Friday 30 September 2022

What's The Best Chicken Feeder?

I've kept chickens for pretty much my whole life (a few years without when my wife and I bought our first house, but I soon built a chicken pen there as well!) and finding the right chicken feeder has been a surprisingly big deal in that time. 

Why is it such a big deal?

Thursday 29 September 2022

Comfort Food

 As the nights pull rapidly in I crave comfort food. I'm always a little sad to see summer go and would happily hold onto it for a lot longer yet. But I see the fact I can happily cook the food I'm really good at as a small consolation prise. 

First one this week was shepherds pie. 

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Making A Simple Kolrosing Knife

 I've been reading about different types of carving. One I'd really like to try is kolrosing, which is where you score patterns in wood then add a pigment (coal, wood ash, etc) then burnish it to close it back up. Kind of like tattooing for wood. 

In my research I saw that although you can just use a normal carving knife it was recommended that a wider angled blade might work better. I looked to buy a knife but they were all wither out of my budget or tricky to import at the moment. 

I decided that rather than spend a lot of money I'd make one out of some HSS I have left over from when I made some turning tools. 

These turning tools have been very useful and I didn't temper them in any way, I think that the light use this knife will get it won't need tempering anyway. 

The HSS is 8mm bar, I first ground a 50 degree bevel on the end, then used the grinder to put the 40 degree knife edge on the end. It doesn't take very long, quench the steel to keep it from getting too hot. 

I never quite grind it to the tip, instead I do that on the whetstone. 

Then I made a really simple handle and put it all together. Then honed it on the leather stropping wheel. 

In the video you can see an example of some very simple kolrosing I tried as a test, but it seems to work well so far. I'm looking forward to trying out some nice patterns with it. 

Have you ever done Kolrosing? 

Or even heard of it as a type of wood decoration?

Sunday 25 September 2022

I built a Medieval Carved Chest - With The Wrong Wood!

This last week I set myself a tricky project. A carved medieval chest.

I was given the idea by someone I met who was into LARPing (Live Action Role Play), they are always after props and items to make the experience more real. He showed me some of the bits and bobs they have and I saw some chests in the background. I thought it would make a fun project and be a great source of material for an article in Woodcarving magazine (which I try to write for every issue at the moment). 

To keep costs low I carved it out of some brilliant quality pine boards that I have. 

What a mistake that was! 

Friday 23 September 2022

28 Jars Of Jam Didn't Set! Argh!

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself the other morning, as before 9.30 in the morning I had made 28 jars of damson jam, my favourite jam. 

I was feeling a whole lot less pleased when I came back in later that day and saw that none of it had set! What a disaster! 

Thursday 22 September 2022

Warner's King - An Underrated Cooking Apple

I know I've posted about this cooking apple before (when we had one that was the same size as my son's head)  but it's such a good cooker it's worth repeating. 

 As I've been trying to add some content to my YouTube channel I thought it might make a good short video to go on there. 

It's a great early (ish) cooking apple that cooks down to a fine fluff. Keeps into the New Year as well which is a great thing with such an early apple. 

What's your favourite early apple?

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Rodent Damaged Squash!

Few things in the garden feel worst than walking through it to inspect the crops and find this kind of damage - 

The night before they were fine and untouched. 

I'm not sure what has done this overnight but my guess is either rats or squirrels (they could have done it early morning before I got up!). 

I'm gutted. Need to set some traps really and deal with it. 

Anyone else experience much pest damage at the moment?

Share your woes, it won't make me feel better but at least it'll be a problem shared! 


Monday 19 September 2022

Fixing A Broken Spade Handle

Just before the first Covid lockdown I broke a couple of spades (I try to go too fast and too much at times!) so I ordered some replacement handles and rivets to repair them when I got time. 

My trouble is jobs like that never find time! And so long as I had another spade it was never going to happen. So when my third one started to wobble I thought I should get repairing. 

It's a relatively easy job with only a couple of difficult bits - removing the old broken handle and shaping the new one. 

I filmed myself fitting a new one, no talking, just showing what I did. I have a fork to fix as well so if people would like a longer more explained video I might make one of those later this week. 

As always let me know what you think. If you could leave a comment on my YouTube video it might help other people find it and help me hit the 4,000 watch hours I need to monetise it (which is so far off it's not even funny! lol)  

Anyone else repair their garden tools rather than buy new ones?

Friday 16 September 2022

Apple Tree Hedge! Cordon Apple Trees.

 I planted my cordon apple trees in 2013 and it's been great watching them grow, pruning them every year and harvesting a lot of very perfect fruit from them. 

It's a great way to get a lot of varieties from a much smaller area. It's also great for pollination as well as looking great when they flower. 

Watch the video (it's only short) and let me know what you think!

Do you have any trained fruit trees? Do you find them a lot of extra work? Or is it just because the work is in the summer that it bothers me?


Wednesday 14 September 2022

Systainer Sized Router Table

 Lots of videos this week! I made this one a few weeks back alongside an article I was writing for Woodworking crafts magazine. If you want the plans they should be In woodworking Crafts issue 78 (not out yet). 

When I was an apprentice I'd always have a woodworking book or magazine on the go while I ate my break, much to the teasing of the others I'd work with. But I was obsessed. My favourite projects were always the ones where you could build something for your workshop. So it feels really cool to have made and designed this little router table, meeting a set of criteria that was important to me. 

I plan on making an adjustable dust hood for it next that will fit above this and my lathe. Keeping dust out of my lungs has become a huge thing for me since doing more workshop work. 

Anyway, let me know what you think of the video! 

Do you have a router table? Or routers even? I still use the one my parents got me for my 21st birthday pretty much everyday! 

Monday 12 September 2022

A Tour Of Our Abundant Organic Orchard - In It's 10th year

It's 10 years since we planted the orchard. When we moved here I was digging holes by head torch to get them in and our eldest was just a few weeks old. It's beautiful to walk round it now and see the sheer abundance it provides us with now. 

This video is only short (about 10 minutes), doesn't have me talking and just shows our little orchard in all it's Autumn glory. 

Let me know what you think. 

How has your orchard cropped this year?


Saturday 10 September 2022

How To Make The Best Traditional Sawhorse

Yesterday I did a online talk for a group of homesteaders and smallholders about woodworking and how is best to start. I had a great time and really enjoyed it!

To accompany this talk I decided to put together a video for what I think is one of the most essential things you can have to make woodworking easier - a way to hold and work wood - a sawhorse. 

A sawhorse is a great way to work wood. It's the ideal height to use your knee and body weight to clamp the wood your working on. A pair of them supports wood easy and can make a useful work bench or hop up. 

This design is the one I built as an apprentice, it's what Andy (the carpenter that trained me) said was the best design. You can carry it on your shoulder up a ladder, set it tight up against a wall and balance all your weight on the very edge without it tipping. 

The best bit is to make it uses no fancy geometry to make it. There's a simple set of rules to set it out, using imperial measurements. It's 2'6" long, set it 6" in and 1/2" all round. I explain all in the video below!

It's a simple project, uses very few tools and once you have built it all other woodworking projects (where you're using hand tools) become easier. I love them, take at least one on pretty much every job I go on. the old ones I use have been on so many jobs, up roofs, laid floors, helped make kitchens, helped me saw thousands of pieces of wood over the last 20 years.

Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

Do you have and use a sawhorse? What style of one do you have?

Friday 9 September 2022

Moving Firewood

 It's that time of year - the air has the Autumnal feel and it makes me think of the fact we'll be lighting the fire soon. 

We have plenty of seasoned firewood but there was a few loads down the field that needed bringing up closer to the house. 

A good job for the kids.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

How To Make a Tin Can Storage Rotator

A few years ago I made a Tin can storage rotator for our old pantry
This worked great but when I built the extension and built a new pantry we just didn't have the wall space for it. I cut the door into two and sold the separate halves and decided to build some modular units instead. When I built them I built them with the idea to make a jig to make the job easy to repeat and with the aim of selling them. 

Since then I've built dozens of the units. I have them in my pantry, my brother has them in his kitchen and I've sold them all over the country and had great feedback from everyone that uses them. 

Downside is that since the timber price increases due to Covid and other issues they've not become very viable to make, or not at a price that would sell. They're also not the most fun thing in the work to make either! So in the spirit of being nice I've made a video showing how I came about the design and how to make the jigs to make them. 

Even if someone makes something completely different I hope that the video will help someone overcome a problem or see a different way of solving a food storage issue. 

Also if you could do me a favour - Could you subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven't already, I could do with crossing the 1000 follower threshold that YouTube has in place, it would be much appreciated. 

How do you store your tin cans in your pantry?

Monday 5 September 2022

Should I Get Another (free) Greenhouse?

 I've been offered another greenhouse. 

A friend wants to get rid of the one in his garden, it is an 8ft x 6ft one and about 50 years old. Built solid, but with his lads football passion it worries him too much, so he's replacing it with a shed. The downside is they have no side access to their garden, so the chances are it will have to be dismantled and then resembled at my place. I was hoping we could lift it out in one piece and put it on my trailer! 

My plan is to move my smaller greenhouse (which is this size) as the base has rotted out, then put in two lots of footings to have the three greenhouses in a row together. I think I might just use this greenhouse as a good way to get early strawberries with a large, raised, U shaped bed full of strawberry plants. 

What do you think? Or am I too far down the self sufficiency rabbit hole and my existing two greenhouses and a polytunnel is enough?

Saturday 3 September 2022

Japanese Wineberry Syrup

 We've left our "little" patch of Japanese Wineberries pretty much alone for the last 5 or so years and they've thrived on our neglect. 

So much so we can acutally harvest enough to do other things with rather than just eat fresh. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...