Sunday, April 26, 2015
I took great pleasure yesterday in putting my woodshop to work solving a small construction challenge. The doorway to my upstairs office needs a sloped threshold, so I don't trip every time I enter the office. The challenge comes from the height of the tiled floor above the OBS floor outside: it's just over 1" higher. That's unusually thick for flooring, and commercially available thresholds aren't high enough. The thickness comes from the layer of concrete board underlying the tile, which adds a half inch to the total. On a trip to Home Depot I spotted a nicely milled oak threshold that was 3/4" thick, with two sloped edges, which I bought. Yesterday I used the planer to trim that down to 17/32" thick, then ripped it on the table saw into two strips, one wider than the other. I then glued the two strips together to make one nicely sloped threshold, 1 1/16" thick – perfect!
I also rough-turned a bowl from a spalted maple blank that I bought online. This blank was supposed to be kiln-dried, and I think it actually was – but there was a vein of wood in it that was soaking wet. When my turning tool bit into it, water sprayed everywhere. I turned it very roughly and now I've set it out to dry. I don't know how well that will turn out...
Later in the day my neighbor (Alan L.) came over to help me with some old umbrella patio tables and stacking chairs inherited from the previous owner of our home, but that we don't want. They're kind of nasty from being left outside for some unknown number of years, and Debbie and I are not exactly the kind of party animal that needs 24 stacking lawn chairs :) Alan and his wife are going to make a weekend project out of it, wire-brushing the steel frames, put some new spray paint on them, and then put them to use. They're not party animals either – but they have five kids (and a sixth on the way), and a circle of nearby close relatives that numbers in the dozens. These provincial Mormons tend to have big families – five to eight kids is not at all unusual. It's common for them to have 15 or 20 people over for some sort of gathering – anything from homeschooling to a family lunch. They can put those chairs and tables to good use.
After we got done with the patio furniture, Alan casually asked me what I was doing down on the south part of our property. He'd seen me out there with my tractor and ATV, and was curious. So I told him about my grand deadwood clearing project, and the subsequently planned weed removal, planting, and barbed-wire fence removal projects. He looked at me, surprised, and asked how long I thought all that would take. I said two or three years of intermittent work – and he said “That would make a great service project!”
What the heck is a service project? It turns out that the young men's and young women's organizations within each Mormon church's ward actively seek out ways for them to help their ward members and neighbors (Mormon or not, and, apparently, crazy or not). They have a shortage of these projects, and the ward members are all actively looking for opportunities. Alan said this was the perfect sort of project: lots of hard physical work, no particular skills required, and no expense (other than some gas for chain saws) involved. I'm not allowed to pay them, but I am allowed (though not required) to supply things like the chain saw gas, and perhaps some tools. I suspect nobody would object if we fed the people doing the work, either :) Alan called his bishop yesterday, and they're already working to organize it. They're planning a two-phase approach: first phase is barbed-wired fence removal, sometime in the next few weeks. Second phase is the really hard work of deadwood and brush removal, sometime in late May. Hordes of young Mormons are going to descend on our property and put their muscles to work. It feels a bit like an unstoppable force at this point.
I love this place!
As I was writing this post, I heard something quite unexpected: a drip of water onto the floor just a few feet behind my chair. A leak! Dang! Our brandy-new steel roof has a leak. I poked into the attic with a flashlight, saw nothing. Went outside and looked over the spot where water is entering the room, and saw no penetrations through the roof. Higher on the roof above that spot, though, is the chimney – so I suspect there's a small leak around that. I texted the fellow (Steve M.) who did my roof. I figured texting at 7 am on Sunday morning was more polite than phoning. I told him about the leak. He immediately responded, offering to come over today if the problem was bad enough. It's not an emergency, and any permanent damage there might be would already have occurred, so I told him to wait until tomorrow, when the rain's stopped. He'll be here first thing tomorrow morning.
I love this place!