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My get up and go had got up and gone. Health issues have meant that by the time I've had breakfast and walked the dogs in a morning I'm ready to go back to bed. So I've been sleeping for England and having two breakfasts followed by an evening meal and then sleeping again.
"I need motivating!" I said to Ellie.
"Well, you can clean the car, cut your hedge, dig the borders, then there's all those tools and bits of boat..."
"Whoa, whoa whoa! I needed motivating not inundating!" I called over my shoulder as I legged it back to my side of the hedge.

But she was right, I needed to get on with clearing my shed, putting the tools away and perhaps finally get started on some of those projects? Seeing the grandkids over their garden fence yesterday morning added impetus to the situation. There were 'things' I said I would build and make for them. Time I got on with it! A good firkle was in order!

Making new and firm friendships has been the biggest boon of owning a boat, but there has also been a profound change in how I look at the world. Prior to owning a boat, if faced with woodworking jobs I would be thinking about where to get the job done. These days my first thought is 'do I have the right tools and enough materials available?'. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be capable and able to make my own furniture I would have laughed. But tables, chairs, stools, cabinets, storage,  film sets, lighting rigs and wall mounted angle-poise camera mounts, various kitchen wares have not only been made but I have back orders going back a couple of years now. My prolonged stay in bed has highlighted that not only do I need a new bed but I will be making the new bed myself adapting the height, design and storage capacity to suit my current needs and anticipating a time when I will need extra help. It will also be cheaper to buy the materials and build the bed myself. For once in my life I dare say the construction and aesthetics will also be better than anything I've seen in the shops!

So yesterday I started work. Do you know, I've had a whale of a time going through my shed and tidying up? I started by carefully 'unpacking' the detritus of tools, materials and part finished projects that had been crammed through the door of my tiny 10' x 8' 'workshop'. As luck would have it my earlier efforts to create sufficient storage and make the most use of the space available had paid dividends. A few minutes extracting clutter and I had a firm basis to reinstate order. First job was to make sure the first aid kit was stocked, the contents 'in date' and the kit easily accessible. 'Know thyself!' I would more than likely be needing it before the end of the day. The second job was to drag the table saw outside. The tablesaw is the centre of the workshop. I started with a very cheap £45 miniature saw now doing service on RT. I then moved on to an equally cheap but larger £150 saw from Screwfix. I quickly realised how important a good saw was so after making all the improvements I could to my basic saw I invested in a Bosch saw. Advertised at over a grand I came across a bargain at £499 for a brand new boxed model.  My tablesaw is mounted on a sturdy pine, wheeled base with a shelf and drawer underneath for storage. The saw on its own is a considerable weight and mounted on the trolley it weighs even more. I opened my ever present notebook and started a 'to do' list. 

  1. Make a ramp to get the table saw in and out of the shed without busting a gut!

With the saw outside I now had access to the rest of the shed. FOOTBALL! The neighbours kids have been kicking a football around their yard but it appears the back of my shed had been serving as a goal. Tools once housed on the back wall of the shed were now scattered on the floor along with quantities of screws, nuts, bolts, washers and bearings upon which I stood and fell backwards out of the shed and onto the patch of grass that used to be a lawn....squelch...I stand in cat crap. I don't have cats. The neighbours both sides do! In the months I have been 'missing in action' the neighbours both sides have acquired additional moggies. Three on one side and four on the other. A walk down the garden, dragging one foot as I go to clean it, reveals all seven felines have decided my garden is a litter tray and depository of dead birds. There is a veritable mountain of sh cr stuff all over garden. The feline gangsters have been winding the beagle brothers up of late and only that morning Ellie was dragged off her feet as Spot the collie tried to get to three of the monsters fighting in her front garden. And don't get me started on the smell of cat pee under my car that floods the cab every time I turn the AC on! It was time I marshalled the troops. Operation Cat Crap has commenced.

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So, I was on the phone to a professional Yorkshireman I know when I locked my keys inside the shed. I didn't know whether to be annoyed, pleased or ashamed that it only took me seven minutes the follo

Operation Cat Crap will consist of a three pronged response to the current situation. First of all will be the tracking and testing phase. Next will come an attempt to flatten the curve and limit the

I burned the midnight oil last night and strangely enough I was awake bright and early and busy in the workshop before the beagles had woken up. As always I couldn't resist 'finishing' my project.

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Operation Cat Crap will consist of a three pronged response to the current situation. First of all will be the tracking and testing phase. Next will come an attempt to flatten the curve and limit the escalation of the problem through social controls. As any planner with half a brain should anticipate, as part of any response a good 'exit' strategy is essential and should be in place before you put your silly face in front of the podium. With this in mind I assembled the troops and launched phase one, two and three simultaneously.

While I divided the back lawn into thirds to track the deposits to source I deployed Corporal Dylan and Private Toby of the Household Heavy Beagle Battalion to enforce a lock down and moggy exclusion zone. Five feline bogeys were sitting cock sure of themselves in the garden when the boys of the Beagle Battalion were let off the leash. Up until now the boys had not been allowed to chase cats. The realisation on feline faces that the beagles would not be called to heel was a joy to behold before the mogs devised an ad hoc exit strategy of their own. As I finished dividing up the garden the boys had managed to disperse all but one ginger mog to their own gardens. The remaining cat, after it's momentary panic was now sitting on top of the 8' tall hedge once again sure of itself. It had not taken into account the dogged stupidity and general mass of Sergeant (promotion comes swift in the Household Heavy Beagle Battalion) Dylan.


While Corporal Toby patrolled up and down to keep the mog 'tree'd', Sergeant Dylan took a run up and launched himself a full three feet up the hedge. Five feet short of his target but with enough weight and speed to crash through the hedge and catapult the ginger mog homeward. Perimeter now secure and the feral population on lock down the troops took to patrolling.

Meanwhile. It was Sir William Connelly, way back in the last century, who brought the concept of the 'jobby wheeker' into the public consciousness. While I had no need of airline quality, a suitable wheeker can be made from 5mm plywood scraps. Roughly spoon shaped with a long handle, said wheeker has enough 'spring' to propel the average cat turd over a hedge with some considerable force. Over the next hour it could be said that a short sharp shower of sh omething rained into the gardens of the cat owning neighbours. I'm pleased to say that lock down has begun and neighbours on both sides are getting their daily exercise cleaning their gardens of mog droppings and bird corpses. In the meantime, I started work on the first item on my 'to do' list.


First things first work out my right from my left. An hour of 'Timbo Areobics' ensued. This is a form of exercise where after a stroke you wander up and down the newly cleared garden holding a piece of wood trying to work out if you are right handed or left handed and in either instance what is the best way to hold the wood while you work out which way the saw goes. Eventually muscle memory takes over and I reach for a Japanese pull saw to cut some pallet wood into planks. I then drag out the band saw and cut two cheese shaped runners. Putting them together side by side I clamp them in the vice and reach for a hand plane. There then follows an hours joyous exercise. The gym is for wimps. Forget the online workouts, plane some wood and work up a real sweat!


All the bits made and ready to put together. Drill driver? Where the hell is my drill driver? I had two. Oh yes! One is at the bottom of the wet bit of the wet shed, I haven't a clue where the other is! I dig out the old corded drill and counter sink and start screwing the ramp components together. Then the inevitable happens.
“Tim? Tim? TIM! I need to go to the shop. You've not got everything out of the shed have you? Put it all away and then we will go to Morrisons!”

Typical! Even in lock down my other half will always decide I need to go somewhere the minute I get all the gear out of the shed. I lock the garden gates and head to Morrisons where I spot one of our neighbours leaving the supermarket with a new litter tray and a bag of cat litter!

An hour and a half later and it's pitch black in the shed, but there is still light outside to finish putting the ramp together. Seargent Dylan and Corporal Toby come out to make sure the local mogs have got the message and are staying clear. I quickly finish up the ramp and test it by quickly and easily rolling the tablesaw into the shed. A bit rough and ready, Sergeant Dylan has inspected and approved... jobs a good 'un, medals all round!

On the way back into the house I hold a press conference, carefully maintaining social distancing and not shaking hands with anyone on my team and particularly the neighbours...they were still clearing up from the shower earlier and I didn't want to catch anything, explaining in detail the penalties for ignoring the feline lock down now in force. Everyone now agrees it's for the best if they clear up after their cats and I limit the use of woodworking machinery to the hours of 9am to 6pm.

I can report that's been two days without an afternoon five hour nap and no mogs were harmed in Operation Cat Crap!


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Cracking write up of your daily events - Loved it - yes, I did actually LOL which takes some doing nowadays - TVMOM - More please


Another tired and tested successful cat persuader is a good strong water cannon or super soaker as they are called.

My late Mum living in a small village, N.Elmham, loved her garden, encouraged all manner of bird species and looked after them, they were always well fed all year round.  However after we took our Golden Retriever 'Dusty' back home (He stayed with her during our over seas tour in Gibraltar) the neighbours cats were having a field day with the birds as said birds knew Mums garden was a safe area due to the regular patrols from Dusty.

Mums property was a bungalow, her bedroom looked over the back garden.  I bought her a large super soaker that she kept loaded, pumped up safety catch firmly off by her bedroom window which fully opened and gave her a full arc of fire.  At first she was reluctant to use it on said cats as she was fearful of harming them.  I assured her of two things.  1) No cats would suffer any permanent or even short term harm from receiving a cold jet of water up their  'Japs Eye'  2)  Once she got good at it, she might even enjoy saving her bird population

The result was that over the months Mum became a crack shot, bird population survival rates increased dramatically.  She never admitted to actually enjoying keeping her garden 'Safe' but secretly I reckon she did


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I've never been a 'sporty' type person but I was good at two forms of sport. The first was running. I was useless in a sprint, but I discovered in secondary school that my racing snake physique and height meant that over a 1500 m track I could grind the sporty kids into dog meat. At university I discovered badminton, not the genteel garden variety but the full on combat sport where I would gleefully slap a shuttlecock up your nose in a blur of feathers and spite.

So when my cat owning neighbour's twenty-something son arrived to visit his parents and decided to throw the cat crap back over the hedge, natural instinct took over. With the plank I was about to cut on the tablesaw I returned his serve with the venom of a perfect forearm smash.
“If you send me a dry one over I can make you look like Clint!”
I took a steady stroll around to the neighbour's garden to have words with their son.
“Did you know you have cat crap all over your face?”
I can be a bit of a git on occasion. Youth educated, it was time to get back to the job in hand.


I was still having severe problems getting my body to respond to my wishes. My once over cautious approach to things like tablesaws, bandsaws, pillar drills, morticers, belt sanders, routers, all the big bits of machinery, had returned. I needed a small project to settle me in. While I was thinking and looking for ideas online I dropped my phone. Aha! Here was a project. A small stand to sit my phone on while I'm working in the shed or watching YouTube videos in an evening. While my mother would sit and knit while watching TV and reading a book all at the same time, I watch YouTube videos, read books, browse the forum and edit video...all at the same time.

So with a few pieces of mahogany I had loafing in a corner, I decided to design and build a simple prototype of a phone stand using as many tools as I could for practise. First things first, the tablesaw. I smoothly wheeled it down the new ramp and set about checking the blade, oiling turny bits and wiping away cobwebs and accumulated sawdust. I clean the saw down after use but sawdust clings to the inside of a shed like cat crap to the neighbour's son's kisser. A quick coat of wax to the aluminium tabletop, check the blade, fence and the cross cut jig fence were still true and time to cut some wood in anger, after a quick game of cat turd badminton.

After several hours of cutting this, sanding that, tightening this, oiling and cleaning the other I think I must have worked my way around most of the tools in the shed. I seriously need to get the advice of my Mrs in organizing the chaos of the shed. When the new lighting that she's ordered arrives I think I might just have to take everything out and beg her for help putting it all back. In the meantime I can practise by making more wooden or plywood boxes and cases for tools. The modern plastic jobs are all too big on the outside and too small on the inside.
“Tim? Tim! TIM!”
Now what? We went to the shops yesterday!
Ah! Off to see Gracie and Arlo, that's different!

Back from seeing the grandkids over the fence and I had a new idea for a project. Gracie needed a secret hiding place to keep her diary and small 'precious' things from brother Arlo. Hmmm...let me see?

A quick coat of my homemade oil wax, kitchen grade finishing oil and beeswax cooked up on the stove and allowed to set, and my prototype phone stand was finished. It works. It ain't pretty, but it works!

Side note for Griff...Ellie purchased a supersoaker today!

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21 minutes ago, Timbo said:

I've never been a 'sporty' type person

I hated sports at school.  Seems more I hated team sports.

That I spend much of my daytime working at all levels (voluntary basis) for a sport is a bit of a turnaround.
I consider gliding to be a solo sport in the air & a team sport whilst on the ground.

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An afternoon nap. Four days since I've had one, but this one snook up on me. After a trip out to Lincoln to deliver food and organise doctor's appointments and medical supplies for the 'olds' my brain hurt. Perhaps it was comments like 'you rang from a mobile phone, that's why they answered there's a difference you know' or 'the bottom fell out of the underwear business' that had started off the headache. The day had begun on the strange side. Let me explain?

When I wake up I can be disorientated. It can take a couple of hours on occasion to work out who I am, where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing. My usual routine involves the alchemy of grinding coffee beans of the correct variety, brewing fresh coffee at the correct temperature making sure the crema is transferred to the cup which is of course, made of the correct porcelain...the skipper of the Malanka says that I'm a coffee snob. He could be right! This morning my routine is interrupted by the sight of Ellie in her PJ's and dressing gown stalking the ginger mog in the garden with a water pistol.

Later we call at the CoOp in the village. Nothing unusual there until the two policeman came out of the shop with pistols strapped to their legs. Call me old fashioned, I may live in a 'steampunk' daydream of the 1920's, 1960's and 2060's but I just could not get my head around a couple of British bobbies with sidearms.

Back at home I sat on the edge of my bed contemplating the pieces of red meranti, black walnut and cherry I had dug out of the back of the wardrobe (you would be amazed at the places I have stashed timber) for the project I was going to build for my Gracie. This is probably why I woke up three hours later with a wet beagle nose pushed against the bridge of my nose cuddling a wooden plank. (See how I carefully negotiated certain phrases there?). It took me twenty minutes to locate my glasses and when I did find them they were not the same shape they had been three hours earlier. Ah well, at least the headache had gone and I can always tilt my head backwards and off to one side if I need to see anything.


The day had slipped away from me and there was no time to spend in the shed. The fridge had been restocked so I contemplated making something to eat. I had fresh chicken so perhaps a chicken and mushroom madras with Bombay potatoes? A chicken quesadilla with red peppers and spicy tomato sauce? I settled on sausage, bacon, baked beans and some fried new potatoes. The beagles had 'Adult Dog with Beef' and biscuits. I assured Toby I was not leading him down the path to cannibalism. Dylan didn't care as long as it was edible.

Dinner over (I'm afraid I'm a meal time snob too...breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, tea, dinner, supper) it was time for a stroll in the woods. After the dramatic show put on by the daffodils the flora was a little muted but equally dazzling. Forget-me-nots, bluebells and harebells set against a backdrop of ground elder. The horse chestnuts (candle trees as my Mum used to call them) are in bloom as is the glorious mock orange the gentle sweet smell of neroli drifting from the blooms. I took my time walking through the woods, partly because I was enjoying the flora but mostly because Spot the collie dog was doing his 'crap creeping' routine.

I hope nobody is eating? Poor old Spot is nineteen now and has a bit of trouble, so every now and then he 'lays an egg' with much yelping and whimpering. In between 'eggs' there is a lot of sauntering up and down back legs in front of front legs. Once the struggle is over the idiot will run around like a puppy for a couple of days until we are back to 'creeping'. Every now and then we take Spot to visit Gordon the vet for some assistance. At sixty quid a 'pop' this may sound expensive, but I've been to Amsterdam...it's a bargain!

Rooting around my office in the evening I come across a small cardboard box. Inside is two hours of 'fun' sifting through the various brass, gold, platinum, silver and chrome butterfly, barrel and other assorted hinges. There are clasps, small delicate handles,various small rubber feet, locks, tiny jewellers screws and fastenings, draw pulls and brass wall mounted bottle openers. It's like being a kid again and going through Grandma's 'button tin'. I can feel more projects coming on!


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First things first, my 8'x 10' shed turns out to be 8'x 7'! There's no wonder I can't fit everything I need to inside it and have space to work! A full day out there today. No woodwork done but lots of moving, condensing, wanging, hoovering and quite a bit of swearing. In the end I dragged everything outside and discovered I actually have a work bench in there!

As Grendel suggested, I'm going to have to make some bits drawers and quite a few sets of them. But I also had a look at how and where I stored the various tools and hardware. The other year I fitted benches in my office. I store a lot of my timber on wheeled racks under them. I do my veneering and quite a lot of 'finishing' of small projects in there so a lot of the tools and accessories can be taken from the shed and stored in the office. Of course that will mean sorting out my office and making more shelves and storage.

Lunch time arrived and, of course, as I was working outside Ellie needed to go out to drop some things off for the kids. I was in stitches when Arlo trotted into the garden. Someone had got into Mummy's make-up bag and drawn himself a lovely set of eyebrows. My little lad had a look of acute constipation on his face similar to many young women I see sporting more or less the same eyebrows!

Back at home and I had a phone call from the local council. The caller was very muffled and being deaf I was having trouble understanding her.
“I'm sorry I can't hear you.” I said.
“Do you need an interpreter?” the caller shouted louder but still muffled.
“No. Have you got your hand over the mouthpiece?”
“No, I'm wearing a mask?”
“Because I'm working from home and I'm contacting people who are at risk?”
In the end it was a courtesy call to find out how I was coping and if I needed help obtaining food or medicine. Sanity seems to be in short supply!

Where do all the tools and 'stuff' come from? I can't remember buying half the gear I have in the shed. I have a bit of a rethink into which projects I build most, which of the big tools I use the most, the order that I use the tools and the space I have to play with. So the projects I build most are jewellery boxes. The process starts at the table saw, moves onto the planer then onto the thicknesser. Back to the table saw, band saw, router and scroll saw. Veneering is done in a clean area, engraving is a mucky job, fixings are done with the drill press, routers and hand tools, finishing on the other drill press and final finishing in a clean area.

With all this in mind, some of my tools will be brought inside. My scroll saw and belt sander will fit on the bench as the scroll saw powers one of my engraving tools. The morticer will be swapped out for the second drill press which will be fitted with the buffing wheels permanently. I made a top to protect the bed of my table saw and the saw now acts as a second bench when not in use. My engravers vice (brilliant bit of kit lets me turn a work piece without unclamping when I'm hand chasing) needs to be fitted to my main workbench. With the scroll saw and sander now on the bench I have space under the bench to store all the drills, jig saws, routers, circular saws, heat guns and multiple circular sanders.


My screws and fastenings are put back into the drawer. Being bumped around in the car to and from the boat has mixed them up. Sorting them all out into sizes is a job for an evening with nothing to do. Nuts, bolts, washers and coach screws all go into another box. Toby has decided to eat my rawlplugs. If he has trouble passing them I could probably fix a shelf to his butt! Sand paper and discs are sorted into grades and put into the sanding station I made and various hand tools are put back in their places. I can feel a big 'sharpening' session coming on!


All too soon it's getting dark inside the shed and I fire up the dust extractor, pop it in reverse and blow down the various bits of machinery and cobwebs from the corners, before reversing the extractor again and sucking up all of the shavings and sawdust. Finally I start putting the table saw back inside and the scrap wood I've not had a chance to sort through yet. Tomorrow I will tackle the drill press area and my collection of router bits.

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I started the day by mowing the lawn. I say 'lawn' but it's now a piece of irregular scrubland covered in humps and bumps. At one time I had dug the garden over and I would cram all kinds of vegetables into the little growing space I had. But I have to share my garden with the flat above and the previous new neighbours type of gardening had as much to do with horticulture as slash and burn agriculture has with sustainable forestry. The first week they moved in while I was away they took a strimmer to everything and moved in an array of kiddies slides and swings. When I returned all hell broke loose and a week later the new neighbours were gone. The current neighbours still have the 'I've got a strimmer and will scalp the lawn until the grass dies' approach to gardening. I've lost all interest in horticulture. The grass tamed somewhat I opened up the shed to sort out the drills and router section.

Just minutes after I opened up and started work, Ellie poked her head around the shed door. She had decided that she really needed to go to the shops, yet again. It appears that the 'olds' are now getting particular about product brands and where we buy products from. Personally, two bottles of Fairy washing up liquid for a quid from Tesco are the same if not better than two bottles of non branded washing up liquid for a quid from the pound shop. So, I spent an hour and a half sat baking in the car while Ellie trundled around various pound shops and European supermarkets looking for specifics.

By the time we reached home I was hot, tired and had developed a serious case of 'I can't be bothered' (except bothered started with an 'a', ended with a 'd' and had an 'r' an 's' and an 'e' in it). So I decided to go shopping for myself instead! With half my tools either on the boat or in the wet stuff under it, I was missing one important tool. My drill driver. I have a selection of traditional screwdrivers, Philips, Pozidriv and Robertson's at home. However when I'm working effectively one handed and that's my wrong hand, I just don't have the strength or dexterity to use them. I can't begin to count the number of times over the years I've had to fetch Doug to help me undo a stubborn screw fixing or the number of times I've tried to claim 'I must have weakened it' when he's undone it immediately! I have my corded drill at home, but although I can use it as a screwdriver it is way too powerful and will strip the screw heads and drive them too far into the wood. I needed a drill-driver. Although I have a policy of slowly replacing my tools with better quality tools, with my Makita at the bottom of the cut in the wetshed, my DeWalt somewhere on the boat, cheap and cheerful 18v was what I was after, e-Bay!

I buy quite a few tools and materials on-line. Over the years I've found some trusted suppliers on e-Bay. I have a timber merchant who will supply me offcuts of exotic timber at very reasonable prices, metal merchants who also supply me with sheet metal offcuts. There's a chap in Ireland that supplies my veneers, his packages arriving through the post with 'this is not a bomb' written on the front make me chuckle. So I find an 18v drill driver with battery and charger for pennies under thirty quid. I don't need a hammer function, just something to pop in screws and drill into timber and metal. At the checkout I notice that I have quite a few vouchers I haven't redeemed yet so I buy replacement buffing wheels and more compound, still under the thirty quid for the whole lot. Bargain! With a Yorkshire/Jewish/Scots ancestry I genetically don't like spending money!

Strange noises are emanating from under the duvet in my bedroom. A little known fact, beagles make nests. Dylan had made a nest under my duvet, got himself too hot and was having a seizure. After he came out of his fit and done his usual rounds of our houses re-establishing contact with 'his humans' I gave him his medication a little earlier than usual, but knew it would be a long night ahead of me as after a seizure his appetite is voracious and he will batter doors down to get at food and will not stop pestering or eating until he settles down. What goes in one end will come out the other so I will be letting the lad in and out all night.
Eventually Dylan settles down but I am wide awake. Have you ever woken up thinking it was a reasonable time of day only to discover that it's the very, very early hours of the morning? One thirty in the morning I woke up thinking it was time to get up. I was just about to make coffee when I looked at the clock and made cocoa instead. It was going to be a long night. I wandered over to the bookcase. I love books. Novels and the like are now all digital. My collection of antique volumes of maps and histories are things only read while wearing gloves. My collection of 'how to' books on the other hand are well thumbed aids to sleeping.


I annoy the hell out of Ellie when I'm reading. I have two speeds. There's my 'reading for pleasure' which is quick, about six hundred words a minute, and there's my reading for work and information which is blistering at around fifteen hundred a minute. What annoys Ellie is not so much the speed that I read at, but that I retain the information. With a good head of steam I will be reading one book and simultaneously pulling other volumes from shelves to check references and look for counter arguments. My brain is already skipping ahead. My 'how to' books are different. They contain numbers, fractional numbers and measurements.

My brain does not do numbers or measurements. I slow right down to a crawl, error messages flash then my brain just stops altogether. 'Three quarters of an inch' is immediately absorbed and understood but 3/4” will pose severe problems. The old adage of 'measure twice cut once' in my case is 'measure over and over and over again, cut several times still getting it wrong until it eventually fits'. If you notice, all around my shed are measuring tools. Rules, depth gauges, squares, calipers, angle gauges, manual gauges, digital gauges and most of all simple metal blocks in both imperial and metric dimensions upon which the measurement is inscribed in numbers but most importantly in words! I should add here that my life would be impossible if it was not for Ellie. She seamlessly slips in to help me with things like money etc. She will make sure I have enough before I get to the checkout and will have checked my change and the receipt, all without anyone noticing I can't do it for myself.

So given my limitations, what is my fascination with woodworking? Quite simply it's because I can't do it that pushes me to do it. I think Doug cottoned on quite quickly to my deficiency as he set me simple tasks that I realised much later all combined together as part of an operation much more complex. Either that or he thought 'I'm dealing with a right idiot here, I'd better talk slowly!”. I'm sure poor old Dave and Selsie were left scratching their heads wondering what kind of moron they were dealing with too when I was looking at RT's engine without a clue as to what bit did what and why. I will get there. I've been reading the BMC manual Vaughan gave me...I'm catching on, slowly, but I am catching on.

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A very busy day consisting of yet more shop, acrobatics, a trimmed hedge (notice my exact choice of words there) and a herpes carrier, but...'this shed is clean'!

I was up with the lark again this morning having lost the battle for the duvet. Toby had won by sitting in the exact centre of the bedding so there was no dragging the duvet over me without wrestling the damned dog. I was cold and so was Dylan who was camped with his head on my pillow, blowing in my earhole and giving me the evil eye. Both Dylan and I got up and had our morning coffee and milk leaving Toby to his slumbers.

The woods were once again full of folks this morning trolling about aimlessly. The old school sports field hasn't seen this much activity since the school shut down. I wonder what the lock down lollopers will think when the housing housing estate is built on it? The dogs walked, I had just started work when Ellie popped her head around the shed door.
“I'll get my car keys.”
“How do you know I want to go somewhere?”
“Where do you need to go?”

A store walk. Even though the store is closed, Ellie and the assistant manager have to waltz around the store regularly to make sure everything is secure. It's the assistant manager's birthday too so we drop her off a present and a card while we have the opportunity. Before lock down picking Ellie up from work always put a spring in my step because I'd be seeing my lovely other half, but my ego would also get a boost as a constant stream of attractive women, made up and dressed up to the nines always stop to talk, wave or blow kisses to me as they left work. I never realised how much I miss seeing the 'girls'....Ahem, anyway, back to the shed.

I tackled the drilling, boring and routing sections today. I'd had the sense to make smaller benches for all of my machinery and put them on castors on them so I can wheel them about inside the shed. So I dragged out the drilling table, the band saw, compound mitre saw, mortiser and the various smaller tools, accessories, bits and bobs I keep under the benches or in various boxes on the bench top. I swapped the location of the mitre saw and the band saw as I use the band saw much more and the mitre saw I use infrequently for bigger stock. I then swapped out the mortiser for the second pillar drill. The mortiser is a superb tool for big jobs but on smaller projects I much prefer to cut mortises by hand.

"Tim! Tim! TIM!"
Hedge cutting with Ellie. I don't wield the clippers. Oh no. My job is to hold the ladder and get showered with clippings while Ellie cuts the hedges her familial OCD shining through. Although I have to admit she is damned good at trimming hedges and cutting hair!

Onward to the drill bits. Here's where Grendel and I differ in our approach. He sharpens his drill bits to use again. I donate mine to a local workshop that provides employment to local handicapped people. They make pine furniture. It's also where all my broken electric tools go to. I spent about a year working there as one of their clients learning to operate a dovetail machine built in the 1800's to make drawers. Since the government stopped funding for such projects they have managed to soldier on under their own steam, although desperately short of funds and without as many places for the likes of me when I needed them. They do such outstanding work both with giving their clients a sense of worth and the products they make. Their furniture is sold in London's high end boutiques. One of my good friends Steve used to work alongside me and is not doing so well in the lock down. Steve has Downs Syndrome and is having a hard time understanding why he can't go to work. Other than work, Steve's life revolves around sport, particularly football, so he is having a harder time than most at the moment. So, I add my blunt and broken drill bits to the pile of broken tools and ring Bob from the workshop who will pick them up from the roadside later that afternoon.

20200424_153441 (1).jpg

Next it's my routers and router bits. After the table saw, the router is one of the tools I use the most. It's also the tool that I had the most difficulty getting used to and operating. Barry @Springsong was interested in how I get on with tools one handed and wrong handed? At first I thought 'small is better' or more manageable. In the case of the router this is correct. I started with big machines with half inch collets and bits and had real problems controlling them. I then bought the Makita trimmer router with all of the accessories like the plunge base, oblique base and added a wider platform to the bottom of it. This did the trick. Next I bought a motorised router table. This took up too much room in the shed and I was too nervous to use it, so I donated it to Doug who would get more use out of it. My old half inch router went down to the boat and I acquired another half inch router from Ellie's Dad. Strange thing, by making my own router table from a piece of three quarter ply clamped to my bench I got on much better!

Small is not better when it comes to other tools. The table saw for example. Here 'bigger is better' but I use lots of different jigs and sleds to get jobs done. A cross cut sled is essential as is a mitre sled. I also made a sled for cutting notches for splines and small pieces of timber. I also remove safety guards. It gives the health and safety elves nightmares but IT'S SAFER FOR ME as a disabled person. I need to see the saw blade to compensate my movement. I also invested in two 'GRRRIPPERS' at thirty quid each. These are push blocks to use with the table saw and router tables but are also finger guards to shroud the blades as your hand pass over them. Worth every penny.

Finally practise and the Timbo Waltz make things easier. The Timbo Waltz is me practising how my body will move holding the tool and the material before anything is ever turned on. I must look a right pillock as I swap hands, spin around, warm up my muscles and plan where body parts will be. When one hand doesn't work you tend to leave it loafing in the most inconvenient of places!

So, routers. I have router cutters in two sizes. Big half inch jobs, duplicates in quarter inch and then some specialized and delicates cutters specific to box making. I never sharpen or donate router cutters they are just thrown away. If I drop one, even if there is no visible damage, it gets thrown in the bin. I also save all of my offcuts of half and three quarter inch plywood. They are always useful for making jigs and router tables. They also make sanding bases for boxes to make sure they are square and level. One of these days I will buy a big flat ceramic floor tile and stick sandpaper to that but that's a job for another day.

The donated broken tools were picked up, old plastic and metal tool boxes were being put into the recycling bin when my neighbour collared me over the fence.
“Are you expecting a Herpes Carrier?”
“A what?”
“A Herpes Carrier?”
“Say it again slowly?”
“A Herpes Carrier, something from Doncaster?”
Sounds about right from Donny! Turns out the HERMES Carrier had tried to deliver my new drill-driver and will try to deliver it again tomorrow.

Finally the shed was clean. The dust extractor had been dragged out and Harry The Spider and all his pals had been evicted. Scrap wood had been temporarily stacked in a box and the odd corner before going back indoors onto the wood racks. The shed may be clear but the Big Firkle has not finished. There's the office to go through yet which contains yet more tools, art materials, drawings and box upon box of assorted weirdness that Uncle Albert collected over the years! I can also start on those projects. But for now, time for a beer!


Cutting, planing and hand tools area.

Under the bench are big routers, belt sanders, drills and the planer.

More hand tools on the back wall with the mortiser and dust extractor, band saw, pillar drills, thicknesser, Makita router system, nuts and bolts, pocket hole jigs and screws and the engraving vice.


Drill bits, fretsaw and hacksaw blades, big clamps, helping hands, speciality glues and pictures of RT.
Clamp rack (can't have too many clamps), wood glues, finishing, sanding, nail gun and router bits!

And the best bit of all...I can fetch the table saw inside and STILL have room to work or swing a cat if I get hold of the ginger nuisance!

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Oh yeah, acrobatics...I dropped my Zippo into the recycling wheelie bin. Bent in to retrieve it and ended up head down feet kicking in the air when I fell in!

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I'd firkled inside the shed, now I was firkling outside and on top of the shed. Ellie says I'm not allowed to call it a 'workshop' until I do some actual work in it! The BIG hedge needed cutting and as my shed backs right up to the hedge, someone has to climb on top of the shed to do the cutting. I decided to get ahead of the game and start without Ellie. I wish I hadn't!

You may think listening to Ellie that I have no idea how to cut a hedge. I learned to cut and lay a hedge, how to wield and sharpen the razor edges of a billing hook at the tender age of eleven by my grandfather. At twelve I would start on one leg of a field, he would start on the opposite and we would work around to meet each other by lunchtime. A proper ploughman's lunch of a lump of cheese, half a loaf and a whole raw onion washed down with a drink of cold black tea, as Granddad was a proper ploughman on my other Grandfather's farm.

The original 1920's housing estate where I live has a weird codicil on the deed of the houses. The hedgerows and trees have to remain intact. You cannot cut them down without special permission from the council. The hedge between Ellie and I is a haphazard affair. My original upstairs neighbour, that I christened Widow Twanky, did not know how to cut a hedge. You can see the previous properties in which she lived in the area as all the hedges are butchered in the same way. Ellie has a 'thing' about straight hedging. She would come out and cut all the hedges perfectly. Widow Twanky would wait until Ellie was out and then cut exactly half way into the hedge, six inches down and cut the side of the hedge back towards the middle. Consequently my side of the hedge is butchered, as is the top. The front hedges are all now of a uniform height and can be cut from standing. It's the back BIG hedges that are the problem. Ellie's garden is four feet lower than mine. All the garden's slope away from the house and there is a three to four feet drop over the length of the gardens. The bottom hedge is seven feet tall on my garden, twelve feet tall to the house below mine and Ellie's garden and can reach fourteen feet in places on Ellie's side.

So I climb on top of my shed and cut the hedge level. Ellie spots me doing this and the nag I mean discussion begins. She then comes round to my side of the hedge and takes control of the shears. I resume my place holding ladders and getting covered in clippings. Ellie re-cuts the bit I'd already cut to the same height and level...I mean there was no difference at all...continues down the rest of the hedge before losing patience and handing me the shears back to finish off the really tall bits right at the bottom of the garden. Still, the hedge was cut! Just the other two to do now, but on another day!

Our hedge cutting had produced material to make two 'journey sticks'. A journey stick is something that Ellie came up with for Gracie and Arlo and I think it is a brilliant idea. Stout walking sticks are made for the kids and when they go for a walk they collect bits and pieces along their way. A shiny stone here, a feather there, a weird shaped stick from somewhere else. These bits and pieces are then fastened to their journey sticks to decorate them and to tell the story of their travels. Gracie has a fair collection of journey sticks now and can tell you what each shell, feather, stone, skull and twig means, where she found it and what bird, animal or plant it originally came from. At two years old, Arlo is about to get his first journey stick. The two journey sticks I made from hedge clippings are elder.


The new drill-driver arrived! The young lady who is our 'friendly Hermes carrier' almost forgot me after delivering to my upstairs neighbour and Ellie, but she came and knocked on the shed door to bring me my parcel. I have to admit, for under thirty quid it seems a sturdy bit of kit. I popped the battery on to charge, weird way of plugging the charging unit into the battery rather than a docking station...there's another project...but the battery got it's first charge and the drill-driver seems to have plenty of umph and variable torque. It takes quite a bit of strength to click the control around to the 'drill' setting but it does eventually 'click' into place. The drill-driver came with a set of drill and screwdriver bits. This prompted a 'mini firkle'.


If I'm going to build bits boxes then I should really work out how many different bits, the total number of bobs and the dimensions of said bits and bobs before making the box to hold them. So I took down the storage bins from the wall and went through the contents, finding more hinges, knobs, locks, clamps for making jigs, screwdriver bits, screws, nails, dowels, splines, hex tools from random machinery and every possible and obscure doodah that dropped off that I couldn't identify as being useful but could be in my shed based endeavours. The bins were eventually sorted by the time the drill-driver battery had charged.


Clangs and bangs from behind my shed indicated that Ellie was dismantling the scrap metal, once a weight lifting bench belonging to the youngest lad, that had accumulated behind her dustbins. A call for aid in the form of spanners and socket wrenches and a tidy shed meant I was able to lay my hands on the relevant tools immediately. It also meant I realised two things. I only have one small set of spanners and my socket set only runs from 4 mm to 10 mm and I need to invest in spanners and sockets. The second thing I realised was how tools accumulated so quickly! Assistance given and I took my tools back to the shed along with all of the nuts bolts and washers to sort them out into the correct bins and boxes. I think I'm developing OCD.


By the end of the day everything that could have been sorted had been sorted. Looking at all the odds and ends of fittings I had to build a home for and the wood stock I had available, an idea was fomenting. But now it was time for a relaxing walk and a risotto and beer for dinner!

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Up early because I couldn't sleep after getting the news at 9 pm last night. I'm fuming! I'm seething! I'm furious, incandescent with rage at the news that Ellie's Dad had thieves in the night who broke into his sheds. Nothing taken, as far as we know,  but locks smashed off, drawers, cupboards, rifled through and his tools all stacked on a bench ready to be removed.

I was all ready to drive to Lincoln and sit in the shed waiting with a two by four, but as this would only agitate Ben Gunn we are instead heading immediately to Wilko's as soon as they open this morning to pick up new strong hasps and I have four unused extra strong padlocks sitting at home along with a big box of nuts and bolts. Hopefully the thieves will take their time returning, thinking lock down will not allow access to the shops for new stronger locks. We've ordered additional outside lighting on twenty-four hour delivery and I will be taking the alarm from my shed across to Lincoln. Don't worry I have two alarms on my shed and neighbours who watch my property like hawks in daylight. Besides which, at night any miscreant would have the top of their head level with the bottom of my bedroom window, a handy supply of timber under the bed and I learned my security measures roughing it on archaeological sites in war zones.

My main concern is that Ben Gunn lives out in the sticks, the garden is a couple of acres of various sheds and trees and it would take me half to three quarters of an hour to get to them by car. Although the police station is just five minutes from their house, I just don't want them feeling trapped by lock down with the additional worry of scumbags in their garden, on the rob after dark.

Normal service will resume once I've got things secured again. 

In the meantime, here's some music from Vaughan & Wussername backed by the Potter Heigham Naked Ladies Madrigal Society singing 'It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing!'.

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I once had my car broken into and the tools removed, i got all of them back apart from the angle grinder as they had been stashed behind a gravestone in the churchyard behind, when reported to the police they informed me that the thieves had used the angle grinder to cut the locks on sheds and garages for the next 2 miles along the road, everyones stuff had been taken out and piled on the end of their drives, ready to be picked up, they were obviously disturbed before they picked up. 

the part that annoyed me was they cut the back screen out of my estate car, and carefully laid the glass down in the grass, but they cut the rubbers on the screen, which were more difficult to find than a replacement screen would have been.

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12 hours ago, Timbo said:

Up early because I couldn't sleep after getting the news at 9 pm last night. I'm fuming! I'm seething! I'm furious, incandescent with rage at the news that Ellie's Dad had thieves in the night who broke into his sheds. Nothing taken, as far as we know,  but locks smashed off, drawers, cupboards, rifled through and his tools all stacked on a bench ready to be removed.

I was all ready to drive to Lincoln and sit in the shed waiting with a two by four, but as this would only agitate Ben Gunn we are instead heading immediately to Wilko's as soon as they open this morning to pick up new strong hasps and I have four unused extra strong padlocks sitting at home along with a big box of nuts and bolts. Hopefully the thieves will take their time returning, thinking lock down will not allow access to the shops for new stronger locks. We've ordered additional outside lighting on twenty-four hour delivery and I will be taking the alarm from my shed across to Lincoln. Don't worry I have two alarms on my shed and neighbours who watch my property like hawks in daylight. Besides which, at night any miscreant would have the top of their head level with the bottom of my bedroom window, a handy supply of timber under the bed and I learned my security measures roughing it on archaeological sites in war zones.

My main concern is that Ben Gunn lives out in the sticks, the garden is a couple of acres of various sheds and trees and it would take me half to three quarters of an hour to get to them by car. Although the police station is just five minutes from their house, I just don't want them feeling trapped by lock down with the additional worry of scumbags in their garden, on the rob after dark.

Normal service will resume once I've got things secured again. 

In the meantime, here's some music from Vaughan & Wussername backed by the Potter Heigham Naked Ladies Madrigal Society singing 'It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing!'.

Hi Tim, 

Buy or use some coach bolts that more than likely you may have through the hinges and hasps for extra security. I had to do this on my shed on both sets of doors with some decent padlocks three on each set of doors. I have three bulkhead lights with low energy  dawn till dusk lights (6 watts each). 

Jobs like these are a pain, cost money and time, just because some scumbag who has never worked acts like a vulture.

You have my sympathy.



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+1 for the coach bolts heads outside - nothing to grab onto. thats what my dad used after his shed was broken into, they came back too 3 years later, and again 3 years after that, though they didnt get in to his shed those subsequent visits, he figured that they reckoned that they gave the owners enough time to replace all of the stuff stolen then had that new stuff away

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It appears I forgot to post so...like busses here's two together!


It was fantastic to see Watson today as we all headed to Ben Gunn's to assess the damage. Nothing stolen that we can see, but the workshop and the brick built apple store had been pried open and all of the cupboards rifled through. Tools and bicycles had been uncovered and those tools still in their carry cases stacked on a bench. I thought it interesting the locks that they targeted were only the traditional hasp and padlock. The shed and double garage that have hidden locking mechanisms or just the old traditional keyhole were left alone. My pet theory is that while scouts went ahead to do the breaking someone was trailing behind with a vehicle to do the taking. I think they were either disturbed or more likely thought the access to pick the gear up was too close to the houses on both entries into the property. As Alan says, I think the scumbag vultures will be coming back pretty soon.

So after a confab with Watson we've decided to beef up security all around the property including access to the house itself. We've ordered some steel plate that we are going to sandwich both sides of the shed doors, before adding proper shrouded hasps with coach bolts going through the metal plates. They will have a harder time getting the hasps to part from the fixings. We are also going to upgrade other locks around the property.

We are putting up 360 degree cameras connected to an alarm system that will alert Watson and I of any disturbance, show us video and record footage. We are also adding outside lighting with motion sensors to all of the outside buildings and to cover all access points to the house.

We've also moved Ben Gunn's workshop from his 45' x 15' shed to his double garage. As you can imagine, this is not doing my 'shed envy' any good! Still, I had to chuckle when everyone was considering tools required for the jobs in hand they all looked at me.

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A spot of 'light shed' yesterday. I had an early/late morning. The kind of morning where you wake up full of beans, do a couple of hours work and realise it's still only five thirty. You suddenly feel really tired and think 'I'll just pop back to bed and top up for a couple of hours!'. The next thing you know its ten thirty and you feel like utter garbage. Still, I eventually got my backside in gear and set off to walk the hounds.

I've tentatively started on the first project and it is going to be the storage box for all the hinges, locks, knobs, drawer pulls and other assorted box furniture. Much of the content for the box was made in China and has an oriental design on many of the pieces, so I decided I should make an oriental box. Besides which, I need to get my hand back in and making a box of drawers held together just through the hand cut joints alone an no glue, appeals as a challenge.


First things first, the design. I love the artistry of the Japanese woodworker. Each intricate and delicate joint is a marvel. Japanese woodworking tools make obvious sense to me especially working one handed. A pull saw is way more effective than a push saw, the same goes for the Japanese planes. Although they are expensive and a quick Google search on the subject brings a lot of references to Pearl Harbour. A surprise attack three years into a world war is not much of a surprise really! There are a few American and Canadian proponents of Japanese techniques that produce videos but they all get on my nerves. There's no doubt they produce some seriously beautiful pieces but they are also seriously and obviously complete pillocks. But YouTube is international and there are plenty of Japanese videos of genuine master woodworkers, who feel no need to practise crap kung-fu before they pick up a hammer, to give me a few ideas.

I decide I really like the shape of one particular box of drawers and watch a video of an old Japanese guy making it. His workshop seems to be a rug on the floor with a 2' x 1' piece of plywood as a bench. Then using hand tools, and on one occasion I swear he held something with his toes, he builds the project. One particular joint was incredibly simple BUT I would have a hell of time reproducing it one handed even with my Makita routing system. I'm going to have to make a routing table! I had bought a motorised one before but I had no room for it and to be honest I was lethal using it through lack of experience and ability and in one case agility. But I'm fairly sure with the resources I now have and a bit more experience I will be able to come up with something more suited to me.

There are certain tools I am lucky to have in numbers. Routers are one of them. I originally bought a cheap Titan half-inch model from Screwfix. This has done some sterling service and suffered some serious abuse in the boat shed. Many of it's fixtures and gauges are missing and the cutter currently chucked into it will need some heat and more strength than I have to remove it. The big router was also difficult for me to guide one handed. So I bought my Makita trimmer router system. A smaller, on the surface, more basic quarter-inch router but it comes with a host of accessories and three difference bases. There is the standard base, the plunge router base and a nifty base for cutting at an oblique angle. To this system I've added a universal bottom plate and guiders which have made routing enjoyable. I also have another half-inch router donated to me by Ellie's dad Ben Gunn.


Now this machine has only ever been used to cut two 'slots' in a bed frame according to Ben Gunn. Opening up the case there are detailed, hand written instructions and notes from Ben. It appears the half-inch collet does not work, with a note reading 'DO NOT USE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE'. He bought a 'bit' for the router which flies apparently flies out of the collet. In the bottom of the case I find a slot cutting bit with a three-eighths shank along with a receipt from a reputable specialist tool shop for a half-inch slot spiral slot cutter. The part number on the receipt and the three-eighths slot cutter match. Aha! I swap the quarter-inch collet for the half-inch collet and chuck in one of my half-inch cutters. It fits snug and tight.

Now then, we are getting somewhere. I just have to test to see if the cutter stays in the collet or flies out and kills me, mortally, fatally, deaded even!

While I test this, here is the Psychic Surveyor with this weeks episode of the award winning ghost hunting situation comedy 'Honest I'm A Medium Madam'. This week the Psychic Surveyor tackles the spirit of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer in 'The Return of the Phantom Dennis'!

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Tim, another favorite shed entry point is the windows, one time they will break in through the locks, the owner upgrades the locks, so they go in through the windows, the owner then puts bars on the windows so next time they bring a saw and create a new door in the wall or roof

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3 hours ago, Timbo said:

While I test this, here is the Psychic Surveyor with this weeks episode of the award winning ghost hunting situation comedy 'Honest I'm A Medium Madam'

This is not true, i am definitely an Extra Large, not a Medium :default_rofl:

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Tim, another favourite shed entry point is the windows, one time they will break in through the locks, the owner upgrades the locks, so they go in through the windows, the owner then puts bars on the windows so next time they bring a saw and create a new door in the wall or roof

Well, you are full of joy, glee and optimism are you not?

The scumbags may well do that but it is harder, noisier and takes longer for them to get in, not to mention getting out again carrying stuff.  Besides, motion lights and cameras are a great deterrent.  I've got them at ours and taken measures for the pedestrian / main garage doors.  So far so good


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