend it

How often do we need to bend sheet metal, but are put off because of the drama involved? We may turn to a couple of bits of angle iron fitted into the jaws of a bench vice and try to exert even pressure as we fold the metal. I’ve done this and felt less than satisfied with the results.

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Rub-a-Dub-Dub

Chris decided the solution was build an outdoor bathroom featuring two baths so he and Meg could both enjoy a long soak together.

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Make a Tidy Charging Station

There are two sure things in modern life (and no, not death and taxes): they are technology and cables. Lots and lots of cables. Some are used for interconnecting devices such as HID or human interface devices, a computer mouse, keyboards and the like. In many cases, wireless technology is thankfully removing the umbilical tether.

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Three – Phase Grunt

When a friend at Metpresco Engineering offered Jason Clarke an old, universal tool and cutter grinder for his garage workshop, Jason had to think about how he could power it. 

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Big Wheels

If there’s one sort of person that cannot resist a challenge that’s a Kiwi backyard inventor. When a mate sent Dave Hunger an internet photo of a giant wheeled contraption and a challenge to reproduce it, Dave rose to the task.

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High-fliers in Waikato

Don’t try this at home. In the town of Niagara Falls, you are heading along a street. You suddenly overfly a car, then a bicycle travelling along a path near the water. In an instant you are over the lip of Niagara Falls. In a scary moment you find yourself looming over the precipice and then zooming away across the face of the thundering water.

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Instead of watching television

“You must have too much time on your hands.” That’s what people often say when they see my model cars. I’m never really sure what to reply, because it’s something I do instead of watching television or building the real thing. But the question I get asked the most is how long it took to build.

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Shed’ll be right

How hard could it be for a couple of seasoned and more-or-less professional Kiwi do-it-yourselfers? When the kitset tin garden shed—3.45 metres long by 1.75 metres wide— arrived in a tidy package after being ordered online, it comprised pre-cut, mostly pre-drilled and numbered parts. All you needed for assembly was a drill and a screw-driver.

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Choosing Materials

When we planned the renovation of our 1986 rental property one of our aims was to use products and materials that were both affordable and kind to the planet, as outlined in earlier articles in this series in The Shed magazine. We found it was possible to do both with little compromise.

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Precision without compromise

Chris Vesper is an Australian tool maker who has enormous respect for his ancient craft. I met him at the Timber and Working with Wood Show in Sydney earlier this year. He makes some of the highest quality tools available anywhere in the world, working from a large shed on his parent’s property in semirural Victoria.

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Make a handy saw bench jig

I regularly need to cut a multiple number of short pieces on my saw bench for small box components, kids’ building blocks, small pieces for furniture etc. In the past I have clamped in place various contraptions to ensure each piece is the same length. It is difficult to hold small pieces to cut them accurately but this jig solves the problem.

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Making a bigger drill press table

An extension table for my drill press is one of the most used jigs in my workshop and it is very simple to make. The standard drill press, generally, has a small-sized table. For most woodworking tasks a bigger table is much more useful. As with any jig that you make for your workshop, you can add as many “bells and whistles” as you think you might need.

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My Hovercraft

I’ve discovered you don’t have to be New Zealand-born or a male to enjoy this experience, says Natalia.Ever since I have known my husband Nigel, I wanted him to build a small hovercraft for me so that I could drive and handle it myself.

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Building a log splitter

At CC Hydraulics, we do not build log splitters. In fact, we do not design log splitters or profess to be experts as there are excellent commercial log splitters builders and experts around. But we sell plenty of hydraulic equipment to people who design and build their own log splitters and through doing this well, we have gained a lot of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. Believe me, there is a huge amount of misinformation out there.

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The Final Check

The goal of this Eco Design Advisor series of articles in eleven issues of The Shed magazine has been to show the stages of turning a cold, damp 1986 cottage into a warm dry one, using good eco design principles. We wanted to convert the cottage from a mouldy dump into a bright, healthy home that would need little maintenance for the next five years

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Plastic Twinhull Utility Launched

Stephen Snedden has been described as the inventor’s inventor and on meeting him it’s not hard to see why. He has an infectious enthusiasm, a can-do attitude and a willingness to share his knowledge.

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On Target

A natural bent for engineering made the transition from farming to gunsmithing easy for Invercargill gunsmith Nelson Collie. It was a career change that has earned him and his business, Status Guns and Engineering, an international reputation for innovation and high-quality workmanship.

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Making an Impact

Battery technology is one of the fastest growing areas of power tool technology especially since the emergence of the lithium-ion battery. Since its first appearance, progress has centred around making the chemistry less volatile and to extending the power of the batteries from 2.0Ah to 3.3Ah and now to 4.0Ah and 4.2Ah.

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Sharing skills in the men’s shed

Sounds of grinding, sanding and sawing at 292 Wicksteed Street announce that work is in full swing at the Whanganui Men’s Shed. Through the open door, a visitor can see men bending over machines, cutting and turning various lengths, shapes and colours of wood. There’s an airbrushing of dust and the scent of freshly worked timber.

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Coachbuilding art

Many of the old crafts that had been around for centuries have been almost lost in our modern age. Among them are the crafts of those who used hand tools and tapped into centuries of passed-down knowledge, the blacksmith, the wheelwright and the coachbuilder.

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Model Engine Sparkplugs

When I left school I took on an apprenticeship at William Cable in Wellington. Unknown to me at the time, this opportunity would lead to a life-long interest in model engineering. My apprenticeship gave me a wonderful grounding in all aspects of engineering.

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Arc welding electrodes

THE ARC WELDER is still king of the small workshop. Its versatility and low cost make it the great all-rounder in welding. However, negotiating your way through the forest of available electrodes could be daunting to the newcomer.

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Fire in the beer can

In my search on the Internet for alternative cooking appliances, I happened to stumble on this little gem made from two aluminium drink cans. It appears to be doing the rounds and there are many variations out there.

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Knifemaking

This is not meant to be a rule for making knives as I don’t believe there is one, but merely a guide to give you an insight or get you started on making your own. This is my way, adapted from many hours of reading books, watching movies, making knives and making mistakes and this works for me. So have a go, use this guide and enjoy the work and the result.

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Woodwork bench (2)

Right so now that your back from your warm sunny Pacific Island holiday—taken to recover from making the benchtop and frame—it’s time to get working on the vice. What we have on our hands is a beautiful little project of reasonable complexity that demands accuracy, uses both hand and machine-skills and is incredibly satisfying both when making it and using it.

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Woodwork Bench (Part 1)

Why a cabinetmaker’s bench? Since the founding of the Centre for Fine Woodworking, we have built benches especially to meet our needs. The bench is fundamental in its role within any workshop and we feel the higher the quality the bench is, the more care will be taken in its use.

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Recycled rimu outdoor chair

A simple and easy to make outdoor chair can add considerably to the aesthetics and usability of your garden or entertaining area. Over the last 15 years, I have made more than ten for my home and the homes of my family.

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Saddle

Graeme Savill, wife Jane and daughters Amy and Haley run bulls and 50 horses on their Seaview Ranch in Katikati. Graeme is a keen horse wrangler who understands horses well, having studied them intensively. He is all for making a horse comfortable and willing to respond to the rider which he does by communicating with horses in the same way that wild horses do in a herd.

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Enamel Pendant

Enamelling is an ancient craft which offers contemporary interpretation. Layers of specially formulated, coloured ground glass are fused to metal in a kiln at high temperature. There is a lifetime of possibilities and techniques to explore. I will concentrate on how to make a simple cloisonné pendant in silver and enamel. Almost the same procedure can be followed if copper is used, and personalising the design will make the project special to you.

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Installing an automatic gate

When Karl Bishop had finished fixing and painting the fence on his newly acquired house he knew he needed to finish it with a gate. A gate would allow the dog to roam safely and it would add an element of security.

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Build Small Boat Trailer

TO BUILD A SIMPLE trailer for a small light, runabout of 10ft to 13 ft long by about 5ft wide (3-4 metres long by up to 1.5 metres wide) this design is ideal. It is suitable for a dinghy, tinny, Parkercraft or even your children’s yacht. You can adapt this economical design, but componentry is not cheap, so keep it simple if you want it to remain as affordable as possible.

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Cufflinks for an occasion

THIS PROJECT will explore how to produce a cast textured surface and use it to make a pair of monogrammed cufflinks. The textured face of the cufflinks can be produced in two ways. For the first way you will need some sculpture wax, available from Regal Castings tool department.

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Gantry crane for model railway

STEPPER MOTORS are to conventional DC motors as computers are to calculators – in other words, much moresophisticated. The ability of stepper motors to specify rotation precisely both by velocity and angle opens new doors for movement control. The downside is that to get the most out of these little beauties, you need ancillary digital-pulse control circuits, a fact which may deter some sheddies from exploiting their numerous advantages.

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Homemade bench holdfast

A bench needs clamps, a second pair of hands to hold the work still and stable. Traditionally, woodworkers have used a holdfast and the most popular of these was the Record holdfast, now sadly out of production.

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Backyard Forge

THIS IS ONE of the very basic forges for heating metal bars. There are many other types of forge out there and many books to show you how to build and use them. My forge was made of scrap steel from my workshop and the local recycling centre.

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Child rocker

Almost ten years ago when I was in Poland, I saw the general concept of this rocker in the background of a magazine photograph. It always stuck in my mind as something I wanted to make.

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Cradle Boat

When I got the news that I was going to be a father of a baby girl I thought that maybe I could get out of redecorating the baby’s room if I embarked on a special project under the house. The idea of building a cradle boat was inspired by photos in an old magazine so I went bought a copy of The Expectant Father’s Cradle Boat Book. But the boats were either very basic or so intricate I’d be lucky to finish it in time for her 21st birthday.

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The making of pattern damascus

The process of making what is commonly known as damascus steel has, in some ways, been a little shrouded in mystery. If you try to make damascus remember it is a process. You may not have instant success but look at what you are doing and try to evaluate what you may change in order to “get it right.”

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