January 2014

More dovetail work - Drawers 1 and 2

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Although I've been fairly quiet on my website, I've actually been kind of busy around the shop. I'll talk about the other projects I've taken on elsewhere, but I wanted to post an update about my work on Adriana's jewelry cabinet.

Tools laid out on the outfeed table to work on dovetailsWhen last we met, I had dimensioned the pieces for the ten case drawers, and roughed out the tails of the drawer dovetails. That was in late November. Now I'm not moving any faster, but I am making slow and steady progress. I have to. We've been told by our landlords that we have to move out of our rental house at the end of June. And as I told my wife.  . . there is no way I'm going to move her cabinet as an unfinished thing. I *have* to be done with it by then.

After cleaning up most of the tails so they were ready to lay out the pins ( I thought I had done them all, but I found out last night that I missed some), I started right after Christmas putting together drawers. Again, it's a down side of combining parenting with a full time job and an intensive hobby like hand-tool woodworking. I put together my first dovetailed drawer in almost a year. I started with drawer 1. I'm going from the top to the bottom of the case, from the smallest drawer to the largest.

Chopping out a half blind dovetail in the drawerfront

Frame for Goodwill Picture

Frame for the Goodwill picture, used as New Years' Eve prop

Simple miter cut frame, glued at the corners and stapled across the miter.  Table saw to cut the rear rabbet for the picture. Three passes over the router table to cut a large diameter outer curve, a slightly smaller diameter inner profile, and a small front groove as decoration. Sanded and painted with a warm brown paint.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013 to Thursday, January 2, 2014

Finished project?: 


My Cousin, John Varkonda

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John Varkonda, photo by Mark Lovewell from the Vineyard Gazette, 01/01/2014My cousin, John Varkonda, has died. It was sudden, unexpected, and inexplicable. As I understand the reports, he collapsed in the morning on December 31st, 2013, was being rushed by LifeFlight to Massachussets General Hospital from his home on Martha's Vineyard, but did not make it to the operating room that might have saved him. The original diagnosis was an abdominal aneurism. This is a huge loss for all who knew him, especially for the entire community on Martha's Vineyard, but I would argue that losing a person like John is just a loss for the entire world. We all need more people like him around in any era.

I haven't interacted with John much the past few years, since he moved away from Ohio to the East Coast, and I moved to Florida and later Georgia. But we occasionally exchanged Christmas cards, and commented on each others social networking posts. But I have always admired him. He reminded me so much of his father, also named John.  Uncle John was a wonderful, boisterous, hard-working family man, and his son took after him in all of these particulars. When we were kids, John Junior was known to everyone in the family as 'Johnny Jay'. He was a few years older than I was then, and in the cohort before me and my younger sister. But among the 'older kids', Johnny Jay was a wonderful person to be around. He had an infectious smile and an explosive laugh, and I remember fondly visiting his parent's house over Christmas or New Years and seeing him joking with his father and his sisters Lynn and Amy (another pair of great joyful spirits, it seemed, in those days.)

2013 - The Good and the Bad

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2013 - a Year of ExtremesPersonally, 2013 wasn't that bad, particularly compared to the Hell that were 2011 and 2012. But from a more global and holistic perspective, 2013 was one heck of a rocky ride. Just in an effort to capture some of my thoughts about what just happened to us all, I thought I'd try to capture my view of what was particularly good and particularly sucky about the 13th year of this latest millennium. I think I'll talk about many of these things in more detail in other posts, so I'm just going to skim the topics.

Do you want the good or the bad first?