How long do you think I can keep this up. It amuses me, and now it is a challenge, so I guess the both of us will find out.

But that is not why I stopped here today. I stopped, as I always do, because I feel like writing something here. Nothing more than that. I like to think that you stopped by for that purpose, but I will never know the true motivations of my visitors.  So I just keep on keeping on – assuming that everyone who comes here does so because they just can’t get enough of my amazing grasp of pretty much everything, and the way I share it with such obvious good humor and boundless wit.

Speaking of wit, I would be amiss if I didn’t at least give faux attention to our current presidential cyclone collectorcontest. On one side is an obnoxious fool who has no real wits. By that I mean that he is, as some have mentioned a “damaged human being” and one that gives no apparent signs of intelligent life.

On the other side is a person who, on scant observation, has no wit. She seems to be very serious, to wit one has a hard time listening to her unrelenting seriousness.

There, I managed to get wit into sentences three different ways. I’m sure there are more, but I grow bored with the attempt.

Which brings me to another of my non sequitur segues.
Today I am coughing up a lung (good thing it’s only one – I have a spare). It’s because I insist on doing wood work in an enclosed space without adequate ventilation and no decent way of removing the sawdust from the air.

For years I have been threatening to get myself a commercial style dust collector cyclone system for the garage. The one I have my eyes on would never really fit in the space, but that is beside the point.

Cool Car ShowOkay, it’s not. But there are many smaller systems that will do the job just fine for the operation I have, and do it much more affordably.  Once again I put one on my list.

But there are so many other cool things to spend money on. I suppose that once again it will go on the list low down. Good thing I have that spare lung. I feel fine now. Thanks for asking.

Over again


I guess I’ve had a fascination with words since I was pretty young. These are some of the words that stick out when I think of the things that struck me when I was in school and reading all the time.

Ononatopoeia is still one of my favorites, and after all this time and who knows how many times reading it, I still never get the spelling right. It may be that the spelling fascinates me more than the definition.

Antidisestablishmentarianism is a word that at the time was told to me as the longest word in the English language. I don’t think it actually is, but it has stuck with me all this time.

And facade is the word I think of whenever I am tempted to giggle at the pronunciation some people come up with when it’s obvious that they have never heard the word spoken. Or at least have never managed to match the word they hear spoken with the one they have read. I don’t remember whether I ever used fa-kade in a sentence, but I do know that when I figured out how it was actually pronounced, I was quite embarassed.

And speaking of being embarassed by things that I didn’t have a grasp on when I was young… Given the level of achievement I have managed to attain in my woodworking career you might be forgiven thinking that I have a natural touch for that sort of thing. But any mastery I have gained is purely the result of repetition. When it came to shop classes I was sorely inept.

Anything having to do with working with my hands was beyond me. I was slow compared to others, and I did not manage to create beautiful things. Whether it was clay or metal, leather or wood, my projects were late, if they got done at all, and workmanlike at best. And that’s being generous.

I am glad that I have learned how to make things that don’t embarass me. And glad that I have reached the poing where I can afford tools like a 12 sliding compound miter saw, and actually have the skills to justify using them.

And that saw is one of the coolest, most practical, and in its way most versatile of woodworking tools. It can do things that no other common wood tool can, and at the same time do things that much larger tools can do only marginally better.

It is so fun to use that I am tempted to make up projects to use it on. The problem is that the things it is best used for is projects that involve, large, fancy and expensive peices of wood. That means that it does not get used as often as might be nice. At least not on personal projects.

Customer projects are another thing, and the fact is that the saw pays for itself quickly when a project justifies its use. Especially when it can be used on-site and save a trip back to the shop, with the wasted time involved.

Anyway. I have come far.


And yet again

Like a bad penny

-I keep turning up

If it wasn’t for bad luck

-I wouldn’t have any at all

When you come to a fork in the road

-take it

You get the idea, or maybe you don’t. Along with the other things I do, I enjoy word play. And I think the first place humor belongs is in the mind of the author. In other words if I think something is funny that’s what matters. If you think it’s funny too, that’s just gravy.  I like to make other people laugh. I do. But rarely enough to pander.

Which, of course, has nothing to do with anything. But this is my blog and I get to run it the way I want. And the thing I want to do today is talk about stuff. Stuff I get to play with. In this case, tools.

I have long been friends with the types of guys who like to do their own work on their own cars. I high-performance-car-engineenjoy it myself, and I usually have at least one wreck around that is old enough that you can see where the spark plugs are. Sometimes they even have a distributor. Again, besides the point.

The thing is that I have, over time, developed quite a serious tool addiction. And I have friends with equally serious addictions. Made worse by the fact that they have deeper pockets than I do. My first time playing with a mill was in a buddies garage. My first time welding was at another friend’s house. I learn more from them than they do from me, and that’s ok.

Some of those friends also share my enjoyment of the wood arts. Some of them do not. That too is ok. Some of the people with whom I bang on wood have not clue number one which end of a torque wrench to grab. So I get to help the car guys with wood and the wood guys with cars. Works out.

So this weekend I have a guy give me a call about refinishing his deck. The thing is pretty rough and I knew that some of the boards were going to need replacing. The original design of the deck had some really nice edging details, but those details called for some work with a router.

Fortunately, in addition to a couple of full sized routers I have come to own over the years I at one time bought one of my favorite tools. Its a compact router – one of those small routers that fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. It’s only a little larger than a dremel tool.

Routing_for_deck_platesThe thing that makes it such  pleasure to own is that it is a miniature version of a regular router. As a practical matter it does everything that any other router  is likely to do while hand held, though perhaps a bit slower. When it comes to many of the things that I need to do with wood in the field it is actually a much better choice. It is easy to handle and control in any orientation – something that you can’t do practically with a top heavy full sized router.

The palm router I own has most of the features available on larger models. It has variable speed and soft start. It will only handle 1/4″ shaft bits (having to double up on bits may be the only fault with owning one) but that really doesn’t matter. Most bits are available with both size shafts. Except for the huge bits that you would only use in a good sized router table anyway.

Bonus. I get to help a friend. I get to do cool stuff with detail work on a deck. And I get to pay with one of my favorite tools.

A good and fully stocked shop is one of the small pleasures in life. A pleasure that I am happy to be able to fully nurture. Not all addictions have to be bad.

Another Day

Now that I have a whole bunch of the best words under my belt, I feel truly ready to share more of my thoughts with you all. Or all y’all. I’m never quite sure of the correct version. I never understood why when y’all, in and of itself includes everyone, why there is even such a phrase as all y’all. There is more of everyone than everyone? So much so that you need a new term that includes all of everyone and not just everyone? Just writing it makes me dizzy.

Nevermind. I guess my oratorical skills are not yet up to the task.

Perhaps I should just stick with doing stuff and using stuff and leave the heavy thinking to those who make a habit of it. College professor’s and all. Not that I ever have that good control of my tongue, or in this case my fingers. I’ll not promise to keep my thoughts to myself.

Truth is that I do enjoy working with my hands more than I do anything else. I have tried other things, and I actually am more successful at those things, mostly because I  have more faith in my ability to do them than I am in my skills as a craftsman. All evidence to the contrary.

Not my internal evidence, I still do not seem to possess the skills that I wish I did. Very few things I do turn out the way I would like them to. But I have some repeat customers, customers who don’t suffer fools, who seem to think I do just fine.

I guess that as long as I can keep myself busy enough to keep a roof over my head, food in the pantry and tools in the shop, I have nothing to complain of. There are  places in the world where I would be considered very rich indeed.

Don’t all y’all agree?

First Day

Things I love – getting out and playing with the pups

          – kids

    – exercise (don’t know why)

    – burritos

Things I hate – bigots

– negativity

– laziness (takes one to know one)

– brussel sprouts

Okay, now that that’s out of the way and you have a little insight into what makes me tick. I’ll let you know what else makes me tick. Building stuff. I love to get my hands dusty. Dusty, not dirty so much. When I can finish a hard day tired and look at what I’ve done, that’s a good day.

So I thought that since I am a doer I needed to work a little bit on my thinker. And to do that I have decided to start this here blog where I can put down my thoughts from time to time. Sometimes it helps to set things down on paper so that you can have a look at it. When I was a young un sometimes I would journal. When I went back to look at what I had written a while before, I gained some surprising insights into what I was about. Perhaps this will do the same thing for me.

Or maybe it will be just a place for me to tell the world (as if it cares) about what is going on, and to be a welcome diversion from the day to day hand work that I so love. Absence make the sawdust taste sweeter maybe. So look for more in this spot.