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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend follow-up

Well, a banner weekend in the books. Great weather. Good beers. Family fun. Garage time. Yah know, the works. Started out on Friday with our date night. We have been exchanging kid watch with another couple every other Friday. So we headed out for some steaks over at Lone Star Steak House.

Saturday I was up early and into the garage at a decent hour. I really wanted to get some work done on the hall table this weekend. If for no other reason that to get visible progress to the time I have put in already. At this point all of my lumber has been milled to size and allowed to adjust to shop conditions. So it is time to get in there and do the joinery.

First up was to square up the ends of the legs. They came off the chop saw a little off. Not really sure how to adjust the saw for a straighter cut. No big deal, I will just use my shooting board. Oh, wait a minute I don't have one. Hmmm, I did make a sled for the planer that might work. Essentially a shooting board is just a board with a stop on it that a hand plane runs up against. The stop sets the angle of the cut and the board gives a depth stop for the hand plane. Follow the link if you want more detail on the technique. So I flipped over my planer sled and clamped it to the jointer. I used my No.7 plane and made pretty short work of squaring everything up.

After squaring the ends I marked out my mortise start/stop locations on all legs. I have been fretting a bit over exactly how I was going to cut the mortises. There are about a million different ways to do this. Most of them require donating a day to jig and fixture making. Since I want to make some real progress on the table I went for the edge guide and eyeball method. In the end I only botched one of the mortises and I was able to adjust it later.

Next was to cut the aprons to size. I will just use my cross cutting sled on the tablesaw. Wait a minute, don't have one of those either. So I setup using the fence and a stop block to create the repeat cuts. Obviously you want the oposite sides to be equal in length, so some sort of fixturing is required for accuracy. The stop block allows me to gauge to the fence without worry of getting a peice wedged between the blade and the fence. Google "kickback" if you are wondering why that is a concern.

Next, out comes that shiny new dado set. Yep, the one that's been sitting in the cabinet since I adopted it. It was pretty easy to get the tablesaw setup for the task. I was a bit dissapointed that the mechanism on my saw is not really accurate enough to size the tennons to final size. Too much backlash in it. I left the tennons fat so that I could just size them by hand for each joint. This turned out to be a good thing since my routing wasn't totaly precise.

Once rough cut I then trimmed and fit each tennon to it's mating mortise. It was fairly long and drawn out, so I won't bore everyone with the full details. Basically I used a combination of saws, chisels, and sand paper to get the tennons to match up.

By the end of the day I had something that actually looked like a table. Finally, some progress that is visible to the rest of the world. I clamped the table up and let Erin have a look at it. She suggested that we take it up and put it in position for analysis. I will have to upload a picture later. It fit where it was suposed to. Proportions look good. As an added bonus it looks like I got off the hook on tapering the legs. The outside border on the picture window is the same thickness as the legs on the table. Since the picture window is all square geometry it makes sense to leave the table legs straight. That's good because I don't have a jig or guide to taper legs.

Okay, now that I have bored the crap out of most of you here is a breakdown on the rest of the weekend. Sunday me and Austin were up early. We hung out, watched a movie, and played a bit. Faith and Erin decided to get up around 10 or so. I made the kids some cereal. I had to run out and get a new mailbox. Some punk had bent the door on ours on Friday night.

After mounting the new mailbox it was off to the park for a neighborhood picnic. Big bouncy house hot dogs and the works. I had to take off early to sell our spare fridge. Sue had been kind enough to donate the fridge to us, but we have not had need for it here in AL. So I popped it up on Craigslist. At any rate, it was picked up in the afternoon.

Then me and Austin were going to mow the yard. I got the mower gassed up. Then I ran around the house to unlock the gate. I was about half way around the front when BAM, I find myself on the ground. What the heck? I rolled my ankle off the walkway. So I roll around on the front walk for a couple of minutes trying to decide if I actually broke anything and looking like an ass for the neighbors. Austin is calling for me. Apparently I am taking too long. So I right myself and hobble to the back yard. We mow the yard. Austin actually drove a fair amount of the time. After about 1/2 of the yard he got bored, so he went off to ride his bike and play. I did a half hearted effort on the rest of the yard before limping back to the garage. I hung out there until dinner before limping inside.

It was apparent that I was pretty much worthless for mobility, so I took Monday off and tried to keep my foot elevated, iced, and on motrin to reduce swelling. I hate taking time off for sickness and injury. Well, got some x-rays in the afternoon. Nothing obviously broke or fractured. I did get a very nice leg brace for my time at the hospital. I gotta say, it is big and obnoxious but it does a fantastic job at supporting and imobilizing my foot. Hopefully if I keep it on and take care of myself this sprain will heal fast.

Last night, I rented a movie online. It was a little stuttery at times, but overall it was pretty cool to just go online and pick out something to watch. I used Videos on demand at Amazon.com. If they get the stream quality a bit better I think that they are really onto something. Forget renting scratched up discs, going to the video store and trying to get a new release, or waiting for movies in the mail. I could get used to this. I watched the Scorpion King II. The movie utterly sucked, despite the service being kind of cool.

That's it for fun and excitement on my side of the fence. Take care.

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