Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another handle...

Another handle...  I made a second one, much like the first one, this afternoon.  This time I did a better job of the turning, making a handle that's a bit more pleasing to the eye.  I also did the second one while wearing my “gas mask” – well, that's what it looks like, anyway :)  It's a 3M respirator (7800S) that has about 50 different filters you can buy for it.  I bought a supply of two kinds of filters: one for particulates (think sawdust, especially fine sawdust from sanding) and one for the kinds of solvents used in paints and finishes. Today was the first time I tried using it, and it was a very pleasant surprise, for these reasons:
  • It's comfortable.  I wore it for 2 and a half hours, and hardly noticed it.
  • It's easy to breath.  The filters have a large surface area, which means you don't notice any extra effort to take a breath (unlike every other effective particulate mask I've ever tried).
  • It's effective.  I felt like I was breathing clean mountain air :)
  • It works over my glasses.  I was worried about this aspect.  The customer reviews for it had mixed messages about whether it would work with glasses.  I have metal frames and the ear pieces are very small, so I had hope.  It works great!
  • It works over my beard.  Again the reviews had mixed messages.  I needn't have worried, as it worked just fine.
  • The face plate doesn't fog up.  That's because your breath is in a separate passage and doesn't circulate all the moist air in the section where your eyes are.  Good design, and effective.
Between this respirator and the dust collection system, I think I'm going to have zero problems with either breathing or seeing in my woodshop.  It's a far cry from every other shop I've ever worked in, and a big relief to me, as this was one of my main concerns when designing my wood shop...

Baltimore riots...

Baltimore riots...  This is not historical footage of the 1968 riot, which some of us are old enough and, ahem, informed enough to remember.  No, these riots happened yesterday.

We're in no danger of riots like this out in Paradise.  I can only watch and wonder what is happening to my country.  And worry a bit, as I have relatives not all that far from Baltimore...

The making of a handle...

The making of a handle...  I had a little fun in the workshop this morning – I made a handle for one of the ropes that lifts the hatch in my barn's loft.  The finished handle is shown at right, attached to the hatch-raising rope and secured with a figure-eight knot.

The wood is mahogany, salvaged from a 2 x 4 used to hold the headstock for my lathe, on the pallet it was shipped on.  Awfully nice wood to use for that purpose!  It's finished with Watco, uncolored.  It makes a darned nice handle!

If you're interested in the details of how I made it, with photos, click on the break below...

Time lapse video of Iceland's aurora borealis...

Time lapse video of Iceland's aurora borealis...

Paradise doings...

Paradise doings...  The weather was intermittently wet yesterday, so I really couldn't work outside.  Last night it rained steadily, and it's still raining this morning.  We've had another 0.4" of rain since yesterday, bringing the storm total up to over an inch.  It's wonderful for the fields here, and if the local Wasatch Mountains are getting snow, it will also be great for our reservoirs (which is where our summer irrigation water comes from).  The greening up over the past couple of days has been amazing – sprinkle a little water around this place, and it turns into chlorophyll central!  The weather radar snap at right, captured just now, says it's snowing in Paradise.  It's not, so I presume it's snowing at higher elevations and then melting before it hits the ground here.  It also shows reasonably heavy snow in the Wasatch Mountains to our east, so there's some reason to hope for an enhanced snow pack.

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!

Word of the day:

Word of the day: “thronesniffers”.  Seen in the wild, in an otherwise boring article discussing the behavior of the media lapdogs at last night's White House Correspondents Dinner.

I nearly lost my morning tea :)

The Urban Dictionary defines thronesniffer as:
one who is excessively servile in a self-degrading way to anyone perceived to have power