Every nook and cranny

When you live in a small semi-detached house, space is a premium. I love watching those shows about “tiny” houses. The reality is we live in a small house, if not tiny.

To make a small house work requires two things. Regular purging of things that aren’t needed, and innovative storage. Innovative storage means turning every nook and cranny into storage space… inside and outside. Inside we have turned the attic into 120ft² of storage for seasonal shoes, coats, luggage, and Xmas things. Outside we have turned the area under the front porch into an 80 ft² “secondary shed”, for storing lesser used items. The closet doors in two of the bedrooms have been turned into door bookcases.


One of the more interesting things I have built is a bookshelf under the base of the upper stairs, accessed from the basement stairs. From the top of the stairs it looks like a framed picture, but it provides a well-positioned cookbook shelf, with a 20″ deep cavity.


Review: The Lost Carving

For my birthday, my wife bought me a book called “The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making“, written by David Esterly. Esterly may arguably be one of the most talented carvers of our age. This book details his experience replacing a seven foot-long Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721) carving destroyed during the fire at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace in 1986. I didn’t really know what to expect from this book – was it going to be one long epitome of the process involved in carving this piece of work? Would I actually read past the first few pages? Well, it is an exceptionally well written book, which offers an insight into the creativity and physical effort required to replicate a work of art over three centuries old. What I immensely enjoyed were the investigative pieces scattered  throughout the book – for example the quest to find out when lime was applied to the pieces. Esterly offers a perspective of a different sort of carving, as most of his work involves limewood (basswood or linden), an ideal wood for carving due to the lack of grain. An excellent read.



A screwdriver for saws

A couple of weeks back I bought a saw screwdriver from Lee Valley. Made by Grace USA, this screwdriver is made to fit slotted saw screws.


The handle is made of unfinished hardwood, in a classic style with a square profile with rounded corners. This prevents it rolling off the bench. The driver has a 0.35″ wide tip, which has been ground to a parallel consistency of 0.032″ thick.


The parallel tip prevents damage which might normally occur due to tapered tips, which fit poorly, and also reduces the screwdriver from slipping and marring the handle of the saw. Here is an example of using the screwdriver in one of the saws I one day hope to restore.