(Almost) Finishing Projects

Bookshelves (Almost) Completed

Okay, so I didn’t finish any project.  But two of them are getting close. I had finished spraying the finish on the bookshelf case last night.

Today we moved it into the study.  Two of the four shelves are finished as well.  The other two shelves are in the workshop – built, but they need to be finished.  There just wasn’t room to do them at the same time as the carcase.

How did the bookshelves turn out?  Not too bad. There are places I could have made the joints tighter, but not a bad first try.  Also, the adjustable shelf pins seem a little loose in the holes – I’m not sure why.  I can also find a place where I messed up cutting the rabbet for the back.  However that mistake will be hidden by books.  I also can see where I didn’t do a perfect job with the router getting the face flush with the sides.  But it is big, and will hold lots of books.

Next time, I might just make the shelves fixed.  That will make the case stronger… but one will lose the flexibility of movable shelves.  Or maybe just make the middle shelf fixed (though there is no middle shelf with  four shelves…

I also made some progress on the lumber rack.  I don’t think it will hold all the lumber.  I actually know it won’t hold all the lumber. I’m just hoping to clean up under the barn, and move the lumber from the second floor of the barn to under the barn.  The wood was reclaimed from a barn that was torn down (a good find on craigslist) – I also got a couple of 4×6 beams at the same time.  Not sure what I’ll do with those though.   Just add to my lumber collection I guess.

Lumber rack construction

Now what to do this afternoon?  Maybe a drive to northern CT to explore?  Or maybe more work on the lumber rack (to make sure I can’t move tomorrow after restacking too much lumber).

A busy Saturday

We had a pretty busy Saturday – for having nothing more than Ben’s piano lesson scheduled.

I was able to finish the bookshelf case. Three costs of finish put on in the morning (on the outside). After lunch, we stood the case up and I finished the inside and back (three more cases). I still have the two shelves finished after the case is moved out of the basement.

The boy next door, Justin, came over to play with the boys after lunch and stayed until almost dinner. We also had Ben’s friend, Anthony, over for the afternoon. Needless to say it was an afternoon of boys running around like crazy.

I started building the lumber rack, but didn’t get too far. That will be Sunday’s project.

Susanna, Ben and I watched the final of Melodifestivalen in the afternoon.

It was really nice to have a day hanging around the house – last Saturday was spent driving to New York. It was a good chance to spend some time playing with the boys.

New web server

I signed up for an upgraded server for the website. I have been running this blog on a virtual private server (VPS) with several other sites for some time now. The VPS was getting a bit full and resource limited. So now the server has more room to grow. Just excuse the down-time as I shift web servers.

Will’s and Ben’s blogs

Will and Ben have each started their own personal blogs. It will be interesting to see how they change over the year. I told them I would print the blogs each year so they can have a journal of their year in their own words and pictures. So far they have a dozen posts each. Trying for one or two a week.

Of course the blogs are password protected (not open to the general public) and they get to approve who can read them. Since they are for family and close friends, I won’t post the links here – but if you fit into that and are interested in reading them lets know, I’ll send links.

A windy night

The cherry bookshelves after a coat of shellac (I did take a shortcut and not finish the bottom)

What a night… there is nothing like listening to a strong wind in an old house.  I never cease to be amazed by how much noise the house makes in the wind.  The barn is even worse.  I don’t really like working in the barn when it is this windy.  Luckily I have project work to do inside the house.

Over the weekend, Susanna and I moved the cherry bookshelves from the workshop to the basement to be finished.  I spent a couple of evenings this week sanding the carcase to prepare it for the finish.  The plan is to do one coat of shellac and then spray the water-based top coat.  Tonight I applied a single coat of shellac.  I probably won’t be able to spray the shelves until this weekend.

I have two of the four shelves completely finished.  The last two shelves will be finished after I am done with the case.  There isn’t enough room in the finishing room to manage the case and shelves at the same time (yes I do need to get rid of things).


World War II “Hellcat” Sites

“On October 19, 1944, two Grumamn F6F-5N “Hellcats” were practicing war maneuvers out of the Charlestown [Rhode Island] Naval Auxiliary Air Field when something went terribly wrong. The two planes collided over the Town of Preston, in a heavily wooded area in the eastern part of Connecticut. The young ensign pilots, both dead, were pulled from the burning planes. Reportedly, the Navy buried much of the wreckage in trenches near the impact points.

The Hellcat sites in Preston were well-known to aviation enthusiasts and local residents, but they did not come to the attention of professional archaeologists until SHPO began considering the implications of the State’s divestiture of the 500-acre former Norwich State Hospital. The SHPO requested that a complete archaeological survey be made of the property to determine what prehistoric and historic resources might be impacted by the State’s decision. In addition to inventorying dozens of prehistoric sites and the site of a Revolutionary War period tavern, the archaeological survey, conducted by PAST, Inc., recommended that the two Hellcat sites be considered eligible for the National Register.

Each Hellcat site has at its center a visible piece of wreckage from the aircraft. One site includes a landing gear strut embedded in the earth and the other site also has a landing gear strut, as well as a piece of adjacent air-frame. The archaeologists excavated a limited number of test pits to confirm that the apparent trenches were in fact where much of the debris from the aircraft was buried. No material was removed from the site. Instead, the locations of the visible remains were mapped using GPS. In order to create a reasonable boundary for each impact site, a metal-detector survey was conducted, working outward from the visible remains. The most frequent and early “hits” were chiefly small fragments of sheet aluminum. After a certain point, the hits dropped off sharply, defining an edge to the debris field.

Both of the Hellcat sites, including the debris fields of 9 acres for one and 1.5 acres for the other, have been designated State Archaeological Preserves. A recent state-sponsored publication on these Preserves was authored by Bruce Clouette.

For more information on the Hellcat sites and the Preserves program, contact Dr. David A. Poirier (dave.poirier@po.state.ct.us).”

-Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology, Newsletter Number 65, October 2006

A busy Sunday

I’m starting Monday morning off a little tired. We had a busy day yesterday.

The boys went to their mother’s house in the morning, and I had about an hour to clean up breakfast and relax (that is, drink my coffee) before Susanna came home from church. Susanna and I then took the dogs for a walk into the woods, and spent some time trying to find the location of a airplane crash about a mile into the woods. In October 1944, two F6 Hellcat fighters were conducting night training and crashed. Both pilots were killed, and the wreckage is still in the woods in Preston. We found the crash site of one of the planes (after several wrong turns). I’ll have to post pictures later (no time this morning).

The hike took us all the way to lunch time. Of course Tucker ran off during the hike, but actually beat us home (which almost never happens, he usually wanders home an hour or two later). After lunch it was chore time. I headed to Home Depot to pick up a pair of 2×6 boards to sister the joist in the barn that was cracking, a pair of 6×6 posts to replace some rotted supports in the barn, and some concrete to pour footings for the new posts. However, the concrete needs to be kept above freezing for at least two days, and we had two cold nights forecast – so I held off on the concrete.

I was able to get the one joist repaired, but wasn’t able to get the second 2×6 put up (didn’t fit too well, and I didn’t have time to get it to fit). I also wasn’t able to replace the front post of the barn (no footing needed, it is already on concrete) – I may have better luck after I unload the lumber from the second floor of the barn. However, I was able to replace the middle post (and able to see how rotted the original really was). The next steps in that project will be to pour a footing for a fourth (an additional) support post (the middle post is not quite in the center of the beam). After the footing cures, I’ll add the support post.

In the meantime, I moved the entire stack of lumber over to one side of the bay in preparation of building a proper lumber rack. I’m a little too tired today to build the lumber rack tonight, and I need to sand the bookshelves and move them to the basement for finishing.

Last night was movie date night. Susanna and I went out for dinner and to see “The Descendants” in Mystic.

Alawa and Zephyr ( New York Wolf Conservation Center)

The boys watching the ambassador wolves at the NY Wolf Conservation Center

Today we drove to South Salem, NY to visit the Wolf Conservation Center.  There we spent about 30 minutes listening to various stories of wolves from mythology around the world.  Then we went outside to visit the wolves at the sanctuary. Will and Ben were excited to get to see wolves (and Will especially, since he loves wolves).

Outside we watched the arctic gray wolf, Atka as he was walked by on his way to an event in Rhode Island today (he visits 160 events a year off the sanctuary).  We then met two more grey wolves, Alawa and Zephyr and listened to a very informative talk about wolves and wolf behavior.

From the ambassador wolves (the more common gray wolves are not bred, but are kept as wolf ambassadors – never reintroduced to the wild and raised to be used to humans nearby), we headed up the hill to the pens with the pairs of Mexican gray wolves and the pen with the red wolves.  Here we learned that this center has two of the five (hopefully) captive breeding pairs of Mexican gray wolves in the world.  There are only approximately 400 of these wolves left, with most being in captivity.  The stock of Mexican gray wolves came from a total of 7 surviving wolves in the 1970s.  We were able to see the Mexican gray wolves from a distance, and on the way out, catch a glimpse of the red wolves.  The wild wolves are very timid around humans.

Overall, we had a great day.  It was a perfect visit and well worth the 2-hour drive each way.

Atka walking by on his way to Rhode Island