During a recent kitchen revival the large gas hob cut out removed from the Beech Block worktop was left wanting a purpose. I was asked to inlay the names and signatures of everyone involved in the refitting of the kitchen.
This is the finished board with the inlaid work on one side and blank on the reverse to allow for serious chopping without damaging the named surface.
Each name is made from strips of 30 year old Honduras Mahogany formed to follow the contour of the name and sitting 3mm deep into the Beech board. The main names are filled with brass and aluminium filings set in crystal clear Counter resin to allow them to stand out from the crowd.
The board is finished with a thick Oak surround with an inset pine inner edge and ‘MANDY’S KITCHEN’ set deep into one side.
We have all heard of Field mice and Harvest Mice and here we have some Wood Mice. These little fellas are quickly made from scrap ends of wood that would otherwise find themselves in the skip (or the stove). The small mice are made from Pine whilst the large mouse is Pine with dowels of Purpleheart, Oak and Walnut inserted through before turning.
The eyes and noses are small black beads whilst the ears and tails are cut from the Leather I stripped from an old chair.
These little mice are so simple to make but always attract positive comments whenever they are included within other products. They turn up everywhere.
I’ve made a few bespoke meditation boards for a small spiritual group recently. This one is made from Sapele wood with Ash inlay. The inlay is Ajna, or third-eye chakra and is the sixth primary chakra in the body according to Hindu tradition. That is a part of the brain which can be made more powerful through repetition, like a muscle, and it signifies the conscience.
The troughs are filled with crystals to join the three tea-lights around the edge.
The underside has the Flower of Life symbol carved into it. The Flower of Life is considered by some to be a symbol of sacred geometry, said to contain ancient, religious value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. In this sense, it is a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all sentient beings, believed to contain a type of Akashic Record of basic information of all living things.
One of the finishing touches to my kitchen was the light fitting. For the last few years the room has been illuminated by a 100W light bulb dangling on the wire but all that had to change.
I wanted something a little bit different that incorporated my favourite passion – the guitar. My bathroom has LED spot lamps in the ceiling and one day whilst singing in the shower, I looked up and saw the light. The light fitting reminded me of the centre cone of a speaker and an idea was born.
I had my old audio unit from my last car in the cupboard doing nothing so I decided to install that in the kitchen and incorporate the speakers and lights together. I made the two fake amplifier fronts with the LED spotlight effect to look like a speaker. Meanwhile, a real speaker and tweeter were hidden behind the fake speaker front and connected as the ‘front speakers’ to the car audio unit. A string of LED modules were placed on the backs to backlight the amplifiers against the ceiling.
The guitar was made from scraps of hardwood left over from other projects including Oak, Sapele, Walnut, Iroko, Ash and ply wood. The front and neck were finished with opaque Perspex and finished with a maple effect fret board printed on clear acetate. The inside contains a string of LED modules lighting up the Perspex front and a further string on the back to backlight against the ceiling. A further LED spotlight was placed in the ceiling over the sink area for practicality.
The LED spotlights and LED modules are operated independently so they can be illuminated together or on their own.
The rear speaker connection on the car audio unit is connected to two ceiling speakers in the bathroom.
I made this Monopoly/Chess board as a surprise Christmas present for my sons in 1994. Although they were only aged 10 and 7 at the time, they were mad about Monopoly and learning how to play Chess. Unfortunately, funds at the time were very close to extinct so I thought making something totally unique they both could enjoy and show off to their friends would add that little extra special something money can’t buy. I had a tin of veneer off cuts and scraps I had acquired and thought this an excellent way to put them to good use.
The colours in the wood are not as vibrant as when first made but it has had some abuse over the years – it’s still going strong over twenty years later.
Unfortunately, the photographs don not pick out the brass street names very clearly but it does give an idea of the wonderful shades and grains of wood available in veneer form.
Beware Miss Scarlet
As boards tend to have two sides I used up my hoard of veneer to create a Cluedo board on the reverse side of the Monopoly board. The intricate pattern around the border was not by design but due to the fact I didn’t have enough pieces of veneer large enough to fill the board. A little creative licence was needed to fill the board with the remaining off-cuts in my tin.
Both sides of the board were coated with a plastic coating rather than lacquer to protect against the constant rolling of the dice and the movement of the pieces across the surface.