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Tyndareus Crushed, by Igor Mitoraj (taken August 2005)

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What was venerated as style was nothing more than an imperfection or flaw that revealed the guilty hand.

Orhan Pamuk


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Saturday, July 26th, 2003

Projects

Here is an inventory of home improvement projects I want to work on:

  • Window seat: which I have, ridiculously, still not begun working on; but today I bought some lumber for it and cleaned up my shop, so I have no excuses left...
  • Paths in the front yard: I have the slate, I have the tools to cut it; I am hoping to do these paths in the third week of August, when I will be on vacation.
  • Path next to the house: Really the same project as the above, I just don't think I have enough slate right now to do it. I want to see how the first path goes before I schedule the others.
  • Backyard patio: Again, waiting to see how difficult this slate laying stuff really is.
  • Stone at base of side porch: This is going to be pretty complex and I have not really planned yet how it should look.
  • New steps for side porch
  • Breakfast nook
  • Bookcases for Ellen's office: Ellen is breathing down my neck on this so they may come before the breakfast nook.
  • Bookcases for living room: I've had an idea for this since we moved here...
  • Dining room table: Again, I've had a very clear picture of this kicking around my head for about nine months now.

posted evening of July 26th, 2003: Respond
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Thursday, October 9th, 2003

My next project

My next woodworking project will be a built-in bookcase for Ellen's office. I am going to use this plan from American Woodworker as a starting point, but will make a few modifications. There will be three verticals instead of two, to double the amount of shelf space. A half-round table will come out of the middle of one side of the bookcase, to match the look of Ellen's desk (which is half-round on one end). I will be using mortise-and-tenons instead of biscuits to join the shelves to the verticals. The case will be built from soft maple; I hope to buy it at Rosenzweig's Lumber -- but only will if I can get a day off work soon, as they do not have weekend hours.

Update: Actually the place I will buy the lumber if I can get a day off work soon will be Hutt Lumber in Newark (sorry, no web presence; their phone number is (973) 242-7300 and their address is 301 Badger Avenue; they are open 8 to 3:30 Monday through Friday) -- they carry roughsawn 4/4 soft maple for $2.42/bf, as opposed to $2.92/bf at Rosenzweig's, and are closer. (Rosenzweig's soft maple is D2S but that does not make a difference for me as I will be reducing the thickness anyway.) Looks like I will need 100 bf for the project, but I think I will buy 120 and err on the side of caution.

posted evening of October 9th, 2003: Respond
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Thursday, November 6th, 2003

Shop organization

Hey, did I mention I've been working on organizing my shop space in the basement, for a couple of weeks now? It's going really well -- I'm just about in shape to start working on the bookcase. What I have done: I built a lumber rack, and stacked most of my lumber on it; built a shelf with separate compartments for my carving tools; built a fixture for hanging my clamps; cleaned off most counter surfaces; and went a bit of the way towards organizing the big closet where I keep hardware. The last thing is going to be building a rack for clamping up panels and holding them even while the glue dries, which is necessary for the bookcase project. I have a pretty simple design in mind and will be building it next week.

posted evening of November 6th, 2003: Respond
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Saturday, December 20th, 2003

Back in the shop

My short time in the shop this evening included a number of "firsts". I used my new panel jig (completed after way too long a time, and a poor excuse for what I had originally planned to build) for the first time, gluing up the base for a sharpening station I am building -- it seems to do basically what I was hoping it would, which is to hold boards aligned while I get the clamps on and keep them flat. I cut into the wood I bought for Ellen's bookcase, which marks the first time I have ever worked with rough-sawn lumber. I like it! (Actually this "first" is a bit of an exaggeration but I am going to let it stand.) It is also the first time I have worked with maple since I built Sylvia's high chair (back in the early days of my woodworking career, before I had a proper bench); it is as nice to work with as I remembered it. My scrub plane eats it up. Now I just need to get some better bench dogs, so I can clamp wood that I am scrubbing properly in place -- this would be a major step up for me. I think I will order some new dogs in a few weeks, when I put in my order to Lee Valley for a couple of things I have been meaning to get.

Update: I managed significantly to improve the performance of my bench dogs. All I did was, I relieved the lower half of the dog's face; so that instead of coming up from the bench at a 90° angle, it comes up slightly acute. So the contact with the workpiece is all at the top of the dog and the force from the vise is pushing the workpiece down into the bench. It works a lot better now.

posted evening of December 20th, 2003: Respond

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004

In the shop

I have not blogged about woodworking for a long time because, well, I have not been doing any of it. But I am hoping to change that. A couple of nights this week I was in the basement, working on Ellen's bookcase -- she has given me a deadline of September to finish it or she buys one, and I believe I can do it. Also I got the garage cleaned out and have made some stabs towards planning the workbenches I want to build in there.

In other home improvement news, Ellen is repainting the sitting room and boy, does it look good! (This is the room where I built in my windowseat, and it has looked funny unpainted ever since.) The color scheme is: sage green walls, bone white trim and doors and ceiling. There is a lot of trim in the room, doing it all took nearly two weeks (of quite intermittent painting). The walls and ceiling are going a lot faster. When she finishes I will put the final bit of molding on the windowseat (a cove between the top of the seat and the wall behind it) and put shades on the windows, and the room will get more use than it had in the past -- our plan is to have that be our general room for congregating in the evenings, instead of our bedroom.

posted evening of April 14th, 2004: Respond
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