Shoe Store - Fitted furniture

A really unique project to build in a shoe store with minimal depth in a cool contemporary home.

A long white box with totally bespoke 'train' sliding doors that slide in line and pull back as one door unit.  I have never seen anything quite like this, so one of a kind that I had to build my own latches.

The shoes hang up on Oak pegs, larger boots can sit end to end on the bottom.

Open the long door anywhere along its length to access the shoes.

Cool!

Cool!

Cool projects like this are only possible with great clients.

Extreme joinery!

Some little projects come along that require some extreme joinery...

...a client unfortunately had a frame from a mid century archair with a split leg.

To repair or not...it would be such a shame to see the chair thrown away just for wanting a repair.

Turning a new spindle leg was straight forward, though some bubble accuracy and wedges was required...

Bubble accuracy joinery morticing

Bubble accuracy joinery morticing

...to make sure the mortice would be spot on for the leg to fit back as it always belonged.

Chair ready for repair

Chair ready for repair

Super satisfying that the leg fitted millimeter perfect and will allow this chair to live for another life.

Chair ready to live again

Chair ready to live again

Creative Joinery

creative joinery

creative joinery

At times I find it hard to define what I do.

I am in the process of getting the message out to Exeter city and surrounding countryside that pricklysauce is here and can design + make joinery, cabinetry, furniture, garden rooms.....and more.

It is creative joinery...

Joinery that considers the design and context as much as the skill and techniques of producing a beautiful timber object.

With the right client some great work can be created.

creative cabinetry

creative cabinetry

creative furniture

creative furniture

satisfaction

satisfaction

Re-design

hangUp hooks get a re-design

hangUp skateboard hook former

hangUp skateboard hook former

With the start of 2017 I have been re-designing the hangUp skateboard hook design.

I sold a few last year in the UK and Europe, and feed back has been positive, though the hook felt that it needed to be a little more squat and a bit beefier at its bottom! for a more pleasing look. 

I want to get these great little hooks out to more skateboarders and I am aiming to gear up production to take them around the skateboarding shops here in the West Country.

To achieve this I have been working on ways to speed up the production with improved template cutting of the new shaped hooks and a lot bigger former to enable seven blanks to be glued up in one process, instead of the one at the moment.

The former is taking a lot of work to cut and glue and make accurate...though the increased output will be well worth the effort.

Working on the designing some cool graphics to add to the hooks as well, to tap into the whole urban graphic culture that surrounds skateboarding...though au naturel versions will still be available.

I am an Instructable

I have joined Instructables and started to post some of my Its a Rubbish Challenge projects as step by step how-to's.

Instructables is a great site that I have been visiting for the last couple of years mainly to learn electronics, though they have hundreds of great projects ranging from cooking, to clothes, to crafts, to woodwork, to technology and everything in-between.

It seemed to be the right place to put up my projects as I want to get the Rubbish Challenges out to as many people as possible and what better than this great site with members who want to make stuff.

So if you want to make something there is sure to be an Instructable that can help, so why not check it out at Instrcutables.com or my members page http://www.instructables.com/member/Pricklysauce

 

Coming soon to pricklysauce.com is a new page featuring my Its a Rubbish Challenge and some of the Instructables how-to's.

 

Never miss Radio 4 again!

My seventh Its a Rubbish Challenge video is now on YouTube.

If like me you love to listen to Radio 4 [or any other station or music!] and get frustrated when you miss big chunks because you have ear defenders on when using power tools in the workshop, why not make my ear defender headphones?

Super easy to make with only a few electronic components. I made mine with parts from an old telephone!

If you would like a more step by step tutorial then catch my new INSTRUCTABLES how-to, its had over two thousand visits already. Wow that's a lot of ear defender headphones!

New Its a Rubbish Challenge page coming to this pricksauce website very soon.

Easter is coming

Hey Easter is only a week away!  Why not make some lovely chocolate treats for your friends and family instead of buying a big box with very little chocolate inside!

Check out my latest Its a Rubbish Challenge YouTube video where instead of making something cool out of rubbish, I avoid buying the most wasteful packaging product ever.....the chocolate Easter egg.

Happy Easter to you all.

slip sliding away

An interesting design project  at the moment...how to get four bikes into a small space.

A bicycle looks small due to the minimal amount of materials and all of those holes within the structure though when you come to store them the real bulk of a bike becomes apparent.

I have been on a design journey to try to make a group of bikes take up as little space for storage in a garden and it has led me to test out what I think of as a 'bike wardrobe'.

The idea is to hang the bikes from a rail and be able to slide them to interlock into a smaller area, pushing some aside to allow the one you want to be unhooked like a shirt in a wardrobe.

My rail is a scaffold pole and I have been through a few iterations of sliders for the hanger, though the best one is a development of my first design with four bearings acting as wheels enclosed within a circular ply sandwich.

Now to design the shed....

Its a Rubbish Challenge - Dog Light

Steal the Jewels!

The fourth of my Its a Rubbish Challenge videos.  This time I make a little dog light so we can see our dog running around in the park in the dark.

I attempt to make it in an old little plastic solder dispenser tube that an AA 1.5V battery could fit into.

I soon found out that 1.5V battery wont light up a LED!

The internet is so good and I found a great little tutorial on Instructables to make a Joule Thief that steals enough power from the battery to light up the LED.  A tiny little circuit that will just squeeze into the end of the tube.

A latching switch and a conducting strip made from the fantastic graphical golden syrup tin finished off the dog light.

Golden syrup.jpg

Oh yes and attach a piece of cord and tie it to your dogs collar.  All done.


Its a Rubbish Challenge !

Today on pricklysauce's first birthday I am launching a new YouTube series on my Pricklysauce YouTube Channel.

Its a Rubbish Challenge!


Every week our recycling bins are filled up and sent off for re-processing and we all feel GREAT as we are doing our bit for the environment.

Though in reality it still is only rubbish, a lot of energy has to be used to make it usable again. Yes it is better than putting it in a hole in the ground, though wouldn't it be better to reuse than to recycle.

So Its a Rubbish Challenge is my own challenge to see what I can do with the stuff that we throw away.  I want to make this stuff into something that I want to keep either by making it useful again or by making it look great in a different way.

My plan is to upload a video every month and I do hope that you will subscribe to my pricklysauce channel to catch them as I upload each new video. And here is the first of the series for you to enjoy today, you never though the humble tin can could be so much fun!

As I am sure you are aware if you have watched any of my videos so far, I am not a natural talent in front of the camera! I am working on improving this and with practice I am sure it will get better, though please bare with me and don't be too harsh! 

I do hope that you will enjoy them and that it may inspire you to join the Rubbish Challenge.


One year on....

Pricklysauce is a year old.  

Twelve months have flown by, and also it seems a lifetime ago when I stepped back out into the big world of working for myself.

It has been a hugely stimulating, exciting, creative and relaxed year...relaxed! not in kicking back and doing nothing, though relaxed in that I can do what ever I want when I want. 

 How many times in your life does that happen.  I can have time with my family, work hard, think, be creative, play a little and have my dog with me all the time.

I come up with an idea and I try to make it. Its as simple as that.  One of the most successful so far being the skateboard hangUp.  I knocked up some really hideous hooks to get our skateboards up from rolling around the floor and neatly onto the wall and I didn't even see them as a product until my wife said I could sell them.  Some design later a nice bent ply hook became the hangUp range of hooks.

Its not all been plain sailing with the guitar hangUp still not having come to the website.  I thought I had it designed and tested and sent out a couple to a friend only for an unseen fault to crop up.  I have a redesign and will find time to prototype it this coming year.

Other products like throwUp are still in the design stage.  On the face of it a really simple product that has taken a massive amount of development and is tricky to get the unit cost as low as possible.  This one I hope will become my first Kickstarter campaign later this year.

Packaging and rubbish have become a big theme for me, now that I have become a 'producer' of product I have to tackle the question of packaging and my hate of excessive amounts of the stuff that we throw away every day.  The area of re-using packaging and the reduction of packaging is of great interest to me and may lead to interesting places.

I have dissected electronic devices for a few years now to see what is inside, which often is more beautiful than the outside and it has led me to start to try to re-use this throw away stuff in some way, to give it a second life.

It has also been about big products as well with the first Addition+ garden room to be designed and constructed.  I enjoyed it so much that I really didn't want it to end!

I am so excited as I have only last week received confirmation to build my second one this spring/summer, the wiggly tin black one above.  Its so cool to see a project all the way through from thought to actual building.  People have told me you can't design and be hands on building, I'm proving them wrong.

There have been moments of just footling around maybe playing one of my guitars or learning to solder and put simple electronics together...or both by hacking an old 12 string guitar with a cheap car boot transistor radio to make a cool black acoustic guitar with its own built in amp and speaker.

 

It has been a year of learning... to weld, electronics, acting!, 'movie' editing and at last I have realised how Sketchup truly works. 

The internet has become important to me this year in number of ways.  I've set up my own website and I have found a load of great sites that help me in all sorts of ways, from tutorials for learning new skills from Hack A Week to Mr Carlson's Lab, to my daily fix of design from Designboom that has given me a greater breadth of what is happening now than any magazine could ever do, to sites like Pinterest that allow me to graphically bookmark sites from across the web and also give a view of whats out there, to inspirational talks from entrepreneurs on 99U and the odd thing that just makes me smile such as Tommy Edison a blind man who tells us what it is like and who has such an infectious laugh, worth it just for that.

To keep me going whilst on the computer I sometimes catch a song being broken down by the artist themselves on Song Exploder or listen to music and bands that I have found on my ramblings on the internet, this years stand outs Chet Faker, First Aid Kit, John Butler and the brilliant Aesgir.

The internet has been pivotal for one other reason and that is for YouTube.  Sure you could spend all day watching cute kittens on it though I have become an avid watcher often catching channels such as Smarter Every Day, Vsauce and Veritasium that are so interesting, thought provoking and frankly make you 'smarter'.  These channels all have very high production values and I have found that I watch very little TV now as the content coming out from these channels is just better, its not just bubble gum for the eyes, you feel that you are learning tings, even if the maths on Numberphile is hardly understandable, at least it gives you a chance to look further into the ideas.

I have also set up my own YouTube channel and have a few videos with the tongue in cheek hangUp Kids! and also my infamous Carrier Bag Charge video which I admit isn't very good though based on an interesting thought.  It has had to date 229 views which I think it is just amazing, that so many people from potentially around the world have bothered to watch it.  This has shown me the potential reach of pricklysauce to such a large group of people.

Making videos is hard especially for an introvert like me and I am slowly learning that I have to be a bit more hyper as if I am speaking to my kids and that I have to heavily edit them  to make them more punchy.  I believe that YouTube will be important for me in the coming years and as will be revealed in my next blog I have a little series of videos that I will be uploading that I hope you and the great world of the internet will enjoy and find interesting.

This twelve months has been all that I had wished for and has opened up new ideas and directions that I hadn't perceived.  I have taken it all without worrying too much, just letting it come, just with the belief that if it feels right then it probably is....and that's exactly how I hope the next twelve months will be as well.

Its a win win

I recently made a nice pair of doors and frame, traditional joinery that I don't undertake that often now, though it is good to keep my hands in and I know the clients well. 

Its fantastic working with wood, its pliable, mouldable and can be made into nearly anything. The workshop fills up with dust, not so good, and I smell wonderful, definitely good, with the aroma of the timber.

Timber has to be rough sawn to size and planed and thicknessed to the finished sections, and this produces huge volumes of wood chippings, that aerate and fill up a van full of bags of waste.

Timber chippings 

Timber chippings 

Up to recently I had to pay for these to be disposed of in a skip.  Undoubtedly these days skips contents are sorted and recycled as much as possible though I doubt that the timber chippings are easy to extract from the pile of waste.  It is expensive, working out to about £5 for every bag that is disposed of.

In the summer my wife got chatting to a company that produces food digesters at a county show and it turns out that digesters require a quantity of sawdust or timber pellets mixed in with the food waste to help absorb the moisture so that the machine can produce a good compost. 

And they had supplied our local primary school with one to deal with the unused cooked food that they need to dispose of each day, and helping to keep their flowers and veg plots well nourished.

Food waste

Food waste

The digester

The digester

Now I drive the timber chippings the couple hundred metres to the school for them to feed their digester with.  It saves the school from buying in wood pellets and saves me the cost of disposing of what is a really useful by product.

Its a win win.


Its all a load of rubbish...

 
Reuse of orange juice cartons - strong and waterproof - to post a hangUp skate

Reuse of orange juice cartons - strong and waterproof - to post a hangUp skate

 

Packaging is an interesting thing.  

No really it is.

I guess I am on a bit of a journey; as I am now making 'product' I end up having to produce packaging for it, to look good and to arrive undamaged to the buyer.

It worries me that every two weeks the recycling wheelie bin outside our house is full with discarded packaging, leaflets, catalogues and the odd magazine.

I am trying to ween myself off of printed media, contacting businesses to request that they stop sending me catalogues and frankly now I get a broader range of views and news from the internet than paying for a politically biased newspaper.  I gave up on design magazines a couple of years ago and instead check into design blogs that give me a broader range of ideas on a daily basis.

 
 

With the increased use of the internet also comes a greater ease of purchasing from companies from anywhere in the world, including mine, and so there must have been an explosion in cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, labels, plastic bags and a plethora of similar paraphernalia.

So here is the rub.

I produce 'product' that requires packaging, though I am increasingly worried about the quantity of waste that is being thrown aware, mostly recycled, though for every item that requires recycling also requires an additional amount of embodied energy to transport and reprocess.

For any of you who have bought any of my hangUp hooks you will have seen that I try to reuse packaging material.  By re-purposing materials they have a second life and no additional resource or recycling is needed.  And if the packaging is second hand then it helps keep the down the costs of the product.

Packaging is undoubtedly important for more reasons than just protecting the item, it helps 'sale' an item, makes it stand out on a shelf, gives the user a better feeling about the product......

I have played around with a couple of packaging ideas for the hangUp hooks with a nice little oragami package for holding the fixings, to 'enveloping' the hangUp's in off cuts of building materials.

Prototype hangUp guitar + prototype 'envelope' wrapping

Prototype hangUp guitar + prototype 'envelope' wrapping

Interesting ideas and I do enjoy the design process of producing interesting packaging, though recently I have posted out a few orders and I decided that I needed to reduce this down further.  

Did I need to add additional 'waste' material to the product, wrapping that would only be discarded by the purchaser.  I decided that in reality it didn't make sense and I chose to wrap them instead in used bubble wrap that does its job well and plop the fixings into used plastic click lock bags with a little pricklysauce label to cover the previous companies logo. 

 
Reused plastic bags

Reused plastic bags

reused bubble wrap and shoe box

reused bubble wrap and shoe box

 

They have all been boxed up in an old shoe box with a label explaining the reasons for reuse and a liberal amount of logos, that ultimately will be seen by postal workers.  

Who knows maybe I will start getting a slew of orders from posties from around the country!

Reuse is better than recycling

Reuse is better than recycling

Have I gone too far?  I don't think so.

As a small business the volume of packaging required isn't great and so maybe it is easier for pricklysauce to repurpose our 'throw away' materials, though ultimately I am looking to see how we can make packaging useful, giving it the potential of a second life, in the way that Nutella has designed its glass jars to be usable as drinking glasses.

I hope that any one who spends their hard earned money on a pricklysauce product that has been well designed and made will be excited by the product.  The packaging is just that, packaging.

 

 

 

Get your hangUp on the wall

A quick little video on how to best fit your hangUp on a masonry wall, includes a quick overview of tools needed.

It isn't hard though if in doubt ask an experienced friend or get an expert in!  Just remember to make sure that there are no hidden pipes or cables behind where you are planning to fix your hangUp.

 

Mid winter design fug

Mid winter is fast approaching with all of the usual paraphernalia - Victorian tradition, mass consumerism, religious festivals and the Christmas Card.

I jumped off the consumerist roller coaster years ago and instead enjoyed the challenge of making my own cards each winter, feels a little more personal and I like to think they are cheaper than buying cards, though in reality they are probably  not.

With the postal service in its dying days with exponentially increasing costs to send a card, my card list has reduced drastically to close family and relatives of a certain age who I guess aren't regularly on social media.  Everyone else I'm afraid gets a message on facebook.  Is it a cop out? Maybe, though I think we are in interesting times as printed media phases out and the internet ingrates into every aspect of our lives.

I struggled to design my card this year, the days ticked by, doodles and sketches just weren't doing it for me.  I think I peaked a couple years ago with my super simple reindeer card.  Three holes and a couple of antlers. How can you better that?  I kept finding that I had drawn it again on my paper.

I happened to be in Smiths in the week and saw a pack of multicoloured luggage tags.  I really like these things, they have a certain utilitarian quality, designed to do a job simply and well.  I guess they also have a traditional context to them as well, that I'm not wholly comfortable in admitting.

These tags gave me the design, a place to add a written template cut out onto, colour to complement the festival and a little whole [star shaped] to enable them to be hung on a tree.

It brings me full circle to a number of years ago when I did a whole series of Christmas tree hanging cards.

I just have to remember to send them! 

The solstice is only days away and with that it means spring will be next.  Now surely that must be a good reason to celebrate the Mid Winter.

Carrier bag charge is on its way!

In a couple of weeks on 5th October, those thin single use carrier bags that the supermarkets give out free will have a 5p charity levy put on them.  The Government is implementing this charge to help reduce our use of them, which is currently 7 billion a year - blimey that is a lot!

Like many people I re-use the bags as rubbish bags and In the video I explore the costs and some quick alternatives.

Addition+ has arrived

This week I handed over the keys of the first Addition+ garden room 

A fully insulated timber single room place for the clients to sit and enjoy the sunny aspect and a little gallery to display the clients own art work.

Site

Site

Foundations

Foundations

Floor structure

Floor structure

Pre-fabricated wall structure

Pre-fabricated wall structure

Walls up

Walls up

The structural box is complete

The structural box is complete

Waterproof!

Waterproof!

Clad + wiggly tin roof on

Clad + wiggly tin roof on

Decking

Decking

All finished, just waiting for the landscapers to finish!

All finished, just waiting for the landscapers to finish!

Interior of the structure

Interior of the structure

Birch ply ceiling going up

Birch ply ceiling going up

The interior is finished with birch ply and a wipe-able red floor 

Hide away the electrics!

Hide away the electrics!

Addition logo vent cover

Addition logo vent cover

Finished interior

Finished interior

Finished interior with red floor

Finished interior with red floor

Its been such a pleasurable experience working with the clients to design this little building and spending the summer with the sun on my back putting it all together.  Great thanks go to all the suppliers and Dave the electrician, for helping a little sketch on a piece of paper to become a reality.

I can't wait for the next one....

Galvanised tin + rough sawn Larch

Galvanised tin + rough sawn Larch

Decking detail

Decking detail

Galvanised tin + rough sawn Larch

Galvanised tin + rough sawn Larch