shop made

Rocking chair – work in progress

 

20140610_165804_Android 20140610_165755_Android 20140610_165748_Android

 

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.

 

Advertisements

Table for Easter Baptismal Font in Singapore

IMG_0515Cloud lift on undersidetable legsUnderside of table Purple heart edgingTable from the front

The above are clearer pictures of the baptismal font that I made in my previous post: Easter Church Furniture. A bowl is placed on top of the table to collect the water.

Plans are underway to improve the table such as a self draining wooden bowl to match the table. Front and side pannels with baptismal related icons (dove coming down onto water) are also in the plans. So stay tune.

It is a table approx 33 inches in height and a diameter of 14 inches. The difference from previous stool design (the prototype) is that the legs are an inch larger than the diameter of the top. The previous design places the legs in the same vertical plane as the top. This design is more stable than the prototype.

I’ve also added cloud lift to the stretchers under the top for visual interest. The bottom stretch was intentionally left flat so that a shelf can be installed in future. The future plan is to add side covering and conceal some form of container to collect the run off water from the self emptying bowl on top.

Completed stool prototype in Singapore

DSC_9489 DSC_9488 DSC_9487 DSC_9486

 

This prototype will be used in my workshop. It is the prototype for an outdoor stool and table set where two persons can sit down in the evening to chat and have tea. A few lessons can be drawn from the prototype.

The seat is 50cm high (approx 1’8″ high) which may be a little too high for people who are shorter.

The size of the seat at 1 foot seem comfortable.

The legs should extend beyond its circumference to improve stability.

Holes drilled to fasten the seat the the frame needs better consideration. It should be farther away from the post to allow for an electric drill to work the screws. This time, I had to screw it in by hand.

Do give your comments. I would really appreciate it.

Greene and Greene inspired wall cabinet in Singapore

The cloud lift details

The cloud lift details, the shinny thing on the door are screws

Tool cabinet isometric view

Tool cabinet

Tool cabinet with tools

Tool cabinet with 2 shelves

Bottom shelf holding tool rack

Rack for screwdrivers. Spokeshaves hang from the top.

Top shelf

2 shelves for my planes

Chisel holder for 6 chiscels

Chisel rack

Proud finger joint

Proud finger joint. I got lazy and omited the square pegs. Will put them in when I feel like it.

Tool cabinet hanging on the wall above workbench

In the grand scheme of things

This is a Greene and Greene inspired wall cabinet which I use to house my tools.

I built this with the intention of practicing for a bathroom medicine cabinet. After I built this, I soon realised that it may not be practical for a medicine cabinet. Firstly, I don’t quite like the idea of placing wet toothbrushes inside a cabinet. Secondly, while the mirror is quite big in size (so that I can still see the top half of my body should I grow fat), it cannot be too low down near the tap. So this design and size would probably not do if it’s intended for a medicine cabinet.

Like my other pieces of furniture, I use Kapur wood. The carcass is a meter long while the breath is about 60 centemeters wide. The joints for the carcass is proud finger joints in line with the Greene and Greene theme. They are held by glue and screws. Rightfully, the screw heads are hidden by pegs; but since this is workshop furniture, I got lazy and put off doing the pegs. The shelves are dadoed into the sides. The carcass is held up by wooden bars that are screwed to the top and bottom via pocket holes. These wooden bars are then screwed to the wall.

The shape of the door rails were cut onto plywood to make a template. The wood was then routed on a router table. The rails are held in the stilts with mortise and tennon joinery. To make it stronger, screws are driven into the rails from the sides of the stiles. These are then covered with dowels.

A plywood pannel with white PVC is fitted into the door held by dado. This can be replaced by a mirror in place of the plywood.

A chisel and screw driver rack was then fabricated and fixed into the cupboard. I placed the entire cupboard onto adjustable supports before screwing it to the wall. A sprit level mskes the task more accurate.

Please feel free to leave any comments you like. It helps me learn, and for your benefit, most would agree that teaching others is the best way to learn. So do participate. Type in a line or two, so this blog would be more useful to those who visit.

Greene and Greene inspired coffee table in Singapore

Like the grain

Nice grain of wood under strong light.

Table top grain

Grain of wood under normal light conditions

Isometric view

The table

Coffee table

Front view

Side view

Side view

Drawer open

The drawer glides on two rails on its bottom

Drawer

Proud finger joints of the drawer

Front view

Floating shelf below

Through tennon

Throught mortise joint

Cloud lift

The cloud lifts upwards.

Breadboard end spine

Spines follows curves of the breadboard.

Breadboard end pegs

Breadboard end pegged with white oak. Note the through tennons of the rails.

Handle carved out of white oak

Handle made from white oak

This coffee table was inspired by the Gamble’s house Side table. In the original piece, the legs are thicker, and the cloud lift of the rail under the drawer is positively downwards. In my piece, the legs are more slender from the front and the cloud lift of the rail under the drawer is negatively upwards. I also have a shelf under the table.

The table is made from Kapur wood which is THE wood for door frames and window still. The top measures 90cm by 45cm. It is held flat by breadboard ends. The pegs are white oak which I think give a good contrast from the brown Kapur wood. Of course I could stain it black but I’ll leave it white for now It’ll probably age to a nice lighter brown.

The bottom shelf is made the same way. Notice that there is a gap all round the sides of the bottom shelf. It kind of gives the feel that the shelf is floating, at least that’s the intent. The shelf is actually secured to two sticks joining both lower rails together.

The legs are of similar shape to the Gamble’s side table. The side rails are held in by mortise and tenon joinery. Maybe I should have pegged those for an improved look, but maybe not; best to keep things simple especially for my first attempt at a Greene and Greene inspired coffee table.

The rails are joined to the sides with through mortise and tenon joints. The end of the tenon and mortises are rounded to give that soft feminine finish usually seen in G&G furniture. These are supposed to be the functional decorations for the sides.

The drawer r using proud finger joints.

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

3 planter boxes on a wall shelf

Wall shelf

3 planter boxes on a wall shelf
L shaped with a digonal across shelf bracket

The L shape was constructed using dovetail joint. The diagonal piece was attached with dowel joint.

This was another project I did early in my woodworking hobby. I needed a shelf in my belcony to house my plants. My belcony was also my wood workshop so I cannot afford a large space for my garden. As I live in an appartment, my belcony measures a mere 14 feet by 5 feet. Small for a workshop by any standard. And I have to share it with my plants!

The top was a slap of Kapur wood. It is used to make doors and window stills so I guess they would hold up and age well.

The shelf brackets are very strong. The L shape is done with dovetail joint construction. Normally, there is no need for such a strong joint in a simple shelf (butt joint will do) but I was practicing my dovetailing technique. The dignoal is held to the L by dowel joints. Do note how the grain of the diagonal runs. It should run along the length of the diagonal.

The shelf is finished with 5 coats of polyurethene varnish on each side.

The whole thing is mounted on the wall using plastic wall plugs and screws.

Tool chest made simple

Isometric view of the tool chect
Tool chest with drawers open

The four drawers are of different sizes. No drawer guide that waste space.

Country style tool chest with uneven staining of drawer front for a country style look.
Front view of tool chest

4 drawers of differing sizes help organise my tools well

I was thinking how am I to organise the tools my workplace have acquired. The person before me simply kept all the tools in a drawer. It was a maga mess. I had some plywood left over from another project and decided that a four drawer tool chest might be the answer.

The tool chest should have a tray on top of it that I can leave the tool in it without fear that it would roll off the top and stab me in my foot! The drawers ride on invisible runners that save space. Cost was kept low by drilling holes to make the pull handles for the drawer.

All holes are in alignment for that neat look. Now a new home for tools that can be kept safely, brought out to the worksite, and great looking too.

Greene and Greene style of woodworking is very special in the sense that, when you take a first glance at it, looks like most other furniture: Simple lines, squarish. It doesn’t yell out at you like earlier styles, such as Queen Ann with lots of carvings or Chippendale with its curves. But when you take a closer look at the details, it’s a whole new world. That was when I was blown away. The magic was really in the details. Simple inlays, cloud lifts, proud pegs, proud finger joints, stuff like that really made the difference.

After reading a few books, I decided to give it a go at designing and making a Greene and Greene inspired furniture. If you read my earlier post, I wrote that I started off furnishing my own flat with Ikea furniture. I decided to make a bookcase to fit under the Ikea table. It would sit at one end facing outwards. That would leave the back exposed, giving me a good reason to finish the back to the same high standard as the front.

I started out milling my lumber and joining two six inches wide board together. Then they go through the planner one more time.  I used Kapur as I had a good supply on hand. It’s a tropical hardwood usually used for window still and door frames. They are strong but not as beautiful as say teak, and it comes with a rather economical price tag.

I used a table saw to cut the finger joints. Dado stacks aren’t common in Singapore. I used a sled with a stop at one inch to make two cuts, one on each side of the panel. I moved my stop another inch to cut two inches from the sides. I then slide my panel across the saw blade using my sled as a fence to clear the wood between the two cuts.

The exposed finger joints are then rounded by hand with a rasp, chisel and sandpaper. The edges were rounded using a block plane. One swipe at fourty five degrees and another two rounds off the corners. It was surprisingly fast.

Holes were then drilled into the fingers to take a screw and a wooded plug. The panels were joined with glue and screws. The screw holes were then covered with round wooden pegs. My feel is that it is a lot easier to make round holes than square ones and it doesn’t compromise the aesthetic value of the piece too much. And I certainly wanted something easy to do as this is my first Greene and Greene piece.

I had some problems cutting the rebate on the back. Because of the small edge, my router kept slipping and cutting into the sides which didn’t give me the clean edge that I wanted. I ship-slapped a back on.

My inlay was made from white oak on the base. The based was joined to the main shelf using pocket screws. The finish is wipe on varnish and two layers of wax.

After constructing the shelf, it looks too good to be placed under a cheap Ikea table. The two just didn’t go together. I gave them to my kids, aged 3 and 5 to place their books and jigsaw puzzles.

Do give me your comments. This is my first piece in G&G, so your comments would help me a great deal to improve.  I’m now making a coffee table and a wall cabinet. I’ll write them when I finish. In my next blog, I’ll write on a chest of drawers for my tools.  Thanks for reading!

Who am I? Click here: https://lsvop.wordpress.com/about/

Customised seating

I was working with a five year old boy who had cerebral palsy. He moved about quite a bit due to his athetoid movements. His mother needed a chair that she could put him in. The chair must be sturdy enough to withstand his athetoid movements and not fall over. It should keep him in the chair and allow him to engage in activities with his hands.  I placed the child in a simulater and adjusted the angles till I thought it met my therapy goals.

The problem is there was no commercially availiable chair for the child to try. This is important in AT prescription because the child needs to try sitting on the chair for a reasonable period of time. I ended up fabricating a chair for him. The chair has a flat base that extended all the way from the toes to 5 inches past the backrest so there is little danger of it tipping over. The armrest are removable so the chair will be wider as the child grows. A removable footplate allows for growth in leg length. The lap tray is also provided so that the child can engage in a table top. The seat is tilted 20 degrees backwards to prevent him from sliding out of the chair as seen in the first picture.