Mass Effect Drinks Cabinet from Recycled Wood

A friend asked me to make him a drinks cabinet recently with the ability to hold bottles upside down for use with optics and also have a large logo painted on. This was uncharted and rather scary territory for me but I pushed on and found the solutions that I needed.

If you’d like to see the video of the making of the drinks cabinet you can find it here – Mass Effect Drinks Cabinet


Gluing up the back board

I make all of my items from recycled wood and this cabinet was no different but posed many challenges due to its size. The back board had to be made from 7 pieces of pallet wood glued side by side and then planed flat. This is itself was a challenge and was only the beginning of the build!

Using some construction timber I had in my shed I started to make the frame, this was all held together with screws in a pocket hole jig style. When I had the basic frame I then fitted the shelves and gave the whole cabinet its first coat of black gloss. This colour and type of paint was specified by the customer to give the cabinet an English pub look.

The main frame of the cabinet was together and now it was time to get the front and back on. I screwed some pallet wood pieces to the front, leaving enough room for the door, and nailed some thin plywood to the back. The shelves are also made from plywood from a builders rubbish pile.

I made the door using a Z frame to keep it from sagging too much over time. The hinges were metal fence hinges which were also recycled from my own garden. I then attached the door and gave the whole cabinet another lick of paint.


Handle from an old pipe

The cabinet needed a handle for the door and as I had some old metal conduit in the shed I decided to saw a piece off and set it between two pallet wood pieces. The metal pipe would be nice to hold in the hand and also match the logo I was to paint later.

I needed to come up with a solution for having the bottles upside down and at first I was puzzled but over time I came up with a solution. The shaft of the bottle would be supported in a curved piece of wood with elastic cord holding it tightly against the curve. The neck of the bottle would snap into a pipe clip, the kind that are used to clip pipes and conduit to walls. I used clips that were 25mm wide.



The finished logo

Painting the logo was a rather painstaking and slow process. I couldn’t use masking tape because it would possibly peel away some of the black gloss and I couldn’t make a template for fear of the same happening. So in the end I just drew the design on with a ruler and painted the logo freehand.



The cabinet in its new home

All in all I was pleased with the outcome of the cabinet and so was the customer. All manner of bottles fit inside the holders (even square ones) and the whole cabinet excluding the paint, cord and clips is made from recycled materials. I’m thankful I got to make it and even more thankful that it came together rather nicely.


If you’d like to keep up with future projects and my day to day woodworking activities then please give my Facebook page a like and hopefully I’ll see you soon!


Benchtop Spring Pole Lathe – Uses and limitations

The idea and use of the lathe goes back thousands of years to at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. These days of course the lathe is very different to how it was then, replacing a simple machine manually operated by one or two people to the motor powered powerhouses of the modern era. Being a simple tool woodworker however, I decided to try and recreate a bit of a blast from the past.

You can see the YouTube video documenting the build here – Benchtop Spring Pole Lathe



A few of the pieces that make up the lathe

I went for the idea of a spring pole lathe, the spring in this case being an elastic bungee cord to save space in my little shed. Needing a way to make the lathe fit into my shed without it getting in the way I also made it so it could be clamped to my bench when in use and pulled apart easily and stowed away under my bench when not needed. The whole lathe being made from pallet wood also posed the problem of having to glue pieces together to make the stocks, this problem was soon overcome though.


Sharpened bolts to act as the centres

For the lathe centres I just sharpened the ends of a couple of bolts and bolted them firmly to the stocks. These bolts were 8mm in thickness and I think probably that’s the slimmest you’d want them, they maybe could’ve done with being thicker.



Test assembly

When I had inserted a bolt into the moving stock I did a test assembly. This allowed me to move the movable stock towards the fixed stock and push the point of the centre into it. This gave an accurate marking where I could drill the hole for the corresponding bolt to attach. After that was all done I just glued and screwed.


Attaching the posts to hold the bungee cord

I made the two posts that held the bungee cord removable so I could easily pack it away. The bottom of the posts simply slot into holes made with a wooden surround, they can sit in there firmly whilst being used and just slid out when packed away.


The lathe ready for use

After making a very simple pedal and clamping the lathe to my bench it was ready to use. I’m not very good at turning and I also don’t have the correct tools, so you’ll have to forgive my attempts! After failing with a piece of pallet wood I found more success with a small cherry branch, it was however still pretty awful but I would call it progress.


Attempt at turning

This build was so much fun and to do it all with recycled wood was incredibly satisfying. There are some limitations to this build however. I think to turn anything like a bowl would be very difficult as the side rails are quite high on the stocks, so if a bowl was to be turned it would be a rather small bowl. With it being made from pallet wood it will perhaps not be as sturdy or as long lived as its more robust, hardwood counterparts. It did however only take a few days to build and so far it seems to perform very well. I would encourage anyone at all to give it a go, nothing quite like seeing a machine you’ve made come to life.









Salvaged Wood Wood Store that Stores Salvaged Wood

When you first start woodworking you spend your time scrounging around for any kind of wood you can find, when people are kind enough to keep donating to you however you have to find a way to store it! I wanted to keep my wood store near to my shed and so couldn’t have anything that took up too much space. I came up with a simple design which allows air flow to drift through the wood piles. It’s not the most ideal storage seeing as its outside but its better than just laying the wood on the dirt.


Making grooves for the pallet wood slats.

Since I already had the shed and wanted the storage close to the shed, a simple lean to seemed like the perfect solution. I started with some old roofing batten, glued a few lengths together to make posts and then sawed and chiselled out some angled sections. These rebates would have pallet wood lengths screwed into them, acting as a barrier against the rain but also allowing air flow through the gaps.



All the slats screwed on.

Once this part was finished it was just a case of making a simple frame to attach to the side of the shed and an angled roof to help it shed water easily.


The frame taking shape.

In the small area below the wood storage I laid some slabs down just to stop too much moisture coming from the dirt below. I also fully cladded the back of the shelves to stop the wood hitting the less than sturdy fence behind it!

My experience in drying wood is still rather minimal but I did buy a book recently which I shall be studying soon. It has good reviews and if you want to check it out you can find it here:

Wood and How to Dry It – Fine Woodworking – Amazon

All I knew at the time of building my wood store was that it was a good idea to keep rain off the wood but also create air flow. This is why you see big piles of wood with little spacers in between each plank called “stickers”. This creates air flow between the planks to allow for more surface area to be dried.

Since I mostly store pallet wood in this area I didn’t feel the need to get too technical with it. Of course when it comes to the time of actually using the wood I have to let it acclimatise in a temperature similar to its final environment. So for example if I was making a little pallet wood box to go in a home, I would have to have the pallet wood planks sit in an environment similar to that home. So I could keep them in a warmed shed or garage for a few weeks and then make the box. This makes for minimal movement of the wood after the piece is finished.



The lean to complete with shelving.

I wanted to give myself enough space in the shelves but also lots of options for different kinds of wood. This led to me making the top section open wide. I also made the lowest shelf come a little off the ground to help air flow under it. After all the shelving was complete I concentrated on the roof. This was simply some marine ply or exterior ply from a rubbish pile and some felt leftover from the building of another shed.



The first load of wood in storage.

When it was all done I painted it with some fence paint we had left over, waited for it to dry and placed all the wood inside (except for my good stuff, that goes in the shed). It’s not the prettiest structure in the world nor it is the most ideal for drying wood but for my little shed it works. I’ve built many things from the wood stored here and I hope to build many more. It’s a salvaged wood wood store that stores salvaged wood. Say that fast three times.






Camera arm from recycled materials – mistakes and successes

Getting increasingly annoyed with constantly adjusting and readjusting the legs of my flimsy tripod whilst making videos, I had to try and make a camera arm for increased ease and efficiency of recording in my tiny shed. Armed with the knowledge of a few camera arm building tutorials on YouTube and using only materials I already had, I set about building something that would do for the moment until more complex plans could be formulated.


Piece of conduit within a bucket.

Many of the tutorials call for a bucket filled with concrete, a heavy base to keep the arm steady. I did have a bucket but no cement. So I grabbed the plastic bucket I had and found a piece of conduit about head height. The conduit had to be held upright in the bucket, making a cross piece from old construction lumber I drilled a hole through it for the conduit to fit into. I threw a load of sand on top left over from a building project and then placed a circle of plywood on top to hold it all inside and compact it further.


The plywood circle was screwed to the bucket.

I made a corresponding plywood circle to go on the bottom of the bucket and screwed straight through it into the wooden supports inside the bucket. After that all I had to do was add a few castors so I could wheel it easily around the shed.


Adding 3 casters only means it wouldn’t rock on uneven surfaces.

The principle from then on was fairly simple; I needed an arm that would slide freely up and down the conduit with some kind of fixing ability to keep it in position when recording. The arm would be made from left over construction grade lumber and some pallet wood chunks, a pretty simple design.



A hole drilled through the pallet wood chunks made for easy positioning.

I had some unused bolts, nuts and washers which were perfect for the fixing mechanism to keep the arm from sliding down. The procedure is fairly simple:

  • Place the nut over the area where you wish to embed it.
  • Trace and knife an outline around the nut and cut out the material to a depth as deep or deeper than the depth of the nut.
  • Drill a hole through the centre of the nut hole and out at the side where the end of the bolt will make contact.
  • Insert the nut into the hole and give a few firm taps with a hammer.
  • Trace a line around a washer to cover over the nut and take away material.
  • Place the washer over the nut and then screw a piece of wood (or metal/plastic) over the top of the washer to keep it in place.

    Using a nut and bolt as a fixing system.

    I repeated this method twice, once for the adjustment of the camera arm and the other for the adjustment of the camera pole itself. For each adjuster I made a handle for the bolt that screws into the nut to make it easier to turn, especially on these cold winter days when your hands feel like they’re going to shatter.


    The finished stand.

    Over all I’m pleased that recording is now easier in my shed but after using it there are a few things I will change when I do it again.

    Firstly I will used better quality castors, the ones I bought here are from a hardware store and were the cheapest I could find. They struggle to swivel and so half the time I’m actually dragging the stand rather than wheeling it.

    Secondly I’d use concrete to set the pipe in the place and as the counterweight. As you can see the sand alone wasn’t enough and I had to add extra weights, also the conduit was slightly on the slant which I feel could have been avoided if I set it level in concrete.


    Lastly and perhaps most importantly I don’t know if I’d use this design at all but rather go with one that could clasp onto the wall perhaps. For those of you who haven’t seen my videos you might not realise but my shed is indeed very small, I have around 2m X 3m (78 3/4″ X 118 1/8″) of floor space. With shelves and my workbench and wood pile taking up some of this space it makes it rather clumsy and lumbering to move a camera arm around also.



I’m glad I made it and it does make recording faster but really, for my tiny little shed its not a long term solution and I think when the weather is better I’ll give it a re think and post my future solution on here. First ideas are often not the best.





Tool tote and Bookshelf, his and hers wedding gifts

My friend of 25+ years recently got married and I was fortunate enough to be one of the best men. I didn’t have a speech to do however and so this got me thinking that I’d love to make something for him and his wife to be. Instead on focusing on them as a couple which is often the way with wedding gifts I decided to make them their own individual presents, here’s a little look at what I made.



Tool tote for the groom

I had some floorboards taken out of the house about 10 years ago just waiting to be made into something, these made up the sides and bottom. My brother who helped me make these presents is a builder and regularly gets wood that people throw away. This was the case with a lump of sapele, an African hardwood, that a carpenter no longer wanted. With its dark brown colour not too dissimilar to mahogany, it set off a nice contrast being used as dowels. The final piece was a hazel branch harvested at a friends farm, luckily we found a piece with a lovely natural curve, perfect for a handle.


A tool tote was chosen for the groom because he wants to get into woodwork, so I also made him a mallet from ash, sapele and a piece of what I think is oak from an old cot.

The bride is an avid reader, often talking of her love of Harry Potter amongst many others so it only seemed natural to make her a quirky little bookshelf.



Bookshelf with bookmark

An old pine shelf was made into the shelf part, the hazel once again used as the bookends and for the feet and sapele dowels securing it together. I have a lot of ash logs from a local woodland and so used one for the base. A little hazel bookmark with a toggle finished it off.


All in all they were two really interesting builds with some challenging features and I can only hope that the married couple enjoy their gifts as much as I enjoyed dreaming them up and making them. I absolutely love recycling wood and knowing that it’s going to have a lengthened life in someone else’s home makes this all worthwhile.

If you’d like to check out the tool tote build and soon the bookshelf build, please head over to my YouTube channel – Timber Anew YouTube

Sawing wood the different way


I seem to have a thing for reinventing the wheel, I attempted to create an easier way to flatten a bench top without power tools and more recently I made a pedal powered table saw. I realise some may see it as a waste of time, attempting to change tried and tested methods, but not only do I feel as if it’s important to always search for more creative ways to do things it’s also a lot of fun!



Japanese Ryoba saw

The design was really rather simple, I took a load of scrap wood and used an old flooring sheet for the table top as this was the flattest piece of wood I had. I don’t like to use man made “wood” but in this case I had it lying around and it was only for a test. Some old pallet wood made up the frame around the saw and a piece of conduit was perfect as a guide for the frame.



The saw frame and conduit keeping it straight

The conduit allowed side to side movement but not forwards and backwards movement, so then a vertical guide around the saw frame needed to be built. I would like to point out at this point that I had no plans for this, it just happened, so hopefully I can be forgiven for the roughness of the build!



The frame around the frame

So now the erratic movement was solved, the next step was to figure out how the saw would return to its original position after being push down by the pedal. A treadle and fly wheel would have been more ideal I think but that would’ve needed more plans and more cost. The solution I came up with was just to use bungee cords, wrapped under the saw frame and attached to the secondary frame.


Bungee cords and pedal attached

The pedal was the easiest part, a few slats of pallet wood crossed over and attached to the front legs with hinges. After tying the rope on it was just a matter of getting the technique right and cutting some wood!

If you’d like to see the saw in action you can check it out on my YouTube channel here :

Timber Anew YouTube channel

Would I recommend others build this saw? Well, not really! There are far more efficient methods out there and this was just a first step in a line of pedal powered saws I’m hoping to make. Next time perhaps I’ll add a fly wheel in and see how well it performs.


For now, it’s a kinda cool thing to show my sis’ kids….they’re always more impressed than the adults!






One piece of pallet wood, one little box

Sometimes we do what we can to push the boundaries of our imagination and our materials, sometimes we just want to create a quick and easy project. This was the latter! (please be aware this post contains affiliate links)

You can see the YouTube tutorial here – YouTube tutorial – Pallet Wood Box

I wondered what I could make from a single piece of pallet wood and also what would be easy, quick and solid. Figuring that everyone needs boxes at some time in their lives I opted to make a little box, with a little lid.


It all started with a single piece of pallet wood, which scrubbed up nicely after planing

So I found a nice piece of pallet wood with as few knots in as possible, I planed it down to get all the grime and roughness off. You could almost mistake some pieces of pallet wood for shop bought lumber when they’re cleaned up. I then marked up the lengths I wanted for the sides and cut them, 2 long sides at 15 cm (5 15/16″), the top and bottom of the box at 15cm and the 2 small sides at 5.5cm (2 3/16″). You can of course make the box as big or as small as you like.


The 2 long sides, 2 short sides, the bottom and lid cut and ready

After these were all cut I clamped the 4 sides together without gluing them. I got the pieces in the right position and drilled the holes for the dowels. Having the sides all clamped together helped me to get the accuracy I needed for when the dowels go in.


I used a hand powered drill but an electric drill would work just as well, I just enjoy the quiet

4 holes were drilled on each of the long sides into the short sides and 4 holes from the bottom into the long sides. Creating the dowels is fairly simple, I just took a small piece of the pallet wood and split down it with a chisel to make smaller pieces. Using a carving knife I whittled them down and finally tapped them through a dowel plate to make them exactly the right size. If you don’t have a dowel plate you can just carve them down with a knife and keep testing the thickness until they’re the right size.

Dowel plate – Dowel Plate


Before and after being cut down to size

I always make more dowels than I need in case they break, especially at this size because they’re only 3mm (1/8″) in diameter and so are prone to breaking when being tapped in. Set all your pieces out on your work surface and start to glue them together.


All sides drilled and ready to be glued

I started by gluing the two short sides and making sure to really rub the glue in as I was gluing onto end grain. End grain soaks up a lot more glue and so its good practice to give it a helping hand. After that I put a tiny bit of glue on a dowel at a time and slowly tap them in. It’s important to be careful at this stage, start with very light taps to get the dowel started, going at the dowel gung-ho is likely to result in breakage.


Glued and doweled

After you’ve glued and doweled the sides and bottom its a good idea to leave it for 24 hours before doing anything else to it. When the time passed I trimmed off the tops of all the dowels.

The lid was the next thing to turn my attention to. I wanted it to lock in place when I put it on and so decided to cut a recessed area around the edge. Starting by making a cross going through the centre of the lid, I then marked out the inside lengths of the top of the box using the lines to centre those measurements.


The lid marked out and ready for cutting

I found using a small tenon saw is ideal to cut out the recessed area, a Japanese ryoba saw would be just as good though. Coming in with a chisel afterwards helps to really clean up the edges and make it nice and crisp.

Tenon Saw – Tenon Saw

Japanese Ryoba – Japanese Ryoba



Paring material away with a chisel can be incredibly satisfying

A file can then be used to smooth down all the corners and edges of the box. This step once again isn’t necessary but I like to be able to run my hands over the wood without feeling any sharp edges. After this is done you can smooth it even further with 120 grit sandpaper.


Filing down the edges and corners

The next step, whilst also not essential, is to make a simple handle for the lid. Now this handle could be square, cylindrical, triangular, cone shaped whatever you like. I opted for a simple semi circle cut out from the pallet wood with a coping saw.


You can use something round to make the semi circle shape, like a small tin

I smoothed the edges of the handle down and glued it onto the box. Later I gave it a good sanding all over with 240 grit sandpaper. I made sure to get around all the edges and into the box as well. I figured my hands would be entering the box at some point and so didn’t want the risk of splinters.


The box sanded down all over and ready for finish

At this point you could leave the box as is, I prefer to have a light coating of Danish oil on mine. It provides a low lustre, smooth finish.


After a couple of coats of Danish oil

The great thing about a finish is that it shows the real beauty of the wood. Even humble pallet wood can be brought to life with a finish.

All in all it was a very simple build but also quite satisfying to see a nice little box at the end of it. It certainly isn’t complicated joinery and I can’t imagine it looking like it belongs on any fine furniture but it serves a purpose, it’s sturdy, it’s recycled and it made me smile to see it completed. I think once you get all the other stuff out of the way, it’s the fulfilment that counts.

If you’d like to support my work here and on YouTube then feel free to check out my Patreon page – Timber Anew Patreon . Patreon is a site with which you can support creators for $1 a month. For me, these contributions will help in buying better camera equipment, tools, wood, books and all in all producing better quality content. Thank you for your consideration.