Ant Smith
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Woodworking

Small Pet Garden Hutch: The Kixkat Club

    This project was to build a small-pet hutch and explored:
  • how to compare material prices
  • optimising the use of stock material
  • dealing with irregularities in stock dimensions
  • Made-to-measure versus cut-to-spec working

Our eldest cat Kickass (sometimes Kicky, sometimes Kix – depending on how adorable he's being) does like to be out in all weathers; sometimes sheltering under the hedge in order to be on look-out, or else huddled under the neighbour's shed. Having just finished making a luxurious 8 cubic meter pleasure palace for the ferrets we thought that Kix should have a little shelter of his own. We could have bought something new (=mass produced and somewhat ugly) for around £40, but since I'm spending a year with wood I naturally decided to make something myself at around that budget. Here it is completed – it's too early to say if Kix will adopt it or else will be annoyed that this thing has suddenly appeared in his favourite corner of the garden:

Left side half profile view of the Kixkat Club

As you'll know if you're reading through all of my woodworking articles the cost of the timber is a constant problem. It seems like it is impossible to hand-make anything at all for less than the cost of buying something new. It's very frustrating, making something by hand should not only be 'better' but should be bloody cheaper too. But it never is. Anyway, I'm not ranting on that topic again – suffice it to say my budget meant that I wanted to use the cheapest wood possible.

Wood of course is sold 'per length' or 'per board' – so comparisons in cost aren't immediately apparent. Eg. Battens are available at 48x25mm costing 60p per meter or we can use 25mm ply for a wall panel of the same thickness. 25mm ply comes in 2.44 x 1.22m boards at a cost of £76 per board. If I want to make a 25mm thick wall panel measuring 50x50cm , which is the cheaper wood to use?

I would need 10.4 half meter strips of the 48mm battens, which would be £3.12; or about 1/12th of a...[Read On]

Poetry

New Language

Self-Isolating.

The New Normal.

Stay Safe.

Stay Well.

Stay Home.

Save Lives.

So much camel case.

Short of breath?

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Crystal Grotto Profile Detail

I took this photograph specifically to play with 'fault-lines' as readilly apparent in the structure of the (presumably) quartz construction material. Cutting perpendicularly through those natural (horizontal) fault-lines the sculpture fractures the light pasing through it to deliver a bold light versus dark contrast. In the result I see a suggestion of two faces - one skull-like, the other quite baby-ish; albeit somewhat of a grotesque.
image illustrating Crystal Grotto Profile Detail

Stories

Uncle Fester's Fidgety Fingers

Uncle Fester spent his days sitting at the beaten up drop leave table in the corner of our kitchen constantly a tip tap tapping his fingers in a rhythm alien to the sensibilities of those around him. At first it had been menacing. Then maudlin. And finally maddening. The pastor who lived at number six stopped stopping by for his harvest festival donation demands and his inglorious attempts to save Ma's soul (ever since dad had walked over those furnace hot plates and burned his feet right off the pastor had taken an increased interest in Ma's soul). None of us missed the pastor very much, least of all Ma's ample soul. Less happily the constant drumming had driven Mitch, Lizzie's handsome young suitor, to self harming such that his face and arms looked somewhat akin to a bloodied scarecrow. The house was often filled with the horrified shrieks of the young 'uns, should they chance upon him blundering out of the lavvy or weeping in a corner. Uncle Fester had a profound effect on the house, and the village, when first he had arrived.

"Stick another fag in Uncle Fester's fingers would you love?" Ma asked.

We'd tried everything to still his beating fingertips. Soft cloths would get knotted round the knuckles until we were a feared he'd snap his fingers off and they'd go parading about the place causing eleven times the trouble. Weighty books on the back of his hands would routinely skitter off to drop open on the floor where the dog would worry, with a loud and long howling, that it couldn't read a word (we had a particularly stupid dog). Buckets of water and bowls of thick viscous soup would equally just splash about leaving a right royal mess. The only thing that would give a moment's reprieve was a Lambert & Butler Superking on each juddery in-draw. The cacophony of the pursuant coughing was an angelic chorus in comparison to the otherwise incessant drumming. We fed Uncle Fester's pleurisy to excess for the relief it bought.

In the...[Read On]

Memes

Video

Plaything

Cockahoop animations at their finest! Animating Plaything

Audio

Weird Scenes EP

The first EP from The GameCat recorded at live venues and studios around London through 2010 and 2011.

image illustrating Audio

BUY

Things To Buy

Checkout my PHOTO SHOP, a whole range of CHEAP eBOOKs, and many other bits and pieces you will enjoy.

image illustrating BUY