Learning to play with wood

June 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm (Uncategorized)

For probably well over a decade or more, I’ve had this interest in woodworking.
In fact, during a phase of unemployment I went through about eight or nine years ago, I had applied to be an apprentice at a local cabinetmaking company.
I didn’t get the position, mainly because they wanted somebody who at least had some experience with it (which I didn’t), and since I’ve lived in apartments since being in my early 20’s there really just hasn’t been anywhere to practice it.

But a little while ago I was down in the basement here at the house, took a look at a workbench that was used by a prior owner that was just covered with junk by LabGirl, and that little spark of interest ignited again.

I went out and bought a bunch of power tools, stuff I’d had my eye on but had no use for in apartment living.
Bought Craftsman brand saws, a circular saw and a jig saw. Haven’t used the circular saw much yet but it appears to work fine, and the jigsaw has been a workhorse.
I then blew a bunch of cash over at Harbor Freight, buying mostly odds-and-ends like clamps, screwdrivers, chisels, rasps, etc etc etc, and did buy a couple of power tools, a corded drill, and a small rotary tool.
The rotary tool is a total piece of crap, but the drill does a fairly decent job, especially for the price. Will probably end up posting reviews of many of these since there don’t appear to be much along those lines out there on the ‘net already and the store’s web site I’ve noticed doesn’t like to post negative reviews (I thought it was cool when they finally updated their web site to allow reviews at all a couple of months ago, only to discover it doesn’t really matter because every time I’d write a negative review on something they’d never post the review).

So far I haven’t really done anything significant – mostly “handyman” type stuff around the house – I did build two collapsible sawhorses, which came out pretty good, this one, and another I added a 6″ wide “flat top” to:

Let’s see, what else was I inspired to do around the house…. umm I got the pocket door in the kitchen working again, which was a major pain in the ass and required taking the door frame apart to get at it, along with lots of struggling and trial and error with “universal” roller/caster parts available at the hardware stores.
Replaced the screening on the sliding patio door including a new cat-proof framing system.
Replaced all of the door moulding that LabGirl tore off sometime before I moved in during a fit of new homeowner fixer-upper excitement that didn’t make it to completion.
Removed several large bushes & stumps in front of the house.
OH, and I almost forgot – I cat-proofed my computer desk – for some reason the cat LOVES the wiring behind the desk and was constantly getting back there, and would constantly fight with me over it whenever I tried to keep him out of there. So – viola!:

It’s really nothing more than a piece of scrap plywood I found in the basement that I cut to fit the opening in the back panel fo the desk, along with a couple of hinges & a handle so I could access the wiring back there when I needed to.
It didn’t take long for me to discover that I would also need to put barriers on the sides of the desk towards the back, because now the cat would just try to go in from the side instead of from underneath – so those “wings” were added shortly after.

My current project is a test to see how hard it would be to sand & re-stain the kitchen cabinets to hopefully help them look a little more modern – mostly on the back of one of the less-used doors right now.

I have tons of plans bookmarked to try out, including stuff like patio furniture, a pergola for the back yard, etc – but as it turns out, wood costs money, and the paychecks have been a little more slim than usual lately so I’ve had to hold off.
Maybe something a little more small/simple for the time being like a bird feeder or something 🙂

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Proposals, Engagements, and Other Such Mushy Stuff

June 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm (Dating and Girls)

So I suppose I should attempt to write an actual entry about this 😛

On May 17th it was 2 years to the day since LabGirl and I first met over a cup of coffee, in a little cafe nearby.
We got our wraps and our drinks, and an obnoxiously rich dessert.

And over dessert the talk got a little mushy-like, and we talked about how great the last couple of years had been,
I told her that I would really like spending forever with her.
She returned the sentiment.
I told her that was great, because I had something on my mind I had been meaning to ask her.
Which was when I put a little box with a pretty little ring in it in front of her, and asked her if she would marry me.

She kinda put her hands over her mouth, got really choked up, and managed to get out an “of course!” before trying on the ring:

Looks like the wedding is going to be October 2011!

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Harbor Freight’s new web site “forgets” to post the bad reviews

June 11, 2010 at 6:35 am (Uncategorized)

I was pretty happy to see that Harbor Freight finally updated their web site to allow customers to post product reviews. Considering *many* of the tools they sell are crap, this is much needed to allow for a better informed customer.

However, what’s NOT needed is for the site to skew the ratings to a dishonestly high rating because they fail to post the bad ratings.

Prime example: I’ve bought several of their power tools, and posted reviews for many of them about a week ago, most in the 3-4 star range because I’ve been pretty content with most of them.

However, among my purchases was this “80 piece rotary tool kit” (Item #97626):

It is seriously the 2nd shittiest tool I’ve ever bought, right behind a useless rechargable screwdriver that runs out of power in about 5 minutes and doesn’t let you keep the charger plugged in for more than a few hours without worrying about catching something on fire, which would be my #1 (and was also purchased at Harbor Freight).
Anyway, this one I gave 1 star, along with a detailed explanation of why.
My 3&4 star reviews have been posted for days now. The 1 star review has yet to be posted.
Nice.
I had been thinking of posting reviews on this web site anyway back when they didn’t have customer reviews on the site, due to the varying quality of their products. Looks like I may have to continue planning on that, considering how they apparently are going to be “selective” about which reviews they allow to be shown on the site.

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