Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Damn Sharping Post...Just Walk On By

When between projects and with a little time to play in the shop but not enough time or energy to tackle one of the many builds in the queue I will usually spend it either cleaning the shop or tool maintenance. The worst is when most of the tools are sharp and the shop is in near working condition then I gravitate to the really boring "what if's" such as: "Are water stones really better than oil?". "What about diamonds?" Or even better, "Natural vs. man made?".

You know where this is going. Over the last few days I've had limited time in the shop but enough to get in trouble with the "what if's". I've used oil stones as my primary sharpening medium for most of my life. I've made runs at most of the other ways but without fail when adding up all the advantages and disadvantages vs. other ways Ark oil stones work better for me. Of course, as always, YMMV.

The last few days follow the script. It started when I wanted to take another look at sharpening Veritas PM on Ark oil stones vs. water stones as referenced yesterday. Today I decided to play with some O1 chisels on Shampton's vs. Ark stones.

The common thread is almost all water stones will give a very nice polish even at the courser grits, oil not so much not even on oil polishing stones. To get a polish if that is your objective, at least when I'm doing it, requires going to a strop charged with one of the compounds. While I like to see a well polished iron, that really is not the objective, what I want is a edge that is "sharp" (whatever sharp is) and will last pass the first touch of wood.

I've found the scratch pattern is more important than polish and I think that is where most man made stones lose. I've seen very polished irons, irons that will blind you they are so shinny but with deep scratches on the back and bevel. Most of the time natural stones will give a better scratch pattern.

The real test is not visual but how does the iron cut wood, that of course is subjective. I've yet to find any stone that gives a better working edge than oil stones. It could be because I know Ark oil stones better than water stones or I may be full of whatever and/or just do not know how to get the best out of water stones. Both are very likely.

Bottom line, Ark stones still rule my sharpening bench with Atoma diamond stones for grinding.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ebonized Beech

Ralph asked for a photo of the ebonized Beech. It does not fit, closer to fitting but still about 1/2 mil too wide. I'm still surprised at how much such a small piece of wood expanded, guess I shouldn't be because a lot of water was used to ebonized it.

IIRC the Beech lid had three apps of tannic acid (boiled White Oak shavings), then one of vinegar and steel wool followed by one more app of both.

The box has a well fitting lid of Cherry that looks good, who knows other than MsBubba which one it will end up with.

On to other things:

The house, in other words MsBubba, is sleeping in this morning so I'm finding things to do that do not make too much noise such as sharpening iron. I have a number of Veritas PM irons both plane and chisel. I decided to A&B a couple of the PM chisels on water and oil stones just because. 

I'm still undecided if the PM is worth the extra cost and effort. After working several of the chisels on both oil and water stones this morning I have not changed my mind. PM is not a lot of effort to sharpen on oil stones if you start with a hollow grind. Problem is I'm lazy and do not like to take the time to hollow grind unless the iron is damaged or the bevel needs changing. Both oil and water on the hollow ground chisels quickly gave a very sharp edge, not enough different from O1 to change the world but I would not go to the effort to change from PM to O1 like I do with A2. 

Bottom line, for day to day work I'll stick with O1 and save the PM irons for use with things like Teak. BTW, I have most of a 8/4 Teak plank that followed me home back in the 70's. It's been around so long I hate to cut it up.

Enough free association for one morning, back to the stones.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winter Solstice in Mexico

The title is not absolutely correct, the day of the Solstice was spent in Tucson getting ready to celebrate the most important day of the year, MsBubba's B-day, on the 22sd. After paying proper homage to TMIDOTY I loaded the RV with enough food, beer, and whisky to last a month along with the critters and MsBubba for the trip to Rocky Point, Mexico.

The trip down was "interesting". We knew leaving that we would drive through a line of WX that was moving from Rocky Point through Tucson. What we didn't know was how strong the winds would be. The steady wind was around 30 knots with gust of 50 knots or better. The motorhome did a great job but I didn't get to relax a lot on the drive. Once pass Lukeville, AZ the storm was over and it was blue skies and lighter winds for the rest of the drive.

As always, Mexico was great. The dogs swam their hearts out. I ate and drank until no mas, no mas, and MsBubba played on the beach. It doesn't get much better.

I made a separate ebonized Beech lid for last week's dovetail "test" box. It fit perfectly, maybe even a little loose, before ebonizing. When I tried to fit it to the box the lid was at least a mil or two too wide. It has been setting for a week and is still too wide. I'll give it another month before I take any off the sides. I didn't think that small a lid could move that much but it did.

BTW, the ebonized Beech is beautiful.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Shop Dogs

Not much in life brings as much joy as a good dog. Sam the Wonder Dog and Sweet Maggie Dog are good dogs.

They know where I keep the rawhide bones and as with most of their treat patrols they work as a team. Rawhide bones are no different, when I see the two of 'em show up in the shop I know the drill....They have me well trained.

Today I happened to have the camera with me in the shop when they decided it was time for a bone. Maggie will usually let Sam lead the way unless she decides he's not being effective, then she will go into full "too cute for words mode".

Bottom line I'm a sucker for 'em and the treats are forthcoming.

I made a marking jig for dovetails the other day. I stole the idea from David Barron. This is the third one I've made, the first was ok but a little off square. The second was better but not dead nuts on. This one is as close to perfect as I can get. BTW, I used the previous jig to help mark each new one, so each got better than the last. 

The only way to know for sure if they are square is to make something, as usual a small box served to check the jig. 

Anyway a small box with no finish or lid:


Friday, December 09, 2016

One More Atkins

I got around to sharpening another of the Atkins panel saws last night. I've been on what some call a graveyard shift this week with a 0100 show and a 0800 finish. While in many ways it is my favorite line, no suits to put up with, time off during business hours so things can be taken care of, but it can be hell on your sleep pattern and motivation for shop projects.

As usual, when working the early AM line, about all that gets done is tool and shop maintenance.  My chisels lose a few years of life, saws get sharpened, planes get worked over and I "test" them. There is just something very enjoyable about making a piece of wood smaller with a hand plane, hearing the snick and seeing the shavings eject from the mouth of the plane with no goal other than hearing the snick and seeing the shavings eject.

Last night as I stumbled around the shop doing random clean up and placing tools back into their assigned storage spot I noticed a couple of Atkins panel saws that needed rehab. One was 16 TPI with "0" set and so dull it would cut soft butter, the other was 7 TPI crosscut with just enough set left you could, with help, figure out where to mark the teeth for setting and sharpening. You can guess which one I picked to sharpen.

It had a small "wave" in the tooth line which I for the most part worked out followed by setting, topping and shaping, there were a few cows and calfs. After a final sharpening pass and stoning the tooth line I took it to the wood. It did not disappoint, it sawed true and fast. I've gone from having only a "hard point" panel saw to now having two very good panel saws, one cross cut and one rip both with comfortable totes in addition to the hard point.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Atkins Panel Saw

Several years ago a guy came through town with a trunk load of tools and a story. The story was he needed gas money to drive home to Montana. I'm a sucker for both old tools and a good story, either would have worked for gas money. I ended up with close to 100 saws, a tool tote, and a suitcase full of saw totes and parts.

For the most part the saws spent the next couple of years in the way and being moved from place to place in the shop. Several months ago I started digging through the pile and separating out the keepers from the junk and parts saws. Among the keepers I found a couple of Atkins panel saws, one filed 16 TPI and one worth the cost of the whole lot of saws filed 11 TPI.

The 11 TPI saw has been in the saw vise for several weeks waiting for me to clean up the tool room enough to get to the saw vise. Today miracle of miracles I finished a path and found time to sharpen that sucker.

What a sweet saw. The tote is still rough but that is minor. I cuts fast and true.


And one of the cut line, you can't saw truer:

I wash I had sharpened it before I sawed the notch in the dovetail jig in the background. I've never learned to saw with a Japanese saw and as always the notch cut went off line. It's a shop appliance so not a big deal but.....  


The Woodworkers

A while back Lost Art Press published a two volume set of Woodworker Magazine's articles during the Charles H. Hayward years with the surprising title; "THE WOODWORKER: The Charles H. Hayward Years".  The contrast between the re-published articles and those of woodworking mags of today is chalk and cheese.

The books have been my bathroom reading for most of the last year. It is like having the best woodworking magazine always available and with no ads for the latest and greatest dovetail jig. A third volume should be shipping this month. The first two are on tools and techniques and the third will be about joints.

You can't go wrong putting any or all the books on your Winter Solstice gift list.

BTW, I made a new dovetail marking jig last night. The old one worked ok but was just a thin red one out of square. I will not know for sure if the new jig is dead nuts square until I use it but by every measure it is dead on.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Too Much Stuff

A week or so ago Andy over at Oregon Woodworker posted about culling his herd of bench planes. Ralph at the Accidental Woodworker wondered if Andy was coming down with something and I tried to sell him on buying another plane, the old one out one in thingy. Andy had a point, too much stuff just gets in the way of making things.

I'm lucky here in the desert there isn't much of a rust problem, if I had to do rust patrol my tool collection would be much smaller.

For sometime I've been trying to get rid of the truly unused tools with out a lot of progress although this week I did get rid of the last of the router bits and jigs. Problem is most of the stuff is very useable but not for the way I work. BTW, I will get to the point of this post.

Even tools for the way I work there are too many of 'em in the shop. There are planes out the kazoo, stuffed in every corner of the shop, in the plane till, the storage cabinet behind the joinery bench, and under every bench in the shop. I know some folks have it worse than I but..... and BTW, the chisels are another post.

The crazy part is eighty percent of the time I'm using one of four metal planes and/or one of the wood stock jack planes. The four are all type 13 or older Stanleys, I do have after market irons in them not because the thicker irons improve the plane but because it is hard to find good stock irons. The reason I reach for the old Stanleys is because the are light, it is the same reason I use the wood stock jacks. Light is good, with a light plane I can work most of the day. With a modern heavy plane I tire very quickly.

A photo of the four users, from left to right a #3, #4, #4 1/2, and a #5 sharpened as a jack:

The #3 and #4 are freshly sharpened and planed the White Oak like it was butter, the #4 1/2 and the #5 not so much. Gives me something to do tomorrow.

The plane till with mostly LN's:

We have truly been sold a bill of goods that heavy is better. That said, the new LN and LV planes are works of art and I like using them for quick jobs. I wish someone i.e. LN would make a modern Bailey pattern plane. Sigh, my guess it is not to be.

I guess the point of all this rambling is I admire folks like Andy that can keep their tool collection genes in check and even more someone that can sell off unneeded planes or chisels. To steal a line from David Bromberg when it comes to selling off tools I have one green eye and one red. It's "stop", "go", "stop", "go" with stop usually wining.


The National Hamburger of Texas

One of the advantages of living past your sell by date is the smallest thing can send you back in time and mostly, except for MsBubba, no one wants to lock you in the looney bin. Week tea I know but that's part of being older than dirt along with senior discounts and the Golden Eagle National Park pass.

Last night I needed to grab something to eat before show time. There is a Whataburger on the way and close to the Center. Most of the time it is just a quick in, eat a hamburger, and out in less than 15 minutes. Last night the time table held but soon I was back in, I believe, 1957 and remembering the first time I had a Whataburger. At that time I was a student in a San Antonio, TX boarding school, one of my fellow students, Bob Shoop, invited me to spend a long weekend at his home in Corpus Christi, TX. Bob's dad owned a large restaurant in Corpus but all Bob could talk about was having a Whataburger once we were in Corpus.

I was not disappointed, with the first bite it was like a Disney movie with blue birds singing and angels descending from on high. It doesn't happen often, in fact the only other time I can remember was my first visit to Mama Ninfa's on Navigation in Houston, TX.

A true quote from their web site "This is where it all started, where Mama Ninfa first stuffed chargrilled sliced beef into a handmade flour tortilla and launched the national fajita craze...". It wasn't just her Tacos Al Carbon but everything I had that night, the refried beans, the rice, it all had me licking the plate and wanting more. Shortly after that first visit Ninfa's was discovered and lines out the door stretched around the block. All good things, except Whataburger, end or are loved to death and Ninfa's is not the place it once was but for a few short years it was the best not just Mexican food but food you could find at any price. It was even better than K-Paul's in New Orleans.

Unlike many shops that expand, while today's Whataburger will no longer call down the angels or blue birds it has remained very true to the original.

Enough old farting. MsBubba's Mahjong box ain't the best....The Ebonizing of the White Oak lid and base is very pretty but it didn't play well with the glue and the Cherry box. Also I'm not sure the iron/acid will not stain the Mahjong tiles. It is back to the drawing board for the Mahjong box.

As it to big it,


Thursday, December 01, 2016

New Small Box

The rust it shows. The box parts shown in the T-Day post are history due to a mistake almost too dumb to admit. But what the hey, I can blame it on the three months spent in recovery....That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm sure none of you have marked and cut the pins on the the wrong side, like I said too dumb to admit.

The replacement box is almost finished (photos when done). This one is Cherry with a Ebonized White Oak slider top and base. Cherry is nice to work and beautiful when finished but, there's that damn but, at least for me it is hard to get perfect dovetails. I can almost never fit right off the saw, if I do they are either too loose or one or more will split. Even when I saw them tight and pare to fit, during the fitting process I tend to spilt at least one....This box was no different, I got a split, stop drilled it and used cyanoacrylate in the crack. I thought about making a new pin board and about painting to hide and rejected both. It is a utility box, MsBubba will not care if there is a crack, I'll bet she will never see it if I can keep my mouth shut, and it will have no effect on the strength of the box. That's also my story and I'm.....

Last Saturday we took the critters and the motorhome to Bisbee, AZ for the night. Bisbee is an old mining town 90 or so miles southeast of Tucson. On the way, about 20 miles west of Bisbee, you pass through Tombstone, AZ. Tombstone is more famous but Bisbee is a heck of a lot more fun.

The Bisbee RV park is on a hill overlooking the Copper Queen mine and a block or two from downtown Bisbee. Being a old mining town, set in a picturesque valley, Bisbee is a tourist magnet and full of "stuff to buy," ok cafes, and great bars, many with live music. Bottom line it was a great use of the motorhome and a wonderful way to spend a Saturday and Sunday.

Photos to follow....see you on down the road,


Thursday, November 24, 2016


Happy T-Day y'all. There are only four days each year I notice in their passing. Starting with the first of each year the four are: Juneteenth (19th of June), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and MsBubba's B-Day (December 22, the most important day of the year). Of the four Thanksgiving is the most enjoyable.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day.

This morning I found a little time for the shop in-between making dinner rolls for our contribution to the feast. MsBubba asked for a small box to hold her Mahjong tiles. How could I say no, besides it will be the perfect project after the long layoff.

After much laying out of tiles, butt scratching and, "whatever" from the boss I settled on dimensions and sawed the sides and ends to final size along with truing the boards.

You can't see much, they are stacked to the right of the #4. That may be all the shop work for the day. 

It is almost time to start getting ready for the turkey. I'll be social, may even put on a stain free and clean t-shirt for the big event.

See you guys on down the road,


Monday, November 21, 2016

Front Garden and Parking Finished

As with most things at Casa Chaos work expands. What was planed as a two day job took six. Whatever, the front garden and parking are finished and I have new rocks to yell at the kids to "get off'".

We removed a row of prickly pear along the curb and moved several other plants to make room for parking and graveled both the motorhome's parking place and the new parking area. As I posted the other day we had10 tons of gravel delivered. I had figured 8 tons were needed but the delivery was free for 10 tons. I figured I'd find some use for the extra 2 tons. Turns out I needed all ten to finish up the front garden and motorhome area.

Anyway photos of the new rocks:


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Odds and Ends

I'm back working....The suits are crazy. So what else is new.

MsBubba wanted to add parking space in front of the house. As always the answer is "Yes dear".

I had 10 tons of rock delivered yesterday. Of course everything had to be moved to make room. Here is almost 10 tons of rock, some of it has already been moved to the area beside the house.

Exciting isn't it. 

Here is some of the rock spread beside the house.

And Mark from the backside removing an Agave for transplant out of the expanded driveway.

And finally something almost woodworking. Several years ago MsBubba carried home a metal chair  from one of her dumpster diving adventures. The frame has taken up room in the shop for all that time while I occasionally tried to figure out how to make a seat. Anyway I got around to doing it a couple of weeks ago,  Cypress slats with screws through the metal rails. Looks better than I expected and is surprisingly comfortable. 

Sam the Wonder Dog is on his favorite patio chair and the motorcycle trailer is there until I finish spreading gravel. BTW, if anyone wants/needs a good motorcycle trailer this one is for sale as I no longer have a motorcycle or ride.


Friday, November 11, 2016

There I Waz....

...with one burning and one turning.....Most aviation stories start that way and end up with "the only thing that saved the day was my great skill and knowledge".

Well, after 105 days of medical leave during which there was not a single thought about airplanes or flying I donned the monkey suit for a 0500 show. Today's show was for a prep flight so I might not embarrass myself too badly when I take my FAR 135.297 flight check Saturday morning. For me there were two take aways from the whole exercise. The first was: After 105 days out of the cockpit you can be a little rusty or in other words, buttons? What buttons? Where in the hell are my buttons? It wasn't pretty.  The second was: Damn technology has come a long ways and if you let it (can find the damn buttons) the airplane will almost fly itself. The aircraft I instruct in is several generations from current technology but it is still an amazing aircraft with auto throttles where you push a button (there's the damn buttons again) and the power levers advance and set correct power for takeoff, climb, cruse, decent, and approach. At 50 feet AGL they close for landing. With the FMS (Flight Management System) you are able to program the complete flight from takeoff to landing if you can figure out the correct buttons to push. The autopilot can fly the aircraft from a couple of hundred feet above the ground on takeoff to 100 feet AGL on landing, To land the aircraft you just have to push a red button to disconnect the autopilot and then don't change anything, if you do you will mess it up.

One of the best things when you are hand flying (not using the autopilot) is the HUD (Head's Up Display). With the HUD all you have to do is put the aircraft symbol in the "donut" and keep it there. The beauty of the HUD system is it is "predictive", in other words it tells you where the aircraft will be in the future unlike a Flight Director which is "reactive" and tells you where the aircraft has been. In addition all the information you need to fly is projected on a small transparent screen (the HUD) that is about 125mm to 150mm in front of your face and is focused at infinity.  You can see the instruments and the world in front of you with no need to change focus or shift your field of view.

After all that clock building I will finally cut to the chase, the there I waz story. The contrast between today's aircraft and the first jet aircraft I "typed" in is chalk and cheese. BTW, the instructor that typed me in Learjets is still teaching in Lears and came to our center several weeks ago to help out our Lear program. I will not go through the whole "I know you" routine but after we peeled off 30 some odd years and I would guess at least 150 lbs between us, it was "wow, it is great to see you".  I really will get to the point, maybe.

Back in the early days jets were not required to have a third attitude indicator. If you lost the attitude indicator you had to rely on the "turn indicator" aka needle and ball to keep your wings level or to bank into a turn. well there I waz in a Learjet 24 Sim, young, dumb and pretty full of myself. Knowing I could fly the box that Lear came in. There was some truth to it, the Lear and I were soulmates, for me it was love at first touch. I had never flown an aircraft that did exactly what I wanted it to do, nothing more, nothing less, and did it with the slightest touch instantly. Not only that but sea level to FL410 was less than 10 minutes and once at altitude the first thing you had to do was pull the power back so the aircraft would not overspeed. What a great little airplane.

Anyway on to the story. We had finished all the requirement and were just having fun before my type check ride and of course having fun for a Sim instructor requires engine failures at V1, fire, blown tires, or what other major failures he/she can think of. I was in a zone and at the top of my game, like I said I was feeling pretty cocky so Joe gave me his best shot. He failed the right engine just at V1 and failed my attitude indicator/flight director at the same time on a 1200 RVR takeoff. I was too dumb to know it couldn't be done, I just scooted down in my seat locked on to the needle ball and airspeed and came around for an instrument approach to a single engine landing.

Durning the debrief Joe told me the longest anyone had gone before without crashing was 20 seconds, as I said I was too dumb to know it couldn't be done. That's the "only thing that saved the day was my great skill" part of the standard aviator's there I waz story.

The point of all this other than an old fart's reminiscing is how much airplanes have changed in a very short period of time. BTW, not too long after my story the FAA required a third attitude indicator in all jet aircraft.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Last Day of Freedom

The Doc signed the papers returning me to work on the 11th, better known as Remembrance Day (aka Poppy Day) in the UK and Armistice Day here in the US, WW1 hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918.

As expected work will start with a bang at 0500 with re-introducing me to the Sim, followed by a stint of flying FO with a client and a early Saturday morning FAR 135 flight check so I'm legal to instruct. Then the fun starts with my giving Check Rides Sunday and Monday....After that, who knows I haven't looked that far ahead.

On the recovery front....It's happening, just yesterday I went from only being able to move one plate at a time from the dishwasher to the cabinet to able to move three plates at once. Not just able to lift the weight but also with no pain. Other than getting strength back, my range of motion and use of the arm is near normal except behind the back reach. I keep stretching and it is improving but damn it is slow going and somewhat painful.


Ebonising Test Strips

Per the English Woodworker's method of ebonising wood I did a few test strips. From left to right are: Poplar, Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, and South American Walnut.

The "test" is quick and dirty, one application of tannic acid followed by the iron solution. For finishing the the tannic acid would require several applications before the iron solution but I have an idea of how the ebonising would work on different woods.

White Oak responded as expected, the Cherry was a surprise how well it worked. The South American Walnut was pretty much as expected, it will go almost black with just oil. Poplar might work better with additional applications of tannic acid prior to the iron and the same would apply to the Red Oak but as tested they were both disappointing.


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I'm Not Sure There Is Enough Whisky

What can I say other than I'm sorry world.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

LED Lights

MsBubba's studio has lights. For awhile I had doubts I would be typing that line any time soon. We celebrated the completion by sitting in the studio with Whisky and Wine while a great thunderstorm complete with pea hail raged around Casa Chaos.

I ran two 20 amp circuits with a total of eight outlets and a 15 amp circuit with 3 outlets for the lights. She is happy, you can't have a much better outcome.

BTW, LED's time has arrived, I found 4' LED shop lights at Costco for less than $30 USD. Not only do LEDs last longer and use less power they put out noticeable more light. Costco had replacement bulbs for my standard 4' shop lights for <$14 USD a pair. So in addition to putting LED's in MsBubba's studio I changed the bulbs in my shop lights and added an additional LED fixture over the planing bench.

The additional light sure looks good to these old worn out eyes.

Next up is a slow change out of all the house lights as LED lights become available.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Another Day of Pulling Wire

Thirteen more days to go before I'm back in the monkey suit with a Sim strapped to my ass and I spent it pulling wires. I wish I could say today was the end but I'll still be working on MsBubba's studio's lighting tomorrow.

My shop is back to useable shape and I even found the Cherry table top I put in a "safe" place before doing the shop and electrical work. The "safe" place was really safe, I like to never found the top. Anyway, once I finish with the studio lighting it is back to my shop and I hope to finish the Oak and Cherry side table before going back to work.

Photos to follow and more when I have more,


Friday, October 28, 2016

Shore Power

I've spent the last couple of days installing a 50 amp shore power station for the motorhome. As with all things electrical what should be a 4 or 5 hour tops job ends up taking all of two days and an additional couple of hours this AM.

The only logical source for power was the shop load center but there was just a small problem, there were not enough lugs for an additional 50 amp CB. So first order was installing a new load center, which of course required removing most of the storage shelfs, tools and clamps near the old load center.  Add in the required six trips to Home Depot for any project and the necessary doggie butt scratching and ball throwing for any day at Casa Chaos and a four hour job turns into a two day slog.

Anyway here is the 50 amp shore power service center, exciting isn't it:

I must have been working in "imperial" as the conduit ended up about 40mm too long, love flex hose. I know a real craftsman would have taken the conduit apart and cut off the offending 40mm. As I said I love flex hose.   

I figure there are another couple of days work before I can go back to making things in the shop because the new load center is larger than the old one and none of the old shelfs fit. Oh well I needed to work on the west wall storage anyway.


Thursday, October 20, 2016


It's in the short rows. I will not be able to truly relax for another 20 or so days but....It's over.

I mentioned to MsBubba that this has been the biggest threat to the world since the Cuban Missile Crisis....Of course she looked at me blankly, getting old is not kind to your store of cultural references, and I ended up rolling her eyes to the back of her head.

Recovery from surgery and the disconnect of the GOP (Grabbers Of Pussy) during an election season has me at lose ends. I will be happy to get past November 8th (The Doc has signed me off to return to work on the 11th of November. Not a bad one-two for sanity) and return to the normal chaos of Casa Chaos with puppies, woodworking, RV's, and MsBubba taking most of my attention.

Speaking of woodworking and RV's, I'm replacing the shop's load center today. I needed a couple more slots in the load center to run shore power out to the Motorhome. A bitch of a way to spend the day but it needs to be done. Of course from MsBubba I hear "Why can you do the shore power for the RV and not install the lights in my studio for the past two years".  There is no good answer, I guess lights in her studio are next.

PS is doing a rocking chair build. I may follow along with a build of my own. I'll need to find some nice 8/4 White Oak, the last hunk of W.O. in my wood pile is being used for the current side table build. The two together might be nice, a rocking chair needs a side table.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Best of The Best

Like many big companies mine has an "reward" weekend where they bring the "Best of The Best" worker bees to the head quarters for a dinner and a "grip and grin" with the CEO. If you hang around long enough it will be your time in the barrel.

Well it is my time to waste a weekend. The best you can hope for is to not step on your dick too many times and get out of there before anyone knows your name.

Back Sunday,


Monday, October 10, 2016

All The Whisky In Scotland

Can't make it all better. In the '60's we had a chance to end the power of the racist lizard mind. Nixon, damn his festering soul, I sometimes wish I believed, because if there were a god she would condemn him to the lowest level of hell for giving the racist a home and outsized influence for the last 50 years. Trump is the result, the end product of the Southern Strategy. All the ugliness, anger, entitlement, and know nothingism of the current GOP (Grabber Of Pussy) leader and base all flow from Nixon.

Because of the resultant pandering to our worst nature by the Republican Party over following years I have maintained there are only three reasons to be/vote Republican: You are Rich, a bigot, or just fucking stupid. Today I will change that to just two reasons.

I can't get a recurring thought out of my mind that while Clinton "won" the battle tonight even more important she won the war by not putting the stalking, abusing, man-child away. Of the three possible outcomes, Trump "win", Trump "knockout" by Clinton, Trump losing but muddling through. The worst for the Republican Party was the muddling through because it allows Trump to continue but still bleeding support. What I can't get out of my mind is Clinton played this to perfection, that she didn't want a knockout with either Trump quitting or being thrown overboard by the RNC. Either option would introduce too many wild cards, the old "better the devil you know than the one you do not".

If Clinton wins on the 8th the world will be in good hands, tonight just brought it home.


Friday, October 07, 2016

Finished The Planing Bench

The fat lady has sung her heart out. The planing bench is finished. I lowered it as posted earlier, added a apron, and a crochet. It will be interesting to see if I use it as much as I suspect I will. The few things I've planed on it, flatting the top and just did the edge of a 4/4 board just to see it work, seem much easier than on the higher joinery bench.

Anyway here is a photo, click it to big it:


Thursday, October 06, 2016

Apron Glue Up

There are two more things to do before the planing bench is ready. First is adding an apron to the front and second is installing a crochet.

The front apron is in glue up and will be added in the AM and the crochet is marked out and will be installed after the apron.

Get all that installed , drill the holdfast/support holes in the apron and the bench will be ready for work.

A photo of the apron glue up, I'm adding a 2X to the back of the apron for better holding by the holdfasts. Once the glue sets I'll glue the apron to the slab and put Spax screws down each leg.

Shoulder update; PT said "Hit the road Jack, don't come back no more" this morning. I see the Doc on the 18th. and expect he will return me to work sometime after the first of November. It has been a good run, now if I can remember how to run a Sim.


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Truing the Planing Bench

The planing bench hasn't been trued in several years as it was mostly used as a flat surface to glue and finish things made on the main bench. Now that it will be a reference surface it needed truing.

The first pleasant surprise was how little it was out of true with just a slight twist, high left far corner and low right near corner, and a small belly down part of the middle. I've removed the twist and the belly and now it is just a matter of digging out the #8 and finishing up.

One other, maybe not a surprise, but pleasant is how much easier it is to plane on a 800mm surface vs. a 900mm surface.

I will add a crochet planing stop to the left end and see if I can find the old deadman. If it is gone (I never throw anything away unless it is something I will need later :-)) I will make another for use with the crochet.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Back From Mexico

That woman is a traveling fool. I picked her up after she had spent 24 hours traveling from the UK to Tucson. On the way home I asked if she would like to go to Mexico for the weekend, with an aside that I would understand if she wanted to wait a week or two. Answer: "Sure, let's leave early AM". BTW, she knew there was a new RV in the drive but was skeptical about it, she thought it was too big.

About half way to Rocky Point she looked at me with the "damn I hate to say this but you were right" look and said: "You were right, this is really nice". I wish I'd had a recorder going because it doesn't happen often.

Anyway we spent four days and three nights on the beach in perfect WX watching the dogs swim, the pelicans feed, and the porpoise porpoise. In between I ate a ton of tamales, had a beer or two and napped when it all became too much.

Bubba 1 is a dream, set it on 1700 RPM (slightly over 60 mph) and I appear to get about 10 mpg, sometimes a little more and of course sometimes a little less. With a 90 gal. tank it has an effective range of about 600 miles. Pulling the 5th wheel most of the time a little faster than 60 mph but maybe only a mile or two better milage and the difference in comfort is an order of magnitude.  I should have lost the 5th wheels years ago.

See you guys on down the road,


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More Shop Changes

The shop is about as messy as can be but I've some photos of the new basic layout. I expect there will be several days of re-hooking up dust collection, sweeping, picking up stuff and either finding a new home or putting it in the trash....In other words a few days before it will be a functional shop.

First image is from the left end of the joinery bench. The drill press is near the right end as is the lathe. The tool box is set so as to be easily assessable from either work bench.

This photo is from the right end of the joinery bench. The sharpening bench is off the left end of the joinery bench also easily assessable from either bench.

Next is from the joinery bench looking out the shop with the planing bench in the foreground. I lowered the planing bench to 800mm, about 31". the joinery bench is 900mm, about 35".

One more photo, this one from outside looking into the shop.

For now I've moved the 8" joiner into the "tool room" for storage until I figure what to do with it. If anyone local or doesn't mind a drive wants a joiner, it is a good one. It just doesn't earn its required floor space anymore. BTW, even with the mess the shop feels better. I expect once cleaned up and connected it will function much better.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shop Changes

In the never ending quest to fit 20 lbs of stuff into a 5 lb shop I will be moving stuff and changing work flow. The two big changes are going to be lowering the secondary bench 100mm (4" for Bob and other metric challenged folks) and then moving it off the wall to a place in front of the main bench. The secondary bench will become my stock prep bench and the primary bench will be used for joinery. With the repaired shoulder I need a lower bench for planing. I do not have enough strength or endurance to plane with my arms plus I'm using wood stock planes much more than before.

To make room the 8" joiner will be retired to a place along the back wall, maybe even into the tool room until it can be sold or disposed of in some way. If anyone would like a 8" joiner with a Bird head now is the time to speak up. It is FOB Tucson and I'm not interested in shipping unless someone wants to pay way more than the joiner is worth.

The bandsaw will move into the joiner slot or at least close to it. I'm not sure where the drill press will go but it is used too much to not have a good home. The 20" planer and the table saw are hard calls, I still use both on occasion. Could I do without? Yep, but for now they earn their space, kinda.

The tool chest will move to the right end of the two benches to ease tool access for the prep bench.

BTW, yesterday's lowering of the tool cabinet and plane till 100mm has really made a big difference in ease of work flow.

Photos once everything is in its new home.

Morning After

Restless night last night, I'm not sure what's to blame TV, whisky, or the late night iced coffee but not a lot of sleep. Of course it could be today is my last full day of no adult supervision. The critters and I will have to beaver away to cover the tracks of almost a month of high living and just over a day to get it done.

On to other things. I've a couple of Atkins panel saws. One is 20" with, as best I can count, 15 or 16 tpi. The other is 22" stamped 7 tpi. Neither is filed as I would like for a panel saw to be filed. I'd like the big one to be filed 10 tpi rip and the small one either 11 or 12 tpi rip.

I'm not up to changing either one. I'm going to contact Mark at Bad Axe to re-punch the tooth line. BTW, the things you find when digging around in the shop. These two were stored away with a pile saws I got from a guy that needed gas money to get home. They have been in the shop two or three years and I didn't have a clue they were in the pile.

Anyway here are a couple of photos:

The 20"

The 22"

As always, click 'em to big 'em,


Monday, September 26, 2016

Made it Through

Miracle of miracle I made it through and can still stand....I've got to admit it was touch and go. What an Ass.

It's Whisky Now

All I can say is the only way to watch is with the help of a good 12 year old single malt. Damn the morning headache.

Changing Shop Fixtures

I spent a little time in the never ending quest for the perfect shop setup. Today's was a biggie, I moved one cabinet and the plane till down about 125mm. That's not a big change but it brings the plane till down just enough to make it easier to reach the planes and the chisels stored in the plane till.

Notice the Martini on the work bench, there will be a better view to follow:

The day is over and either whiskey or martini is a good way to celebrate a productive day. 

Depending on how the night goes there may more than a few more while I yell at the TV.

It is going to be a long month and a few days and I expect a few sleepless nights before it is over.

See you guys on down the road,


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tarantulas In The Kitchen

A mystery here in Casa Chaos. In the last week I've had two tarantulas taking a stroll across the kitchen floor. The first one was huge and black, this one was smaller (it's all relative) and brown. I've not a clue how or why they got in the kitchen. They are much to big to just work through a crack and too slow to dart in through a open door.

Anyway I'm getting pretty good using the metal strainer and cardboard to capture and release. I need to remember to take a photo if there is a next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Working in the Shop

I started a small project this AM. To kill time while I couldn't work in the shop I watched several of Richard Maguire's videos. If you haven't watched any of the English Woodworker's videos you really should, Richard is a hoot and a good teacher.  One I really liked was the "Side Table" build. The part that hooked me was Ebonising the legs. That I have to try.

Anyway cutting to the chase, I'm building a similar side table but with a Cherry top and White Oak stretchers and legs. This morning I started prepping the stock and did the top glue up.

A couple of photos. Cutting White Oak for the legs:

Ripping the leg stock:

It felt good but no endurance, I needed a couple of breaks while ripping the legs.

And one of the top glue up:

As always, click 'em to big 'em.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

NYC Pressure Cooker Bomb

The bombing in NYC reminded me of a photo I've posted before of a pressure cooker bomb. A very simple device, motorcycle battery, some kind of timing device, and a large (in this case, the one in NYC is believed to be much smaller) pressure cooker filled with an explosive. Cheap but can be very effective.

The pressure cooker bomb pictured was found on the Kabul airport and is now in the Afghan Munitions Museum, the fellow standing is the Museum Curator.  The one kneeling was our base manager. 

Always remember the purpose of terrorism isn't the death and destruction but to make people do dumb things, to make people over react and self destruct. After 9/11 it worked like a charm. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tools are Good

Life would be diminished without access to tools. Of all the things in my life, job, home, I hate to admit even personal relationships would be lessened with out tools. Tools are so much a part of who I am and my life I can not conceive of life with out a shop, a studio, or some other area where with tools I can fix and/or create.

 All of that leads to: The last couple of months have been very difficult because I have been unable to work in the shop, to use my tools. Today that changed, not greatly but for the first time in months I made "something". something very simple but at least "something".

As I have posted, a used motorhome followed me home a week or two ago. It is an entry level Diesel Pusher with most of the bells but being entry level some of the cabinet work is less than great. One of the less than great things are the shelves. With tools an easy fix. A piece of 12mm Baltic Birch Ply, a 4/4 Red Oak cutoff and an hour or so of farting around in the shop and I have replacement shelves as good as any from a top line Motorhome. Tools are good.

BTW, one of my favorite quotes is from Kurt Vonnegut: "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."  Tools allow me to fart around.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Slowly Working My Way Back

I'm working my way back into the shop. I can sharpen tools that just need a quick touchup and this morning I sawed a few pins and tails. No photos because I didn't finish 'em, just sawed to the line. Really did a good job, I expected a lot more "rust" but all the cuts were close to perfect. The best part was no pain but those are the easy jobs, planing the face of some White Oak or Maple is another story as is lifting a hunk of 8/4 anything. I expect it will be several more weeks before either is doable and that means several more weeks before I make anything other than maybe a small box or two out of softer wood like Walnut or Cherry.

All said though, it felt good, meet and right having a chisel and saw in hand. It has been too long.

A quick update on the motorhome, a reprint of a reply to Bob of "The Valley Woodworker". Bob suggested I establish my claim on motorhome real estate for a workbench and tool box early:

"I'm working on it, a smaller tool box (one I can lift) is being laid out as I type and a bench that will fit in the bed of the truck (the TOAD) is planned. Completion of both before next years Oregon trip. 

Of course all that assumes I'm still living, MsBubba is in the UK RVing around the country side with the kids and grandpeanut and no internet or phone service. While she saw and rode in the Motorhome the day before leaving she probably will not know she owns one before seeing it parked in the driveway. Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than know the rest.

BTW, I did my first overnight in the motorhome day before yesterday. The critters and I went to Deming NM, about 240 miles East on I-10 from Tucson, to have a steering stabilizer installed. I've only one thing to say, I should have bought a diesel pusher years ago instead of messing with TT and 5th wheels. Even with fuel cost I expect any trip longer than 200 miles will be done in the motorhome instead of the truck, it is that enjoyable an experience. BTW, on the trip to Deming the only thing missing was "Honey how about a coke and a samwitch" as we enjoyed the passing desert views."

Off to sit in the Simulator for a bit to see how the PT and recovery is coming along. I expect I will return to work around the middle of October either just before or just after the "Best of the Best" weekend.

BTW, the critters and I are going to make a Mexico run in Bubba1 as soon as I get the hard plates. Sea, sand, beer, tacos, and critters swimming, it doesn't get much better.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Changed RV's

I have not made it to the shop but I expect to start sharpening iron within a few days and if that goes OK make a small box or two.

What has happened; I changed RV's. Two thousand miles of pulling a 5th wheel on California roads will make you do that or stop RVing. That, stop RVing, was MsBubba's suggestion but I expect it is like child birth, after a couple of months she will forget the pain and be ready to go. Bottom line the 5th wheel went back to the dealer and a "small", everything is relative, 34' Diesel pusher followed me home.

I've spent the last couple of days moving all the "stuff" we pulled out of the 5th wheel into the Motorhome. Damn Bubba you have a lot of stuff. The good news is there is a bunch of room to spare. The bad, I expect after a couple of trips we will find "stuff" to fill the extra room. Like air, "stuff" expands to fill the available space.

Here it is in the driveway:

Inside from front to back:

And from back to front:

I have to add one photo of the dogs swimming, it's not a vacation if the critters do not get to swim. Sam the Wonder Dog is out picking up both balls while Sweet Maggie Dog watches. She is good at letting Sam do most of the hard ones. 

South shore of Clear Lake CA.

As always click 'em to big 'em.

See you guys on down the road,


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

PNW or Bust and Back

I started this post before leaving for the PNW but did not post. It was still on the  computer when we made it back home....Might as well finish and post it.

We, MsBubba, Sam the Wonder Dog, and Sweet Maggie Dog, and I will strap our butts to the Dodge and head NorthWest. There will be a couple of stops before our first sight of ocean but not long before mid 70 days and mid 60 nights.

Still no woodworking and weeks to go before iron meets wood but the recovery is going well.

A few images from pass trips:

The trip went well, only a few small problems with the RV and the truck, all easily fixed. Unlike last year when the 5th wheel hitch failed in Brookings, OR.

We tried doing it differently this year and made several stops and stays on the way up. While it worked OK it wasn't effective use of time, next year it will be my usual mode of driving hard and not staying anyplace until we are on the coast and the daily high is under 75F. 

This year's trip revolved around Fort Bragg, CA. Fort Bragg was the first coastal stop and stay and the last after moving North along the coast into Oregon before returning to Fort Bragg.

Pulling a RV is always slow going and this trip is more so because California has a 55mph speed limit for anything pulling a trailer and most of the miles are in CA. BTW, CA roads are in bad shape, the roads in LA are unbelievable.

Ft. Bragg to Tucson is a little over 1000 miles and should take around 16 hours of driving. I've done several Saddle Sore 1000's on the bike all in less than 17 hours total start to finish. With the RV, Ft. Bragg to Indio, CA was 16 hours. 

We shut it down and spent the night in the Indio, CA Walmart's parking lot. I hate Walmart but it sure is nice of 'em to allow RV'ers to park overnight. After an early start and another 8 hours of driving we arrived home yesterday afternoon around 1400. For a total door to door, Ft. Bragg, CA to Casa Chaos AZ of 32 hours

I see the Doc today. I hope he gives the OK to start woodworking and maybe even go back to the day job.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Heads Up

I don't open/look at my banking account often, mostly just once or twice a month to schedule paying my bills. Because I'm expecting a reasonably sized deposit and I had a couple of minutes with nothing to do I opened the Bank account to see if the deposit had been made. It hadn't but there was an interesting debit from a California Harbor Freight for $272 USD and change at the top of the statement. First problem: I'm in Tucson, second problem; I don't buy crap from Harbor Freight.

I called the bank, fast response, no permahold and they put a stop on my Debit card and started the process of issuing a new one. All that is neat and good but here is the kicker: they can/will do nothing about the charge until it finishes processing, it other words the money is taken from my account. That sucks, not so much because I will lose $272 USD during the dispute phase but the fact that it has to go through the dispute phase before it is returned. In addition it requires another phone call to the bank in a couple of days when the withdrawal has cleared to dispute the withdrawal.

Here is the bottom line: I will never use a Debit card again. While that doesn't eliminate the chance of the card being hacked it will or should decrease the odds of it being hacked. From now on I will use a credit card for all the things I've used Debit cards for up to this time. With a credit card if it gets hacked, the charge or charges are removed and that is the end of the story plus there is a very active watch by the bank for fraud.  As a side benefit there are miles/cash back on credit cards that are not on Debit cards. I should have done this long ago.

Be careful out there, hear and check your bank statement often.


Monday, August 08, 2016

Slowly Returning to the Shop

I still can't really do anything of substance in the shop but I did a little re-arranging of the sharpening bench and cabinet and the real biggie....Cleaned up and oiled the RV's wood sink cover/cutting board. Hey, it's a start.

The sharpening bench: On the left is set up for JNats and other waterstones and the right end for sandpaper and oil stones. The overhead cabinet holds the stones and most of the other "stuff" needed for sharpening.

This one is real excitement, the RV's sanded and oiled sink cover/cutting board.

And last, a chair MsBubba rescued and wanted me to "fix". After much butt scratching I decided to screw slats to the frame. One down, four to go.

As posted, it's a start.

Received an email from David Savage this morning posting about something I've long said: Shiny is not necessarily sharp.

Part of his email:

Ohhh! This is going to be bad.

You know more tosh has been written about sharpening woodworking tools than a grown man can tolerate. But I shall proceed, but only if you are sitting comfortably.

There is a convention that sharpness is the product of two polished surfaces brought together at a suitable angle usually somewhere between 25 degrees and 30 degrees. Pedants may disagree, but I do not give a hoot.

Polished surfaces are generated by using a course abrasive, then a a grade finer, then a grade finer. The objective of each stage being, to remove the scratches of the previous layer. O K, so a shine in this context would the objective, yes? The more scratches removed, the more polished and shinier the surface would become??? I have used a shiny surface to a chisel back or plane blade back as a sign that I have done a good job for years.

Apparently this is just not so. Look at the image below this is a surface created with an 8000 grit Japanese Water stone. this is the kind of polishing stone I and many other Western Woodies have been using for years. they are fast to cut relatively cheap and they give this great result.
So whats the problem? Well look at the second image below. This is the same tool polished with a NATURAL Japanese abrasive stone. The scratches are finer that is clear. What is confusing and counter intuitive is that the surface is NOT so shiny.
Tomohito-San who has been my guide on this has been trying to convince me that shiny is not automatically sharp and this is his proof. I have been using a couple of natural stones on plane blades for a while and can report a real difference in performance. They cost a lot more than man made water stones. My stone was about £300 and I only use it in specific situations where I need a surface from the Tool..."


Thursday, August 04, 2016

More RV Photos

Some more photos of the RV:

We will leave for the PNW on the 17th and be back in Tucson after Labor Day. I hope by that time I can return to the shop.