Friday, June 05, 2020

Table Finished

The fat lady is going home and I've put my tools away, this sucker is finished.

One more:

And the last one:

As with most big projects, it was not finished when planed but unlike most big projects it had no cost overrun and I'm tired of fooling with it. But on the other hand last night after MsBubba went to bed I set at the table for over an hour running my hand along the surfaces, looking, and thinking this is good.


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

First Coat of Finish

The first coat of finish is drying:

I'm using Waterlux Original for the slab and tung oil for the base. The Waterlux is supposed to look like Tung oil when finished, it doesn't, but it resists water stains and is easily repaired if needed. I used in on my bathroom vanity and after three or four years it still looks good.

It normally takes 3 or 4 coats and needs 24 hours to dry between coats so it will be the weekend before the fat lady breaks into song.

BTW, I decided on belts and suspenders.  I added "Z" clips as well as pegs to hold the table top. Prophylactic taking care of the problem of the top coming lose when MsBubba moves it around the house, which happens often and I would hear about it each time it came loose.

I will not know for sure if I met my design goals until it is in use but I think it will. I wanted a smaller but sturdy table, one that is good for 2 couples and maybe a third in a pinch. I wanted a vernacular, outsider, rustic (whatever you want to call it), look. One that after several years of abuse still looks ok.


Monday, June 01, 2020

In The Short Rows

This time the fat lady is truly in the building. What is left is blind pegging the slab to the base, putting a small chamfer on the lower surface and breaking the edges. Tung oil on the base and maybe a Waterlux finish on the slab.

Side view:

From the end:

I expect by the weekend this sucker will be in the kitchen and in use.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fitting Slab to Base

I've moved to the back garden to fit the slab to the base. Mostly because I need the room to work. It is not as convenient as working in the shop but having room to move things as needed makes up for the need to find and move tools. Now it is time for the required praise of the portable Moravian bench, you have heard it before, bottom line it makes it possible. 

Working on the base:

From the other side showing the portable bench:

This part isn't difficult, just fiddly with doing a little, checking work, doing a little more, once close, moving the slab back and forth until the sucker is nailed.

I dropped one of my long levels this morning, the plastic was so old and brittle it broke in the middle. So far I'm getting along with out it but I may need a trip to the tool store before finishing.

The other hold up is it is only 0800 and I'm already sweating like a pig and needing breaks often. We had another Monsoon type storm last night with rain and very strong gusting winds. I expect the RH is high because my sweat is not drying quickly, instead it is getting on my glasses and in my eyes,

That is the bad news, the good is the sooner it is too hot to work outside I'll come in and make a Mincemeat pie. Then MsBubba and I will probably jump in the pool for a bit, mostly to clean up the mess that was blown into it last night and maybe have a drink or two. Life is good in the desert.


Friday, May 29, 2020

The Fat Lady Returns

The table slab is out of clamps and looks good, nice and flat with a clean joint. One of the base units is ready for finish, the other needs a little work. I may get this sucker finished.

Slab out of clamps:

We had our first Monsoon type rain of the season this afternoon. It wasn't really part of the Monsoon, the temps have not been high enough for long enough to bring enough moisture up from the Gulfs. Our RH has remained under 10%. For Monsoon we need to get the RH over 25% for a few days. But it was non frontal monsoon type rain. Because the RH is so low most the rain was Virga with little reaching the ground.

BTW, even though our days are hot, today's high 110F, the evenings, nights, and mornings are delightful. Many nights need a blanket or you will be cold. Once Monsoon and the high RH's arrive all that changes and the evenings stay hot. Several years ago I had a 0400 takeoff out of Scottsdale where I had to restrict fuel because it was still 103F at takeoff time.

View to the North with easy to see Virga:

The Sonoran desert may be the most beautiful desert in the world. Unlike many deserts there is abundant vegetation and life. Most of it either sticks, stings, or bites but whatever, there is plenty of it.

View to the West:

The Saguaro have almost finished producing beautiful white flowers, next is setting fruit which when ripe will split open revealing a red pulpy flesh. The birds love it and for weeks everything is covered with red bird poop.

BTW, I was asked if I would consider returning to work in a couple of weeks. Sorry Charley it ain't going to happen till it is safe.

Take care, wear your masks, protect yourself and others.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Fat Lady Left The Building

The fat lady decided she needed her nails done or some such. After trimming the table top to size it decided to do some stupid wood tricks.  I had finished with both the scrub and jack planes and had started working with the big sucker and the slab was getting close to needing the smoother. Not so fast shaving breath, when I went out yesterday the slab had bowed, not a lot but enough to see if you look down the slab. Back to step one, out comes the scrub and jacks.

Oh well, I need the exercise.

This being retired changes things, of course money is one of them but mostly time. Because of time I find myself slipping into old fart things like growing tomatoes and peppers. Here in the desert there are challenges with the tomatoes and I expect most other plants. Bottom line even if the plant needs full sun it does not need full Arizona afternoon sun. Which was my next project, a place to hold the tomato plants that would allow some shade and keep 'em safe from the "pigs". It is not pretty but was planned perfectly, I ran out of holes at the same time I ran out of screws.


Cloth that can be re-positioned for shade to be added.


Sunday, May 17, 2020


For the first time in my life I've filed for unemployment insurance. Here in AZ you can do it over the internet, so far it has been painless. My layoff is until August, at that time I'm not sure what I will do if recalled. If nothing has changed I will retire. A good friend who is also one of the smartest people I've known and is a Doc sent me a link on the risks of Covid-19. It is well worth your time to read.

The Risks-Know Them-Avoid Them

I may get to like this retirement thing, MsBubba has been on my case for years to do it but I've resisted for reasons. Who knows what they were but they were damn good.

When this started I tipped the scales in the mid 230 pounds, now I'm 207 as of this AM. The only things that have changed are because of Covid-19 I'm not eating out and because I'm not working there is no "fast food". That is reason enough to retire plus with the needs of Casa Chaos, the shop, and MsBubba's watchful eye there is no time to get bored.

MsBubba has been on my case to find some way to protect the Motorhome tires, for good reason, they cost about $3000 USD to replace and they always age out before they wear out. The problem is the store bought covers will barely last a couple of seasons and good ones are not cheap. Being from Texas I came up with redneck tire protectors.

They work pretty good even in high winds and are kinda fun to make because they are not fine furniture. A gap or two makes no never mind. In fact all the joints were cut with a Stanley Hard Point panel saw.

Frame in glue up:

In between all the other things I'm still flattening the table top. The upper surface is ready for the long planes. The lower surface I'll get close and then just finish where the table top sets on the base.

Working on the lower surface:

One last thought, Pre-War Marples chisels are close to perfection. The only current production chisels that come close to the steel, balance and feel of the Marples are from Ashley Iles and they only come close.

Read the link, use the information, and be safe out there,