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Letters home to mom

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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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Now that was fun

Posted by joeabbott on January 5, 2014

Having a month off from work has been pretty awesome. It wasn’t the heady, away from home, no connections sort of time off vacation, but that didn’t matter. Yes, I logged into work a half dozen times to “do work”, I watched mail daily to make sure there were no “bang mails” (urgent issues), and I cleaned out my inbox regularly to avoid coming back to 4+ weeks of mail to address, but I stayed up late, slept in, and lolled about with the cats for a good long time, and that was good.

But, tomorrow I get up at 5AM, show up at my desk at 7AM, and when I get home will be thinking about supper. I’m mid-project so I’ll keep nudging that along but it’ll be at a disappointingly slower pace. That’s my fault for not starting earlier and not being more diligent to get things done quicker. I like having a blog with a lot of detail so I can go back over the past month, review my progress, and know that I wasn’t a complete slacker. Let’s check in with were we are now!


P1060069Not surprisingly, we’re not a whole lot further than we were a couple days ago! Why “not surprisingly”, you may ask … well, I’m now gluing up the top and one things I’m not great at: joining panels along long edges. For some reason, I can’t get a gap-free joint for anything more than 24” or so. And so, I need to pull-up the joint a lot while clamping … which leads me to wanting to let the glue really set before I mess with it.

So, over the last two days, I’d glued the edges to the top panel and have been letting them sit/cure/set/finish. Whatever you call it, I’m letting that glue harden up before I buzz off the end (to make it straight) and glue on another piece on the end. I should be able to get to that today.

Oh, and given my last post, I should note that we’re going with Plan E on the top design. It’s simple, goes with our current furniture, and something I can complete somewhat easily.

After I get the end piece on, I’ll get to work on the center band … and here’s where things get a bit tricky.

Once all the steps are completed except for the center band, I’ll have two halves of the top completed … but it’ll be a touch oversized. I’ve cut all the lumber at about a 1/4” oversize and will want to lock everything into the final dimensions.

For the depth component, this means that I’ll cut the front edge as straight as possible in the shop, line that up on the cabinet in the house, and then use a router to define the back edge (sorry, Suzy … more cutting in the house!).

For the length part, I’ll cut the ends in the shop to give me a center band that’s ~4” but I’ll leave things with about a 1/4” extra along the way. I’ll then join the tops to the sub-top and, when everything sets, will use the router to again trim the open edge.

At that point, I should be able to attach the entire cabinet to the sub-base, add shear connections to the wall studs, and go about finishing it. Somewhere along the way, before I connect the top, I’ll sand it smooth in the garage. Given bamboos reputation for splintering, I’ll likely go to 220 grit.


P1060070Over the last couple days I’ve also been addressing a few home chores.

P1060072I went bonkers a bit the other day when I tried to get to my router table (just a small Craftsman model that I tuck away when it’s not in use) and I literally had no place to put it. I had tools from one end of the garage to the next and hadn’t been able to park my vehicle inside for a week. I had to get some tidying up. And so I went on a rampage, putting away two routers, a circular saw, a table saw, a number of hand saws, chisels, planes, layout tools of all sorts, and dealt with any number of scraps. It was a lot of tidying up but felt good to be able to get the car back in.

Then I pulled out the tools I needed again and started over!

But, it’s not tools that are keeping me out of the garage now … it’s holiday decorations.

We have a pattern we follow every year out here: the weekend after Thanksgiving is when we put up decorations, and the weekend after New Years is when they come down. So, we have a couple dozen deer in the garage, a wooden chicken, and a dozen or so plastic crates … all which need transportation to the loft area where we’ll store them for the year.

Today, between sawing ends and gluing more edging I’ll get to that.


As I prepare to go back to work tomorrow the cabinet will be unfinished but we’ll be able to live in our home without the carpet rolled back and tools all about. The work can progress, and will, even if a little more slowly, but life will be back to (nearly) normal. Our holiday decorations will be stowed and our cars will be in the garage.

The break has been fun but I am a creature of habit and I’ll enjoy getting back into the work routine. It’ll help regulate my diet (I’ve gained a bit of weight, you see) and provide a rhythm around which to focus my day-to-day activities. Now I just need to remember how to set the alarm on my clock!


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