The gardening section contains most of my work in design and construction. The page of gardening photographs forms an introduction to the section. Below, some of the structures I've designed and constructed which are described in more detail in the gardening section. The structures are all in my allotments (the land is rented from Sheffield City council.) On this page, in the column to the left, there's information about 'other' design and construction.
Above, two views of a triangular greenhouse, with extension.
Above, an insulated shed, on a platform on sloping ground. Behind it, a shed I bought.
Above, two views of a shelter/apple store (the apples are stored inside the cupboard and on trays placed above the cupboard) with interior part of the exterior.
Above, a long, low greenhouse.
Above, composter (with nesting box attached.)
Above, a pond with raised beds vine, in an area which had obviously been used as a dumping ground for plastic, rusting metal and other rubbish. The sloping board on the left of the pond is for the use of frogs, and the small frogs which have developed from tadpoles, when they are ready to leave the pond. The trellis support for a grape vine has since been removed.
PHD stands for 'Paul Hurt Design,' Paul Hurt being my name. This is just a way of referring to some of the things I design and construct, including some of the designs on this page. It's not the name of a business - none of these things are offered for sale - and there's no reference to a PhD degree. I don't have one.
No innovations are possible in workbench design and construction -
everything that could have been thought of has already been thought of.
That's a common opinion, but I don't share it. I'd claim that the PHD
workbench does include innovations, even if the innovations aren't dramatic.
Of course, I don't claim, of course, that an improved workbench necessarily
leads to improved woodworking or metal working.
There's general agreement that a good workbench has to be solid and heavy, to provide a stable base for holding the wood or metal which is being worked. I don't dispute that. I think the same. The workbench I've designed is solid and heavy.
Manufacturers charge much more for very solid and heavy workbenches than for very light and flimsy ones, but this one is cheap to construct. I used an old door for the top of the bench - it had been thrown out and put in a skip - together with a plywood sheet, but if a free-of-charge door can't be found, the cost of the workbench is still very low. For reasons I explain later, I put the door on top and the plywood sheet underneath. Anyone who wants to build a similar workbench and has a usable door is completely free to do it differently.
The door has an obvious flaw - there's a hole at one side where the lock was. The standard way of dealing with the hole is to use filler or to plug the hole with a circular section of wood, although it's difficult to disguise holes of this size. The hole can be hidden very easily, for instance, by bolting a pillar drill in this area (a thick support is underneath the bench here.)
Workbenches which are solid and heavy are difficult to move. Shifting loads of this size is a job which should preferably be avoided. Changed circumstances may make it essential to move a wonderful and very substantial workbench some distance. There are any number of reasons - a bad leak in the roof above the workbench, the purchase of a new piece of equipment which would be better off in the place where the workbench is now ...
This workbench is very easy to move, as I explain now. Workbench design doesn't have to be like tent design - the ideal backpacking tent is very spacious, very light, very strong - capable of withstanding gales - very cheap, very easy to erect and very easy to dismantle. In tent design, far more than workbench design, the problem of incompatible ends is a real one. In workbench design, it's much easier to achieve advantages without corresponding disadvantages.
We can move the workbench within the workshop or working area very easily, without taking it to bits. We can move the workbench longer distances by taking it to bits, something which is very easy. It's just as easy to assemble it.
How do we move such a heavy object within the workshop or working area? Answer, the bench has a jacking point. Place a heavy hydraulic jack or a small and light hydraulic bottle jack or a non-hydraulic vehicle jack under the jacking beam, at more or less the centre of the beam. I see advantages in equipping workbenches, like motor vehicles, with beams which are strong enough for the purpose. These beams are at the ends of the workbench, not the sides, of course.
When one end is in the air, attach blocks to the two legs - or supporting members - of the workbench at this end. The blocks are equipped with heavy-duty spindle castors. These castors have brakes, so that once the other end is raised, the castors don't move. Operate the jack so that this end is gently lowered and the castors take the weight of the workbench. Go to the opposite end and do the same. There's no need for the castors at this end to have brakes. Once this end has been gently lowered, the workbench is mobile.
Why is this workbench so easy to erect and dismantle? Primarily, because it doesn't rely upon mortice and tenon joints. The pieces which make up the workbench are either bolted together, with carriage (coach) bolts or, in some cases, where strength isn't a necessity, by means of screws, Unlike nails, of course, screws can easily be removed. The screws used in this workbench are substantial ones of M12 diameter, but are easy to insert and remove, with the aid of a club hammer.
A very simple structure for storing wood to be used in a multi-fuel stove. The wood store is in my small back garden. The wood store is constructed from off-cuts of railway sleepers, which support horizontals made from decking boards. The store still has to be finished with oil/varnish after it has dried out. The log sections here still have to be cut into smaller sections for seasoning.