Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Re-hung a door in the basement. This didn’t end well when I tried it once before. It didn’t end entirely well this time, either.

I know, in theory, how to hang a door. I don’t have much in the way of practical experience, though. If I’d kept track of the number of doors I’ve hung, I could probably count them on both hands.

And, as it turns out, the hinge at the top of door I was trying to hang is not attached the way it should be, so the door hangs just cockeyed enough that it grinds against the jamb opposite the hinges when I close it. I’ll have to take the door down again, remove the top hinge, rev up the router and grind down the spot where the hinge goes, so it won’t stick the way it does now.

But not today. Today, I hung the door. I’m done.

hanging offense | 2:16 pm CST
Category: carpentry, housekeeping, Our Humble O'Bode
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Sunday, January 24th, 2010

table saw tableThe first thing you have to make with your new table saw is a table for your saw. Sounds like one of those No shit, Sherlock, answers, doesn’t it?

“So what’s the first thing you made with your new table saw?”

“A table, duh.”

It doesn’t have to be pretty, as you can plainly see, but it does have to be stable. I wonder if the word “table” is a truncation of “stable?” I think I’ll make that my weekly e-mail to Grant & Martha at A Way With Words. Anyway, a wobbly table would defeat the whole purpose of spending all that money on a table saw in the first place, to say nothing of how quickly you’d lose the end of at least one finger as your table saw table started walking across the work shop floor.

I knocked this together in about an hour, after an hour spent cleaning enough crap from the center of the work shop so I had room to go at it. That’s what sucks about starting a new project: Preparation always takes at least as long as doing the actual job.

table saw outfeed tableIt took me all friggin day to cut that board in half, but it finally happened. And about time, too. I was getting pretty tired of cutting up all that wood just to build tables and jigs so that I could build something.

It’s going to be a book case soon; probably not today, maybe not until sometime next weekend, but now that I can see it’s going to happen I feel a little better about blowing all that money on a table saw.
And it worked perfectly the first time! I made a clean cut exactly down the center of the board, accounting for the width of the saw blade, and both pieces came out the other end exactly the same width, just as if I knew what I was doing! Weird.


table saw table | 10:16 am CST
Category: carpentry, hobby, play
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Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

table sawI finally caved in and got one.

I lost track a long time ago of the number of home-improvement projects I wanted to try but was putting off till the day I stuck a crowbar in my wallet and sprung loose a few bucks for a table saw. After looking at dozens of table saws I came to the conclusion that I knew nothing about them, other than they were the most dangerous power tool invented, picked the highest-rated one on Amazon that I could afford and click on “Buy me!”

Well, as of today I no longer have an excuse to put any more projects on the back burner. Indeed, now that I’ve spent all that dough on a table saw I’m on a time table. “I expect to see some bookcases by Saturday,” My Darling B warned me as I toted my new toy through the kitchen to the basement stairs. “No pressure.”
Keep you posted.

caved | 3:25 pm CST
Category: carpentry, hobby, play
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lamp baseDemolition is complete. Now begins reconstruction.

Locked in the grip of this jerry-rigged vise is the base of a lamp we bought at auction some weeks ago. It’s actually carved from two pieces of wood somebody, a long time ago, tried to glue together with a tar-like, probably asbestos-based adhesive and, when that didn’t work, shot three of the most jagged junk-drawer wood screws up through the bottom, which held the whole mess together passably well, for a while.

There were another three rusty wood screws that fixed the spindle to the base. They were all so old and crooked that getting them out took most of the evening and all the cuss words in my vocabulary. But I got them out. Dammit.

Then I used a hand rasp to clean off most of the tar-like glue and sanded the rest off, probably throwing enough asbestos into the air to kill us all in our sleep. I spread a thin layer of wood glue over the face of the bottom piece, laid the upper piece over it, then built this thumb-crushing vise … yet somehow managed to avoid crushing either of my thumbs — and there was much rejoicing.

The two pieces will be forever bonded together when I take the vise apart tomorrow morning, but I’ll probably shoot three or four construction screws through it just to make sure it won’t come apart. Then I have to figure out how to sand the paint-splattered varnish off it without ruining the delicate curve that I won’t be able to duplicate because I don’t have a lathe. Yet.

fiat lux | 3:24 pm CST
Category: carpentry, hobby, play
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Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I’ll be using many sharp-edged power tools all afternoon. I started out with all ten fingers. I’m always amazed when I finish with all ten after repeated use of power saws, power drills, routers, and all kinds of whirling dervishes that could snatch away a digit so fast I wouldn’t even see it happen.

I once disdained power tools. Anything made with power tools you couldn’t honestly call hand-crafted, was my thought. The problem with that kind of snobbery is, you’ve got to have the talent that enables you to cut a straight line, and although I can reasonably fake a straight line, I have to admit a power saw cuts a line much straighter and cleaner than I ever could.

You would also need a set of muscles like steel cable and a bottomless supply of stamina to saw and saw and saw all day long, to say nothing of how much driving a half-dozen screws takes out of you. I used to be able to do that but I’ve got the limp, creaky wrists of an old lady now. With a circular saw and a power drill I can keep at the job all day long.

And that’s why I’ve been collecting power tools lately, most of them at estate sales. I broke down several years ago and bought a brand-new router off the shelf, but the power miter saw that’s turned out to be more massively awesome than atomic-powered rocket ships was something I managed to score at an auction for just forty bucks.

I used it to turn a whole bunch of perfect good select lumber into rails for a pull-out set of drawers so My Darling B could not only store her canning jars in the kitchen cupboards, but so she could get to them without having to worry about the flimsy cardboard boxes they were stored in breaking apart and getting bonked on the head by a bunch of jars. The cupboards she stores them in are way over her head and she has to stand on tippy-toe, even on her step-stool, to get the boxes out. I whacked together some durable pine drawers and mounted them on rails. Now she can pull them out and there’ll be no bonking going on in the kitchen.

Or maybe that didn’t come out right.

power tools | 6:14 am CST
Category: carpentry, hobby, play
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