Thursday, 27 August 2015

How I make my handmade shelving, Part Two.

This is Part Two of how I make my handmade shelving. You can read Part One here if you haven't already.

So safety first, I forgot to say in Part One, I do wear goggles. Here I am with photographic proof. I create an awful lot of sawdust and eyes and tiny particles of wood do not mix. Plus I really need to be able to see what I am doing clearly.

Looking good eh?

Once I have drilled the holes it's time to sand the wood. I like my shelves to feel good and look good so it's a step that I don't skimp on.

I create lots of sawdust.

Then I hoover it all up. That power hoover is very satisfying. Are you getting a feel for the sounds of my workshop too?

Then I need to create my dovetail joints. I wanted the shelves to feel smooth and I liked the idea of making them fit together just out of wood. There are no nails or screws or anything like that holding them together, it's just the dovetail joint and a little bit of glue. Just like most high end or antique furniture. If you have an old chest of drawers or cupboard with drawers - these will be the joints holding those drawers together. They last a long time.

I created a timelapse of me making the dovetails so you can see here. I spend a lot of time laying out prior to this point - using the old saying, measure twice, cut once.

This is a very speeded up timelapse by the way. I'm fast and efficient but not that fast!

This is what each joint looks like when it is first put together.

And this is a whole range of yourshelves waiting to be glued. I used to do this all at once but actually it is easier to do this as I dovetail now.

Then I leave them to dry for a night. The next day I check for sturdiness and they are always very strong indeed.

Oh I love this moment, a wall full of yourshelves. Each hole cut and sanded and each piece matched into the right other 3 pieces. Now to choose which shelves become which colour!

Here I am with a pink one.

After all this it's time to let the paint dry with a well earned feet up time.

And then I get my hooks out and crochet some circles to replace the wood knots with wool knots.

Do you like what I did there?

Then, luckily there are some magic elves who attach the crochet in the night! I wish.

Finally each shelf gets a final sand and a coat of clear wax on the outside unpainted surface.

Then voila - a finished shelf.

I'm so pleased with them, each and every one is loved. I hope you love them too.

Monday, 24 August 2015

How I make my handmade shelving, Part One.

Handmade is often a time consuming process, filled with love and pleasant moments. Let me talk you through how I make my shelves.

I start with the wood itself. I have a lovely local timber merchant and they help me to pick out the pieces with lots of knots in. At first they thought I was a bit crazy, but now they recognise me and have given me a regular discount as they like my product! Shop local folks.

I'm looking for pieces of wood which have a range of knots, but not so many that the wood is weakened and which have knots in just the right places and in a range of sizes. I'm picky.

This was a great piece of wood. One of my favourites from my last batch. It's looking at me.

Then I measure and cut each piece. I make the decisions on size based on each piece of wood, and that is why no two shelves are ever the same, as no two pieces of wood are ever the same.

Here I am in action with my trusty jigsaw.

And then I end up with a pile of pieces of wood. Here, they are laid out in fours so I can make sure I have four sides that fit together. For this reason, the way the wood itself shapes the process, I tend to make quite a lot at once, rather than one by one.

Then it is time to drill the holes. This takes time. Quite a few minutes on each hole. I use different saws and some holes are bigger than others, depending on the size of the original knots.

This is quite a large knot, for example, so I would use quite a large hole. But can you see how the grain of the wood shapes around the knot? This carries on to my finished product and makes the hole in the shelf and the grain of the wood combine for a beautiful shelf.

Essentials - coffee and a drill. Love that they match colour wise.

This is part way through the drilling. Still looking at me.

This is what is removed. They are all different sizes depending on the knots removed. Sometimes I centre them, sometimes I feel they would look better slightly of-centre.

I make a lot of decisions during the process and this is why each shelf is unique.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

My first craft stall

I ran my first craft stall. I did it! I braved it out and made everything and put it all out there to see what people thought.

It was scary but being scared is often a good thing. It's about feeling like I am pushing myself and then realising that line is way behind me. It's empowering.

I made 27 yourshelves and designed and made a gazebo in case of bad weather. Well, the weather must have been on my side as although it was slightly windy, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

I wanted to launch in my home town, it just felt right and I always try to trust my instincts.

Here is my stall. Destabled became tangible!

Told you the weather was with me. Look at the patterns the sun created?

I was very proud of the colours. It all held together very well.

I made handmade labels too. Each one unique, obviously.

And put some ornaments and books around the stall to give people ideas about how my handmade yourshelves could be used.

I made a pretty big signage board, but in hindsight I wish I'd done another one explaining how they are all handmade, with the knots removed, so all are unique. I'm going to make something that tells the story better for my next fair.

I also thought of a use for the leftover holes, surely there is a scientific term for these? I made them into really funky hooks. They can be used as either coat or bag hooks (or-really-to-hang-anything-with-a-handle) or as cupboard knobs. I marketed these as nothing is wasted and people seemed to get on board with that ethos straight away. One guy told me "nothing is wasted - love it!".

Then I had faith in myself. I knew it would be good, and it was. Happy me. The comments from the public were amazing - 'awesome', 'funky', 'different', 'really effective' and 'cool'. I smiled a lot. The best bit was when an older guy who looked like he knew what he was talking about checked out my dovetails and told me I had done a good job. Made up!

Oh and then Darth Vader came shopping. I mean who doesn't launch their business without a representative of the force!