Thursday, November 20, 2014


With christmas rapidly approaching, gifts need to be found or in this case made.
The basic idea behind the design was poached from some ones i found in a homewares store. Those ones were just pieces of dowel with holes drilled to hold the rope. I thought i could make a more interesting design and for much less then the $35 the store wanted for one.
And so the project begins!

I really wanted to make my own dowel as i have some hardwood stair treads laying around that would have been perfect for this project, but alas operation "make a doweling jig" did not end up with a usable jig. So 25mm hardwood dowel was purchased and cut to 175mm lengths. Then planed round, the store bought dowel was mostly round, but not round enough for what i needed it for.

Next up was to drill some holes in each end. It dawned on me that even if i punched a mark on the timber prior to drilling the holes it would be almost impossible to get holes that perfectly matched up. So a jig was made!
I cut a hardwood block in half, drilled a 25mm hole in each end, then carefully marked and drilled a 4mm hole in the top of each one. And lastly cut a slice out on the bandsaw from each bottom so the final dimension of the 25mm would be slightly less when a clamp was applied holding the dowels tightly in place.
Once that was made i was able to drill the holes at the end of each dowel precisely.

 I wanted to cut two  grooves at each end of the dowel. Usually this operation would be preformed using a lathe, which i dont have. So to the internet! Turns out other people have faced this problem and making a router jig was the easiest solution. So i knocked up this contraption. Dowel gets feed into the hole, the router is lowered till it reached its depth stop and the dowel rotated (hence the need for really round dowel. I found that if it wasn't really round it would bind and get stuck when i tried to turn it) then when all dowel was cut the jig was adjusted to cut the second groove.

The end result.

I applied a coat of tung oil to one of the test pieces and was quite happy with the result, but i felt it needed something more but i wasn't sure what. So i took 24 hours to have a think.
The next day i was doing some plastic welding and it dawned on me, i needed to blacken the groves with the soldering iron. So with all the enthusiasm in the world i set to it! And stopped once my back started to get sore, which was only 10mins after i started and i had only done 4 grooves. A quick bit of math removed any bit of remaining enthusiasm . 4 groves per rod and a total of 14 rods = 56! This was going to take a while. Luckily Mrs Paleface was kind enough to lend a hand so it went a little quicker.

After a coat of tung oil.

And the finished product after a second coat of tung oil.
Its design allows for it to either be compressed like on the left (and the cord can be placed under it to hid it) or extended like on the depending on your trivet needs.

Till next time


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