Sunday, March 25

Friday, March 23rd

My woodworking time today allowed me to get the stand sanded and finished.  Then I discovered (remembered) that I did not poly the table tops on the set I had on hand.  Most of the time we do this to protect them against careless use - but we do get some requests from furniture purists who don't want their furniture plastic coated, they prefer to treat it like fine furniture and enjoy the lacquer finish alone.

The folks who ordered this set did not say anything about that so I'd best poly the tables.

It is spring in the Smokies, so it's raining.  It does that for about a month.  The high humidity makes everything dry more slowly, but I should be able to get these tables packed this weekend and ready to ship out on Monday.

Thursday, March 22

Thursday March 22nd

This afternoon I finished the finish sanding, this evening I'm shooting lacquer.  But, it's raining, so the lacquer is drying very slowly.  It's a;most 10:00 PM, I'm going to have to head home or get locked out for the night!!

Wednesday, March 21

Wednesday, March 21st

Wednesdays are always busy days around here, but this one was especially so as this nebulous and unpredictable thing called life interrupted.  I did not get as much as I had hoped done on the stand, but did make some pretty good progress.  I completed all the parts making and got the stand assembled.

Now come all the sanding and finishing work.  But it's getting quite late; I'll get a fresh start on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20

Tuesday, March 20th

My woodworking time today was spent milling parts blanks for the TV Tray Table Set I'm working on.
This involved taking the rough-cut chunks of board from yesterday, using the jointer to flatten one face and edge, the surface planer to smooth the opposite face and bring the wide faces parallel to one another and the part to proper thickness, then finally trim the blank to proper width and length on the table saw.

The templates are then used to lay out the shape of the parts on the blanks.  I use masking tape in critical areas - those were I will be drawing shapes - because pencil lead does not show up well on dark woods like walnut.

I also punch centers for holes that are to be bored.  With all that done, it's a good point to stop for the night.  (it's 9:00 anyway; late enough since I'll to be up at 4:00 tomorrow) We'll pick it up from here tomorrow.

Monday, March 19

Monday, March 19th

Most of the day, being a Monday, was spent on the radio program, web site updates, bookkeeping and system back-ups. 

The afternoon was spent digging-in a couple of the many garden boxes I've built.  But that would be digging in dirt and not woodworking, so it is not a topic to be covered here.  Check out Simple Life Prattle for details on that.

I worked at that until 7:00, had dinner with Marie then went to the workshop.  Over the weekend we received an order for a two-table set of TV Tray Tables - which are not complete (I got sidetracked with stuff like the Pew Project, garden boxes, tree trimming, etc, etc, etc... ).
So I spent the evening clearing the decks for new action, finding the tables and parts I do have made up, getting out the template set and locating walnut stock for the parts I have to make. 

Because that order has been paid for it needs to be a priority, working late nights until it's done.  And then I ought to work more late nights to make up another set.

One Pew is shortened, the other is yet to be done, neither has been refinished because we're not sure what's going to be done with that yet, and Tammy is out of town for two weeks.  Details are in The Pew Project post.

Now it's 9:15, I'm tires and sore and in major need of a shower.  More tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14

Wednesday, March 14

I spend the morning working on The Pew Project, Go to that article to check out the update.  This afternoon I'll build more garden boxes and haul them out to the garden.  My grape plants arrived too so I'll be needing to built a grape trellis pretty soon.  The rest of my plans for today involve gardening and are not suited to this blog.

Tuesday, March 13

Tuesday, March 13th

Yesterday was, as always is on Mondays, the day I produce our weekly radio program, burn it to CD and mail it off to the radio station.  Then move on to maintaining web sites for my various clients on that front, do all my system back-ups, and finally get caught up on bookkeeping and bills.  That's Mondays.

Today I get to work on The Pew Project some.  Those details will be added to that project post (click here to go to The Pew Project)  This will open in a new tab/window for you.

Today I've also been working with my new editor at Grit Magazine to polish up their version of my blueberry boxes article, and I will continue building boxes this afternoon.  So, check out The Pew Project, and I'll see you again tomorrow!

Thursday, March 8

Thursday March 8th

I got my blueberry box all dug out and the base flattened. Rolled the box upside down and got the roll of landscape fabric from the barn. RATS! It’s 3 foot wide fabric, I need 4 foot.
I called Wilton Springs, “Oh, sure we have that stuff.”
“Do you have it in 4 foot widths, and do you have it in stock?”
“I know we’ve got it in stock, not sure about the width, let me check ... it’s all the 3 foot width.”
"Sigh.  Thanks anyway."
For the past couple of years any time I go into Wilton Springs hardware, which is just down the road from us, they are out of whatever it is I need that day. They are chock full of stuff I *don’t* need that day, but whatever it is I’m needing; they just ran out. Boggling!  But they are really great people to deal with, even if my quest ends in frustration.
So I borrowed (stole) Mom’s car and drove into Newport and Lowes. They had the 4 foot fabric and the T50 staples I needed for my staple gun. Bought that and went home to complete the job.
I cut the pieces for the extended sides, bored them for pocket holes and screwed them to the top of the main box. This added height is just for water deflection, not added soil depth.
I then built another 4x8 box and laid it out next to the one I just finished. I need to repeat the digging-in process for it, then I’ll start on the 12 4x4 boxes.
But first I’m going to eat my lunch. Yepper, I’m gonna have me a samich an a apple, an meby a Dew. Yepper, thas a just wat I’ll do.
After lunch it will probably be raining, so I'll finish finishing those bag handles and wrap them up for the stock shelf.

Wednesday, March 7

Wed. March 7th

Today I'm completing the sanding and beginning the lacquering of 5 pair of bag handles in walnut.
I'll post them as available on the web site later today.

I went to Lowes to get more lumber for garden boxes, but the aisle I needed to get into was blocked off for a forklift - which no one was using.  In fact no one was in the aisle at all.  I can go to another lumber yard, but it's way out on teh edge of town.  No time today, no truck until the weekend.  So maybe Saturday.

Tuesday, March 6

Back By Popular Demand

I've recently had several people ask why I'm not posting Shop Notes articles like I used to.  I explained that - but they want to know what's going on anyway.  While this is not a thundering herd of people, it is enough.  And, this blog is the most popular of the 4 I run and sell through Kindle.  Can't disappoint those folks.

Updates to the Pew Project will be added to that post.  I'll mention them here, so you know it's there (blogger does not send out a notice or update the RSS feed when a post is updated, only when a new one goes up.) But I'll toss out some notes on my daily activities in (more or less) daily posts as well.

Because woodworking is no longer what I do 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, not everything I talk about will be woodworking technique, but I will try to talk about only the woodworking related stuff.

Yesterday (Monday) was the day I do our weekly radio program.  Nothing woodworking related about that.  Moving on.

Today I split my time between sanding bag handles and building a garden box.

I have at least one person wanting bag handles, but we're sold out of those, so I need to make up more.  I have a whole shelf full of them cut out and routed, so all I have to do is sand and finish them.  But sanding is the tedious part.

I start with a fixture I made that has pins that fit into the slots to hold the handles in place so I can sand the flat faces with a random orbit sander.
I'll start with 120, then work through 150, 180 and 220 grit papers.
As I work through each grit with the sander, I hand sand the curved edges with the same grit.  This is the tedious part, and my hands cramp up pretty quickly.
When my hands get sore, I take a break and work on the garden box.  This one is 8 feet long and 4 feet wide.  All of my previous garden boxes are 4x4, but this one is specifically for a group of blueberry bushes and needs to be bigger.  I'm building it out of 2x8" lumber and fastening the corners together with coated deck screws.  I'm using untreated lumber to prevent the "treatment" from leeching into the soil in which I'm growing our food.

I'll alternate back and forth between building and mounting the box and sanding bag handles.
Once the box is built I lug it out to the area I'll be expanding our garden into.  this is normally the simple part: Just tack some weed cloth on the bottom and flop id down on top of the grass. But we live on a mountain and have to do things a bit differently.  To prevent all the special soil from washing out of the box in a heavy rain (which we get often here) I have to dig the box down into the dirt to level it up.  I start by going around the outside of the box with a pick to mark the location.  Then I use the broad blade of the pick axe to dig a trench into which the rails of the box will sit.  I can set the box in place every now and then, check it with a level and know where I need to dig more out.
Here I'm almost done, I just need to remove the rest of the grass and dirt from inside the box, use some of it to build up around the downhill side and toss the rest into the garden cart to be hauled away.

I dig in the upper side, build up the lower side.  If I were to dig it in completely the high corner would need to be dug in about 16" deep.

As it is I'll need to add a second run of lumber along the upper two sides to make sure water running down the hill won't wash out my fancy dirt and fill the box with grass, leaves and mud.

Over the next couple of weeks I need to build another 4x8 box and 10 more 4x4 boxes.  We're going to be raising some for selling at the local farmer's market this year; that's one of the way's I'm replacing the lost income from flat-lined furniture sales.