2017-11-29

Repairing an old wooden stepladder

Good old quality craftsmanship. Sometimes you just don't realize that you are relying on the skills of a woodworker / carpenter / maker from decades ago. When you used an old stepladder happily for years it doesn't come to mind that at some day even the product of decent carpentry will break down. The good thing about older tools and furniture (called vintage nowadays), is that it is absolutely rewarding to repair them. (unlike the plastic mass produced stuff) This is an example of just a simple old wooden stepladder.

After years of carrying heavy loads, folding up thousands of times. this little stepladder's steel rod widened the hole were it was pivoting in. In the end it came out. A simple repair that could be done different ways.

The first idea was to take of the steel rod and replace it with a longer threaded rod, drilled thru the sides and kept in place with 2 nuts on the outside. Yes, it would have made it very sturdy, but it would also change the looks.

The second option was to just fill make the hole bigger, fill it with a wooden plug and drill the same 13mm hole again at the same spot. The trouble however in the first place was probably the just 1 cm dept of the hole.

So I decided to go for the third option, putting to little external blocks on the inside of the stepladder's legs. To protect the wood I felt it would be a good option to put a few copper pieces of pipe inside the wood so the steel bar would pivot in those.



It turned out a good solution. The rod goes 2 cm deeper in to the holes on both sides which makes it a sturdy connection.


After a coat of paint this repair won't have changed much to the looks, and this little stepladder will be a safe device for many years to come, for instance to put the Christmas decorations up!






2017-11-02

Repairing an old chair.. the friendly way.

Just a wobbly old chair, well maybe not just. There was a crack that went thru to one of the back legs with all consequences of... falling apart. It was just a matter of a little brace, some dowels and some glue... Here's the process of repairing an antique chair without making it look like a new one.


The crack in the seat at one of the rear legs
Taking all apart without damaging the parts.



Chiseling out the place for the bracket (mahogany)


glueing in, drilling holes and some reinforcement with dowels


planing the bracket but leaving it just a millimeter proud of the surface, a repair to an antique chair should look like it's been done sometime ago


The back was lose to, 2 10mm beech dowels were hammered in all the way thru the tenons of the back


The three insite thinner parts of the back got the same treatment, only with 8mm dowels


the legs were cut 1 mm shorter, so the fitting became tighter. It's great to find that a little Japanese pull saw is capable to cut slices of 1 mm.


You can't use to much glue if there's room for it to squeeze out of the joint.


The oak legs were put back into the cherry wood seat


It's up to the owner of the chair whether to leave the repair visible or not.


After the glue dried.. a sturdy little antique chair. 


2017-10-20

Not just a library project

It is not happening everyday, been given the chance to build something that is not a only a challenge, but also a real nice project. I started on a library project, an item that not only gives me the opportunity to use my skills as a woodworker, but also as a designer.


Part of the materials were already on side, although the idea of changing the original plans (without a backside) made it necessary to recut most of the wood. It is going to be an "all around the room" project.

All profiles are routed at the workshop. Yes there is "readymade" material available in different DIW shops but first of all in Portugal that's sold for ridiculous prizes and secondly, it will never fit custom made sizes. As this all is installed in a historic property, not one wall is straight, nor are floors and ceilings. It makes it more difficult but at the same time requires a feel for style and an eye for "simple details that fit the building.




Two walls are done... time for finishing touches...








2017-08-24

Eight weeks away from home (part 3)

A week of almost a real holiday!


After the birthday party on the first of July we headed towards family around Almere, spend a day and a night and drove the next day to Haarlem where we unloaded the big BMW motorbike and, yes, loaded up an old moped for transport to Portugal

 

Although we wanted to meet some friends in Amsterdam and Bergen aan Zee, because of the one week delay, it turned out to be more wisely to drive from Haarlem straight to Den Helder where we would take the ferry to Texel, to visit family members who are living on the island.

 




At arrival we build a new bed in the van so we had our own place to sleep again. The nice weather, the see, the beach and the numerous moments of coffee or other liquid treatments on terraces, gave us a real feeling of being actually on a holiday. Sadly it could not last that long, and a few days later we would take the ferry, accompanied by a little niece that had a hard time letting go of our four legged Ella, back to the mainland and drive over the “Afsluitdijk” towards the North-East of the Netherlands.


 




Although The Netherlands are a small country, the distance between the western coast and the eastern border takes half a day when you are driving an old van like we do. It’s an enjoyable landscape though and having a dog traveling with you makes it necessary to stop at least every two hours. Time had come to meet old friends in Ter Apel.




Next time: a few days filled with old habbits...