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Wet Bank Holiday model making

    Constructing a wooden safe

For each of the last few Christmases my parents have given me some wooden and/or cardboard model kits to make, which I generally save to keep me occupied on a wet Bank Holiday. This year, my mother has surpassed herself – the model was a plywood model safe with a fully functioning 3-digit combination lock!

Since it was pouring with rain all day on Good Friday, I decided I’d have a go at assembling it. The blurb on the packaging said that it just slotted together, no tools needed, just push out the pre-formed shapes from the sheets of plywood supplied, and slot them together in the correct order.  I’ve done lots of those types of kits in the past, and their success is heavily dependent on the precision with which the pieces have been stamped into the card/plywood. If the shapes are accurate enough, they slot together fairly easily. If not, it’s a struggle to force them to line up – like with poor quality flat-pack furniture.

But when I opened it to look at the instructions, it was immediately apparent that they had been badly translated – from Ukrainian. And whatever else the Ukraine is famous for, precision engineering does not feature! I knew immediately that it was going to be a tricky build. And I most certainly was not wrong with that assessment….

In the end, I needed to raid the toolbox for:

  • A mallet
  • a hammer
  • 3 knives, of increasing size and ferocity
  • the saw implement from a multi-tool
  • a candle
  • glue
  • snub-nosed pliers
  • needle-nosed pliers
  • a needle
  • sandpaper

I broke two fingernails, lost my temper with it twice, and made full use of my wide vocabulary of profanities. But I finally got it to fit together, albeit using a fair amount of brute force! You can see the nearly completed safe in the photo above. It’s an interesting model, but far more difficult to build than was advertised…..

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Sally B | 31 March 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Have you seen the mechanical wooden kits from Timberkits? I watched a chap building one on craft TV – the finished sample was really good.

  2. Gillian | 31 March 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes I’ve done couple of those – a man playing the piano and a drummer. They take a couple of days to make, as you have to glue the bits together and leave each stage to dry before moving on. But they are rather better manufactured…..

  3. Hugh | 31 March 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Tell them to only buy kits that are advertised as laser cut. They are very accurate. We use that technique in the model plane world.

  4. pauld | 31 March 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    But does it adhear to the appropriate BS standard for water and fire penetration not to mention ‘oink proof’ against your average Malvern thug who might try to break in 🙂