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On the internet I came across some nice rivertables. These are tables with a ‘river’ of epoxy in the middle. They are one of a kind, especially when its bark is the bank of the river. Many tutorial videos are available, but I mostly watched the videos from Blacktail Studios. Cal is really a master in these tables and makes the most wonderful things. His tutorials are really good and prepare you for the job. If you are interested in making a rivertable yourself, I can really recommend his channel.

After watching a couple of his videos I decided to make a coffee table myself. As I had never worked with epoxy I started out with some trial projects. The first was a small presentation board which turned out pretty amazing. The second project was the earlier described chessboard.

The next step was to find proper wood. I was able to purchase a nice slab of yew (NL: taxus) from my colleagues at the bodgers. It had been drying for a couple of years and we needed to peel it out of a big stack of lumber. I removed the bark from the edges with a steel brush angle grinder and sawed the slab in half. The two halves were a bit bent, and needed to be planed. This was done at by my friend James at Shoplands Sawmill.

Freeing the slab from it’s captivity

With a frame I laid out the basic shape and form and took off the excess wood. This gave a nice impression of how the table was going to look.

The slabs laid out

A big part of the job was to make the mold. The laminated chipboard from the local hardware store wasn’t wide enough, so I had to join two of them in the middle. All the edges were sealed with silicone sealant, especially the seam in the bottom of the mold.

Before I could poor the first layer, I applied epoxy to all sides. This seals the wood and prevents bubbling and adhesion problems. After clamping down the slabs it was time to poor the first layer. This is a bit of a frightening step, as there is no going back from this point. To add contrast, I added a blue metallic dye to the mix. Enough for the blue colour, but still a bit translucent. This layer cured quite nicely, although a pocket of air underneath one slap kept on bubbling. Most of these were removed by heating the mix with a hot air gun. I did run into a more acute problem during pouring though: the seam in the middle was leaking! I quickly used clear tape and duct tape to seal the leaks.

First layer, no turning back now

A couple of days later I poured the second layer. It was a bit cold in the garage, which caused very pinpoint sized bubbles. Again, heatgun to the rescue! After curing I poured the third and last layer. This one was really without any problems and bubbles. I let the entire slab sit for a couple of weeks before removing the mold. It came off surprisingly easy. The vaseline-spray really helped with that.

With the tabletop on the workbench I took of the sharp epoxy sides to prevent cuts. I loaded it up and took it to Reynolds Collcutt to plane the slab. At their shop they have an extremely large drum sander which is wide enough to fit objects this size. As the machine can only take 0.2mm off in one pass, we had quite some passes to go. The result was very much worth it though.

Nicely planed

Back at home, I sawed the slab to its final size. Then the sanding began, building up from 40 grit to 280 for the wood, and 2000! for the epoxy. I had to use a lot of paper as the epoxy tends to clog it up extremely fast, which then results in pigtails in the surface. After the 2000 grit, I used car polish (and quite some force) to polish up the epoxy. The wood was finished with a couple layers of Osmo. This treatment brought out the amazing colours of the wood and gave it a wonderfull matte sheen.

For the legs I also used Yew. I turned these at the bodgers, and treated them with Osmo as well. I kept them as simple as possible, not to draw any attention away from the table surface.

And yes, I love a Brewdog 😉

I am very pleased with the achieved result. Especially as this is the first time I took on a project like this.


Chisel restoration

A while ago I bought three old chisels at a jumble sale. I found them thrown in a box together with some junky tooling. I didn’t have time to properly check them out to see what I was buying, and at home I put them somewhere in a corner and forgot all about them.

Somehow the chisels resurfaced and grabbed my attention. Upon closer inspection the condition wasn’t all that bad. Not good enough to really use, but at least something to nicely restore. All three chisels had a marking/logo imprinted on the shaft. After a bit of googling, I found out that one chisel is a “Nooitgedagt”. It’s a well known Dutch woodworking tool manufacturer which regrettably does not longer exist. These chisels are known to be of high quality. I estimate that this chisel was produced somewhere in the 50’s. It had some rust on the blade, but the handle was in remarkable condition.

The second chisel had a logo with a fish in it. The brand is even more well know and regarded: “Erik Anton Berg”. These are highly sought after, and this one is probably worth about 70 euros. As with the first chisel, it had a bit of rust and still a good handle.

I found a video on Youtube explaining that clearing the rust is very easy if you soak it a while in vinegar. So, overnight I let it soak in a tube filled with said vinegar. The next morning, I could literally just wipe off the dirt and rust. I polished it a bit with a wire-brush on a cordless drill and the result was stunning. After sharpening, the blades looked as good as new. What really stood out that it is clearly visible two different kinds of steel are used.

The third chisel was a bit of a different story. First of all, I’m unable to find which brand it is. It does have mark, but I have no clue where it’s from. The blade was reasonably ok, but the handle was shattered. I took the measurements and went to the Bodgers where I do some woodworking and turning. It was quickly decided to use ash to turn a new handle. The copper rings on the top and bottom are reused from an old curtain-stopper. The function of the top one is preventing the wood from splitting when you give it a ‘little tap’. The bottom one is to compress the wood against the steel so the blade doesn’t fall off. By the way, all these parts probably have dedicated names, but hey, I’m no expert in chiselmology. The blade had the same treatment as the other chisels. Mounting the two parts together returned the chisel to former glory. From what I can tell, this blade is of high quality, as it has an imprint from a Brinel hardness test. Clearly visible again are the two different steel layers.

Next jumble sale, I’ll be going through every old toolbox I can find!

Scandinavian/Oriental fusion bench

When we moved to our new house quite some years ago, the former residents left an old oak table. It was very outdated, and above all, very heavy. So heavy in fact, that the movers used a lift to get it downstairs into the workshop. I proceeded to cut it in half and had one half split on a large bandsaw at Molen de Salamander.

For many years the slab stood waiting for a project. Until now. In this post I will not focus much on the actual building of the bench, but a bit more on how I got to the end. I didn’t have a design of what wanted to make, so I improvised a lot during the construction.

The general idea was that the bench should be long enough for 2/3 people to sit on, and narrow enough to fit in a narrow hallway. My first idea was to have 2 ends made of the same board. After taking measurements it turned out that the slab was to short for that. Even one end from the slab was not really doable, but luckily it was quite wide.

I cut the length of the board to the desired size. From the side I removed a piece of about 10cm wide. This side-piece was then cut in three equal parts and glued together. This would then form one end piece. Of course, the joint couldn’t be too simple, so I made a nice dovetail.

Dovetail joint

The other side needed a leg as well. I had some steel beams left from the supply I used for the salontafel, so I started going over the options. I quickly settled on a rectangular shape. Luckily enough, the thickness of the beams is just about the same of the thickness of the oak slab, which gives a balanced look. I did not want the connection between the steel side and the seat to be visible, so I welded two pieces on top which I could bolt down. A nice side effect is that the seat seems to float on the leg.

For a perfect finish I took the leg to a local powder coating workshop. The result is amazing, and well worth the money (only about 30,-). A finish like this is really difficult to get by using paint.

Steel leg frame, after powder coating.

While the leg was at the paint shop I continued working on the oak part. I liked the bench to be light, but wanted the grain of the wood to be visible. Real white paint was therefore not an option. Instead I used whitewash/chalk paint, which I rubbed in. It really lightens up the wood, but it doesn’t cover up the structure. The dovetail did not really stand out as much as I hoped however. To put emphasis on this detail I found an “Oriental Red” paint in the local DIY-shop. I painted the end grain parts of the wood red. This really highlights the dovetail.

Finished wooden leg and seat.

When the leg returned from the shop, the only thing to do was to attach it to the wooden part. I used metal threaded inserts to create 4 strong and durable points to bolt the leg onto. The floating effect of the red end grain above the leg turned out better than I expected.

Looking back at building this bench I’m quite happy how I was able to improvise step after step. Usually this is a recipe for disaster, but in this case I managed to get to a result I’m very happy with.

Finished bench, steel leg side.

Glow-in-the-Dark Chessboard

And as I am preparing to make a ‘River Table’, I thought I could use some more experience in working with epoxy resin. TL;DR, lessons were learned. I have been thinking of making my own chessboard for quite a while, and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

The first step was quite strait forward, I glued 4 pieces of oak onto a thin piece of plywood. Then I sawed this into strips which I then glued back to each other, but with every strip rotated by 180 degrees. Of course I messed up, and the squares weren’t really squares. So I had to do the process again, and I ended up with smaller squares.

From the oak slab I had left over, I formed the outer edge of the board. Both parts were lowered into the mold I made from chipboard.

The base of the board in the mold.

Then it was time to mix the epoxy together with the glow-in-the dark dye, and pour the epoxy into the mold.

Epoxy poured and board clamped down.

The first lessons were learned at this stage.

LESSON 1: Secure the object with clamps. Wood is lighter than the epoxy liquid, so it will float. I had to clamp the inner part down, but of course the outer part as well. The metal bars were easy to remove, but the chipboard blocs were a bit harder. Note to self: epoxy is very strong glue!

LESSON 2: Do not forget to add a layer of release agent to the mold! I had planned to spray the mold with Vaseline, which prevents the epoxy from bonding with the mold, but in the heat of the moment I forgot. The sides came off quite easily nevertheless, but the bottom was a pita. Not only the plywood had to be routed out, but the chipboard as well. This meant I had to go knee-deep into sawdust.

Lots of sawdust.

After thicknessing and sanding the board came out quite nicely.

Finished board.
The unfinished base, without lighting fitted.

The next step was to create a pedestal or base of some kind, which would contain the UV-leds. At this point I decided to make the base large enough for chess-piece storage. The led-string was self-adhesive, applying these was quite easy.

Base with UV-leds

The top board fits neatly into the base, giving it a nice glow when the leds are on, and a nice afterglow when turned off.

LESSON 3: Make a test pour with the pigment powder to see how it turns out. I feel I didn’t use enough UV-powder.

The wood was finished with Osmo. This gives the board a nice protective outer layer, while still retaining the feel of the wood. It also darkens the oak a bit, which contrasts nicely with the epoxy.

The final product turned out really nice.

UV-light brightens up the epoxy.
In darkness the LED’s really brighten up the board.

De Salontafel

Wat was er eerst, het idee…of de materialen? In dit geval, de materialen.

In een grof-vuil container om de hoek vond ik een een aantal metalen kokerbalken. Deze zijn waarschijnlijk ooit een stellingkast geweest. Ik zag meteen mogelijkheden in deze buizen, en heb ongeveer 12 meter aan kokers buitgemaakt.

Het eerste wat ik ervan gemaakt heb zijn auto-steunen. Momenteel staat de Corvette daarop gestald zodat hij tijdens de winter van de grond is.

Een paar weken later begon ik te bedenken wat ik nog meer zou kunnen maken. Omdat ik een cursus houtberwerken/meubelmaken heb gevolgd, kwam ik al gauw uit op een salontafel. Het idee is dat ik de tafel volledig zou maken met bestaande materialen. Ik ben begonnen met een digitaal ontwerp. Dit ontwerp was alleen  bedoeld als richtlijn. Er is niet op schaal en ook is er geen maatvoering.

Ontwerp Salontafel

Aan de hand van dit ontwerp ben ik gaan zagen en lassen. De kokerbalken waren gecoat, maar het leek mij mooi om een geschuurde metaalstructuur over te houden. Vandaar dat ik alles heb afgeschuurd en het metaal blank gelakt heb.

De eerste las

De eerste las.





Nadat de tafelpoten klaar waren moest ik gaan nadenken over het tafelblad. Van mijn moeder kreeg ik een oude verweerde eiken kloostertafel. Het blad zag er vreselijk slecht uit, maar ik had het idee dat ik er wel wat moois van kon maken.

Het blad heb ik met een cikelzaag in 4 balken gezaagd en daarna door de vlakbank en de vlakvandiktebank gehaald. Het resultaat daarvan was al erg bemoedigend. Behalve deze 4 balken heb ik een extra balk gemaakt van Jatoba hout, omdat het blad anders te smal zou worden. Na het op maat maken heb ik de balken aan elkaar gelijmd.

De balken verlijmd










De laatste stap was het op maat zagen van het blad, de uitsparingen voor de poten uit beitelen, schuren en uiteindelijk nog lakken. Het resultaat mag er zijn!


Het resultaat!

Het resultaat!


Omdat het met mijn vinger weer goed gaat ben ik langzaam aan weer aan het klussen geslagen. Omdat ik de handrem aan het repareren/vernieuwen ben moesten de remklauwen eraf. Dat was gelijk een mooie gelegenheid om ze te reviseren. In de VS heb ik nieuwe remzuigers besteld, inclusief nieuwe rubber afdichtingen, ringen en ontluchtingsnippels. De verf heb ik hier gekocht bij de onderdelenzaak. Met dit alles kon ik aan de slag.

De eerste tegenslag had ik snel te pakken. De ontluchtingsnippels zaten zo vast dat ze afbraken. Met een linksdraaiende tab heb ik geprobeerd ze eruit te krijgen, maar helaas, die brak ik de nippel af… Er zat niets anders op dan de klauw weg te brengen naar de specialisten, die de nippel er toch uit hebben kunnen krijgen. Hoe? Geen idee, maar ik vond het wel knap werk.


Handen in de handschoenen en aan de slag.

De volgende stap was het zandstralen, dat heb ik hier zelf gedaan op de kazerne. Op de foto is de kast te zien waar je dat in doet.


Voor en na.

Het verschil is duidelijk te zien


Na het stralen heb ik de klauwen gespoten met speciale remmenverf. Deze verf is hittebestendig en zal dus goed blijven zitten. Na het drogen van de lak konden de zuigers weer in de klauwhelften geplaatst worden.

De helften klaar om tegen elkaar gezet te worden.

De helften klaar om tegen elkaar gezet te worden.

Tenslotte heb ik de klauwen weer tegen elkaar aangezet en zijn ze klaar voor montage op de auto.

Klaar voor montage



Zo ziet mijn linker middelvinger er nu van binnen uit. De buitenkant lijkt helemaal nergens meer op…nagel eraf, opengescheurd etc. Denk aan een geplette sinaasappel.

Was is er gebeurd? Ik, lekker aan het sleutelen aan de handrem van de corvette. Mijn blaadje met de beschrijving waaide weg, precies onder de hefbrug. Die wilde ik dus even pakken, dus ik til de rijplaat op…die uiteindelijk uit mijn hand gleed en op mijn vinger viel.

Op de eerste hulp is het verdoofd, door twee prikken in mijn hand (denk aan die scene uit Running Man). Alsof ik niet genoeg pijn  had… Verder is het gehecht etc. De botjes moeten vanzelf weer tegen elkaar aangroeien. Morgen moet ik op controle, ben benieuwd! De dokter zei dat de nagel waarschijnlijk niet meer teruggroeit…FREAK.

Dia de Bandera


Corvette als Arubaanse vlag

Op 18 maart wordt op Aruba de “Dag van de Vlag” gevierd. Het hele land is dan vrij en iedereen gaat op stap. Vaak hebben ze de Arubaanse vlag op hun shirt geprint, hebben ze gelijkkleurige kleding aan en bevestigen ze de Arubaanse vlag aan hun auto. Sommigen spuiten zelfs hun Corvette als de vlag.

Dit jaar werden we uitgenodigd door de Camacuri Harley Davidson Club om mee te rijden in hun tourtochten, met op de 18e een erg uitgebreide. Dat we geen Harley hadden was volgens de organisatie geen probleem. ‘s-Morgens verzamelde iedereen zich bij Ratland, een kroeg/winkel/tattooshop. Langzaam maar zeker druppelde het terrein vol met motoren van Aruba, maar ook mensen die hun motor hebben ingevlogen van Bonaire en Curacao. Ik schat dat er uiteindelijk ongeveer 500 motoren waren…en 1 Corvette. Uiteindelijk gingen we rijden. Omdat we als enige auto al snel de hekkensluiter waren en de kruispunten door de politie net voor ons weer opengegooid werden waren we al snel de groep kwijt.


Een deel van de Corvettes

We besloten maar naar huis te rijden, maar we kwamen al gauw wat klassieke Amerikaanse auto’s tegen. Snel omgedraaid en erachteraan dus! Terwijl we achter deze groep aanreden zagen we aan de kant van de weg een groep Corvettes staan. Snel weer omgedraaid en gaan kijken. Het bleek de Corvetteclub in oprichting te zijn. We hebben een tijdje met de andere eigenaren staan praten en hebben met hen nog een stuk gereden. We zijn uiteindelijk geeindigd in de buurt van het vliegveld, waar nog veel meer mooie Amerikaanse klassiekers bij elkaar gekomen waren.

Hier is een link naar een fotoverslag van de rit.