Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Behold the Chocolate Pyramid

Right well I've gone as far as I can for now. This is it at the moment. I'm still eating chocolate and my Mum and Brother have offered to post down some more wrappers so I can finish off decorating the sides of the pyramid. It's a bit frustrating as I know it'll look different with no brown cardboard showing. The top is glued on and appears to be very stable. I've covered it with sticky black plastic to keep it safe from spills.

For reference I spent £2.99 on wood glue and used some black gaffer tape and sticky back plastic that I already had around. I used a pair of scissors, chisel, hammer, file and tenon saw. The rest of it is quite literally rubbish. Or more accurately recycling. It's just that I'm temporarily detaining it here before it goes on to be recycled. All the decoration is chocolate bar wrappers. Even the foil on the pyramid came from chocolate bars.

This is the pyramid face, eventually it'll go all the way up.


Here is the Chocolate Pyramid in all it's glory!


Here's the best shot I could get of the wrap-around recycling symbol in two tone foil on the centre pyramid.

Close up of the pyramid

So there we are. Comments please?


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Lots of tiny pyramids

Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
This is some of them - I think the rest have escaped...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Lots of tiny pyramids

See the top of the pyramid looks a bit scruffy because the cardboard is too thick to hold the detail. I can see in my mind's eye exactly what I want to do - make a mini-pyramid out of a Weetabix box and glue that over the top. But I can't quite make one that fits absolutely perfectly. And I know that if I have to sit there and look at it for months to come then it will just bug me if it's not as good as it can be. So I keep making prototypes. I think there's at least 5 cardboard ones around and a couple of paper templates... I'll have another crack at it this evening when I get a bit of spare time...


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Chocolate art - vote for me!


It's my Green & Blacks artwork!

Vote for me and I could win 700 bars of chocolate...


Final Mockup

Final Mockup
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
This is the final mockup before I breakout the wood glue and stick the top to the pyramid. I've borrowed a nice long spirit level so I can do it properly... then it's on to decorating it :D


Wednesday, 20 January 2010

I said it'd go quiet

and it has. Every evening I turn the framework round and glue and clamp another section. This evening I'll glue the tabletop onto it. I must clear up the table to let me do that safely and out the way of the boys!

Meantime I seem to have resolved my issues with my book. I seem to have found a way to write it naturally letting things develop and still keeping the big overall plot hanging itself together.

And I've started seriously thinking about a non-fiction childrens' book as well!


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Table-top mock up

Table-top mock up
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
Well. Finally I have come to the end of all the sawing and chiseling and have the framework assembled. It's all (roughly) flush. At the moment it's very slow as I only have three G-clamps, even with a bit of borrowing. So I'm using the work-bench to clamp one side at a time and using the clamps on the cross-pieces. If I leave each one to dry it will be Tuesday evening before I can glue the cardboard top on.

But I'd rather take a few days now to get it right rather than cut corners and regret it. Especially as the previous table lasted over a year and I think this one could last longer.

So it'll go a bit quiet now while I work on the decoration and wait for the glue to set and keep moving the clamps around!


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Another good day

Really making progress now. Got a lot of the woodworking done today. I think I have five more joints to cut and then I'll have to buy more wood glue and borrow as many G clamps as I can find to put it all together. Also put the chamfers on the edges of the beams and they seem to fit really well over the pyramid. By tomorrow I hope to have all the glue drying nicely ready for assembly on Monday.

And tonight while DS2 (aged five) is (not) going to sleep I've started writing my novel again. I seem to have got a bit bogged down in the Dark Ages section. It seems to be lots of bits that don't quite fit together yet and my plot is wandering off on its own which is a bit awkward as I'm now re-writing it on the fly!


Friday, 15 January 2010

The Equivalancy of Triangles

Well the cardboard pyramid is proving to be as strong as I hoped - the boys find it greatly entertaining as they find new holes through which they can poke things. The sooner I finish and seal it off the better.

Today I've been thinking about the table top. I'm making up a frame that sits over the whole thing. If you look at this photo I think it may be the most over-engineered thing I've ever built! PICT1612

Anyway the insides of the hole where the pyramid sits will need to be chamfered so that it fits on the pyramid and is still horizontal. I've included some of my working in this post. At first I was thinking angles and tangents and working it out. Then I realised that the bit I need to remove from the edge of the wood is a congruent triangle with the whole pyramid taken in cross section. So the ratio of half the base to height is the same as x to thickness of wood. As I know the wood is 16mm thick and the pyramid is 570x690mm and 650mm tall it's not too hard to get to the answer, and more elegant than working out tangents, etc.


Anyway it's now the weekend and I'm hopeful of getting the woodwork finished so I can start on assembly.


Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Cardboard Pyramid

Well I let the glue set for all of its 24 hours to be on the safe side, because I was nervous about folding it up into a pyramid. I could see that it would just want to spring apart and it felt very stiff. Luckily I had scored the tabs and it folded up really nicely. Here's an action shot of glueing the base on.
Setting the glue
The base is a rectangle of cardboard with tabs - like a very shallow box. It's actually the base bit of cardboard that the cooker originally came in. The top of the table will the top cardboard from the cooker wrapping. They were such perfect coffee table sized bits that they defined the size and shape of the whole table.

Pyramid and Table

Here you can see the pyramid next to our very untidy coffee table (with cat in background) and you can see that it's roughly the same scale. The top is going to be supported by the pyramid.

The edges look very rough but here is an experiment with a scrap of black gaffer tape which tidies them up very neatly. It looks like edging with black tape is become my signature whenever I make furniture!

Corner detail

That's all for now. I need to wait for me to either not go to work (Friday) or little 'un to have a proper midday nap so I can get on with the woodwork that will support the top.


Sunday, 10 January 2010

And in with the new!

Flat pyramid
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller

Alternative Flat Pyramid
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
And here's Cardboard Coffee Table mkII - new and improved. I'm not going to reveal the design yet, but it's been in my head for a while. Somehow all the bits of wood will be incorporated into this one. Anyway, this is the base of the pyramid with the four sides laid out where they will go. Since i did this layout my LSW (being very LS today!) pointed out that it was a bad way to glue it together as it would be trying to spring apart.

So that's what the second photo is. Her cunning plan is to glue it together like this first, flat. Then when it's totally set, under pressure, bend it round into a pyramid shape and glue it to the base. I still think it'll need some black gaffer tape, but we'll have to see!

More tomorrow when the glue's set.


End of life coffee table

My Coffee Table
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller

Ready for Recycling
Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
If you look at the top picture you can see all the problems with the old one. First of all the top has creases in it, one right through central London, the other one a lot further to the West! Also the legs are very prone to twisting. It's the one direction they're not strong in and as weight and time have taken their toll, they've given up that way.

It started with the cut ends of the legs snagging on the carpet if it was pushed out of the way so I added some extra circular reinforcing bits but it still managed to twist.

The second picture shows what happened when I let my elder two boys (aged 5 and 8) loose on the table. We stripped off the map layer as that was covered in sticky back plastic and the rest is ready to go in the recycling. It's been Christmas so it'll go in the bin once its been emptied.

Strangely I don't feel that sad as it was never designed to last for years. I invested a few hours in it along with some old cardboard boxes. I learnt lots and I had well over a year's good use out of it. And now it's being recycled as was always the plan.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Lots of progress

I'll upload the photos later, but I have made progress on my next cardboard coffee table. I have marked out the four big triangles and promised middle DS (aged 5) that we'll build the pyramid tomorrow. And I've cut the joints on another crosspiece. Because of the added wood this is shaping up to be a very strong table. I keep on imagining it in my head, trying to see where all the stress and weight will go - trying to see where the failure point will be.

I've also finally recycled my first coffee table. I made it at the beginning of August 2008 and from the start it had obvious flaws. So I'm quite chuffed that it's lasted well over a year. Especially as that was a year when our youngest learnt to walk. We have three boisterous boys so I think it lasted incredibly well.

Finally I'm sterilising some bottles so I can get a demijohn clear for the damson wine. That might happen tonight or tomorrow - not sure yet!


Thursday, 7 January 2010


Originally uploaded by graham_h_miller
A couple of weeks before Christmas we got a new cooker. Luckily for me when it arrived it came wrapped up not only in poylstyrene but also some cardboard and packing wood. Once I realised that the cardboard was about the right size for the top of a new coffee table, it was a short step to using the packaging wood to reinforce it.

Despite not being very good or liking woodworking in school I managed to cut these joints into the wood. There's about another 21 to go so it might take a while to finish it off. I think I'm enjoying this more than at school because I've got an idea in my head and I'm kind of working it out as I go along, not drawing it accurately but just using the wood itself as a measure. If you see what I mean.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Well after a good few days off, what with Christmas and school holidays I have finally got back into it. Wrote nearly 1,000 words this evening while waiting for middle son to go off to sleep. I've been writing the Dark Ages bit of my novel, which is starting to come together now!


Well had a good day today. Helene came over today to learn about winemaking. Together, we bottled up the elderberry and blackberry. And we got the rowan berry wine strained off and into an air-locked demi-john. While this was going on I was simmering four pounds of damsons which are now sitting in a brewing bin with some yeast, tea and lemon juice, bubbling away nicely. So Helene got to see all stages of the process and I got some help and motivation to get on with all my wine making.

Next stage is to scrounge post-Christmas wine bottles and bottle up the remaining seven demi-johns into bottles to clear the decks ready for the spring flower wines. Oh and I need to check through the freezer for anything else I can turn into wine :D


Saturday, 2 January 2010

Hello and Welcome

Well this is my wife's idea - one blog to bring together all my creative projects in one place. To be honest it's because I have such a butterfly brain that I'm always working on lots of projects at once.

Today I've been trying to replace the cardboard coffee table. When we moved house I turned some of the old packing boxes and a couple of road atlases into a coffee table. Now, 16 months down the line, it really is not working any more. So I'm going to do what I said I would and recycle it. But now I need to make a new one. It's not so bad as we just took delivery of a new cooker, and as well as cardboard packaging, the polystyrene was reinforced with bits of wood. I'm in the process of turning the bits of wood and cardboard into a coffee table, but at the moment I'm stuck as I can't lay my hands on a chisel.

I'm also writing a book. I have been working on my latest novel all last year, and am perilously close to the 40,000 word mark which is really encouraging. Bizarrely, it's a historical novel that's set in a post-apocalyptic future. The mechanism that holds it all together is reincarnation and past life regression. Basically the main characters get regressed back and the stories are told in different historical periods. It's primarily an exploration of warfare and warriors from different points of view and at different times in history, but mainly focusing on how the characters develop over the different incarnations.

And, when I figure out how, I'll import my other blog about the Goddess of Recycling. This documents my attempts to melt down aluminium and make a cast statute of a prehistoric Venus type figure. I'm doing everything from scrap for as little cost as possible. I have many lovely people who collect cans and foil containers for my project. At the moment I'm making small model goddess figures. They should be called "masters" as when I get it right I'll be able to make many copies, but somehow that seems wrong when dealing with the goddess!

I also make wine and jam and with my lovely three children I'm developing a game called "The Most Complicated Game in the World Ever!". And doing a bit of small scale cardboard engineering. Which reminds me that I ought to be making a cardboard homework desk for my eldest at some point. Oh and then there's the Hornby set that we've just started and will be gradually updating and modeling for.

Aside from my interest in runes and Viking myth, which I need to explore more deeply, I think that's about it for the moment.

I'll post up progress on any of my projects and cross-post pictures of them from my Flickr account (oh yes, photography too).