Category Archives: Mutterings from the sawdust

WHR Project Bench Seat Continues

In the last post I talked about the Whole House Reuse project (WHR).  Over the last couple of weeks I have made some progress with beginning the bench seat.

Actually to be perfectly honest, I have had some assistance from Jakob.  Jakob is working in the orchard down the road, and finds the weekends a little slow.  Apparently there isn’t a heap load to do in Tasman in the weekend.  He is from Germany, and having a one year working holiday.  So Jakob is giving me a hand in the workshop, and in return he is making a chessboard and box.

So back to the WHR project bench seat.  The first job was to remove all the nails from the timber.  Part of the WHR project is nothing is wasted, so you collect all the removed nails, and the wood offcuts.

After removing all the nails, the timber was cut to length, collecting waste on the way.

Next step was to roughly bandsaw the bench seat shape into the weatherboards.  Then these were shaped on the spindle moulder.

So we have lovely stacks of shaped seat pieces ready for a moment in which I get to glue them all together.


Whole House Reuse Project

A while ago at Nelson Guild of Woodworkers meeting, David Haig explained about the Whole House Reuse project.  This project based in Christchurch, disassembled a whole house, and then gave the parts to artists who submitted ideas to reuse the materials.  Hence the name for the project.  When the team said reuse all the house, it is literally everything from wiring in the walls, to bits and pieces found in and under the house.

The project appealed to me, so I submitted two ideas for projects.

First idea

The first idea was to reuse some of the weatherboards for the outside cladding.  My thought was to change the weatherboard into a seat.  From the attached diagram, you can see the weatherboards are used across the seat as opposed to along.  I hope that when the pieces are all glued together the old paint will show as stripes on the seat.  The legs shown in the diagram, are not quite right so will under go a design change!

Second idea

The second idea was to appeal more to the children of the house (now disassembled).  Having always been interested in secretive drawers / hidden latches, I thought to make a storage box, with three drawers and a cavity on top.  The intriguing part will be the drawers wont open until the catches are released on the inside.  As a child, this would of appealed to me.  After I submitted this design, I also thought of a way to make the lid have a hidden catch two. The secret chest can be seen here.

The whole house reuse project has accepted both my ideas, and in fact have delivered the materials. As the each part of the whole house reuse project progresses, I will post some more images.

Chess Boards

It was with great concern that I realised the months had been ticking by, and nothing absolutely nothing had been written by me, about what was happening.  If you were reading this blog, then it would be reasonable to think I had almost retired…!  But no, in fact have been flat out, and simply haven’t sat down to written anything, so on to the chess boards.

Recently I was commissioned to make a chess board with a drawer underneath to store the pieces.  I saw a similar design at the Centre for Fine Woodworking (Glen McNeilly 2009), and thought the idea was great.  So set about making my own version, in fact decided to make two.

The timber choices were

  • Quilted Yunan Poplar / Australian Blackwood
  • Pukatea / Kahikatea

The chess board made from quilted Yunan Poplar and Australian blackwood, had the main case made from New Zealand grown walnut.  This walnut was streaky, with strong dark patches, and lighter patches, replicating the contrast found in the chess board itself.

The other chess board was made from Kahikatea and Pukatea, both native New Zealand timbers.  Kahikatea is well known as a white pine, and was used extensively for bench tops, butter boxes and in houses.  Pukatea is a more unusual timber, that I haven’t come across in general use.  The case for the chess board was in Pukatea, while the board used the contrast with Kahikatea.


Overall these are pleasing chess boards, and I would make them again if there was demand.  They look spectacular, and really show of the timber.