Work bench and Jigging table

So, I’ve decided to build a new work bench. The most over-engineered,  biggest, strongest most man like table ever built.

My last bench has been good to me but its 10 years old now and feeling a bit used, abused and outdated. I have been looking around surfing the web and there is some great gear out there but the bench I want is over $15,000 to buy,  which I cannot justify.

So, this is why I’m going to have a crack and build my own.

IMG_5361To start off, I have purchased and just received a new steel plate for the bench top. Its 3m long by 1.5m wide and 19mm thick. Weighing in just over 600kg.

IMG_5463Here we are marking out the layout for the 1,000,000 holes we are about to drill.

IMG_5464We have marked a 50 x 50mm grid measured absolutely square and are drilling a 100 x 100 pattern with every centre of the 4 holes drilled also.

IMG_5465Setting up to drill.

IMG_5513She’s looking good but taking a long time. At least 5 minutes per hole.

To be continued….


 

Hi again!.  Fast track almost a year forward.  sorry for the lack of posts, but work, life and other projects got in the way. Since the purchase of the new steel bench top I have just put it on the old bench with a few gluts and have been using it like that ever since.

Throughout that time i have still been drilling holes. Slowly but surely it will get done but so far managing as it is.

2016-05-12 15.41.55_resultHere it is at present, almost fully drilled. Saying that its taken longer to get the mill scale off the steel than drilling the holes.

2016-04-28 14.31.16_resultIn the mean time, i have been building a few tool holder plates with matching hole pattern. Here you can see my three vices. The ability to mount them anywhere on the table excites me with endless possibilities and positions to mount them anywhere on the table.

2016-05-06 11.58.52_resultAnother quick little side project, inspired from the vises is this adjustable stand.  I’ve actually made 3 of them. This will be used for when building long or odd shape projects on the table and with these stands i can support the job and use the clamps, or bolt down a vise, whatever. love the possibilities..

2016-05-19 11.51.47_resultAnother devise made to hold my barrel grinder. Previously i would of had to clamp it in the vise.

2016-06-30 12.12.29_resultAlright, enough stuffing around. Its been too long. Time to make the sturdy table base. Ironically I’m using the table to make the table on the old table. The frame im using 100 x 100 x 6 Steel SHS this thing is going to weigh a tonne. Ive left the ends of the frame open on purpose. In the near future ive got a few ideas in my head for a telescopic section of some sort. Dunno yet..

2016-06-30 13.13.41_resultAlmost finished and ready to flip onto its wheels.

2016-06-30 13.40.11_resultThe big day has come, to flip the table base over and lift the top off the old table.

2016-07-01 16.45.05_resultOne last pic of my old table. She’s been good to me, around 12 years of service. Sold it to a mate.

 

 

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Beer Keg Roasting Oven

Cooking a good roast is probably my favourite meal to cook. There are a million ways to do it, like in the kitchen on gas/electricity to out in the bush in a camp oven over a fire.  Stainless beer kegs have long been known to be the platform for many cooking devices and contraptions,  there is something very Australian about it and is right up my alley.  I have made plenty of things from kegs and this is one of them.

I hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to subscribe by pressing the follow button at the bottom right of this page!

P1010966There she is, doesn’t look like much from the outside.

P1010969The inside mechanics. Notice the sliding vents top and bottom used for controlling fresh air flow and heat retention.

P1010993 P1010992Another shot of the vents.

P1010973First, place the the perforated base in.  Obviously removable for easy cleaning.

P1010974Then add the optional fat trap. This is also used for indirect heat cooking which I will explain later.P1010976P1010978Here’s a shot with the grill inserted.  She’s a beauty. Every part custom made from stainless steel.

P1010987 P1010989Now the coal. In these two photo’s I am using the fat catcher, great for keeping the juices for making gravy aka ‘the jus’ haha.  For cleaning purposes I have found it easier to wrap it in foil before use.

P1010990 P1010991Or depending on what you’re cooking, leave it out.

P1010985Oh, thought id mention this beautiful handle for easy carrying. Special thanks to Mark for modelling this shoot. ta.

P1010996Ok, so she’s ready to light. How does one light the coals without any fuss? With the custom coal lighter of course! Just place 9 Jiffy lighters on something non-flammable,  fill the coal lighter with coal and place over the lit Jiffy lighters.

P1010997 P1010998 P1010999Give it about 2 beers and the coal will be ready.

P1020003The rosy coal ready and waiting – in a small, safe,  carry-able container to pour into the keg oven.

P1020007Mix with a few cold coals to add to the cooking time.

P1020009Today I’m cooking a juicy pork butterfly leg.  Now just close the lid.

P1020015 P10200141.5 hrs later and its ready to eat.  yum. There’s no limit to what you can cook in this keg. Pizza, bread, fish, veggies, meat whatever.

The beauty of this invention is the added function of being able to control the heat through the vents. The bottom on controls the air flow to the coals and the top vent controls the rate to which the heat escapes.


UPDATE!!!!

This blog post was picked up by an editor named Ildar Sadykov working for a Russian DIY magazine in Moscow called CAM – A DIY mag for home handyman and the like,  to which he asked if it could be featured in is next issue, needless to say I said yes.

A top bloke he is, even sent me a copy!! Many thanks Ildar. Ill pop over for a beer one day and bring it with me and we can cook up some shashlyik . 🙂

Have a read guys! just use your smartphone and the google translate app and hover the camera over the text for instant conversion to English.

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Recycled Pallet Picnic Table

Recycling hardwood pallets I get from work is a easy, free resource of perfectly good wood.  In this post I will be making a beautiful, rustic 10 seater picnic table from otherwise would be used for firewood.  One mans junk is another mans treasure so this project will be a cheap one to build.

I hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to subscribe by pressing the follow button at the bottom right of this page!

photoIMG_4248Here’s a shot of the pallets I get from work.

IMG_4249After breaking them apart with a sledge hammer and crow bar, your left with this.

IMG_4264A pop up marque from bunnings and a few hours of sanding later…

IMG_4263Here’s a shot of the before and after sanding.

IMG_3908After a bit of head-scratching on size and design etc I have layed out the table top with the best bits of timber in a colour pattern i liked.

IMG_3907 IMG_3911 IMG_3912Now to add some legs

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From here I never got any more photo’s of the build,  only the finished job. But from here on in you get the idea what happens next. A few more planks for the chairs, a few coats of decking oil and its done!

 

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Hardwood Sleeper Dining Table

With my love for restoring old hardwood timber, I decided to build a dining table / bench seat arrangement for home. This would soon be one of those pieces of furniture you keep for life. The thought of where these sleepers had come from in their past life, being out in the weather with years of punishing abuse from trains, and how with a bit of TLC they would soon be brought to life again.

I hope you enjoy the read and don’t forget to subscribe by pressing the follow button at the bottom right of this page!

P1010957So, this is what i have bought-10 used sleepers. Half Ironbark and half something else. Straight up, I had them sent to a huge sawmill to be split down the middle. There’s no way i could have done this myself without a lot of effort.

IMG_2402After taking off the outer skin and docking them to length this is what i had to work with. As you can see in the background, the off-cuts i would use for a matching coffee table.

IMG_2404 IMG_2405After choosing my pieces and arranging the way they sat with the old bolt holes etc now for the gluing.

IMG_2414 IMG_2416Here we are gluing the pieces together.

Table with top offNext was the frame design. I had designed the legs for easy removal with a wider footprint for good balance.

Table TopNext was to design where to rout out the underside of the top for the frame to nest into. This was probably not necessary but I did it anyway.

IMG_2495Here is the table top with the groove cut into it for the stainless steel frame.

P1020286The frame and legs assembled.

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IMG_2485 IMG_2486The table finally sanded flat, all bolt holes have been filled with resin.

IMG_2489I put a bit of an angle on the bench seats so its not so uncomfortable to sit on.

IMG_2493 IMG_2494 IMG_2490Then the timber was oiled with tongue oil.

P1020300 The bases for the chairs ready to go on.

IMG_2580The finished table.

Sorry no recent photo has been taken with the table lately. To date the table has has brought us many good times with good company. Solid as a rock and something i will keep forever.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Hardwood Sleeper Coffee Table with Polished Concrete Top

Coffee tables are fun projects to build. They aren’t very big, easy to manage alone, fairly cheap to build and a good platform for your imagination.

This time I have decided to go for that industrial look with big heavy hardwood railway sleepers and a custom made polished concrete top with a wrought iron edge.

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IMG_4507On the outside these sleepers look old and shitty but under the skin lies perfectly good flawless hardwood.

IMG_4523The table is held together with a stainless steel square tube frame I TIG welded together. As you can see the sleepers are back screwed to hide the fixings.

IMG_4506After cutting them to length, I arranged the sleepers in a way that shows off the beautiful ageing and patina they have. The packers are there while I screw them from the back. The finished look will be one of them floating.

IMG_4511IMG_4512After a quick scrub it was time to oil the sleepers.

IMG_4723Next was the concrete top. Well after some trial and error i have decided against concrete all together and am now going to use structural non-shrink grout. It is a shitload harder and finer. There will be no sand in it so the finish will come out more like highly polished concrete or that of polished stone. The difference the way i will be pouring this slab is i am doing it upside down. As in once its dry, the bottom molded side will be the top. In this picture the mold i have made from 18mm MDF whiteboard. The stuff your kitchen cupboards are made of. Its only temporary as long as its smooth. Remember, the inside size of the mold will be the outside of the shape you want. The depth of the mold will be the finished height of the slab.

IMG_4727 IMG_4725 IMG_4726Siv, mix and pour. If you are using non-shrink grout, mix it up pretty runny for a better finish. The water will just dry out of it anyway.

IMG_4731Once you have filled the mold, why its still wet, use a straight edge to screed off the excess giving you the desired thickness.

IMG_4734Done. Pour a slab, drink a slab.

photo 1There’s the dry slab, ready to break out of the mold.

photo 2Here is the sheet of 18mm form ply I will be using as a sub-straight under the slab. this will stop any distortion causing the slab to crack. Notice I am using a product called Hexa Birch ply. Expensive shit but it has that hexagon pattern which will help bond the two surfaces.

photo 3On goes the glue. I’m using sikaflex Pro 11fc.

photo 4This is me coating the cement top with a non porous protective film sealer. Its called siloxane. Bloody expensive shit. Was around $60P/L  from memory.

photo 5This is the finished top with the sealer dried. Notice how the water now beads off and the cement remains dry! This will be great later on for things like red wine or food spillages.

 

photo 4Now for the table edge/perimeter. Im going to use this 50x50x8 Steel angle. The idea is for the table top to sit inside the angle protecting the edge from hits.

photo 2The steel angle frame i whipped up, to support and protect the edge of the cement top.

IMG_4895Ok, the steel frame has since been powder coated clear (to stop it rusting and also so it feels smooth and you cant get dirty fingers by touching it.) As you can see, i had to route out the bottom of the form ply by 2mm so the top edge of the steel is flush with the top of cement top. A small miscalculation, easily fixed.IMG_4894

IMG_4897The final touches. Here i am packing out the gaps around the edge evenly, then caulk the gap with black sikaflex.

IMG_4916The finished job. !

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Camper Trailer

From the passion of camping and being outdoors it was time i built myself a camper trailer. The concept was to basically have a 4wd style trailer, big wheels, lots of clearance and have everything on it imaginable. The thought of just being able to hitch it on and know straight up you’ve packed everything. No need to fumble around packing this and that, just get it and go. And when you have arrived at your camping spot, everything is accessible easily and quick- beds already made, kitchen already set up. no unpacking or setting up tents etc.  Here is my story.

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Canopy FrameWhat originally  was the canopy and tray off my 4wd ute, I was contemplating building a longer tray so thought about making this tray into a trailer..

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IMG_0968And like that, the tray was off.  Now for the fun part…

IMG_1096 IMG_1101First the chassis was built, all suspension and wheels fitted.  After these shots, i decided to change the hubs to electric drums.

IMG_1115 IMG_1114Completed chassis with draw bar done, so are the tray mounts.

IMG_1174A few coats of paint and the tray is fitted.

IMG_1241All new Alco 4wd hitch, heavy duty jockey wheel, handbrake set up and the wiring loom.

IMG_1250IMG_1251Next to build was the two stainless steel tanks. One a 160 liter water tank and a 180L diesel tank. All made from 316 stainless fully TIG welded. I make these sort of things at work all the time so no guess work here.

P1040153The finished tanks.  Ready for install.

IMG_1289The tanks fitted. Note the rear tank is angled for a good exit angle when 4wding. After this shot the rubber strips were inserted between the stainless steel hangers.

IMG_1553 Here we have the aluminium removable false floor, It was made to store 6 of these huge storage containers and still be able to sleep up top.

IMG_1618 IMG_1434Next was the custom box made with duel fridge slides. One side was for a food fridge, the other beer. The top box was a toolbox i had lying around. It worked well as the shape would be good for the wind deflection and this was now going to be the home for the duel batteries.

IMG_2580The duel 12v 75AH sealed gel batteries & switch panel. This is wired to the plug at the hitch. My battery management in my 4wd will register when i plug in the trailer and charge these when we are on the road. I was going to add solar to this project but never got around to it.

IMG_2481Next was the kitchen. I knew what i wanted before i started so this one went pretty smooth. We make boxes and all sorts at work so basically like a toolbox with fold down front. All made from 3mm alloy tread plate with weather & dust seals.

IMG_2581The kitchen finished and installed onto the draw bar.  The taps there are hot (from the gas hot water heater) cold in the middle and the third is to fill the water tank.

IMG_2591The draw finished in the kitchen. There is enough plates bowls pots pans etc for 2 people comfortably.

IMG_2582Next is the gas hot water heater. Running off a 9kg bbq gas bottle this pumps out piping hot water on demand. The stone guard also serves purpose to hold the shower hose and give a little privacy/wind protection.

IMG_2583The water heater cover/stone guard closed.

P1040337The water pump and filter hidden away safely with good access if needed.  All plumbing is done using BSP pipe threaded fittings and Auspex pipe. No hose clamps here!

P1040338Here is the diesel high-flow transfer pump and bowser. works a treat.

P1040342The switch panel which hides and protects the two batteries.

P1040341My dog Jake sitting on the false floor.

P1040310The trundle tray which holds all tent poles, ropes, pegs, awning canvas, hammock and the like..

Now the finished photos!P1040333 P1040327 P1040325 P1040320 P1040318 P1040314 P1040309 P1040299

After this project was finished we drove from Sydney to Byron Bay via Coonabarrabran/Narrabri , mostly dirt roads for our end of year holiday. The trailer didn’t miss a beat and did everything and much more. Oh, besides a flat tyre. Ill add a few pics of our trip below.

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I hope you enjoyed the read. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below and ill try and reply asap. Cheers.

 

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Engine Bay Pie Warmer

I have always wanted to try this theory of using your car engines heat to cook or warm food.  Recently i did a body-lift on my 4wd and as the engine is bolted to the chassis, the engine basically has dropped in my engine bay. After removing the plastic cover off the engine (which served no purpose) i had plenty of room and mounting points to bring this project to fruition.

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Cardboard templateFirst i made a cardboard template to a size i thought fit best.

Cardboard template flatAfter some slight changes a more accurate one was made.

Sheet metal patternThen a stainless steel pattern was made off the cardboard one.

Folded trayAfter folding.

The lid on.Then the lid was made, and all corners TIG welded.

Copper heat exchangerAfter adding mounting spacers, and holes the copper heat exchanger was born. This will be used to carry hot water from the engines heater pipes and radiate through the base of the pie warmer.

Bottom coverThen a stainless steel cover plate was fitted to hold the heat exchanger tight against the base. This would also absorb more heat.

Fitting the pie warmerThen the completed unit was fitted into the engine bay and tested.

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IMG_3726After a bit of playing around i added a filling point. This serves to fill the heat exchanger and coolant system from the vehicle and also, as it is above the radiator now, the highest point which also is used to release any air pockets in the system.

To date this unit works great. Not as hot as i first expected, i think its because my car is a fairly modern diesel engine and they run pretty efficiently not producing much heat to start with. (its a 2.5L Turbo Diesel Nissan Navara D40) The pie warmer runs at about 45C after about 30mins of driving.  Funnily enough when i turn the engine off the temp gets up to about 55C. Many times working on site we have put our lunch in there being leftovers from the night before for example and it perfect!

Thanks for reading!

 

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