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Projects

Spinning wheel

While we are rather spoilt these days for ready sources of energy, it was once a matter of harvesting what was available in the local environment. More often than not, what was available was a stream or river, and so the workshop was built on the riverbank and the harvesting was achieved by a water wheel.
I’ve always been rather taken by the concept of water wheels (and other mechanical devices that harvest energy from nature), and have been intending to make a small one of my own, even if it was just to be a garden ornamental feature.

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Build a grandfather clock case

I had always wanted to build a grandfather clock case and was given the incentive when a client gave me the a modern clock mechanism and a photocopy of a reproduction of an English Tall Case clock to follow. I had to increase the plan dimensions to fit the mechanism, ash wood was chosen and I ended up with 23 metres of approximately 200 x 25mm rough-sawn at an average length of 2.4 metres costing just under $300.
This is not the ideal style of clock case for anything other than an antique clock mechanism. In modern clock mechanisms, the pendulum swing (which should always be tested) needs a straight-waisted trunk style of clock. However, this project has been done to the requirements.

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How to steam bend wood

This project to make a stool was developed as a way of introducing students to a number of basic
wood-bending and shaping techniques, whilst also giving experience in several useful applications of the router.
The stool consists of two legs in the form of continuous steam-bent hoops or arches, which are housed into matching radiused slots at either end of a curved seat. The legs are stiffened by the addition of smaller arches that fit between them and the centre underside of the seat. For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on the steam-bending aspect involving the legs as that is the technique that woodworkers seem the most reluctant to try.

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Making your own campervan

Converting an ordinary van into a campervan is a project I have been talking about for some time.
As a retired technical teacher, I felt I had the necessary skills, and when a 2005 Kia Pregio van in excellent condition became available I decided to take the plunge.
The van is a 2.7 litre diesel, manual, with 26,000 km on the clock and a cargo space of 2.8 metres x 1.65 metres. My plan was to fit the space with two beds, one on each side. They can be expanded to a full-width bed using the foam backs of the seats supported on shortboards between the sides of the seats.

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Create this outdoor table using a chainsaw

This design for a macrocarpa slab table is a general design. There are variations and you could do the legs of the table differently, but the general rule is to keep it simple. My old man used macrocarpa for fence posts years ago and they’re still in good condition.
When I was cross-cutting, it didn’t take much to find out I liked macrocarpa. It has a lovely grain and I like working with softwood. It’s a softwood until it’s been sitting around for a year – that hardens it up.

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Making a classic claw setting

This classic ring is called a six-claw, Tiffany-style single-stone setting and is the simplest of our school’s solitaire-diamond ring designs with a claw setting. The “Tiffany” label comes from the famed American jewellery house which boasted that its diamonds were of such quality that they did not need to place them in fancy settings.
As a design for round gems, this is just about as basic as one can get.

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Build these honeyed Macrocarpa bar stools

I use dowelling for ease of construction, measuring and cutting as I go, and joining them to the stool with PVA glue. Place the dowels off-centre on the end of the rails, to avoid hitting the dowels coming into the legs at right angles.
The front and rear sections of the stool are put together separately then joined.

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Build your own robot arm

This article is all about building your own Meccano version of a robot that can be programmed to work just like the big fellas – and you can learn just how challenging real-world robots are to control. The robot arm can be programmed to move small objects from one place to another. It can reach, grab, lift and swivel.

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Making a classic chair

The Red Blue chair, designed in 1917 by Gerrit Rietveld, has become one of the most discussed chairs of all time.
It’s not too difficult to make this as a classic chair as it’s all straight boards, but the dimensions and placement are critical.

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A DIY farm gate

The classic New Zealand five-bar farm gate is not too difficult to make on-site when you need a new one. Few people might consider building farm gates, but they can be costly and heritage gates are quite expensive so it might be worth it to build your own.

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A road case to go

The photography department here at The Shed required a means to contain and move all our
studio lights as simply as possible.
The collection of lights and accessories is growing and it made sense to keep them all in a road case for transport and organisation. This I thought would also be a good opportunity to build a case
and might be a basis for those who need to make other custom cases for sound gear, tools, or guns.

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Create a sterling silver pendant

You might well think a charming silver pendant is something best left to a professional, a master craftsman – and not a DIY project for your shed. But that does not mean you can’t make an impressive piece of jewelry, so long as you take a logical and careful approach.

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Make a handy English wheel

So it was time to start fabricating my own parts and for that I would need a so-called English wheel machine to mould the tank, guards, seat pan etc. But buying such a machine was “off the budget” as they come with a hefty price tag.
The next option was to build one. With not a lot of plans available, I could see that I’d have some homework to do.

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A versatile set of drawers

I have constructed this project to demonstrate the concept of modular design for a set of drawers.
A modular concept allows you to design drawer space to fit your needs. You can add on or change the layout to suit, or you could mix them with shelves to make up modules to fit an awkward space or just to express your creativity.

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