Monday, April 24, 2006

Boxing Day

Today is the last day of the Season on Non-Violence. I'm not exactly sure what the point is of The Season of Non-Violence, but it spans the time from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday to Mahatma Ghandi's, and it involves lighting a candle each Sunday and saying, "I choose peace," and then breaking into some Cat Stevens song about letting there be peace on earth. And it also is some kind of excuse to make veiled "Re-Defeat Bush" cracks under the guise of preaching.

The irony that Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) is no longer allowed in this country because of his active support for terrorism, and thus might make inappropriate music for the Season of Peace is lost along with the last two presidential elections, it would seem.

Next time, I get to pick the church.

HannieC and I got right back to building the boxes this morning. Right at about 1:00 after lunch. We went straight to OSH. Why to OSH? Well, it turns out that I got the wrong length nails to attach the sideboards to the outer bands at Southern Lumber yesterday. This is how all my projects go, so I plan on it. The Mrs. claims that I am an idiot, but I've been over at other people's houses when they've done projects, and it's the same. So I like to think I'm not an idiot. Or, perhaps, no bigger idiot than my idiot friends are.

I love OSH cuz it's still the kind of place that has bins of nails and bolts and washers, and you buy them by the pound. I figured I needed precisely 192 nails. These are little #3 1-1/4" nails. Shiny ones. Now, I can admit that I have no idea at all how much 192 nails of this type weigh. But they cost $0.99/lb. So I figured better safe than sorry, and I got two pounds.

As it turns out, that's probably about 500 nails. But hey, I didn't have to go back for more nails (again) in the middle of the project!

Now, last night after The Mrs. was telling me how she only wanted a box made of slabs of 2x12, I got to thinking how, since I'm already making fancy-schmancy boxes so they look nice, I ought to figure out a way to get more power tools involved. So far, I had only used the power miter saw and the drill. My favorite of all tools, the router, was sitting lonely in its router table in the garage. I got this great idea of putting a little 45 degree chamfer on the edges of the side slats where they come together. That way, instead of just a straight line where the two pieces abut, it'd be a little V-groove that would give the side some dimension.

So HannieC and I picked out a Bosch bearing-piloted 45 degree chamfer bit. Cost: $29.99.

And, hell, we were out, and OSH was also having a no sales-tax weekend, so I picked up a 30" circular Bistro table with a clay top and a couple matching woven chairs. The Mrs. has been wanting a little bistro set to put in the area of the yard that she calls "the bistro spot," which is an area I used to call "the Hawaii spot" cuz it had two lounge chairs and a bunch of tiki torches. But The Mrs. made me cut up the lounge chairs with my Sawzall and throw them out because they were "ugly". Then, during my sabbatical, I laid down a circle of flagstone that was left over from when we had the front yard re-landscaped. I got fancy, and I buried drip line in between each stone and planted Irish Moss in the cracks. The combination of Irish Moss and dripline seems to work well. It has been nearly a year since I put down the flagstone, so it was high time we got the Bistro set.

Anyways, back to the story. Here's a close-up of the side of one of the boxes. If you look closely, you can see the chamfer around the joint. It looks a little lighter than the wood around it. Hard to see in the photo, I know. These chafers were wicked simple to do. Once I loaded up the bit and set the depth and the fence, I zipped all the boards through the router table. We made a mini-production line where HannieC would pick up a board, look at both faces of it, decide which side was nicer, and hand it to me ugly-side up. I'd then zip it through both edges and stack it up in the "done" pile. We could do a board about every 8 seconds. I also taught HannieC how to use the router table, but then it took a lot longer cuz I had to help her quite a bit. She liked it.

HannieC helped me with pretty much everything. She did about half the nailing, where I'd start the nail, and she'd drive it home. I think I could have gone faster without the help, but I enjoy teaching HannieC how to do stuff, and she enjoys learning. It's like I'm a daddy or something. She also handled the gluing of the corner joints, and feeding me the 2x6 boards as I chopped them into the 1' length side-slats. Later in the day, HannieC looked over at me from her hammering job and said, "Daddy, with all the stuff you're teaching me, when I grow up, I'm going to be just like a man."

I almost sent her right inside to put on a dress, but she clarified that she meant she'd know how to build stuff. Not that she'd be "just exactly like a man."

We managed to finish the basic construction of both the boxes today. Here is the fambly posing in the first one. MaxieC is holding my tape measure, which he though was a sword. He did not actually help with the construction at all, unless you consider staying inside and out of the way "help". HannieC and I have our hammers. Note we are wearing our eye-protection because, as I explained to HannieC, it's a lot easier to put on your eye protection than it is to dig a piece of nail out of your eye. Plus, the yellow tint makes everything seem happier.

FreddyC has even gotten into the picture over on the left. The Mrs. took this photo, so she is not in it. I also hid my beer, because beer and power tools do not go together.

It was Olympia Beer. Their motto is "It's the Water." Next time, maybe mix in some beer with the water.

Here's the nightime shot of the two completed boxes. Cleanup is only half done. You can see my router table in the foreground. It's a Craftsman, though my router is a Porter-Cable. Sears had one hell of a deal on that table when I got it, even considering I had to buy an adapter plate to use a non-Craftsman router with it.

Now, an alert person would notice that there still seems to be a lot of lumber sitting on the ground unused. There are six 8ft. 1x3's. Those are for the top I'm going to make for each box. It'll be framed out of 1x3 with 2x2 posts at the corners (from yetserday's photo) and hardware cloth afixed to the frame. I plan to use my router to rabbet the 2x2's for a nice fancy joint. This'll be a job for next weekend.

I also still need to give the top of these boxes a once-over with the belt sander, and then hit the inner lip with a roundover bit from the router just to knock down the splinters. When everything is done, a coat of wood preservative will be applied. Then, I'll have to hoist the cap off the pickup and head to the dirt place for about a half-yard of either planting mix or compost. Haven't decided yet if I want to get it pre-mixed or mix it myself. So, I'm still about 2 weekends away from getting the garden in. Maybe I'll take a day off this week to finish up the projects.

Finally, I'd like to send a "get well soon" out to my boss, StinkyJ. He's managed to break some bone in his leg playing a children's game called soccer. Poor kid, has to stay home for 3 days with a cast and infant twins. That's probably even worse than my sabbatical. He's a regular reader, so you should all leave him your best wishes in the comments so he doesn't get all depressed and fire me or something.

1 comment:

CJ said...

how many projects did you finish during your sabbatical? I only did one and I have no plans to do anything in the remaining 1.5 days.

To the father of the twin infants - get well!