Best friends with Optimus Prime. Sucks to be you, Starscream fan....

How to restore an old manrobe

preparations for the chest restoration

Three cheers for electric sandpaper or how I restored this chest of drawers aka The Manrobe

So the wife spied this manrobe on Trade Me and I thought, hell yeah, that'll do me. The bed in the spare room doesn't need to have ALL my clothes on it any more.... and after I restored this desk last year, how hard could it be?

So what's up first, what's the trick to making these drawers worthy of being a home to my Transformers T Shirt collection?

The first tip is too look for any loose joins or cracks and glue them up.

PVA was the glue of choice for wood working when I was at school so that's what I'll use know.

You'll note at the left of the picture a clamp to hold everything in place as the wood dries. A handy hint is to use a soft rubber mallet to knock the joins back in together (if it's apt). I find it's best to leave any glued bits to dry for 24 hours to give the glue enough time to dry. Which I did. Kind of, when it suited.

I then removed the door of the manrobe and the top of it too which revealed a hidden space for money, drugs and multi tool knives....

The next step in restoring this set of drawers was the longest and tough part. Sanding off the stain. So three cheers for electric sand paper. Start the process with a very course grit sandpaper. I used 60 and it ripped the stain off in no time. When using the sander, be deliberate with your strokes, don't put too much downwards pressure on the sander and keep the strokes in the same direction, going with the grain.

Did you hear me cowboy?

Go with the grain!!!

Next up is cleaning off the sand dust. Get a hearth brush and wipe it off. You could even think about using a damp towel to get the last of it off.

Then you have to repeat the above with a more fine sandpaper grit. I used 150.

I then dragged the heavy fucker out of the man shed and washed it all off with the hose and gave the drawers a damn good clean while I was at it. You know, to get rid of the old man smell....

Then you have to repeat the above with a more fine sandpaper grit. I used 180.

manrobe restoration sanded chest

All that took me an age to do. But to paraphrase Jim Steinman, it rung out beautifully.

Now for the staining.

This can be some tricky shit.

What colour to you want? Dark or light?

Do you want all the marks and everything to be covered up? Do you want all the different bits of wood to match?

Do you want a variegated cacophony of wood to be on display? These punk, are the questions you gotta ask yourself. Well do ya punk, do you want the dark mahogany stain like I went for?

 Well do ya?

Remember that secret lid I talked about where your cocaine and knives can go?

This manrobe had a nice, light stain on the inside - I had some Kauri stain left over from another project so I gave it a nice spruce up. You can see from the picture to the left that it came up a pretty sweet shade.

If it's one thing I have learnt while staining wooden furniture it's this and I believe it's bloody good advice:

Check your work! 

Check that you haven't put too much stain on.

 \Gravity is a bitch and the stain can run down the side of your piece and make a right mess. Make sure you get the excess off with the brush - some brands of stain recommend using a cloth but I reckon that risks getting cotton or what not stuck in the finish.

After you've done the staining, give it half an hour and then check your work for runs, messes and misses.

In this particular case I did just that and caught a few drips here and there. I used a sharp cardboard knife cutter to scrape or cut the stain drips or 'clumps' off. I carefully then re-stained those areas. It's a pain in the ass but totally worth it.

Indeed, I was pretty risk adverse about the stain running so the door of the manrobe was placed on the work bench, all nice an flat so there was no chance of it getting messed up:

Once the first coat had dried for 24 hours, it was time for a second coat of dark mahogany stain. When that was all done, I was on the home stretch of this restoration project. I put the door on, and the flip up top, put the drawers all back in and I was done. Mission accomplished with a restored manrobe to be proud of:

restored manrobe dresser with stain

manrobe dresser restoration stain

Charges over Batman incident, as reported by Senior Constable Adam West of Victoria Police, Australia

This is one of those awesome life imitates art moments that deserve to be shared with the world:

adam west senior constable
For those not up with the play, The 1960s TV series Batman was played by actor Adam West. Pretty sure this Senior Constable Adam West is a real person as they feature in other police reports.

Top 10 songs to Reminisce about Glory Days to!

dolly parton playboy magazine
Dolly on the cover of Playboy magazine

Top 10 Songs to Reminisce About good (or bad) times too!

Sometimes a song comes along that is upbeat and full of life. Musically they are killer diller, dressed to the hilt with riffs and hooks to die for.

Lyrically they focus on times of the past, reflecting on past glories, happy days and better times. They might be of bitter sweet memories. They are often sung from the singer's perspective of looking back, fondly reminiscing.

Or, it may simply be a song that causes the listener to think about times from the past.

These are the Top 10 songs to Reminisce to!

10. Summer of '69 By Bryan Adams

Supposedly about the sexual position the song is about various individuals buying guitars, joining bands and getting the girl. The singing is soaring and it's backed by one of rock's most memorable rock riffs. It's a shame Adams later released, Everything I do (I do it for you) and thus ruining his cred. Here's the vid on Youtube.

9. Hot Summer Night by Meat Loaf

Marion, I bet you say that to all the boys

This song is about reminiscing the hot summer night you got some sweet poon tang. And it has cool hand clapping. Nuff said. Meat Loaf rules, hang cool teddy bear!

8. Sweet Child 'O Mine, Guns 'N Roses

GNR's only number one hit, this song looks back on a happy time of childhood memories. Supposedly it was inspired by Axl Rose's wife. One of rock's greatest efforts, this song is popular in so many situations, especially in bars on a Saturday night sing-a-long. Here's the vid.

7. The Living Years, Mike and The Mechanics

"Every generation, blames the one before". I think everyone knows that line. The Living Years combined features of both members of the band's relationships with their fathers; it dealt with Mike Rutherford's (Genesis) strained relationship with his late father and the birth of co writer Robertson's son three months after his father's death. Heavy subject matter, but comes with a slight touch of looking back with fondness about dad. Here's a live version.

6. I will always love you, Dolly Parton.

You're an idiot Jimmy Jangles, Whitney Houston sang this song! Um no. Dolly Parton wrote it in 1974 herself and released it first. Whitney only made it mega famous. It's not completely a reminiscing song if you take the lyrics in a straight forward sense as its about an immediate relationship break up. The reminiscing occurs when people are remind of their own past relation ships and feel a kinship to the song. If you click one link today, you better make it this one.

Legend has it that Dolly also wrote her classic song Jolene on the same day she wrote this one.

5. We built this City  by Starship

Admit it, you know the song and you love it. Why? You love rock and roll and any rock and roll song about rock and roll rules. The key is why? Though it's 80's rock, it's good AM radio rock and everyone knows AM radio rock rules! The lyrics were written by Elton John's better half, Bernie Taupin and are a nostalgic nod to American radio stations of the 1970s. Le video.

4. Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis

Who really knows what this song is about? All I know is that when I hear Don't look Back In Anger I feel happy about my life. It's one of those inspirational songs that say nothing and everything at the same time. Here's the vid.

3. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

The ultimate song, in thinking about people how have did and fondly reflecting on their life. Not that you'd get this from the lyrics, they are kinda depressing. Here's a vid.

2. Don't Cry by GNR

That's right,two entries for GNR, cos they rock. Every person that feels sad about a relationship can listen to this song and feel sadder and happier at the same time. It's the same trick again, sad lyrics mixed with happy, epic music.  Where's Izzy?

1. Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen

The number one song about glory days can only be called Glory days! The song is a 'seriocomic' tale of former 'all American' star high school athlete who now ruefully looks back on his so-called glory days. It's not a happy song but the trick with it is that the music is so happy! Sung with a knowing phrasing, Springsteen also pulled this trick with Born in the USA which was about a soldier's problems on returning from a tour or two in the Vietnam war - except it was one of the most up beat, anthemic songs of the 80s. Heck many Springsteen songs could be about Darth Vader and you wouldn't know it.  Here's a live vid.

What are your favourite songs to reminisce to?

Careful, cute baby hedgehogs ahead

Move over kittens! The internetz no longer needs your cute pictures of cats requesting cheezeburgerzs.

There's a new kid in town and he's cute with spikes! Jimmy Jangles brings you cute baby hedgehogs for the win! I'm mean seriously, you could bet the farm on these cuties!

Careful, cute baby hedgehogs ahead.

cute baby hedgehog
Baby Hedgehog reporting for duty!
Oh hai there, I'm the cutest baby hedgehog! I'm all little!

cute baby hedgehog
Cuteness: Evolved and Spikey!
I can haz the cheezeburger and da milkshake? How cute am I?

cute baby hedgehog
Hmm, your hand smells nice!
My milkshake tastes better than yours! It brings all the hedgehogs to the yard!

cute baby hedgehog
Cutest Hedgehog ever?
I might be wrapped around your thumb, but like you know the reverse is true cos I'm too cute!

For more interesting pictures of animals, visit Animals Eating Animals, but trust me, it's not cute.....

Mount Ngauruhoe covered with snow

volcanoe ngarahoe covered in snow

Here's a sweet photo I took of Mount Ngauruhoe in 2011.

I love the shot of the chair lift just creeping by!

This photo is taken from the Whakapapa Skifields on Mount Ruapehu which is in the Tongariro National Park.

Keen Lord of the Rings fans will also note the mountain ranges found in this park served as Mordor in the Peter Jackson films.