Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Home Sweet Home 2

OK its not finished but at least we can now use the kitchen. The things we have working now are: Toilet, shower, hot water, range cooker, kitchen sink, washing machine, fridge and freezer. Is there anything else?

The laundry....LE GRAND LUX

That's the bench our good friends Mark and Julie gave us, covered in duvet and a throw.

My stud wall between the kitchen and the laundry / bathroom

The table in action
The shed on a very cold -8 deg foggy morn

And I've made myself a new work bench. Today I installed the bench in the shed,  just need a desk lamp and I am up and running.

We do take the internet for granted now, but it is amazing! Yesterday Julia sold a piece of jewellery to a guy in Australia! 10 years ago the prospect of living and working in deepest darkest Normandy and (hopefully in time) making a living selling jewellery all over the world would have been inconceivable. Now whilst not quite a reality it is at least in reach! God bless the internet.

Oh and one last thing, I really love my ESSE IRONHEART! It cooks brilliantly, warms the whole house and looks great. If you have space for one, buy one, trust me you won't regret it

Monday, 15 November 2010

Finished Table

So here is my latest creation. Its taken about a week but its finished and marks a bit of a landmark. One of the things I was really looking forward to was being able to spend time with my lovely family sat around our big table, and now we have it. This and the esse will be the centre of our house as oppose to the television (no still don't have one). Size wise its about 7ft in old money, big enough for the odd dinner party. Ho here it is: Enjoy. As its taken quite a bit of work I'm likely to get a bit spoddy later on in the post but for those who prefer the their bloggs a little lighter you can look at the pictures and then quit here!

There are a handy 3 drawers to store the cutlery.

As and aid memoire here a liitle about the construction. Two of the legs are cut from the old roof timbers while two are bits left over from putting in the first floor. The drawer fronts are made from one piece of oak donated buy Julia's dad a few years ago. I think it was an off cut from a staircase he was making that was destined for the fire. The grain was (is) beautiful but as a short piece difficult to know what to do with. Well I think this is the perfect use on the piece. The drawer bottoms are from an old shop fitting that we were given when some friends moved to New Zealand. The drawer sides are from some oak my dad had lying around. So all in all quite a lot is reclaimed. The new wood cost around 50 euro from the saw mill down the road and has been drying in the loft for about a year. Screws, sandpaper, stain and was cost around 70 euro. So for 120 euro i think its not a bad effort, though I say so myself!

The design is clearly English rather than French but hey the stove's English too and I guess so am I. It started out as a rustic farmhouse table but as I found its remarkably difficult to make something very rustic if at heart your a little bit of a perfectionist. The dovetails in the draws are an example: When you cut a dovetail your natural tendency is to cut the best dovetail you can. The problem is if you do a good job they look like they are machine made! If you make a nice table top it's very difficult to then go back and "distress" all your good work. The result is that the table is not so much "rustic farmhouse" so much as "baronial hall". Ho hum!

For those who care (probably no one but me) all the screws used underneath to fix the top etc. are all old style slotted wood screws ( I hate to see cross head screws used in any furniture even when they are under the table and hidden.). The best bit of the table is of course secret but since my wife has already mentioned it once on her blog there's no harm done mentioning it here as well. As to the details I can't say here. If I invite you round for dinner then I may show you (maybe). Finally here are a few pictures of the construction.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Well I've been making a table for the house. The legs are reclaimed oak from the old roof and the rest is wood that has been drying for the last year or so. Of note; the reeding and stopped chamfers are all either scraped or cut by hand. Dovetails for the drawers (again hand cut). You don't really get a sense of the scale in the unfinished state but I'll post more pictures at we progress!

Note the old rope trick in place of clamps!

Cheap set of straps from the supermarket. I've used them for everything from strapping stuff to the trailer to impromptu clamps.

Here's Kitty. Arrived one day and now won't go away. As Metallica put it: "just like the curse, just like the stray. You feed it once and now it stays. Now it stays...."