dxmachina: (Dizzy)
So, I started coming down with a cold last Saturday, which by Sunday was full blown and nasty, so further work on the bench got postponed. I managed not to miss any days at work, but I was miserable all week, even more so than when I had the flu in November. The symptoms finally started easing Friday, so yesterday I finally felt good enough to head back down into the basement. It was also mild outside, almost into the fifties, so it wasn't quite so cold down there, definitely good news.

Measure once, cut twice... )
dxmachina: (Hammer)
Office 5/08 - Before The sun finally popped out about six or so, but it was too late to do anything outdoorsy. I spent the day down in the basement doing laundry and working on my latest project, a workbench for the office. Turns out it's almost three years to the day since I originally decided to do this. I am the master of procrastination. The office's current layout is shown to the right. The only substantive change from three years ago is the addition of an old, but serviceable bookcase to the corner next to the desk. For purposes of clarity, the drawing does not display the enormous amount of clutter in the supposedly open areas of the room, especially the rightmost third. Anyway, the bench will replace the crappy kitchen table in the upper right corner, and I'll follow it up with shelving on wall brackets above, so I can put everything that's currently on the table up on the shelves. I purchased the brackets at least a year ago.

Overthinking cabinetry... )

dxmachina: (Bike 03)
What a gorgeous weekend it turned out to be. (The weather critters had predicted mostly cloudy and in the 50s today. Nuh uh...)

I rode yesterday, and today I rode the Washington Secondary path. (As an aside, I don't get why it's called Washington Secondary. It's not in Washington County, nor are there are any towns or villages with that name in the state, much less along the path.) I dressed appropriately for both rides, so there were no temperature comfort issues. Yesterday it was in the seventies. Break out the t-shirts.

The good weather seems to have prompted an amazing amount of pollen production amongst the local flora. My nasal allergies seem to have ebbed somewhat over the years, but I could feel it today. What's really killing me now, though, are my eyes. Really itchy and watery. I had a Singulair this morning, but I needed to pop a chlortab when I got home from the ride. Feh.

---
I missed a good chunk of the good weather yesterday as I was at work rebuilding our mail server. I'd done most of the work Friday night, so the remaining stuff should've only taken about an hour, but things got messed up thanks to Firefox failing to realize that the server's web interface pages were not exactly the same as the pages it had in the cache, and me failing to realize that I was working with cached pages. Bozhe moi!

---
This morning I spent way too much quality time with my table saw. Table saw hijinx... )

---
I have seedlings! In my biodome! Even some of the three year-old seeds sprouted. Now if I can just avoid killing 'em...


dxmachina: (Hammer)
So, sometime in the early nineties, when I was getting down to DC on business quite a bit, I picked up a couple of slabs cut from geodes at one of the Smithsonian gift shops. I brought them home, but then I ran into a slight problem. I had no good way to display them. They're ellipticalish slices of rock, 3/16" thick or so, and they need some sort of help to stand upright so one can view the beauty of the rock from across the room. I suppose a couple of those contraptions used to display plates might work, although the slabs are much smaller than the average comemorative plate, but I didn't have any. So I put the two slabs flat on top of my stereo etagere to give myself a little time to consider the matter.

Stand and deliver... )

dxmachina: (Hammer)
I didn't post a projects update last weekend, but that was more from laziness rather than lack of accomplishment. The first thing I did last weekend was to cobble together the second office chair from the leftover parts from the new chair and the two dead chairs. Not much to do there other than elongating two screw slots on the base plate to fit the old leather seat bottom. After that it was just screw it all together. Worked great.

---
Next up was a real project.Overthinking workshop furniture... )

dxmachina: (Hammer)
It was a lovely day to start off daylight saving time with, sunny and about sixty degrees. I considered hauling the bike down from its hooks in the basement and taking a ride, but I'm still hacking and sniffling from the cold that refuses to die. I did drive around for awhile with the window down as I purchased the things I needed for my current project, operation organize the wood pile. Here's the thing. I'm a woodworker, so I have accumulated a lot of wood over the years. When I first moved in here, I decided that the perfect spot to store all that wood was in the area underneath the basement stairs, otherwise wasted space. I set up a pair of collapsable sawhorses under there, and carefully sorted and stacked the lumber on the two available tiers. It was all neat and tidy.

Seven years later it was neither neat nor tidy. As I continued to acquire wood and generate still usable scraps it all got thrown on top of the pile, and not neatly stacked, either. Even if it had been neatly stacked, with only two layers anything at the bottom of either layer was impossible to get at anyway. Plus, being under an open staircase, all the dirt and dust that got tracked on the stairs eventually wound up on the pile, too.

I wanted to build a couple of projects recently, and when I looked at the pile to see if I had suitable material, I realized I had no way of knowing what was in the pile. I considered building some sort of tiered rack under the stairs, but in the end I decided it would be easier to buy one of those heavy duty stainless steel wire shelf units. I already have a couple, and they're simple to put together, not that expensive ($75 at Sam's with six 4' by 18" shelves, 6' high), and very sturdy. The casters are nice should the need ever arise to move the thing a little bit. I also got a smaller 6' high unit for $40, the lower half of which is going way under the stairs to provide additional support for the really long boards (8' and longer) on the lower shelves that would otherwise be just hanging out in space, with the potential for warpage ever present. The top half of that unit will become the bench upon which my router table will finally find its permanent home after years of commuting between the floor and the top of the table saw.

It was a dirty, dusty job. I had to vacuum the dust of the ages off each board as I pulled it out, and then I had to find someplace to stash it temporarily. This turned out to be, among other places, the tops of the washer and drier, which meant I couldn't do laundry until I finished. This provided ample coercion to get me to complete the job up by the end of this afternoon. Fortunately, it all went smoothly. I had to shorten two of the poles on the big shelf unit by an inch to get it to fit under the stairs, but my trusty hacksaw was up to the task. The only tricky part turned out to be maneuvering the really long boards (10') down onto the lower shelves what with all the other crap that's in the way down in the basement.

Now it's all neat and tidy, and boy do I have a lot of lumber. A good portion of my stash is pre-Revolutionary War chestnut barnboard salvaged from the exterior walls of the old schoolhouse my brother added onto to build his old house. I've had it for about ten years now, just waiting for the right project.
dxmachina: (Opus)
How is it that once upon a time I was able to get at least nine 4 x 8' sheets of 3/4" plywood down the stairs into my basement, and yet the single 4 x 8' sheet of 1/2" plywood I bought tonight refuses to make the corner at the bottom of the stairs? And those two 12' long one by fours have no shot, no matter how bendy they seem to be.

Labor Day

Sep. 5th, 2005 10:09 pm
dxmachina: (Hangover)
It was a long, mostly aggravating weekend with fabulous weather, apart from a brief sunshower Sunday evening. I rode the bike path twice. Saturday I did fourteen miles in the morning, and this evening I did nine. I'd planned to do more today, but I was aggravated, so I just did one out-and-back lap. It was, however, the first time I've actually felt good at the end of a ride this season, so that's progress. I also went to a PawSox game Saturday night, which I may talk about later.

I did spend some quality time down in the basement, finally finishing the job of breaking the leg lamp's wooden crate down to boards, including removing all the frelling nails. I didn't count them all, but there were probably around 200 nails all told, and me and my needle-nose pliers pulled out each and every one of them. Well, not all of them. Some were so long and tightly held that I had to remove them by clamping the end of the nail in a vise, and then using the board as its own lever the pull them out. By the end of the job my right hand was cramped and well abraded (despite wearing a work glove). I did manage to avoid getting any splinters, but on the other hand, I got a fat lip when the pliers slipped off a nail I was pulling on really hard, and they smacked me in the mouth. Anyway, now I have a huge stack of really crappy wood to do something with. I kind of wish I had a fireplace. It would make great kindling. The more I handled it, the more I became convinced that it wasn't reall good for anything else. I may try running a piece through the planer to see if it cleans up at all, but I'm pessimistic.

Beyond that, I mostly just sat around reading or staring at the computer screen. I finished a reread of Ringworld, and started a reread of The Ringworld Engineers. I'm also through two of the stories in Trouble Is My Business. I also played a lot of Civ III, at least until it started crashing every time I reached 480 AD in my current game. Bother.

My brother is finally back home from SC, after having a second surgery on his foot. Still lots more surgery to go up here.

The Dodgers were swept by the Rockies. Time to be a spoiler.
dxmachina: (Runforit)
If it's raining, it must be the weekend...

I had all sorts of lawn and garden type stuff planned, but it seems hurricane season has come early to New England (well, a nor'easter, anyway). That leaves me with the great indoors.

I did venture out into the weather this morning to get an oil change, and to have them check the weird squeaking noise I'm getting at low speed from the rear wheels. I also had them flush the transmission. I assumed the squeaking was something brake related, and therefore potentially expensive, but they couldn't find anything wrong with the brakes. In fact, they failed to find the source at all. The manager says it's probably just some dust from the brake shoes. We'll see.

I finished painting the office a week ago, and have done nothing in there since except sit in front of the computer and watch TV. All the pails, tools, drop cloths, and such are still spread about the office and the kitchen (which was my staging area, figuring that if I managed to dump a large quantity of paint, it was far better to do it in a room that didn't have wall-to-wall). I suppose the first thing I should do is haul all that stuff downstairs. Then it's time to think about furnishings. Much more behind the curtains... )
dxmachina: (calvinsnow)
We were talking about tools in Natter, and I got to thinking about how many tools I have in my shop. There are a lot. When I counted up the saws alone I had more than twenty. Anyway, this is the first of what could be several shop inventory posts.

I have lots of saws... )
dxmachina: (Hobbes)
I hereby declare the bookcase project officially finished. This very day I have sorted through, grouped, and arranged neatly on the appropriate shelves, the last of the books that are destined for the bookcases. Not only that, I even found my stash of autographed baseballs, and put them up the shelves, too. I consider it quite the accomplishment considering I started this project just over two years ago, and actually finished building the cases more than a year ago. It's like my own personal Big Dig. They should should give me a Nobel Prize in procrastination, when they ever get around to awarding them.

I spent quite a bit of the day going back and forth to the attic, because I kept coming across caches of books that I hadn't brought down yet. The most egregious of such finds was when I noticed that I only had one of Norm Abrams' New Yankee Workshop books amongst my pile of woodworking books. Now I knew I'd bought several of his books, so back upstairs I went to poke around. Yup, there they were, tucked away on a shelf behind a file cabinet, along with a couple dozen other woodworking books that I'd completely forgotten about. Yes, I might just have a book problem...

There's still a little room for a few more books on the shelves, so that's good. There are still a few things that need to be addressed. I've got boxes and boxes of culls that I'm going to have to figure out what to do with. And then there are the paperbacks. There wasn't enough space for all the mass-market size paperbacks I have, plus they would have looked a bit out of scale in these bookcases. What I need to do is build some smaller versions of the cases to hold them. I'd probably only need one or two. But that's another project.

Meanwhile...

I really like Corelle dinnerware a lot, if for no other reason than it's usually pretty sturdy. However, when a piece does break, it frelling explodes. I just managed to drop a dinner plate, and it shattered into a gazillion fragments. Sigh, down to service for six on my twenty year-old set.
dxmachina: (Default)
I feel fuzzy. I seem to have finally come down with a cold, although it seems a mild one. I'm a little congested, but not extremely so. My throat is scratchy, but not sore. That kind of thing. However, it has left me lethargic to the extreme. I want a nap. Now. Gonna be a long day.

It's cold and snowy outside. The snow is very fine, and falling lightly. It's been falling for several hours, and we still have barely a half inch or so on the ground.

The weekend was fun, social, and productive. [livejournal.com profile] noisedesign was in town, so I drove (twice) to Somerville for the first time in what seems like ages. Friday was Trivial Pursuit night at Chez Virago-Bug. We played both my old circa 1987 edition, plus my shiny new Pop Culture DVD edition. Saturday we did the Somerville Arts Council's Illuminations Tour, a tour of many very over decorated houses in the city. Jon B was our tour guide, and the whole thing was great fun. Before and after we all hung out at [livejournal.com profile] theodosia's house, scarfing down snacks, and playing with the evil robo-rat.

Yesterday was spent finishing two projects, doing laundry, and coming down with the aforementioned cold. I also watched some of the extras on the RotKEE. Today I need to do some shopping. Still lots of presents to get.

Better Now

Dec. 5th, 2004 10:58 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
So... I made a quick trip to Woodcraft for more wood, then set about redoing about half of project #1 from scratch. Actually, now that I know what I'm doing, it went a lot more quickly. I was able to get to the point of final glue up by the time I quit for dinner. No new disasters. Go me! It actually turned out for the best. Upon examination of another of the old pieces, I discovered another potential problem, so it was better to just start over.

Anyway, projects #1 and #2 are in good shape, and should be done by next weekend. I haven't done anything on #3 or #4 yet. There's not a lot left to do on #3, so I can still finish it if I hustle. I'll be starting from scratch on #4, so it's getting unlikely I'll get to it. Shrug.

Thwump...

Dec. 5th, 2004 11:22 am
dxmachina: (Default)
I'm an idiot. How the frell does someone (that is to say, me) mistake the side piece for the back piece? Arghh!

Everything was going swimmingly, too. My first attempt at fabricating the piece of hardware needed for project #1 was successful. Go me! The Dremel tool is the most useful thing ever invented. Of course, then I started cutting without paying attention.

At least project #2 is in good shape. The glue is setting on the last piece as I write, and all that's left is sanding, varnishing, and installing the hardware. What could possibly go wrong?
dxmachina: (Default)
Ack! Christmas is only three weeks away. I have projects to finish, presents to buy, a Christmas card to design, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped. I'm also worried I'm coming down with a cold. I started feeling sniffly and irritated throaty yesterday afternoon at work, so I sucked on a zinc lozenge. Today I feel fine. No idea what's going on.

Today is project day. Despite traipsing around all over Rhode Island, I was unable to find the bit of hardware I need for project #1, so I bought some sheet brass at the hobby shop, and today I'm going to attempt to fabricate what I need. I spent some of the time I was sucking on my zinc lozenge yesterday using Adobe Illustrator to make a pattern for what I need. This should be interesting. I made sure I got plenty of extra brass.

I also need to come up with a design for this year's Christmas card. I getting desperate here. I went through a bunch of photos looking for any kind of decent source material, but no joy. I'm even starting to consider collage. Well, let's postpone that until I finish the brass work.

Projects

Nov. 28th, 2004 09:44 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
Okay, project #1 is repaired (again). I even got the most difficult cutting and fitting completed without further mishap. I seem to be on the home stretch for that one, finally. Project #2 is stalled because I ran out of size 0 biscuits, so I need to make a run to Sears or Woodcraft tomorrow to get more. Projects #3 and #4 need some thinking about, because I should probably make a jigs for the tricky cutting that's next. This should be fairly simple for #3, but I still have no idea to do #4, which involves cutting a tricky pattern. I've tried doing it freehand, and I just can't do it. What I really need is one of those snazzy computer controlled automatic router jigs that seem to be in every factory This Old House visits anymore.

I'm getting annoyed with hardware manufacturers. They just don't offer what I need, which sort of boggles me. It seems like it should be commonplace stuff. Not even Rockler has what I need, unless I buy some things (for a LOT of money) that have the piece I need as part of a larger package of stuff that I don't. Tres annoying. Plus I keep mislaying the packages of stuff that I do buy. Feh.

Motivation

Nov. 21st, 2004 10:58 pm
dxmachina: (Default)
Crappy weather, quiet weekend. Despite my best intentions of just lounging about, I even got some stuff done. Saturday was spent in the basement, working on a project that I had to put aside last year because I'd damaged one of the pieces through incompetence. I managed to fix the part that I damaged, and cleaned it up and sanded the pieces. Okay, it's a little shorter than the original design, but the proportions may actually be a little better now.</huge rationalization>. The hardware I bought for it last year turns out to be unsuitable for what I want to do, though, so I need to make a side trip to Woodcraft to get something better.

The other thing I worked on was a wooden lighthouse I got when we divvied up my late aunt's belongings last year. The top part, where the light would be, had come unglued. I glued it back together, with the addition of a dowel to add some structural strength to it. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. It's about 16" tall. My original thought was to place it out by the tomato patch. Unfortunately, it looks like it's made out of pine, and the interior has no paint or other preservative whatsoever, so it wouldn't last long outside. It's really too big to be displayed in the house. Maybe if I ever build a porch.

Sunday I finally got around to finishing hauling books down from the attic to put on the bookshelves. I think I've got pretty much everything down, including boxes that have been packed for upwards of fifteen years or more. Initial conclusion, I really own a lot of Asimov.

There is nowhere near enough room on the shelves for all the books. I'll address part of that by culling a lot of them. Some of the culling will be easy. One of the first things Nutty said to me as I was showing her around my place way back when was "You belong to a book club, don't you?" in reference to the piles of identically sized books on the staircase up to the attic. It's true. I'm also absent-minded, so I've often gotten books I wouldn't of ordered on my own. Sometimes, it works out. I got Varley's Red Thunder that way, and enjoyed it a lot. I got my first Garrett collection that way, and I've since read the entire series. OTOH, I've also gotten a pile of Star Wars universe books which I shall never read. Likewise the piles of Tolkein ripoffs. Those are headed for greener pastures. There are also a lot of hard cover technothrillers by Tom Clancy wannabes that I've read, but have no intention of reading again. They can go, too.

Then again, some of the culling will be very hard. Do I really need to keep The ELIAS Baseball Statistical Yearbooks for 1986-89 inclusive? All of the information is on the web now, and yet I still haven't been able to convince myself to let them go. The same goes for that second-hand copy of the Columbia Encyclopedia.

The other thing I have to think about is what to do with all the paperbacks. A lot of those will be culled, too, but do I really want the remainder in the same bookcases as the hard covers? My original thought was to keep authors together, regardless of cover, but it just looks odd. In my old apartment, I built a separate bookcase for paperbacks. It was about half the depth of a standard bookcase, and it fit perfectly in my hall. I still have it, but I don't really have a good place to put it. i suppose I could do something similar.

I'm going to need more places for books anyway. What I really need is some motivation to start working on the living room. I'll have most of the week after Christmas off, so maybe I can get a start on it then.

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