What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a square

Nothing too exciting this week. Just work, kids, cleaning, and some shop time. The weather has been really unpredictable lately. It will be beautiful in the morning and then in the afternoon major thunderstorms roll through. About 50/50 it will be back to great weather by around 6pm. Took a bit longer than that today, so no ride with the SORBA group. It's a bummer since I was off early enough to ride.

So I hacked into a couple of projects in the garage. Tested out some new polyurethane on some samples. Cleaned up my bench. I also dug in and squared up my squares. Yeah, they are supossed to be square but most are a little off. Surprisingly my $2 square from Harbor Freight is dead-on. The others required some filing and sanding to get into shape. I think my combination squares drifted from use. The small rose wood square was great on the inside brass indicator, but the wood exterior was a little off. So there you have it, my evening

I am going to go watch a movie now...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Well, been meaning to get to this for a while. Finally took initiative today and did it.



The dramatic change in the feel of Monte Sano State Park is pretty amazing. When I arrived here last summer it was in lush green mode. I was surprised by the winter contrast. Well, here we are again in summer. The place is a green jungle once more. It was so humid today that evaporative cooling did very little. Every time we stopped it felt like I was just roasting.

Oh, in case you hadn't noticed that is my mountain bike out on the trails. First time it has seen dirt since before we bought the house. I have been missing riding, but honestly have just been busy with other stuff. She was happy to get out for a whirl today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

End of the week

I should get something up here. So, what's up with Doug for this week?

No pedaling. Weather has been too erratic this week to commute. I think I will sneak out for a ride this weekend, probably just a short one since we have company headed in tonight.

Jenny and Frank left on Wednesday. Overall I think everyone had a nice visit. I definitely appreciated the help with the garage wiring. That stuff was starting to bug me, so when he showed up with his DMM and conduit bender I was happy to join him in the project. So far no complaints from Erin, so my quick patch job is enough to keep it on the fringe of her radar.

Work has been busy this week. It is amazing the catch up required after a vacation. The little changes add up. Heck they even changed the way voicemail works out here on the center while I was gone. I got out to the test stand this week. I am continually catching differences between the drawing and the way that the contractors actually constructed the stand. It looks like the major modifications are going to be held off for a year due to schedule slips upstream on the vehicle design side, so life just got a bit easier on the stand design and modification side.

When not at work I have been working in the garage or doing family dinners. David bbq'd up some great steaks over at John and Mary's on Tuesday. Since then Erin and I have been scrounging around for whatever we can find in the house for food. Still need to get a grocery trip in one of these days.

I have a couple of videos from the garage if anyone wants to see them(or just listen to me geeking out over some tools). I got around to installing a router table extension on the tablesaw last night. Router table was one of the items missing in the garage. So the extension takes care of that as well as adding 4" to the saw's top which will help support longer material better. The unit itself was a kit from Bench Dog. Overall quality and construction exceeded my expectations. Decided to go this route vs. making something. I figured making a fence/table and the miter track hardware would likely end up costing near as much and probably wouldn't be as flat as the machined cast iron top. Also I am getting a bit of pressure from Erin to actually start making some of the stuff she wants, so taking a weekend or 2 to build a table and fence isn't really in the cards.
:BenchDog video:

Got a good coupon over at HF for about 20% off on a wetstone grinder. So I picked it up. I gotta say this thing is great. I don't think I will be messing with my high speed bench grinder for sharpening anymore. The low rpm wheel works faster and has the added benefit of not vibrating the bench to death. Shaping on the bench grinder at 3000rpm scares the crud out of me. I really like my fingers just the way they are. 150rpm is much less stressful. I ran a few chisels through the other night. The entire operation was clean, easy, and fairly quick. Chisels come off the stone sharp and then I can improve that to a razor sharp mirror finish with another 5-10 minutes on the wet stones. For the rough stuff just off this grinder is sharp enough, but for paring off and detail work it is amazing what a really sharp chisel will do.
:Wetstone Grinder video:

I also took a couple of minutes to do a video tour of the garage. Yeah, I am digging the man cave. Deal with it. I still need to do some cleanup (as always the kid and family stuff is overflowing into any open areas).
:shop tour:

That's it for now. Keep it safe and have a good weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Okay some pictures to fill in this mornings posting

Inside the house, aftermath of the work. A little sanding and painting and I don't think it will look much like I sawed a hole in the wall and ripped out the crown molding...

The master switch and over the bench outlets

1st drop on the switched circuit (drill press location)

2nd and 3rd drops

Ceiling outlets in center of garage. Benefit of being tall is that I can actually reach these.

Garage panoramic (if I get bored I may try to merge these later)

Cut and paste merge of the above images. This type of shot works better with a tripod or better planning.

I need a vacation

Back at work after a week off today, and I have to say that I feel like I need a vacation. Guess that means that I had a good vacation.

I unplugged from the computer Friday afternoon, picked up Jenny, Frank, and Erich at the airport, finished packing, and got to bed late. We awoke early and packed up the family. Off we went to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina The drive takes about 9 hours. The kids both did exceptional this trip. We were expecting wining and crying. Not much of that to our surprise.

Hilton Head was pretty cool. The house that Mary and John rented was awesome. We spent the majority of our time lounging by the pool and at the beach. We had a stream between the rental and the golf course. Pretty much any time of day you could wander out and find an aligator lurking or basking on the shore. That was cool and a little freaky with young kids.

The house had wireless access, but honestly I enjoyed unplugging. I checked my e-mail once during the week, but otherwise avoided the computer. It was a nice change of pace.

I am sure Erin will be blogging, so I will fill in a link to hers later.

We got home on Friday evening. Saturday we slept in. After our coffee Frank hinted that if I was interested he wouldn't mind getting started on wiring the garage. So we launched into an all day project of dropping 2 dedicated 20amp circuits into the garage. We ran into several issues along the way, but in the end I was only out $200 and the interior of the house is still within spousal approval. End result 14 new outlet locations, a master switch to shutoff the outlets on one circuit (for power tools), and no more extension cord to the garage door opener. I will get a shop update posted in a few days for those who want visuals.

Yesterday was a yard work day. Started early by heading out for coffee. Get home to find that we left our grinder in SC. So off to Target for a new grinder. Not a burr grinder, but it is much nicer than our old one. If the old one pops up again Erin can designate it to spice chopping or something. After coffee I cleaned up the yard to prep for mowing. Then Erin and Jenny took off. I put Erich to work mowing the lawn while Frank and I watched the kids. Erich didn't seem to mind doing laps on the riding mower. I fired up the weed wacker and edged/trimmed where the mower couldn't reach. In the afternoon Frank came out and went fishing for dead branches in our treas. He broke off a bunch of limbs and I stacked the debris curbside for pickup.

I ended the weekend by touring the next door neighbors shop and sampling some home brews that he had on tap. His beer was good and the shop was also nice. He showed off some of the pieces in the house that he had built. Overall it was a good getting to know the neighbor visit.

That's all I got for now. Check back for a shop update.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Little bit of info and an update

Hey everyone. Weather has been great out here in AL. We are sitting in the high 80's-low 90's this week. After this weekends late nights and overworking in the garage I have really been trying to stay out of it this week. I am of course tinkering a bit here and there, but not really going to be getting into anything major. Erin needs some help getting the house in order as we do have guests coming in on Friday for a visit.

I actually got some riding in this week. So far I have commuted in 2 days. Not much for miles, but it is nice to be on a bike again after my over a month hiatus. I have noticed this before, but I will say it again. Road bikes do eventually grow on you. Not saying I could go the Ed route and forsake the mtb, but there is something cool about them in their own right. The miles pass by pretty quick. The steering is much more precise. The multiple grip position on the bars is very good for changing up during the ride. I am amused at how the rear of the bike skids and glides under heavy braking and cornering. Can't say that I have ever experienced the glide while skidding that a road bike gives. It is a little unnerving at first, but after a few trials and saddle time it can actually be a very handy tool for a quick change of direction.

I received my Freud dado blades the other day. Amazon had a promo with them that put all of their sets 25% off. So instead of buying the cheapest thing I could find I ended up purchasing a pretty nice set with a case to protect them. I will have to post up some comments once I get some time on them. They look nice is about all I can say.

Also in is my respirator. Since I don't have dust collection or air filtration Erin insisted that I pick up something to protect the lungs. I obviously didn't object. I took a couple of self portraits in the mirror. Indeed I look a bit silly with a respirator, goggles, and hearing protection (I will post up the pic when I upload it). Overall I am getting used to safety equipment. The ear plugs are nice to have. I had never really worried about it, but in the long run some of the high decibel machines can actually diminish the hearing. Goggles are a pain in the but here because they fog fairly easy. I picked up a set of Dewalt anti-fog that may help. I'll post back a review on them in a while.

Okay, a little bit of info that I stumbled on. Maybe you know this already. I knew the different 3M abrasive pads were different, but this little chart gives you the equivalent to sandpaper.

3M Scotch Brite Nylon Pads:
7445 - White pad, called Light Duty Cleansing - (1000) 1200-1500 grit
7448 - Light Grey, called Ultra Fine Hand - (600-800) 800 grit.
6448 - Green (?), called Light Duty Hand Pad - (600) 600 grit
7447 - Maroon pad, called General Purpose Hand - (320-400) 320 grit
6444 - Brown pad, called Extra Duty Hand - (280-320) 240 grit
7446 - Dark Grey pad, called Blending Pad (180-220) 150 grit
7440 - Tan pad, called Heavy Duty Hand Pad - (120-150) 60(?)
(The value inside the parentheses is directly from 3M and outside of the parentheses is what I have found with the pads.)

Okay, have a good hump day. Cheers.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekend doings

Busy 4th of July Holiday weekend. Lots of beer, bunch-o BBQ, and of course some good old American man time in the garage.

First off...
We did have a loss in the family this weekend. Dora was hanging with Al and apparently overdosed while trying to navigate the great unknown downstairs. Feel free to send flowers and gifts to our house for her services.

Naked dog!

Erin decided it was time to shave the dog for the summer. Poppy is still cute, but a little funny looking these days too.

Not so fine furniture 101:
Start with something like this

spend the better part of your Sunday and call it quits when you get something like this.

I still need to finish the cabinet/bookshelf. I just wanted to get it to a functional point before I threw in the towel for the night since I probably won't get back to it for a couple of weeks.

The day started so calm. Then one of the runts goes and topples the erector set closet organizer. This kicks me into project mode. I need another project like an extra hole in my head. But... I do have a piece of warped birch ply that could be used for a closet project. After most of my day you see the partially finished result. Warped wood sucks. I have been able to wrangle it into some sort of straightness, but it will never be perfect. Good thing it will spend its life in a closet. I will drag it out at some point and finish it, but for now I am tired and grumpy from fighting it.

The garage is coming along. I did some minor reorganizing. I also picked up a new shopvac. I gotta say, if you haven't experienced the new shopvacs you really should. I actually purchased both a Rigid and a Shopvac model this last week (I took the rigid back). Bottom line, these new generation of shopvacs are much quieter yet still work great. Austin has taken to clean up duty in the shop. Obviously I am okay with him wanting to vacuum my shop. Gotta say, dust is much better with a good vac and also keeping the mdf and router in opposite corners of the shop.

There are probably more things I should throw in here, but I am tired. Peace.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I need more clamps

And slower setting glue. Last night I made a trip over to the Lowe's and picked up some red oak for test purposes. A far cry from the hardwood dealer in terms of quality. I had to spend the better part of 20 minutes digging through the piles to get straight wood from the twisted and warped majority. I walked out with enough staight peices to get some practice in on mortise and tennons. Maybe a small plant table or end table will do the trick.

I picked up some 1x2x8' peices to glue together for the legs. So I laid the 2 boards on the work bench, put a line of glue down one, spread it with a plastic scraper, and then hurriedly put just about every clamp in the shop on the 8ft length. When I got done I had a mess of glue and a clamped up pair of boards with 50lb of clamps on it. It is a bit overkill, but it turns out c-clamps were about the best thing I had to generate enough clamping force. Before doing this type of glue up again I will need some more small f-clamps and some more cauls to better distribute the pressure.

After cleaning up the glue mess I was off to the tablesaw. I wanted to verify my measurements on the blade alignment. So I hacked together a quick jig to hold my digital calipers.

It actually worked pretty good. Now I have an accurate number for how out of adjustment my saw is. Looks like it is about .001" over the manufacturers range for alignment front to back. Not too good. I think I will need to drop the whole motor and trunion assembly and file the brackets slightly to get this bugger into alignment. I am just out of wiggle room in the direction that the blade needs to move. Drat.

I assembled the riving knife on the saw. I am not sure it is much use since it doesn't lower or tilt with the blade. So for those operations and also for dado work I will have to remove it. But I figure it is one of those ounce of prevention devices. The small cost of the parts is cheaper than the alternative if it saves an accident in the shop.