Posted by joeabbott on December 23, 2016
Truth be told, chronicling the Week of Joe is a bit embarrassing … it feels a bit gratuitous to get a week of gifts but I’m not going to say I don’t like it. Some years are a bit ostentatious, but we’ve recently hit a nice pattern of getting those things that have stayed on a wish list for a long time or that fill out whatever kit we’re trying to fill. Suzy will get books and socks and I’ll get … well, let’s take a look at what I got.
First, let me just say that, bless her soul, Suzy had trouble counting. I suspect she counts just fine but wanted to give me an extra smile during my “week”, but she said she thought she had seven gifts but ended up wrapping eight. Again, no complaints here.
The “kit” that I like to fill is my shop and tool cabinet, and Suzy came through with some fundamentals … things always in demand but are overlooked when we want a hammer, drill, plane, or chisel. She picked up three items from my list that will go a long way to keeping me happy puttering about my shop: a grinding wheel, a collection of sandpaper strips, and some sawhorse brackets.
The grinding wheel is a must for any shop-rat who wants to keep a keen edge on his\her tools and needs to clean up a knick or two. The 8” Norton ceramic wheel she picked up will eat away the surface in a jiffy and leave me ready to put a final edge on my chisels, planes, and other edges. I want to just slap this onto my grinder and give it a try, but the wheel came with a small dissertation on mounting, balancing, and dressing it. Time for a little reading, first.
The sandpaper strips are just that: a box of 5 grits from 80x to 320x that are 1” wide and 20’ long. While sheets of sandpaper are great for large, flat surfaces, I’m finding that I have a lot of simple curves, tight spaces, and smaller areas that these will be perfect on. While sanding isn’t “fun”, it’s a lot more enjoyable when you have the right tools!
Finally, the sawhorse brackets are four parts I can slip sections of 2×4 lumber into and quickly create sawhorses … and, just as quickly, knock them down again for easy storage. When working from a small bay in my garage, something like this is perfect. Best of all, they’re not plastic (like my current sawhorses) and can take a 4’ wide top support piece, allowing them to easily and completely support a full sheet of plywood.
4-5: Sharps and keep-em-sharp
I have a lot of knives … but, at least one fewer than I need. And so Suzy will help by picking up whatever knife is on my list in hopes that it’s “the one”. It will never be, but I like her efforts! This year I got a knife that has a barber’s straight-edge style razor blade on it. It’s so sharp it knocks hairs off my arm just getting near it and it’s one of the few blades that actually makes me nervous when open. Perhaps is the thinness of the blade? Maybe the length? Or, most likely, because it’s about the sharpest thing I’ve held in my hands in … well, ever. It has a beautiful rosewood handle and solid as can be. It’s a good one.
And, to keep it (and many other blades) sharp, she got me perhaps my fourth sharpening kit. And this one may be it. It’s a Spyderco ceramic setup that fits into a compact case but, when setup, has a couple of three-sided, 7” long “sticks” that stand at just the right angle to give a knife the perfect edge. I’ve used it on our kitchen knifes and am quite happy with the results. I have other kits that I’ll use to prep my blades, but this is the kit I’ll use for that final edge.
I collect Lord of the Rings stuff and have a number of games that I have purchased, but just don’t (and won’t) play. You see, I’m collecting. It’s the sorta thing that, at worst, I’ll pass away and leave to someone else to throw into the trash bin or, at best, allow some enterprising nephew or niece to sell on Ebay for pennies on the dollar. But, until that time, I’ll have it in my “collection” and can take it out, look at the package, and be happy knowing that I have it. And the “it” this time is an expansion to a game I have called (not quite so imaginatively) Lord of the Rings … this expansion is called Lord of the Rings: Friends and Foes.
I feel my nerdiness will get the best of me if I continue, so let’s leave this one there. If you’re ever over, feel free to ask to look at it … just don’t expect to play it. 🙂
7: Joining my grandparents
If my grandparents had driven I just know they would have owned the “sunglasses over prescription glasses” sorta eyewear. Perhaps it’s being 6’0” and 230# that makes me feel immune to ridicule, perhaps it’s my comfort in being a manly man; or maybe I just don’t care what others think. There are times I’m driving and wearing my prescription glasses and the sun will poke out uncomfortably … at those times I enjoy (yes, enjoy) popping on my grandpa-style glasses and driving on.
I had a pair of these but one of the arms broke off … and, I continue to wear them. While I may not care what others think, Suzy will help the Seattle Abbott clan retain a small amount of dignity: she got me another pair.
And the eighth gift was …
It can hardly be considered a gift-getting event without getting a book of some sort, and Suzy came through. It’s not in the picture because it’s already beside my bed, but she got me An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.
You can get the entire book online at the link above, but having it in your mitts, turning the pages to and fro without a mouse, and reading as you doze off … all are wonderful benefits to having the actual book in your hand. And you support an author who has done a wonderful job of simply and succinctly summarizing a great many logical fallacies people bring to the discussion table. I’ve read it twice and will easily go through again another couple times, if only to snigger and blanch at seeing how many of these mental landmines I’ve stumbled on in my own passionate arguing.
And, “that’s it”. Another year of embarrassing riches and another haul of booty to put to use, put aside to admire, or to use with great respect. While WoJ 2016 is in the books, a great many items I received from Suzy on that week will remain in use for a very long time.
Thanks for dropping in.