Designing and Building a Tiny House, and Everything In Between. 

Ribbons, Sails 

& Dandelion Fluff

May 2020 –

Building a Shelter

Steel Frames & Cladding

Apr 20 – Jul 19

Doors & Windows

The Beginnings of a ‘Tiny’ Project

Apr 19 – Aug 17

Succulents & Raspberries;

A First Foray into Gardening.

Oct 17 – Apr 15

Saturday 15th August 2020 | another bite sized post

Last post, I was working on a large drawer unit. This week the work on drawers continues, but on a much smaller scale. Moreover, unlike the Tiny Making Station for which I repurposed three old wardrobe drawers, I am building the drawers myself. All twenty-one of them. If you haven’t guessed, I am attempting to build one of those plastic organiser you will likely find in your dad’s shed. The one with the tiny drawers that house assorted nails, washers, bolts, drill bits etc. Unlike the manufacturers, whose aspiration is to produce a lightweight product in the brightest shade of orange possible, I am striving for something a little more elegant; fine woodwork rather than function over form. Mine too will be home to screws, tacks, hooks and hinges, but perhaps less conventionally, it will also hold my embroidery threads, tiny tins of enamel paints and perhaps the odd button or two. Pretty much anything small enough.

I set this project as a practice in proper joinery, a stretch of my patience and skills. Plus, after constantly being exposed to the beautiful hand-crafted pieces on Antiques Roadshow, or The Repair Shop (more on that soon), I wanted to create something that could be appreciated beyond the confines of my tiny home. So far, all is going pretty well! The dovetails may not be the finest I have ever seen, (it is only my second attempt), and there have been a few issues with splitting oak,  but it holds together without glue, (there will be glue eventually), and it is nice and square! Besides, during this build I have discovered that it’s kind of fun when things don’t pan out perfectly. 

Fun? Well, it makes me feel like I am on The Repair Shop facing an antique that needs a little love. The challenge of facing something broken, or just a bit shabby in this case, and finding a solution. A test to see if I can make a feature of the mistake or execute a repair that’s almost indistinguishable. Alright, it’s unlikely that my level of skill can match that, but it is good practice and it relieves the pressure of getting it bang on in the first place. (I shall just take a moment to recommend everyone watches The Repair Shop, it is such a brilliant show and if you are a subscriber of this blog, you WILL LIKE IT. I can assure you it’s far more fascinating than anything that goes on here.  A brilliant homage to makers of all trades.)

Yesterday, I began creating the first few drawers using some pine from the chest pictured above. Each will eventually be faced with a hardwood drawer front, but for now I am focusing on building the 21 carcasses. (If you have done the maths, you may be wondering why only 21? I decided the bottom shelf will feature 3 full width drawers. They will be divided on the inside, but I thought it would be more pleasing aesthetic-wise to shake it up.)

Tuesday 4th August 2020

Short and sweet! Here is the drawer unit worktop come to life. It might not be pretty as a picture, but I am quite excited about this little space. I think this corner of my home will become one of my favourite spots. It will offer flexibility to the space in which I plan to make many, many things, and will hold all the tools and materials to bring such creations to life. 

The front section has a removable insert which can be lifted out, using the corner cut-out, to reveal a rimmed tray, (much better than my idea of flipping the lid, as described in my previous post.) Here, I can safely collect bits and pieces from the shelves that will be mounted above this unit, and wheel them over to my desk, without the heart stopping moment of watching your chisel roll off the edge of a bench.

Spin the drawer unit around, lift the lid and there is the tiny wood working bench- to possibly feature a vice, and certainly, a sharpening station. I have used a pair of flush overlay hinges, which proved perfect for the job! A lucky chance really, for I picked them up as an afterthought, (despite not quite knowing how they worked), when buying some traditional hinges. They prevented me from having to install hinges on the top face, nor did I have to leave a gap for the swing of the lid.

Later, I installed a stay, not pictured, to keep the lid from falling down when I am working, (irritating!), and a stop at the rear of drawers to prevent them from being pushed back into the unit.

I also made a long, narrow drawer to fill the space next to my colouring pencil drawers; a perfect spot for my fountain pen inks. I must say, all this organising of my stationary and tools is immensely satisfying.

And, it was only today that I realised the potential of attaching a wide piece of trim to the edge of the bench. Besides looking a lot better than the ply edging, such an addition allows me to clamp pieces to the unit. Handy until I get my hands on a small vice.

I suppose you could call this an Easter Egg! A little sneak peek into the future, for these are types of pieces I hope to make in my tiny home; little timber decorations to adorn a Christmas Tree. As of now, I squeeze such work into the time between dinner and bedtime, but one day, once this house is complete, I will have plenty of spare time to really sink my teeth into such things!

Sunday 19th July 2020

In my previous post I finished up with an exciting little clue as to what I was building next, yet when I was met with identical confused reactions from 75% of my readers, (Thanks Mum & Baby Potato*), I realised that interest was minimal and thus deemed a more demure reveal would be more appropriate. 

In short, I have spent the last two afternoons building the rough shell of my Tiny Making Station… (yes, I agree, the name need’s some work).  Essentially, it’s a set of drawers on wheels that will function as a home for my tools, colouring pencils & general making supplies, but also will double as a tiny work bench. Tiny, being the key word here, but it certainly will be better than relying purely on my dining table/desk. Although the unit is far from complete, functionally it’s come together better than I anticipated.

* My darling sister

However, the best details are in the upper half of the unit, which is yet to see fruition, so I’ll need some drawings if I am going to do my idea any justice.

In its normal state, the countertop of the drawers will  allow me another work surface; whether that be as a laptop standing desk, a wrapping station, (very niche, but I’m sure we have all experienced the anxiety of wrapping on the carpet of the lounge room floor), or even some more bench space for the occasional over-ambitious kitchen venture. The wheels offer such flexibility, but more importantly, I can roll the unit over to my living area and desk and have easy access to my set of colouring pencils WITHOUT cramping up my desk space!

The second aspect of the top, shown in drawing 3, is that it will be split in two, with the front halve flipping over to reveal a rimmed surface. Why? As I want to line the wall to the left of the drawers with paints, brushes, tape, ribbons etc, and the back wall with smaller hand tools (pin board style), it would be useful to have a form of taking them over to my desk without having to carry armfuls of supplies back and forth. The rimmed edge would allow me to stow these items without the risk of anything rolling off.

The back half will be a bit more complicated, see image 4. The idea is that the lid will open to reveal a small woodworking station, by which I am thinking a vice and some sort of set up for sharpening my tools with my wet stone, (because if it’s already set up, I am far more likely to do it). To access the space, I would just need to wheel out the unit, spin it around and park it facing the other way. I also see potential to slip in a bit more storage behind the drawers.

And finally, if none of that made the slightest sense, here is a rough real life mock up of the wood working station. At least, the idea of what it could be.

Reflection: Saturday 11th July 2020

Without a doubt I should have composed this post on Saturday, or even Sunday, as I basked in the pleasure of complete victory. The triumph of completing my bathroom door. In a single day.

I was proud as punch and happy as Larry, and it would have been a jolly read…. if only I hadn’t been so exhausted from all the success. So, whilst I write this in no seriously lessened spirits, it is with the distance of days, and thus all the bright ideas and realisations of such accomplishment are a vague remembrance. 

Alright, if we are going to be pedantic, I should note, that the door remains in its rough state. Undressed and unpolished, at least until installation is nigh. (I have learnt, thanks to my own carelessness, that pieces will inevitably suffer as they are shuffled about awaiting installation.) Nevertheless, structurally the door is sound, and if I hung it tomorrow it would function as advertised! I far outstripped even my own expectations for I’d been envisioning a week of work ahead. Yet, I underestimated the value of a concentrated effort; thanks to the unexpected surprise of having the entire day to myself, AND, the blessing of experience. It is no longer inconceivable for me to conjure up an idea and just know how to execute it, WITHOUT preliminary research, or trial & error! I am also happy to report that I can more easily recognise where I can take short cuts without detriment to the integrity of a piece- handy when one is feeling less inspired to delve into the time hungry world of fancy joinery. In short, I was quite pleased. 

Oh ho, what do we have here? Unconsidered possibilities.
Now, that, is exciting.