Monday, December 30, 2019

Working on The Chair

I'm doing a rough turn of the leg tenons, once the seat is mortised I'll clean them up.

I did a mitzvah yesterday and figured there was no better time to ask MsBubba if I could bring the seat and clamps into the house for the glue to set. Overnight should do the job, if so I will start on the seat tomorrow.

My line that started on Friday the 3rd canceled so for now I'm off until next Monday. Things worked out well, two solid weeks off without using a single vacation day. As of last Aug 3rd I have 20 PTO days to use before the coming Aug 3rd and then 20 more. I will at long last hang my scarf and goggles up sometime around the first of 2021. The decision then is part time or just walk. Walking may be hard to do simply because it has been so much of who I am.  Bottom line what that means is I need to use 40 PTO days plus 10 without pay and 2 personal days before the First of 2021. I'm not sure how many sick days are in the mix but they will need to be used as well. 2020 may be a very good year.

Time for a whisky and a movie.


Sharpening Posts Are The Crack Of Woodworking

I have some A2 iron in the shop, there I've said it and I'm so ashamed. But the truth is the truth. I've some LN mortise chisels for two reasons, the first is the square profile and the second is the Hornbeam handles. I've a set of Japanese mortise chisels with square profiles as well, I'm not sure which will end up being my go to set when a square profile is needed and the decision may end up made over sharpening.

Because of the A2 I was looking on the web for sharpening advice and ran across this video, It has nothing to do with sharpening A2 but is the best freehand instructional video I've seen. I've just a small quibble with the secondary bevel portion but that can be overlooked. The video is from Norton hosted by Joel from TFWW with a demo of how to freehand cutters.  Norton video

There is so much misinformation on most sharpening threads it can be like playing “Whack a Mole” to correct ‘em. That’s the bad news, the good is in the end almost anything will work.


Sunday, December 29, 2019

View From Back Garden

I'm still going through my old photo files after the computer change over. This is not the major view from our back garden now because a storage shed blocks some of it which is a shame. When half of your back garden is vertical, it limits where things like sheds can be placed unless you want major foundation work.😊

After the last couple of weeks I'm ready for our one week of Spring before Summer is in full force.

One of the reasons I ran across this photo tonight was when I awoke the internet was down and in addition my phone "hotspot" wasn't working either. It is amazing and frightening how much we have come to rely on the internet over the last ten years or so. I felt at a total loss and at lose ends.

The good news, the coffee maker isn't as yet controlled by the internet and I could get Pandora on my phone and in the shop so all was not lost.

I will beaver away on the legs today, do a little shop maintenance, and sharpen some iron. I've an old draw knife a friend gave to me that needs some love. The biggest problem with doing any work in the shop is my puny little shop heater, this old desert rat doesn't take to cold very well.

I might as well continue bouncing from subject to subject: I do not use grinders very often, a cutter needs to be in pretty bad shape or need a major bevel angle change for me to take it to a grinder. I have both a low speed grinder with a CBN wheel and a Tormek with the new Tormek diamond wheel. I'm going back to a standard wheel on at least the Tormek and maybe both. While a stone wheel is slower, and can be painfully so on the Tormek, the surface finish with the diamond wheel is so rough the time saved is lost once you go to the stones and you end up eating more metal than you should. On the low speed grinder the problem is the inability to profile the wheel. TFWW has "crowned" CBN wheels available but you still have the problem of deep scratches to deal with once on the stones.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Dave's Shaves

I'm a fan boy, I might as well get that said up front. I've a pile of shaves in my tool cabinet and for the most part using them is love/hate. Love what a shave can do but hate what they usually do in my hands. That started to change when I bought a Woodcraft metal bevel up shave but the joy of using a shave had to wait until I got my hands on a Dave's Shave.

I just finished cleaning up one of the chair legs that was roughed out with a draw knife. The control, the feel of the shave in hand, the shear pleasure of the shave on wood is something that every woodworker needs to experience. Someday I may go back and give one of the metal bevel down shaves another go but for finish work a wood stock bevel up shave is hard to beat and a Dave's Shave is the best I've found.

BTW, I used his "Dog Bone" sharpening holder for the first time and it also works a treat.


Economic Man

I worked in a support role for over twenty years for Investment Bankers, the ultimate Economic Man. I know them well. As humans, Economic Man is a travesty, the fact our current society is run by and on the principles of their philosophy is what gives us Trump and the current GOP, that and a lot of racism.  Tom Sullivan can explain it better than I can, if any interest go read  Hullabaloo


P.S. My degree is in Economics, it doesn't have to be this way.

Cold Shop

Burrrr, it's in the 40's F outside, I know that's not cold but give me a break it's in the 40's in Tucson. The chair build is in kinda a hold for now, the blank glue-up isn't setting up. I could face MsBubba's evil eye and bring it inside but waiting may be a better option as this is Tucson and warm WX is never far away.

The legs are going well, with a combination of draw knife and shave spoke. My thoughts are to use the lathe to form the tenons but that will be decided later.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Chair Stock Prep

The Red Oak seat blank is in glue up: 

And I split out eight leg blanks:

The shop is cold so I will let the seat stay in the clamps for at least 24 hours.

The leg blanks are ready to be shaped,  The grain is so straight I'm tempted to either put 'em in the lathe and turn 'em or use the band saw jig to make octagon legs vs. the draw knife for a more organic shape. This may take a little butt scratching to decide. Can't rush into things, dontchknow.

Meanwhile back to food: My post on Gumbo got me to thinking about Creole vs. Cajun.  Both were developed at the same time in the same part of the country by much the same people and many dishes share the same name but are very different. Because Creole is New Orleans food it is best known. Cajun was and is mostly country food and tends to be simpler. If you are presented a plate or bowl of Louisiana food and wonder if it is Creole or Cajun ask one simple question: Does it have tomatoes in it, if it does it is likely Creole, if not you can bet it is Cajun.

BTW, if you can't tell, I love Cajun food, a trip to South Louisiana is something a food lover owes his or her self. Just typing this made me start dreaming of a Chris' shrimp or oyster Po'boy or even better pulling a few links of Boudin off the grill.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Still Cooking

This is the first Winter Solstice Holiday we have spent at home with no kids in almost our whole time together. Just MsBubba, Sweet Maggie Dog, and myself, it is pretty nice. For dinner I've planned on paneed chicken breast with reduction sauce, red cabbage, green beans, and maybe pasta or potatoes.

Many years ago that was the first meal I made for MsBubba and the kids. Loo and Jamie were in their early to mid teens and lived on food a single working mother could/would fix. I put a meal worthy of being served at K-Paul's in New Orleans on the table. BTW back in the day, anytime I RON'ed in New Orleans K-Paul's was a required stop even though it often meant a hour or more wait to share a table with five or six of your new best friends. It was worth the wait. I can still see one of my F.O.s on his first time there picking up his plate after finishing his meal and licking it clean.

Anyway I had no experience with kids of any age at the time, I figured they were just like adults but maybe a little smaller. I knew my folks, when I was growing up, treated me just like another adult. I guess I expected the same. Anyway I'll cut to the chase.

I put this beautifully plated paneed chicken breast on a perfect reduction with red cabbage and green beans, all looking like it was ready to be photographed for a food magazine. First thing both Loo and Jamie did was cover the chicken with ketchup. I didn't say anything but I would have loved to see my face. Welcome to the world of kids.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019


While there are many Gumbos the best is found in a small area of South Louisiana centered around Lafayette. Most folks think of Gumbo as the thick okra and tomato base soup found in New Orleans and Creole kitchens. Cajun Gumbo is totally different, a very simple, thin soup but with big flavor.

It is a shame most folks have never experienced a good Cajun Gumbo. This time of year chicken and sausage gumbo would come out to play. While I like seafood gumbo my favorite is chicken and sausage. Of course what led to this post is I made a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo for dinner. Cajun gumbo is nothing more than a stock of whatever meat you are using and green peppers, onions, garlic, and celery. After the vegetables have rendered separate them from the stock, add the cooked chicken (I use thighs) and Andouille sausage followed by the roux. Serve over rice with a cold beer on the side, it's close to heaven.

The roux is the secret. Butter or bacon fat and flour mixed and cooked to roux negro if you are brave and confident, dark red is reasonably safe and is almost as good. The difference between dark red, black, and burned and ruined is seconds. Either dark red or black will leave a thin soup with intense flavor. Of course stopping the roux at dark red is wimping out, real men go for black.

It has been a few years but Don's in downtown Lafayette, LA had as good a bowl of seafood gumbo as you could find anywhere. If you are ever close it is worth a stop. The Riverside Inn this time of year had wonderful chicken and sausage gumbo.


Chair Legs

I just split out a couple of Red Oak leg blanks and worked on one with the draw knife. It makes for an easy decision, the Red Oak is so much easier to work than Honey Locust the legs will be Red Oak.

I have several 8/4 Honey Locust boards that have been hanging around in the wood pile for several years. I keep thinking I can find some use other than the fire pit for 'em but no joy.  The shame is once finished it is a pretty wood. The problem is getting there is not worth the effort.  The good news at least one of 'em is split and sized to burn, the bad is there are at least 3 or 4 more to go.


Monday, December 23, 2019

More Chair Stuff

I've started a new chair, kinda, maybe, details to be worked out. I think the seat will be Red Oak, the legs will be either Red Oak or Honey Locust and the back spindles who knows, I'll make that decision when I get there.

I split some Honey Locust leg blanks and I'm in the process of making them kinda look like chair legs. Before I go too far I'll also split out some Red Oak leg blanks to see which I like better.

BTW, I don't know if anyone else feels this way but Honey Locust is an absolute miserable wood to work. It is very hard and brittle but if you can get to the finished product it can be very attractive.

I've been looking at photos of some early stick chairs and for some time I've wanted to make a little more true to  the early chairs chair. We will see how it goes, it may be a keeper but just as likely firewood.

MsBubba had her best BDay ever, at least as she tells me. Then the next day we both hit a wall. I've got a upper respiratory allergy thing going and then this afternoon went into AFib. MsBubba's BP went through the roof so not much is getting done in Casa Chaos other than two Old Farts feeling sorry for themselves and a little time on the shave horse.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

More Chair Jig

I made a couple of 25 degree and 13 degree wedges for the jig. While I haven't drilled a mortise using the wedges yet the jig feels solid.

Next is making a seat blank so I can give the jig a go. When all is said and done, I may just go back to lining everything up with squares and bevel gauges and using a brace but I wanted to try the jig. More when I know more. 

MsBubba's women's group has a holiday "cookie exchange" and pot luck lunch this afternoon. While MsBubba has many strong points and abilities the kitchen isn't one of them. This year I've made a couple of batches of peanut brittle for the cookie exchange and "leather" baked potatoes for the lunch. The peanut brittle is dangerous. You can't eat just one piece, she is lucky there was some left to exchange👼. 


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Chair Seat Mortise Jig

For the last few weeks I've been playing around with making a jig to aid drilling chair seat mortises. It is not a new idea, I've seen similar jigs in chair making videos but with little detail on how they were made. Most of the time has been spent scratching my butt and playing the "yes but game" with little progress.

Here is where it is right now. I've been using a seat blank that split to try proof of concept and it seems to work. What is needed are wedges of the correct degree that will fit on both sides, there is too much flex with just the single shim.

Once correct sized wedges are in place the jig should work a treat.


Monday, December 16, 2019

More On Sharpening

A short addendum to the other day's post on sharpening. With oil stones I use the Black Arkansas polishing stone mostly as a burr chaser. When re-reading the post I gave the impression it was used to polish and then chase the burr. I think a better description would be; as the stone is used to chase the burr some polishing happens. Most of the polishing of the cutter happens when stropping.

In reality I could probably chase the burr on the Washita and go directly to the strop and end up with a edge that is just as good as the one produced on the Black Arkansas and strop.

I'm still learning to use JNats and I'm not sure where or how to get to the optimum edge. The biggest difference in use between Arkansas stones and JNats is in the burr produced. Once pass the course stone I still have trouble feeling a burr off a JNat stone. I can see it is sharp but I can't feel sharp when using JNats.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and mumbo jumbo about getting to a working edge. It really is pretty simple, just get the two planes to meet at a usable angle and they not be too ragged so it is not prone to failure. The amount of "shine" has little to do with it but what does somewhat matter is the shape, size, and pattern of scratches left on the cutting edge. How to get there is the reason there are endless discussions on sharpening and I'm as guilty as the next guy.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Last of The Old Photos

This is the last of the trip down memory lane for awhile. The first is of Andy and the GIV.  I first titled it as being at FL410. With a quick look at the instrument gauges I can see it is before start and soon to be at FL410. My guess is I took the photo as I was getting ready to strap the IV to my butt. Seems I use to spend a lot of my life at or above FL410. The good news I flew airplanes that could operate at those altitudes. WX was usually a lot better once you were out of the 30's.

The GIV on the Ramp. I'm not sure where but it could be Beijing, London or Vegas.

I spent many years in the Houston Art community. For awhile I was on the Board of Directors and ran The Houston Center for Photography's annual print auction as well as installing many of its shows.  Life among the "cheese eaters" was interesting and a lot of fun.

A group of photographers waiting for their work to be critiqued.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Some Day Job Photos

I'm still digging through my photo files. Most of these will be additional photos from my day job.

The first isn't a very good photo but I'm posting it anyway😇. We were going over the top, great circle route from the PNW to Iceland, when we got a great display of the Northern Lights.

 This is the "King's Tomb" in Kabul. You can't see it but off in the direction the man is looking is the stadium where the Taliban did most of their public executions.  Like every wall or structure in Kabul the tomb is pockmarked from ordnance of some kind. Kabul was at one time a beautiful city but years of war have had an effect.

During the Sudan tour the Evergreen crew and the South African ATR crews would spend off time in one or the other crew quarters. Lyndsey, on the left side of the photo, was my "Engineer" in both Sudan and Afghanistan.  The young woman was a flight attendant for the ATR, she had the hungriest eyes of any woman I've every met and was a source of many soap opera problems in the ATR crew house. Lyndsey continues to be my maintenance person at Flight Safety. She was perfect for Flight Safety, very fast but not very good 😀 (which is not true but makes a good story). At this time she was pre-operative. We kept in touch for years after I left Everygreen but I lost contact after her transition.

Refueling in Keflavik, Iceland on the way to The Sudan. This was my first flight for Evergreen. I was hired to fly for Evergreen's headquarters but as I was leaving Hobby Airport after flying home from my indoc training I received a call to get on the next available flight to Anchorage, AK. to fly the UN Learjet to The Sudan. Of course once in Anchorage we spent almost three weeks waiting for the Lear to be ready to go. Once ready My F.O. and I headed off across Canada to jump over to Iceland and then London before heading for North Africa. 

One of our first stops once in Khartoum was at a cell phone shop to get sim cards for our cell phones. This shop is typical of most Khartoum shops. What you can't see is the incredible number of different cultures in Khartoum and most of them were in or near the cell phone shop. 

Khartoum traffic was also incredible with everything from camels and donkey carts sharing the streets with cars, trucks and buses of all conditions and ages along with old men spreading their rugs almost in the street for afternoon tea and then add in the herds of goats and sheep. Another factor was roads meant nothing, if it was open someone was driving on it. If you haven't seen it you can't believe the chaos.

That's it for today,


Thursday, December 12, 2019

More Motorcycle And Other Stuff

I'm still going through my photo files and I'm going to dump a few more to the blog. First some more motorcycle photos.

Outside Winkelman, AZ cleaning bugs off the V2K:

 Sweet Maggie Dog wanted to go for a ride:

Going over Lolo Pass on Hwy 12 on a cold and wet day:

On to a few aviation related photos. Our little Piper Pacer born in the same year as MsBubba. What a sweet little airplane and at the time one of the nicest Pacers in the states. After the move to Arizona we sold it because there were no longer grass strips next to the ocean to land on nor whales to watch from the air.

The Ugly Dude and crew including MsBubba at FL410 headed south. BTW we were breaking FAR's because either myself or Arturo should have a O2 mask on.

I flew for the UN mission in Khartoum, Sudan back in late 2000. This of our driver Isam:


I also flew for the UN mission in Afghanistan. This is a photo of the kitchen, cook, and station manager in the crew house.

 The cockpit of a Russian aircraft some place in Africa.

And last for today, A large pressure cooker with motorcycle battery IED found on the Kabul airport.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Thoughts on Sharpening

OK hip boots are on and I'm ready to walk if not run into the swamp. First my steps and equipment  are what I've found work with the type of steel used in my shop. I'll start with something I think most will/should agree with. Sharpening is a three step process, grinding to a sharp edge, honing to improve the the edge, and finally polishing to smooth out the scratches left by the first two steps.

While I will grind using a rotary grinder when the edge needs major work most of the time I grind with "stones". While I've used different makes of diamond "stones", synthetic water stones, and sand paper on something flat, my most used are either a course or medium Norton India stone. The India stone is reasonably fast stays flat and is cheap. The medium India's scratches are easy to address with a honing stone and the India gives a burr you can feel but is easy to remove on your hone.

My hone depends on the type of cutter. If I'm sharpening western steel most of the time I will hone on a Pike "Lilly White" Washita. With Japanese chisels my honing stone will usually be a Tsushima Nagura. One of the reasons to change to JNats when sharpening Japanese chisels is to preserve the definition between the hagane (hard steel) and jigane (soft steel), that preservation is mostly out of tradition but shows a well sharpened chisel with a perfectly flat bevel.

One of the advantages or maybe disadvantages of oil stones over water stones is in the burr. With oil stones even at the level of polishing you can feel the burr, with water stones, I think mostly because of the "slurry" developed in use, not so much. With water stones knowing when the edge is sharp depends much more on sight vs. oil stones sight and feel.

The last step is polishing. For western steel I have a very special Black Arkansas (not all Arkansas stones are equal). Polishing on a Arkansas stone is a two step process that also may use a strop. First you need to polish to remove the scratches left by the honing stone then "chase the burr" to remove the wire edge. A strop can aid in final polishing.

For Japanese chisels I polish on one of several JNats depending on the level of polish needed or wanted. Whichever stone that is used it is the final step because a strop will obscure the definition between the hagane and jigane.

Because I do not use some of the more difficult steels to sharpen such as A2 I will normally sharpen to a flat bevel. The exception is when I re-grind using the Tormek but that bevel will soon return to flat. I'm not a fan of "micro" bevels.

A side note, synthetic water stones can be very fast cutting and give a much "shinier" surface. That shinny surface can be deceiving and not be as polished as a duller looking surface left by a Natural stone.

Notice no mention of free hand vs. jigs because in the end it makes no never mind. I free hand because I find it faster and easier but, as always, YMMV.


Saturday, December 07, 2019

More Motorcycle

In a previous post I mentioned driving MsBubba to the PNW and then riding the bike home leaving her and the truck to enjoy Oregon. Here is a photo of loading the Wing on the truck, riding her up or down the ramp was shall I say interesting. The photo has little interest other than a record.

If you ride, you owe it to your self to go to at least one motorcycle rally. It is kinda like reading the National Enquirer or going to Las Vegas, you should do it at least once. I've been to a few, even made Sturgis for its 69th happening but one of the best is ROT (The Republic Of Texas) rally held in Austin, TX the first weekend of June. Up to 300,000 born to be mild accountants, middle managers, a few hard core bikers, and their wife and girlfriends living out their fantasies. You have to see it to believe it. From the 2011 ROT.

Here is one of a happy fellow, no bugs in my teeth but a few on the helmet.

Last for the day, I did very little group riding, I'd tell friends to go on and I would catch up with them at the cafe for lunch. Here is one of the few riding between Tucson and Nogales.


Friday, December 06, 2019

More V2K

I'm riding the V2K through Globe, AZ.

This next one isn't of riding but of the late Sam the Wonder Dog having a very good day. Sometimes it is good to go through your old photo files.

The last of today is the Big Kawi on the side of Hwy 191 between Morenci, AZ and Apine, AZ.. Hwy 191 runs from the Mexican border to Canada through the red rock area of Utah, Flaming Gorge, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, and then on to Canada. The portion in AZ was once named Hwy 666, AKA the Devil's Hwy. Hwy 191 between Morenci and Alpine is maybe the best motorcycle road in the USA. It is just over 90 miles with 4000' elevation change and everything from 1st gear drag your pegs hairpins to 120mph sweepers with no traffic, not a LEO to be seen, and through one of the most beautiful parts of AZ from the desert floor to high mountain alpine . My best time running it on the Wing was a little under 1 1/2 hours. On the Wing it was dancing, on the V2K it was a wrestling match, fun but still a wrestling match.


Thursday, December 05, 2019

Motorcycle Days

A couple or three years ago after many years of riding motorcycles stating in the '60's on a Triumph 650 and ending riding a Honda Goldwing I hung up my helmet for the last time. It was a good time and almost as big a part of me as airplanes. Along the way I enjoyed many new friends and seeing what was around the next curve and over the next hill. I spent the last years of ridding doing mostly long distance/Iron Butt Association rides. The high lights of the IBA certified rides were a 50CC (coast to coast in less than 50 hours) and a Saddle Sore Gold (1500 miles in less than 24 hours) for a plate of Texas BBQ and return to Tucson.

MsBubba isn't the best long distance driver and she is my princess so one of the annual rides was to drive her to the PNW with the motorcycle in tow. Once in Southern Oregon we would spend the night then I would drop her and the truck off, throw a leg over the bike and ride back to Tucson arriving in Tucson usually on the same day. A month of so later we would reverse the process. That trip in reality ended my riding. On the last trip back to Oregon to pick up MsBubba I was on I-5 North near Mt Shasta on a dark and rainy night and found myself unable to see and react well enough to go over 40 or so MPH. I knew at that moment my riding days were over. Back in Tucson I parked the Wing, it set for a year or so before I made up my mind to sell. To get the bike ready to sell I took it to the local Honda dealer. After a couple of weeks I called the Honda shop to see what the progress was, they turned me over to the manager and his first words were "Mr. Hatch your Wing almost burned my shop down". Of course my reply was "Are you telling me you burned my Wing up"? Bottom line the Dealer's insurance bought my Wing for more money than I could have sold it for but now there was no going back on the decision to quit riding.

Long way around to; Because of replacing my iMac the other day I was looking through my photo files and of course there were a large number of bike related photos. Over the next few weeks I expect to publish a few of 'em. Mostly because I can but also the blog is a good place to store a few so they do not get lost.

I'm crossing the Lake Roosevelt/Salt River bridge. The bike is a Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. Of all the bikes I owned it was my favorite. In fact after they burned the Wing up the dealer still had it and I damn near bought it back.

The last for the day is still on the Vulcan 2000 going up Mt.Lemmon just North of Tucson.

Sorry to bore you  but great memories


Monday, December 02, 2019

Work Bench Builds

WARNING: My inter curmudgeon is loose and free.

On a woodworking site a member posted photos of his newly completed work bench. He did not say if it was his first but I expect it was. BTW, it was a very nice looking bench and I expect it will be serviceable for a number of years but there are a couple of areas I expect will be problematic in use. I can't tell for sure from looking at the photos but I would be surprised if they are not. That's not what brings out my inter curmudgeon but six freaking years to build it does.

How anyone can spend six freaking years building something that should be as simple as a workbench is mind boggling. There is one thing in common with long work bench builds and that is building to BeachCrafted plans. You do end up with a solid bench, full disclosure I've build one to BC plans, but it is also a bench that is too complex and has elements that within a year had me barking at the moon mad and building a different Roubo style but much simpler bench.

First build or twentieth, it matters not, keep it simple stupid. Use a simple proven design with easy joints and leave the bing off.  I can build a Moravian bench in approximately 60 man-hours, a simple Roubo shouldn't take much longer.

Ok, back on my meds and getting ready to go for my annual ground school and Sim training. Four long days of being treated as if I were a client. The good news, it is only once a year but that is also the bad news. Other than a 6 month hop in the Sim for for a 297 check it is usually the only time we touch the Sim in a year, It can be pretty ugly the first hour or two.