Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Best Laid Plans

Life has a funny way of thwarting plans and dreams. There was a cruel twist of fate at the beginning of this year and it has put everything on hold. It has just been in the last couple of weeks that I have forayed into the shop, and things out there are not going well either. It seems to be one step forward three steps back. I need this dark cloud to pass.

We are working on a bench that doubles as a hidden cat litter home. Progress is slow and things go awry more often than not. I will post some pictures on a day when things have gone well, if that ever happens. The very first cut I made for this project was wrong. I need to get my head back in the game.

This morning I went out there and the first thing I tried was to router a piece of wood only to have it ripped from my fingers, thrown across the room and smashed into pieces. I called it a day at that point.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to D&P Woodworks!

It's the start of the new year and the beginning of my foray into self employment as a woodworker. This venture will start with a major shop overhaul next week. I expect it to take a couple of weeks at least and probably longer. There is a plan I drew up but I may have been too optimistic about enough storage for all the tools and sundries we already have in the shop. It will require a lot of purging and several tweaks to get it just right.

The rest of my plan involves building some cabinetry we need for the house. I will use it to showcase my work online and in other advertising venues. And of course we will still make our cutting boards and Peg will continue with her scroll saw creations.

Last night during our New Year's Eve celebrations I was discussing my plans with a friend who offhandedly commented that she had never seen my work. Say what? I was really taken aback by this as a t the time we were sitting at the very bar I built, and she has seen the numerous other projects we have done around the house. I wasn't sure if I should take it as a compliment or an insult and it left me a bit bewildered. Is it just that the things I have built blend so seamlessly into our home that she forgot they were my creations, or did she feel them unworthy of being salable? Perhaps it was just one too many glasses of champagne on both our parts.

While I admit I am not an expert woodworker by any means, I am confident I can hone my skills and continue to build and create beautiful projects. By this time next year I will know whether or not it will be new lifelong career. I am excited about getting started! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Into The Future

At the end of this year I will be officially unemployed, another victim of Obama's patriot act, my employer is moving back to the US - and Thailand. After 28 years I am forced into early retirement, but I am far too young to retire. Although I did enjoy my work career, when I started woodworking I realized I had followed the wrong path and felt I was doomed to have my true passion be nothing more than an occasional hobby. But by some mysterious divine intervention I am now offered the chance to follow the path I hope I was destined for. There is no real niche in woodworking that I intend to follow, it will be a laissez-faire path where I can hone my skills as necessary. I will allow myself 12 months to see if I can eke out a living in woodworking, and failing that I will simply look for work elsewhere.
There is no fear of failure right now. Just a wonderful sense of freedom and hope. See you in 2015!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Beating Malware

I take a lot of pride in keeping my computers, tablet and smart phone free from malware and viruses. There are a few basic tools I use and recommend and all of them are FREE! They all have versions you can pay for, but the free ones have always worked well for me.
But a few weeks ago my computer picked up a really annoying bug. It caused all kinds of pop-ups for some video down loader program, "you might also enjoy reading" ads, and some League of Angels game pop up windows in Firefox. I used all the above tools but could not get rid of it. Then I also discovered it infected Internet Explorer and my Steam games as well.
I did numerous online searches for a fix but nothing seemed to work. I avoided all the "SpyHunter" and other pay-to-fix software that came up in the searches as these are usually a complete waste of time and money.
In my own sleuthing on my computer I noticed the malware kept changing the proxy server in my browsers, and even when I changed the settings they would revert back. I tried a couple of registry hacks but even that didn't resolve it.
I finally stumbled on a page that lead me to ComboFix from Bleeping Computers. I installed and ran the program, and in about 15 minutes I had resolved the issue! This has been one of the worst forms of malware I have come across and I sincerely thank the makers of this FREE program for providing a quick and so far painless fix.
One other word of caution when you have issues like this. Before you run any cleaners or make any major changes to settings or the registry, CREATE A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT FIRST!!!! These programs don't usually delete or damage any legitimate programs or files on your computer, but always better safe than sorry. Happy Computing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Bar

It took MUCH longer than I planned but the bar finally is finally DONE! There were a LOT of mistakes made, I won't torture myself and point them out, but overall I am reasonably happy with it and it functions perfectly. The pictures from my crappy Canon camera DO NOT do it justice. It really is much nicer looking up close.
 It was built from spalted wormy maple and maple veneer ply. Oak was my first choice but I got a great deal on all the maple so maple it is! We finished it with an Early American stain and two coats of satin poly.

I found a bar online that was similar then I just made up my own plans in Google Sketch Up. Now I need to build some proper stools for it!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Good Day...FInally!

The weather has been putting the kibosh on building anything. I need to plane and cut lumber outside because I have no room in the shop. This is a really sad thing. As it is when I do get it all prepped I will have to assemble things somewhere else in the house. This is NOT a good thing either. But for the moment that's where it's at.
I have been working on the new media center PC in the meantime. Again I am reminded of why I got out of the computer business. 31 days after I purchased all the parts the MSI Twin Frozer HD 7850 video card FAILED! I was livid because of course you can't return items to Tiger Direct after 30 days. But I took it back anyway, trying very hard not to explode as I talked to the technician. They were actually very good about it (perhaps the smoke coming from my ears and the blood running from my eyes had something to do with that) and simply exchanged the card for me. I got the 4 TB Seagate SATA III hard drive and a SanDisk 120GB Ultra Plus SSD drive installed as well. The performance has gone from 5.9 to 7.7 on the Windows Experience scale. SWEET!
I have been loading music and TRYING to fix my music library but it`s not easy. Downloading music has it`s caveats such as bad metadata, bad spelling, and bad quality. Every time I make changes to my library I have to update it in SONOS until which things in Sonos don`t work like they are supposed to. I have almost 20,000 songs, most of which I ripped (improperly) from my 300+ CD collection. I have downloaded several FLAC collections as well - again not always properly tagged. I have been scouring the web for software to help me fix it all. Media Monkey was highly recommended but I had to do most of the changes manually. Then I found Jaikoz Audio Tagger. This software is a TOTAL ass saver! The auto correct feature works like magic for fixing tags and metadata including artwork. The trial version will only let you save 20 songs per session, which would be fine if you have a small library, but it works so well I bought it after trying it out on about 100 files. It will still take some time to fix it all - but this software ROCKS!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Finally Making Furniture!

The rec room is no longer "wrecked" but our bank account has been destroyed! We have most of the renovations done and are in the process of putting things back. Despite having knee replacement surgery right in the middle of the reno, we managed to keep going. Now I finally get to start making furniture!
The renovations included a new Ceilume PVC drop ceiling, 17 new StandardPro LED down lights, a new pendant light for over the new bar I am going to build, new Drop and Done vinyl flooring for the bar area, new Shaw stain master carpet for the rest of the room, new Graber wood venetian blinds and a fresh coat of paint. We also got some beautiful new Arts and Crafts Industries mission style furniture. The bank breakers were a new Sonos sound system and a new Media Center computer.
We are very happy with the choices we made, and despite some trying moments, we did pretty much all the work ourselves except for patching the ceiling drywall when we removed the old fluorescent lights and installing the carpet. The spouse got a major education in wiring because I wasn't able to go up and down the ladder to install the lights. We certainly saved a ton of money doing it ourselves. But it's hell when your whole house is destroyed for 3 - 4 months.
The new Sonos system is kick ass! We got the Playbar, sub woofer, 2 play 3's and the bridge. We wanted wireless and portability and Sonos delivers that and much more. The media center computer was supposed to just go away, but with this Sonos system there is so much more we can do with the computer that it needed an upgrade. Instead we just went with a whole new system. It's not your "normal" media center PC - it's housed in a Cooler Master HAF XB case and includes a ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0 motherboard, AMD FX 8320 Black Edition 3.5GHz processor, Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600, and an MSI Twin Frozer R7850 video card running Windows 7. There are a few more goodies going into it in a couple of weeks.
The 3 pieces of furniture I need to build have been revised, revised and re-revised. The plans are still not finalized for the wall unit and the guitar cabinet but the bar plans are done and I will be starting it next week.
The knee is doing well and I am so happy to finally be out of agony with it. I go back to work in 3 weeks. Hopefully I'll at least get the bar finished by then.