This project is really not much to write home about, but the reason why it is significant to me is that it is the first that my son and I worked on together. He seemed to enjoy it and managed to stay interested and focused on the task for quite a few hours at a time. What surprised me was how much it sped up the progress as I have been working all by myself for so many years now. What would have taken me a whole day were polished off in an afternoon.
Anyway, back to the actual project. I wanted to build two monster trays to house the firewood at our beach house. It used to be a constant pain in the butt, having to crawl underneath the braai to grab more wood for the fire. I used two sheets of plywood and recycled Meranti for 90% of the project.
This is what the Meranti looked like before we got stuck into it. There is an interesting story around this Meranti, which is one of the reason why I chose to use it for this project. A good friend of mine works as a contrator in the building industry here in Windhoek. He was doing some work for a government department renovating/refurbishing a house just around the corner from us. According to the officials the house was being renovated to act as an official abode to the Father of the Nation himself, during times he decides to spend time in the capital. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Namibian Politics, I am referring to Sam Nujoma.
Seeing that it was a fairly comprehensive refurbishment, all the old fixed cabinetry were removed. The Meranti used to serve as the framework of some of the original built in cupboards. The house was probably built some time during the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, which means that it is pretty stable by now and is quite clearly of a much higher quality than what we can buy around here these days.
As you can see it was painted, which I removed by planing it after all the screws etc were removed.
My Lie-Nielsen twin screw vise came in very handy while cutting a few wide (or possibly ‘lazy’) finger joints.
Here we are doing the first assembly.
One thing that is now well and truly part of my essential woodworking paraphernalia is this Tomato paste tin. I always keep some oil in there to dip wood screws in before driving (cleverly avoiding the alternative way of expression which would not be acceptable on a ‘family website’ like this) them home with a Yankee ratcheting screwdriver. It makes a world of a difference as a result of the lubricating qualities (treading on thin ice here) and probably has some beneficial effect in preventing corrosion.
The wife (you see, it really is a ‘family site’) chipped in by helping to apply a layer or two of Woodock.
The boat acted as our trailer on the 1860 km journey south. The parts were packed after it received two layers of finish.
Once at our destination, Didi and I reassembled the trays and rolled then into position underneath the fireplace.
I hope this is the first of many projects I have the privilege to work on with the kids.