Endcap work on the Roubo

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Cutting the workbench endcap tenonGetting the shop up and running again has been a bit of a slog. Even getting the table-saw outfeed table into my shop turned out to be a major undertaking. Still, I've gotten the basic shop together, and started work on the workbench again. I didn't take many pictures beyond what I'm showing here, but I am making progress again. I managed to get about 3 hours of shop time this weekend. The first in a very long time.

I cut the tenon for the endcap, so I can start working on the wagon vise. Doing this cut with the circular saw turned out to present some challenges. The straight edge I clamped on the end on which to run the saw to cut the cheeks, slipped . . . on both faces. So Instead of a rectangular tenon, it turned out to be more of a parallelogram. I had to fix that with hand planes and hand saws, and ended up with a tenon that is a bit thinner than expected. Still, the fine work was satisfying, and I got back in touch with my hand tool mojo. Still need to drill out the end cap mortise and figure out the layout of the wagon vise. 

Cutting the tenon on my newly liberated outfeed table

Reclaiming a Woodworking Space

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Before getting it into the shop, the outfeed table prepped for leg surgerySince I posted about possibly getting back in the shop, a great deal has happened around our homestead. Getting the shop ready to cut wood again is about 8 deep in the to-do list layer. Just a couple of things we had to do around our house.

  • Cleared a fenceline around the back of our property. See the next two points. For this, I just HAD to buy a handy-dandy 40VMax DeWalt Chain saw. Nifty as hell. I'll see about posting a tool review soon.
  • Install a fence around the entire back yard (see the next point for the reason why this HAD to happen now)
  • Get a long-promised puppy for the boys
  • Get the major leak fixed on the first floor bathroom sink (leaking into the workshop below)
  • Get the major leak fixed on the second floor bathtub (leaking into the workshop below)
  • Get the dehumidifier installed (see the above two points, and note that my underground shop has cinderblock walls)
  • Figure out how to run a drain pipe from the dehumidifier so I don't have to empty 3 gallons of water from it three times a day
  • Install a new garage door opener in the garage

That's all stuff that isn't strictly woodworking related, although you can probably see that several of them had largely detrimental effects on woodworking if I hadn't gotten them taken care of.  Actually, to be brutally honest, if MY WIFE hadn't managed to take care of them by hiring people to handle it.

Still, I have managed a few things around the shop to get myself setup . . . at last.

Incredibly Busy Summer - Breathing Room and Actual Shop Time Starting

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Well, we moved.

I haven't updated this site since July, because frankly, I haven't done a lick of work in, or more appropriately ON, my shop. It needs a bunch of work. I'm just now starting to have the breathing room to do something in the shop, and also to update my website. So I'm back. Hi! How've ya been?

West end of the new basement shop spaceYeah, so we moved into our new house in early June. I have to admit that this isn't my ideal woodworking arrangement. But we didn't buy the house for that. There were lots of pros and cons to consider. This house is our new home because 1) It has a great yard for the kids to play in and for us to put in a garden and me to build a new giant playset for the boys. Because it has a great kitchen we love. Because it feels like a home and not just a nice house. The neighborhood is nice, quiet, and not one of those engineered micro-landscaped developments that seem to be everywhere around large cities these days, but instead feels like an old fashioned neighborhood. The schools have turned out to be great! And oh, by the way, it has an adequate space that I can use for my woodshop.

The shop itself is the north half of the basement; a long thin room about 35 feet long and about 12 feet wide. I get to share it with the furnace and a spare fridge we inherited from the previous owners. Plus a couple giant shelves along the West wall. I'm not complaining about the shelves. Mostly I just dumped all of my tools into the room and left it there until now. My wood collection largely went into the shed in the back yard, a 10' x 10' room now completely stuffed with my wood and two tables . . .one of which is my table saw outfeed table (another story.)

Review: 'Making Shoji' by Toshio Odate

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Cover of my copy of Making Shoji by Toshio OdateBook review -- 'Making Shoji' by Toshio Odate.  Reviewed on 4/29/2016.

Recently, I've been thinking of ways to make my woodworking more . . . oh, I don't know, soulful, I guess. I do this hobby not so much to complete projects (based on my pace, that much should be right obvious) but to enjoy a sort of zen mindfulness. But I also do want to accomplish something. It's a personality flaw of mine that I can concentrate on something so intently that I slow to a crawl and don't make any progress. Woodworking with no progress isn't woodworking, it's meditation. (Or more likely in my case, ennui and then sleep.) But one of the ways I've been hoping to increase the mindfulness of my woodworking was to take on something elegant, simple and beautiful. I've always wanted to try to build a Japanese screen. Not one of those Western, free standing ones you saw in 1930's movies where the movie star goes behind it to change suggestively into 'something a little more comfortable', but rather those structural elements from Japanese homes. Shoji, as they're called in Japan, form an ultra material-efficient way to form rooms in a private home. And I'd like to make some, hopefully in a way that is less cultural appropriation and more a way to honor the masters.
 
With that desire in mind, I went on Amazon and ordered a book. I'd heard the name of Toshio Odate in recent years. He's known in the U.S. as a teacher and ambassador of Japanese woodworking into North American culture. The Amazon showed me that he had written a book on just this subject. I almost squeee'd with glee. I ordered it in about 14 nanoseconds and with the Prime account, had it on my doorstep in 23 and one half hours.

Prepping to Move

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In my current shop, it took almost 18 months after we moved in before I could really be productive. Between unpacking, and those things that you need on a project but just can't find in among the packing boxes, it just took awhile for things to settle down. (I *still* haven't located my RAS. It's a really nice Bosch unit and I miss that thing. No idea where it went.) So, I've been getting real work done in my shop for the last 6 months or so, so of course it is now time to move again. Naturally. Our lease is up in late June, so one-way-or-another, we are outta here!
 
In the personal negotiations beteen my wife and I over what features we want in our new home, I finally settled on only two requirements. And even those proved to be contentious. I wanted a place where I could set up my shop, preferably with an area of around 500 ft² in an unfinished basement or garage, and I wanted at least a half acre of fairly flat property. The space for the shop wasn't the problem, the land was. Finding a fairly flat lot in this part of Georgia is always rather difficult, we live in a hilly region and one full of trees. Mostly that's nice. But finding a half acre or larger (flat) lot in our price range was a bit of a challenge. When looking for potential candidate homes to buy in our target area, it took the list down from several hundred to less than 6 or 7 properties at any given time, and those seem to pop on and off the market at light speed.
 
A nice, flat backyard for our potential new homeBut, I think we may have found what we were looking for. I see now that during the walk-through and inspection visits to the new house, I neglected to take any decent shots of the potential new workshop area. However I do have a good shot of the great back yard. Look, I'll even get a nice shed! 

My Attitude about Comments

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Those few of you who read this stuff I write, you may be curious about this site. Particularly, why do I post stuff, with no capability for feedback? The entire internet is built around community and feedback and comments and social-this and personal-that. Why no way to deliver a witty and scathing riposte?

Part of it has to do with why I keep this site in the first place, which is a topic I reserve for another time. (Some time soon, though. I've been mulling that one for awhile and it's about fully cooked in my noggin' now.) But mostly it has to do with what happens when I do open up comments. As anyone knows who has any presence on the internet, the stream of things that come back at you are various, mostly banal, and usually spam. Spam is the cholesterol of the internet. It's everywhere. A small fraction of it is actually good. But mostly it just sticks in the gears and gums up the works.

I occasionally break down and turn on the comments for an individual article or project update. I always regret it within 24 hours. It starts with a small dribbling of benign, but unfocused, random comments. Usually in pairs.

Sam123: Hey, <articlename>, do you know this?

Sam123: Hey, <articlename>, do you know this?

Then, usually about 24 hours later, that same tag comes back, but this time it's a longer post about how great a blogger you are and, oh, by the way, here's the link to my website: buyviagrafromrumaniafornotmuchmoney dot com. In 36 hours, the stream goes from about 5 comments an hour, to about 50 an hour. If I leave it open, and heaven-forbid, allow anonymous users to publish their comments without my approval, I'll be gettin' more than 500 comments an hours. And not one has one damned squat-bit of anything to do with the article they're posting on.

Back, six or seven years ago, when I started this particular website, I used to leave these open all the time. The acceleration wasn't as extreme back then. I'd get to about 50 comments an hour after a couple of months. For a long time, I actually went through every couple of weeks and deleted all the old spam comments, and GOLLY, occasionally found a real comment. The ratio, thinking back, was about one genuine comment out of about 4 or 5 thousand submitted comments. I finally gave up and shut it all down. 

This goes back to the basis of why I post at all. I can tell you right now, hearing feedback from readers isn't even in the top ten. It is occasionally nice, though. I've had some good feedback a couple of times. But the spammers and other jerk-wads always have to bury that in their shit.  I mean, I get it. It's all commerce. The internet went from the wild west, to the wild west run by Russian mobsters. Anything to get their clicks.

I think I'll run an experiment. I'll leave the comments ON for this one article, and I'll tell you what. I'll *approve* every comment for the first 24 hours. And leave that as a testament to all you ass-hole spam-bots, chinese state-sponsored hackxors, and SEO-seeking, mass-linkbacking, Google-rank chasing, PC-sweat-factory-living human drudges who generate most of this stuff. Here you go. This is the last of it. Then I'm turning off the entire comment function completely for good.

Sigh. I remember the early days of the internet, when most of its inhabitants weren't human douche-nozzles with pea-sized gonads. A sneak peak on that article about why I have this website and post the way I do? Here's the secret . . . . shhhhh, don't tell anybody . . . .in this place . . . .  I can say whatever I want.

And here, at least most of the time, you get to say . . . . NOTHING.

 

 

But just this once, have at it, boys: Say your Say. Sound your barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. 


Finished door hardware, Primed the Roof

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Installed knobs and latch hardware on the small side doorsGot a bit more done on the aviary tonight. I bought the basic door hardware from the big box hardware store last weekend and finished installing it today. The hinges I had on already, but I've now installed the door latches, the door handles, and the knobs on the little doors. These knobs were actually in a box in the house we had in Florida. That home had been built by the builder of the development, and I found a box of about a hundred white ceramic knobs and mounting screws. I've used the heck out of those knobs over the years. I've only got a few left. Here I mounted two on the little side doors of Adriana's aviary. 

I love it when a plan comes together. Smooth moving doors all around.

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