Friday, December 1, 2017

Paradise ponders, a day of beginnings edition...

Paradise ponders, a day of beginnings edition...  I spent a surprising amount of time yesterday working on a plan – for building a “rack” for my computer equipment.  It seems like such a simple thing – basically a set of wooden shelves – but to make it look the way I wanted it to, and to have the features I wanted, that took more design work than I'd anticipated.  Then to make it strong, without a back on it (because I want free space for cables), was another bit of a challenge.  So yesterday I made an outline of all the things I needed to do, and parts that I needed.  That resulted in a shopping list, some of which went on order online, some of which I ran down to Tractor Supply and bought.  I love tractor supply for routine hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), because they sell it all by the pound, very reasonably.  This morning I started on the actual fabrication: planing one wide face of the nine Douglas Fir 4x6s that the rack will use, and then planing both narrow faces of three of those 4x6s.  You can see the result of that at right.  If you know anything about cabinetry or furniture building, you may well be surprised to hear I'm using ordinary, common-grade Douglas Fir lumber – but I've built quite a few quite nice pieces of furniture over the years with just those materials.  However, this rack is the most ambitious of these projects by quite a good margin.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out!

The special features I'm looking for in the rack are its appearance (rustic, heavy), largely hidden power strips and cable-ways (these will all be attached to the back of the rack, onto 3.5" wide sides of 4x6s, and so mostly out of view unless you peek in from the back or sides), and a couple of steel bars on the underside of the top frame piece.  The latter will be used for magnetically mounted wooden cases for Raspberry Pi computers and other electronics.  The smaller stuff is actually slightly challenging to house, as they're so light that the cables attached to them move them around!  The magnets should stop that.

We had another beginning yesterday, too – our contractor (finally!) showed up again, and began work on a retaining wall and three walkways.  The rock has been delivered: 18 tons of beautiful stone.  Six tons of that are flag stones that are roughly 2" thick, the rest are mostly thicker and smaller pieces that will be dry-stacked to form our short retaining wall.  There's also a pile of rock fines in our driveway, along with some road base and pea gravel; all of that for the bedding for the fence and walkways.  Yesterday the workers cut the pathways out of our lawn with a sod cutter, and today they're digging the trenches for the bedding to go in – and actually starting on the bedding.  At the rate they're going, I could imagine there might be one of the walkways installed by this evening, but I'm probably dreaming. :)