Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book #56–Einstein’s Secret

51OJzkn0MIL._AA160_Einstein’s Secret was exciting for me as it’s set (partially) at the University of Virginia, my alma mater. In this one, a new adjunct professor is about to star work, but he’s led astray at the beginning of the semester by another adjunct that knows his secret.

His secret: Einstein has a secret and Jacob has searched most of his lift for it. Supposedly Einstein scribbled something on his deathbed and it was lost.

Jacob falls in with the other professor, off on a wild ride after he’s fired to chase a clue. What he finds is amazing.

The book delves into the fantastic world of science fiction and time travel. It’s almost too crazy to be believed and at times I think the writer just made things up as he went along. It’s not a great read, but it is a wild ride.

Book #53 - The Quantum Lens

quantumI've been on a Sci-fi kick, so I grabbed The Quantum Lens through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. It was a very interesting book, with a researcher working with a black government program, trying to help people resist hypnotism and mind control techniques starring. She goes on a date, and she’s entranced with a man. However at her house, a black ops team attacks, and when she gets outside, she realizes they weren’t after her, but her date.

She comes to find out he’s a brilliant hacker gone rouge, and is wanted. She’s left out as bait, with the idea the government will capture him, but he outwits them, kidnaps her, and slowly convinces her to help him.

Meanwhile, in Syria, a religious figure comes to power, with amazing powers. It’s almost like magic, and governments are concerned. We learn that this man, along with the genius kidnapper, have learned to control quantum energies.  The rest of the book is one side trying to stop the other from essentially taking over the world.

It’s an amazing story, and at times, too fantastic. Some of the skills and capabilities seem invented as the author wrote the story. The writing is OK, not great, but it’s a neat story and certainly drew me in. There are some good twists in it, so it’s a good page turner.

Sick Kitty

Little Eris is sick, and she wants to lay on someone all the time. Today I was working and she was quietly, but insistently, meowing at my feet. I picked her up and she settled right in.

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My typing skill were diminished for a bit.

Book #58–Defending Jacob

51DjbSWRrbL._AA160_My wife recommended this to me and it was great. Defending Jacob is the story of a kid killed at a high school, and when the DA begins investigating, he realizes his son is a suspect. He must drop the case when his son is arrested, and it’s an amazing story of his journey to support his son, and investigate what happened.

The book goes back and forth between the DA testifying in the future and the past, where he's struggling to deal with the situation and uncover the truth. He loses himself, believing in his son, avoiding his marriage, and trying to keep his family.

As a parent, it's a tough book to read. How would I react? I think I'd be more like the mother, but it's one I recommend.

Book #57–Personal

indexPersonal is the latest Jack Reacher, and it’s a good one. In this one, Reacher is returned to the army, but this time he's brought back by the government to help them.

Someone took at shot at the President of France. The government thinks it could be an American, one of a few worldwide that is retired and could have taken the shot. Reacher investigates along with a Russian and Englishman, trying to determine whose country might be guilty.

Along the way, he works with a girl I France, and when the Englishman is killed, Reacher is upset. He suspects that a small English mob is helping in the East End and with a G8 Summit of leaders taking place in England, he's on the clock.

It's a wild ride, and goes back to the snarky, smart, unflappable Reacher that I remember from earlier books who seemed lost for a few of them.

One of my favorites.

Book #55–Bull Street

bullstreetBull Street is a Wall Street thriller. A kid makes his way into an investment bank and then encounters criminals. It's a classic story, and while it's not the best written one, it was an good story.

A kid is struggling as he's graduated from Michigan and not an Ivy League school. However he knows a lot of investment banking (M&A stuff) and manages to impress a manager in his interview. He's given probationary status at the firm. He meets a girl there, who's in his position, but not probationary, and they start to work together, especially when they discover some strange faxes that appear be trades that might be illegal.

The SEC is investigating, and we see a separate side of things. While they come across a bit as trying to find criminals, they also come out politically, needing to justify their costs and having the main investigator zeroing in on a trade he knows is guilty.

Of course, we have criminals at the company, one of which is connected to organized crime. They are working with a wheeler-dealer, who is guilty of crimes, but is written to be someone that got in over his head and is trying to get out and make his wife proud.

An interesting story, and a good vacation read.

Book #54–The October List

An interesting book from Jeffrey Deaver. The October List is told in reverse, which at first annoyed me, but as I read through it, the style really intrigued me.

There's a murder, and a man and women are on the run. The women's daughter was kidnapped, and she has a friend helping her. A man that owns an investment company, and a few of his colleagues are helping them try to get her daughter back, along with The October List, a list of people that apparently has some value.

Each chapter of the book goes back in time slightly further, giving us a new view of the situation. The first chapter has the victims together and splitting up at 6:30 on Sunday night. The next chapter is an hour earlier. Eventually we get to the Thur or Fri before as the last chapter, but the first point in time.

It's confusing at first. We don't know what's happening, but slowly over time, we gain more and more information. We realize that things we saw happening, weren't what they appeared. By the end, I thought this was a brilliant piece of writing.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book #52 - The Atlantis Plague

atlantisplagueThe second book of the Origin Series, The Atlantis Plague was one I grabbed on vacation. In this one, we have the plague unleashed on humanity. Kate must find her way around Europe to get a cure, unsure of who to trust. She manages to avoid capture with Martin, but when he dies, David is the one that must keep her safe.

It's a little wild, and I can see how this would be a movie. One one hand the Immari are ruthless, on the other, the author avoids talking in too many details about how the world is devolving. The way in which we have Kate and David in touch with others, but unable to find Martin's killer. The seemingly amazing way David avoids issues. It's writing that's missing something.

Just when the book seems to drag, something pulls me back in. It's not a great thriller, but it's not that bad. It does keep things moving as we wonder how the Atlanteans actually changed the world. It's an interesting weave of sci-fi, religion, and evolution.

Book #51 - Without Remorse

withoutremorseA re-read for me, but one I hadn't gone through in decades. I saw it at the library as an e-book, so I grabbed it. Without Remorse starts the Jack Ryan series, covering the time during the post Vietnam War era and the origins of John Clark.

He's John Kelley in this book, a diver doing demolitions when his wife is killed in an accident. He isn't sure what to do, but he soldiers on, living on an island in the Chesapeake Bay below Baltimore. He encounters a hitchhiker, picking her up and sleeping with her, falling in love a bit in a few days. She helps heal him, and he's unaware she's hooked on barbiturates until he befriends a doctor and his wife. They help him clean her up.

She's part of the drug trade, a witness to a murder of another girl used as a mule. Kelley sets up a meeting to talk to the Baltimore police, but decides to drive by her old neighborhood. They're recognized, he's shot, she's taken and killed, and he's devastated. The rest of the book is his revenge, mixed in with his recall to help rescue POWs from Vietnam.

The book is Clancy, a mix of multiple plots and storylines blended together. We have multiple drug dealers, a crooked cop, Sandra Toole (his nurse), the military brass, a POW, his Soviet interrogator, and Kelley/Clark. We see how they think, and how the various stories slowly merge together. It's a testosterone driven thriller, with lots of the internal struggles and moral choices of a drama.

This is the origin of a secret set of players that work behind the scenes in the CIA to protect America. This is a story that launches lots of others, including the Mitch Rapp and Brad Thor series. We even have Kelly faking his death and becoming Clark at the end. A great

Book #50 - The Atlantis Gene

atlantisgeneI thought The Atlantis Gene would be a medical thriller. A plague seems to be developed in China using some ancient artifact. However the thriller runs amok, becoming unbelievable and transforms into some outrageous science fiction story.

We have a medical doctor, researching autism in Indonesia. Her primary patients are kidnapped, along with herself. Meanwhile, we have a worldwide secret organization, the Clocktower, is infiltrated by the Immari, who are working with the artifact to try and save humanity by attacking the creators of the "Bell".

We don't find that out until the end, when we realize there are two ancient space ships, one of Gibraltar and one in Antarctica.

However there's more. We have portals to travel space instantly, resurrection machines, and more that seem to be thrown in almost like a brainstorming session taking place during the writing. The story captivated me eventually, drawing me in with writings from WWI, along with the ancient monks of the Immaru that help our doctor (Kate) and her spy (David).

It was hard to get through the first half of the book. It dragged, and I didn't think the author explained enough of the relations between people, but near the middle, it started to draw me in and I enjoyed the read on vacation.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Shoes

I had a credit from Zappos that I'd forgotten about. They sent me a reminder that it was expiring and what did I want to do.

New shoes, of course. In this case, while I need some winter boots to move around it, I'm not sure what I went or what will fit well. So I did the next best thing. I got another pair of running shoes, the same model I bought last month.

Not sure how much I'll run, but I'll use them and it's good to have a spare pair to wear evenly.

Now I need to visit the foot store as I think my inserts are wearing down. Feels like the shoes are wearing unevenly and my feet are a bit sore some days.

A Belated Christmas

A late Christmas for us. We got back late last night, working on getting Christmas ready for this morning. Kendall was slow to get up, with Delaney the most excited. He knew what was coming, and couldn't wait, pushing everyone to come downstairs.

The kids set up early, and we managed to get down there along with all the animals. Kyle was beat after working late, but he made it and we opened things.

Kendall started, having the most gifts. They were all small, a bunch of anime books and a necklace.

Uma was very interested in what was going on and having a good time checking everything out, even snagging a couple candy canes from the tree that we had to take away

Clothes for Kyle and I, a new Kindle for Tia, and a necklace and watch (Pebble) for me.

My new necklace has my wedding band back on. Sometime I've missed for some time.

Delaney got what he wanted, a fancy flight controller. It's heavy, made of metal, and has lots of buttons and options. Looking forward to seeing how it works for him.

Tia and Kyle headed back to bed, while I had work to do. A strange, quiet, Christmas time for us, but a fantastic week.

A Belated Christmas

A late Christmas for us. We got back late last night, working on getting Christmas ready for this morning. Kendall was slow to get up, with Delaney the most excited. He knew what was coming, and couldn't wait, pushing everyone to come downstairs.

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The kids set up early, and we managed to get down there along with all the animals. Kyle was beat after working late, but he made it and we opened things.

Photo Dec 27, 7 50 46 AM

Kendall started, having the most gifts. They were all small, a bunch of anime books and a necklace.

Photo Dec 27, 7 51 17 AM

Uma was very interested in what was going on and having a good time checking everything out, even snagging a couple candy canes from the tree that we had to take away

Photo Dec 27, 7 50 51 AM

Clothes for Kyle and I, a new Kindle for Tia, and a necklace and watch (Pebble) for me.

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My new necklace has my wedding band back on. Sometime I've missed for some time.

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Delaney got what he wanted, a fancy flight controller. It's heavy, made of metal, and has lots of buttons and options. Looking forward to seeing how it works for him.

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Tia and Kyle headed back to bed, while I had work to do. A strange, quiet, Christmas time for us, but a fantastic week.

The Train Wreck

Delaney and I switched boards the other day so he could try a longer one. He liked my 159, and I adjusted quickly to his shorter 155 one. However there was an issue. He has the bindings that flip up in the back and they kept catching on my boots. The right boot has been semi-trashed since last year, open on the sole to the world. They'd catch and I couldn't get out of the binding easily.

Worse, they pulled the entire sole open when I tried and I could see my sock. It made for a chilly day, especially Friday when Kyle and I went out alone.

Result: New boots needed. I'll keep the old ones and shoe-goo them closed, but I really need new ones. These likely have 100 days on them so no big deal that new ones are necessary.

Friday morning I got up with Kyle and we headed out early. He had to leave for work, so we wanted a couple hours in during the morning. I took a few minutes and turned the bindings back for my board, as well as Delaney's, since we thought he'd join us later. We went out, got on the gondola, and headed up, coffee in hand.

When we got to the top, I realized my binding had broken in the front. The forward strap, which had the wire unraveling a little, had broken. Fortunately I could still strap in, just no toe support.

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Things went well, and I managed to do fine, though it felt shaky at times. I managed deep powder, and Kyle and I were on the backside, where few people had gone. In fact, we made it to the far lift, Morningside, just as it started turning. They were still knocking snow off chairs that hadn't been used on our first ride up.

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It was gorgeous, and we had to make our own tracks in places in the trees. No one had even been down there. I'd have spent an hour there, but Kyle was tired after a run, so we headed back to the front, a little concerned about time.

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Result: I need a binding repair. At least a wire replacement, though I think I'll be looking for some cheap bindings to replace these in the spring/summer.

As if that weren't enough, as we got back to the front, and I unloaded some stuff, looking to cool down, I realized that my bibs had lost a strap. Tia had realized that one was coming loose, almost tearing where they were sewn in the back, and they finally broke. In fact, the other side is almost through as well.

Result: Some sewing work needed, though I'm not sure how well I can get them done. Might need new bibs/pants as well.

Combine this with the need to replace Kendall's helmet and then get a longer snowboard for Delaney, and it will be a bit of a pricey winter sports gear time.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Steamboat Springs 2014

Vacation is under way, and it’s been interesting so far. Tia, Kendall, Delaney and I came up Saturday night after Kendall’s friendly volleyball tournament. They played well, though no real idea of how they’ll do against the state competition.

Our drive up was fairly uneventful, until we got close to Rabbit Ears pass. We had a scary moment when ice appeared on the road. I managed a slight swerve and then put the truck in 4WD, with a slower journey over the pass to the hotel.

We didn’t do much that night, relaxed with some cards and then got up Sunday to start skiing.


It was a whiteout, with lots of blowing snow and fog. Both little kids had trouble with their glasses fogging up. Tia struggled with motion sickness, and it wasn’t a busy afternoon for us. We spent a bunch of time with kids frustrated with fogging lenses and Tia dealing with nausea. We spent a bunch of time in the lodge before heading back for an early afternoon.


Delaney started to feel sick at the room. We got him food, but he wanted to then just go to sleep. He took mine and Tia’s room and then the rest of us watched a movie. Actually Tia watched The Hundred Foot Journey. Kendall and I fell asleep early.


Delaney bailed on Monday skiing, and the rest of us went. Again, a whiteout and tough skiing. Kendall struggled in the morning, but did well after lunch. Tia had motion sickness on the second to the last run, so she went back to the room while Kendall and I did one more. Kendall’s doing great with boarding and wasn’t fazed by the blues.


Kyle arrived late, and we all crashed after a few card games. We then headed out Tuesday, but Kendall decided to take a day off. The rest of us had a great day out, skiing, and helping Delaney get a new face cover to help with his glasses fogging.


The boys had a good time together, which was nice to see. They joked and laughed quite a bit. The weather was better, with us able to see more, though still some fog and clouds rolling in. At times it felt like we were in a ghost story, unable to see things until we got close.


At the end of the day, we were trying to leave and got stuck in the snow. It was crazy, with Delaney and I unable to slide much forward. Tia got a neat video of it on Facebook.


On Wed, we all went out, which was a blast. We headed up early, did a few runs and had an early lunch. We avoided lines and then hit the back side.


The back side was great. Both little kids hadn’t been there before. Kyle, Tia, and I had enjoyed it a few years ago, in deep powder and through the trees. It was sunny, not much wind, and still some powder. The top part was daunting for Delaney, steep and lots of moguls, but once we got down and into the trees, the kids loved it. They wanted to go through over and over. We’d get separated, then see one of our group in the trees, and had a blast.

Kendall and I followed each other quite a bit, wrecking sometimes in the soft powder and laughing a lot. I got a video as well of Tia, Delaney, and Kendall coming through some trees.

The hard part of the day was as we prepared to head back to the front and home. We got onto a black, and tried to go slow, but somehow Kendall lost control and wrecked. I didn’t see it, but she said she hit her head hard. We sat there for five minutes or so, and she said she was OK. We started down, but she stopped and said she couldn’t go. We were worried, so Tia headed down for ski patrol right away.

They came, and assessed her, deciding it was likely a concussion and she needed to go to the hospital. She couldn’t remember the number the guy gave her, and couldn’t remember her middle name, so we were concerned. I chased them down to the bottom, and they loaded her in their emergency vehicle. Tia met us and went with them, while I took the boys and stuff back to the condo to get the truck

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We got to the hospital, and they’d xray’ed and CAT scanned her. Concussion, sprain/strain of muscles in the back for sure. No TV for a day or two, no texting, just taking it easy. Also, no volleyball for a week until she’s cleared by a doctor.

All in all, a good vacation. We did Secret Santa gifts this morning, and Kendall seems fine. She didn’t have much of a headache, feels OK, no nausea, just bored. Good signs.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Last Drive

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That was my view yesterday, driving down e-470, on the air to the airport to pick up Merrill. I snapped a quick photo, thinking this was the last drive, though it wasn’t.

After I posed the car on Thanksgiving, Merrill contacted me a day or two later and said he was interested. Fast forward, and he was flying in yesterday from Minnesota to get the car. I picked hom up, and he actually let me drive us back to the bank and home.

After spending the night with us, watching Kendall’s volleyball practice, he was driving out this morning, heading to Alabama where he’ll leave the car with his Dad for the winter. It’s a shared vehicle for them, something to enjoy. His Dad’s always wanted one, and this is a present. Hope my kids think of me later in life like this.

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I’d charged things up, but the side turn signal was on. I wonder if I’ve done that before and killed the battery. That was the case this morning, as I pushed it out in the early dawn while kids were getting ready. The last day in my driveway, and I’m glad it jumped immediately with the portable jumper. We let it idle and got a picture.

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The first time in a decade that I haven’t owner a Porsche. Now it’s time to drive and search for something new. Not sure if the Porsche is the thing, especially when the Audi and VW versions are the same car, with different insides. Insides matter, but so does some cost and condition.

It’s been a great six years, and I’m glad it’s going to someone that will really enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The SUV Search - Possibilities

My car goes away tomorrow  Sad smile


Actually, I'm not too sad. I've enjoyed it, and it's a great car, but it's time for me to move on to something else. I don't get to drive it, today being a perfect example. Need to pick up D and K separately, but with snow in the driveway, I'm stuck.

It will probably be weeks as I search and we try to move finances around, so I've been investigating cars by reading reviews, trying to understand the features and possibilities. I've looked at most everything from the Ford Flex to the Land Rover Evoque. However I've eliminated a bunch of them for various reasons.

The ones I'm really interested in driving and seeing:

  • BMW X3/X5 - Not sure if the 3 is too small.
  • Audi Q5/7 - The 5 might be too small, and there's a diesel 7
  • Lexus R330/350 - Not sure yet which model makes sense.
  • Porsche Cayenne - I have to. Not sure this is the right car for me, but I have to try it. It's been a decade since I haven't had a Porsche.
  • VW Toureq - It's essentially the Porsche with different stuff.
  • Volvo TC60/90 - Looks nice.
  • GMC Yukon - The Suburban is soooooo comfortable and this is a smaller version
  • Subaru Outback - Always liked these. Need to see a max'd out one. It's not an SUV, but it might be nice. Kyle suggested it and it gets much better gas mileage
  • Ford Explorer - They are looking nice.
  • Mercedes GL - I think it's too small, but worth a look
  • Hyundai Santa Fe - These are compared to the BMW in many ways.
  • Maxda - CX-7/9 - A friend has one.

The Acura doesn't get rated well and doesn't excite me. The Jeep's are too gas guzzly, worse than the Yukon, which surprises me. The Infiniti's look small and I drove around in one. Didn't love it, though if I have time, I might drive one.

It should be an interesting search.

SQL Konferenz

I've spoken at lots of events, but all in the US and the UK. Next year I get my first talk outside of those locations, going to the SQL Server Konferenz near Frankfurt, Germany.

The agenda is up, and I'll be talking testing and tSQLt there, and it's cool to see my name up there. I'm also glad to see the UK flag there to note I'll be presenting in English.


Fingers crossed that things go well.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Older and Taller

Last night was our annual Christmas part from the old JDE crew. Kendall was tired after volleyball, Delaney tired after a long day at Knowledge Bowl. Tia sick, so just Kyle and I went.

It's a bit sad to see the party shrinking, less families coming, and smaller ones. More kids are growing older, and taller. However it was still fun and neat to see Kyle talking as an adult with Jimmie and Amanda, also adults now. They were elementary school kids when we first got together, and they've stayed friends over the years.

We had fun, and I'm glad we went. A long night, however, and it has me tired today. With the snow outside, I think this is a quiet day.

Second Place

I picked up Delaney yesterday after his first Knowledge Bowl. His A team ended up taking second, and from what he said, it was a lot like Kendall's team last year. They won the middle group, went to the upper group and got killed by one team, went back to the middle, won, and then slaughtered (his word) at the top. However they took 2nd place, which is pretty cool. Out of 14 teams from six schools, that seems like a win.

He enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does, and watching when they come to our school.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fine Woodworking - Fall 2014 Final Project

Not sure I'd call this fine woodworking. I certainly learned a few things, both about wood and about learning. I do think that the summer was a better class for me. I learned more, was careful and more craftsman-like in the summer, using hand tools, and having time off from work.

The fall taught me more skills about using tools, and certainly more about working on my own. However a tough travel schedule, combined with my mess of a shop at home, my lack of time to work at school, and the other projects besides my final one meant that I didn't get the quality of craftsmanship I'd like.

However I learned a few things, and sometime this spring I do want to re-do my toolbox a little slower, using some of the skills and knowledge I gained across two semesters. With that, here's the semester's work

Photo Dec 13, 9 01 17 AM

Top left a shooting board, which I have yet to use, but I suspect I will at some point. Once I get a decent plane. Middle top is the bench hook, which I've used at school and home. This is one of the handier things I've done and I might need to do a few more. This has really helped since I don't have a great workbench.

The upper right is my mallet, which I really like. All the kids like it, though I wish I'd done a few things differently. I need to invest in another good, solid heavy piece of dense wood and redo this one as well. As I've found over the years, you can never have too many mallets or hammers. Especially when you aren't a precision woodworker.

The rest of the wood is my final project. It was supposed to look like this:


It looks like this, for a few reasons. Most of those are a lack of care and patience.

Photo Dec 13, 9 05 32 AM

However, I did get to practice a few things I might not have done, and I am proud that it stays together, without any glue or nails, or more importantly, screws. Screws have been a staple for me, and I'm glad this works well without anything. I can't decide if I want to glue it or drill a vertical hole through the corner dovetails and dowel them in. I like the idea of doweling things in.

However, here's the project assemble and in pieces.

Let's start with the handle, since that's how I'll start assembling it. This was the last thing I did, and I struggled shaping it. I used a band saw to rough cut the tenons (after the mortises, of course), but they were hard.

Photo Dec 13, 9 02 29 AM

Not too clean, especially the shoulder. I chiseled them down, and then rounded the top and bottom with a router. That was the look I wanted, which isn't great, but it's what happens when you keep designing as you're building.

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As you can see, this was the first cut, and I nicked it with the router. My mistake for not labeling and starting with the bottoms instead of the tops. However it did fit well in the mortise.

The handle was wide, really a 3/4" square, which is too wide for a handle. I used a band saw to trim it and then a plane and chisel, along with generous random orbit sanding, to shape and clean it up.

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Not great, not consistent, but handmade. I do like that. I wish I'd had a scraper or shaping tool to trim the wood at a reasonable clip and get what I wanted. Lesson learned. I should have spent more time here.

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The tenons are also offset, as you can see below. Why?

Photo Dec 13, 9 02 45 AM

This is why.

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Crappy marking. I was in a hurry, only really sure of one day to work on this. I marked it, and apparently I centered the drill on the side mark, not he center one. I drilled two holes, and with a little guidance from Andrew the TA, I chiseled the middles out. Badly.

Didn't notice until I started the handle, at which point I was out of time.

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However I did get the dovetails chopped mostly by hand. Of the four sets, I did one on the band saw and realized it took my about as long as just chopping, so I did that. They're certainly not all the same, and I had to make sure all parts were labeled, but they got done.

I also (for the first time) used a router to make a stopped dado in each of the four sides. I've seen it, and it looks easy. It is, but I hadn't quite been sure of how best to try it without shooting a piece of wood across the room. Thanks to the class I got some instruction and managed it.

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Getting the top together, we can see my poor shaping skills here. Oh well, I did it.

The bottom was a couple of pieces glued together and then a rabbit cut in the top and bottom to fit. I tackled this rather than nail the bottom on, which didn't sound great. I had some visions early on of doing a box joint, but decided not to.

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I did cut one of them a bit too deep, meaning too close to the middle. The fit is good up and down so the bottom doesn't rattle, but you can see some groove inside when it's assembled.

With the handle and bottom in, I can slide the sides into place.

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There is one issue with the mortises I cut in that they're slightly twisted. When I put the handle in, with the tenons fairly straight vertically, the sides are slightly out of square. One of them is a bit canted at an angle. It's not much, and  when I add the bottom and twist the wood slightly there's no creaking, but it did help me to understand how hard it can be to get these pieces and parts cut evenly. I somehow didn't reference my mortise correctly, though given it's side to side placement, that's not surprising.

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My labels had been sanded off, but these are four custom joints. With the groove in the bottom, I can easily tell if I have the right dovetail pin matching the right tail. The joints aren't pretty when you look closely, but from a distance, they're fine.

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I cut these mostly by hand, with a chisel and surprised myself how well they came out. Lots of gaps, visually, but they fit tight. In fact, it's a challenge to get them apart when they're together.

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When they slip together, the sides are a bit short on a couple of joints. Definitely an issue, but at the point I realized this, I had to live with it. I had no time to fix things.

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The ends stand proud about 1/8", which I don't love now. I wanted them to stick out, but 1/4" looked too large when I tried to measure and visualize it. I realize now I should have gone with 1/4" sticking out.

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Things fit fairly tightly, and a couple mallet taps fix any issues with the pieces not being completely seated. I do one side, then flip it and do the other, sliding the dovetails together..

Photo Dec 13, 9 04 58 AM

Once it's done, it actually holds well. I don't know I'd want to stress the sides, but I can see myself carrying tools around the ranch in this.

Photo Dec 13, 9 05 27 AM

My plan was to drill a couple holes in each tenon and chisel them out square, or perhaps leave them rounded. Then I had a piece of Purpleheart that I was going to use to cut a wedge and drive it in there to hole this together without fasteners.

Photo Dec 13, 9 06 24 AM

That was the plan, as you can see the tenons standing out to the side. However my plans were dashed as I expected the last class to give me time to work, but I was wrong. The last class date was cancelled, or I read the syllabus wrong. It was just a pick up day, so no wedges for now. I am thinking to add one in the next few weeks if I get time.

Photo Dec 13, 9 06 12 AM

The sides look OK, though I wish I'd cut a groove and gotten some purpleheart in there. I'd also have liked to make those dovetails stand out more.

Photo Dec 13, 9 06 03 AM

Not a great picture, but you can see a little groove at the bottom when we look from above. The handle shows (again), my poor cutting skills in the band saw. Clearly I can't do things evenly. A spokeshave would have been better.

Photo Dec 13, 9 05 51 AM

The other end, where we can see I chiseled out a bit too much tenon here. I guess I could always cut these shorter, or even flush and wedge inside them. Too marks on the edges as well.

I did get to use a router to ease the edges here, and then a sander to round them more. The top of the sides also saw a router and some sandpaper.

Photo Dec 13, 9 05 44 AM

There it is, the final project.

Photo Dec 13, 9 05 32 AM

A far cry from my design, though it is the proper dimensions. I planned on a 24" inside, which I have. It's 8 1/2" wide on the outside, which is the width of my spread hand. The sides are 6" high, which leaves me space to do a drawer. The ends are 12" high, which is less than my 14" in the plans, but once I drew this out on the actual wood, I thought 14" was too out of proportion for the width. I'm happy with this.