Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Roofbox part 8–now the come-uppance for my incompetence.

I told you I was no good at woodwork.  Now that the roof box is nearing completion I can see the mistakes I made.  It may astonish you to find that my box is less than perfect.  It doesn’t surprise me, just like any software I write, it doesn’t have faults, I prefer to call them features. Read on below to learn how to include the same features yourself so your work can look home made like mine. No-one could possibly think mine was professionally made. What would be the point of that?  First though, lets look at where I’m at.  Here is the box minus its floor and the “gable ends” (more of which later).


The picture shows the box turned upside down.  Just like an insect, it now has six feet.  Here’s a close up of one of the feet the right way up.


Such exquisite joinery.  I put one piece of wood against another with a dob of glue, then drive in a screw. This time I used Gorilla glue, I figured that if it’ll glue gorillas together it must be strong. So what you see here is a corner of the box, where the grey leg is glued and screwed (from the outside) to the cream side planks, and there’s end of the (new design)  rail which will support the loose laid floor boards. At least i hope it will.  Believe me, if I can do it, anybody can.  I doubt very much if it is mega strong, but it only has to sit there rather than being hoiked about and stressed.  The feet are cut off at a cunning angle to allow for the curve / slope of the boat roof.

So what incompetencies can you learn from me?

1. Buying wood.  I get mine from Wickes, which I dare say is no worse than anywhere else.  I know by now that wood is never flat and straight.  It might be when they cut and plane it, but wood of this quality is not stable.  if you’re as useless as me, you’ll grab a pack off the shelf and find out how bad it is when you get home.  That’s why the plank at one of the box ends is charmingly dished so that it doesn’t lie flat against the leg, thus weakening the corner.  i had to resort to making little wooden wedges to fill the gaps.  Smart people take a good look at the wood in the shop and sort through to find the good bits. Bah!  Boring.

2. Precision. Why not be like me and measure to the nearest millimetre before casually sawing somewhere near the line?  It makes it so much more fun trying to make the corners of the box meet, especially when your right angles are anywhere between 86 and 94 degrees.  The charming little gaps so produced in the joints are ideal as homes for spiders and the like  (doing my bit for the environment. I might designate the box as organic.)  and the rain can get in to keep the wood from drying out.

I am however, very proud to say that i did remember to measure my car boot before I glued the box together, and the assembled box will fit in for taking the box up to Herbie. At least I think it will.

Well we’re near the end of this project.  Just the gable ends and the ridge pole for the cover to complete.  I have cunning plans /new designs for both items so stay tuned.


Marilyn McDonald said...

I have the sense, Neil, that you were (and still are) a brilliant teacher!
This has been a most entertaining exposition on how to build and paint a roof box, and brilliant in many ways:
1) it has shown me that I definitely will not be building one myself as I don't have the patience for the building let alone fiddle-arsing with that complex and beautiful paint job;
2) your step by step guide gives those who do want to give it a go all the info they need - the how to, as well as the how not to;
3) the self deprecation is a very attractive quality and makes people read, smile and learn rather than thinking 'smug ba*tard, humph, what does he know?' And a sub-point: I am absolutely sure that you never measure carefully three times and then cut once in a haphazard fashion - now tell me I am wrong, I dare you!
4) the humour adds to the learning and enjoyment of that.

Well done, that man!

By the way, I am interested in the concept of buying a "pack" of wood - that's a foreign concept to us NZers. We buy it by the piece and I always check it for straightness/knots/missing chunks where knots have fallen out. Doesn't everyone, I ask?

Cheers and keep these great posts coming - and if this series ends up in your Bodge job column I am coming to track you down - unless you change the name of the column ...

Marilyn McD

Neil Corbett said...

Well Marilyn, what can I say? I am genuinely not good at woodwork. I come from the "near enough is good enough" school. Whilst I am hopeful that my finished box will do the job for a few years and look good from a distance, it is certainly a million miles from proper carpentry and anyone looking up close at the corner joints might think a child did it. I saw as near to the line as I can, but I don't faff about with planes and sanders to get it dead on after that. As for all that painting, I enjoyed that, but I'm lucky in that Kath doesn't mind the mess I make in our ramshackle conservatory at home for weeks on end.

Thankx for your comments anyway.

Vallypee said...

This made me chuckle so much, because it’s my kind of carpentry too. I shall remember that ‘near enough is good enough’. Well done for almost finishing it! I’m sure once it is full of its usual stuff, it will look magnificent!