Category : FAQ

Note : Updated with video and a note on ease of use of the tool (4th Feb, 2016)

"For drilling hole into a wall all by ourselves, do you use the local drill or any other branded one? When I checked the nearby hardware shop, they all had drill above 2k+ nothing for 700 or 1k. Any latest updates on which drill to use? Does it really need strength or can I handle it myself without disturbing my husband?" - A reader's query in Facebook

Before getting into the electric drill itself, it is important to understand what is it that makes drilling into wall seemingly difficult. The most common composition of a wall in our homes is an underlying brick wall covered by a certain thickness of concrete. It is drilling into the concrete layer that is quite a task, and once we penetrate that, eating into the brick level is cake walk. The choice of drill is primarily based on the application and your day to day needs. Based on my own experience in using an electric drill, the following are the major two categories that I would recommend for your home use. There are various brands, and these drills are available at various costs, and that is out of scope of this post.

Rotary Drills

    This is the basic form of electric drill. When turned on, the chuck to which the drill bit is attached rotates. The rotating bit then has to be placed on the spot where a hole needs to be drilled. As the bit cuts into its target, it is completely up to the user to apply the necessary pressure to provide the thrust to dig deep into the surface. 
    I use a very basic rotary drill that rotates in the clockwise direction and in a single speed. Because the force to drive the drill bit into the surface comes from the user, it is really not suited for thick concrete walls, particularly the external nine inch walls. It has been perfect for all my internal needs, especially for all the wall hanging work at home. I have tried using this drill on "certain" walls, miserably failed and then sought professional help. The rotary drill is ideal for basic masonry drilling (not so thick concrete layers), your DIY projects and other woodworking needs, particularly for drilling pilot holes, counter sinking etc…

Impact Drills

    The only difference here is that the thrust for breaking into the surface does not come from the user, but from the impact of a built in hammering action. It relatively eases the effort on the user by eliminating the need for him / her to apply pressure while the drilling is on. These drills are also called hammer drills. While they easily serve your DIY / Woodworking needs, they are ideal for all your masonry requirements, particularly drilling into concrete walls.
If you need these drills to drive screws, you will have to look for features like multiple speed options, clockwise and counter-clock wise (from removing a screw) rotating capabilities. The other varieties of drills I feel are high end and are more suited for industrial and professional uses. And to answer the question whether one can use it without disturbing ones husband, I would like to inform you that a teenager, with adult supervision, can easily get around to master using this tool. And so, if you are an adult yourself, man or a woman, this is your tool as much as it is anyone else's. So go ahead and get yourself one and kick start your DIY journey.

Do you own an electric drill at home ? What brand ? What are its features ? What do you use it for ? And most importantly, do you think women can use it without disturbing their husbands ? Leave me your comments.
Meanwhile, here is an external link to Vinay's blog post that explains how to hammer a nail into concrete
- Somu 
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While I normally direct any generic questions on how one can start basic woodworking to my 17 point recipe, I also get very specific questions which I respond to. Considering some of these questions are to the point and can be of use to others looking for similar answers, I thought it is best to document these questions-answers in the blog as part of reader queries series. As first post on this series, here’s my e-mail interaction (Part 1) sometime last week with Sai.

Taking cues from your website, I had planned to make a small table for my pooja room (This is my first task, and I have big plans once am successful with it). Since I had never done any drawing am not able to put my things on paper.

My design is simple - Size of table top - 1 1/2 x 2 feet, and height of the table 1 feet. (In future, am planning to have some draws placed to this table, so is the height acceptable or do I need to increase it a bit more?).

Now, guide me in moving forward in doing this job.

- Sai.
Plywood : when I checked at the shop next to my place, he has asked me to take the whole sheet of 18 mm thickness of 6x4 size.  Do, I need to pick the whole sheet?  I clearly know that it's waste for now, but can be used for my next task.
My response : I normally buy plywood as per my requirement. Luckily I found someone who was more than willing to part with the smaller planks of wood that he had. The only challenge I have with buying the entire sheet is storage and transportation. And not knowing what my next project is can mean I may not be able to find use for the additional plank immediately.  Normally, vendors push the entire sheet as it makes more business sense for them. However, if you can find someone who can give you sheets based on need, nothing like it.
Note : Besides my car boot, I also store all my unused plywood in my service area, balcony and even the underside of the cot. While I think I will have ample use for these pieces of wood, I have not been able to put them to functional use because of lack of requirements - A major reason why I prefer buying based on need.

storing plywood
Unused plywood stacked in the boot of my car
Cutting : Can I myself cut the sheet with saw that we get in the market or do I need to get it done outside?
My response : You can. However, that just means you need to have a circular saw or a jig saw. If it is 12mm plywood sheets, you can cut it using the hand saw, but that by itself is an effort. Ask if your plywood supplier can do it himself for an additional sum. I get it done through the plywood vendor. Owning the tool is a challenge for me because of space constraints. I live in the 4th floor of an apartment, and so it poses noise issues for those below.
Note : Since not having a tool should never be an impediment to begin a hobby, I always recommend that some of the tasks are outsourced. The key is to get going with the project, learn and acquire skills as you move on with it. 

I added the notes as an after thought and it was not part of mail response. Sai had more queries related to tools, fixing the table legs and finishing the table top which I shall update in the Part 2 of this post. Meanwhile, if you have queries that you want clarified, shoot me a mail ( While I shall happily help you with what I know, I will also respectfully tell you if there is something I cannot help you with because of lack of information. 

  • Want a dismantleable Golu Padi for this Navaratri ?
  • Feel the ones in the market are very expensive ?
  • Had trouble trying to find a carpenter to get it done for you ?
  • Did you land up here looking for means to build your own DIY Golu Padi right from scratch and at a much lower price ? 
Well, you have come to the right place. Just browse through the 3 posts from the drop down below and learn about the basic design, materials required and cost, and the assembly procedure (a video).
Check Out ! Complete guide to build your own Golu steps
Preethi had started the Golu display at our new home with make shift Golu steps. This year, we wanted something that is more permanent and easy to store and assemble. And so started the Golu padi project. Before that, I would like to thank Love and Lentil for their tutorial from which I took the design with minor additions.

Golu steps how to build one yourself
Basic design of the Golu Padi
So, what do you need to get your basic 5 step Golu padi up and running (Well ! Not literally)
  • 2 side steps that will support your Golu padis
  • The actual steps (5 of them)
  • Vertical support for the side steps
  • Horizontal support
The focus of this post would be to explain how to arrive at the measurement for the side steps based on the width of each of the Golu padi. And in turn, arrive at your total amount of wood that you need to purchase.

Key Decisions

First decide on the following : What should be the height between two steps ? What should be the width (depth) of the steps ? What should be the length of the steps ? All these three decisions will be completely based on your own collection of dolls / idols. For convenience, choose the height and width (depth) to be same.  In our case, we chose 8.5 inches as the height and depth.

Golu step DIY
Choose the width, height and length of your steps

Dimensions for the side step support

Here is where Pythagoras Theorem comes in handy. Don't really remember using it for anything functional in the last so many years. Your padi width / height (indicated by 'a') being the sides of a square, you will need a plank that is 5 times the diagonal of that square. The below illustration will help you decide how much of side step support plank that you would need based on your choice of width and height.

golu padi - Do it yourself
How to arrive at the dimension required for Side step support
For 8 inches wide step, you would need just one board of 4 feet x 7 feet plywood. This will suffice for a 5 step golu padi. If you keep increasing the width dimension or increase the number of padis, the total requirement would change. However, the same logic as explained above can be used to calculate your total plank requirement. Again, the below illustration is self explanatory :
golu padi tutorial
Total (ply)wood requirement for an 8in x 8in step (4 feet long)

Horizontal and vertical support

The vertical support is required to hold the structure in place without falling down. And the horizontal support is required to prevent the structure from falling sideways. Both these supports are critical to the stability of your entire structure. You can either use the left over wood (as indicated by the wooden texture in the above photo), or buy the required amount in addition to the 4ft x 7 ft board. The length of these supporting pieces are not provided as they are straightforward and can be derived by merely measuring using an inch tape.

Vertical and horizontal support
Vertical and side support for the overall structure
To summarize, we saw :
  • What is the basic design of the steps
  • How much wood is required depending on your choice of width dimension
  • How the vertical and horizontal supports help holding the golu steps in place
I will shortly (In 2-3 days time) follow up this post with what I have used for making the steps and the cost involved. Meanwhile, you will have to tell me if this DIY will be of any use to you at all ? Would you be prompted to go ahead and try this out for this festive season ? Let me know in the comments section.

I had started the project on bedside table last week and had decided to put up the step by step process of the progress.  The first step towards making any piece of furniture is to get the design in place. This enables you to fix the dimensions, which in turn provides you the input on the amount of materials that you need to buy.  This being DIY, you can choose to have your own design and dimensions. We wanted the table to be in line with the mattress which fixed the height at 20 inches.

Measurement for table
Dimensions for the table

Materials and tools required

  • The Wooden legs : I wanted the legs to be 1 inch x 1 inch and required them to provide stability to the whole structure. Based on the above design, I needed the following:
    • 4 x 20 inches long legs (Vertically placed)
    • 8 x 14 inches long legs (Horizontally placed - 4 on top and 4 in the middle )
  • At the plywood store, I was shown 1 inch x 1 inch teak wood legs which was just perfect. They come in 8 feet length and costed Rs.25 per foot.
  • Based on the dimensions, I needed 192 inches (exactly 16 feet). To allow for minimal wastage, I bought 2 x 8 feet and 1 x 2 feet of the teak wood
  • A hacksaw blade for the cutting needs
Teak wood for table legs
Teak Wood Legs for the Side table

Cutting the wooden legs to required dimension

I have always maintained that it is fine to outsource your cutting needs should you have constraints in terms of space, non-availability of tools / skills. While it is quite a task to cut sheets of wood above 12mm in thickness and one may need a handsaw or a circular saw, for some of the requirements (as in this case), hacksaw blades would do the job neat and clean. It is easy to use, easily available and will not cost you more than Rs.15. I used a hacksaw blade to cut the teak wood legs.

Hacksaw blade
Cutting the wooden legs using hacksaw blade

Fixing the wooden legs

With the legs cut to the required dimension, the next step naturally is to fix the legs. Considering I am getting only limited time during the weekends, this will be the next step in the process. I still have not decided whether to use screws or a cross dowel to fix this up. Whatever might be the case, I will be using only butt joint to join the wooden legs together

Teak wood legs
Wooden legs cut and ready to be fixed

Do watch this space next Monday for the next step in the process. Hopefully, I should be ready with the basic structure of the table by this week. I am thinking of putting up a video post (at a later time) on this entire project subject to availability of time.  Do leave your feedback and share your thoughts on this project. 

I have been trying to see what I can put down here that can be of use and my recent conversation with a friend prompted this post. She was wanting to get shelves installed in her kitchen and had been coordinating with professionals to get it done. One of the many needs in any kitchen is the requirement for additional shelves at some point or the other. And it was mere coincidence that I was working on completing an earlier project of mine which involved installing a glass shelf to the cabinet. My camera is giving us big trouble, and I could only manage the below pictures. Hoping that they serve the purpose. So, here’s how you can install a glass shelf to a cabinet without professional help.

Materials and tools required:

  • The glass shelf. The process holds well even if you use a wooden shelf. The length of the shelf needs to be 1 or 2 mm lesser than the length of the cabinet. I got mine for Rs.90/-
  • Shelf brackets or bats (The ones you see in the picture are called shelf bats) - Rs 35/- a pair
  • Drilling machine (Do remember that this is a must have tool for even some of the small requirements at home)
  • Adhesive (if required)
Shelf brackets - Glass shelf support
Shelf Brackets
I went to my regular plywood store and gave the dimensions of the glass and got it cut from the store. Since my size was small, he could give it to me from a spare piece and that saved me some cost.
Shelf glass
Glass panel for the shelf

Step 1 : Mark the height and drill holes

Mark the height on both sides of the cabinet where you want to install the shelf. Ensure that the height is same on both the sides.

Drill two holes along the line marked. This by far may seen as the most cumbersome activity in the whole process. Get yourself a drilling machine and you would realize it is not a big deal after all.The hole size should not be bigger than the bat / bracket cylindrical protrusion (refer photo). The depth of the hole should be just enough for the entire bracket to be comfortably inserted into the hole. Drill a bit and insert the bracket to test. Keep drilling (with intermittent testing with the bracket) until you are able to comfortably place the shelf support into the drilled hole.
Drill holes
Drill holes for the bat insertion

Step 2 : Insert the shelf bats into the hole

Insert the shelf bats into the holes drilled and secure them in place. If the hole diameter is small, the bat cannot be inserted. If it is bigger, the bat will not be secure in its position. To avoid any loose insertion, I added loads of Fevicol and then inserted the bats in place.

Install shelf bats
Insert the shelf brackets

Step 3 : Place the shelf on the bats

The final step is to place the shelf on the bats. Notice that the bats have a cup shaped top ? With little pressure applied the glass shelf is held together by vaccum suction. Just same as any vaccum suction hooks that you would have seen.

How to install glass shelf
Learn to install a glass shelf
And it is as simple as that. With just a little bit of practice with an electric drill, you can pretty much take care of some of your woodworking needs all by yourself. Installing a glass shelf, getting a cabinet door installed, installing a glass door are among some of the requirements that you can fulfill with this skill. Comes in quite handy at the most vital situations. Share your thoughts. Let me know if you found this post useful.
- Somu

Before looking at how to use the sanding sealer, do understand three important things :
Complete guide to wood staining

Materials required 

  • Sanding sealer
  • NC Thinner
  • Gada Cloth (for applying the sealer)
  • Sand paper (220 grit)
All the above materials are easily available in the local hardware store.

Sealing wood
Materials required - Sealing Wood


  • Pour 1 part of sanding sealer in a bowl
  • Mix 2 parts of NC thinner to the sealer
  • Stir thoroughly to ensure the mix is consistent
  • Dab the gada cloth in the mix and apply it on the surface of the wood
  • Cover a small area in one stroke
  • Before the layer dries, wipe off the excess sealer using a dry cloth
  • Using the same method, apply the sealer across the entire surface area of the wood
  • Allow it about 1-2 hours of drying
  • Lightly sand the dried surface of the wood (Remember ? It is a sanding sealer)
  • Apply two to three coats of the sealer to achieve a really smooth surface. Remember to sand in between coats.
How to seal wood
How to seal wood
This sets the surface ready for the stain to be applied. The application of stain on the surface of the wood is very similar to that of how the sealer is applied. Will very soon post the stain application procedure. Meanwhile, do leave us a feedback in the comments section. If you think, staining can be done in a different and easier way, feel free to leave me a comment.

One of the most common questions that I get on mail and on comments is, ”Where do I start if I want to develop interest in carpentry” ? Not that I have gained enough authority on this subject, but since am quite often faced with this question, I decided to write about what worked for me. The objective of this post is not to make a professional woodworker out of you, but to draw your attention towards basic carpentry and the everyday projects that you can build around the house. So here goes - My 17 point recipe for starting a carpentry hobby:
Carpentry as a hobby
Starting a hobby in carpentry / woodworking
  1. Don’t let anyone make you think that DIY woodworking is not for the Indian conditions. It is as much possible here as much as it is elsewhere.
  2. Your first project: Choose one that is easy to make. Completing a DIY project, however small it may be, will encourage you enough to take up the next one. Start with something like a smartphone stand or a photo frame or whatever you want to make. My first project was a center table.
  3. Take a plunge and give your project a jump start. Don’t let something you don’t know slow you down. You will learn as you progress.
  4. Gift yourself a basic electric drill. You must own one.
  5. You don't need to have an entire collection of tools before you start. Buy them as and when you need them. I bought my collection of tools over a period of 3 years.
  6. There is no shame in outsourcing wherever you don’t have the skills or tools. I cut my plywood at the plywood store. I don’t have the space or proficiency to own and use a circular saw at home.
  7. Plan, plan, plan. Put your design in paper before you start the actual execution. Use a design software if necessary. It will save you materials,cost, time and energy.
  8. Keep your design simple and easy to make. Worry not much about joints to start with.
  9. Space can always be a constraint for an apartment dweller. Use whatever little space you have efficiently. A guest room or a balcony can be life savers. Just make sure you clean up once you are done.
  10. Read, read, read. Every bit of information is available on the Internet. Google and Youtube have been my best friends. Buy or borrow a book if necessary.
  11. Join like minded communities or forums. This will help you reach out to professionals who can provide valuable inputs.
  12. Join woodworking classes if your city has one to offer. It will put the foundation in place and help build more confidence.
  13. Practice, practice, practice. Nailing, screwing, gluing, cutting, sanding  – All come with practice.
  14. There is paint or stain, and clear varnish. Don’t confuse yourself with other finishing methods in the beginning. You will naturally transition to the next level with every project.
  15. Enjoy what you do. Carpentry is beyond the hard labor that it seems to be and beautifully functions as a hobby you can pursue with fervor.
  16. Take a break once in a while. This can be addictive and you don’t want it to get on your nerves.
  17. And finally, give utmost importance to safety. If you work in haste, you will repent in leisure.
Do you think you can add some more ingredients to my recipe ? Please let me know in the comments section.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

Making a shoe rack or a cabinet may seem complex and quite a task for a home DIYer, but you would be surprised to know how easy it is when you break it down to simpler steps. This is a step by step tutorial for making your own cabinet (like the one below) at home with just an electric drill, screws and screw drivers. Before you move further, do take a moment to read about pilot holes and butt joints. For the first time, I am trying to put up a 'how to' series by merely using illustrations. Would love to hear your feedback on this.

Materials Required

  1. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the top (27.5 inches x 13.5 inches). This will be the cabinet top
  2. 2 numbers of 12 mm plywood for the sides (21.5 inches x 12 inches)
  3. 1 number of 6 mm plywood for the backing support (25.5 inches x 12 inches)
  4. 1 number of 12 mm plywood for the bottom (24 inches x 12 inches)
  5. Additionally, you would also need 12 mm plywood for the following (Not shown in the image below)
    • The shelf
    • The cabinet doors
  6. Rubber bushes (4 numbers)
  7. Door knobs (2 numbers)
Measurement of materials required
Dimensions for the shoe rack
You can get these materials in your neighborhood plywood store and you can have the plywood cut either at the same store (like I did), or in a timber store for a minimal cost. All you need to do is give them the dimensions. Of course, you can have it cut yourself if you have the necessary tools.

Tools and supplies required

  1. An electric drill
  2. Screw driver set
  3. Some star head screws (2 inches)
  4. Fevicol SH or an equivalent wood adhesive

Make the basic structure

  1. The idea is to make the basic structure or the shell of the cabinet using simple butt joints. The top plywood plank is placed on the side vertical planks which are further joined together in the bottom (Check image below)
  2. Place the top on the vertical side planks. The dimensions are such that there is a space of 1 inch on all sides of the top planks.
  3. Similarly place the bottom plank between the two sides and fix the three together.
  4. Secure the planks together using 2 inch screws (indicated by dots) as shown in the image below. For additional reinforcement, you can use adhesive. To make it easier for driving the screws in, drill a pilot hole extending from one surface to the other surface.
Shoe rack DIY
Shoe Rack Do it Yourself

Fix the shelf and the doors

  1. When cabinet is made with butt joints, there is every bit chance that it would be weak and would wobble if considerable weight is applied. To overcome this issue, the backing support in the rear is mandatory. It is your personal choice and you can decide to cover the entire rear with the backing support.
  2. Install the shelf. You either drive screws into the shelf through the sides or you can also use shelf brackets. The advantage with shelf brackets is that you can remove the shelf to make more space when desired or you can adjust the placement of the shelf at any height you need at any point in time.
  3. Installation of the cabinet door is beyond the scope of this post. 
  4. However, you can learn the trick from this detailed post on installing a cabinet door.
A do it yourself shoerack
Make your own shoe rack
Attach rubber bushes to the bottom of your shoe rack to ensure that the rack is not placed directly on the floor. You can also have a simple knob installed. Whether you want to have a single door or a double door is up to you. But any length of the cabinet beyond 1 feet 9 inches, a double door would be preferable.
Shoe Rack illustration
DIY Shoe Rack
Of course, you will have to suitably finish it using stains or paint. Hope you find this useful. If you find information lacking, or need more inputs on this one, feel free to shoot a mail to Do leave your comments and let me know what you think of this DIY.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

Wood joinery is an important aspect of Woodworking as it is critical to how strong and durable your project will be. Joinery involves putting two pieces of wood together. While there are many joinery techniques available, for a hobbyist who is beginning to learn the nuances of carpentry, butt joint will be the easiest and safest bet.  Two reasons why I say this :
  • No additional skill is required to join wood using this technique
  • No special tool is required
While appropriate joining methods need to be adhered to when making complex furniture at a professional level, butt joint would suffice for your everyday small DIY projects. 
Wood joinery
Butt Joints - Ideal for the beginner carpenter
When two pieces of wood are merely joined or butted together at right angles to each other, it is called a butt joint.  Since it involves fixing two surfaces using adhesive as the only joining medium, the strength of the joint is solely dependent on the glue potency, and hence is naturally weak. 

There are many ways to strengthen the joint and complement the effect of the glue. I use screws (which run deep into the surfaces that are being joined) to provide additional reinforcement for all my butt-jointed  projects. Whether it is the center table, or a clock frame or a lampshade frame, it is butt joints that I have used all the way.
Wood joining technique
Butt joints in my DIY projects
As you grow comfortable with butt joints, it is important to experiment with complex ones that are appropriate for the project that you are working on. Needless to say, butt joints are simple and hence ideal for anyone who is starting to pick up interest in carpentry.

Besides butt joint, I have also used mitre joint in one of my DIY projects. Can you guess which one ? Meanwhile, do leave your comment and let me know your thoughts on this post.
Linking in : Colours Dekor

In one of the previous posts, we did look at an introduction to wood stains, the different brands available, cost and the basic application procedures. From this post on, we will look at, in detail, how to approach applying wood stains to your wooden substrate. We will delve into the various materials and supplies required, surface preparation techniques, the actual application procedure of stain and the top coat.
Complete guide to wood staining

For the purpose of demonstration, I will use a spare sheet of One Side Teak. I will use both sides of the sheet to lay bare how stains work and enhance the look of the substrate.
Staining wood tutorial
How to stain wood - A beginner's guide
The following are the topics that I will discuss in detail in the forthcoming posts. Each of these steps is important and critical to the effectiveness of the staining process.
  • Step 1 : Sanding the wooden surface
  • Step 2 : Understanding sealers and why they are required
  • Step 3 : Applying Sealer as a pre-conditioner
  • Step 4 : Applying the wood stain
  • Step 5 : Applying a top coat (Varnish)

Materials / Supplies required

  • Sand papers (Grit 80, 100, 120, 150, 220)
  • Muslin cloth (Ask for Gada Thuni if you are in Chennai) 1 meter
  • Thinner 500ml
  • Sanding Sealer 500 ml
  • Wood stain 100ml
  • Rag Cloth
  • Wood Polish 
The details of the brands, cost etc… , I shall discuss in the individual posts.

Wood staining in India
Materials required for staining wood

Some safety precautions

  • Using a mask is mandatory. Sanding can send in dust particles and staining can send strong fumes through your nostrils.
  • Cover your eyes to protect from the dust irritating your eyes.
  • Use gloves because it is very difficult to remove stain off your fingers.
  • Work in an open, well ventilated space
That said, shall come back and take you through each of these individual steps in the coming days / weeks. Meanwhile, do remember to leave a comment and enter your e-mail address below just so you do not miss the rest of the posts in this series.

- Somu

Ever wondered how the dull and boring surface of an ordinary plywood can be made vibrant with colours that enhance the surface patterns ? Enter Wood stains (Click on link for the beginner's guide to using wood stains). Wood stains are finishing media that allow for adding color to a wooden substrate. Staining the wood results in the wooden grains / patterns being enhanced resulting in a finish appealing to the eyes. Now, wood stains is a topic that I have been deliberately avoiding because of my inadequacy in the skill. However, over the last few years, I believe that I have gained enough practice and expertise to discuss it here.
Complete guide to wood staining
Walnut wood stain
Wood stain - Before and After
The surface preparation required and the method of stain application may make the whole staining process look very complicated. The idea behind this post and the subsequent posts (COMING UP) is to detail the process of staining for all to benefit. This will be a series of 5-6 posts explaining the individual steps involved in achieving the desired look using stains.

Wood Stains in India

I don’t claim to be an expert and I am not offering to elaborate on all the different types of stains that are there in the market. This blog is brand agnostic, and so am not endorsing any particular brand either. Following are some of the Wood stains that I have worked and have seen fulfilling results with.
  • Asian Paints
  • Wudfin (by Pidilite)
  • MRF Wood Stains
  • Sheenlac
All these stains come in a 100 ml bottle and will cost anywhere between Rs.33-Rs.40/-.
Wood Stains available in India
Different wood stains - 100 ml bottles

Colour options in Wood Stains

Wood stains come in various colors that suits your needs. These are available in most hardware stores that also sell paints. Unfortunately, not all colours may be available at the local store as they stock only fast moving colours. The following is the shade range that I picked from the MRF Paints website. Other brands also have similar colour ranges.

Wood Stain colour options
Wood Stain colour ranges
Image Courtesy : MRF Paints

Stained Wood Finish

As I mentioned earlier, the stained finish will enhance the wooden patterns on the surface and make the grains noticeable more prominently. Unlike in paints, where the surface finish is one uniform opaque layer, stains will make the surface grains visible. Stained finish is certainly my favorite and I have shown few projects below that I did using wood stain.

Stain wood finish
Stained wood look

Application procedure

Though I am going to elaborate each of the steps involved in staining wood in individual posts, it makes sense to mention the steps involved in staining wood:
  • Sanding. Stains fill the grains and other dents in the wooden surface giving it a different color. And so this becomes a very important step. Staining requires a very smooth surface
  • Sealing. Sealants prevent uneven distribution of the stain and helps in achieving a uniform color across the surface
  • Staining
  • Varnishing
While there are certainly other types of wood stains, I have only mentioned those that I have worked with. The composition of these stains is beyond the scope of my understanding. That said, I should warn you that working with sealants and stains may result in inhalation of fumes and hence warrants the need to follow safety precautions. 

More later in the subsequent posts. Meanwhile, do leave a comment and let me know if there is anything specific you need me to cover in this series.

- Somu

Update : Join our DIY Woodworking group in Facebook. Discuss. Share. Take help. Raise queries. Some interesting discussions are happening at this very moment. JOIN NOW.

Ever since I started working on basic woodworking as a hobby, I have been on the lookout for workshops / classes that I can attend. It makes it easier to understand concepts from industry experts who are willing to part with their knowledge, than struggling to get answers from non-receptive carpenters or hardware store vendors. 

In Chennai, unfortunately, I was not able to find any such workshops. But Bangalore folks seem to be the lucky lot. I reached out to Hamsavardhan to know more about his woodworking workshop. Here’s what he had to say:
Carpentry class in India
Woodworking Workshop - Bangalore
Photo Courtesy : Esthete
1. Where is the workshop held ?
Workshop is held at Esthete studio, Tavarekere Road, Near Prestige St. John's Wood Apartments (1km from Forum Mall Koramangala).
2. What is the workshop all about ?
The agenda is to create awareness about wood and working with wood, carpentry, information on various types of wood and wood based products, such as plywood, MDF etc. The workshop will also cover basic tools and joinery techniques. It is an introductory lecture-demo on the science, craft and technology of wood and woodworking, carpentry and furniture making.
3. Who is the workshop for ?
It is a very informative and interactive session for anyone interested in understanding wood products, carpentry and furniture making.
4. How much does the workshop cost ?
This is a free class and is open to all.
5. Do the attendees have to bring anything along with them ?
A notebook to jot down points. Otherwise nothing.
6. When is the workshop normally held ?
The workshop is held on last Sundays of all months. You can “LIKE”  the Esthete Facebook page to get information on all upcoming events.
7. Contact information for any further details ?
Feel free to reach out to Hamsa Vardhan at +91 99020 59328.
The next workshop is on the 27th of Jan, 2013 between 1000 hrs and 1300 hrs. I hope Bangaloreans interested in understanding the nuances of woodworking would make good use of the opportunity. I am thinking of planning my next Bangalore trip with the workshop in mind.

Hope you found this post useful. I shall most certainly track other workshops around the country and provide details here for all to benefit from. Do leave a comment and let me know your opinion on this post.

- Somu

About Esthete and Hamsavardhan
Esthete is a design based company, specializing in Turnkey Interior Design and Execution, Complete Interior Decoration, Designing and Manufacturing of Customized furniture and accessories, Developing new and exciting designs in various materials, especially wood and suggesting space saving ideas for clients.

Hamsavardhan is Esthete’s Founder and Principal Designer. He started his design career as a furniture and interior designer specializing in children’s rooms, along with his partner, Mubina Vazirali, in the early 90’s. Their first clients were C.Krishniah Chetty Jewllers. Later he worked with Architect Omar Nisar as an architectural assistant. Know more about him in his official website.

This is not a sponsored post. This blog post was written purely for bringing useful information / content to the readers of this blog. Also note that I have not attended this workshop and hence cannot provide any feedback at this point on the workshop itself.

Only recently, I had the good fortune to watch a bunch of carpenters re-purpose a whole lot of chairs and tables. While this is what they had to say when I approached them with a question, they did not complain my being around and taking pictures.  As I mentioned earlier, most carpenters are hesitant about sharing trade secrets, but there is so much we can learn from mere observation.
Learn to repurpose chairs and tables
Re-purposed chair
For now, I shall leave you with pictures in the different stages of re-purposing a chair (Trust me: There may be more than many ways to do it. This is just one of them) . I shall certainly get back into working out detailed tutorials for each of these stages. Of course, you can always decide to choose between Paints and Stains for the look you desire, but all that and more in the coming days.
How to refinish your furniture
Re-finishing furniture
Meanwhile, if you have ever reworked on your home furniture, do share your comments on how you achieved that. It would certainly help me and others who would chance upon this post.

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I was at my cousin’s during the weekend trying to help him with 6 dining chairs that had broken. He had bought 4 replacement steel chairs and yet was looking at means to repair the existing chairs.  Fortunately for him, only the joining screw hardware was broken which made it a lot easier to fix the issue. At this juncture, I thought it made sense to write about the hardware that is used to make flat pack ready-to-assemble furniture. Note : Most furniture in India, particularly dining chairs and tables, that are delivered and installed at home free of charge is made of these screws, called CROSS DOWELS

Allen key cross dowels are much like the regular bolt and nut, except that they are designed to look more elegant. The name “Allen key” comes from the fact that it was originally manufactured by Allen Manufacturing company. The cross dowels serve the same function as nails or screws. However, they can be easily removed from / put back into the wooden surfaces making it ideal for knock down furniture.

Cross Dowel
Allen Key Cross Dowel
Fixing cross dowels is quite simple and all that it requires is a pilot hole drilled through both the wooden surfaces that are being fixed. This pilot hole will house the screw / bolt. For the nut, another hole is required that is drilled across the surface of one of the wooden substrate. This hole will run perpendicular to and directly across the earlier pilot holes drilled.

Cross dowel installation
How to install cross dowels
As illustrated below, the screw is driven through the pilot holes "a" and "b", while the nut is placed through the hole "c". As the screw is tightened through the nut, it brings the wooden surfaces together and holds them tight and secure. And naturally, unlike screws and nails, it can obviously be seen that the bolt is easier to remove and fix as needed.

Knock down furniture
Cross Dowel Installation
Most furniture that is home delivered and then installed at home is ready to assembly furniture and is built using these cross dowels. Don't believe me ? Just go across to your dining room and check out for the allen key heads.

Ready to assemble chairs
Knock down dining chairs
I know this is kind of a heavily technical post. Nonetheless, thought it is a very useful tip as most households have flat pack furniture and there may be a need in the near future to fix a broken chair. If you did like this post, remember to leave me a comment.

- Somu 
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(Note : I have started a new series on how to make a Golu Padi. I explain the process in three steps. Do check out the 1st post in the series for a better understanding)

This time of the year, with everyone being busy with arrangements for Navarathri, one of the major task at almost every household is setting up the steps for arranging the dolls. If you have been setting up Golu for years together, am sure you would not have much of an issue with the steps. However, if you are doing it anew (like us) and have no major time at your disposal, here is a 5 step padi that you can build with planks, cardboards and everyday furniture around the house. 

We had leftover planks and card boards and the idea was to not spend time and money on Padi. Last year was the first time we kept Golu in our new home and maybe as we collect more dolls, we will look at a more permanent step arrangement. For now, the make shift one works good for us. Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

Golu  Padi Make it yourself
Make your own Golu Steps
Golu Padi - An Easy DIY
DIY Golu steps / Padi

1. Materials used for the steps

  • Bottom step - Center table
  • Step number 1 - Card board sheets (The ones I used for demo for my Clock DIY video)
  • Step number 2 - 6mm Plywood planks
  • Step number 3 - 19 mm Plywood planks
  • Top most step - OST sheets

2. Mounting the planks 

  • Bottom step - The center table itself formed the bottom most step
  • Step number 1 - Used two cardboard boxes (placed on the center table) on the corners and piles of papers to support the Carb board sheets
  • Step number 2 - Stacked up bricks (on the center table) on which the 6mm plywood planks were placed
  • Step number 3 - Placed dining chairs on opposite ends and supported the 19mm plank on the back rest
  • Top most step - Placed two modas on the dining chairs, added shoe boxes and books for height and for holding the OST sheets
Do it yourself Golu steps
Make your own Golu steps using planks and everyday furniture
The idea here was not to showcase any carpentry skills. The purpose was to build the steps with whatever we already had in ways that anyone can do. I know it doesn't look great on the inside. But it certainly serves the purpose after appropriately covering it up. We have for now covered the setup with news papers and we will soon use the traditional white dhoti on top. Work is still in progress and thought there is no better time than now to post this. 

How do you do your Golu steps ? Already have a knockdown setup ? Plan to get it done for the first time ? Leave us a comment.

Here is two DIY projects on Golu steps that we loved while browsing the net for ideas :

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