Dovetail Exercise

Dovetail details
Dovetail details

One of the (many) things that I don’t have a lot of experience with in the workshop is making dovetails. Many years ago I purchased a dovetail jig that should allow me to make perfect dovetails using a router. I just never used it and don’t even know if I have it still.

I have only used dovetails on a couple of projects – mainly the drawers on the two night stands that I made for the boys. And I wasn’t too happy with how they turned out. So I decided that it would be good to do a quick project just to practice dovetails. I got the project and instructions from Woodworking Masterclasses.

The project didn’t turn out too bad. The dovetails at the end were certainly better than the first few. Now I’ll just have to make small boxes a couple of times a year until I get comfortable cutting the dovetails. There are hundreds of ways to hand cut dovetails, so I gave Peter Sellers’ method a try (from the video). I liked some things from his video – such as his method of cutting out the waste. But I don’t think I really liked his method for marking out the depth of the cuts.

We didn’t really have a use for the box in the house, but there is always room for help organizing the workshop. Tonight I gave the box one coat of shellac and put it to use helping organize the sanding supplies. It looks like I could use a couple more boxes to help out that shelf.

I’m not sure what wood I used. It certainly wasn’t oak, cherry, or maple. It may have been ash or hickory. Though probably not hickory. So, I’ll go with ash. Because who doesn’t like a nice piece of ash.

The project didn’t take too long. I spent a couple of hours working on it around the other projects going on in the house/workshop. Maybe I’ll mill up some cherry and build a second one over the next couple of weeks.  I’ll have to make the next one deep enough it can hold the sandpaper rolls. And eventually maybe I can make one where the dovetails look good enough to put the box in the house.

Dovetail Caddy Complete.
Dovetail Caddy – holding an assortment of sanding blocks. Hiding behind the sanding blocks is a memory from my days on SSN 691.


Kids, Blogs and Email

I’m not really one to make scrapbooks, nor have I been good at keeping a paper journal for any period of time. However, I often wish that I was better at keeping a journal/scrapbook of my life. It is pretty cool to go back and see what I wrote when I was visiting Europe with my dad (one of the few times that I kept a journal). It is also fun to go back and dig through the box of pictures I took in the days before digital cameras. It is just difficult (at times) to remember the whole story behind the pictures.

I think the Internet can help. Or at least, I hope so. While Facebook, Instagram, and other social media can help us keep in touch with friends and families that spread across the globe, I don’t think they are that good from a perspective of a journal or scrapbook. I will admit that Facebook is trying when it brings up memories from years past in our feeds. But Facebook isn’t meant to be a journal nor a scrapbook.  Of course there are services that allow you to take your Facebook feed and turn it into a printed book – and that may help.

But this is where, at least for me, a blog comes into play. I use this blog as a journal and scrapbook. And yes it is public, so that may limit what I put in it. But it is also available for me to add to and look back on from almost anywhere.

So, in early 2012 I decided to try the same approach with Will and Ben. I registered domain names for them ( and and set them up their own blogs. Unlike this blog, theirs are password protected so only family and close friends can see what they post. I also figured that they could keep those domain names as theirs as they get older – as more people get domains it will be harder to get ones that are simple enough to remember.

They haven’t always loved writing, and most of the time I have to force/bribe them to write. But I try to get them to write a couple of times a month. But I think the result is well worth the effort. Since 2012, Will has written over 17,000 words in 300+ posts. Ben has written over 14,000 words in 250 posts. The posts don’t only cover what they do at this house (though it was mostly written here) and gives them a journal and scrapbook for over three years (and counting) of their childhood.

This month I’m trying something new. The blogs are mostly written by them, so it is their view of life. With a Isabella coming we decided that it would be good to allow us to write a private journal to the kids that they can read when they are an adult. So I set up email addresses for all three of them. Now the adults in their lives can send emails to the kids, and the emails will be held until they turn 18.  When they turn 18, I will give them the passwords to the email accounts and they can read what we wrote to them over the years. I know it will only be a couple of years for Will and Ben – but hopefully they will find it interesting to see what we wrote to them as they are teenagers. With Isabella, she should get 18+ years of emails from her parents and grandparents (and maybe even Will and Ben).

So, how hard is this to set-up? It isn’t difficult. You could go the free route and get a free blog at WordPress or Blogspot. You can get a free email account from Google or other provider. But even deciding to go the route of a custom domain name isn’t too expensive. Registering a domain name is less than $20/year depending on what company you use.  I am also able to host the sites and email accounts for less than $10/month – which includes multiple backups and a lot of space for pictures and email. The beauty of this approach is that when the boys grow up, I can hand them over their domain name, website and emails as one whole package.

Will’s Room Move (Finished)

Susanna is fighting a cold today, so we didn’t make it as far as I had hoped (i.e. I didn’t get the bookshelves built). But we made the top goal for the day – we moved Will into his new room. He loves it, and it is a much better fit than his previous room. Hopefully we can make his previous room a good fit for us…

The room this morning before moving Will's belongings in.
The room this morning before moving Will’s belongings in.
The room after we completed it. Susanna wound up doing the majority of the work this afternoon. Will helped put up pictures and posters when he got home today.
The room after we completed it. Susanna wound up doing the majority of the work this afternoon. Will helped put up pictures and posters when he got home today.


Picking Pumpkins (and Apples)

Yesterday morning we visited Holmberg Orchards in Gales Ferry to pick apples for the week and pick up some fall decorations (pumpkins). It was a beautiful day and the orchard was crowded, but well worth the trip.

Will, Ben and Grandma Mary selecting the largest pumpkins that the boys can pick up (the rule was that if they couldn't pick them up, we wouldn't get them).
Will, Ben and Grandma Mary selecting the largest pumpkins that the boys can pick up (the rule was that if they couldn’t pick them up, we wouldn’t get them).
The whole family enjoying the perfect fall weather at the apple orchard.
The whole family enjoying the perfect fall weather at the apple orchard. All 5 1/2 of us.