All Stoned Up

May 11th, 2011 4 comments

Achew!! Excuse me… sorry, but the dust on this blog is thick. Not wood dust unfortunately, but the normal kind of dust (i.e. mostly Soylent Green).

I’ve been up to my neck in kidney stones lately (well, down to my urethra, actually). I’m an avid kidney-stoner. Last year I did five. Over the past several months I’ve passed a handful of stones. Two required ER trips and another required lithotripsy to break up and allow to pass through the plumbing. The lithotrispy method uses sound waves to break up the stone. I wasn’t awake for the procedure but I believe it involved pressing a boom box against my lower back and blasting “That’s the way, uhh-huh, uhhh-huh, I like it”.

The real “ball-buster” of the three was the middle one. With an obvious middle-child complex this one would not go quiet and unnoticed, as middle children should. In fact, it caused me so much pain that I decided to go the ER and I never go to the ER anymore when passing stones. I’ve learned that lesson. The car ride is tortuous, there’s usually too long a wait, and I’ve noticed that sick people tend to congregate there.

In this instance, the ER was in fact packed and we were informed that it would be hours before I would be seen. I would have cried more if I had more tear ducts (I am not a man’s man… I’m barely a woman’s man). My mother suggested I feign passing out to get more urgent attention (she also coaches slip and falls in case you’re looking). Luckily, my pathetic state drew enough attention to get me bumped up and drugged up.

As I walked out of the ER with a new lease on life, a young child in obvious distress began heaving. I had instant empathy as he began to spew and I thought “awww the poor…” at which very moment my thought was interrupted by vomit hitting my shoes. Immediately my thought switched to “awww… that’s my shoes” (my sense of empathy has always had a vomit cutoff switch).

With my MIA explained, let’s just move forward and take a look at a little pictorial gallery of some woodworking things done in moments where my junk wasn’t on full tilt pain. I am looking forward to getting back in the woodworking and blogging saddle (I’m, of course, going to mount the saddle very, very gently for a while).

I made some boxes. Lots of figure in these materials. Lots of tear-out to deal with. More on that battle in a future post.

Figured Boxes

Apparently I did some crack and then made miter keys. While I was never in the boy scouts, I do believe in being prepared (a miter key badge would be appreciated if a scoutmaster is reading this).

Got miter keys?

Sliced up some ebony for box parts. I hadn’t planned on doing that but my hand was forced as the blank was face-checking like crazy. I presumed the moisture difference was just too great between the faces and core. It did seem to work as these thin boards haven’t checked at all.

Ebony Mini-Sticker

Well, it’s been a pleasure seeing you again. Now, if you will excuse me, I’ve chit-chatted too long when I should be making more miter keys (miter keys are the new cowbell).

Categories: Life as it Pertains to Me Tags:

Looking to Kill a Little Time With Something Offbeat? Click Here Stranger.

February 3rd, 2011 8 comments

WARNING: This post is intended to be a mildly-entertaining time waster and is not woodworking related. This is probably similar to the warning on irons that they get hot.

I’ve been fighting a cold lately (if whining about it constitutes fighting it). And while I have lacked the energy to get in the shop, I have summoned enough energy to surf the web and stumble across video of some interesting new technology (sorry, no dancing robots this time). And you should know that I did it mostly for you… I know, I’m kind of a hero (it’s a pretty low bar these days).

First up, how many times have you taken that certain TPS Report and wiped a certain part of your body with it? (rhetorical) Satisfying? Yes. A little disappointing in that the smooth paper results in more of a smear campaign? Yes.

Well, no longer does “office politics” have to be so messy thanks to an invention called the “White Goat”. Take a look at the machine that now allows you to take your boss’s printed-out emails and turn them into something that is actually useful, in one simple step!

Next up is a new safety device for bicyclers who prefer not to wear helmets (that’s me! If brain damage were permanent I would rethink it). It’s basically an air bag in a scarf that deploys when it senses imminent doom (I wish I had that in my blogging software for when I go to publish a post like this one). It also makes a bold fashion statement when deployed as seen in the picture below on the left (Definitely would work in the Spaceballs fashion line. Picture below, Right.).

The selling point for this new safety device is the videos of it in action. I might just like these videos because I like laughing at dummies making fools of themselves (e.g. Jersey Shore, US Congress, etc…).

There are three different collision tests in this video. My favorite is when he does a header over the handle bars at around the 3:30 mark. They get a little multi-angle, slo-mo replay drunk so you might want to use that slider bar to jump around.

I wonder if that scarf could be outfitted with sensors for dust or projectiles. We could then hit the shop without having to think about safety gear. Dust in the air? Boom! You’re wearing a dust mask. A piece of wood flying at your eyeball? Boom! You’re face is now covered with a shield. How about your significant other talking before being spoken to? Boom! Gagged. (probably multiple triggers for Boom! Gagged). The practical possibilities are endless.

Lastly is something that every little boy that has ever fried an ant with magnifying glass would love to have, a homemade solar death ray machine (Dear Universe, I fried ants before I understood the notion of Karma… Ohhh, and while we are talking, can you make up your mind on Pluto. Is it a planet or not? You’re really screwing with our heads down here).

Here’s to hoping that the kid that created this machine doesn’t become interested in nuclear physics… you will understand once you see his particular “scientific method” in action.

Categories: Are you an idiot? Tags:

I Must Sit on That

January 26th, 2011 3 comments

You know that unmistakable feeling you get when you see something and your gut tells you that you need to sit on it? We’ve all been there and it just happened to me once again.

In today’s design-inspiring link we look at a chair that your derriere would be so lucky to grace.

The intriguingly designed line of chairs and benches by this designer, Carolien Laro, employ “Spring Wood” (presumably requiring everyone to say “Boooiiingggg” as they sit upon it). Each “wooden pillow” requires 480 CNC-milled cuts into an Ash blank. Ash being one of the better kerf-bending species.

The first thing I thought when I came across this chair was John Economaki’s famous “Squiggle Wood” made from super fine kerf cuts on his Bridge City Tool Works Jointmaker Pro as can be seen in the following video. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that this chair design is Squiggle Wood inspired.

My mind can’t really figure out how the inner part of this chair doesn’t fall out like a bunch of Jenga pieces. This may also speak to why I have never won a game of Jenga… or maybe not, point is, I suck at Jenga and I have no idea how this chair works.

I also wonder if the kerfs ever pinch the sitter where I assume they flex close under load (just figured out where “ass load” originated). A chair that leaves pinch marks on a sitter’s buttocks could be damaging to relationships, besides just the epidermis… “No honey, I promise a chair did that… I’m totally being serious right now”.

Course, it could also be a really fast way to pluck ass hair by sitting on it naked (I’ve finally got “ass hair” out my system… I’ve been dying to blog those words in succession from day one). Which brings up another potential issue (no, not my disturbing over-sharing). It must be a royal pain to clean out the top surface kerfs. There are some pretty deep gullets for food, dust, and DNA to be lodged in (DNA == ass hair).

Kidding around aside, I think this is a pretty cool design. I don’t think I’ve previously thought of wood furniture other than as purely rigid structures. My mind has been sufficiently bent for the day.

And thus this chair has formally been added to my bucket list of things to sit on, right behind a small tower of potato bread (unbuttered for safety reasons).

Get the full story and more pictures here.

Categories: Design Link Tags:

Honey, Please Mow the Table

January 24th, 2011 4 comments

Walnut Table with Planter Box

Life is about sharing. We share stories. We share tools (well, my religion forbids that actually). Sometimes if we are *really* good friends, short on cash, or just drunk, we’ll even share bodily fluids.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I haven’t shared enough with you guys and I want to change that immediately. Those shuddering at the moment relax… I only have so much bodily fluids to go around and what I want to share is much more mentally stimulating (and less STD laden).

For many years now I’ve been reading various architectural, interior design, and general design blogs. These blogs inevitably throw something at me that makes me pause for a second and say “wow, that’s pretty darn creative”. These posts are what I want to share with you.

Given that we tend to become more concrete thinkers as time goes on, I think it’s always a good thing to exercise the mind and keep it as flexible as possible. So please let me help keep your creative mind bendy and limber. I’ll sort of be your personal trainer… The creepy one that slaps you on your ass for pushing out one more rep (ladies only… sorry guys).

Now, I should hasten to add that other than watching the show “Design Star”, I have no other qualifications to speak to what good design is, which is to say that I’m an expert like everyone else.

So without further ado, here we go with the first link. It’s a gorgeous walnut slab table that the designer, Emily Wettstein, had fun with as she incorporated a planter box into it. Personally I would have grown celery in there… what could be more convenient when eating hot wings? Better yet, I think I’d just make the planter a trough loaded with a mountain of hot wings. Because I’m refined like that.

Get the full story and more pictures here.

Categories: Design Link Tags:

Bending Over: The Untold Story…

January 14th, 2011 3 comments

It was a cold and snowy winter day long ago in Jersey and all was quiet. Actually, It was yesterday and kind of loud as snow plows grumbled through town (I’ll just stick to the facts going forward). Late in the day, I was engrossed in deep thought (code for being on the toilet) when I was struck by a realization (more of a realization splash-back if you will… and you probably won’t).

After an afternoon of shoveling, one thought had been frozen in my mind and that was that I am not a big fan of bending over (save metaphorically of course). This realization thrust me into a reflective mood where I relived one such bending-over battle of the past, against a very game shop vac. Would I prevail? Would the shop vac break me? (Spoiler alert: “yes” and “a little”)

I’m sure there are others out there like me… When faced with a bending over proposition such as picking up dropped money, petting a beloved animal, or washing our feet, we pause to perform the cost/benefit analysis.

Oftentimes we are able to talk ourselves down with rational logic… What’s money good for anyway? My pet already gets food; does he really need affection as well? I’m not dating at the moment; feet washing would seem to be completely optional. Plus, if we think creatively we find work-arounds… if I “pet” my dog with my feet, he will get his needy affection AND he very well may be inclined to lick my feet clean.

Over time I’ve noticed a correlation between my happiness, or lack-thereof, and the number of times I bend over on any particular day (numbers furnished upon request). One of the greatest offenders of making me bend over was my shop vac. Anytime I wanted to remove chips from my bench top I had been forced to assume the position in order to reach the “on” button (artist renderings furnished upon request).

My initial attempt at circumventing my shop vac’s sadistic demands was to employ an X10 remote. X10 is a system that uses an RF remote to send a radio signal to a receiver plugged into an outlet. The receiver then sends an electrical signal over your home wiring coded to a another unit plugged in elsewhere. And *Poof* my shop vac would turn on and once again make my dog question whether I am a God (I would stare at him intensely at the same time to sell it even further). Basically, the X10 system is like the clapper for those too lazy to clap.

Sadly, as if the universe sensed my undeserved joy of remaining fully erect while turning my vac on and off, the system failed. I pressed on and off on the remote perhaps forty to fifty times and nothing (I felt doing it more than fifty times would be pointless). I then spent an hour or two attempting to figure out if it was the remote, transceiver, receiver, or vac.

Throughout that down time I thought about just plugging in the vac and turning it on. A simple, quick, and easy way to allow me address the shavings that lay on the bench in full taunt (suck it word nerds… I just evolved your language). But I knew that was a slippery slope back towards bent-over resignation.

Eventually I determined that it was the transceiver module that had crapped-out. Replaced with a new unit I was back in action… for, a couple days… before the universe intervened once again in exactly the same fashion. It became obvious that the electrons at my home were hell-bent on making me hell-bent (over).

I’m known to McGyver my way around a situation and worked out a new solution. I attached a power strip to the back edge of my bench using Xtreme Velcro (actually it’s just industrial Velcro… until they get wind of my genius rebranding idea). By simply reaching over my bench I can flip on the strip and thus the shop vac. I could also reach-around the end of my bench to get things going but that just seems gratuitous to discuss at this point.

And before I can be accused of wastefully filling shop vac bags with fluffy shavings let it be known that this is NOT the case as they are prefiltered out with the Dust Deputy (I would have used the Dust Sheriff but I shot it). There’s that and I just wrote a post on bending over, soooooo… oh, and as a matter of fact, you just read a post on bending over, sooooo… we both have bigger issues.

Categories: Life as it Pertains to Me Tags:

Check Out My Sexy Chest

December 10th, 2010 6 comments

Inspiration. We all want it. Getting it is the challenging part. I’ve checked with my local Walmart and they do not sell it (I’m sure if they did there would be an extended warranty option… never get the extended warranty!).

Since I’ve been woodworking I’ve found inspiration in using antique tools that more skilled hands than mine have worked. Beyond that, I have found myself attracted to and inspired by the furniture that those craftsman built. It’s as much for respect for craftsman of the past as well as admiration of their craftsmanship.

It would be ideal if amazing furniture of the past would grow legs and walk by my front yard so I could break out a lawn chair and beverage and just watch (I would of course also have a handful of singles just in case any piece really impressed me). Since I don’t believe our scientists are working on genetically modifying furniture to grow such appendages I’ve had to resort to other means by which to satisfy my desires. Enter the internet which, as we all already know, was created to satiate various human, base desires.

With websites such as Craigslist, amazing pieces of furniture can be found wandering around (amidst the herd of grazing crapola). I’ve seen so many pieces that begged for adoption but, alas, I do not have enough floor space left for such new additions. I have a tiny dog and he has nary the space to curl up and lick his butt (needless to say… nor do I have room to curl up and lick my butt). But earlier this week I could not let such trivial issues as space get in my way.

As my eyes gazed over the daily listings on my local Craigslist what pops up but some grainy pictures of an old wooden tool chest. Exactly the dual purpose treasure I’ve been seeking. You see, if my living room lacks anything, its tool storage and a coffee table. Done and done, with what my eyes were looking at (yes there are no more words in that sentence and that last word is a preposition… deal with it).

Interested I fired off an email. I have done a fair amount of Craigslisting (both buying and selling) and I know not to get too excited until I see something in person. I’ve seen listings with what appears to be fine furniture only to find out that it just wasn’t well crafted or “antiquey” at all. So I rarely expect my phaser to be set to stunned upon seeing a listing in person (agreed. No reason to have a Star Trek reference there… particularly a sad one like that). After talking with the seller and haggling a price I head over to check out the merch.

When I arrive in the late evening and look at the chest I’m first taken by the size (that’s what she… ohh forget it). I don’t know what my deal is but I always take dimensions and visualize them as something much smaller (maybe it’s just knowing that I’m highly skilled at cramming things in smaller places… no, I’m not going there). I wonder if I can even get this thing in my craptastic vehicle, a hot red Dodge Neon that generally brings my sexuality into question.

Again, I arrived in the evening and the seller had the chest sitting outside. It was very dark and only light enough to make out faint details. It weighed a ton, felt very solid, and radiated the proper vibe upon application of my tender touch. The deal was done. I could see my Neon quivering with what it knew was coming. The seller and I proceeded to jam, stuff, and wrench the chest into the cabin of the vehicle. And I was off with my booty stowed away after saying a prayer to not get pulled over for the numerous laws being broken such as not being able to use my rear view mirror or being able to turn without dislocating my shoulder.

This is where things gets cool (and the world said with one breath “finally”).

I hand truck and walk the behemoth into my home and start really inspecting it with that thing called light actually being shed upon it. The exterior has the aged and weathered black paint with primer showing throughout and of course, requisite paint drops on the top. I love that distressed look and immediately rule out any notions of refinishing it. I then open it… and wow, it’s pretty stunning.

The chest features five sliding trays that sit at one of three levels on the sides. Surprising, the trays slide fairly smoothly as is. When properly waxed I imagine I’ll be sliding them at random times for no purpose other than for tactile pleasure (honestly, I pretty much live for tactile pleasures so this should not be a surprise).

The hardware on the chest is quite nice. There’s a heavy duty, double bolt lock with, amazingly, the original skeleton key. I mean this lock is no joke… I’m pretty sure this is the kind of lock box that you could keep social security in safely (don’t get any ideas Al Gore. You cannot have this!). There’s double iron handles on each end and a couple decorative iron lifts for the lid.

As I said, I love the distressed look. But that was a few paragraphs ago… and a few block plane swipes ago. I just couldn’t contain myself between curiosity and my preference for the beauty and warmth of natural grain versus paint and stain (I’m pro-dye… anti-stain… again for grain clarity purposes). So I’m refinishing this bad boy.

In a future post I’ll share more about the construction and materials. And while I don’t like to tease (actually I like to tease as much as I like to lie), I have to say that I was surprised when I swiped that block plane to see a variety of species. Clearly we have some walnut (all the trays are solid walnut). Well, the carcass, base molding, upper molding and trim, and top appear to be all different species (I won’t be sure until my sexy chest is further stripped). Clearly this Frankenchest was intended to be painted.

A Brief Interview.

November 20th, 2010 9 comments

Just having a little fun… enjoy…

How to Use Kickback for Laying Out Joints

August 28th, 2010 35 comments

This is just an upfront reminder that I’ve recorded audio versions of new posts that contain “bonus features”. Just click the player above to hear the audio version of this post!

I had never experienced table saw kickback before. For those uninitiated, this occurs when the workpiece rides up on the back of the blade while being trapped against the fence. The workpiece is then literally shot back towards the operator. Consider the physics, my table saw turns at a rate of 3450 revolutions per minute. I did the calculations and that translates to a workpiece moving exactly ludicrously fast.

Until today, I have to say that I hadn’t given the notion of kickback much respect. I’ve had pieces get tossed back at the speed of slow-pitch softball and thought “hmmm… that’s not too bad… I could take that”. But the real deal is a whole different story.

I literally lost my breath when my workpiece kicked back and hit me on my right side with a thundering WHACK that must have been heard around the world. Stunned for a second, and in that instant I wondered, perhaps oddly so, if the severe impact would stop my heart. I then figured out that my heart is kind of located on the other side of my body and that it would probably be fine. Next, I feared that I had just become meat on a stick. Not until I saw my entire side in a mirror was I sure that I was not stuck like a pig.

Now, some may think this was an accident. But, I must say this is not the case… I kept losing my pin board when I went to transfer pin locations. So logically I thought “What if i had the pin locations marked on my body???” I know… your kicking yourself for not coming up with this genius idea first. My plan was brought to fruition in a mere fraction of a second. And now, transferring pin locations has never been so easy.

The other end of the board is also clearly defined on my flesh, but it includes nipple and I’m not ready to share that just yet or for free (that’s definitely premium site material).

You see that white arc on the piece of padauk that… ummm, that would be my skin cells. You can actually see the grain pattern of the piece of wood on my skin. Now I have to be mindful to not kill anyone with this sucker as clearly it would not pass the “if it does not fit, you must acquit” test.

At this point, I’m hoping it leaves a permanent mark. How hardcore would I be then? I totally would go to woodworking shows just to lift up my shirt, nod like a bad-ass, and say “yeah… that’s an offset box joint”.

What’s a little more troubling is to think of what could have been. I could easily be blind now if that board hit me in an eye. Although I’m not completely sure that I am even vulnerable to blindness given I have not yet suffered effects from countless years of unrelenting masturbation.

What was my specific technique? First, I was in a hurry to just make a quick cut so I would have a test piece for a groove I was about to make.  This was not going to be any sort of significant shop session and thus I was, of course, exempt from having to follow any safety rules. So no safety glasses, no shirt (there’s no woodworking like naked woodworking), no dust mask or even dust collection on (yes to a push stick and splitter). Another mistake was cutting too small a piece to be safely cut on a table saw without use of a sled.

Thinking of the table saw lawsuit that the woodworking community has been following the past year, I decided to look at the crime scene with the proper perspective… what TOOL caused this injury. Then it jumped out at me… the bench dog push stick is offset to the right, pulling the body of the user to the right and inline with dangerous kickback situations. Clearly my pain and suffering is due to this poorly designed tool.

Sadly, I would not be surprised to see someone make that frivolous argument. It’s an awesome push stick and this injury is just a stupid accident wherein I not-so-proudly have to own my stupidity for it occurring.

Is This Thing On?

August 19th, 2010 5 comments



As many woodworkers are aware of, Matt Vanderlist over at Matt’s Basement Workshop has a cool segment called “Spoken Wood” where he features woodworking posts around the web. His twist is that the article is shared in an audio version read by the author or Matt. To my delight, one of my posts was recently featured.

Having done the audio for the particular post, it struck me that it would be nice to have a companion audio version of each new post I create on my site going forward. I have to say that I might be prone to ad-libbing (as you may notice if you were to listen to the audio version of this post). But, I assure you that whatever creative liberties I take will not detract from the integrity of the written post and will most definitely NOT feel like a corny, local radio morning show. Obviously I’m way too classy for that. Plus, I have no desire to do anything that would potentially subject myself  to humiliation.

The downside of adding this new feature is that it will no doubt be yet another reason for me to put off finishing a post. I have a veritable cornucopia  of posts just sitting in the hopper waiting to be released. The reason I’m backed up, besides my naturally retentive personality, is that I never seem to get around to taking the photos or videos intended to accompany some of them. Others, frankly,  just did not meet the mark and instead resembled more of a steaming pile of beans.  Given that, adding another to-do item to writing a post may may not be extremely prudent. I know some of you think I’m all talk but I think I can get ‘er done.

Most likely the only people to listen to the audio versions will be my friends, so I’ll probably tailor this stuff to these special people.

Categories: Are you an idiot? Tags:

Jointmaker Pro Bench Hook

May 11th, 2010 5 comments

Not having a space for a dedicated stand for my Jointmaker Pro (note: link is to newer version of JMP) I needed a better solution for quicker setup and usage of the tool. I have been using it on a desk and that just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended… sadly) You see the tool works best, with respect to ergonomics and work visibility, at a slight angle. Additionally the tool really needs to be anchored down as it has a penchant for doing the jitterbug.

Like most tools, I would like to use this tool at the good ‘ole workbench. How do we facilitate the usage of many other tools at the workbench? The first person that answered “bench-hook jigs” goes to the second row of the class. If you just read ahead for the answer and didn’t even venture a guess you go the head of the class as I also don’t like to be asked questions when reading silly blogs like this one.

So here is the fruit of my labor (that phrase makes me feel like I just when through childbirth… probably a similar process except less messy). I didn’t design any of it. I just identified an angle of elevation that I found desirable and built the box around that, employing mostly pocket hole joinery.

Completed Jointmaker Pro (JMP) Bench Hook

Pocket Hole Joinery

I made the hook to slip fit in to the junk (a.k.a. tool) tray and over the front of the bench. I guess in that regard it’s really not a hook but more of a two-time hooker.

To anchor the saw to the bench hook I installed T-Track and made some rather beefy hold-downs out of poplar. I wasn’t looking for elegance here… it’s a jig, right…

Poplar Hold Downs

Here’s a short video overview of the jig, plus the saw in action. Be kind… the camera adds ten lbs… apparently directly to the belly.

Categories: Hand Tools, Tool Porn Tags: