Making gates and fixing fences
This week: Drunken beans; Finishing touches; Making gates and fixing fences; Bit of planning; More fencing;
I’m typing this left-handed. I’m not experiencing a problem, my right hand is still attached and fully functional.
It’s just I have Pongo on my knee and as he grows, I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t slide off onto the keyboard…
Still, it could be worse. I could have one or more of his siblings on my knee as well.
It has been cold this week, the coldest week of the winter so far. However it hasn’t stopped me from doing quite a few jobs this past week.
At least we haven’t had snow, like there has been just to the east in Bosnia i Herzegovina.
We seem to have missed the worst because from Athens, through Anatolia, the Lebanon and Israel there has been significant snowfall this week.
The sun is really warm now and as it is daily getting noticeably higher in the sky, my garden and orchards are starting to wake up.
Spring is now here!
We are almost at the end of January and it has been cold for the whole of the month.
The cause has been a series of blocking areas of low pressure to the east which have caused five weeks of cool, cold or bitterly cold northerly winds.
What is really of great concern is the failure of the January rains. Normally there is an average of 10 litres per square metre. So far we have had less than 1 litre/m², less then 1/10 of the average.
However like all data, how it is presented is important.
Mediterranean winters are classed as “mild and wet”. Winter starts at the beginning of November and runs until March.
By the end of December, here in Dol we had received more than the total normal average winter rainfall.
Then the winds came and have dried out my soils. Whilst there is still some moisture deep in the soils, at the surface the soils have been so dry, I have been irrigating my newly planted shrubs.
I have never before had to irrigate in January. It remains to be seen how much more rain we get before the growing season really starts.
One night this week the temperature fell to -3.2ºC. Not for long, but long enough to make a few of my Broad beans look decidedly drunken.
Several plants were caught out, like the flower stalk on this succulent.
However, some plants seem to have been unaffected. At the start of the week I could see flower buds swelling on my Mimosa, Acacia dealbata.
By Saturday morning, the first flowers of 2022 have opened. It will be a few days before it is fully in flower, but once it starts it looks beautiful.
OK, I now really need the windows and door to finish the new Utility Room in my old cottage.
I’m making one small window myself.
The others are being made to measure in Dubrovnik and will arrive sometime soon.
I am trying to pin “soon” down into something a little more tangible, but without much success.
In the meantime, this week I have been finishing some of the inside jobs and deciding what will go where.
I gave the washing machine plinth another coat of varnish and moved it roughly into place.
It is under the water supply point and close to the drain, but I need the big refrigerator, the freezer and sink to be moved out of the Konoba first.
So I’m waiting for some help to lift them up the steps and into the U-room.
That didn’t prevent me from finishing the board which is covering a gap between the ceiling beam and the north wall.
I cut the profile to fit the wall with a jigsaw cutter for the wavy side and with my circular saw for the straight edge.
Then it was a simple matter of five screws to fix it in place.
I have some IKEA shelving which I am going to use, but I decided that I would make my own uprights to fit.
This will mean that I can use all the available space for shelving, including right into the corners.
Making gates and fixing fences
I bought a pack of slightly oversize finished timber from Volat, loaded it onto the car’s roofrack and brough it home.
It has been a full days work to prepare the five lengths of timber. First I cut each four metre length in half by hand, using a Tennon saw, so I had ten lengths to be made into shelving uprights.
The work has involved five different machines of different sizes and complexity.
With the sun shining, I worked outside in the courtyard. I have to say that I am very pleased I did.
The amount of fine sawdust and shavings that were created was substantial. I needed a face mask to keep the dust out of my nose and of course eye protection.
First out of the workshop was my table saw. I had considered using a circular saw, but decided that if I used a table saw, I could finely control the size of the finished uprights.
I set up one of the metal fences so that each piece would be cut to exactly the same size. However when I did a trial cut of the first piece, being two metres long, it was not as rigid as I would have liked.
I built a home made gate out of a piece of strip wood and a pair of clamps to hold it in place.
The gate made sure that as I fed each piece of wood into the table saw, the blade started cutting in the same place. As I continued feeding the length of wood through the gate, the fence held it in place.
With a little bit of invention what would have been a long job, was completed in just under 45 minutes.
Each length had to go through twice but the gate and fence considerably speeded up the task.
The only drawback to bringing woodworking tools out of the workshop is that I have to put them away again.
Next out was my Makita planer thicknesser. This is a machine where you can plane and square timber to an accuracy of +/-0.5 mm.
It does not have an imperial measurement scale but looking up the equivalent, it is 0.196 of an inch, so let’s call it 0.2″.
Once again each piece was run through the machine four times. That was once each for the two sides and the two faces. A couple of pieces needed to have an extra half millimetre shaved off, so they had extra passes.
I put my wheelbarrow under the outflow for the shavings and had almost a full barrow. All these shavings will be burnt on the wood stove.
Next it was an angle plane. This makes nice rounded corners, so there are no splinters or rough edges.
Finally it was my electric drill. I setup one length as a template, and then drilled three pieces at a time, with a 6.5 mm wood drill. This is where the bolts will go for the shelves.
Bit of planning
I really want to be organised in the new Utility Room, so I have created a list of sections for the shelving, where the “things” will go.
As soon as the doors and window are fitted, I will start moving my supplies in. The double glazing was scheduled for the end of January / beginning of February.
Which of course is precisely where we are now. I have tried to get an indication of the delivery timescale, but so far have not succeeded.
The first plan is what I am going to put on the shelves. Not too difficult because mainly it is things that I have had on different shelves in different locations.
I am just bringing everything together. So I wrote my list.
More difficult is the vertical spacing of the shelves. Some things, for example the cool boxes, will go on the floor under the shelves.
It is also about ease of access and regularity of use. So things like food for the felines, which is used every day and replenished weekly, will be front and centre to be readily available.
Whereas my Chafing Dishes which are probably only used a couple of times a year, can be kept on a top shelf, well out of the way.
What I realised is that I will have to individually build each of the linked units, so that the shelves are fixed based on what will go on them.
I did a trial build of the first unit and immediately discovered the I need a shelf half way between two positions, because on the bottom position, it was fractionally too low to take my largest cool box underneath, and the next one would waste a lot of space.
Because everything is modular, using standard fittings, I only needed a 6.5 mm drill bit, to make some extra holes in the new uprights, exactly where I needed them.
It then didn’t take long to assemble the first shelf and add a set of support stays at the back.
So I’ve made a start on the shelving , even though I can’t go much further than one unit at the moment.
Continuing the woodworking theme, I’ve made a start on some fencing at the end of the Top Orchard.
One of my neighbour’s dogs tends to use this as a means to access the orchard and I want to shut off the access route.
I gave some uprights an extra coat of wood preservative and then fitted them and bolted them in place.
This was followed by the installation of the rails.
Now I have to find a supplier for some palings, to make the fence dog proof. NCG