My Oak has gone black! How do I remove the staining?

Ever since I wrote the guide to painting or staining gates and doors, I’ve been emailed or phoned hundreds of times about a problem a lot of people (not our customers, I must add) are having with their products, be it garage doors, front doors, gates and even garden furniture usually in Oak.

It usually something like: my Oak gates or garage doors have gone black and is this normal? Why have they gone black and is there anything I can do about it?

Black stained Oak

For example (the picture above accompanied this email):

Good evening,
I wonder if you wouldn’t mind giving me some advice.
I purchased some Oak gates in 2013 and since then, I have been treating them with Cuprinol Teak Oil every year. Over time, they have lost their colour (see photographs attached).
Does this look like natural weathering or is the wood infected with a fungus and in need of washing with a fungicide or mild detergent?
To restore them, would I need to sand down or just apply a good quality stain?
I would be grateful for any help you can give.

[Read more…]

How to make a bird box that brings birds to your home
Nesting bird box fixed to wall

How To Make a Bird Box: Build this Nesting Box to Bring Birds To Your Home

A nesting box is more than likely the easiest thing you could hope to make out of timber; it’s basically just cutting wood and screwing (or nailing) the box together, but if you like your projects to be very rewarding, give it time and you may have some new visitors to your garden. Birds!

[Read more…]

Gate locks for wooden gates and garage doors; a guide.

You’ve quite a choice of gate locks for wooden gates and garage doors, ranging from the simple to fit, to the more secure but harder to fit locks. So in this blog post, we round up the best of what is around and give you the pros and cons of each.

* All mentions of locks for garage doors refer to locks for side hinged, timber garage doors only!

[Read more…]

Removing small dents from wood

It’s all too easy when working with timber to damage it, for example, missing with your hammer and leaving hammer rash all over your nicely planed timber. So, what’s the best way to go about removing dents from wood?

Well, we could use some filler; if the timber is being painted then it’s not going to show, but if the finished piece is going to be stained, oiled or left un-coated, then the filler is going to stick out like a sore thumb.

We could sand the timber down to get rid of the indentation, however, if you’re already at your finished thickness then this will reduce the thickness of the timber, and if you’ve got a big indentation, then your nice flat timber surface will more than likely end up slightly dipped, as you concentrate sanding in the area of the dent.

[Read more…]

Keep your hammer clean and improve your efficiency (and avoid the dreaded hammer rash).

Do you find you cannot hammer a nail home cleanly? Do you find that as you attempt to drive the nail home (*or a screw, if you’re really rough! 🙂 ) that your hammer, as it comes into contact with the head of the nail, glances off?

It doesn’t have to be a nail, the same thing can happen as you’re driving wedges into your mortice and tenon joints, resulting in hammer rash, which looks like a crazed maniac has taken his frustrations out on your work. Annoyingly, this means you’ll have to spend twice as long on the finishing of the job than you’d normally would, as you sand the timber to within an inch of it’s life to get rid of any hammer indentations. [Read more…]

How to remove a splinter

If you’re a joiner (or other occupation that works with timber), then getting a wooden splinter is an occupational hazard. If you leave the splinter and do nothing, then it will eventually become infected and may become uncomfortable, if not painful. How soon it becomes infected depends on a lot of things, from the type of timber the splinter is from (the timber Greenheart, for instance, can become infected quite quickly resulting in blood poisoning, as well as the Greenheart splinter wound turning septic, there is also risk of secondary infections due to fungi and bacteria) to how clean the timber you were using is. So here we look at a couple of ways of removing a splinter. [Read more…]

How to avoid cowboy builders & rogue traders

I don’t know about you, but it seems these days you cannot switch on the television or open up a newspaper without seeing or reading more scare stories about cowboy tradespeople. In truth, the vast majority of tradespeople are reliable and good at their job; a very small minority let the assorted trades down and this small minority grab all the headlines. So how do you avoid a cowboy?

[Read more…]

Hinging & shutting joints – Woodworking joints

There is a large variety of hinging and shutting joints, the majority are complex, so we will just look at some of the more basic joints that can be found in doors, windows, tables etc. The details of the joints depend on the class of work and requirements, for instance, in airtight show-cases, the joints are often intricate, but in ordinary work a simple rebate is usually sufficient.

[Read more…]