Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing Shop Catch Up

In between all the major events occurring in my life at the moment I have actually be somewhat productive in the shop. I was fortunate enough to meet a great lady online who is an extremely talented wood turner. She has been coaching me in many aspects of woodworking for a couple of months and things are progressing nicely. She instilled enough confidence in me to turn my first pen! Even with my cheap MasterCraft lathe and my bargain basement lathe tools I think the first one came out not too bad.

The spouse and I have signed up for a pen turning class at Lee Valley in January, and I have even signed up for a lathe tool sharpening seminar. That was right after I completely ruined a skew chisel on the grinder. Compound angles are certainly not my forte.

The spouse has finally been bitten by the shop bug and has been busy making all sorts of things on the scroll saw. There are 2D and 3D Christmas ornaments, a small box with fretwork sides, and even a couple of Christmas trees. The scroll saw classes from Lee Valley have really paid off!

The spouse was the one originally interested in using a lathe, and now that the scroll saw is working out so well, the lathe interest has peaked again. But of course my little MasterCraft lathe just won't do. Busy Bee has a Delta 46-455 Lathe on sale for $399.00 right now so we are giving that to ourselves for Christmas. There will have to be some new lathe tools and accessories included in that package as well.

Unfortunately my schedule at work has changed significantly and in the New Year I will be working 5-7 days a week again so shop time will be very limited. I'll have to become one of those Weekend Project Warriors. Still it will be very nice to have the shop to unwind in for a couple of hours after work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Ops Bleak

So the much anticipated Black Ops has been had. I have to dig deep into the vocabularic chest for words to describe the DISAPPOINTMENT. How come EVERY piece of this game felt canned:? Repetitive game play is almost TOO NICE for this failed sequel. The WAY TOO MUCH VIDEO part of the game? was the only part that kept me interested in the storyline. I know Activision was not so much selling a game to us TRUE gamers as selling another avenue to the multiplayer fans. And am I delusional or are the graphics in this game not ANYWHERE NEAR ON PAR with those of the first two episodes of this production? WHAT THE HELL did I pay $60.00 of my hard earned dollars for? Crappy graphics, canned game play, garbage flight simulation? ACTIVISION.. WHY???? such a big letdown after you had us so firmly in your grasp? I hope you enjoy my $60.00 because you will not see ONE MORE CENT from me until you PROVE you are not going to insult my gaming integrity like this again. And Zombies????? WHAT??? Are you on drugs??? Anyone who hasn't bought into this yet.. DON'T! Multiplayer fans.. stick to MW2 or COD4 . They don't deserve your money.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's All That!

I have had a few days to play with my new ASUS G73JH-X3 laptop and I still have to say THIS LAPTOP ROCKS! I finally finished playing Frontlines: Fuel of War and am getting better at Gears of War, but it's still kind of complicated. This thing just eats games for breakfast! But in all fairness I have found some things I dislike about it.

First the disk partitioning. What was ASUS thinking? You have 2 320 GB hard drives partitioned into 4 parts: 75 GB for the OS. SERIOUSLY? Windows updates will fill that up in no time flat! 2 x 150 GB. WHY? and then one large 205 GB partition. None of it makes sense. The only way to fix this is to reformat and repartition the drives. UGH!

The other disappointment is 640 GB is just NOT ENOUGH. I can't believe I am actually saying that but in the process of trying to move the files from my old computer to my laptop I am technically already out of room. The only thing to do is buy bigger hard drives and START OVER. If I do decide to go that route, I will be buying two 2 TB drives. If I run out of room with that, I should give up computing.
As a work around in the mean time I bought a Thermaltake BlacX Duet SATA docking station. It will only be good for drives storing data as it's too slow for gaming. But it will give me a way to save all that crap I never have time to sort through.

I finally found some time to get out in the shop today. I didn't get a lot accomplished but it felt good all the same. I have a little restoration project I am working on and I'll posts some pictures as soon as I get a new digital camera. The Sony is dying fast. Between this camera and the Handycam I have learned a very valuable lesson: DO NOT BUY SONY PRODUCTS! They don't last and Sony has LOUSY product and software support. They are on my official boycott list. Canon, Nikon, Fuji are all on my maybe list.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Game ON!

So another birthday has come and gone. What would you expect any sensible woman who just turned 51 to ask for on her birthday? A FREAKING AWESOME GAMING LAPTOP of course! While I love both of the gaming systems I lovingly built, it's time to downsize now that I am out of the computer repair business. My Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop is fine for daily stuff, but it's no gamer. I looked long and hard at the Alienware line of gaming laptops, but every time I configured what I wanted, I was up over $3000.00! OUCH! Not to mention that the Dell website is SLOW AND DYSFUNCTIONAL and really pissed me off!

I happened on an article about ASUS's line of gaming laptops and was extremely impressed. The price range gave Dell some serious competition as well. And when offered the ASUS G73JH-X3 for $1599.00 this past weekend I was ON IT! It just so happens they opened a new retail store in London so I went to take a look and was instantly SOLD!

The Caveat Emptor here is some serious research is needed before you purchase this laptop. Fortunately I read all the reviews and discovered this laptop does not come without BUGS! However thanks to this thread on the notebook review forums I was able to apply all the fixes right from the get go. Now I have to say this is A FREAKING AWESOME GAMING LAPTOP!

First game install? Well you know everyone asks "But can it play Crysis?". It shreds Crysis, Crysis Warhead, COD MW2, and probably anything else you can throw at it. I maxed the settings right from the start, left everything running in the background and not even a hiccup! MAN I LOVE THIS MACHINE!

Setting it up and applying all the fixes took the better of 4 hours. The LONGEST part was creating the back up DVD's because of course it doesn't come with any Windows install disks. That alone took almost 2 hours! Ridiculous! Then there is the removal of all the bloatware and the numerous Window's 7 updates. And of course applying all the fixes. But the end result is WELL worth it!

While the specs alone are impressive enough, using and playing on this laptop is incredible! The 17.3" screen is ample real estate for intense game play. And while laptop speakers usually FAIL, this unit boasts a built in subwoofer. It won't rumble your rec room, but it is still pretty impressive sound from a laptop.

Before buying this system, I was hesitant about giving up my desktop gaming system, especially hesitant about parting with my 28" monitor. 1 day after purchase I can honestly and easily say " Anyone want to buy a great used gaming system or 2?"

So there should be SOME cons about the G73 right? Well, the bug fixes are a nuisance, but if you follow the above thread you will breeze through them. I read complaints about the keyboard, but haven't experienced any problems. An option for coloured back lighting on the keyboard instead of plain white would have been nice, but I have since seen a creative fix for this as well. I read complaints about the weight of this unit. People... it's BIG! It's not a "netbook"! And if you think this unit is heavy you haven't picked up my Dell 5150 which I swear is weighted with LEAD! I don't think it's all that heavy for the size of it. The screen is VERY glossy, but man is it a nice sharp picture! It is full HD 1080P after all! And yes there were some complaints about heat. NOT! This thing is well fanned and vented. For the hardware this baby is packing I think it runs pretty damn cool. What did get hot was the power brick. I suspect there will be issues with that down the road. The only SERIOUS con about this machine is battery life. You aren't going to be gaming very long without electricity. I don't think there is any solution to that when you have this kind of power and hardware under the hood.

All in all, this is probably the BEST birthday present I have ever bought myself. And if anyone is looking for a SERIOUS gaming laptop THIS IS IT! Move over Dell, ASUS is in da house!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just Say NO!

I have spent the last couple of weeks back in the computer repair business. I DO NOT WANT to be in the computer repair business anymore. Every time I say I am not fixing anymore computers someone calls with another one to fix. STOP THE MADNESS!

It's just a simple matter of saying NO isn't it? It would be simple if I had someone else I could refer them to. Other then myself I have not met an HONEST computer technician yet. So if you are out there and you are an HONEST and reasonably priced computer technician in the London/St. Thomas area please contact me. I have LOTS of work for you. But if you scam or overcharge ONE of my referrals, I will publicly verbally flog you until you never fix another computer EVER!

I want to get back into my shop and actually do some woodworking. I have been out of there for so long I have forgotten most of what I actually have in there and probably how to use most of it. Today I started doing an inventory database of everything in the shop. This could take a while. It seems I have accumulated quite a large amount of wood and metal working tools and equipment. This isn't including all the sundries like sandpaper, screws, nails etc. Maybe one day I will inventory all that too. It will be a very long list!

Tomorrow I have one more computer to fix and one other repaired computer to deliver. I have one more previously promised house call to make to setup a wireless system in a couple of weeks. But other then that I am DONE. SO NO, NADA, NOT, NAY, I CANNOT fix your computer. If you don't ask I won't have to cave and say yes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where in the World is Deb?

I'm still out here. Summer has been hotter then hell and busier then a wet hornet nest. It's already September. I don't feel as if I have accomplished anything but the last two months have been a blur of activity. Woodworking? What's that? I started several small projects and finished NONE. For the first time I am almost looking forward to SNOW!!

I have spent a lot of time indoors because of the heat. The shop was a sweat box so I couldn't be out there either. I did a lot of computer repairs and not much else. Feels like another wasted summer. But the weather left me little choice. We have suffered through another scorching heat wave this past week. It really makes you think global warming is not the ugly rumour some purport it to be.

Hopefully the temperatures will level out in the next few weeks and I can get back in the shop. I do miss it. And I really have no love for computers anymore. Seasons change.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Car Rant

When we bought the car we paid extra for the dealer recommended rust protection, fabric protection and paint protection. I had no idea this stuff would actually RUIN the car. When they rust proofed the car, they sprayed the coating into the engine compartment, and onto the felt hood liner. It's just not something you do to a car like this and it looked like hell. I asked them to clean it up which they did, but they made a mess of the rest of the car in the process. They either couldn't or didn't clean the hood liner, (I suspect they couldn't) so I have had to buy a replacement.

The "clear coat" paint protection they applied gives a nice shine until you get into bright sunlight and see all the spider web swirls. There was even a nasty buffer mark on the hood. That to me is just sloppy workmanship. The undercoating is some black oily SHIT that along with the rust proofing is all over the painted and plastic under body parts. I am sure the leather interior got nothing more then a quick coat of Scotch Guard.

The money you pay for this "stuff" is enough to make you EXPECT to get a decent product and have it applied PROPERLY. Apparently Ray Cullen doesn't think that's necessary. My complaints were met with surprise. I said I might have wanted to show the car and was told "I should have TOLD" them that. WHY???? So they could bilk more money out of me to actually have them apply the stuff with some CARE or PROPERLY?

I am going to say it right now... DO NOT BUY THESE PRODUCTS! I am also going to say I am VERY disappointed with this dealer.

Owning a hot muscle car is awesome. Keeping it looking hot it another story. I am about to buy stock in Meguiar's car care products. I think I now own just about 1 of every product they make. They are not cheap products by any means, but they all do exactly what they claim to do and that's why I keep buying them. Because of this fiasco I am going to have to start from scratch with this car. That means stripping it down to the paint and starting over to put a PROPER show car finish on it. I think the Meguiar's products are the answer.

So far I have used the ScratchX to remove the buffer mark in the hood and the PlastX to remove scratches FROM THE DEALER in the radio bezel. They worked like a charm. I used the Quick Out upholstery cleaner to get a stain out of the seat in the truck. We had tried just about everything else on it with no success but the Quick Out took it out instantly.

We also got the Quarter Flares and the extension stripes for the spoiler that have to be installed. The weather here hasn't been very cooperative, either stifling hot or raining, so hopefully I can get it done this week along with the detailing. I also ordered a K&N Typhoon Cold Air Intake that should be in by next week.

There are many more mods in the plan. Time and money are always the hitch.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bee Gets Bling!

Today I put the new spoiler and the vent decals on Bee. I now know why body shops make so much money. I watched the videos on applying the decals and they make it look EASY! Not so in reality. I did get them on, but I will discourage people from looking closely.

The spoiler went on without a hitch. I worry a little about exposing metal and creating a rust issue so at some point I am going to go back under the trunk and add some silicone to holes I drilled. That should keep the evil rust at bay.

I am waiting for the stripe extensions to arrive to add to the spoiler. The thought of taking them to a body shop and having someone who knows what they are doing has crossed my mind after the vent decals debacle. We'll see when they get here.

They are a few more items I am waiting for from EBay. We also added a chrome Transformer oil cap and a locking gas cap today. It's fun dressing Bee up.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Shop Remains The Same

I haven't completely forgotten about the shop in all the Camaro fever. I have been out there the last couple of days off and on working on the final bench for the yard. Hopefully I will have it finished by the weekend.

After my little shop "slump" it was good to get back out there. I found myself less stressed about what I was working on and things flowed smoothly. Now I am looking forward to all the projects that have been piling up.

There will be a small delay in getting to them as I have relatives coming to visit next week. But that gives me time to create a "master plan". Money a usual will play the biggest part in what projects get done first. There are some large ones on the drawing table. But I am looking forward to getting back into the "routine".

Aftermarket Shopping

Finding aftermarket parts for the new car has proven to be a trying experience. It's even worse for those of us who live north of the 49th parallel. It is next to impossible to find reputable retailers of aftermarket parts in Canada. Ordering from the US is easy enough, the problem lies in paying duty, taxes and brokerage fees. The whole things goes from ridiculous to asinine. Thank goodness for EBay!

First of all buying direct from the dealer is possible if you are willing to remortgage your house. The markup on dealer parts has to be 500%. You just spent $40,000.00 on a car so I guess they think you have the proverbial money tree in your back yard. NOT! I spent a week hunting and checking different avenues and ended up back at good old EBay.

So far I have purchased a spoiler, the stripes for the spoiler, decals for the gills, splash guards, a chrome Autobot oil filler cap, Autobot pedal covers, a locking gas cap, Autobot valve caps, and a couple of Autobot badges and that has added up to over 500.00 BEFORE duties and taxes. So I might as well add another 200.00 on to that. OUCH!

There is still an exhaust kit, light kits, and new winter wheels and tires, that I want before I am finished. I might as well add a car cover in there and now we are up to over 3000.00! Maybe I SHOULD have bought the SS? No, it wouldn't be MY Bumblebee if I didn't add my own touches.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Bee is HOME!

We picked up the new Camaro on Friday, there were no hitches thank heavens! We have both been delirious ever since. That car is just freakin AWESOME! I really haven't had much chance to drive it as I can't seem to get the spouse out of it. But my turn is coming.

The interior lighting will just blow you away. At night it's like being in a space craft. There are even lights on the doors! There are so many buttons and bells and whistles I have to spend about 3 hours in the car just figuring out how everything works!

I already have some modifications lined up for it. First will be a spoiler for the trunk lid. This car just begs for one. Next will be a new exhaust system. The car is WAY too quiet. It really needs to sound like it looks... BAD ASS! I am looking at the MRT V2.0 I like the V1.0 but I don't think the neighbours would appreciate it. The V2.0 will give it the rumble it needs. I would like to do some mods to the lights as well, but that's down the road a bit.

Yellow was not my first choice of colour for the new Camaro. I originally wanted the cyber grey with the black stripes. But Bumble Bee is just HOT on this car. Unfortunately the bugs like it too. And it will require regular washing to keep her looking stellar. She sure does turn heads. We have had so many people taking pictures of her it's crazy!

The Silverado has gained something in this deal as well. I just spent two days washing, waxing and detailing her. She has to look good next to Bee. And that Blue Granite Metallic paint really does shine when she's all cleaned up.
My face hurts from all the smiling I have been doing. Man am I happy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Camaro Fever

I took my Silverado in to the dealership for it's first scheduled oil change and I had a couple of other cosmetic issues for them to look at. They told me it would be about an hour total so I decided to wait. When I pulled in I noticed they had 5 new Camaros out front so of course because I have been LUSTING after this car for so long I had to go take a look. I didn't make it past the showroom.

Inside the showroom was a 2010 2LT Transformer Special Edition Camaro. Yep there was Bumble Bee! Oh and she is a beauty! Black leather interior, polished aluminium rims, Transformer badges and lettering on the cowl. I was drooling. I eased into the cockpit and was in heaven. Buttons and bells and whistles, OH MY! She screamed "Start me up and TAKE ME!"

Oddly enough about 4 nights before the spouse saw part of the original Transformers movie for the FIRST time. I pointed out that Bumble Bee was just a "concept" car at the time. I immediately tried to call the spouse, but got no answer. So I sauntered out to the lot and looked at the 5 other Camaros but was no where as moved as I was with the "Bee". There were several more attempts to call the spouse and FINALLY I got an answer. It must have been something in my voice, somewhere between desperation and excitement, but the spouse was on the way to the showroom.

There was no convincing necessary although I did get an "Are you sure you want a yellow one?" My reply was "It's not yellow, it's Bumble Bee!" We got to test drive a white one that was on the lot, although that wasn't really necessary either. But we were both extremely impressed with the smooth ride and the quietness of the car. Of course there was that occasional "rumble" from the exhaust that reminded one that 312 horses are not to be taken lightly.

The 2001 Blazer is on it's last legs so we offered it for a trade in. We got the black book value for it, and that's all I was really expecting. The deal was struck and we were scheduled to pick up the Bee on Friday.

I came home today, ONE DAY before we pick up the new car, and the spouse tells me for the first time in it's ENTIRE LIFE, the Blazer won't start. WTF! I tried it myself, no go. I am in INSTANT PANIC mode. I call the Camaro sales rep and of course she says if it doesn't run there's no deal. ARRRGGHHHHH!

We normally take the Blazer to the Bugstop on First Street in London, ON, for repairs and maintenance. Brian the owner and our mechanic has always been very fair and good to us. So I called him and told him the Blazer won't start and I need it running by tomorrow! He said he thought it might be the anti-theft system, and he gave me a few instructions on what to try. Within 10 minutes I had the Blazer RUNNING!!!! In case you didn't hear it there was a massive sigh of relief there. You know Brian is going to be well rewarded for his help! If you need a mechanic, HE'S THE MAN!

I haven't slept in 2 days. I can't think or concentrate. Now I will be praying that between now and tomorrow morning, the universe continues to smile on us. I WANT MY BEE!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

OMG I Have a SHOP!

The second last day of my "vacation" and I finally got into the shop. Actually I was outside the shop. I finally got around to spray painting the cast iron garden furniture I am refinishing. The boards for the 4 chairs have all been cut and finished for about 2 weeks now. I still have to buy and cut the wood for the bench seat though.

I got to use the Mastercraft HVLP sprayer kit and it worked really well. It's a good thing the spouse bought me that ginormous DeWalt compressor. Anything less just wouldn't have cut it. The spouse even had a go at spray painting after work. Because I did all the set up and clean up the spouse was "impressed" at how easy it was and how well it worked.

Spraying outdoors was good and bad. The good was I didn't need a mask and with a giant plastic sheet there was no "over spray" to worry about. The bad was the million maple keys blowing around the driveway that kept getting stuck in the paint. Hopefully they will just brush out when the paint is fully dry. It's fine for garden furniture but next time I will have to set something up "in shop".

I'll have to post pictures later. All this yard work and painting leaves me whipped at the end of the day. It's been unseasonably hot this week as well. I have the sunburn to prove it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things That Just Work?

We bought a Dyson DC25 Animal Ball vacuum cleaner. It wasn't just because of all the hype, I actually tried one in store and was pretty impressed. It does a fabulous job on floors and carpets and it will suck up a hairball from 2 feet away. This is important when you have 3 cats. But I have to ask myself is ANY vacuum cleaner really worth $700.00?

While I can't argue the power and ability of the Dyson, I will say that for all the "engineering" that went into making it, it came out rather cheap.

It's 100% plastic with the exception of the motor and some of the connections are pretty wimpy. The air intake for the dust collector is a rather flappy thin piece of rubber that basically just "rests" against the canister. Is this really an "air tight" connection?

The hose is way too short to use properly with the removable wand and while the ball does make it incredibly maneuverable, you won't get that head too far under anything.

I LIKE my new Dyson a lot. I am really glad it comes with a 5 year warranty, because frankly, I don't think it will last that long. We'll see how well that warranty is honoured. But I do think it is way over priced. Even at half the MSRP, I would be feeling a little uneasy about it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


It's the Victoria Day weekend in Canada. The holiday that signifies the official start of summer and gardening season for Canadians. And like most May 2-4 weekends they are calling for rain. Our big plans for the weekend were to bring in about 20 cubic yards of topsoil to level the back yard and to paint the garden furniture. Neither of those are going to happen in the rain. Then of course there is the gardening, and the patio repairs and finishing, the new sod to put down over the topsoil, some minor deck repairs and the shed to paint.

I have indoor project lists that grow endlessly and get done rarely. There are still 2 closets and a utility room to make over. I have to build a Murphy bed for the sewing room. There is still a fold away laundry folding counter for the laundry room somewhere on that list. New stairs for the hot tub. A computer work station. A new headboard for the new king size bed. The laminated flooring waiting to be put in the bathroom. And a box to make for my nephew's cremains.

Why can't I seem to find the time for any of this? Some of the delays involve money of course. But this week alone I haven't seen the inside of the shop for more then 5 minutes. Where does the time go?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hurry Up Spring!

It seems I am suffering from a "woodworker's block" in that I can't seem to find the motivation I lost. I have a couple of things to blame for this, one of course being the weather. We were treated to a taste of spring with a week of nice weather and of course all thoughts turned to the outdoor projects like the yard work, pond maintenance, etc. As the ball got rolling on these projects, fall decided to make a quick return and the weather turned cold and wet.

I had started redoing some cast iron and wood garden furniture we had; replacing all the weathered wood with some new cedar and repainting the cast iron frames. But I want to spray paint the frames with my HVLP sprayer and of course I cannot do this indoors. So while I have all the wood cut and sealed with 3 coats of boiled linseed oil, the project is at a standstill until the weather decides to cooperate again.

And of course the joints of my body despise cold and wet weather whether I am outdoors or not. This does not make for motivation.

It was great during the nice weather to have the garage door open again and to give the shop a good blow out. But as usual when working in confined spaces it didn't take long to mess things up again once I started on the garden furniture. My biggest woodworking bane is having to do a "clean up" before I start every project because I am not very organized when I work and things get left everywhere. That's a bad habit I will have to work on curing. I'll add it to my long list of other bad habits.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Modern Warfare 2

I have been taking a little break from the shop. You might say the flooring job pushed the limits a little too far. The knees are taking their sweet time healing. Besides there has been some nice weather and Easter and all that. So I figured what the hey, maybe it's time to get a little computer gaming in.

I started playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on Thursday and I haven't been able to do much else. I actually finished the regular game today. One word...AWESOME!!! My computer struggled with this one a little and I am thinking a new video card is in order. More on that later.

The story line was good, but it puts a whole new spin on losing a few good men. It also resurrects some old friends. I'm not going to do a spoiler here so don't panic. However, I am sure I am the LAST person to play this game as everyone I have talked to has already been through it and is well into the online play. I am only into the "Special Ops" section now.

This game is about as close to a battle field as I want to get. It's intense, realistic, brutal and very challenging. I barely got through the "normal" mode. But that is the beauty of this game. You can go back and play the harder levels and it's a whole new game. I don't think my skill set is ready for the online play yet.

The graphics are exceptional, and my poor old 4870 wasn't up for the task. I experienced lots of video glitches and crashes unless I played in safe mode. That's not cutting it. I am considering trying the crossfire route again, as the 4870's are under $200.00 now. But will it be enough?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Scathing Rant

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed here are ONLY opinions. They are MY opinions. I am entitled to them. If you don't like them stop reading NOW! It's called FREEDOM, it's my right and I am exercising it.

I am an atheist. It means I do not believe in ANY gods. I do not practice any form of religion although I have studied many religions so I would be sure I knew what I was doing when I decided to be an atheist. Being an atheist does not mean I hate religion, or any specific religion it just means that I don't practice them. I am also a white Anglo Saxon but that does not mean that I have any racial prejudices, it's just what I am. I would like to think I am tolerant of all races and religions. So I guess I practice tolerance.

I have no issues with those who chose to worship some invisible, unavailable, supernatural deity. Don't force your beliefs on me, and I in turn won't be forced to justify my own. Live and let live. But it is my opinion that there are certain places personal religions do not belong and one of them is the workplace.

Why should an employer be forced to create a space for a religious practitioner to be allowed to "pray" at certain intervals of the day? Does the employer have to pay that employee for the TIME they are honouring their spirits? If I am working with that person, should I have to shoulder their workload while they are off performing their rituals?

Do all Catholics who work Sundays get to do a mass exodus at 11:00 a.m. for mass? Should Jewish people be exempt from working the Sabbath? I could go on but we have long past the point of RIDICULOUS!


I don't care what religion you are or are not, THIS HAS TO STOP! There is a separation between church and state that is narrowing dangerously and way too fast. It is impeding economics and social functionality. It is hampering COMMON SENSE and allowing INSANITY to rule.

I encourage everyone who feels this way to write your MPP and let them know you've had enough. And anyone who doesn't feel this way, open your eyes and THINK about what is REALLY happening around you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No Job for Old Women

Yesterday we started putting the new laminate flooring in the kitchen. Actually I started on Tuesday, but a trip to the emergency because the spouse split a palm open with a utility knife cut the day short. 3 stitches and a bruised ego, but otherwise the spouse will survive.

Floating laminate flooring is EASY to install, if you are a twenty something with good knees. If you aren't hire someone. Fortunately we were rescued by a twenty something son who came over to help. Still, it didn't go in as well as I hoped. There are some rather large gaps that will have to be "fixed" somehow.

When you do kitchen and bath installations you are supposed to glue the boards together with laminate floor glue to seal them. It was such a bitch just getting them lined up and together we skipped this step. I will however be running a bead of caulk around the perimeter. When we do the bathroom I will attempt the glue thing once more.

Working around cabinets, under dishwashers, fridges and stoves is no picnic. Maintaining the 1/4" gap around the perimeter to allow for expansion is next to impossible. You will have 0"- 3/4" gaps in different areas. They tell you to scribe the wall shape on the tile. Good luck with that. My best advice? Cut less then you think you need and keep trimming little by little till you get the fit you want. It's a slow process. Don't plan to get this done in a day. Keep all the scraps for the "patchwork" later. And buy more then you think you need.

Hopefully we'll get the kitchen back together before the weekend. The bathroom floor may have to wait till my knees stop swelling.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Wood Show

The spouse and I went to Toronto for the weekend and took in the Canadian Home Workshop Show. I bought tickets online for two days as I expected the event to be quite large and I was hoping to attend some of the seminars as well. Sadly I was majorly disappointed by the size of the show. While it was a bit bigger then London's show, it was not what I expected from a city the size of Toronto and the major Canadian wood working publication. Woodstock does seem to have the biggest show in the area.

We did get to see a couple of the seminars and of course I got to buy new toys! I picked up a Porter Cable 23 gauge pin nailer for 69.00. I finally got the Straight Edge guide from Workshop Supply, but no deal there. I picked up some more painters triangles and another edge banding trimmer. And I even got another Ryobi 18V LiON cordless drill. I mainly wanted the battery for the Ryobi circular saw, but at 79.00 it was cheaper to buy the drill as it came with the charger as well. Who doesn't need 5 cordless drills?

Today we got up and finished the closet. Overall it's OK, but there are a lot of mistakes I made and a lot of things I will do different next time. I am glad we did the first one in the "spare" room. Let's just say it's not something I am going to be showing off.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic History

OK I have to take an aside. Canada has just made Olympic history, and won a monumental hockey game. I am sure most Canadians paid some attention to the Olympics, but probably, like me focused on hockey. I did witness the first Canadian gold won on home soil by Alexander Bildeau. And I cried. Joannie Rochette lost her mother, won a silver and I cried. The women's hockey team scored a gold, and I cried. Why am I crying? Because we are a nation of very proud and QUIET people. The women's curling team surely felt the agony of defeat, but won a silver and I cried. Do I like or follow curling?.. Not on your life. But I saw the captain of that team give all then lose by fate... and so I cried.

And when a great Olympian like Nodar Kumaritashvili perished on a British Columbia hillside, even though he was not a Canadian, I cried.

I have talked to other numerous patriots who felt and did the same. They are not normally emotional. Like me. I am not a jock, or a sports fan of ANY sort. I sometimes watch the Stanley Cup Games (maybe the last two) only because EVERY North American gets excited by that. But I do understand that Olympians give their all. They are competing in those games because that are the BEST in their sport. And I am proud that Canada turns out some some of the BEST Olympians!

To lose by 1/1000 of a second must be devastating. To devote your life to four years of rigorous training to come in 5Th must negate everything you believe in. And yet they bounce back to try again in 4 years. They are not only physical athletes, but psychological and mental athletes as well. I applaud them all.

I hope every country's athlete's who attended this Olympiad appreciated the hospitality that Canada extended, and I hope we surpassed your expectations. I am very proud of ALL our Canadian Athletes. I am also proud that so many countries came and gave us their BEST athletes, and that their performances were ALL exceptional. Congratulations to you all. Medal or not, you are truly the epitome of human perfection. And you all demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship that will transpire to those that follow in your footsteps. Thank You.

And to the Men's Canadian Hockey team, I say THANK YOU! It IS "OUR" game. Thank you for the perfect ending. Crosby, your only rival was Paul Henderson, and you have surpassed him. Well done young man! Paul was Extraordinary, Gretzky was Great, and you... are in a league all your own. Canada will watch you closely. And hope. Thank you for that.



Monday, February 22, 2010

As Time Goes By

Time sure flies doesn't it? I have been somewhat busy in the shop, finally getting a start on those closet projects. The youngest son finally moved out so we are converting his room to a sewing/guest room. The long term plans call for a closet organizer and a Murphy bed. We got a start on the closet organizer about 3 weeks ago. For some reason it seems to be slow going.

I say "we" as the spouse has been laid off from work off and on so I have actually had an "apprentice" out there helping me. It's a good thing too because 3/4" sheets of oak veneered particle core plywood are NOT light. Next time I am going to use veneer core ply. The cutting actually went surprisingly well. I used Google Sketch Up and CutList Pro to work out the plans and the cut lists. After that came the staining using Minwax Golden Oak stain and two coats of Minwax Polyurethane Satin Finish. The staining and the finishing did not go as well as hoped. The different grain patterns in the veneer create widely different tones of stain. The poly had to be applied very thinly to avoid bubbles or "fish eyes" as they are called. I think we could have done 3 or 4 coats of poly to get the proper finish.

Of course all this has to be done in the very space limited garage. It's not ideal for a large project that's for sure. We are at the assembly stage now. I am using dowels to hold the bulk of it together. This was something that intimidated me wondering how I was ever going to get them to line up properly. A friend who is a cabinetmaker by trade suggested I try the WolfCraft Dowel Quick jig. I watched the videos online and even though I thought it looked a bit "cheap" I bought one. The price was reasonable at least at about $17.00.

If you watch the videos, they sure make it look easy. Well this is actually one product that works EXACTLY the way they say it does. Everything lined up exactly right. The dowels went in flawlessly. I LOVE things that really work! Kudos to WolfCraft! I give this jig a 10 out of 10 and HIGHLY recommend it.
Once the main section is installed I will be moving on to the drawers which will be made out of 1/2" MDF with wood fronts. The fronts will have a little twist to them, so stay tuned. And wish me luck like usual.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

She Saws, She Saves!

There are days when things go good and there are days when things go bad. Some days things go good but end up bad. Then there are days where things go bad but end up good. Today was one of THOSE days.

I was trying to make a box to store by table saw blades in. Just a simple slotted box so I could stand the blades on edge and store the whole thing in the new drawer I made. I got the parts cut then proceeded to put the slots in the sides on the router table. That all went very well....until I discovered I had put ALL the slots in the wrong direction. I had to cut new sides and makes the slots all over again. Somewhere in that frustration I made several other mistakes with the cuts. I was near ready to give up, but persisted until I got my box made. But I now had a lot more pieces in the scrap bin then I intended and a headache to boot.

Later on after a break and a couple of aspirins, I was looking at my collection of circular saw blades and thought I could make a similar box for them. VOILA! I now could salvage the sides I screwed up earlier. A front, back and a bottom and I had a storage box for the blades. And it fits perfectly in the drawer beside the table saw blade box.

It's a good day when things work out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Two Firsts Make a Drawer

I made a small cabinet to hold all the accessories for my table saw that always seem to be somewhere in the shop other then near my table saw. It's nothing fancy just a box with a shelf and a drawer. And of course it's on wheels. Today I actually made the drawer for it and got to try a couple of firsts. It was the first time I installed drawer slides and the first time I used a Drawer Lock Bit for building the drawer.

I purchased a Kreg Drawer Slide Mounting tool a little while back. Unfortunately the cashier already rang it in before I realized what the price was - a whopping $32.99! Had I known that I probably would NOT have purchased it. But it was in the bag so I took it home. Now because it was my first time installing drawer slides and the first time I used this jig this may sound like I am giving it a bad rap. I did not buy any brand name drawer slides, just some bargain ones and maybe that is the problem. Perhaps down the road when I do more drawer work I will be extolling the virtues of this jig. But for now I am going to say it's not worth $32.99. It did help somewhat in getting the cabinet part of the slides in place. But there were some frustrating moments as well when the slide kept popping off or twisting on the jig. I'll let you know if there are any improvements with time.

I learned several things about drawer slides from this single experience. It would be better to leave a little slop in the fit of the drawer between the slides, 1/16 to 3/32 would be good. A precise fit makes the drawer tight in the slides and they don't function as anticipated, especially self closing slides. I bought 22" slides and my drawer is closer to 24" deep. That 2 inches is going to be a problem because the drawer is under a shelf and now that last 4 inches of the drawer are almost inaccessible. I may end up changing them yet. The slides are bottom mount and I left slightly less than 1/4" clearance between the bottom of the drawer and the bottom of the cabinet. It should have been slightly more then 1/4" because as the drawer drops into the "self closing" section of the slides the bottom of the drawer drags on the cabinet bottom, so the drawer is no longer "self closing". OK so I know a heck of a lot more about drawer slides then I knew this morning.

My other first was making a drawer with the drawer lock bit. I liked the idea of this bit just from the pictures. A good tight joint that has some mechanical holding power as well. I have seen a lot of people question the set up of this bit and struggling to get it right. Fortunately I had a reasonably easy time of getting it set up thanks to some instructions I got off the Lee Valley website. Those instructions were for a smaller bit then mine, but it worked with a little fine adjustment. I was using 3/4" MDF for the drawer so I didn't feel the need to make small passes, I just did everything in one bite. However, I did notice a tiny chip out of the top corner of one of the carbide inserts on the bit. Good old MDF eats bits for breakfast.

I made several test blocks and once I had a good setup I kept the test blocks for the next time. The routing went smoothly. Even the vertical sides were not a problem, but I did have to use feather boards to help keep the board against the bit. I got a nice tight fit all around.

The biggest snag of the day was the fact that I couldn't use my Oak Park router table for this job. The hole in the base plate was too small for the bit, and the other base plate with the bigger hole, well that was too big of a hole for the bit. That is the one and only thing I dislike about the Oak Park Table. I don't understand why they can't make a plate that takes inserts. I suppose I will just have to make my own someday.

Fortunately I still have that Wolf Craft table I originally got when I started into this whole woodworking thing. I did try to sell it on Kijiji once but got no takers. Lucky for me as it worked perfectly for me today. I put my Master Craft router under it and I think I am going to leave it there just for these kinds of jobs where the Oak Park table won't cut it.

I did rout the dados for the drawer bottom on the Oak Park table. I finally got to use the Router Raizer. Yep I am going to see if I can put on on the Master Craft router as well. That tool is SWEET!

It was a very productive day. All went abnormally well for a change. I like those days!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Work Sharp is a WINNER!

It's been a while since I have been this excited. Tonight I found some time to try out my new Work Sharp WS3000 on the Groz hand planes I am not so impressed with. Thanks to a couple of tips from the Lie-Nielsen website, and the excellent instructions that came with the Work Sharp I now have WORKING hand planes.

The Work Sharp does an incredible job of sharpening plane irons. The edge WILL shave hairs. The bevel and micro bevel are honed to a mirror finish. The best part is it does it in no time flat.

I bought an extra glass disk so I could have 4 grades of sand paper available from 120/400/1000/3000 grit. It takes very little time to flip and change disks to change grits. The sand paper works exceptionally well, and while you can use any PSA backed sand paper, the Norton and Micro Mesh papers are fast and cool running. But be aware if you have a blade that is in rough shape you are going to wear out paper very quickly. I plan to buy some "cheaper" low grit papers to get the tool to "workable" condition first. My previous attempts at sharpening these plane irons left them in bad shape.

Ok here is the reality check. The Work Sharp starter kit cost around $200.00. If you buy enough of the accessories that you can change plates for every grade of paper, and that includes the Edge Vision as well as glass plates, add in the leather honing plate, and the wide blade attachment you are now up closer to $500.00. Plus you will have to stock up on abrasives and the Work Sharp "kits" aren't cheap. It it worth it? There is nothing like a razor sharp plane or chisel. It gives wood working a whole new meaning. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY!

Thank you Work Sharp!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Shop Squeeze

There doesn't seem to be any more hours in the day this year then there were last year. Once again I find the week frittering away and no time to be in the shop. I have computers stacked 3 high at the moment, and running back and forth to the big city delivering and picking up computers consumes a lot of time.

The Router Raizer arrived on Monday and I got it installed in about 3 hours. The instructions said it should take 1 1/2 hours. There were a couple of places where I missed the fine print. I suggest anyone who wants to install one of these do two things. Set aside a couple of hours AND read the instructions through BEFORE you start the installation. There are a number of time saving tips that you won't get till it's too late unless you do this.

There were a couple of things I didn't like about the installation. There are a number of places you have to apply a thick grease that comes with the kit. And trust me you HAVE to apply it and liberally. They also recommend using STP motor oil on the plunge posts of the router. My issue with this is grease or oil and sawdust DON'T mix. I did the applications (not STP but something equally suitable) but I have a feeling I am going to regret it down the road. I can't impress enough though that you MUST do these applications or things will bind tighter then... well you can fill in the blank.

Once I got it installed and all my boo boos fixed I have to say I LOVE IT! It is absolute infinite control over the bit height. If you install it properly it works very smoothly. If you read the instructions through first, follow them to the T, they make clear sense and make the installation very simple.

Installing this device is making me reconsider giving that box joint bit a try again. I think part of the problem was trying to get it to the proper height. But we'll see. I have started a new "TO DO" list in the shop and it's getting longer every time I go out there. The problem is not enough time out there to do any of it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Another year has come and gone. Time just seems to fly a lot faster as you get older. This year there are no new resolutions, just a lot of rehashed ones from years gone by. They are always the same, lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking. Now of course I have added "do more woodworking". Hopefully I can keep at least one of them.

The shop is pretty much full so there are no new tools to look forward to. I have ordered a "Router Raizer" for my router table. There may be a new item or two to add to the lathe, but beyond that there really is no room for anything else. And I think I have pretty much everything I need. This year I really hope to finally get the closets done. Maybe even a few wall cabinets out in the shop for some added storage. That is something I will never have enough of.

The year starts out with a lot of computer work. I actually took two weeks "off" so now I have a long list of waiting customers. *SIGH* No matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get away from it. I am falling behind in the technology really quickly and I have no desire to "catch up". Maybe one day soon I will be too far behind to do the work anymore. One can only hope.

But I wish one and all a happy, safe and prosperous New Year. Now let's make some sawdust!