Here in the UK we're enjoying  a mini heat-wave and, typically, everyone is losing their minds. Danger warnings from the government, shrieking headlines in the tabloids and generally an atmosphere that is too hot to do anything with any kind of enthusiasm. Oh and here at Marmot Audio HQ we seem to be plagued by horse flies at the moment.

To top all that off it seems to have been one of those weeks where almost every supplier has let me down to varying degrees. Maybe the heat-induced lethargy I guess. Normally I'm forgiving of a couple of days delay but it all coincides with a time when I've got about 8 jobs backing up and, well, it's too hot for forgiveness. It's too hot for anything! 

Rather than mooch around the place swatting horse flies I decided to take on a very different project that my wife had been waiting for me to make a start on for a while, partly accelerated by the party we had at the weekend where a) we definitely had to eat outside and b) we had too many people to fit around our meagre garden table. Because of those factors we ended up dismantling our rather large indoor dining table and taking it outside. It's 2.5 metres long and is HEAVY due to it being a proper piece of furniture. Getting it in and out was such a hideous job that we decided it was time for Project Massive Garden Table to be put into operation!

We scoured around on the internet to find the best price on a large wooden table but most of them were coming in at several hundred pounds. While we were desperate for a big table we weren't so keen on spending a lot on something that is going to be left out in the UK weather: with the best will in the world we never seem to have ever gotten around to covering our garden furniture during the winter.

Always one for a challenge (and as a nod to a family in-joke) I proclaimed "I could make a table for way cheaper than that!"

Trawling the sales and offers from the major DIY stores I found a place that was selling 2.5 metre decking boards for a few pounds each. A quick pencil sketch and some calculations later a plan was hatched and we descended on the DIY store to grab all the necessary material: 7 x 2.5 metre decking boards, 2 x 75mm fencing posts, some weathered 2" x 4" decking joists, screws and bolts.  

1 day of labour later (OK 2 days if you include how much time the sanding and painting took) and voila, a new 2.5 metre wooden garden table for the total sum of: £68.20! 


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And a well-earned cold beer and homemade pizza to test the table and round off the day in the sunset. Perfect!

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I did manage to do some  work. Finished off this neat little utility module for a client. It's a simple thing: 3 manual 12V gates controlled by a switches. Biggest challenge was fitting it on a 4HP panel. Not so much of a problem with passive utilities but when you have to fit power on there too and it's all made on strip-board it becomes a bit more fun! I also changed the switches during the designing for ON-OFF-(ON) switches so that in the up-postion the gate is always on but you can also use the momentary function of the switch to hold the gate high until you let go of the switch. As this is a 'performance' device the client was chuffed at that little detail. Always thinking, always thinking.

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I've also been working on the enclosure for another matrix mixer. This time the client wanted it in a particular shade of yellow to match some of his other gear. I managed to score some free enamel paint that a friend of mine had used to paint the engine of his 70s Corvette so I was well excited! Unfortunately it turned into an absolute painting nightmare. I meticulously primed and sanded the enclosure and took great care painting (by brush!) several coats of paint and it looked amazing! However, on the third day the paint started to wrinkle and bubble! Odd because at the moment we have (due to the unusual weather - that weather thing again!) almost ideal painting conditions where I do my painting. As I picked at the paint it all started peeling away, like it had not adhered to the primer at all. Still don't really know why, perhaps a mismatch of primer and paint considering the Corvette engine paint came in an unlabelled tin.  Lesson for you there, kids.

That little mistake cost me an hour of scraping and white spirit to get the box back to bare aluminium again. Something I never want to repeat. I probably should've just thrown it away but I just hate scrapping anything!

Anyway, re-primed and back on track with the first two coats of proper paint. 


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modular diy hot weather table matrix mixer painting

Published on by Neil Baldwin.