Christmas Gift - Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block Plane with Nicker

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Adriana got me one woodworking gift for Christmas this year, but it was a really good and useful one. I had been asking for a hand plane that I could use in corners. She splurged and got me the specific one I had hoped for, a Lie-Nielsen Rabbet Block Plane with Nicker, Number 1-60-1-2R-N. Boy, what a mouthful. But it's a beauty, and for the price, it works just as you would expect. I did touch up the sharpness out of the box, but I really didn't need to. 

My new toy, the LIe-Nielsen Rabbet block planeIt's a gorgeous tool and along with my two other LN hand planes, will no doubt last my lifetime and probably those of my sons. Here, some tool pron. . . 

As with all of Lie-Nielsen tools, they're traditionalists. Unlike Lee Valley, they don't seem to feel the need to improve on the classics. It's got an impressive heft, and it's wicked sharp. The blade is a custom shape with flanges on each side to extend out into the rabbet corners at each edge. The nickers are round blades screwed into each side of the blade. As shipped, they come with a flattened section facing down so  you're not apt to cut yourself when first handling it. One of the only criticisms I could really come up with for this tool is that it is a bit tricky to loosen the screw and tighten it down in a way that the sharp edge is down.

Case Back Installation

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After the holidays, I managed to grab just a bit of time before heading back to work to accomplish some work on my jewelry armoire project. At this point, I've got only two projects in progress, my two big dinosaurs. The jewelry armoire is now up on a dolly so I can work on all sides. My Roubo workbench parts are glowering at me from a corner of the shop. She'll have to wait. (I've decided the workbench is a 'she'.)

I took a gift I received from my beautiful wife for Christmas as an excuse to put the back on the armoire case. I know that doing the back is usually left until the end, but I wanted to use my new Lie Nielen rabbet block plane to cut the edge rabbets on the shiplapped back panels. When I went to pull the lumber for the back, I realize that, as usual with a project that hangs around too long, the poplar lumber originally earmarked for the job had been used for something else. So I started by going to Home Depot and buying some clean poplar. (Quick and expensive, but no more delays.) I thickness planed the plank down to 1/2" and then sized three pieces for the back.

Shiplapped case back installed

Review: Snappy 25 Piece Countersink and Hex Drill Bit Set

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Snappy Countersink and Driver bit set

Review of the Snappy 25 Piece Countersink Drill and Driver Set as purchased from WoodCraft. Reviewed on December 28th, 2015.

One of my wife's Christmas gifts to me this year was this Snappy 25 Piece drill bit set. Originally, I had put the Rockler 10 piece (approximately) countersink set on an Amazon wish list, but when she talked to the local Rockler, they were amazed at the price listed on my wish list, which had been something like $30, and they said they were all sold out, "Not surprising, really, at that price." And Rockler didn't have anything that matched that in stock, so she went to the Alpharetta WoodCraft. They pointed her to the Snappy set.

Woodcraft lists this set on their website at $80. It is 100% American made and assembled, and my wife knows I am willing to pay a premium to support American manufacturers, so she got it. She tells me she got a much better price than that in the week before Christmas. With only a couple of fairly minor nitpics, I really like this set and decided I should formally review it so others might decide to get it as well. I feel it is worth the money.

What you get -- In the plastic packaging, you get a set of five counter-sink drill bits in the standard American sizes, two countersink stop collars, seven drill bits in 1/4" hex shank adapters, six driver bits, a couple of allen wrenches, a nylon carrying case, and best of all a Snappy 1/4" hex quick change chuck. Overall, the set seems to be machined very well. All of the pieces have a good heft to them, especially the chuck. 

The Bane of Work Life in 2015 - Organizational Standards

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Working in corporate America, one is surrounded every day by the endless jargon of endless variants of organizational standards theory. In the manufacturing world, it was all ISO 9000. In the IT world, everything is all about ITIL. And everywhere you go, you see the religion of Jack Welch, the high holy Six Sigma. And there are sub-variants for particular areas of operation. Project management has Agile and Scrum. Purchasing has LEAN. Every department has a well-branded theory these days.

Do you know what the point is of all of this? It's really quite simple. It's to get people to do what they would have done anyway if anybody had any common sense.

Trued Up the Legs and Thoughts on the Hardness of Silver Maple

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Working the tenons on the legsThe last time I tried to rush on this project, I just about screwed up the legs while trying to cut their tenons on the table saw. Over the last couple of days, I got back into the shop and basically treated these like I would a handcut dovetail layout and preparation. Since I don't have a good workholding surface at this point, I've gone back to simple tools and simple solutions. First, I took the two front and two rear legs through the surface planer so that each pair has the same width and depth. The lengths were already accurate. Once that was done, I used hand tools to fix the tenons. Since I glued the legs up from planks of varying thicknesses, I ended up with tenons that are not exactly the same  distance from the front and back of the legs. Instead I focused on the side to side location of the tenons, and making sure that the shoulder is accurately at the same depth all the way around on all four legs. 

I got them to a point where they won't embarrass me when assembled. The tenons, though differing sizes, are all square and beefy enough to hold offset pegs. And in any case, the exact locations of the mortises for these tenons will simply be traced from the tenons themselves after I assemble the whole undercarriage into one assembly. I'm still working on dimensioning the boards for the stretchers. Since I have no boards thick enough to function simply as stretchers on their own, each of the four will once again be a glue up of a wide board and a thinner board. I probably need to sharpen up my planer blades. This maple is HARD.

Finally got the dimensions and the tenons right on the workbench legs

Named as Manager of IT Asset and Vendor Management at WellStar

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Asset Management - Tracking down all the loose threadsAfter working for about two and a half years in various incarnations of the WellStar IT PMO, I've now been promoted to head up a new team. I'm still staying within the IT Administration department, But I'm taking on the job to create a unified Asset and Vendor Management team. We'll be responsibilble for standing up and/or expanding our IT CMDB (Configuration Management database) and an asset management tool. The current small team in place already handles IT maintenance contracts and assists with IT purchasing, but we will be greatly expanding the processes around tracking assets and vendor performance. Personally,  I'm very excited about this. It gives me a chance to both feed my analytical side, expand my management responsibilities, and I sincerely hope, help out a worthy organization grow and improve itself. WellStar is a not-for-profit healthcare organization in Northwest Georgia that I've found to be surprisingly progressive for a large enterprise in the Southern United States. I'm especially pleased with how proud WellStar is to be one of the best employers for women in the country. And I have to say that WellStar has about the most diverse team of talented professionals that I've ever worked with. 
 
WellStar Health Systems logoSo . . . I'm going to be very busy over the next few months and years taking on this new challenge. And from what I've seen . . . this kind of IT asset management initiative is at the core of the modern IT world. It's both interesting to me, and I feel, important. Improved management of IT assets is a key area of improvement for making sure that large organizations start to truly benefit from all of the innovations and technology we've seen come into the world in recent years. It's a marshalling of forces to better address the issues of the modern world. But first things first, I wonder where all of our printers are?

Just Got Back from Florence

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Adriana and I overlooking Florence from Fort BelvedereLast week, my wife Adriana and I took a short trip to Florence. She had been there before, but it way my first time in Italy. It was a small holiday for us and a chance to relax, just the two of us. The kids stayed home with their abuelo. We spent five days and the weather was mostly glorious. The first couple of days we did have a bit of overcast, and it was unseasonably warm according to the Italians. One of waiters told us that this kind of extra warm weather never used to happen in September, but in the last five years, it's become the new normal. We stayed in a very nice hotel just a couple of blocks from the Duomo and walked around the old city, checking out the cathedral, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace with its Boboli Gardens, the Uffizi Museum and just generally soaking in the atmosphere and savoring the wonderful food.  

On Saturday, we took a high speed train over to Venice and had lunch. We returned to Florence that evening with enough time left to enjoy the best spaghetti and roast chicken meal I've ever tasted, and a wonderful bottle of Brunello di Montalicino in a little cafe a few blocks on the other side of the cathedral. On Sunday, we wandered the Uffizi Gallery. Adriana lingered in the Botticelli gallery, while I liked the sculpture. It's nice to see a famous painting in person, if for no other reason than to put it into scale and realize that it's a real work by a real human being. The Birth of Venus is nice, but I kind of preferred the Dyptich of "The Return of Judith to Bethulia". It's so wonderfully bloodthirsty and vibrant.

Quote

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"The Future is obvious . . . in hindsight."

                                     -me

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