Getting ready for spring

It has been a busy couple of weeks here. The snow is starting to melt. It is warm enough for nice afternoon walks and evenings in the workshop without the kerosene heater running the whole time.

My shop assistant for the evening.

My shop assistant for the evening. He is reminding me to stay focused. On him. And to not drop boxes on his head (Sorry Tucker).

I have one toybox sitting in the shop completed awaiting delivery. It looks like the snow will melt enough this week to get the trailer out and deliver it. The final box is making progress – I can complete it by the end of this weekend if I focus on it. But of course there is a very good chance I will get distracted sometime before Sunday night.

The boat finally thawed enough for me to pump out the bilge. I’m planning on doing some small boat upgrades before launching in May. I would like to add a permanent fresh water tank and plumbing to the sink. I also want to add some cushions in the cockpit and a new cushion on the port settee.

New cushions will require sewing. Sewing required a working sewing machine. We had an old Singer in stuffed away in storage that I’ve been keeping limping along over the years. This year I replaced a drive belt and various smaller plastic parts that have fallen apart over the years. I’ll have to build a table on the second floor of the loft to sew the cushion covers. I learned that trying to cut the fabric on the dining room table just doesn’t work. And we have the space for a full 4×8 table, so why not use the space.  And then to YouTube to figure out how to make cushion covers.

Time to get going on the projects so I’ll have enough completed to relax this summer!

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Flea Market Finds

Antique square and mortise chisel

Antique square and mortise chisel

Winter is pushing into March with a snowfall this afternoon. That on top of the frozen snow from the past month’s snow. We are starting to get a little stir crazy being stuck in the house. It even seems that Minecraft isn’t exciting Will as much today as usual.

Instead of just sitting around, we decided to head out to the flea market this morning. The boys each picked up a pocket knife (to keep in the workshop).

I found a small (6″) square for $1 and a large mortise chisel for $10. Both seemed like a good deal. The chisel was pretty sharp, and only took a few minutes on the water stones to get a good working edge. The square cleaned up to a nice patina. I have no idea if it is square. If it is, I will add it to my usable tools. If not close enough to easily correct, I’ll have to add it to the wall decoration (in the workshop – for no reason I can understand, Susanna doesn’t allow me to decorate the dining room with antique tools).

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More Workshop Time

What a beautiful day. The morning started out with a spring snow. The temperature was just above freezing and the snowflakes huge. This afternoon the sun found its way out from behind the clouds and the temperatures soared into the mid-40s.

My Stanley No. 45 combination plane after making a 1/4" rabbet on a piece of scrap pine.

My Stanley No. 45 combination plane after making a 1/4″ rabbet on a piece of scrap pine.

The yard is still covered with nearly 2-feet of snow, but with warm temperatures I am able to keep the workshop comfortable with just a small electric heater. The kerosene heater puts out a lot of warmth, but at a cost. It is loud.

I put Pandora radio on the computer and spent the day cleaning the workshop. And throwing things away. I have way too much stuff in the shop. I didn’t get the font half of the shop cleaned, but I got the back half looking pretty good (for me). I even dug out an antique Stanley No. 45 plane and got it working – though the blade needs to be sharpened.

A reasonably clean workshop. I even vacuumed the floor. I still have more stuff than I need, but it is heading in the right direction.

A reasonably clean workshop. I even vacuumed the floor. I still have more stuff than I need, but it is heading in the right direction.

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Snow day and working on the workshop

I decided to reorganize the “office” corner of the workshop. It is too cold to get too much woodworking done, but it is nice to reorganize things.

One of the biggest additions is a computer. Ben and I had picked up a handful of $20 small desktop computes for the boys Minecraft party in March. It is pretty slow, but it works. I set it up and added it to the wireless network. Now I can stream Pandora, write in my blog, and even play Minecraft with the boys. Though the computer can really only handle one thing at a time.

Now back to cleaning!

The office space in progress.

The office space in progress.

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Workshop time with Ben

Ben sawing the legs of his shaker shop stool

Ben sawing the legs of his shaker shop stool

Ben is working on building a shaker shop stool. We watched the videos from 360 Woodworking and he decided that it was a project he could build (with a little help).

A week ago, Ben and I drove up to the J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber outlet in Danielson, CT to pick up a lumber for the project. I have lots of rough lumber here, but it is mostly Cherry and Oak, both of which are a little hard for him to use. Pine is soft enough that he doesn’t have too much trouble working it with hand tools. He picked up a nice clear 12″ wide piece of white pine for the project. Yes, for the same price as lumber at the box store, you get a much nicer piece wood from the lumber yard.

Last week we milled the pieces for the project. The board was flat enough from the lumber yard that we didn’t need to joint it, so it was a quick job on the planer and table saw.  Ben even used the table saw (with close supervision) to cut the pieces to length.

This weekend we cut the braces on the table saw, and Ben started hand cutting the dadoes on the legs and top. He did most of the work himself – though he did find the angled cuts a little hard. He chopped out the waste material with a chisel without any assistance, and the fit was pretty good.

Only three dadoes left to cut and he will be able to assemble the bench.  Now to source some more pine for the boys to use in the workshop…

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Snow and more snow!

I don’t usually say this. I really hope the base is open tomorrow so I can go to work.

That isn’t to say that a couple of snow days aren’t fun. I would prefer one or two vice 3.5 days in two weeks.

We did make the best of it and got some chores done in the house and even got Targa out sledding yesterday.

Susanna and Ben enjoying the snow

Susanna and Ben enjoying the snow

More fun in the snow.

More fun in the snow.

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Snow Day Pictures

Ben enjoying the deep snow.

Ben enjoying the deep snow.

The boys and Targa

The boys and Targa

Will playing in the field next door

Will playing in the field next door

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Finished!

The electronics charging station completed.

The electronics charging station completed.  Currently holding three iPads and a couple of phones.

I put the last coat of wiping varnish on the charging station last night. This morning I hung it in mud/laundry room.

I think I should have made it a little bigger, but it works. I think I’ll also add a power strip in the top section and try to hide the wires a little better. But a new power strip will have to wait until another day.  I’ll also need to order a couple of shorter (maybe 12″ long) lightning charging cables to keep it a little less cluttered.

This week is a good woodworking week. I finished a quick home project and have a toy box sitting in the workshop waiting for nice weather for delivery to Susanna’s school.  Two projects finished and it isn’t even February. Not a bad start to the year!

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Snow, Snow, Snow

Clearing the back stairs.

Clearing the back stairs.

The plan last night had been to shovel the driveway before letting the boys get on electronics.  Well, that isn’t happening. The snow on the driveway is probably 18″-24″ with drifts deeper than that. The snow is still coming down. And the wind keeps shifting the snow drifts, covering what we cleared.

The boys and I (well, mostly I) cleared a path to the garage and to the workshop. There is a patch of yard next to the workshop that the wind has cleared of snow. A patch big enough for the dogs to use as the bathroom. I’m not sure what Tucker would have done if we didn’t clear a path. The snow is over his head.

I turned the heater on in the workshop, though I’m not sure it will be easy to get into the shop after the wind blows snow over the cleared path. It was nice to head inside to a warm house filled with the smells of a good breakfast being cooked.

Susanna cooking breakfast on our snowy morning.

Susanna cooking breakfast on our snowy morning.

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Getting ready for the snow. Maybe.

The quiet before the storm.

The quiet before the storm.

The weather service is predicting a huge snow storm tonight and tomorrow. Up to 2-feet of snow overnight and maybe more tomorrow morning.

Normally I don’t spent too much effort to prepare for things like storms. We usually have enough on hand to get by. But today I decided to head out of work when the active duty staff in the building were told to go home and had two hours to kill before the boys got home from their half-day of school. So, what the heck, I may as well prepare for the storm.

We already have a couple of bottles of wine and plenty of beer. Susanna did grocery shopping yesterday. So we were good in the food and drink category. That left getting ready for a couple of days without power as well as heat for workshop. What the heck is the point of a snow day if I can’t get into the shop for a little bit? I mean, one can only watch the kids shovel snow for so long.

The generator was filled with fresh gas and moved out of the back corner of the garage. I ran the generator a couple of weeks ago, so I didn’t feel the need to start it today. No point in really being 100% prepared when 90% will do. Anyway, I’d rather sleep tonight with the belief that the generator will start right up rather than know it will start, but is a pain in the ass to get running. I also replaced the flat tire on the generator so it sits level now (and is easier to move around).

I filled the jeep up with gas – even though it will probably be buried beneath the workshop for a couple of weeks and not be driven – at least there is more gas available there if we really lose power for a couple of days. And heck, if we get two days at home, the boys will need a good project like digging the jeep out anyway.

And of course, I topped off the kerosene can for the workshop heater. Now to clean up the house a bit until the boys get home (and make it dirty again).

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