Side table class

I want to spread the love for woodworking. One way I intend of doing it is to conduct woodworking courses. Of course, this table is also for sale.

Woodworking education is very useful

Woodworking education is very useful. Firstly, people who have woodworking knowledge appreciate wood and furniture. They are more likely to buy furniture based on value instead of price. How many times have you seen a plastic chair being upholstered with a bright colour fabric being sold at “designer prices” and people buy them. But these same people would not buy a wooden chair with solid mortise and tenon joinery…what a shame.

Secondly, they will buy wood instead of overpriced non-biodegradable plastics which harm the environment. Have you heard of this call to save the environment by reducing disposable plastic bags and use a reusable plastic bag instead? How does a reusable plastic bag save the environment? Why not use a wooden create instead? That would save the environment more than another plastic bag.

Woodworking basics

Woodworking basics. Have you ever gone for a 3 hour woodworking class and still feel very lost. I did. I have decided not to offer such short courses for serious woodworkers because they don’t really master anything. (I will offer short courses for fun, eg team bonding.) One of the courses I attended taught me to use power tools. After the course, I may know how to use the tool, but I can’t figure out how to construct furniture.  So I will teach you about structure, then teach the individual skills such as marking out, shaping, joining and finally finishing.  This way, my participants get valuable woodworking education and they can carry on the hobby at home.

Side table class

I am teaching how to make this side table on the 23 and 24th of February at XPC, Homefix building. This class will explain wood such as grain direction and wood movement. It will teach participants to mill rough sawn lumber using a jointer and planner. I will handhold them to construct the mortise and tenon joints using the drill and router. I will teach them to use both hand tools and machinery in the 2 day course. Thereafter, I can guarantee you they can make their own furniture with little


I started Clamps and Braces- Lifestyle Woodworking

Sorry for being away for so long. Missed me?? After dealing with whatever life has thrown at me at the workplace, I decided to quit my job and start my own woodworking studio. No more paper pushers telling me how to do my job as a principal occupational therapist.  Now, I’m a full time business owner, woodworker, and occupational therapist all rolled into one. And I’m very happy now.

What we believe in

Let me introduce Clamps and Braces. Clamps and Braces believes that wood is the way to go in the future. Plastics are killing the planet. Clamps and Braces aims to start and support a woodworking Maker movement in Singapore. Our fathers used to make functional furniture during their time, come our time, we buy plastics and throw lots of them away frequently. Clamps and Braces aim to start a movement similar to Man’s Shed in Australia and UK to bring woodworking back to Singapore.

We want to build communities of woodworkers who support each other, and share ideas, skills and tools. We hope to reach out to the our Fathers who used to be Makers, but have hanged up their tools. We want to provide the space, the tools, and the material for these people to continue to gather and make their things.

We want to bring the joy of woodworking to teens. Teach our teens to be Makers, not just consumers. Teach them to see value in things, not just price. Let them achieve their true potential of creativity, to make things as beautiful as art, and as useful as furniture.

We want to start a maker movement with young adults.When they set up their own home, we want them to make memories in it that can be seen decades after. Daddy and Mummy made this table together at a class by Clamps and Braces, instead of Daddy bought this table really cheap, it spoils so quickly. A couple that woodwork together, stays together surrounded by beautiful things.

What we do

We run woodworking classes (can be customized ), do custom made furniture, and we sell tools and material. see


Shaker style cabinet


There used to be a sink at that spot where this cabinet now stands. The sink was removed but the pipes, threaded rod and other fasteners that hold the sink to the wall are still there. My operations department, requested that occupational therapy help them make a cupboard. As the occupational therapist, aka me, is nice and obliging, I obliged.

I decided to make the cabinet in the Shaker style. (You all know G&G is my preferred style) Something simple that I can finish in a week (since I am leaving the company), yet nice enough for others to remember me by.

All the joints are dado joints. The frame of the door is mortise and tenon joint. The panel is booked matched and stained for contrast. If I were to improve the cabinet in future,  perhaps I’ll add in a turned door knob.

Study Table

I thought it was about time I got myself a new study table. The old one was a standard compressed wood one the was discarded by the person I bought my flat from.

My brief was simple. I wanted a lot of storage, since my table top is always such a mess. I need as many drawers as I could possibly have. I have a plank of Kapur left over from another project, so I just got to use that up.

I did the drawers first. The carcass was put together with proud fingerjoints. A common Greene and Greene feature. The drawer pulls were inspired by Darrel Pert. I used the design technique that Darrel shared somewhere (can’t recall where I read it). He said to look at a design for inspiration, go do something else for a week or so, then come back and design your own design. I found my drawer pull to be somewhat different from what Darrel’s, although it was easy to see where the inspiration came from. The drawers are all made of solid pine except the base. I could have put it some proud finger joints on the drawer front but didn’t. It would have been better if I did.

The table itself is of frame and panel construction. The legs are glued up pieces, really bulky. They are too thick in proportion to the top. To make them appear slimmer, without compromising strength, I shaped the two exposed sides to a slight convex. The panels are pine wood stained elbony and then sanded down. They got the cloud lift design. I felt that this would give it some contrast  to the frame but still blend it with the frame.

The table top is Kapur wood framed by pine. I also installed a  keyboard drawer so that the height of the keyboard fits my body.

Electric keyboard stand

Just finished a stand for an electric keyboard. It’s made of recycled lumber from a crate, so material cost is less than $10 for some varnish, stain, and sandpaper.

Someone donated a keyboard with a broken stand to the nursing home. My executive director simply asked if I could repair the stand. I couldn’t resist the urge to build a new one.

The vertical post are 4 pieces of lumber glued together with miter joints, the kind that was used in Stickly furniture. The feet of the stand are actually simple boxes. Because of the Stickly design, I am able to threat the wire for the pedals through the hollow post, making the entire thing look a little neater.

As I said, the wood came from a crate. This explains the large number of knots in pine, but it adds character.

This stand was dyed elbony and finished with 5 coats of rubbing varnish. The patients I was working with learned how to make wooden pegs, peg screw holes and trim them flush, sanding, dye the wood and use rub on varnish.



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Wash Basin

I was inspired to do a wash basin for my toilet for quite some time already. I made the side, a little bit of the top; various parts were lying in my workshop at various degree of completion. The kick in the butt came when my neighbor living on the floor below me complained that my toilet floor was leaking. I needed to hack previous sink for the renovation.I can’t be living without a sink in the toilet, so I had to get my act together to finish this piece of art.

This piece is made of Burmese teak, which I read is used to make boats. The cabinet and doors are frame and panel construction. The joints are glued with titebond 3 and held with screws which are then covered by Ebony square pegs. Ebony square pegs are a hallmark of Green and Greene furniture design. The sink is actually a square box with proud finger joints. The sink sits on a flat top with breadboard end on one side to keep everything flat, Because of the urgency that I needed this piece of furniture, I did not do any cloud lift.  The entire piece is finished with 3 layers of epoxy.

Nativity scene

nativity scene

As some of you who follow this blog of mine already know, I’m working in a psychiatric nursing facility. No, I’m not a nurse. I’m an occupational therapist.  One of the most beautiful things about my job is that I can do woodworking (a hobby that I truly love) and get paid for it.

The idea came for a nativity scene during one of the welfare committee meetings and as you probably guessed, I was tasked to make one. Buying one would be too expensive for the charitable nursing home.

I found templates for the figurines on the internet and started to design something based on silhouette concept. I worked with my patients to paste the template on the wood, saw it out with a scroll saw, sand it and finally finished it with a coat of varnish.

My director thought I salvage the base from someone’s table top and was surprised that it came from rough sawn lumbar. After the nativity scene was displayed, my patients gathered around the display for tea and to admire their handy work.

Rocking chair – work in progress


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I am an occupational therapist working with patients with mental health problems in a psychiatric nursing home.. One of the main problems that the people I work with face is their poor cognition. Their ability to reason in a coherent manner, short term memory, reasoning ability and the ability to learn new task is affected due to their condition of schizophrenia, low IQ, among other diagnosis.

Their cognitive deficits also affect their psychosocial aspects as well. Because they are achieving much less than others, issues such as self esteem, self concept, self efficacy are also a problem. They may see themselves as being unable to achieve anything except whatever to take whatever handouts that the healthcare providers or volunteers give. They say something is too difficult even before they try because they lack the confidence to even try.

After analyzing these problems, I decided to work with them to build a rocking chair. I thought that building a rocking chair would let them see themselves as achievers. Inspiration for the design was gathered from the Maloof Rocking chair and that of  the Shaker rocking chair. I did not have a clear design on paper to work with. Instead what I did was to make a plywood model of the rocking chair, test it for comfort, before I sketch the curves on the plywood. After one side is done, my friendly router bit did the work of shaping the other side, using the first side as a template.

My patients did the sanding, lots of it. One or two of them help to drive in the screws during assembly. All of them felt that they contributed to the making of the chair in some way and they were all smiles when they sat on the chair and started rocking. One of them was heard exclaiming, “we succeeded, we succeeded!”

While the material cost of the rocking chair is really cheap (S$65), the amount of self esteem it brings to the patients is through the roof. Woodworking is indeed a good activity for patients with mental health issues.


Creative marbling machine prototype

There are many marbling machines on the internet. Most of them are table top. Shawn Yeo, who founded VINCO, an educational company that specializes in  creating environments that develop students to be independent learners, leaders and thinkers through tinkering approached me for this project.

Shawn explained the project to me enthusiastically. He wanted a marbling kit which could be attached to a whiteboard via a magnet. A marbling machine allows a marble to go through a set of obstacles, making a little noise in the process. They are also very interesting to watch.

The challenge of this project is the very very thin pieces. There are a lot of parts that are only 3mm thick.

Wave like wooden structure

This wave like structure was interesting to make. The shape was first cut on a scroll saw before being glued together so that the front and back are identical.

Diagram showing 2 grooves routed on a back of a maze like obstacle.

These 2 grooves are where the magnet will sit in.

Maze like structure

Parts were individually cut before gluing it all together with wood glue. Realised that the trick to doing 3mm cuts on a table saw is to cut on the other side, not between the blade and the fence.


With the circular part only 3mm thick, it was a feat to cut. The trick, use a very slow speed, <500rpm on a drill press. I did spoil quite a number of them before getting it right.

Triangle shaped block with grooves on each side.

The triangle has a drain on each side.
Note the very thin front.


This was quite interesting to make.I had to drill the hole at exactly the correct spot, then shape the rounded top on the router table.

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