Building reclaimed wood shelving

The recently painted utility room has always been bereft of shelves. All the paint tins, barrels of tile cleaner and bottles of white spirit had no proper home and so gathered in those little used corners of the barn instead. Something had to change. Propelled by the freshly painted utility room and the poor weather I started on some new utility room shelving.

When we bought it, the end of the barn that now houses the kitchen housed chickens. The chickens resided in some rather nicely built animal stalls, that had been constructed from hard wood that I suspect had a previously life in more impressive surroundings – a school room or chapel would be my guess. I saved most of the wood from the stalls, some has been used on the front of my big metal shed and I saved one of the long beams, to use for shelving…

I took the opportunity of shelving the utility room to provide a proof-of-concept for my kitchen plans…

The shelves are simply constructed from white painted horizontal timbers screwed to the side walls. On these I sit plank shelves and then using dowels sunk into the side timbers fix on a decorative front. The front is a piece that I’ve cut out from my old beam, planned and sanded.

I’m really pleased with the eventual finish – cheap and effective, the old wood is lovely, with great colour, real ‘depth’ and it’s own story to tell. I really get a kick from using reclaimed materials such as these. Did I ever tell you about my flag stones…?

From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012

The Fallen Bough

Earlier in the year, with much help from a neighbour I cut-down a partly fallen bough from the large Scots pine tree that stands at the top of the yard.

Earlier in the year, with much help from a neighbour I cut-down a partly fallen bough from the large Scots pine tree that stands at the top of the yard. It was damaged during a storm last autumn when high winds caused a large bough from about two-thirds of the way up the tree to break and partially fall.

I was going to go into a long, lengthy and inevitably dull narrative about how we dealt with it, but I think the following three pictures tell the story far better. I’ll just add that pictures of a Land Rover, lengths of rope pinging under stress and an ably wielded chainsaw could have been inserted between the second and third pictures, if anyone had thought to take them…

From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012
From Barn Conversion 2012

Woodworking Plans

When it comes to the barn, at the moment, the skill about which I know very little, but with which I plan to achieve much is woodworking.

I have the following on my to-do list to be built: shelves under the stairs, book cases along the landing, a cabin bed and boxing-in in the second bedroom, a woodstore, a garden gate, some garden storage, planters and a shelter for the gas bottles. Each of these projects will require some pretty skillful woodworking if I’m to get the level of finish I aim for. In reality, I’ll probably need to buy some of these in, but at the moment I like to think I can do them myself (except perhaps the garden gate, I think that’s probably one for the professionals).

For some obscure reason, there seem to be lots of wood-working plans freely available on the internet (is woodworking big in America?), but most I’ve seen are pretty poor quality. Then the other day I came across the California Redwood Association website and some great woodworking plans. The measurements are in feet and inches so won’t suit the modern British builder and they suggest the use of redwood, which is pretty tricky to get at B&Q(!), but I really like these clear, concise and very usable plans. So far I’ve go my eye on the Petaluma Planters and Garden Tool Shed plans and there are more on the Project Plans page.

A walk in the woods…

TRF and I went for a walk in the woods on Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve been there, except to dump ashes from the fire.

From Barn Conversion 2011

TRF told me that the brambles have been placed there by dragons – must be to keep us away…

There is plenty of growth in the hedgerow that needs to be removed to allow light in and for me to start to replenish my dwindling stock of firewood. That gives me a job to look forward to at the weekend, if I can get my chainsaw started. A job to get done before the tree sap starts rising and spring arrives. It would be nice to feel some warm from the ground again.

The ash logs that I get from my little patch of woodland need to be split to season properly – the unsplit logs that I cut last winter, despite residing in a nice warm metal clad shed all summer have sizzled as they’ve burnt…

There are one or two large branches that have fallen over the winter – a bounty of wood that doesn’t need to be cut!

From Barn Conversion 2011

a mosaic of cut log ends…

Whilst the interiors of this barn conversion in Austria are a little too coldly architectural for my liking, I love this external wall. It evokes a favourite Roger Deakin quote. (It’s also a bit daft that it’s the north facade of the building as the logs will get no sun on them to aid in their seasoning.)

wall of logs

The other thing I always notice with these European conversions is how they would never pass British building regulations – for example, on picture number 10 (the one with a blurry man going upstairs) there appears little if not no insulation in the roof. The budget of 70,000 euros also suggests an ‘unemcumbered’ build.