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Posted by joeabbott on October 5, 2014

I need to start enjoying the weekends a bit more.

To be sure, I’m not overworking and yet, “sitting home and doing nothing” is less relaxing than I had hoped. At least over time.

I’ve been a working dog at work … in early, home late, and not feeling like I’ve been on top of things or have buttoned everything up … there’s just too much work. As a result, I’ve hunkered down at home and done the minimal possible while I wait for Monday to come around. Sure, I’ve mowed the lawn; yes, I’ll put away the fans and portable AC unit; but I am not tackling big projects.

At first that felt great: a complete mental and physical break from obligated work. Now, however, I’m realizing that I like working, I like being busy and accomplishing things. And so the long hiatus from contributing meaningfully to the household has now caused me to feel some other pressures. But, I can easily address that now, today … and I’m starting with posting a blog entry. Something I haven’t done in a while … let’s get into it!

Front room cabinet

WP_20140920_001I had a couple of to-dos left on the front room cabinet and am starting to make good on them.

First, the color appeared to be getting a bit sun-faded. I knew this would happen but it seems to have occurred more quickly than I would have thought. I’m not troubled by it or trying to stop it, but I did want to apply another coat of wax. While it wasn’t necessarily challenging, I wasn’t ready for the sweat I worked up going over it! The result was nice (although not markedly different) and, as I’d used a fine sandpaper to apply the wax, the top was silky smooth when I finished. #ChuffedWithMyself

The next bit that I knocked off was drilling a hole in the top for power cords to fall into it. Currently the lamp, my Xbox, and TV were all draping their cords over the front and going through one of the sliding doors. Looked messy, but there’s a certain amount of mental fortitude one must have (or develop) to drill a hole into the top of a prized piece of furniture. But, I mustered that fortitude, got a Forstner bit to start a super-clean hole, and then finished up the remainder of the 1.5” journey through the top of the cabinet with a hole saw.


WP_20141005_001My Forstner bits are true woodworking tools: precision built and very sharp. My hole saw is the cheapest thing from the hardware aisle from either Home Depot or Harbor Freight. So, it should be understandable why I didn’t want to use the hole saw to start the hole; it was, however, the right tool to chew through the rest of the thick top. After I finished with the hole saw, I then followed for a final cleanup and truing of the sides with the Forstner bit again. I like the results and it’s nice to not have cords running over the top and in through a sliding door!

So, what’s left? Lots!

I still need to cut handles into the sliding doors … fortunately, I think I know how to build the jig to help me do this! Then, I have some small trimming of the doors themselves to get the right fit … right now, they don’t slide in or out very easily … they slide along the tracks just fine, but they’re a touch too tall to get in without feeling like you’re forcing something. And finally I need to install a track along the upper back of the cabinet to allow the cords to run without draping into the backs. It’ll clean up the insides a bit and avoid a mess.

And, while I’m at it, I should mention that we’ll need some sort of shelf storage systems for the insides. It’s great having this big space to store stuff, but without shelves inside, that space will be a touch less useful.

Clean your room!

WP_20141005_005WP_20141005_004This is a minor thing, but I struggle with keeping my home office tidy.

I pay a bill and, instead of putting the paperwork in a folder, I drop it on my desk to (as my thinking goes), “more efficiently sort these things out later.” But that’s true of all the stuff on my desk right now: things that will be easier to deal with later than they are right now. Alas.

And that’s why I have a couple of Rubik’s cube (I want to go online and learn the patterns for solving one of these things efficiently), bills to  be paid (I’m looking at you house taxes!), bills that have been paid and should be filed, an early Halloween card, personal letters, stuff from my Uncle Joe, and then maps and gear from my summer hiking.

All waiting for “later”, when it’ll be easier to tidy them up.

Then there’s the other side of the room … the side where an Xbox sits. It’s also where my games are stored, my collection of maps sits, and is currently the location of a bunch of woodworking volumes!

When we moved Suzy to her own home office, I had imagined building shelves in here, lining them with my woodworking magazines and books, and using her old desk to design furniture, read up on woodworking, and enjoy as a small reference area. Well, we also moved my gaming system out of another room and into here and so the space is now shared … and the bookshelves I was going to build remains an idea.

My new thought here is to gut the closet in this room, build out some shelves in there, and use that space to store books and magazines and the like … all my reference material. Until I get time (or make it!), that project will be on hold. But, I can at least tidy things up.

When you run out of steam

WP_20141005_002Bending wood is a problem that’s been solved and the answer is: steam. To bend wood, you fill and enclosed space containing the wood with steam; after several hours, remove the wood (wear gloves … it’ll be hot!) and apply the bend to the wood and then clamp it in the bent position. When the wood cools, it’ll keep that shape. Another method is to have thin strips of wood that are more easily bent; you create a laminate by gluing together the thin strips (in the bent position) and clamping until the glue dries.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a big steamer to use for bending and I am not confident I could rip thin enough wood reliably to create a 12’x6” bent piece of wood. You see, I want to create a curved handrail to go with the curved bridge we built last summer. With the wet season on us, we know the little bridge gets very slick and a handrail is a must!

So I’m trying another method: leave the board in water, under pressure, and allow it to bend that way!

I can’t say I’m positive it will work, but I know I’m trying! I have the 1” thick by 12’ long by 6” wide handrail ready to install but I just need a curve in it!

Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a bath big enough for the board either … so I’m hoping Seattle rain will supply the water to convince the boards to warp and bend … by applying pressure, I’m trying to have it bend in the direction I want it to bend. Unfortunately for me, the famed Seattle rain has taken a hiatus and we’ve had nothing but beautiful days since I set it up outside!

I’ll be patient here and wait for rain.

And, for those wondering, yes, those are buckets of kitty litter supplying the force to encourage the board to bend. Hey, I’m nothing if not resourceful!


So, I’m getting back into the swing of living here after a few weeks of resting. Today I will tidy my office and get on a few of the cabinet projects. Now that I’ve knocked out a blog post and have admitted I have a problem, the rest should be easy! The proof will be in next week’s post … drop back in and see if I have anything to show for my Sunday! <g>

Thanks for dropping in and apologies for the long silence.


2 Responses to “Needs”

  1. momma said

    ‘Nice to have you back, Joe, and finishing up that super cabinet you’ve built – but my, that drilling holes does make a real mess, doesn’t it? I’m sure you have just the tool to suck it all away. You are a true perfectionist, and it’s always a pleasure to see the fruits of your labor. Favorite pic: the bridge rail with the 2 kitty litter buckets. Now if only the rains come… Mom

  2. I was looking at your handrail and thinking, if had a piece of 6″ PVC pipe you could cap the one end and fill it with water. You’ll have 2 feet sticking out but rotate the board each day and the middle 8 feet will be totally wet. Maybe after a week….
    The pipe, maybe a future project or a underground drain pipe. Looking good.

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