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Rough carpentry

Surform pocket plane in action

Added a shelf to the potting table today, a quick bit of rough carpentry. It also needs a couple of coats of varnish to waterproof it for the season, so I took the time to shave down the little edge where the sides join the tabletop. Normally, I wouldn’t bother with a minor detail like that, but I spotted the cool little surform plane (the blade is kinda like a grater) in one of the toolboxes and felt like using it! Rough carpentry may sound like nothing much, but it’s really a particular, essential skill of its own on the tiny farm. I’ve been learning as I go. The “rough” doesn’t mean sloppy or shoddy, just practical: functional, sturdy, simple construction, as much as possible using whatever materials are at hand, and not waiting around to get things done. Need a shelf over here? A workbench fit in right there? A couple of quick walls to turn a corner into a storeroom? A roof on the veggie stand? Grab the tools, hunt down the materials, and bang it up!

Potting table with new shelf

The simple shelf is a couple of 1×6 boards. It’s for keeping plug sheets handy when I’m seeding lots of trays of transplants at once. The potting table started out as a long, shallow bin, built from scraps of plywood, to hold harvested tomatoes. I later reassigned it: flipped it over, added legs, and voila! (There’s that trusty saw again.)



  1. Katie

    I’m all for the K.I.S.S. principle!

  2. Practical construction always lasts longer than aesthetic, not to mention that it’s easy on the finances. I dig your style.

  3. nice and easy carpentry with no fancy finishes, loving your pictures as well.

  4. Why over complicate something – it’s nice to keep things straight forwards. As long as the piece is functional and lasts then it’s a good job.

  5. With all the new tools most people tend to over complicate simple stuff, Its a nice artcle about getting things done the simple and easy way.
    Thanks for the share ;)

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