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Me and Sylvia, smiling for the camera (August 2005)


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With all due respect to Pink Floyd, a lot of classrooms I've been in could have used some dark sarcasm

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Sunday, July 8th, 2012

🦋 Dogwood down!

One day,

-- the next,
Time to rent a chainsaw... I seem to remember hearing dogwood makes nice carving/turning wood, will try to get some blanks out of this.

posted morning of July 8th, 2012: Respond
➳ More posts about The garden

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

🦋 Socket Wrench

David Bonta (blogger at Via Negativa) has published a book of Odes to Tools with Phœnecia Publishing -- some beautiful thoughts about the things we use.

Ode to a Socket Wrench

Better than all power tools
Is the socket wrench:

Its accomodating nature
Its chrome-plated steel
Its handling of torque.
Kristin Berkey-Abbott reviews the collection today.

posted morning of January 8th, 2011: Respond
➳ More posts about Readings

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

🦋 Equipment Maintenance

For a while my A string has been fraying and in need of replacement -- tonight I put a new string on. Well a couple of things about this: it took a frustratingly long time to get it on and wound properly, a job that should take less than a minute. So I'm frustrated about not being skillful at it. But more, I don't like how long it took me to get around to doing it -- I get intimidated by stuff like this in a really not useful way.

Both of these things are also true of sharpening knives, and it drives me crazy that all the knives in my kitchen and most of the blades in my wood shop are not sharp the way they ought to be, and how intimidated I get at the thought of making them sharp. I'm not sure how to approach this.

posted evening of March 15th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Fiddling

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

🦋 Winter Woodworking

I have 3 woodworking projects that I would like to get done this winter (and that Ellen would like me to get done this winter):

  • A decoration for the front of the walk in front of our house, in the form of a short fence or two short fences with a post at the corner. Ideally with nice carved finials at the top of the fence stakes. We want to grow some kind of vine or rosebush against this.
  • A bench for the front entry. Size is kind of tricky since the entry is mostly occupied by the swing of the front door; but there is a corner where a narrow bench would fit. Ideally this will be of the same wood and vaguely similar design to my garden bench in the front yard.
  • If I get ambitious, a similar bench for the top of the staircase.
I haven't been in my wood shop much at all in the past few years; but I have been wanting to do more with my hands. So I better seize the day.

posted afternoon of January 10th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Projects

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

🦋 A day well spent?

Hm. All morning I'm feeling like there's something I ought to be doing but I can't work out what it is. I finished and installed the bench -- will post a picture of it later, when Ellen brings the camera home -- and a piece of fence I was working on -- I could not find my bottle of linseed oil so I went over to Home Depot this morning and bought a can of Watco Teak Oil, which seems like it ought to work pretty well -- it gave the oak bench a nice color. Swept the patio, walked the dogs, tidied the kitchen.

Well, for want of knowing what to do I think I will sit out on my new bench with some coffee and read more Snow. (I'm enjoying the pace at which I'm reading it, which I think would feel too slow with a lot of books.)

Update:Here's the pictures of the bench.

posted afternoon of August 5th, 2007: Respond
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Saturday, August 4th, 2007

🦋 A day well spent

This morning I finished up a woodworking project that has been sitting in my basement for a week or so -- it is an oaken bench that will go in my front yard next to the garden -- tomorrow I will take it outside and put linseed oil on it.

Bob and Greg came over in the afternoon and we played some music, including a very nice version of "House of the Rising Sun" -- I have finally persuaded Bob to play it in 4/4 time (like Dylan) instead of (I think) 6/8, like The Animals, which sounds corny to my ear, at least when done by somebody who is not The Animals.

posted evening of August 4th, 2007: Respond
➳ More posts about Music

Friday, April 16th, 2004

🦋 Have a nice weekend

Looks like the weather will be excellent here -- lots of sun and warm. I am going to spend an hour or two tailgating before the CRAFTS auction tomorrow morning, then come back home and take Sylvia to her first-ever soccer practice. Sunday will be our first cook-out of the season, Ellen's family is coming over and it is her mother's birthday. The tulips should be opening up today or tomorrow.

posted afternoon of April 16th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Toolbox

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
➳ More posts about Bookcase

Thursday, March 25th, 2004

🦋 Yard work

What fun! this evening Sylvia and I planted some forsythias, she with her trowel and I with my spade. When I came home I asked if she would like to help me do it and she quickly said, "No." Then a few more "no"s while I was putting on jeans and work shoes and walking downstairs, followed by a sudden "I want to help!" as I opened the door. So we went outside (very warm today, I think in the 60's) and dug up some holes, and filled them with plants and soil.

This weekend I will be acquiring my next big power tool; it is a 6" jointer, which I am buying from Matt Prusik (a former president of CJWA). The weekend is busy -- on Saturday morning we are going to the nursery to get bushes and trees, and in the afternoon getting a start on cleaning the garage; on Sunday morning I will drive down to South Amboy where Matt lives and back, and in the afternoon I'll be trying to set it up. The jointer may not be usable immediately as I think the power supply to the garage might be too small and need rewiring.

posted evening of March 25th, 2004: Respond
➳ More posts about Home improvement

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

🦋 Lesson learned

You'd think it would be straightforward enough; but:

A useful household tip

When moving a ladder, make sure no hammers are balanced on the top rung.


Corollary #1

Don't balance hammers on top rungs of ladders.

posted morning of February 15th, 2004: Respond

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