Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How To Have Less Stress During The Holidays

This is just a start.  

Meals and Dinners
Not all food has to be made from scratch.  I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving that was no better than the pre-made one at the supermarket and the market one was much cheaper.  It sounded good that I made it from scratch.  Yeah, right.  Never again!

Don’t take on all the food yourself.  If meals extend beyond family members, ask people to bring a dish or two (vegetables, dessert, juice, etc.).  Who cares if they are offended and don’t come next year.  Good.  It will be less food to buy and prepare. 

Stop having a huge sit down dinner and instead have each guest bring an appetizer.  Set out a buffet.  Everyone can get what they want and eat as much as they want.  It can still be festive, fun and less formal.  The kids will love it too.  There will still be leftovers for people to take home or for the dog.
Start decorating a bit earlier than last year.  Don’t do all at once.  Do something each day and it will add up.

Invite people over to help do it with you.  My brother did this under the guise of “it’s a family tradition” and all he provided was a dessert!  He got away with it. 

Decorate every other year.  Is it really time to decorate again?  I just put the stuff away from last year!
Amazon.com with Amazon Prime for free shipping.  Forget the malls.

Buy gift cards
Instead of lots of gifts, take a family trip

Keep to a budget for gifts

Watch out for aggressive advertising and sales saying that a certain gift will “make” the holiday or create a special feeling for you.  Or that “..Kids will love you more..” if you get them that certain high dollar item.  That’s Bull!
Get a good picture from the past year and make it into a 4x8 photo holiday card.  Get only 20 and limit to only those you really want to get.  $18 at Snapfish and you can pick up at Walgreens the next day.  Buy some forever stamps so they will always be good and you won’t have to go out and buy 5 or 2 cent add-ons each year.
Don’t watch any television!  You won’t get sucked into buying things you or others don’t need or have to return on “boxing” day.

Use the time you would have spent watching television to decorate, make cookies, or buy gifts online.  You will be amazed at how much you get done when you don’t watch any TV.

No sports, no Jimmy Stewart, no Charlie Brown for the 20th time, and no Rudolph for the 30th time.  It will take some guts but you will get much more peace this season.  And…you won’t miss it!  Guaranteed!

Instead of wasting time watching football or basketball, go outside and play it with your family and kids!  It will burn off some of that food you ate too much of.  Cold temps or snow is no excuse to stay inside too.
Saying No
People will ask you to do all kinds of things during this time.  Some people are experts at this.  Be Alert.  Politely say “No” and no reason is required.  No one will care that you said no as they will just go and ask the next person on the list.  Only do if you absolutely really enjoy it.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rustic 3 Leg Stool

When talking with a friend of mine at work, he mentioned he was looking for a small nightstand made out of wood.  He said he went to a few stores and did not find anything in his price range or anything he liked.  I asked him if he would want me to build something.  Well after a week or so the project turned from a fine wood piece into making something very rustic.  I came across some free logs at a local tree farm that were set out for firewood.  I walked the shores of the Delaware river and collected some interesting driftwood.  The only requirement I had was a height of around 18".  This is what I came up with.  The legs have 1.25" round tenons that fit into holes drilled at a 10 degree angle.  I drilled out the tenon hole in the top of the legs with a 1.125" hole saw.  I turned the tenon dowel on my drill lathe and glued them into the legs. The tenons are just friction fit into the holes in the log top. Not sure what will happen when the wood dries.  It may wind up with some splits but my friend does not mind.  This is the first time I have worked with wood in this way.  I was lucky to find a nice long piece of driftwood where I could get all three legs from the same piece.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mannequin Lamp with Guitar

I made this mannequin lamp from a project on Instructables.  It was a fun project.  The instructions example had an iPad for a prop but I preferred to make some guitars for it.  I cut out the guitars on my homemade cnc machine.

Instructables - Manakin Lamp

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Carved Halloween Pumpkins

We have been doing pumpkin carving with the special jig saw blade tools for over 20 years now.  Here are this year's pumpkins.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Screen Printing

Here are some shirts I did this weekend.  I made up a Freddy's BBQ Joint from House of Cards vector graphic in Inkscape.  I have 2 screens for the red and black.  I used the magnet registration idea from cyclesurgeon on YouTube and it worked well.  For the white on navy, I used Green Galaxy Comet white ink.  It is not plastisol but water based ink and it worked great.  I printed 1 layer, lifted up the screen on Speedball hinges, then flash dried the print with a heat gun on #5 setting for a few minutes.  Then I printed over top of the first print.  Using the screen on hinges ensures the print with register perfectly.  I never had used screen on hinge before but I would never use without now.  They work great!  I also used spray tack adhesive so the shirt stayed in place on the platen.  If the shirt moves after a print then it is almost impossible to register again, even with hinges on the screen frame.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Quotes by Me

I like reading quotes from others.  Here are some quotes that I came up with:

“Cost savings at big companies are like the 400 lb. man cutting a bag of m&m’s from his $500 weekly grocery bill. $2 was saved, but there still is a problem.” 

“Ideal is a myth. Work with the reality of the situation” 

“The more detail you provide, the more you have to become a defense attorney” 

“Everyone is working to different agendas, bosses and deadlines. Count it a miracle that anything gets done.” 

“As soon as you take something over from someone else is when all hell breaks loose.” 

“Everybody is a mechanical designer and a cost estimator, until it does not work or there is an audit.” 

“Fear of the future and worrying about the past keeps you from the only place you can do anything about it.” 

“Unexpected things occur. Complaining won’t change a thing. How do you know it is not meant to be that way?” 

“Stock Investing is a marketing term used by the financial industry that really means gambling”  

“Retirement is for those who picked the wrong career.” 

“Because of Industrial Light & Magic, how will we ever know for sure if we really made it to Mars or other planets?” 

“Simple courtesies seem too uncommon unless a boss is looking.” 

“A manager who thinks they are humorous because their staff laugh at them is 10X more funny than any of their jokes” 

“Layers of salaried management hired to run projects pad it with extra time and money until you get to the hourly workers who get neither” 

“People walking hallways on the cell phone are putting on a show rather than actually conducting any real business” 

“If you don’t get something for nothing is true, then you don’t get nothing for something is also true”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bicycling and the "Unracer"

After reading Grant Peterson's book, "Just Ride", he made me realize just how brainwashed bicycler's have become driven by the bicycle racing aspect of biking.  Carbon fiber bikes, football shaped helmets, tight clothing, clip in bike shoes, high seats with low handlebars, and tiny thin tires are all fine for racers but for the majority of bike riders it is unnecessary.  For those who want to get back to just enjoying bike riding in comfort, Mr. Peterson has coined the term "Unracer" and I would like to be in this category.  I now have a Bern helmet, which is not like the typical helmet which looks like a football on your head.  This helmet actually looks and feels like it will protect me.  I don't use spandex pants or shirts.  This is not for me.  I am selling my bike shoes and Shimano clip pedals as I think they are dangerous.  I am swapping those pedals out with wider flat pedals.  I don't have special fingerless padded bike gloves.  I try to ride every day and now with my new viewpoint, biking is now more fun than ever.  When I build my wood bike, I plan to put 700c x 28mm or 32mm tires on them and wont pump them up to maximum.  I will keep just enough to prevent bottoming out but provide a nice soft ride.  It is not about light weight, speed and fitness exhaustion at all costs.  I like being an Unracer even though it is kind of a small minority now.

Wood, Boats and Bicycles

I am realizing my love of building wooden boats should probably come to an end.  When I consider how much I really use them, they are not worth the time or space it takes to build them.  If I lived on a big lake, that would be different though, but I don't.  It takes about 1.5 hours for just a 30 minutes row when I take the boat to the Delaware river here.  Compared to riding my bike, I just hop on it, go, and have fun for the whole time.  This is right out of the garage.  No transport and no set up.  I use my bike everyday it is not raining too.  The boats I use a few times a year.  This is why I have decided to stop work on my Dave Gentry Boardyak and John Gardner Car Top Semi Dory (see photos below).  They are not finished but I just listed them on ebay.  I still love wooden boats, but have found I don't need to build or keep them anymore.  I can enjoy others who have built them and offer them for a quick tiial spin.

Since I bike commute, I came across Renovo bikes which are made out of wood. I was fascinated by them but dismissed the idea of ever building one as the owner and founder proclaimed that they only use CNC machines and special tested wood pieces to make them.  It seemed to me beyond my level.  Then I came across Jay Kinsinger's wooden bike where he made his bike with woodworking tools (no CNC) and I was hooked.  This is now my next challenge is to build a wooden road bike.  For more on Jay's bike, visit his website.  After corresponding with Jay, he graciously shared some thoughts and ideas on wooden bike building.  From Jay, I learned about the book, Just Ride by Grant Peterson who founded Rivendell bicycle company.  I loved this book and read in 2 days on Kindle.  This boat has changed my whole view on bicycles and bicycle riding in general, which will be the subject of an upcoming post.  Meanwhile, I have my wooden road bike frame now designed on paper.  Over the next few months I plan to build one.

Turbo Oars - Results

After testing out my Turbo oars with my Natoma skiff, I am very disappointed with them.  The blade design seems much too big.  To me it feels like I am rowing in molasses.  I did not like at all.  I did not notice any efficiency increase in rowing or speed increase. In fact, just the opposite.  To me, the best oars I have used are my John DeLapp oars.  I will be selling the turbo oars and I have thrown out my oar blade mold.  It was good experience learning how to mold a complex curve lamination and a carbon fiber layer though so it was not a failed project.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Turbo Oars Finished with Leathers

I just finished adding leathers to the turbo oars.  I found a very good instructional article on Christine DeMerchant's website.  I really like her website and style of writing.  I thought the leathers with the baseball stitch came out very well and did not take too long.  About 1 hour each oar.  I did apply melted paraffin wax to the main rubbing points and then applied 2 coats of a teak oil and helmsman varnish blend (70% teak oil to 30% helsman varnish) from Izzy Swan outdoor varnish tips video.  I plan to try them out this weekend.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Semi Dory Boat Project Plank Truss Pattern

Here is the truss pattern that I have made up to get the shape for the garboard planks.  I am using 1/4" x 1/2" pine scarfed together for the long battens.  The cross pieces are secured with hot glue.  This may be a mistake but I could not get my staple gun to penetrate this wood with a 1/2"staple.  For the remaining plank patterns, I will need to remove the cross pieces, reposition the battens and glue the cross pieces to the new shape.  I am hopeful this process works.  It appears to be more accurate for hobby boatbuilders than the spiling method.

Turbo Oars

I really like John Murray's ideas on rowing and especially oar design for non-racing type rowboats.  Over the winter I built his Turbo oar design with cedar shafts and a laminated curved oar blade with a carbon fiber surface.  I will be able to try them out soon.  All I need to do is make some oar leathers.

Solid Color Deck Stain and Protecting

On Friday, I had ASAP Painting professionally clean our deck.  They did a great job in preparation work including clearing out all the grooves between boards.  On Saturday, they applied Behr solid color stain in barn red to the deck and it looks great.  This is 10 year protection but ASAP said we could expect 8 years before having to do again.  We will see.  It was a bit expensive but it turned out better than I could have done and they did it very quick.  They completed the staining in 2 hours.  It would have taken me 2 weeks of working small sections at a time.  Also it provided work for a local professional.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Guideboat Deck Modification

Last summer I modified the decks on my Adirondack Guideboat.  I was not happy with the plywood deck and coaming that I had on it after I saw a great adirondack guideboat built by Chris Woodword and documented in the Woodenboat forum.  I removed the old decks and replaced with cedar.  I think the result was much nicer.

New cedar deck:

Original marine plywood deck:

Nez Perce Boat

This is another boatbuilding project that I completed in 2012 but I never published to this blog.  I do have on Flickr.  Nez Perce Boat on Flickr

John Gardner's Car Top Semi Dory Boat

Here is the latest progress picture of a boat I am building.  It is John Gardner's car top semi dory and will be built by glued lapstrake planking using 5mm marine plywood.  I started this boat in Novemember 2013 where I built all the ribs using douglas fir wood.  I was not happy with how those ribs came out as douglas fir is very hard to work with so I started over using baltic birch plywood for the ribs.  The bottom board is 9mm marine plywood.  I will be posting more pictures as I go because the weather is now warming up.  The boat is also taking shape as I recently set up all the ribs and made a backbone structure.  I will be planking using a truss template method.  I hope to get video of this process because I think it will make glued lapstrake building easier for people.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wooden Bandsaw Completed

I realized that I never published a picture of my completed wooden bandsaw. Here it is.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Throw 1 Thing Out A Day

I started something in 2012 when I decided I had too much clutter in the house. I decided to throw out at least 1 item per day. I printed out a calendar and wrote what I threw out that day. It did add up quickly. I stopped in March 2013 as it is easy to forget about it. In January my Dad passed and now we are clearing out his house. It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate over 34 years he was in the house. It has taught me to keep clutter to an absolute minimum. It has also taught me about how much time is spent accumulating things. I spend time researching items and then buying them only to find out they are not really used that much. Now I have to find a way to get rid of them and take a loss too. This is where I am now back to my "Throw 1 Thing Out A Day" plan. I plan to make up for all the months I missed in 2013 which means instead of throwing out 30 items per month, I will throw out around 50 or more. I also have a great reminder from my Dad's house to just not buy things that are really not needed in the first place. It is hard to part with some things since there are family attachments to some items. But if stuff is just out of sight, not used, and collecting dust it becomes just clutter. It does feel good to get rid of unnecessary things. We have a small home and it is good to have lots of space left that does not need to be filled up. Also if we move, it won't be as hard to pack up. Another idea that I use is to create a "30 Day Buy List". If I find I want to buy something, I will put on the list. If after 30 days I still really need it, then I will research it more and get it. If not, it will get crossed off the list as not needed.