Friday, October 30, 2015

Werewolf Plywood Yard Art for Halloween

I added to our Halloween plywood yard art this year by making a Werewolf.  I saw the pattern idea in the Winfield Collection and did something similar.  I used 1/4" underlayment plywood so it is a little flimsy but it made it really easy to cut out.

Halloween Pumpkins 2015

Here are the pumpkins we carved for this Halloween.  I did Freddy Kruger, James did the flaming skull and Naomi did the Mummy.  I especially liked how the Mummy came out with all the shadows.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Varnish Alternative

In 2012 when I built the Nez Perce boat, I wanted to keep the inside of the boat clear and not cover up the wood.  I was not looking forward to varnishing though.  Most all who have done it realize it is a lot of work and does not last very long.  Then you have to do all over again.
I came across a blog post by Barry Long entitled "Just Say NO To Varnish".  After seeing Barry's work where he built two melonseed sailboats, you can see he has good credibility.  The boats are extraordinary.  His videos and photographs on traditional small craft boating and sailing are some of the best you will come across.  Anyway, I tried out the Le Tonkinois product he used instead of varnish and I can say it is excellent after 3 years has passed.  It is non-toxic and self-leveling so there are no brush marks.  It does take less coats to complete the work and does not need sanding between coats.  I would not use anything else on any wood project that is not painted and must be outside in the elements.   The Nez Perce boat built in 2012 has not required any interior maintenance since Le Tonk was first put on besides a few light touch ups here and there on the gunwales this summer.    It is a trailer boat and does not get the sunshine as a boat docked in a harbor all summer though.    Time will tell by checking out Barry Long's experience and seeing how my boat goes.  I don't think many people know about this product.  
I just used on my semi-dory transom and forgot how easy it is to use and how good it looks.   

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Boatbuilding Projects

I am working on building a John Gardner semi-dory.  It is all planked up now with the outwales installed.  I still have a great deal of sanding to go but I do a little each day.
I have also started the Tom Hill, Charlotte canoe which is a commission project for a friend at work.  The picture shows the building jig with the stems and keelson installed so far. The bottom picture is of the semi-dory built with glued plywood lapstrake planks.

Rustic Hand Carved Door

I am building a small canoe for a friend at work and as part of the payment, I received this hand carved door made by Bob McElhaney in the Poconos (PA) who has been making these for many years.  Each one is unique.  It looks a bit odd on a metal building but I don't care.  I really like it and it is great to have air come in to the shop in the summer.  Ideally, it would be fantastic on a log cabin porch or wood sided building.  The door did not come with a handle so I made one from a tree limb.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pursue Your Passion or Just Do With Passion

After reading about all of the articles on “finding out what you love to do” and “pursue your passion” I am beginning to wonder about it.  It leads us down the path of postponement, continues a cycle to discouragement, and provides no clear answer.    

Even if we are in a job at McDonald’s, it can be done with love and passion.  If you adopt the attitude that you despise or hate the situation you are in, it will be the mind’s job to prove you are right.  The mind will filter out any people or opportunities that are right where you are.  We could be in the perfect job for us right now, but we may miss opportunities everywhere in it because we convinced ourselves that we are not pursuing our passion by wasting time at this job.  

Even after all of the reading, skill inventory exercises, listmaking and journaling, I still don’t know what my passion is.  So instead of pursuing a passion or finding what I love to do, maybe I need to realize that I am already in something I love to do, but just have not realized it yet.  I can make use of the wealth of people, excitement, and opportunities right where I am.  

Work is always the same.  A cup of water in a glass will still be a cup of water even if you put it in a bowl.  It is the same water taking form of what contains it.  The use of the water to purify and refresh is not altered by the container.  It is the same with our work.  If drudgery and apathy persist, a change is required.  The worker.

Will this lead me to be the next Bill Gates, Walt Disney or Oprah Winfrey?  I don’t know.  Years ago my uncle worked in a sewage plant, slinging the muck around as a laborer.  However, he did it with such enthusiasm and determination that it made him stand out.  He was quickly noticed by a VIP and was quickly promoted.  Would this have happened if he was so discouraged and down that he was not pursuing his passion by slinging sewage all day?

We can rise only as high as our thinking.  Not passionate about anything?  Start today to be passionate about whatever you are doing now, no matter what it is.  Don’t put off passion until you can someday find it.  You may never with that attitude.  I am committed to working like no one else at what I do, even if it is cleaning toilets, pushing paper or sanitation engineering.  Opportunities don’t just appear.  There is no such thing as magic.  Opportunities are always right where we are.  Our attitude determines whether we see them or not.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Forks Over Knives and Major Life Change

I have been trying for some time to eat more healthy foods.  I had made some progress.  I did cut out milk in 2014, so I have not had milk or ice cream for about 1 year.   However, I did not cut out dairy. I still had been eating cheese, butter and eggs.  Also, there are many items with milk products in them like dressings, cheese-it crackers.  I am also a full blown sugar addict.  I ate sugary cereals for breakfast, and desserts with every meal.  Even in between meals I would have candy and not hesitate.  It does show how forgiving the body is though.  I am active and still exercise every day.  My weight was normal and never above 170 lbs.  Thankfully, I did not require any medications.  My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were fine but I had a nagging feeling that I had to change these unhealthy eating habits.  I kept thinking, as long as I eat these things in moderation, it will be fine. Meanwhile I continued to battle acne which I have had for 40 years.

A few months ago I tried vegetarianism for about 8 weeks.  This was a bit of a challenge and I wound up buying some processed foods like veggie burgers which have a lot of sodium in them.  Well, Easter came and I caved in to having the traditional ham dinner and the trial period was over.   I did not feel too much of a difference since I was still eating dairy and refined sugar.  As a side benefit, I have been able to completely eliminate all lunch meats and this new habit has stuck.  After 50+ years of lunch meats, I have no desire to eat again.

In April I decided to quit refined sugar.  I felt I needed to and I reduced my sugar intake by 85%.  I stopped eating candy.  I had no sugar for breakfast, and 1 cookie for lunch dessert and 1 cookie for dinner dessert.  I read labels for everything I was eating that potentially had sugar.  I went from 168 pounds to 159 pounds in a few weeks just by not eating sugary sweets.

On Sunday, May 10th, I saw there was a film on Netflix, entitled Forks Over Knives.  I was intrigued and almost passed it by.  I thought that it was another scare film like, “Food Inc.” or other documentaries on the dangers of food and I was afraid of what I might learn.  These documentaries did not affect me in a way to change my food choices.  I decided to watch “Forks Over Knives” and once it started I could not stop.  It went by very quickly and I took it all in.  The science and case studies they presented were proof to me that I had to change my food choices now.  It all made sense with what I was trying to do with my vegetarian trial and sugar reduction.  It showed how powerful the meat and dairy industries are and how they are tied in with Washington.  The protein and calcium myths were debunked with scientific studies.  We are brainwashed by the powerful advertising media into loving all foods that are oily, salty and sweet.

I am now committed to eating healthy by eliminating all meat, dairy, refined sugar and all oil.  Even after a few weeks, I feel a definite difference.   Like anything, this will take a strong commitment to developing a new habit.  I plan to do a one month trial to see the results for myself along with health numbers.  Open minded skepticism is always a good thing because of the need to prove something yourself rather than rely on another’s opinion or truth.  I have never been down this road before, but I can honestly say I was changed by watching this film.  Maybe the time was just right.  The new habits I was starting were a foundation.  The recent deaths of my mother (2010), father (2014) and brother in law (2015), helped wake me up to be very receptive too.  It has become very clear now and I have a deep down feeling that I have progressed to a new state of awareness.  Won’t you join me in this new exploration of health as it was meant to be?  Eat plants!  I am really excited for what lies ahead.  I have abused my body with a lifetime of poor eating habits and yet it still functioned for me without any need for medications.  Once I sustain a consistent pattern of eating nutritious plant food fuel, I expect to experience life now with new found energy without the fear of illness, decrepitude and pain.

I am a believer in spiritual prayer and God.  You might say that God does not cause man to be ill, suffer or die.  Yes, but man does have free will to make choices.  Wrong choices are punished so that they are not repeated.  No one is excused to do wrong just because God made man perfect and loves him.  That must be proved in individual experience.  Eating meat is a choice with consequences. Consequences induce feedback to help us improve the quality of our consciousness and realize who we are.  Eating meat involves killing animals on a massive scale with serious environmental damage. It is a violent practice that is pathetic and sad.  Just because we can does not mean we should.  Eating garden plant food is part of the “rule set” to live happily in this reality but this is just one part of a larger whole.  It also takes exercise, good habits, honesty, compassion, love, gratitude, achievement, humility and work which contribute to increasing the quality of consciousness.  This is our purpose for being here.

Friday, May 15, 2015


My son James got started in geocaching last week.  He asked me to join him and it is really fun. There are objects hidden all over the world in various size waterproof containers.  Some are as small as a peanut (nano size).  Inside their is a paper log where you can put your name and date.  You can find their locations from an Ipad app or Android app which gets you to within a 30 feet or so radius.  It sounds easy but it can be challenging.  We have found 10 items so far.  We started on May 8th, 2015 and have been out every day.  We also have found at least 1 item each day.