old operating systems

So despite gorgeous weather and a load of gardening jobs that I really need to get on top of, I spent quite a bit of Sunday playing about with libvirt, QEMU and a bunch of old operating system ISOs.

I’d played with some downloaded OS/2 VMs before, but could never got them running under KVM/QEMU. They were all either VMWare VDI/VMDK images or Virtualbox ones. QEMU can convert these into QCOW2 (QEMU’s native format) but whereas I got OS/2 Warp 3.0 running fine. Warp 4.0, 4.52 eComstation VMs all failed to run. However, it turns out that the ISO of OS/2 Warp 4.5.2 is bootable and an installation (I never bothered with 4.0) was surprisingly easy.

I even got OS/2 2.0 running fine.

OS2Warp3 0 Warp4 52 runningQEMU

I also tried with Windows NT 3.5 and 4.0. Both installed nicely.

WinNT3 51 NT4 0 runningQEMU

There are many instructions online so I will not bore you with them anymore (although I should add some links).

I moved from DOS/Windows 3.1 straight to OS/2 Warp 3.0. When I left work and went to college in 1998 at the Freshers Fair there was a goodie bag that included a free licensed CD of OS/2 Warp 3.0. I installed it and never went back. I was even a founder member of WarpUK, a group of enthusiasts. I’d link to them but no trace exists online. Although I do have a few of our CDs. I went to Warp 4.0, then eventually gave up on OS/2 and moved to Linux (Ydraggasil, then Debian and onto Gentoo which I still run now).

I used Windows NT 3.5 quite a bit. I think I had a dual boot system with OS/2 although to be honest I cannot really remember. I installed but never really used NT 4.0.

I’m not sure I miss the joys of downloading 20 odd 1.4MB floppy fixpack images, “burning” to actual floppy discs and updating the OS…! But I do miss OS/2 sometimes! A great OS.

Sanding down an old oak table

When we were given a lovely dinner table and chairs, our old round oak table was moved to the veranda for almost alfresco dining. Even though it’s protected from direct rain it has deteriorated over the years and so it was time for a refresh.

So I sanded down and oiled.


I used a belt sander, starting with 40 grit, then 80, 120 and 240. A belt sander is not ideal for furniture but it’s all I have.

For the legs I just used a 1/3 sheet sander and went from 80 to 120 then 240.

the legs of a table freshly sanded

The top was finished with five coats of Tung oil, starting with 10% oil to 90% white spirit and finishing with pure Tung oil.

Tung oil is the main ingredient of many other oil products. It’s from the Tung nut and is food safe (unless mixed with solvents) and is ideal for finishing work surfaces in kitchens. The main disadvantage is that is takes a looong time to dry (the 5th coat of pure oil took four days to become touch dry and probably much longer to fully cure!). In fact it does not dry and instead cures. It needs oxygen to do so and will fully polymerize unlike other furniture oils, so is pretty much waterproof. One of its other advantages is that the end result is matt and if you need to repair a scratch or damage, then you can just wire wool a section and re-treat. The end result is generally a seamless repair. Which is pretty much impossible with other oils or varnishes without a lot of sanding work! I use tung oil mixed with solvents, to aid the initial soaking in of the oil.

a freshly sanded oak table partly oiled.

a freshly oiled oak table

The legs just had two coats.

The final result.

An oak table that has been sanded and oiled on a dust sheet over terracotta tiles.

Here’s to lots of drinks and food over the summer (wait where’s the sun?).