March 2014

Drawer #6

Jay Oyster's picture

Built and fit the sixth drawer to the case on Sunday. My chisels and block plane are getting dull, so I've pulled out the water stones and am about halfway through sharpening them. I probably should have sharpened the chisels about two drawers ago, but . . . .you know how it goes.

Finished the four hammer/mallet brackets

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Hammers and mallet mounted in left door of the wall tool cabinetI pushed and finished all four of the 'hammer' mounts last night. This meant mounting the Blue Spruce round mallet and the Warrington hammer (i.e. cross-peen hammer).  I actually took a picture of the finished brackets this time. I sped this whole process up by using the band saw much more. Basically, I took a 3" thick piece of some wood or other from the farm, cut it to width on the bandsaw, figured out where the hole should be for the tool. I used the drill press to cut the holes into the block, but not all of the way through. Then I cut a curve out of the bottom half of the block so I don't have to go through so much material with the mounting screws. This has the secondary effect of opening up the tool holder opening I just drilled in the top of the block.

Hammers and mallet mounted in left door of the wall tool cabinet

Trends in Poetry

Jay Oyster's picture

Revolution through poetry, or constant revolutions within poetryI have historically been a voracious reader, particularly of novels. But as I've reached my late 40s with young children in the house, I've found that I have little time, or more importantly, mental bandwidth, to read much. What I do read is usually in a very narrow bandwidth of trusted authors and easy-to-digest styles. Until he died, I read Robert Parker's mystery novels. Until the series ended, I read JK Rowling's Harry Potter books. The last trusted source I have right now is LE Modesitt's fantasy fiction. I read it because, a) it's escapist, but b) it's also grown-up fiction. It's fantasy with the concerns and knowledge of a person who has dealt with real world power struggles and real-world politics. I've taken lessons from many of his books on how to operate in a modern corporation, and how to interpret what's actually going on in the divisive politics of 21st century America. 

I also occasionally stop by Mr. Modesitt's own personal blog from time to time to see if he's published a take on current events. His is certainly not the only voice I read about such things, but it's a known voice and I often agree with his thinking. Or it makes me think a bit differently about it.  Recently, he wrote about a dance recital that he and his wife attended, and at which he was given a poetry magazine. His take on both the dance and the poetry is that both forms have gotten looser over the past 50 years, and it hasn't been good for either. I don't disagree.

This started me thinking.

Added Hammer mounts

Jay Oyster's picture

In the last couple of days, I've managed to sneak in some time to build a couple more tool fixtures for my wall hanging tool cabinet. I haven't grabbed any photos of it yet. I'll take one as soon as I get all four of my primary woodworking hammers mounted. So far, I have my el cheapo rubber tipped hammer mounted in a bracket at the bottom of the left door. I use that one for horsing out mortises and with my cheaper chisels for taking out the waste from around dovetails. And I also have a bracket installed for my bright orange dead-blow hammer.  I still have the Blue Spruce wooden round mallet to mount, and my Warrington hammer. They're all going to be tightly packed near the bottom of the inside of the left door.

Science Expo 2014

Liam and I took his track, his pinewood derby car, the timer, and a display board to the annual Science Expo at his elementary school this past Thursday. This wasn't a judged event; it's just to give the grade 1 through 5 kids the experience of doing a science display or experiment.

Report from the Science Expo

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To get ready for the science expo, I wired the timer to the track in a semi-permanent way, then I helped Liam run a series of timing runs on the track.  This was my opportunity to walk through the scientific method with him. It was a bit tricky to do it in a way that a second grader can understand. For instance, although Liam is in an advanced math program, he is only now starting to work on the concepts of fractions. Decimals are not even on the horizon yet. So I needed to figure out a way that he could report all of the results in whole numbers. This did require me to explain the idea of milliseconds, but he got that readily enough. So we measured the mass of the car in grams, and the times in milliseconds.  He had no trouble seeing 1.042 seconds and writing down 1042 ms.

Liam's display at the 2014 science expoWe did five runs of the car at each mass. For the mass variable, I mounted a small box lid on the top of his car. Luckily, his car design has a flat top. This way, we were able to change the mass of the vehicle without significantly changing the aerodynamic cross section of the car as it travels down the track. I didn't expect him to understand the various complexities of what is actually going on to determine the time of the car, from rolling friction to air resistance to potential and kinetic energy. Nor did we go into Galileo and the Newtonian laws of motion. Keeping his attention on this for even 20 minutes at a time over several sessions was hard enough. I just asked him for his hypothesis. Would a light car go faster or slower than a heavier car? He thought a lighter car would go faster. So that's where we started. 

Liam showing off the timer at the science expo

Grammar Peeve: CBS News Needs to Hone Its Blurb Writing Skills

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I have lots of pet peeves about people using words wrong. But I know many people are just annoyed by people pointing out such things, so I almost always keep it to myself. Plus, you always risk having your own typos and foibles pointed out in response. But this morning, I happened across an example of one of my most peevishly pet peeves in such a prominent location, by people whose job it is to know better, and I just simply cannot hold it in.

CBS Article blurb from their website, 3/6/2014Take a look at this article headline and blurb from the front page of this morning's CBS News website:  "College Board unveils sweeping changes to SATs". That's fine. It's the blurb beneath that is the problem.

I've heard this over and over in recent years in conversation, and more and more in print. And here we have it, in a story about educational standards, no less, on the front page of one of the big network news agencies. HONE and HOME cannot be used interchangeably!