Sunday, May 25, 2014

Building a 'B' House

A quick post for a quick project. If I had a gardening blog, this project would belong there but there is wood involved so I'll mention it here. Every garden needs a bit of whimsy. I've been reading about the plight of bees lately and learned about mason bees. They live solitary lives rather than in colonies and like to lay their eggs in small tunnels. The centre portion is made of pine with 5" holes drilled in it. I found the hollow sticks in a nearby park. I think they are a bit too big but they were all I could find this spring. I may try to replace them next year if no one moves in. The glass beads are a bit of an experiment. They're placed in a cookie sheet so that the whole thing collects water. The theory is that the bees will be able to drink from it. If I don't get any tenants it may be the bright colours and shiny surfaces causing the problems. I'll leave them for now and replace with small pebbles next year. I've got it on the ground for the picture but I've since attached it to a Southeast facing fence.

If you're interested in learning more about mason bees I found a lot of great information on this site.

Doors Are My Nemesis

Doors are my nemesis.

I have no idea why but doors are always the part of a project that slow me down. I go gangbusters on the main part of the project and then when it comes time to do the doors, I make every excuse to not get started on them.
This particular project actually started early last year. I typically start gardening in March so it's usually best if I get a project done before the end of February, otherwise it can get stuck. That was definitely the case with this one. Majority of the piece was done quickly but I just had the doors remaining. I'm not even sure why I procrastinate on them. They're not overly difficult and if you mess them up you can always start over without losing too much time or material. If I had to guess it's probably from some of my shop projects. The doors always came last since the rest of the project was already functional without them. That isn't the case for a finished piece like this set of book shelves.
Well enough ranting about doors. I've had a nice set of book shelves on my bucket list for a while. I had done a built in at our previous house which of course couldn't come with us when we moved so this time I wanted a nice stand alone piece. I went with this plan from because I liked the fact that it looked like a piece of furniture. Having the shelves covered will keep out the dust and I got to try my hand at installing a lock. If you haven't done one before, make sure you understand what 'distance to pin' means when buying the lock. I had to go back a second time.
Installing the hinges has become a fairly routine task for me now. For this piece, despite having to align three sets of hinges per side, careful layout and clean chisel work turned out perfectly. The wood is white oak with an aniline dye and wipe on polyurethane for the finish. The plugs are purple heart. All the important parts are solid wood though I did go with plywood for the side panels and the shelves. The side panels turned out fine but I think next time I'll try to go with solid wood for the shelves. Despite being a total of 1" thick, there is still a small amount of bow in the shelves.