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Life as an Amateur Woodworker

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Blog series by PhilBello updated 16 days ago 21 parts 18165 reads 51 comments total

Part 1: UK to Colombia, the ups and the downs.

284 days ago by PhilBello | 4 comments »

I retired from the UK Police in 2006 after 30 years, and I think I only survived that period of time, because of my love of woodwork, I class myself as a late starter, I used to tinker with bits and pieces, but it wasn’t until I was 21 and my first Father-in-law who was a Chippy, gave me lessons and a few tools, that I decided that woodwork was definitely the hobby for me. In July 2006 I left the Police, and immediately moved to Spain, where I had had property for a number of years, ...

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Part 2: The problems of a 'Micro Workshop'

284 days ago by PhilBello | 0 comments »

The problem I am finding with a ‘micro-workshop’ is space, I was spoilt with my last workshop, and I have gone to the opposite extreme, which means I have nowhere to lay things out. I suppose I could stray out into the kitchen area, but I don’t want to impose my hobby on my Wife, so I remain behind a closed door, cursing away merrily to myself. Nothing gets left out, there is no space to put out tools, so it comes out of it’s toolbox or shelf-space under the bench, get...

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Part 3: Not everything goes to plan!

276 days ago by PhilBello | 7 comments »

It’s been a somewhat hectic week, so the workshop has had to take a back seat, however not all has been sweetness and light!! I thought I had found the plans for the perfect Router table to fit into a micro-workshop, as I had previously reported, I drew out all the parts on a 3/4” sheet of Ply, spent a day or two, cussing like mad, trying to make space to do the cutting, and then fortunately did a dry-fit of the main parts… Router table Mk1 was abandoned! there was no way...

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Part 4: Making a Bench Disc Sander

273 days ago by PhilBello | 4 comments »

A Disc Bench Sander was next on the list, something simple, but effective was needed. There are some excellent ideas on here, YouTube, and other sites, but my criteria, was that it could be run using my drill, and took up as little space as possible. Well the final build could not be more simple, six pieces of wood, (1/2” ply to cut out the Disc, using my scrollsaw, and 3/4” ply for the Base, the Disc support, the Drill support and the two side pieces, one 8mm bearing ( an i...

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Part 5: Sawdust everywhere!

269 days ago by PhilBello | 0 comments »

Today, I have spent my time covered in sawdust, I decided that it was better to be prepared, rather than scratching around for scrap to make parts later. A few projects coming up require dowels, and others require star/clamp knobs, therefore it makes sense to have a supply ready to hand. For the dowels, I used Izzy Swan’s method, cheap and easy, and at the moment, both those qualities come top of my list, if you haven’t already seen his dowel making in action, you can see it...

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Part 6: Back to Basics

256 days ago by PhilBello | 2 comments »

The last couple of weeks, I have learned how lazy I had become as a Woodworker, having had a workshop which had just about every tool a hobby Woodworker could wish for, and then going to nothing and having to start again, has made me realise how lucky I was, and also how blasé I had become. The last couple of weeks, I decided to ‘improve’ my table saw top, by putting in a second dado rail, fitting inserts for the saw blade, and making a cross-cut sled, simple you might think! ...

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Part 7: Dust free at last... well almost!

253 days ago by PhilBello | 6 comments »

The main problem with having a ‘micro-workshop’ in the apartment, is that dust does not stay there, and it is the one thing that annoys my wife! (especially when I run my finger over the furniture, and asked if she has dusted today! :) ) So I thought it was about time I did something to ease the problem. I decided to use an Vac hose support devised by Jack Houweling you can see his video Here , it is ideal for the small workshop, where you haven’t got space for dedicate...

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Part 8: Wood has such a calming effect!

250 days ago by PhilBello | 2 comments »

The last couple of days have been to put it politely, a bit frustrating. I am gathering tools together slowly, so that when we find the right house, I will be able to get up and running in the workshop, reasonably quickly, and from listening to the Locals, and my experiences of living in Spain, power cuts out in the Campo are something you learn to live with, in my case, I like to be prepared, and a Generator, to keep both the house and the workshop ticking over is a must. Before moving t...

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Part 9: No Spindle Sander?...

249 days ago by PhilBello | 1 comment »

A spindle sander is something I have never had in my workshop, although I can see the benefits of having one, in the past I have used a multi-tool with the drum sanding attachments, but at the moment, I haven’t even got one of those, and needed to make a circular cut, just a fraction bigger. It is all too easy to set to, and find that you end up with a misshapen circle, but there is a simple option: all you need is a length of dowel (slightly smaller than the circle), or in my...

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Part 10: Remove those loose cables from the floor.

242 days ago by PhilBello | 2 comments »

I’m not sure why it is, that those simple things that make life easier always seem to take a back seat, I am in the enviable position that because I only have my micro-workshop, I can spend my time making some of the things I would probably never get around to otherwise. One of the things that surprised me here in Colombia, is the apparent inability to be able to buy a reel cable, they only seem to sell extension cables ‘loose’, you can buy a reel separately (a small vers...

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Part 11: Picture Frames

240 days ago by PhilBello | 5 comments »

If there is one thing I dislike doing, it is making picture frames, but when needs must!... Following my six year old Colombian Nephew’s ‘passing out’ from Infants School last week, there were obviously a raft of photos, and unfortunately the next stop, was my door, so I had to do some quick thinking, because I no longer had my framing equipment. It was back to my old friend, YouTube, to get some ideas, and the easiest was a video by George Berry, which showed a simple an...

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Part 12: Grinder Stand or Piece of Furniture?

237 days ago by PhilBello | 0 comments »

Having a shortage of bench space, I decided that I needed to create a space for the bench grinder, and not wanting to damage any walls in the apartment, I decided a dedicated Grinder Stand was called for, but not away floor storage space. After hunting for a while, I found what I was looking for on Woodstore.net it hardly reduced the floor space at all. To make this you only need half a sheet of 3/4” plywood, I used pine, as it was cheaper, and some scraps of birch ply for the top...

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Part 13: E-Reader Stand

222 days ago by PhilBello | 3 comments »

My wife and I both use E-Readers, myself, because there are a limited number of paper books available, and my Wife, because books in Colombia are horrendously expensive. Anyway I digress… My wife wanted a stand for hers, so she could read it comfortably in bed, without having to hold it all the time. So I came up with a simple design, made of scrap wood lying around the workshop, in this case, some 3/4” ply for the back support, 6mm MDF for the backboard and front strips, and s...

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Part 14: Table Saw Taper Jig

220 days ago by PhilBello | 1 comment »

When it came to making wooden wedges, my efforts were always hit and miss, however because hopefully, in the New Year sometime, we will finally be in the position to buy our own place, and one that needs a bit of work, I thought I had better start getting prepared. One of the things I will need, will be shims for putting in door frames, I have to be honest when it comes to finding tools or accessories you need, here in Colombia, it is very hit and miss. The reason I keep being given is,...

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Part 15: Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to One and All!

215 days ago by PhilBello | 1 comment »

I decided to make some last minute stocking fillers for family and friends, this year it was Cheese Boards, I bought some hardwood sheets from HomeCenter, unfortunately there was no description as to what wood was used to make up these sheets, but it had a nice grain.To make the process easier, I decided to make a another Spindle Sander which could be used on the Pillar Drill, or as is described in ‘The Family Handyman’, a drum sander. The idea being this is clamped on the ...

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Part 16: A belated Happy New Year to Everyone!

199 days ago by PhilBello | 2 comments »

I hope that everyone, enjoyed their festive period with Family and friends, I have to say, getting back to normality from tomorrow (Today is another Public Holiday!) will be a pleasure! I am afraid that Woodwork has had to take a back seat for a while, the sale of my House in Spain went through, between Christmas and New Year, at the moment I am busy trying to get the paperwork correct, in order to transfer the funds to Colombia, and due to the anti money laundering laws, that is no easy m...

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Part 17: The next stage...Pros and Cons

180 days ago by PhilBello | 2 comments »

We have finally bought a house, unfortunately it hasn’t got a workshop, but there is room to construct a small workshop on site. So the plan is to have the work completed on the house, which should take two months, we should be able to move in after the first month, at which stage I will use a bedroom as previously, but when work is completed, I am having a 6m x 4m workshop built, the advantage in my case, is the weather, which should allow me to move the work outside whenever I want...

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Part 18: On the Way!

159 days ago by PhilBello | 3 comments »

The work on the house is coming to an end, and then the work begins to build the workshop, they are already digging out the footings: Unfortunately, I have had to reduce the size of the Shop to 6m x 3.5m, however the intention is to cover the parking area, which will give me an area three times the size, so the Shop itself will become the area for machinery. Getting there…slowly!

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Part 19: Work is underway

146 days ago by PhilBello | 4 comments »

The work on the workshop came to an abrupt halt as a more pressing problem with the house reared it’s ugly head, however that has now been sorted, and work is now back on schedule… more or less! It doesn’t help that only large National Companies in Colombia have any machinery to help out, locally everything is done by hand, including bulk concrete mixing. I am told there are two reasons for this, one that it keeps more people in employment, and the second, anyone wit...

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Part 20: It has taken a while and still not finished!

53 days ago by PhilBello | 1 comment »

Well…I have to admit that I didn’t think I would be away from the site for so long, it has taken a while to get the workshop up and running, and there is still work in progress, I need to organise an area for wood storage, and at the moment, I am looking at the roof area for that. However it is still going to be some time before I can spend quality time in the workshop, I am still working flat out on the house, and unfortunately also having to redo some of the work done by the ...

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Part 21: Getting back into a routine

16 days ago by PhilBello | 1 comment »

Having taken my Wife over to the UK for a couple of weeks to meet the family, it has been hard to get back into a routine, I have done a couple of small jobs, one of our neighbours had been helpful, and let our Builders work from her garden, so I had promised her a new house name plaque, when I was straight, it has only taken three months!... I haven’t a clue what the timber is, it is a hardwood, but I am still getting used to the different wood types available, in Colombia, it d...

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