Winter is Over

A Brief Spring
We were blessed with unseasonal rains that brought down temperatures and cleared the persistent haze that hangs over much of north India. The rains were followed by cool winds and almost overnight the grass and shrubs turned several shades greener. But winter is over now that Holi is here, a festival that traditionally marks the end of winter and ushers in a brief spring.

Looking back, I wonder where the weeks of winter went; they flashed past, left me clutching at wishes and half-finished projects. What did I do all winter?

Some of the wood milled during winter

Well, I did mill a lot of wood; most of all, learnt to dimension wood by a combination of hand planing and thicknessing by a wonderful Makita thicknesser I have acquired. This machine cuts down my work by half as now I only have to flatten one face and square one side of a piece of timber and the rest is taken care of by the thicknesser. I find the thicknesser particularly useful, and awfully quick, for reducing a lot of planks to similar thickness. By hand this was a long and arduous process.

I must admit though I have gotten better at planing, at least I think I have. I certainly have become far more accurate and with my 22 inch long jointer plane I can make edges and sides dead square to each other. This is a quick job with the jointer plane and the final result is a superb surface free of any machine mark and smooth as a baby's bottom.

My focus has been on re-doing my study and insulating it. A lot of time has gone into studying methods of wall framing for drywall. I have finally homed on to the metal stud system with waterproof calcium silicate boards. The famous glass maker, St. Gobain, has introduced drywall framing products, including very good quality studs, floor channels and so on. I have opted for calcium silicate boards because they are more enduring and moisture resistant than standard gypsum boards. Leaky air-conditioners and condensation can quickly and irreversibly damage gypsum drywall.

I have also been building two pieces of furniture and learning how to put together cabinets. Sadly, there is very little to show for my perseverance so far.

In contrast, my woodworking friends have been making fine progress.

Zain's Trestle Dining Table

Zain in Chandigarh has put together a splendid trestle dining table with stylish edges and perfectly machined joints. Dinabandhu in Calcutta has procured some first rate hand tools from the UK and is readying to start work on his kitchen.

Sunil's Dowel Plate

Awls Made by Sunil and gifted to me

Sunil Chetiwal in Delhi continues to fuel his obsession with tools and has gifted me two extremely useful long awls, one of which I intend to try as a drawbore pin for tightening tenons. He has also managed to make a rudimentary dowel plate and sundry other items.

Never a day goes by without me putting at least half an hour of work on my home improvement and woodworking projects. Yet, there seems no end in sight. I shall persevere and watch the ivy creep up my workshop walls.

Ivy and Petunias outside my workshop

Indranil Banerjie
4 March 2015


  1. We also blessed with unseasonal rains this Sunday. Congratulation for Makita thicknesser. I too wonder "where the weekends of winter went". But I am sure summer will give me more time to woodworking. Zain's trestle table looking beautiful. Best of Luck to all of you. - Kishore


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