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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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And the birthday train pulls in again!

Posted by joeabbott on November 28, 2014

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in this country and my wife’s family always gathers for these events … I wouldn’t miss ‘em! Good food, a nice chance to catch up, and we had the benefit of the Seahawks playing football as a post-dinner distraction. I was ready for a good day! All of those things happened … food and conversation and football (and the Seahawks came away with a messy win that 19-3 doesn’t describe) … but a couple of the family members recognized my birthday and bestowed on me some gifts! Wowza!

imageMike, Olivia, and Rebecca had the chance to be by our house earlier in the week and left me with one of my favorite gifts: a jigsaw puzzle. It wasn’t massive, in fact, I found later it fit onto a cutting board, but it was engaging. The picture was a simple snap of a brightly colored tulip field and, before Olivia had left the house, I started putting it together. When I have a little time, it’s always grand to start working on a jigsaw. I had the added pleasure of putting it together on my Uncle Joe’s birthday … an act that seemed perfectly fitting for that event.

Jim and Denise left me with birthday wishes and a gift card to Home Depot. Now, a short word about Home Depot. I like small hardware stores as much as the next guy; the aisles and aisles of tightly packed tools and hardware needed for your home repairs. And yet, I’m a “big box” guy at heart. I like the wide aisles, I like the selection that would be impossible at smaller stores, and I like Suzy being able to head off toward the garden shop while I try to find fasteners in the proper grip length. Gimme big box … and thank you J&D for making my next purchase easy.

Steve, Julie, and David, however, tore the roof off! They handed me a modest box that, when I opened it, seemed to be a magical trove of goodie after goodie coming out! They gave me a couple of coupons to see my next movie for free … and anyone who’s been to the theater recently will appreciate the savings that allows! Not only that, the last Hobbit movie is coming out(12/171/14 … not that I’m paying attention or anything) and I’m going to that one for sure! Now I just have to decide if I get to go twice or if I should take Suzy with the second coupon!  😉

Next, they gave me tools, and who wouldn’t love that?!?

While I could make my own version of a centering v-block tool, I haven’t. It would be easy enough to cut a channel in a block of wood that would allow round parts to nest within it … that, in turn, would support the piece while a hole is drilled into the side. But I fret about stupid things like how deep to imagemake the channel, whether I need a recess in the bottom, or how long to make it.

All decisions for which there is no right answer, but it keeps the solution at arms length. But now I have the jig shown to the right and it’s perfect! From all the birdhouses I’ve placed on poles, trellises I’ve made, and a number of other simple projects, I can now easily (and safely!) put a hole in the side of round parts without having it turn and scoot away!

The last gift is a Gerber knife. Yes, another knife. And I can’t stop opening and closing this one!

You may have seen these before … they’re popular in workshops: it’s a simple metal body that holds a replaceable single-edged razor blade. In this one, a standard screw holds the blade tight and allows for fast replacement, as well as a secure hold while locked in. It has the standard open-lock seen on most foldable knifes these days … a small tab of metal clicks into position when the knife is opened fully. However, this knife has an added click-lock when the blade closes. Just shut it and you hear a secure click and feel the blade confidently stow shut.

I must have opened and closed this knife about a dozen times just to hear that click. LOVE IT!

Proper thank you notes are in order but I’m posting here first for those who follow and can’t wait for the USPS to make it through the rainy Seattle autumn streets.


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