Cedar Fence from Scratch

It all started with a dead cedar tree and a need for a 42 foot long privacy fence.

I cut down a cedar tree that had recently died and cut it into eight foot long logs. I used the tractor to move the logs to the mill.

I cut eight 8 foot long 4 x 4 posts, fourteen 6 foot long 2 x 4’s, fourteen 5 foot long spacers and two hundred and seventeen 6 foot long 1.5 x 2 laths.

One of the logs about to be milled

Cut 2 x 4’s

Cutting the lath

Some of the finished lath

For finishing and preserving the posts, 2 x 4 cross pieces and 1 x 1 spacers I decided to try a Japanese woodworking technique called shou sugi ban. I used a torch to scorch the outer surface of the wood – just enough that the wood developed an alligator skin like texture.

The charred wood is wire brushed and then treated the wood with boiled linseed oil.

As the fence is for privacy I decided to go with a lighter build and make the fence with a ‘woven’ lath design. I made seven sections just over 6 feet in length.

The finished fence


Vintage Trunk

Last summer we bought a circa 1900 steamer trunk made by L. McBrine and Co. – rather unique having drawers. It was in pretty rough shape, especially the interior with torn and stained fabric.

Since I was repurposing it to use in our living room for my knick knacks I didn’t go for a full restore.  The first step was to strip off the exterior canvas to get down to the pine wood to refinish.

The material inside was attached with wallpaper paste. I soaked the material with water which helped with the removal. I then had to scrape the paste off the wood and then sand. I sealed everything with varathane and gave it all a wax.

I loaded up the drawers with all my goodies and put some of my favourites on display.



When I was an early teen our next door neighbour, a British Colonel in his last days, gave me his banjo. Apparently he had played classical music on the banjo – a little hard to imagine.  Unfortunately I never heard him play but it was a well used banjo. While I tried playing for a while my true love was guitar so the banjo went into storage. Last month I decided to pull it out and see if my preferences had changed at all. The banjo wasn’t in great shape so I did a little restoration work.

The first problem was the skin had split so I ordered a new goat skin to replace the old one.

A new life skill of soaking and stretching the goat skin, a bit of swearing, some spit and polish,
new strings and bridge and it was ready to go

The banjo was made by  J. E. Dallas in London, England between 1893 and 1914.


The restored banjo along with some of my other instruments. My Simon & Patrick acoustic, a 1928 National Triolian Resophonic guitar – the original National guitar, a mandolin c. 1930, a very old classic guitar that someone put steel strings on and needs restoring soon, a hunting horn and an old autoharp.