Sunday, 14 June 2009

My desk - conclusions

All told, the desk and filing cabinet took around six months of evenings and weekends to complete. I didn't keep track of exactly how many hours it took - next time... The blog postings about it have taken rather longer... :-)

As for the cost, after the initial outlay for the materials, there was a stream of extra purchases - the dowel jig, a set of forstner bits, extra reels of edging strip, two tins of danish oil, etc. I didn't keep track of all the costs (next time...) but the total must be somewhere around £350-£400, which is less than a third of the cost of the estimate I'd had from the professional furniture maker.

I haven't paid myself for my time though. If I had, and I'd paid a reasonable rate, that would surely have made the professional route cheaper.

It's not constructed as well as the professional would have done it either, though you have to look closely to tell. It's by far the most professional-looking bit of DIY I've done.

There were moments when I wished I hadn't started it, but not too many. Most of the time there was good progress throughout and few hurdles, which made it easier to continue, even in the early stages when the end seemed a long way off.

The end result is immensely satisfying - it's exactly what I wanted in terms of size, shape, colour and texture, and best of all I made it myself.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

My desk - the matching filing-cabinet

The filing cabinet was constructed with all the same techniques as the desk, with one small difference - the drawer sides were made 5cm lower than the drawer fronts, and an 'L' cross-section piece of aluminium strip fixed along each side, for suspended files to hook over.

Notice how the clutter has increased dramatically in the five weeks since the desk-only photo was taken:

My desk - the final construction stage

I've reached an all-time low on the posting rate for my entries about the desk. Six months since my last posting! I built the whole desk, and a filing cabinet in the same time! Never mind...

The final stage of the desk construction was to apply some Danish oil to stain and protect the wood. This task was even more satisfying than attaching the edging strips. It's so easy - the oil is thin so it paints on with a brush very quickly, and then is simply wiped with a cloth to remove the excess, and the job is done.

The transformation was remarkable - it went from looking home-made to looking shop-bought in a matter of hours. The colour (I used Colron Danish oil in "natural") is perfect - not too red or green as some wood colours can be.

And here is the final result:

As you can see, it was only a matter of minutes before the clutter had started to gather on the top and underneath. You should see it now...!

Looks good though doesn't it? And it's quite sturdy too - it's heavy, but to move it around without dragging the carpet I can put my forearms under the keyboard area and lift the whole thing. The solid back sections help keep it all rigid.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

How to correct the time on a John Lewis Indigo clock

We have a John Lewis Indigo clock. It has a large clear display that dims automatically as the room gets darker so it doesn't give you a suntan while you sleep. It's a nice-looking digital clock.

It claims to "Auto Set", which makes you think of radio-controlled clocks that receive the time from a transmitter, but there's no mention of receiving signals in the feature-list or instructions. It has a battery back-up for the time, and a label says it should be plugged into the mains when the battery is changed. I think "Auto Set" just means that the time is maintained by a battery so that it's still there when you plug it in.

The time drifted off. It got to 10 minutes slow, and I couldn't find the instructions, and various experimentation with button pressing and button holding failed to find a time-setting mode, so I emailed John Lewis for advice.

They told me to "change the transmitter button on the back to the Western European or Central European setting" and it should reset itself. Hmmm. Tried it. Didn't. [Sigh] Looks like it has to go back to the shop.

Then I tried googling with the labels of all the buttons (just in case I hit on an instruction manual or a blog posting or something), and found this:
It's the instructions for a different clock, made by Acctim, but it has all the same buttons, and it has the same "Auto Set" feature. I wonder if Acctim manufacture the Indigo clock for John Lewis?

The instructions for the Acctim clock include advice for resetting the time if it's wrong. I can't find the Indigo clock instructions, but I did read them when we got it (yes, I know, only a Nerd reads the instructions), and I can't remember any mention of setting the time.

The same instructions don't work for the Indigo, but a slight variation does. So here, for the benefit of future googlers, are the instructions for setting the date and time on a John Lewis Indigo clock:
  • Press the "-" button - the clock displays the year
  • Press and hold the "ALARM SET" button for 5-7 seconds, until the year flickers briefly, then let go
  • The year is now flashing - press "-" or "+" to adjust the year.
  • Press "ALARM SET" and now the month is flashing. Press "-" or "+" to adjust the month.
  • Repeat for date, hour and minute.
  • Press "ALARM SET" one more time and the clock returns to normal operation, with new date and time set.
It's still going to have to go back if the time keeps drifting though...

Monday, 1 June 2009

My world in widescreen

Owing to a new pair of glasses, I am now viewing the world in widescreen. Fashion is stupid sometimes - I can no longer see what's on my dinner plate without craning my neck.