Making, Crafting, Creating... aka Whatcha workin' on?


Starting again:


This one may take some time to finish; going into hospital on Thursday.


These are cool, my wife would love something like this for her studio.


Best of luck with the hospital visit.


They are pretty easy to make, especially if you have access to a drill press. A step bit makes nice clean holes in PVC. (You will have LOTS of plastic shavings to clean up, though!) A jig clamped to the drill press table is very helpful here. I just eyeballed the hole size & spacing. You could do other things, like use a chop saw to make a bunch of parallel slots. In fact, maybe I’ll try that next.

For the lights, I use the “direct wire” type LED replacement T8 tubes, with both contacts at one end. This means you can plug it directly into A/C house current (i.e. no ballast needed), and that only one end of the tube needs wiring. (There are pins at the other end, but they are only for mechanical support.) Here’s a sample. To make the connection, I use these bi-pin lampholders on the hot end only. Wrap a bit of electrical tape to secure the lampholder to the tube. Then just attach a cord w/plug. The wires just push into holes in the lampholder, although I needed to solder on short pieces of solid wire, because power cords use stranded wire, which you can’t really poke into a hole.

Colored polycarbonate tube guards may be difficult to source in small quantities, but you could probably use colored plastic sheets or film & just wrap & tape.


The “previous project” I mentioned: A geometric light sculpture made of (4) intersecting triangles of different colors, each comprising (6) 48" T8 tubes.

I broke several tubes when uninstalling this piece, so now I have around 18-20 of them left, already encased in colored sleeves.


Is that a tensegrity structure?


If only it were, it probably would have held up better. No, it was just 4 interconnected triangles. I used rebar for the triangles’ sides and ziptied the tubes to that. The rebar proved to be too flexy & that’s why the tubes started breaking. Reality has a way of messing up otherwise good ideas. Well, it looked cool for the few days it was up. The piece was called QSO.


Got it done in time:

Spalted Acacia.


New one, made with a chop saw:

Just now painting it & I’ll add a yellow tube later


I like these a lot. No idea what I’d do with them, but they’re cool.


@MrShiv I’m thinking garden lighting.


New version with yellow tube


The PiCrate has been working well, but before I can take it on the road I need to finish up a few things.

The foamcore holding the display is held by friction-fit. Fine for sitting on the desk, but it needs to be more secure when traveling. Behind, some strips of foamcore glued in place will be fine. In front, It needs to look classy. I picked some square 3/16" brass tubing and I’ll run that across the top and bottom. Those will be held in place by flush brass screws on the sides, as soon as I get to Home Depot.

Some more bits of tubing on the bottom will hold a piece of wire hanger as a swing-out stand to tilt it up on a table. Some brushwork to get the black/brass paint lines right on the front.

I’ve been using a tiny wireless keyboard, but (a) thumb-typing, (b) doesn’t really match the style. I have a folding Targus Palm keyboard that would be much better, but it’s infrared, not Bluetooth. Adding an IR detector to the Pi might be the easiest solution.


Got a bit more of that lovely Blackheart Sassafras to play with.


You may have mentioned this already, but where do you get these chunks of exotic wood?


Personally, I get them from my Dad’s leftovers.

As to where he gets them…it’s a mix.

He has a chainsaw, and makes a habit of volunteering to “dispose” of any unwanted trees on friends/family/neighbours’ property. And because I used to work in forestry restoration, I’m also able to let him know when those guys have a felled tree that they don’t want to leave to rot in place.

Trees like Camphor Laurel and African Olive are invasive weeds in Australia; it isn’t hard to get your hands on large quantities of the stuff. There’s most of a full-grown Camphor Laurel cut up in the shed waiting to be turned.

For more exotic things, there’s the Woodturners Club and woodcraft conventions; you can buy lumps of just about anything if you’re willing to pay for it. If you only need a small lump, it doesn’t cost too much.

That’s where the Blackheart Sassafras came from; my Dad bought a plank of it because he wanted to make a box, and I scavenged the offcuts and glued them together to provide the raw material for my bowls.



Made a dish today.

Camphor Laurel.


I can’t claim credit for these, but my wife has got out her sewing machine after not being able to sew for a good twelve months and is making the most of it. I love a pair of loose beach pants and over the years she’s made me some brilliant linen ones that are perfect for a hot summer.

This time she’s excelled herself. Oh, and she knows me all too well.


“You! Hold still while I read your pants!”