Sustainable cuisine


A few months ago we bought a holiday house in Groot Brak Rivier and I decided to build a sun oven to use while sitting in the sun with a beer. In the pictures below you can see how I bent and riveted aluminum to create the business end of the oven. The idea is to reflect all the sun rays on to a black casserole type dish to create a truly eco-friendly slow cooker.








Before building the base I tested the contraption my cooking a curry amongst the herbs and chillies in our herb garden. Even this red le Creuset casserole absorbed enough energy to cook a beautiful Madras.


I then built a base for it from bits of scrap plywood.


In the pictures below you can see it in action at our beach house. The oven is closed with a sheet of glass or transparent perspex to limit air movement.



Over this past December (2013) holiday, I cooked a leg of lam from scratch in it.

Chisel storage


On Saturday I briefly interrupted my bench-building-activities in order to ensure that my precious new Lie-Nielsen bevel-edge chisels receive a warm welcome and safe haven right from the start of our (hopefully) long and prosperous relationship. I ordered these chisels back in November 2013, but the tool works at Lie-Nielsen were out of stock and in the process of crafting new ones. As far as what I can gather they had a few hiccups in this process, which meant that the chisels only arrived on 10/3/2014. The guys and gals at Lie-Nielsen leave no stone unturned when it comes to their commitment to ensure the absolute highest quality, which was again quite obvious when I unpacked these heirlooms.


An example of the attention to detail is how the backs of these chisels have been perfectly flattened by hand honing. This means that you have the absolute minimum preparation honing to do before you go mental with it on a piece of timber.


Just look at these stunning Hornbeam handles. I plan to turn my own longer handles for when I am using the chisels for paring.


Here you can see how I very quickly built a rudimentary chisel dwelling from a piece of scrap Swarthout. Swarthout (Acacia melanoxylon and known as Australian Blackwood, Sally Wattle or Tasmanian Blackwood) originates from Australia (surprisingly) as a species, but this particular piece is South African by birth as it spent many years enjoying the tranquility of the rain forests of the Garden Route.


I decided that the quickest way to keep the chisels sitting stable and upright (as the three smallest chisels are top heavy and therefore tends to attempt acrobatics in it’s dwelling) was to whack dowels through the living room.


Together with the dowels, a small notch on the inside of the side walls where each chisel’s socket rests, does a great job of keeping each chisel proud and upright.



At this stage I left the dwelling as is, but might add a base once my bench is finished, because it might be useful to grab the who set and stick it on the bench next to you while doing dovetails or mortises. For now it will be supported by two storage containers on either side of it in my tool rack.