2021 Wind Up

As the house draws closer to completion, and with far less progress to share than there once was, my desire to blog has unfortunately greatly diminished. However, last month I reached a major milestone- moving into the Tiny House! Admittedly, it is still missing a few modern comforts, like running water for one, but with the main house less than 100 steps away, it’s no major inconvenience. (Though if things go to plan, the water situation will be remedied soon enough!)

It’s been quite fun to finally enjoy what I have built, even more so when I was able to decorate it for Christmas! I will continue to tackle the last of the detailing and missing pieces as the new year gets underway, but it is longer the centre of my world. Living in it has proved to be quite a good incentive to smash out some jobs over the break because it’s a lot less easy to ignore the tasks that require aesthetic and practical attention- especially as you begin to have visitors.

If we are fortunate enough to avoid a repeat of the last two years, my focus this year is definitely on pushing myself to become more confident and involved in the ‘real world.’ As a result, this blog, (and my Instagram account too), will likely continue to be quiet for some time, but perhaps, just like in the past, they may evolve into something with a new focus, time will tell.

To those who have continued to cheer me on, my sincere thanks, and my very best wishes to you all for a brighter and fulfilling 2022!


Endings and Beginings

All’s been quiet on my blog for a while now but I am back to report some big news! Yes! All going well, by the end of this month, it will be time, (once again), to move my Tiny House! However, this time, it is headed to its new home, rather than another work site. There will still be some tasks to complete like painting, laying the flooring, purchasing and installing a stove and countertop, not to mention the finishing of the cabinetry, but all of this will be completed from my new location! (And really, one can ask, is a home ever truly finished?) Most of this progress has been captured on Instagram, but for those who are happier blogging than scrolling, this post is for you!

In terms of getting to this stage, the last couple of months of work on the Tiny House have been, for the most part, enjoyable! The walls are entirely clad and trimmed, the lights are installed, and I have moved in all of the fixtures that I have built along the way, (some which have long been collecting dust). These still need a lick of paint or a wipe of stain, but it’s been brilliant to finally see the space come together. As the interior filled in, I felt the space shrinking, (inevitable when an empty space becomes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom), but now I am deeply happy with the space, in fact, I love it.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time cursing the decision to undertake this project, and you can’t help but wonder whether it was money and time sensibly spent, but I’m beginning to feel the reward of perseverance. The house may no longer resemble what I first set out to build, both in terms of appearance and the way of life it represents, but it perfectly suits who I am now, at the age of 27, (almost 28!), and I look forward to seeing it continue its evolution in its new location.

The last few weeks here will see me working on the shelving and drawers for the cabinets and then I shall be packing all my belongings and materials inside the space for the big move! I must say, I will really miss being here on the farm, but it is due time to shake things up and try new things. Equally exciting and daunting!

A Tiny Taste of Exciting Things to Come

Since the beginning of September, I have been, (slightly impatiently,) awaiting the arrival of an order of 7mm plywood; the cladding for the ceiling and walls of my home. As the hold-up has prevented any substantial progress, I have found myself with no excuse but to commence some of the ‘finishing’ work on the pieces I have built this year.  Sanding, gluing, staining, etc. All my favourite things. -_- However, as I raided my offcuts for suitable pieces for edging/moulding, I discovered half a sheet of 7mm ply in my stock, giving me the idea that I could have a go at cladding the small skylight. Much more exciting. 

Using leftover Foilboard, I insulated the supporting steel boxes, of both skylights, and attached the strips of cladding with tek screws- fun, fun, fun! (Though I suspect the ceiling is going to be anything but).  Despite not having enough plywood to finish even this small task, it did give me a taste of the next step, a glimpse of the transformation the house is soon to face! (Hopefully!!The exercise also decided how I will hide the screw heads and ply sheet joins. Win! 

In the below photos you can see me playing around with some ideas for the moulding, (nothing too fancy as I am limited to the table saw). I’ve narrowed it down to two similar-but-slightly-different designs, but once all has been painted I am hoping either will look pretty neat! Opinions welcome!

Minimalist Shelving

This is just a brief look at what I have been working on this week, the second component of my set of tiny drawers. Essentially it’s just another two shelves of storage, but with a lighter, more elegant style. I came across an image on Pinterest with a similar design and I just really liked the thin vertical strips that break up the view of anything on the shelf that extends beyond its own third. It has been quite a fiddly creation as even though I knew the effect I wanted to create, I began the build unsure about the details of the design. There was a number of changes of mind as I  happened across design improvements, which resulted in a couple of blemishes that will need some attention at a later date! That said, I am super pleased with the rough fit and believe it will look pretty neat once complete. It also provided one of those step back moments when, with surprise, you think – I can’t believe I made that!

Revisiting Dovetails

Last post, I was working on a large drawer unit. This week the work on drawers continues, but on a much smaller scale. Moreover, unlike the Tiny Making Station for which I repurposed three old wardrobe drawers, I am building the drawers myself. All twenty-one of them. If you haven’t guessed, I am attempting to build one of those plastic organiser you will likely find in your dad’s shed. The one with the tiny drawers that house assorted nails, washers, bolts, drill bits etc. Unlike the manufacturers, whose aspiration is to produce a lightweight product in the brightest shade of orange possible, I am striving for something a little more elegant; fine woodwork rather than function over form. Mine too will be home to screws, tacks, hooks and hinges, but perhaps less conventionally, it will also hold my embroidery threads, tiny tins of enamel paints and perhaps the odd button or two. Pretty much anything small enough.

I predominantly used salvaged French Oak to create this drawer unit. I did however relent and use 3mm ply brace for the back and shelf dividers. It didn’t seem a classy choice, but it saved me undertaking any sketchy table saw cuts in an attempt to resaw my timber into 3mm pieces.
Here are my dovetails; a little gappy but nothing I can’t disguise. The bottom shelf is connected using pinned mortise and tenons. This is the first time I have used this joinery technique but I actually quite enjoyed the process and the end result.

I set this project as a practice in proper joinery, a stretch of my patience and skills. Plus, after constantly being exposed to the beautiful hand-crafted pieces on Antiques Roadshow, or The Repair Shop (more on that soon), I wanted to create something that could be appreciated beyond the confines of my tiny home. So far, all is going pretty well! The dovetails may not be the finest I have ever seen, (it is only my second attempt), and there have been a few issues with splitting oak,  but it holds together without glue, (there will be glue eventually), and it is nice and square! Besides, during this build I have discovered that it’s kind of fun when things don’t pan out perfectly. 

Fun? Well, it makes me feel like I am on The Repair Shop facing an antique that needs a little love. The challenge of facing something broken, or just a bit shabby in this case, and finding a solution. A test to see if I can make a feature of the mistake or execute a repair that’s almost indistinguishable. Alright, it’s unlikely that my level of skill can match that, but it is good practice and it relieves the pressure of getting it bang on in the first place. (I shall just take a moment to recommend everyone watches The Repair Shop, it is such a brilliant show and if you are a subscriber of this blog, you WILL LIKE IT. I can assure you it’s far more fascinating than anything that goes on here.  A brilliant homage to makers of all trades.)

If you look closely here, you will see where I ran into a problem with the French Oak. A tiny split in the grain ended up causing a fair bit of damage when I was cleaning up this mortise with a chisel. I have cut a piece to make this repair.
This pine chest was given to me to take apart and use for timber. I cut thin slices of timber from the lid for the tiny drawers.

Yesterday, I began creating the first few drawers using some pine from the chest pictured above. Each will eventually be faced with a hardwood drawer front, but for now I am focusing on building the 21 carcasses. (If you have done the maths, you may be wondering why only 21? I decided the bottom shelf will feature 3 full width drawers. They will be divided on the inside, but I thought it would be more pleasing aesthetic-wise to shake it up.)

My first four drawers, evidently all in need of a good sand.
The tape is a trick I picked up from The Repair Shop- super handy for clamping glue ups, and testing the fit pre-glue.

Tiny Making Station Part II

Tiny Making Station Part II

Tuesday 4th August 2020

Short and sweet! Here is the drawer unit worktop come to life. It might not be pretty as a picture, but I am quite excited about this little space. I think this corner of my home will become one of my favourite spots. It will offer flexibility to the space in which I plan to make many, many things, and will hold all the tools and materials to bring such creations to life. 

The front section has a removable insert which can be lifted out, using the corner cut-out, to reveal a rimmed tray, (much better than my idea of flipping the lid, as described in my previous post.) Here, I can safely collect bits and pieces from the shelves that will be mounted above this unit, and wheel them over to my desk, without the heart stopping moment of watching your chisel roll off the edge of a bench.

Spin the drawer unit around, lift the lid and there is the tiny wood working bench- to possibly feature a vice, and certainly, a sharpening station. I have used a pair of flush overlay hinges, which proved perfect for the job! A lucky chance really, for I picked them up as an afterthought, (despite not quite knowing how they worked), when buying some traditional hinges. They prevented me from having to install hinges on the top face, nor did I have to leave a gap for the swing of the lid.

Later, I installed a stay, not pictured, to keep the lid from falling down when I am working, (irritating!), and a stop at the rear of drawers to prevent them from being pushed back into the unit.

I also made a long, narrow drawer to fill the space next to my colouring pencil drawers; a perfect spot for my fountain pen inks. I must say, all this organising of my stationary and tools is immensely satisfying.

And, it was only today that I realised the potential of attaching a wide piece of trim to the edge of the bench. Besides looking a lot better than the ply edging, such an addition allows me to clamp pieces to the unit. Handy until I get my hands on a small vice.

I suppose you could call this an Easter Egg! A little sneak peek into the future, for these are types of pieces I hope to make in my tiny home; little timber decorations to adorn a Christmas Tree. As of now, I squeeze such work into the time between dinner and bedtime, but one day, once this house is complete, I will have plenty of spare time to really sink my teeth into such things!