Showing posts with label oak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oak. Show all posts

Tuesday 11 April 2023

“Picture and Collection Bar”

This is another one of those projects I found on Pinterest & decided to make a DIY implementation of. The original pin describes it as a “picture and collection bar”.

Essentially using a wooden strip to trap marbles in such a way that they have a little movement but due to the sloped design will always try to move downward and towards the wall.

This means that if you push a piece of paper through the gap at the bottom, there is enough movement for the marbles to get out of its way but they will immediately roll down, providing just enough friction to hold the paper – but not enough friction to prevent you from easily removing the paper again if you need to.

It’s kind of like an ultra slim pin board, but without having to put holes in your paper.

The original design I found used pretty thin strips that appear to be jointed it mitred angles.

Instead I opted for using a larger piece of oak, but then cutting out an angled gap for the marbles.

The cross section looks something like this:

The actual construction of this was very simple, just a series of rebate cuts on the table saw, occasionally making one of them angled, and making one very us at the bottom of the piece, so that when it’s up against the wall there is a slight gap as can be seen in the above diagram, which will allow paper to pass through.

Then I capped off the ends with a little piece of mahogany, to prevent the marbles from rolling out the sides – this is simply glued and pinned in place – and then finally some finishing.

As the piece of oak I was using was reclaimed and had a couple of screw holes, I patched one which looks a little bit like a knot in the wood, and the other two which were at the edges, I decided to patch using brass tacks, as the holes were in a position where if I were going to screw this to the wall I would have put holes anyway.

The tricky part of this project is mounting it to the wall. My design does not have a back piece because I did not want it to protrude too far from the wall. The downside of this means until it is on the wall, the marbles could fall out the back.

So, firstly, I filled the back with some marbles.

 I then used gaffer tape across the back of the marbles and the lower part of the bar – leaving the side top bit exposed as this is where the adhesive is going to go. I left enough excess gaffer tape to be able to fold it round so that there was a ‘handle’ hanging off the bottom of the bar.

Obviously the next step is to mark out a position on the wall to mount it, make sure that it is level, etc. Then apply the glue to the back of the bar, and stick it to the wall.

Once you’re confident that the glue set, you can put on the gaffer tape ‘handle’, to peel the tape away from the marbles on the back, releasing them.









Thursday 10 December 2020

Live-edge oak spotlight light fixture - part 2 - adding ambience

In my previous post, I built a hanging light fitting of live-edge oak and recessed GU10 spotlights.

There is actually more to the project.

Sometimes, spotlights can be a bit overpowering, and it's preferable to have some ambient, indirect light.

During construction, I had the idea of creating this light in a way that would allow use of the spotlights, an ambient light, or both.

To create the ambient light, I used LED strips on the reverse (upward-facing) side, to reflect light off the ceiling.

I cut some thin strips of oak with a 45-degree angle and mounted them in a rectangle on the back - angled side outward, to help direct the light. An RGB LED strip was mounted all around this.


I initially thought of using the LED driver that tends to come standard with rolls of LED strip, but as the existing wiring leads to only one switch, without some rewiring through the ceilings/walls, it would be limited to either having both the spotlights and the ambient light on, or just the spotlights on without the ambient light - it would not be possible to have the ambient light on without the spotlights.

In order to combat this, and to lay groundwork for a potential future project, I included a solid-state relay and an Arduino. The arduino would drive TIP31 transistors to drive the 3 channels for the LEDs red, green and blue, and additionally control a solid state relay which would act as the switch for the spotlights.

The idea would then be that the light switch would remain on, more like a utility switch, and then all control of the light fitting would be handed over to the Arduino.




The original wiring sketch.
it's just a rough sketch,
not a proper wiring diagram.
The LED strips take 12V, and the microcontroller takes 5V, so a PSU is needed to bring the power down to usable levels.

For this I used an old net-book power supply. This was wired into the back of the light fitting. Caution is needed to make sure that nothing too powerful is used, as typically a houses' lighting circuit breaker is tripped at a much lower current than the mains sockets.


Revised to include the additional components
This would normally be plugged into a wall socket, where it's plug would have a fuse. However in order to wire this into the lighting wiring, the plug would need to be removed - obviously this introduces a safety concern. To ensure that this would still be fused, I replaced the wall switch for the light to one that includes a fuse, ensuring that the light is behind the fuse.



To communicate with the Arduino, I used a cheap HC-05 bluetooth to serial adapter, the same as I've used in other projects like the Bluetooth Macro keyboard app.

The arduino receives 4 bytes, followed by newline characters. These correspond to 1 byte each for the red, green and blue channels in the LED strip, and the final byte is either a simple 0 or 1 to indicate if the spotlights should be on.

For now this is sent by pairing with my phone and using a bluetooth serial terminal app from the Google play store. I'll probably create a more custom app in future, but for proving the concept, this works just fine.


Saturday 28 November 2020

Live-edge oak spotlight light fixture

The basic idea

The idea is that the fitting uses GU10 spotlight fittings like those typically recessed into ceilings.

However, instead of recessing them into the ceiling, they're recessed into a piece of live-edge wood, which is hung from the ceiling like a more traditional light fitting.

The woodwork

There's not much really in the way of woodwork in this project, just clean off bark and splintery bits from the live edge, preserving as much of the edge as possible.

Quite a bit of sanding was also needed to clear up the surfaces.

The end of the board I had was cleanly sawn which I thought detracted from the live edges, so I broke the corners down with a carving disc on an angle grinder.

Creating grooves for
the spotlights latches
Then measure the centre line. I started by taking the average width of the board and working from that, but there is some leeway - having both sides be live edge makes this near impossible to find a perfect centre line, but ultimately as long as it looks central to the naked eye.

The spotlight fittings are not designed to go through the thickness of the board - after all, they're intended for plasterboard ceilings. While it won't affect the functioning of the light, it means that the spring loaded clips that latch. To work around this, I used a forstner drill to thin around the edge of the spotlight holes where the latch would sit - This is easier to do before the main spotlight hole is cut out, to stop the forstner bit from slipping.

Then I cut out the holes for the spotlights by drilling a pilot hole and widening with a jigsaw.

Test fit of one of the light surrounds

Wiring the spotlights

The three spotlights are wired in parallel, split across 2 junction boxes. Having them in parallel means that if one bulb was to fail, the others could continue to function.


To make installing the light easier, the lead that connects from the ceiling to the wood itself included a 'kettle plug' style plug and socket, simply so that the wiring could be done on the workbench, and just plugged in at the time of installation.



The ceiling roses were purchased, and have simple hooks on them for hanging the chain.

Eyelet screws were attached in the back of the wood at each corner, from which the chain was attached.

Enough leeway was given on the chains so that adjustment could be made to ensure that the light hangs flat.

Friday 23 October 2020

Combination pinboard and cinema poster frame

Even before Covid-19, people were already starting to talk about "work-life balance", and it's effect on health.

When Covid made working from home the norm, maintaining that balance became even harder, especially for those whose homes are more open-plan, meaning the same rooms they go to relax could end up also being where they go to work.

This project is aimed at exactly this problem.

During the day, the frame can be opened up, to reveal a pin-board where all the usual work notes and paperwork can be pinned, but once the working day is done, the frame can slide closed, shutting the metaphorical door on office life, leaving just the poster visible, more in fitting with a relaxed home lounge look.

The 'front' (poster) frame

This frame is more akin to a traditional frame, but as it will be the sliding component, and so not directly mounted to the wall, keeping the weight low is important.

As with the back frame, the joints are mitred half-lap. The same oak is used, but much thinner (roughly half inch). A rebate is cut in to seat the glass, poster and backing board.

With weight limitation in mind, thin perspex was used in place of glass. The rest of the frame is pretty standard - a sandwich of the perspex, the poster, backing card, and then hardboard (in this case, up-cycled panels from a hollow core door) all held in place with some pins.

The 'back' (pinboard) frame

To start with, this is a standard mitred half-lap jointed frame, albeit deeper than a normal frame - about an inch. It also does not have any rebate or groove, as it's not needed.

The pin board that I'm re-purposing is another of the same style I used for the desk organiser. It's smaller than the poster frame, but this is by design to allow room for the sliding mechanism.

The two long sides are removed.

These are replaced with longer oak sides that attach it to the frame. On one side this is simply screwed into the larger frame, and on the other, small grooves are cut into the frame for it to fit into, similar to a tenon.


This second side leaves approximately 4 inches between the edge of that inner frame, and the edge of the main frame.


The rail mechanism

2 4x2" pieces of oak are drilled with a 20mm hole lengthways, and then glued in place at the top and bottom of the frame, filling this gap.

Then, the entire frame is cut lengthways, halfway through these pieces of oak, leaving 2" of it on either side. These will form the rails.

The 20mm hole is extended through the 'long side' part of the inner frame, at both ends.

The 'thin' part of the frame - the one without the pin board attached, is the part of the back frame that the front frame will mount to, and be the part that slides out.

16mm aluminium tubing was inserted through each of the channels. On the thin side of the frame, a screw was driven perpendicular to the 20mm hole, fixing the tube in place and adding some support to the glued in block.

These two tubes are then threaded through the 'fat' part of the frame.

Joining the two frames

Screws from the back frame are driven through into the front frame on the left hand side (the 'thin' side).

To prevent sagging when the frame is opened, leather loops are attached around the other end of the tubing and screwed into the back of the front frame.

This makes the sliding part of the frame counterbalance it's own weight.

The whole thing was finished with a coat of danish oil, 4 angle brackets were added and it was mounted to the wall.



Wednesday 12 September 2018

3 Panel Oak Picture/Poster Frame

A few years ago I bought a set of three Hotline Miami posters from the Eurogamer Expo. As much as I liked them I never round to hanging them - I kept telling myself I'd get a good frame, but never did.

This frame was made from a single piece of oak, and consists of dovetail-like joints in for the middle of the structure with half-lap miters for the corners.

The glass was upcycled from 3 individual picture frames from the local scrapyard - The existing frames were completely mismatched and in a bad state, but they all happened to have the same size glass, which cleaned up easily for this new frame.

Pic of the finished frame below, with sketch/build video below.
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Monday 24 October 2016

Oak Desk with Embedded TV/Monitor part 3 : Fitting the TV

This is a continuation of my build of an oak and glass desk with a 32" TV & computer built into it. The previous parts of the build can be found below.
Step 5: Fitting the TV

The TV that was volunteered for the project is a Samsung 32" LCD.

Removing the bezel revealed the actual dimensions of the panel and the frame which would need to be incorporated into the desk. To allow this whilst keeping the panel near to the glass I had to rout a border into the underside of the desktop - as mentioned in part 2.

Fortunately the frame of the TV included mounting holes. Less fortunately, they were in line with the thinner ledge that held the glass. It didn't seem wise to mount screw the TV to that thin ledge - it had enough weight to support with the glass alone, therefore I created small plywood mounts to go between the TVs mounting holes and the main body of the desktop.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

In order to protect the user and the electronics from each other, I decided to keep the plastic back of the TV. This was simply held in place by several "mechanical retention blocks" (a fancy name for small offcuts of wood that wedged the back in place). This held the back securely, while also allowing access should it be required for maintenance/upgrades.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

Step 6: Fitting the CHIP

Rather than have cables trailing to the TV from an input device, I decided to add a small single-board computer. The system I've opted for is the CHIP - a $9 dollar board. I backed their Kickstarter for a couple of CHIP systems and a VGA adapter board. The spare CHIP will surely find it's way to another project, but one of them and the VGA board are being used here.

After setting up the board and configuring it using a spare monitor, it was time to transfer it to the TV. I removed the back of the TV, and sat the CHIP there - there was sufficient space for the board, but I had to cut out a bit of plastic for the cables to run through (the VGA cable into the back of the TV, the power, which went to a phone charger in the desk's extension lead, and a USB extension lead which just runs out to the back of the TV so that I could connect peripherals if needed.)

Once the back was replaced on the TV, there's not really much to indicate it's anything more than a standard TV.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

The next (and hopefully final step) will be to get some software on there.

Friday 7 October 2016

Oak Desk with Embedded TV/Monitor part 2

This is a continuation of my build of an oak and glass desk with a 32" TV & computer built into it. The first part of the build is here.

Step 3: Routing the back to fit the TV

Even with the plastic bezel removed from around the front of the TV, there's still a metal frame supporting the screen, which can't be removed.

Just sitting the TV against the back of the desktop would leave a gap of 28mm between the glass and the screen, which is enough to look a bit weird.

I routed the back of the desk to allow the TV to be positioned closer to the glass. This meant removing another 10mm from the desktop thickness, leaving the 'ledge' that the glass sits of at 18mm.

Step 4: Creating the legs

It made sense to use the section that had been removed from the middle of the desktop for the legs. However, I didn't want to just use the flat board, as it would just look lazy and reminiscent of flat-pack furniture, even when cut into 4 for the legs.

I also needed to give consideration to the cabling for the screen, which led me to the idea of splitting the wood into 8 pieces, and pairing them together to create the four legs. This would allow for the cabling to be integrated, and give a more solid leg aesthetic which better suited the style I was aiming for.
The 8 leg parts, ready to pair up and join

To allow for the cable to be run, before joining the last leg, I routed a groove in the joining sides. a hole was drilled through to the outer corner of the leg. This will be tidied up later to incorporate the hole in part of the design so it doesn't look too out of place.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

Then the corners of the legs were shaped, and open mortises were cut to attach the desks skirt

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

With the legs done, I can move onto fitting the TV.

Friday 23 September 2016

Oak Desk with Embedded TV/Monitor

I've been after a new desk for a while, but never really been able to find one that fits the right combination of size, style and budget.

So I decided to build one myself, taking inspiration from a few videogames, where desks with built-in screens are commonplace:

In Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013), the 'SMI' as it was known, was interactive and and provided a means of displaying menu systems to the player.
More recently, in Doom (2016),
the desk is merely part of the scenery.

The plan
As much as I like the look of the tables in the games, I decided to go with a more traditional look.

The TV (red) will be sunk into the table, with the electronics hidden by the apron (grey) part.

When the glass (blue) is added, it will line up with the table surface, creating a flush finish.
The underside - I envisage a frame, possibly a re-purposed wall mount (yellow/gray), supporting the TV. The pink block indicates where I will mount the computer.

I started with a block of oak kitchen counter top. The aim was to put the TV into the desk, then protect it with a glass worktop sunk into the wood.

Step 1: Routing the ledge for the glass

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on
The counter-top is 38mm thick, and has substantial weight to it. The plan was to route 10mm deep into it so that the glass would sit flush with the rest of the wood.

The glass was centered on the table and marked up. I'd only be routing the ledge, I'd be cutting the middle part out entirely, to make room for the screen, so it didn't make sense to rout all that.

I also left the corners - once the middle was removed I'd use a forstner drill to do those, to ensure a nice round corner.

Step 2: Cutting out the middle

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on
It would be a shame to waste the large chunk of wood from the middle, so I thought I'd use it to create the legs which meant I had to remove it intact.

I did this by using a circular saw to plunge-cut on each side, using the routed ledge as a guide, then using a jigsaw to finish the cuts on each side, allowing the middle to drop out (which of course had to be controlled, leaving it unsupported would likely have caused the wood to split when the majority of support was gone).

With the middle removed, I could finish the corners of the ledge using the forstner drill.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

The next steps are to build the legs and mount the TV.