woodworking


12
May 22

The trick of time

There are 24 pieces in this project I’m working on — the project that will never end. On Tuesday I sanded down the last of the eight long pieces. It’s all been under 400-grit sandpaper now. There are 16 shorter pieces. I’ve gotten to know all of them down to a 400-grit, as well.

So, today, I started sanding the ends. There are 48 ends, some will be visible in the final build. All will be exposed, but above or below eye level, or near a wall. But because they’ll be exposed I want them to take the ends to an even smoother finish, so today I began applying a 600-grit wet/dry sand paper to the ends.

The right side of each of these pieces has seen 600. The left side will be a joint, and no one cares. The 600 side, though, will feel like a sheer furniture grade finish when it’s done. (When it’s done. Hah!) Sheer, that is, if the stain can get in to the pores. If I haven’t closed all of the wood pores on those pieces.

I am now down to working on the last 12 pieces. This involves going through individual dry fits, a final inspection for splinters (after a 400-grit sanding, mind you) filling any awkward spots that don’t look solid and, finally, sanding the ends of those dozen pieces with 600. Then I have to clean all 24 pieces of wood and stain the thing. After the parts are finished, of course, it must be put it all together.

I’ve been hoping it all fits together for a long time now. It better all fit together.

Anyway, a bit closer to finding out.

The trick is putting in the time to do it.

That’s the trick of everything, isn’t it?


10
May 22

Just go go go

Worked today, doing work stuff. Enjoying the beginning of summer by getting ready for the fall. I had an actual lunch! We got takeout from Chick-fil-A and ate it in a parking lot between Panera and Fresh Thyme and a funeral home. It’s a glamorous life, to be sure.

After work I got gas. Paid $3.19 a gallon, which was a dollar off the sign price, because of the Kroger fuel points plan. This loyalty program is one of the three great things about our local grocery store. And, at the beginning of the year we took advantage of what is essentially Kroger Prime. Used to be that every dollar you spent was added into a formula for a reduced price at the pump. Since you’re shopping for groceries anyway, this was an easy and obvious thing. But now your dollar amounts are worth double in the gas reduction formula. We signed up before the war in Ukraine and inflation drove up the prices, and so this has paid for itself several times over already.

After that, and I know you’re riveted, I went to the hardware store. Got some tack cloths. At the house I sanded wood until it was time for dinner. (And almost all of the sanding on this ridiculously long-stalled project is now down.) And then I ate and washed dishes and did a very small amount of house chores until it was time to write this. And here you are.

Five years ago tonight, we were with the Indigo Girls.

I think that was the seventh or ninth time I’ve seen the Indigo Girls live. I don’t go to a lot of concerts anymore — indeed, I think I’ve been to one other show, in 2019, since then, and we had two others canceled in 2020 — but Amy and Emily, I’d never turn down. They never disappoint.

OK, the sanding isn’t done. Everything is done through 400-grit. Later this week I’ll do the ends to 800-grit. Then it’ll be ready to clean and stain and install. Which is good, because there’s an ever-growing list of other things I need to make.

So, this summer work, bike and build is how I’ll get ready for the fall.


11
Aug 21

No splinters here

My lovely bride asked me to make her a computer stand. We settled on a less-is-so-much-more design. So awhile back I trimmed a nice piece of scrap board to the desired dimensions, sanded it to down to 400 grit and, this weekend, she started staining it. Monday I showed you her patent pending dot-dot-stain technique. We put a few coats on Sunday and Monday. Yesterday she attached the legs and put the thing into practice. This is what it looks like this morning.

To personalize the project, I stamped a little love note into part of the board. And now everything is the right height for when she wants to stand up to use that machine in her home office.

I tried standing up in my office office. It just seems silly and boring.

Today, I do my best writing and reading and emailing while sitting. Now, back in my broadcasting days, I did my best work will standing. Maybe I should have a movable desk in a studio set-up.

Or a split level desk! With risers! And wings!

You can see how this could get out of control. (My first desk did.)

I’ve got a list of other projects to attend to and finish, before even drawing up plans on another one. Miles to go before I sleep, and so much sanding to be done, as they say.

Elsewhere, today was quiet. Spreadsheets and email and heat indices well over 100 degrees. The heat is supposed to break tomorrow or Friday. Or maybe by the weekend. Until then, hydrate much, sweat as little as possible.


9
Aug 21

So we let another Monday sneak up on us

I’m not sure why we let this happen. Again. By now, you’d think, someone would have noticed a pattern. Perhaps they could have gone down to the Office of Naming Things and said something. You probably get brushed off there. They’d send you to the Department of Reorganizing Units of Time. Now, if we know one thing, the humorless people in that office are no help. They’ll let you know straightaway. There’s a sign there that says it takes five business posplexes to get a response back on the paperwork.

The solution then, is obviously to get back to the time machine project. I’m planning on building the next test version in the body of a front-loading clothes dryer.

Unless future me comes back right now to tell me that’s the wrong approach.

No future me. So the dryer version it is. I should make some nice progress on it over the next few posplexes.

How was your weekend? Lovely and restful and productive in all of the proper proportions, I’m sure. I had a nice little run on Saturday morning. It was nice until my entire body rebelled. And that’s what you get when you try to run more than a 5K on no fuel. My blood sugar was a bit low, so I walked the last mile. That let me discover some of the largest milkweed plants you’ll ever see.

I wonder if anyone ever just decided to go for it and crack one of those seed pods open, to see what was inside: no tools, no rocks nearby, just hands and derring-do. I’d bet they were sorely disappointed. And their hands were sore.

We picked up the traditional Chick-fil-A lunch, parking right by the front door for the curbside pickup, watching people walking in right by this sign, maskless.

This county went back under a mask mandate last week. I understand, and am sympathetic, to some elements of the current vaccine debate. Because of that, I’m of two minds about the anger. But masks, this is a different category altogether. Masks are effective; they’re no infringement on your rights. You can breathe in them, and we all should know by now that our noses are connected to the respiratory system.

At which point we’re talking about people who, for some reason, want to conflate self-interest and public health. Like there’s a difference.

Went for a nice 25-mile bike this weekend, too. I only just realized that I didn’t take any pictures or videos. Just imagine me falling well behind on a short ride and going much slower than I should.

That was yesterday afternoon. And last night we stained a bit of wood. This is second or third coat, but you can still see The Yankee’s patented dot-dot-stain system.

I’m not sure where that came from, but that’s how she does it. She enjoys staining — now if I can just show her how much fun sanding is! — and has done a lot of the little projects we’ve built around here. I’ll show you what this is later this week.

Because, right now, we must get to the regular Monday check-in on the cats. They’re doing great, as you can tell. Phoebe is enjoying a bit of late evening sun here:

And here she is sleeping. This must be comfortable. She often finds herself wrapped around the arm of the sofa as a part of our evening cuddle.

Upside down is the way to see life, apparently. Poseidon thinks so, anyway.

So rare that the two of them agree on something, it’s worth noting as a universal truth.

And, finally, here’s Poseidon’s latest portrait.

And that’ll do for now. See you tomorrow. It’s only a posplex away!

Did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? Phoebe and Poe have an Instagram account. And keep up with me on Twitter. Don’t forget my Instagram. There are also some very interesting On Topic with IU podcasts for you, as well.


9
Nov 20

A Monday post about Sunday

We went for a bike ride, because that’s what we do, and because it was an abnormally beautiful weekend day. Just the sort that is intent to try to trick you into thinking this is what the whole fall and most of the winter will be like. It won’t be, and that’s a shame. And I can’t get that out of my head, and that’s an equally big shame.

Did I mention it was a great day? Ridiculous. It was 80 degrees, far beyond what anyone here would expect, which is also a shame.

Anyway, we were going out to the lake, but changed our mind to take a slightly different route. Different roads, different traffic — only yelled at twice, by a dude that, feeling he didn’t get it right the first time, decided to let us get by so he could pass us and yell again — and different views.

It was described to me as a nice, easy ride.

I looked down at one point because my legs notified my brain that I was turning over ridiculous RPMs. We’re talking maximum watts, and I’m torquing the handlebars for all they were worth. And that’s how I found myself in a sprint, at 26 miles per hour, just to stay on the Yankee’s wheel.

We were also climbing a hill when that happened.

Down on the causeway:

And a bit of video somewhere between here and there …

Anyway, yesterday was a lovely day for a ride, and we enjoyed it. And we look forward to the next one. (And it better be 80 degrees again!)

I also got to play around with part of this wood carving project I started on Friday:

This is just a test piece. I’ll use a longer piece to create the scoop-bowl volume I want here, and I need to figure out some way to handle the bottom of the bowl. It’s quite rough in there, as you can see, and I’d like to clean that up without having to buy even more stuff. I think this is becoming a scoop for dry cat food, which was the suspicion I had from the beginning. And that needs to be 3/4s of a cup. But if I can get the volume right, smooth out the insides of the real piece and thin the sides and shape the bottom, I’ll have a nice piece.

Or just something else that never works quite the way I intended.