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April / May 2014
Welding PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Holster   


Part 1: Basics of arc welding, the first of a series in how to weld.
The form of welding commonly known as stick welding or manual arc welding is the most versatile and widely used welding process in the world. It can be used to weld most common metals and alloys and welding mild steel—low-carbon steels with good weldability—with this process is wonderfully uncomplicated. It can be used outdoors and it’s normally portable, especially with the small powerful machines on the market today.
Arc welding over the last few years has had resurgence. It’s very cost efficent as well as simple to use once the basics are mastered. Successful arc welding is essentially about good position (it comes with practice) and choosing the best of many types of electrodes to suit a multitude of base materials and uses.
For this article on arc welding, correctly Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or Manual Metal Arc Welding (MMAW), I am dealing with the basics. Many people ask me what they are doing wrong when arc welding but most problems they encounter are all related to things not being set up properly or being ignored.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Furniture PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sid Aksoy   


Basic cabinetry: Part 1
Making a bedside cabinet in radiata pine, Shaker style. This project is the basis for a short course in the fundamentals of furniture making. This will run over several issues of The Shed magazine. We plan to show you the basics in timber preparation, construction techniques, design considerations and the common joints used in cabinetry. Each issue we will look in detail at some other element and show you how we applied that to the construction of this cabinet.

It is important to have a good understanding of the consecutive steps of construction for this cabinet. This simply means to start at the right point and proceed in a logical manner, in order to avoid obstacles. For example, a beginner’s mistake would be to glue up the top board for this project when gluing up the side panels and bottom shelf. This would be simply counterproductive. Now the top board will be sitting in the workshop for another four, five days, or longer depending on your available time. In this time, it can easily start “moving”, develop a warp, bent or twist. Build the carcase first and the top last.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make an acoustic guitar: Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rob Bentley   

Building an acoustic guitar: Part 2

Neck, heel, bindings, fingerboard bridge and frets are added

In the February/March 2014 issue of The Shed magazine, we began the first part of building an acoustic guitar. This article is the conclusion of the build. Where the sides meet at the tail of the guitar, it is customary to cut a recess and glue in a wedge-shaped piece of wood to match the intended bindings. The wedge tapers from 10 mm to 20 mm, with the wide end at the soundboard. The guitar can be held upright in a foam-padded vice and a small steel ruler can be stuck to the end of the guitar to serve as a guide for a marking knife or a razor saw to cut and chisel this wedge-shaped piece out of the tail to a depth of about 1 mm.

Take care to avoid cutting too deeply into the end of the soundboard or the back. The wedge is dry-fitted to ensure a tight join and then glued in with a weight placed on top. The wedge can be made over-length as it is trimmed back later when binding ledges are cut.

We next cut a ledge all the way around the back and the soundboard side of the guitar to enable gluing on a hardwood binding. This helps seal the end-grain of the soundboard and back and is also aesthetically pleasing. The binding wood is based creating a pleasing contrast with the back and side wood e.g. dark rosewood against a mahogany body or light maple against a rosewood body.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make a camper trailer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex van Dijk   

Make a camper trailer, a lightgweight camper set up in 10 minutes.

A lightgweight camper set up in 10 minutes.

For quite some time now I have wanted to make a camper trailer based on the early American teardrop campers. American teardrops first became common in the 1930s after DIY magazines such as Popular Mechanics published plans to build your own. The ultra-lightweight concept normally only sleeps a maximum of two adults in the cabin and has a small outside galley or kitchen at the back of the trailer. Often these campers weighed little more than 450kg and were very streamlined so were ideal for towing behind small cars or for long road trips.
Today, teardrops are becoming increasingly popular again, particularly in Australia and in the US, with a number of commercial manufacturers producing them.

A woman’s point of view
My husband and I, we love camping, writes Anke. Always have and always will. In fact we first met on a camping trip through the western United States back in 1998. Over the years, our family has grown and our kids too love being outdoors and going on camping trips. We moved on from our early camping days (in a two-person tent) to a bigger Great Outdoors tent and subsequently to a little pop-top two years ago in our quest for “easy-get-out-and-go” camping.

Time and time again, we kept falling back to the idea of the teardrop camper. Although it is still small for two people, our idea was to have one with a full-sized bed and a kitchen at the back that was easy to work in and where you could keep dry if it was raining.
As the camper is only big enough for two people, we had the idea of attaching an Oztent to it for the kids to sleep in. Our camper is built to last and, let's face it, for how long are the kids going to accompany us on our travels? If kids come, Oztent comes too and if it is just the two of us, we will just attach an awning for shade.
And so there we are...we set up camp in just under ten minutes, Oztent included, and in the morning we pack up in 15. If we just go from one place to another, there really is no need to fold the kids’ sleeping bags and mattresses either; they just go on top of our bed and come back out again at night at the next stop.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

Make a simple toy truck PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stuart Lees   

Make a simple toy truck

There is something about timber toys that no other material can match. A truck is a great toy and I’ve started with the general principle that the whole project should only be wood and glue. It makes you think around the problem of how to join things together and leads to some different design decisions that would be missed if that challenge was not set.
The truck chassis is the best platform to build the rest of the vehicle around. It controls the proportions, and provides good strength when the toy is dropped—or stood on. With toys in particular, maintenance and reparability are important to ensure a long life. A broken plastic toy goes in the bin, whereas a well-designed wooden toy can make many trips to the repair shop over generations of play.

If you have the tools available, timber should always be squared and planed flat. DAR (Dressed All Round) timber from a hardware store or timber supplier may look ready to use, but inevitably has a degree of curve, warp, bend or twist. Being able to plane and thickness material means these can be corrected to give stock that is straight and true. Importantly, it means you are not restricted to the dimensions of timber you can buy.

The chassis is fundamentally a rectangular block, with the wheel arches cut out of it. The tablesaw is used to define the sides and depth of the cut-out, with the waste material removed with a scroll saw, jigsaw or bandsaw (or hammer and chisel if that is your preference). You can use the tablesaw to waste more of the timber away if that helps being able to get the material out. A chamfer front and back and nipping away the front corners define the bumpers of the vehicle.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed