Making A Camera Studio Stand

studio camera stand

I have been using a tripod in the workshop to film and take pictures of my projects for years now.  This has always got in the way and taken too long to setup different shots, but a studio camera stand is extremely expensive. I thought I could have a go at making one for a fraction of the price….

I started by gathering the parts I needed:

Some scraps of wood (which I already had)

Scaffold pole and basket

4 casters

Manfrotto magic arm

Manfrotto super clamp

Manfrotto stud

Camera ball head

(A lot of the tools and materials I use can be found on my Amazon page.)

magic arm
cutting wood for camera stand
cutting wood for studio camera stand

The first thing I did was trim the pieces of wood to all the same length on the mitre saw.

marking wood
overlapping wood
finding centre of wood

I wanted to join the two pieces of wood together in a cross, so I marked out the point where they overlapped. I then marked out the centre point on the wood.

raising the table saw blade
setting blade hight

I raised the blade on the table saw until it reached the centre mark, then used the mitre gauge to push the wood through the saw, and nibble away the waste material on both pieces of wood.

nibbling away waste wood
testing the fit
cutting away waste wood
tapping into place

With both the slots cut, I was able to conduct a test fit. I was happy with the fit, so I moved on to fitting some casters.

fitting casters

The casters could simply be fitted to the bottom of the wood, but I wanted them to be recessed.  I marked out where I wanted the recess to be, then took the wood back to the table saw to cut away the waste material.

making camera stand
table saw cut
glueing camera stand
fitting camera stand
clamping camera stand

With the cuts made, I was able to use some PVA wood glue to attach the pieces together and get them clamped up.

fitting pole for camera stand

I wanted the scaffold pole to fit into the centre of the cross, so I marked out the centre point, and purchased a Forstner drill bit the same size as the pole. I used this to drill a hole 40mm deep.

making centre of studio stand
using drill press
forstner drill bit
drill shavings

I gave the cross a quick sand down, then positioned the bracket for the pole over the drilled hole, and marked out where the screws needed to go.  I then drilled a couple of pilot holes to accept the screws.

sanding camera studio stand
marking hole
drilling camera stand
staining with india ink
india ink on pine

To offer some protection (and to make it look cool) I stained the wood black using India ink then applied some Danish oil.

pouring danish oil
washer on wood screw
applying danish oil
screwing on casters

The craters come with holes larger than the heads of my screws, so I slipped a washer over them. I was then able to drive them into the wood, fixing the casters into place.

scaffold braket

The bracket I had for the scaffold pole won’t allow the pole to slide all the way through it – I needed it to go all the way through, slipping into the hole I drilled in the wood. I used a step drill to widen the base, allowing the pole to slide through.

step drill
tape on pole
drilling scaffold bracket
fitting pole into camera studio stand

When I test-fitted the pole in the hole, it was a little looser than I wanted.   I wrapped some tape around the base, which made it fit snugly in the hole.

fitting bracket to camera stand

I slid the bracket down the hole and screwed it into the base. I then tightened up the grub screws, locking the pole into place.

installing the camera studio stand
making studio camera stand
ball head on magic arm
fitting super clamp
fitting magic arm into super clamp

I fit the stud onto the end of the magic arm and screwed the ball head into place. The super clamp was fitted to the pole, and the arm locked into the clamp.

camera on studio stand
studio stand homemade

That’s it! This should make life much easier. The arm has one big lever that – when loosened – makes all three joints on the arm go loose. The camera can then be moved into the desired position and locked into place by tightening the lever.

For more information, please watch the video below and subscribe to me on YouTube for a new project every week. 

How I made a oak and leather kitchen towel holder

kitchen towel holder

I needed a kitchen towel holder, but – as I am a little short of worktop space – I wanted one that could hang on the wall. As I had already made a couple of other bits for the kitchen from oak, I decided to keep to that theme.

dowel for kitchen towel
dewalt dws777
cutting wood for towel holder

I got a length of oak dowel and a scrap of board, which I cut to a bit longer than the paper towel. I then ripped the board down on the table saw to the width I wanted.

ripping wood for towel holder
strap for kitchen towel holder
cutting leather strap
strap cutter

To attach the dowel to the board, I decided to use leather straps. Using my leather strap cutter, I cut a couple of 1 inch wide straps, but you could just purchase some leather already cut into strips.

marking strap position
setting blade hight
cross cut sled
cutting slots

I wanted to attach these straps to the back of the board, and have them recessed into it. I setup my crosscut sled on the table saw, then raised the blade up to the height of the strap folded over. I could then nibble away a 1 inch slot at either end of the board.

cleaning up slots
adding a round over

The slots needed a bit of a clean up with a chisel, then I used the router to round over the edges on the front of the board.

using pillar drill
brass inserts in towel holder
danish oil on towel holder

On either end of the board I instilled some brass screw inserts, that I could use to fix it to the wall. With those fitted, it was time to apply some finish. I went for hard wax oil to match the knife rack I made in the previous post.

leather on towel holder
cutting leather strap
dewalt drill
screwing strap on towel holder

When the finish dried, I was able to install the leather straps. I folded them over and positioned then into the slots, and used a knife to trim off any excess. To hold them in place, I drove some screws through the leather and into the oak.

pulling kitchen towel

That’s it, all done! Please watch the video below for more information on how I made this, along with a matching magnetic knife rack.

Making A Magnetic Knife Rack

wooden knife rack

The day I moved into my current house, I shoved my kitchen knives into a drawer and they have remained there ever since.  This is not the best way to store knives, as the blades can bang together – so I wanted a better solution. Having already made an oak spice rack for the kitchen, I decided to make a magnetic knife rack, also from oak.

knives for the rack
cutting wood for knife rack
planing wood for knife rack
thicknessing wood for knife rack

I laid out my knives and measured how long the rack needed to be. I marked this out on a rough sawn oak board and cut it to length on the mitre saw. I could then plane and thickness the board to clean it up.

ripping wood for knife rack
making a thin rip
ripping wood

Using the table saw, I ripped the board down to the height I wanted. I then turned the oak on its side, and moved the table saw fence over so I could cut off a thin strip (The plan was to set some magnets into the thicker piece of oak, and to hide them with the thin piece I just ripped off).

These are the magnets I used: 

cut oak
magnets for knife rack
drilling oak
drilling knife rack
slots for magnets

To insert the magnets, I clamped a temporary fence to the drill press, and used a 10mm Forstner bit to drill a series of holes down to the depth of the magnets. With one line complete, I turned the oak around and drilled another row.

These slots needed a bit of a clean up, for which I used a chisel and mallet. To fix the magnets into place, I mixed up a batch of epoxy, spread it into the slots, and pushed the magnets into place.

chisel magnetic knife rack
chisel slots
mixing epoxy
installing magnets into knife rack
glueing knife rack together

Once the epoxy dried, I glued the two pieces of oak together. I spread some PVA wood glue on one piece of the oak, sandwiched the two together, and held them together with some spring clamps.

glue knife rack
clamps knife rack
round over knife rack

To make the shape a little more interesting, I used a round over bit in my router table to add a profile to the edge of the rack. I then used the random orbital sander to sand it all down.

sanding magnetic knife rack
drilling holes
installing screw inserts

I needed a method of attaching the rack to the wall.  I decided to go for some brass inserts that screws could be put through. I drilled a hole in either end to accept them. I put a dab of CA glue in each hole and tapped the inserts into place. When the glue was dry, I applied some hard wax oil finish as it is nice and hard-wearing.

brass screw inserts
finishing magnetic knife rack

That’s the magnetic knife rack all done! Please watch the video below for more information; and on how to build a kitchen roll holder… 

Making A Round Oak Mirror With A Leather Hanger

round oak mirror

Last year, I decorated my living room. I installed a floating mantel, but the wall above it has been looking a little bare. I thought what the space needed was a mirror. At my local DIY store, I picked up a circular piece of mirror glass and my plan was to challenge myself to make a round frame for it. I decided to make the frame from strips of oak glued together – this method is called bent lamination. To hang the mirror from the wall, I am going to use a leather strap.

marking centre
making the mark
cutting a circle on the bandsaw
sanding a round

I started by cutting a backer board to mount the mirror glass onto. For this, I used some 18mm plywood. I marked out the centre of the board, then used my circle-cutting jig on the bandsaw to cut a piece the same size as the mirror glass. If you don’t have a bandsaw you could just draw round the mirror glass and use a jigsaw to cut it out.

After I cut out, I did some sanding to clean up the edge, then measured the circumference of the circle with a tape. I then marked this measurement out on some oak (adding a few centimetres, just to be safe).

measuring round
measure oak
dewalt mitre saw

I cut the oak down to length on the mitre saw. As this was rough sawn oak, I cleaned up one face and edge using the planer, then ran it through the machine to clean up the parallel face. (These stages could be skipped if I’d bought some planed-all-round timber to start with, but rough sawn is much cheaper and I am very mean.)

metabo planer
metabo thicknesser
measuring mirror

I determined how high I wanted the frame to be and decided to go for 50mm – I marked this out onto the oak board and ripped a strip down on the tablesaw. With the cut made, I turned the piece of wood on its side and set the fence to cut off the thinnest strip of wood I could. I then proceeded to rip down a pile of thin strips of oak.

ripping wood
making thin rips
sanding thin strips

I wanted all the strips to be of equal thickness, so I set up a fence on my spindle sander and ran the strips through it. This resulted in some nice evenly-sanded bits of wood and you can see how flexible they came out.

thin wood strips
bending wood
pencil mark
hand saw

I took one of the sanded strips and bent it round the plywood backing piece, letting the ends overlap. I marked where the pieced overlapped (with a pencil) then used a hand saw to trim the pieces down to that length. I needed to repeat this process for each strip of oak I installed as each piece needed to be slightly longer than the last.

applying glue
spring clamps

It was then time to get the oak attached the plywood, so I started by applying some glue around the outside of the plywood backing board. The first strip could then be bent round and held in place. Now, if you watch the video at the bottom of this article you’ll see all the methods I tried to attach the strips, but in the end I found a ratchet strap was by far the best method. When the first strip was in place and the glue had dried, I could then repeat the process, cutting strips length and glueing them in position.

ratchet strap
brushing glue
clamping rounds

When I had built up four layers of oak, I was happy with how the thickness of the frame was looking. I tried to pull everything as tight together with the clamps as I could, but there were still some small gaps between the layers – I filled these with some oak-coloured wood filler. When the filler had dried, I gave the frame a sand down.

oak wood filler
sanding oak
leather strap
setting copper rivet

I got a leather strap from Ebay (these are readily available, for making belts). The length I ordered seemed perfect, so I just had to join the two ends together. I punched a hole in either end of the strap and joined them together using a copper rivet.

oak dowel
marking oak

I needed something to hang this leather strap off, and thought a bit of oak dowel would look nice. I cut down a piece to the length I needed and marked out the centre point of it on one end. I drilled a pilot hole in the centre, then installed a dowel screw. A dowel screw has a point on each end and threads going from each end to the centre in different directions, which would allow me to screw it into the wall later on.

drilling oak
bosch drill

I applied some Danish oil finish to both bits of oak (but NOT the plywood). The finish really brings out the lovely warm colour in the oak.

danish oil oak
oil on oak

To install the mirror into the frame, I purchased some specialist mirror-fixing adhesive that won’t damage the mirror’s backing. I applied the adhesive to the back of the mirror then I placed it in the frame, gently pushing it into place.

installing mirror grass
fitting mirror grass
installing leather strap
brass screw in leather

To secure the leather strap to the frame, I screwed in a brass screw on either side and on the bottom.

Then the mirror could be put into place in its new home! I drilled a hole in the wall, installed a plastic fixing, and screwed in the dowel. The mirror could then be hung up.

hanging mirror

That’s it all done. I feel it makes the room look finished. For more information, please watch the video below and subscribe to my Youtube channel for a new project each week.

Pour Over Coffee Maker

pour over coffee maker

I will start with the caveat that I’m not a big coffee drinker – I like to start my day with a nice mug of strong tea.  But occasionally I have guests over, and it would be nice to be able to offer them something better than instant coffee. The trend seems to be to get one of those pod-based machines, but I don’t need more plastic in my life, and I always prefer a low tech option. After a bit of research, the pour-over coffee seemed to be the way to go.


I started by making a couple of purchases: a ceramic cone to hold the filter papers; and a glass jug to catch the coffee.   I got both of these from Amazon and here is an affiliate link if you wish to look at them:

Once I received the two items, I was able to sketch out a plan for the build. My idea was to make a brass stand to hold the two parts, with bits of walnut for them to sit on.

coffee jug sketching out a design

bevel gauge With the plan drawn out, you can see how the jug will fit into the frame and the filter on top. The angles are arbitrary and I just went with what looked good while still fitting around the jug.

I set my bevel gauge to the drawing and used it to set the angle on my metal bender. 

metal bender bending metal

Bent brass

Using my plan as reference, I marked on some brass bar where the bends for the top needed to go. I used 3mm by 19mm brass bar, which was readily available on Ebay. I could then line my marks up on the bender and make the bends to the desired angle.  (NOTE: Brass is pretty soft and it would be possible to make the bend just using a vice but as I had the machine I used it.)

If you fancy a metal bender for yourself ( and who would not? ) here is a link to the tools I use:

With both bends done on two pieces of brass, I checked them against my plans – they were close enough. 

bending brass bent brass bar

Each piece of brass then needed two more bends to make the base. The base was not quite flat, but I knew this would get pulled into shape when the wood is added.

glueing walnut walnut pannel

I did not have any walnut wide enough for this project to I glued up some off-cuts to make a couple of panels.

making the centre drilling with a hole saw adding a chamfer adding a chamfer walnut

When they dried, I cut them to size on the mitre saw, and marked out the centre on the one that was going to be the top.  I then found a hole saw big enough to accommodate the ceramic cone and drill through the wood on the centre mark.

To soften the edges a little, I used a chamfer bit in my router table, but the edges could easily be rounded over with some sanding.

setting blade hight cutting a groove fitting the brass oil on walnut

The wood needed a groove cut in to accommodate the brass, so I set the height of the table saw blade to the thickness of the brass, and made several cuts to remove the waste material.  This allowed the brass to sit nicely in the recess.

As kitchen items get a bit of abuse, I finished the wood with a hard wax oil, as these are very hard-wearing.

While I was waiting for the finish to dry, I used the time to drill and countersink some holes into the brass for screws, so I could attach it to the wood.  When it had finally dried ( hard wax oil takes a while ) I was able to finally get all the bits screwed together.

Drilling brass brass and walnut

brass on walnut

Then it was all finished! A filter goes in the top, and gets a couple of scoops of ground coffee, then almost-boiling* water gets poured over.  All I need now are some visitors so I can try this out…

*water should be just off the boil, to avoid burning the coffee, which can make it taste bitter.

making pour over coffee coffee red mug

brass and walnut coffee maker pour over coffee brass and walnut

If you enjoyed this build and would like some more information, please watch this video and consider subscribing to me on YouTube.  I post a new project each week.

Making A Foot Stool

oak foot stool
Sketching a design

Like most people, I have my favourite chair, but I thought it might be nice to be able to put my feet up. The solution?   I decided to make a foot stool. 

I like to keep my plans quite loose, but I drew a rough sketch of what I wanted. I looked through the timber I had on hand, and decided to use some off-cuts of oak beam I had. 

I used the planer to clean up the faces of the wood, then I started ripping it down on the table saw. 

resawing oak

This wood was 8” thick, so I took a series of cuts, working from both sides and raising the blade each time until I had cut all the way through. I then cut the wood into square sections and trimmed them all to the same length on the mitre saw. 

sawing wood Dewalt mitre saw



I wanted the legs to have a taper to them, cut on two faces. I marked out where I wanted the taper to go, then made a jig for the table saw to cut them. (If you want to see how I made the jig, please watch the video at the bottom of this post for more information.) 

woodworker measuring

With all the tapers cut, I was able to lay out the legs and determine the sizes the aprons needed to be.  To make them, I ripped down some more oak on the table saw, and cut it to length on the mitre saw. 

cutting oak cutting oak

To join everything together, I decided to use oak dowels. (I have this Triton dowel joiner, which you can find on my Amazon page if you are interested.

If you don’t have a machine like this, a drill and simple doweling jig would work just as well.) I drilled holes into all the mating pieces, then tapped the dowels into place with some PVA wood glue. 

Triton dowel jointer

Making a foot stool

I dabbed some glue onto the faces of the joint and into the corresponding holes, then slid all the bits together.  With all the joints in place, I made sure everything was square and got it clamped up. 

Clamping wood

When the glue was dry, I removed the clamps. I sanded it down, and applied a coat of my favourite Danish finish oil. 

danish oil on oak sanding  oak


cutting foam

While I waited for the finish to dry, I started work on the cushioned top. I cut a piece of foam to slightly larger than the base using my bandsaw, but a serrated knife would work as well. 


festool track saw

I needed a base for the foam to sit on, so I used my track saw to cut down some 18mm plywood to the same size as the foam. 

upholstering a stool

I placed the foam on some wadding and cut around the foam, leaving a border wide enough to fold the wadding over the foam and plywood – I attached the wadding to the ply using a staple gun. I have not done much upholstery work, so this involved some guess work, but a staple gun makes life so much easier. 

upholstering a foot stool

I lay out some fabric and cut around it in a similar way to the wadding, and also attached this using the staple gun. 

stable gun upholstery

To prevent the stool from scratching my floor, I added some plastic feet to the bottom of each leg.

installing rubber feet


To the inside of the base, I attached some L shaped brackets. I then positioned the base onto the cushioned pad and screwed through the brackets to attach the two parts together.   

oak foot stool foot stool

That’s it all done!   All that’s left now, is to put my feet up. I hope you enjoyed this build – if you would like more information then please watch the video below.