How to form a Platonic relationship with soap
Plato thought that the universe was kept in its state of motion by the "spindle of necessity". Here is how to turn a thick spindle, or left-over pieces of dowelling, into a soap dish that allows proper draining. All you need is dowelling, string, a hand-drill and a philosophical attitude.

Take four pieces of dowelling, or any other tubular bits of wood that may be lying around. You'll need sections of minimum length 11-12cm for a single bar of soap.

Pick a drill bit close to the diameter of the string you are going to use. Drill a hole through each end of all the pieces.

Take two pieces of string, and thread them through the holes. If you want the completed object to last, you should use nylon or polyester - or plastic-coated string to keep it waterproof and rot-proof.

Tie stopper knots on both sides of the hole. I always use a figure-of- eight knot. This has two great advantages: first, I can remember how to tie it; secondly, I can also remember what it is called.

Thread the next dowel on to the string, push it right up to the knot and tie another stopper knot to hold it in place.

To complete, the wood may be stained and varnished. For the utmost durability, yacht varnish is to be recommended. The completed object is a water-resistant, self-draining, soap raft - though (unless you use balsa wood) not buoyant enough to keep soap afloat in the bath.

Oh, and I almost forgot one extremely important piece of advice: while making this soap-dish, you should make sure that at least one sturdy piece of dowelling is left over at the end and stored in a safe place. You will be needing it next week when we shall be making a portable toilet-roll holder from a metal coat-hanger.