Monday, June 30, 2014

Sabbatical Day 23–Another Bust

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical.

I had lots of plans for Monday. However things didn’t go my way. Some family matters delayed me getting started, and after Pilates, I was exhausted. Not from class, but I think from working in the sun all day Saturday and Sunday. I took a nap, and then couldn’t really concentrate, so I decided not to do much. I started to mark things, but gave up, covered the boards, and knocked off for the day.

I had some time with the kids, some family business, but mostly a relaxing day.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Saturday was a puttering around the garage a bit. It was windy, so I wasn’t interested in going outside much, and it was hot, with a few things to do in the afternoon. I’d decided to start working on some small drawers. I’d cut the wood a week ago, but had trouble trying to hammer in small nails through hardboard. During the week I’d bought some nails for the pneumatic nailer and decided to try them out.

I put the pieces in a small jig I’d made and lined them up. The back, middle divider, and bottom are shown here.

Photo Jun 28, 12 23 12 PM

I have angled pieces of hardboard for the sides that I lay on here, on a little glue and then nail them in. With the nailer, things went quickly. I knocked out 3 small drawers, then cut a few more pieces and made some large drawers as well. I had a few more cut, but they needed a little more routing, so I stopped.

Once I had drawers, I cut some boards for the wall holders, and added sides.


I also added a small drawer across the whole top and I had storage for a bunch of nails and screws that were on benches and in drawers. These are easy to carry around and also get screws in and out.

I need to make a few more and also a small toolbox to hold them and other tools when I walk around.

Sunday was some flagpole work and then a trip to the store.

Photo Jun 29, 1 57 41 PM

It seems like many of my trips to Home Depot end up with heavy loads to bring home. In this case, I grabbed a bunch of wet, pressured treated wood for piles and some cross pieces. I was trying to hurry as I had lunch for Delaney and I was tired. As I loaded up, I realized I didn’t have cement, but I was too tired to bother going back. Tomorrow or Tuesday.

When I got home, it was time to laminate two boards together. This is the way I built the last shelter, and it’s held up well. Two 2x6s are better than a 4x4 and easier to find and deal with than a 4x6 at that length. I wasn’t thinking as I meant to do this with 3 8’ 2x6s instead of 2 12footers, but next time.

Photo Jun 29, 3 34 48 PM

Once I had glue on them, I added nails to give a little more strength and hold things tight while the glue cures.

Photo Jun 29, 3 28 19 PM

Nailing along 6 long boards, both sides, it a lot of sun work. I was hot and tired at the end when I loaded up the tractor.

Photo Jun 29, 4 55 56 PM

I drove them out and stacked them in the pasture, and I think I’m done. Tia can get her employee to dig the holes and cement in the posts. I bought enough boards to attach the roof joists (but forgot bolts) and also add two boards on each side. We’ll need more the the sides, along with OSB sheets to cover it.

Looks like another shopping trip this week.

Sabbatical Day 22–More Catch Up

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical.

Not a productive week on the sabbatical, at least in terms of what I wanted to accomplish. This coming week is semi-busy with volunteering on Wed and Thur as well as a holiday Fri, so I decided to catch up this weekend.

Saturday was mostly working in the garage, cleaning the shop, building some small drawers for pieces and parts, and organizing a touch more. It was windy outside, so I didn’t want to joint and plane wood.


Sunday was much better. It was calm, and with a cup of coffee, I set up the jointer to square two sides of my new 2x4s and then planed them to thickness.

Photo Jun 29, 10 17 42 AM

With the wood ready, I put it on the jig and cut it down to size. Once I was done, I tried to flip the pieces over to see if I could trim them again to give me spares, but they were too small.

It was hot, and I was ready to break, but I decided to see how things look. I grabbed all 8 pieces and laid them out on the bench. The jig is on the left, the flagpole on the right. Looks pretty good.

Photo Jun 29, 11 40 16 AM

As you can see, the top is four small pieces.

Photo Jun 29, 11 40 13 AM

The bottom, as expected, is four larger sizes, with more space.

Photo Jun 29, 11 39 55 AM

Overall, things look pretty good. The two things that have me slightly worried. The first is that the top board, the shorter of a 2x6, is slightly twisted. It doesn’t lay flat with the other boards. I can clamp it down, so it’s probably OK overall. I think I’ll try it and see.

The other worrisome thing is that two of the joints, one on a 2x4 and one on a 2x6 are only about 6” apart. The directions called for all joints to be at least a foot apart, but in this case they aren’t. Not sure if it’s a big deal yet. Stability is an issue, but once it’s glued to other pieces, I’m guessing it will bear up well.

Worst case in both situations is that I need to recut wood. I won’t take the jig down for now, and if I need to, I think I can build another one quicker.

Tomorrow I’ll cut biscuit slots (a few were marked today) and glue up the sides. I need to cut some stands to raise the pole up, but I think that should be fairly quick. If that goes well, I’ll buy a large router bit tomorrow night and work on rounding Tuesday.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sabbatical–Day 21–Volunteering

Today is another volunteer day with habitat. This time back at the ReStore. However I wasn’t feeling good. As I drove over there, I was fatigued, tired, and sipping coffee in the parking lot before they opened, I could have gone to sleep. However I got myself up and walked in.

Photo Jun 27, 8 55 15 AM

I worried about trying to get through the day, letting them down, etc., but it went OK. I was the only volunteer, working with a guy in the back processing donations and putting things out on the floor. Also a touch of loading purchases for customers.

I took hinges off doors and wrestled with a sink for a long time, trying to remove the faucets and drains. I worked slow, chatted with employees, and managed to get through a long day. I left at 2 feeling drained and hungry.

Photo Jun 27, 10 21 09 AM

I stopped for food and then at Harbor Freight where I bought 12 more clamps, with every intention of getting the flagpole glued next week. I felt slightly better, but I got home, lay down, and slept for two hours.

Not as much done as I’d planned, but fatigue does that. I’m sure some people think I’m doing this sabbatical thing wrong, but hard to tell. Every day this week I was up before 7, except Tues.

Andy Warren asked me if the time has been worth it and I don’t quite know how to answer that. Certainly it’s more relaxing and I get the chance to tackle things I wouldn’t have done before. I’ve gained some confidence with wood working and volunteered quite a bit more than I have in the past. I don’t know how things will feel when I get back to work, but I think I need to evaluate the end of this time and probably a few weeks later.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sabbatical–Day 20–More Interviews

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

Today I’m losing most of another day away from my flagpole. Next week, I keep telling myself.

I had the second round of high school principal interviews first. We had voted on two candidates last time and they were both coming back today for more questions and a scenario. I got the schedule last night and it was interesting. Since a principal is a leader, the scenario has the candidate leading the committee through a process. It’s an interesting technique, perhaps one that can be used in my other work somehow.

I also think I semi-volunteered for more work. I talked with the superintendent a bit, saying that one of the issues I think lots of parents have is that we don’t understand the process and cost of education. One of the teachers had mentioned they needed lots of prep time for class, and I asked him why they needed the prep they said after they’d taught the class a few times. He asked if I might help figure out how to better educate and inform parents.

Not sure what I’ll be involved in, but I’m guessing I’ll be on the hook for something.

Half my day gone, Pilates in the afternoon and then class. Not quite what I was hoping for. I packed up and left for Goodwill, dropping off some clothes and then Pilates.I was late, having assumed the time and not looked at the reminder I’d set. However still a workout before fighting traffic for class.


Tonight was the start of us cutting tenons by hand, We started with a lecture, watching the instructor cut, trim, and shape a tenon by hand. It didn’t look hard, and I even took notes. In fact, I spent the first 10 minutes of class writing down some of the things we’ve learned, trying to be sure I’ll remember them in the future.

I marked and went to cut my first tenon, badly twisting the saw and cutting at an angle. I wrecked both sides of the first tenon before getting a few hints from the instructor and starting on the other side of my board.

Photo Jun 26, 8 08 34 PM

I got better, working slowly on this one, and finally getting it cut before starting on the other side.

Photo Jun 26, 8 08 37 PM

I wasn’t trying to be too exact, cutting close and then snapping off the sides, knowing we’d use a router plane to clean up the tenon.

Photo Jun 26, 8 18 05 PM

I was one of the slower ones to get mine cut, but once it was done, it was acceptable right away by the instructor. Even though it didn’t look great, it fit nicely.

Then I had to start cutting another one. I didn’t finish, but I did learn a bit of a new skill.

Photo Jun 26, 9 18 59 PM

Lunch with D

After interviews this morning, I tried to text Delaney to see if he wanted a sandwich. We ran long and I was starving. I didn’t hear from him, but I decided to just get a foot long sub and chips and headed home. I called him from the foyer, and he was up, so I asked if he wanted half a sandwich. He did, but there was a catch.

He had to eat with me.

He was OK, so instead of trying to cut some wood, we sat on the front porch, watching dogs walk around in the heat and chatted about school, the interviews I had, life, books, and more. It was a good talk, and at one point, he asked me when I had to leave and how long we could sit and chat.

It was a great break from life, and I’m glad I did it. Need to do it more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Off to Nationals

Tia and Kendall left this morning for the girls volleyball Junior National Championships in Minnesota. They were flying up with the team, and I’m somewhat sorry I’m not going with them. However I didn’t want to lose more days and am thinking I can get some things done this weekend.

Kendall’s team is in Pool 4, playing in the afternoon. Tomorrow at 3pm.

Best of luck to them and hope Kendall plays well.

Sabbatical Day 19–Critical Repair

Today was my first time volunteering on a Critical House Repair for Habitat. I thought I might be taking Tia and Kendall to the airport, and was thinking I’d need to leave early. However Kyle said he’d drive them and I left at 8, which turned out to be a touch late.

Lots of traffic and I stressed a bit driving. There was construction out in the country, and a 8 minute delay for me there, which had my arrival time at 9:03. Then construction on I-70 as well, but I managed to pull up at 9:02. Fortunately they hadn’t done the safety briefing.

I got the standard spiel I’ve heard a few times, with a foreman and 3 Americorps volunteers there. They said mostly painting and caulking, which I don’t enjoy. However the foreman said one person could help cut wood for the railings and ramp in front and I volunteered. I think I was lucky that everyone else was from one company and they stuck together.

This house needed help, and the program with Habitat upgrades problem areas at cost. In this case, the man was starting to have walking issues and we were putting a wheelchair ramp on front of the porch. We also had to put new railings up, as there was a new roof over the porch. Previously the house had gotten a new roof, new windows and doors, and was almost done.

As I watched others caulk and paint the upper eaves and upper half of the house, I helped frame out the upper platform off the porch, then moved off to put new railings with pickets in front and on one side. I cut lots of wood to size, and held lots of pieces that people screwed in.

Near the end of the day we were decking the top with TREX and I helped screw pieces in. We managed to get the upper and lower platforms framed and mostly decked. The lower ramp needs to wait for some other work, so we were almost done with the project at the end of the day. I’d like to go back and help, but other volunteer tasks this week.

It’s neat to help improve things. Unlike some of the other builds where it barely feels like I did anything, it felt like I helped today as I was working with 3 of the regulars and we moved quickly.

However I’m beat. Ready for bed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sabbatical - Day 18–Bust

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

I was hoping to get more done today, but it was a touch of a bust. A late start, lazy in the morning catching up on some blogging and laying around with my wife, who had a late start.

Then it was off to the store. The flagpole was stalled until I had more 2x4s for the other side. As I drove, I think I figured out the problem. I jointed too much off the 2x4, which was somewhat bowed, and then when I tapered it, there wasn’t enough scrap to cut the other side.

I picked up 2 2x4s, fairly straight from what I could see. I brought them home, stopping for a couple errands, but when I got home, it was windy and rain was threatening again. Grrr. Too much of a pain to get the jointer and planer out.

I decided to then get some things done at home. With PT in the afternoon, I cut some grass, got kids to cut grass, and got a kid to load up the truck with giveaway clothes. Then it was PT, cook dinner, and off to Scouts, where I’d committed to review an Eagle project plan.

The one good thing was that a friend of mine was there who’' does a lot of welding. He’s looking for work, with lots of free time and I had the chance to ask him about the base support. He said it would be easy to weld and to come see him sometime. I think next week might be the time to do that.

That’s about it for the day. Tomorrow volunteering.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sabbatical Day 17–New volunteering

Today I had a new volunteer task. The local high school my son attends lost their principal last year and they are searching for a new one. They asked for parents to volunteer to interview candidates and I sent a note in. Today I got called to help out.

Up early, arriving at the school board building at 7:30 and then spending 5 hours interviewing and then discussing candidates for the position. It was a long morning as we had to whittle things down to two candidates, which we did. Now I get to go back Thursday for more interviews.


The second part of my day was flagpole work. I first had to watch my video again, or part of it, and then measure to move the cleats on the flagpole. This is to cut down the thin sides. I did that, and you can see below that I moved the first section over.

Photo Jun 23, 2 17 05 PM

Once that was done, I knew I had to hurry a but. The wind was picking up and dark clouds coming in, so I quickly cut the boards once they were secure and got two pieces.

I was supposed to flip over the scrap to cut it again, but I had an issue.

Photo Jun 23, 2 40 04 PM

As you can see above, the middle part, isn’t quite wide enough. I’m not sure if that’s a measurement error (it looks OK), or a warped board (more likely). That’s an issue. I can’t use this as this piece will be thinner than the other. I need to buy another.

However that’s another day. The wind rolled in and I had to cover things quickly, tying down the tarp. No more for today, but I’ll need to go pick out more boards and then cut them again. I’m going to try to do that tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Slip and Catch

It was raining as I drove E in Louisville to my hotel. I got out of the car, walked in, tired, irritated by traffic and broken traffic lights and as I entered the hotel, my right foot slipped on the tile. I tightened everything up and didn’t fall, but I jerked things tight and the knee didn’t like that.

My heart also jumped a bit, though I hope it’s for nothing. I don’t think I hurt anything badly, but it’s achy. I did 30 min on the treadmill, and it was OK, but a bit sore. I wish I was home and had my ice machine.

Overall things have been going well with the knee, and while I’m not quite ready to run, I am going to try the elliptical tomorrow. Slow, especially after today, but we’ll see.

Today was better on the airplane. I flew 2 1/2 hours, stuck in a seat, and it wasn’t aching. Of course, at dinner tonight it was, but I’m hoping that it’s a short term thing.

Day 16–Travel Interruption

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

Today is another early day, but no sabbatical work (other than this post).

Tomorrow is SQL Saturday #286 in Louisville, KY. I’d committed to this before I had scheduled the sabbatical and since I’ve submitted, been accepted, and cancelled twice for Louisville, I’m finally going.

Up early, packing, which was simple given that my travel bag is pretty much packed all the time. Add some socks, contacts, shirts, and zip it up and I’m good. I grabbed my laptop bag, spent 15 minutes scurrying around looking for my cord bag before giving up. I was hurried the last trip in Orlando and I wonder if I left that bag in the hotel.

Annoying, but not a huge big deal. This was a kid’s zippered pencil bad that held a few charging cords, wall and car USB adapters, and my presenter remote. Maybe $50 worth of stuff, though the presenter remote is the one big thing I miss. I’ll try to replace them in Louisville.

I’m writing on an airplane, knocking out yesterday’s and today’s entries. I cleared out some email in the airport, mostly just deleting notifications of spam and other events from the box, skipping by emails I might care about later. I did go over the talks the other night, but I’m also double checking the demos and making sure things work today so I have smooth deliveries tomorrow.

I have two talks, The Encryption Primer and Branding Yourself for a Dream Job. The latter is also scheduled for SQL Bits in July, so I’m glad I get the chance to go over that now. The other talk for Bits is a related, but different encryption talk and I need to practice that today as well. As sabbatical ends, I’m flying to the UK, and I won’t have much of a chance to prep, so this sabbatical break is a good time to do so.

A strange day in the sabbatical. Most days have me moving, not sitting, and today is mostly a sitting day. Still, as much as I have been enjoying the time off, I also love my job and the chance to go see, meet, teach, and chat with people is something I’m looking forward to doing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sabbatical Day 15–More Building

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

I got up early, though not as early as day 9, to drive out to the Habitat build again. I’d volunteered again and this time arrived at 8:30, not 7:45. The same two supervisors were there, and as I walked up, they greeted me and put me to work. Not content to wait for the orientation lectures, I pulled out some ladders and was given caulking duty in all corners of a bedroom.

Not my best skill, but I worked at it, trying to seal each of the seams where the drywall comes together. It’s a small energy saver, providing some insulation and reducing drafts. As expected, I probably put too much in each corner bead, especially around the ceiling corners, but I got a complete room done.

Then it was painting. With about 12 or 13 volunteers, the idea was that we’d get three coats inside the house. I started cutting in spaces for primer, and then was pulled out to help unload new cabinets that would be installed the next week. Once those were stacked in a driveway, I was asked if I’d prefer inside or outside work. Outside for sure, with so many people and fumes, so I was given a task with a high school kid to un-pile the dirt in front and spread it around near the house. I filled in electrical trenches and then tried to build a slope down to the street.

Hard work, and working slow, but work that is simple and lets me think. Two or three others joined us and we soon had a 4 ft x 6 ft pile of dirt spread out. An early lunch where I was glad to sit in the car and rest for a few minutes. When we got back to it, most people went to put on the first coat of final paint and I helped with more dirt work and a few random jobs outside getting fascia cut and various tools and supplies moved around.

Near the end I could feel my back aching a bit, and slowed down. Around 3, everyone pitched in to do one last coat of paint, the third, inside the house. I cut in the kitchen and then rolled the walls. Not glamorous, not hard, and certainly not fun, but I did OK. Despite the low light, no complaints on my work. We knocked off at 4:15 and I was off to class.


Class was interesting. I got there early enough to sharpen a plane and flatten a mortising chisel. My first task was to flatten the edge of one of the aprons I’d cut last week. One was already square, but my band saw rip meant that the other apron had two flat sides (one by me, one by the planer) and two un-square and un-flat edges. At home I’d have run it on the jointer, but in class I needed to it by hand.

The edge was high on one side, but I couldn’t square it. I was working with just one bench dog, and a TA came by to show me how to secure it in the vise. I declined, saying I wanted to practice balancing the board. He laughed and walked away, and I struggled.

We had a break for another demo, where the instructor showed everyone again how to mark and chisel a mortise. I was the only one who’d gotten that far on Tuesday, so it was a bit of a boring lecture at times, but I did learn a few things I’d missed the first time, or hadn’t done Tues. After 45 min or so of watching, I headed back to the shop and finally managed to square the edge of my board. My iron was slightly tilted, so I was just planing the board on an angle. I managed to square it after a few tries and quickly squared the board.

Then it was mortise time. We were supposed to mark 5 lines and transfer them across the edge and get that approved. I did that first, but only 3 of mine were OK. That made sense as I was working with a utility blade and the bevel messed me up a bit.

I left that for a minute and chopped two more mortises. One was OK, one looked good until near the end when I managed to mis-set the chisel and hit it once before I realized. Not a good looking mistake, but one that would likely be covered by the shoulder of the tenon piece and wouldn’t affect fit much.


I got those chopped, laid out and transferred three more lines and took everything up for approval. I got good marks, though I realized that laying out a mortise one day and then potentially using a different chisel the next is bad. The instructor noticed and I could see where this is a problem. Relative measurements only work when you use the same tools.

I laid out and marked a third set of mortises, getting them chopped just before 9. The instructor thought those were my best, and I called it a night 20 minutes early. I was beat, so I packed up and headed home.

A long day, a very tiring day, but a good day. Helped lower someone’s mortgage for a house and built some chiseling skill.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sabbatical Day 14–More Cuts

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

It’s time to get the rest of the flagpole cut. The idea is there are two sides, the front and back, made from 2x6 lumber. It’s tapered, but those are the top and bottom as the pole is on the bench. Then there’s 2x4s, which are really split, to form the sides. I only bought 2, so I’m hoping I don’t mess this up today.

The plan is to measure and cut wood, then start marking biscuit locations. I’m hoping glue arrives and I can get to that over the weekend or early next week.


I wrote the first part of this in the morning, as the DirectTV guy came by to realign our dish and upgrade a received. I had to baby-sit the process for a bit and when he was done, the day fell apart.

It was very windy outside, too windy to cut and probably even uncovering the jig wouldn’t have gone well. A friend called to see if I was free for lunch, and I agreed since I’d missed him the last coulple of weeks. After that, with more wind, I gathered kids and we delivered some of the horse projects I’d worked on to a friend.

That was really the day. A bit of planning and nothing. However with Habitat tomorrow, it wasn’t a bad way to spend a day.

Book #29–Green Mars

51AQj3eZnhL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_The second book of the Mars trilogy, Green Mars starts a few years after Red Mars ends. As with the first book we have long chapters, each told by a different person.

This one starts with Nirgal, one of the Nissei. He’s an ectogene, a grown human using DNA that Hiroku took from the first hundred. He grows up under the ice on the South Pole of Mars, where Hiroku and many of the First Hundred retreated to after the failed revolution. The book was slow going at first, as we have a 15 year old telling how he views the world.

From there we get a few other characters. We get Art, from Earth, who’s chosen by one of the transnational companies to come to Mars and try to reach the outsiders. We also get viewpoints from Maya, Ann, Sax, and more as they continue to age, but survive thanks to treatments. We also see them working to somehow free Mars.

Near the end of the book, the pace dramatically picks up and they do engage in revolution. I really enjoyed the book once it got going and immediately looked for the third book.

Sabbatical–Day 13–Jig part 2

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.


After the weather ruined my first jig, I decided to plan better, and wait for a clear time to work on the flagpole. Today  was that day. I was slow to get going, but I managed to get to Home Depot in the morning and purchase a few hardware items along with the wood for the jig. It takes 3 8” strips of 3/4” plywood and I had them cut those. They also agreed to do the 1 1/2” strips for the cleats, which was nice. Not only did it mean I could transport things easier, but also I didn’t have to muck with that.

First was biscuiting the pieces together. I learned this isn’t super strong, but it will hold enough. I used #20 biscuits this time instead of #0 ones. Make a big difference.

Photo Jun 17, 12 19 53 PM

Then it was layout time. First, get the total length.

Photo Jun 17, 12 30 10 PM

The plan is 22ft 2 in, but I opted to go with 22 as I didn’t want to get too close on cuts. A new saw blade went in to try and get as clean a cut as I could.

Photo Jun 17, 12 41 45 PM

Then I can to measure the taper. The idea is that I taper one side (of both the front and back) first. I used a chalk line to get the angle, and then colored that in with a pencil.

Photo Jun 17, 12 33 59 PM

I’d also bought some 1/4” plywood, which I ripped strips from to make this cleat for the saw to ride on. I screwed those in along my line.

Photo Jun 17, 12 57 54 PM

Then it was time to cut the jig. I ran the saw along the cleats to trim the jig to size. Some scrap plywood I’ll use for other projects at some point.

Photo Jun 17, 1 13 01 PM

I was feeling pretty good at this point and had a good sense of accomplishment. I’ve seen this on the video 4 or 5 times, but it’s quick there, and slightly intimidating. However good sun, not much wind, and I had a jig.

Then I needed to cut a scarf joint in my boards. It’s hard to find a good 20+ft board,  and even the 16ft ones I got were culled from a large number of other ones. They’re slightly warped, but the straightest I saw and I think they’ll be OK once they are glued up and holding each other. However I need a way to join them together. This is how I did that.

Photo Jun 17, 1 39 59 PM

I won’t glue these yet, but when I attach everything they’ll get a good coating of glue.

With that done, I put two of the boards (front) under the jig and cut. It made me a little nervous, but this isn’t a lot of wood (in cost) and if I mess up, I start over. At least I have a jig now.

Photo Jun 17, 3 44 47 PM

Things went well, and I put in the other two boards (back) and cut them as well. With that done, I had one side tapered. But I needed the second side done, so I flipped over the jig and attached a cleat on the bottom for the boards to sit against. In the picture below, the jig is upside down. With that cleat on, I flipped it over, butted it against the wood, and cut.

Photo Jun 17, 3 38 25 PM

It’s hard to see, but the close end is 3” side, and the far end is 4.5” wide. That’s the taper of the flagpole.

I got some of my glue as well, and I’m expecting the rest this week.

Photo Jun 17, 12 19 47 PM

That was most of the day, and of course, I had to clean up and cover up in case it rains. When I planned this Monday, there was no rain in the forecast, but by Tues afternoon, there was a chance for Wed.

Photo Jun 17, 3 55 26 PM

Woodworking Fundamentals Class

Tuesday night was woodworking class, so after cleaning up, I packed up the car and headed out with my supplies to the west side of town and class. I barely made it there on time and just had time to sharpen a plane blade before the instructor wanted us to gather for a lecture. Lucky for me the blade was in good shape and fairly sharp.

We started class with introductions. Now that the class was set with 12 or 13 students (down from 18), the teacher wanted us to get to know each other. He talked about his work as a furniture maker and fitter, working for restaurants, museums, etc. Then we went around the circle.

What was surprising for me is that most of the people there, probably 10 of us, wanted to do this as a career in some way. Most people were in their 30s or 40s, but were looking for something else. A few construction people, a few artists, looking to improve their skills. However there were 4 or 5 of us that worked for a corporate company, and except for me, everyone hated their jobs. We had one software engineer who’s doing this as a hobby, but doesn’t love his job. A banker, a video person, some other corporate people that are hoping they can find work for themselves, doing woodworking.

Interesting. I avoided talking much about my job, since I have the best job and didn’t want to make anyone feel bad, but it’s a sad state of affairs for corporate workers if I had any kind of representative sample.

Then we got into woodworking, which was learning to square a third side of our leg, in this case the top end. That’s a bit of a challenge, but not as hard as the other two. Once we finished that, we were looking to chop a mortise. I’ve tried to drill and rout one, but never hand chop one. We watched the instructor do some layout and marking, which looked easy, but as I found out, wasn’t. He also chopped two intersecting mortises in a few minutes.

Everyone was tired at this point, so we were on our own. My boards were square and flat, so I got to work quickly. I first cut the big board into two with the bandsaw to get the aprons. I’m sure Thur will be tenon time with those. Then I checked my leg, which was barely off square. Using a shooting board, I managed to get it square quickly, surprising myself.

Our software engineer, Tony, chatted with me a bit as he tried to square his leg. He’s a java guy, and hates SQL Server, so he complained a bit and I listened to him vent. I gave him a few tips on SQL Server and what had worked for me squaring the wood. I’m not advanced yet, but I am ahead of most people.

Photo Jun 17, 8 18 46 PM

I got my wood marked, using my new marking gauge to set up the mortise spot. Then it was time to chisel out the wood.

Photo Jun 17, 8 55 01 PM

It went surprisingly quickly. I thought it might take me the rest of the night to do one mortise, but I actually ended up getting both of them done and intersecting. I didn’t take a good picture, but I will Thur. Especially as I they were pronounced “pretty good”, but then I was told to “do it again”.

I managed to mark out two more mortises below these  since this is a practice leg, but was feeling tired. It was 9 at this point, so I cleaned my area, packed up, and left.

A good wood day.

Pool Table

When I heard a friend was selling their table, I was interested. When they asked if we could trade some building projects, I was really interested. I've been working on some things, and Monday was the day to move the table. I met the movers at her house, and watched them take the table apart. This is the base, which isn't much. I could move this.

 However there's more to it than that. There are 3 big pieces of slate that go on it. Once it's moved, the pieces are screwed in and then they have to be leveled. You do that with shims and screws, and once it's set, you put wax in between them to get a smooth surface.

It involves a torch as well as some skill, and this took the most time.

After that, put on the felt. This went smooth, and it's stapled in there. Watching them, I could do that.

Getting close. Delaney was watching with me, and planning on playing when they were done.

 The bumpers go on last, pieces attached with screws and then we can play. I didn't grab pictures playing, but Delaney and I played, then at night the kids and I had a few rounds and a lot of fun.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 12–Measuring and planning

A slow day for the sabbatical today. I had a few household things to handle, including getting a pool table moved, and I wasn’t positive about weather.
Photo Jun 16, 2 46 00 PM
So this was a planning day, along with double checking my shopping list and re-watching part of the video on the flagpole. Tomorrow I hit it hard.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father’s Day

A good Father’s Day. The first one in 7 years I haven’t played baseball on, though I hope to get back to that next year.

Tia got the kids up and they cooked breakfast for me this morning. I got an omelet, yogurt, bagel, coffee and OJ. Way more than I usually have and it was nice to lay in bed and eat.

After relaxing a bit, a short workout with PT and Crossfit, I went out and set up bikes on the Suburban. I had to change a tire, and load up the carrier, and Kendall came out to help. Then it was loading the little kids in the car and heading to ride the Cherry Creek trail. No Kyle, as he had to work, but he did wish me a good day before he left.

We went in at The Pinery, intending to ride to 20 Mile and eat a late lunch. It was a nice ride, though everyone was tired when we got to eat some salad and pizza. After a break, we headed back, but everyone was tired.

Kendall especially was struggling, and decided to bail around 8+ miles and let us come pick her up. I understand that as my rear and my wrists were tired. We continued on, but a mile + later, around 10 miles, Delaney was beat. He wanted to rest and we told him to go to the next park, where we’d get him.

Tia and I continued on, laughing that we’d overdone it again, and cooked the kids. We littered the trail with kids and then we struggled a bit the last 2 miles in the wind. We made it and then raced off to get Kendall and then Delaney, and then dropped Tia off in Franktown to help someone load their horse in a trailer.

Kendall and I sat and had a soda at the gas station and chatted before picking up Tia and heading home. The kids helped me move stuff in the basement and then both went to bed. They were tired.

A long day. A working day, but a great day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day 11–Catchup

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

After missing Friday, I decided to spend Sat morning on a few things. I went for a drive in the Porsche, and since it was out, I left it out and set up sawhorses and the jointer.

Photo Jun 14, 1 31 57 PM

I didn’t have the wood to make the jig and trim boards, but I did need to semi-square two sides. The first operation is the joint two sides, a wide side and an edge. I set up two supports to support things coming in and two on the out. A 16’ board is tough to control and on the video Norm uses a power planer, but I dion’t have one and didn’t want to get one. If I screw this up, maybe I will.

Photo Jun 14, 1 31 09 PM

I ran the 12’ 2x4s first and those weren’t bad. They seemed relatively flat on one side after each went through twice. I also did one wide side of each.

With those done I then did the 16 boards. Slow going and probably not perfectly flat, as my instructor would like them, but probably close enough to line up and get trimmed. Once those were done, it was planer time.

Photo Jun 14, 2 14 01 PM

The planer runs boards through with it’s own power and just needs support. I supported the boards in for about 6-8 ft and then went on the other side to catch them and ensure they got on the supports.

It was a mess, and I had shavings everywhere. It took 3-4 passes through, thinning the boards each time to get to 1 1/4” thick (from 1 1/2”).

Photo Jun 14, 2 47 03 PM

I had a huge pile of sawdust and shavings as the rain came in, and I hurried to put things away and clean up.

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Two of those trashcans full of sawdust to clean things out. I managed to just get the Porsche put away as the rain came in.

A good day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sabbatical Day 10–Bust

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

Mostly a bust today. I slept in, tired from Thursday. Then I had to pick up my daughter from volleyball camp, which ended up taking a few hours and we weren’t back until 1 in the afternoon. At that time, it was windy, threatening rain, and I didn’t get much done.

I did set up the new miter saw, and cut a few pieces of wood for my friend’s horse jumps. That was good practice, but with bad weather, and a night commitment, I called it a day.

Felt like I completely missed a day of sabbatical.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sabbatical Day 8–The Weather and the Flagpole

The weather is wrecking havoc with my flagpole. Usually it’s really dry in Denver, and I hadn’t been worried about setting up outside and building a flagpole. However rain is in the forecast far too many days, and we’ve had light showers or heavy thunderstorms too often. The jig I built is trash, so scrap $30 and a few hours of work there. Add in the volunteering on Tue/Thur and my plans are slightly wrecked.

I need to rethink things and also plan better moving forward.

First, I think that to taper the flagpole with the jig, I need to get that done in fairly short order. I’m thinking 2 days max to set things up, measure and align the jig, and then cut the posts. If I can do that, then I can always store the pieces inside for a few days until the next step.

Second, that means I need to plan for a couple days of work around the volunteering. I’m scheduled for Tue/Thur, this week and next, which messes things up a bit. I’m thinking I need to move or cancel next Tue’s shift and try to get this moving. Then I can pick up more volunteer shifts after that.

Last, I need to re-examine exactly what I need to do for the tapering and get prepared. Today’s plans, being tired, and having a speaking engagement tonight, mean that I’m going to re-watch the video, plan out the work, write it down, and also order a few other supplies. I’m also thinking to start moving some rocks where the base will go and get that prepped while I have a few half days.

I’m also going to buy a new miter saw. This project, Father’s Day, and a little drooling are giving me a good excuse.

Those are the plans early in the morning.

The Results

How did the day go?

Bad. As soon as I got back from PT, I was doing some planning on paper when the thunder started. I thought I might do a touch of stuff outside, but no go. I iced the knee a bit and watched the DVD for the flagpole again, making some notes so that I understood exactly what I needed to do. I have a better idea of how to get the jig set up and cut things quickly.

It was sprinkling outside as I measured some space in the garage to see if I could store wood. I could, so I went shopping. First I ordered the glue from Amazon. I’m not sure how quickly I’ll need it, but I will need it and I don’t want more delays.

Next I packed up and went to Lowes. I’ve been eyeing miter saws, trying to decide between a 12” saw, a 10” slider, or splurge on a 12” slider. On one hand I’d like to invest in some nice tools. On the other hand, I don’t know if I need to. I’m still an amatuer, and not sure how mich “fine” work I’ll do. I was really thinking the Hitachi C12FCH 12” saw, after seeing some good reviews. However it doesn’t have indent adjustments and that worries me if it’s not square. I can adjust things, but I’d like to have it easy.

The DeWalt 12” is pricey (the slider is crazy), but then I was wondering if I needed 12”, and if I spent $250 on the DeWalt, should I just go $400 for the Hitachi slider. Part of my concern was that most of these are large, needing 24”x24” in some cases. Most space than I want to give up.

Then I saw a few nice reviews on 10” sliders, including the Kobalt Lowes brand. At $200, that’s hard to pass up, and width often matters more to me than height. So I decided to hit Lowes and grab one, along with the flagpole wood. I spent a few minutes looking thought the 16’ and 12’ boards to get some that were quartersawn, hoping to prevent some movement.

I got back, and in sprinkling rain, I unloaded wood. That was about it for the sabbatical. I had an engagement at the Denver Women in Technology group, and that was my evening.

Tomorrow is up early for my first Habitat Build.

Another Long Day

Muddling around all day, a little exercise, and then speaking at the Denver Women in Technology group. I committed a few months ago, got the notice last week and finalized the presentation this week. Tonight was the first time I did “Creating Your First Technical Speaking Opportunity” to a group. It was a small group, about 10-12 women, and many of them had spoken in front of some group.

I thought that was a bad sign, but most of them were still intimidated about speaking to a user group or SQL Saturday. It was interesting, and I got some good comments and questions. All in all, it was a good meeting and I need to build a second 30 minutes with more practical tips.

Now time to rest as I need to get up early to head out to my Habitat build. Excited, and a little worried as I’m still tired.

Sabbatical - Day 7 A Long Day

Yesterday was a very long day. I left the house at 8am and didn’t get home until after 10:30pm. I was beat, and I realize how easy life is for my most days.

The day started with a shift at the ReStore. I arrived, walked right in, signed in and grabbed gloves and was immediately given a project.

Photo Jun 10, 9 02 57 AM

There are lots of faucets for sale, and more coming in all the time. They are displayed on wooden pieces that have 3 holes cut in them for the faucet to fit inside. The display area was about half full and the manager showed me the large pile of faucets in the back and asked if I’d mount and them them ready.

Photo Jun 10, 9 13 12 AM

One thing I’ve noticed is that quite a few people volunteering seem to be doing it for some Community Service hours. I think a lot are either seniors in high school that need hours to graduate, or court ordered volunteers. Most of the people need hours tracked and forms signed. I’ve also seen a lot of them not be familiar with tools.

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It was a quiet day, and I enjoyed the first 3 hours. My task was to grab some scrap wood, mark out the places for holes, and then drill them out. Once they were done, I mounted the faucet inside, got a price on it and put it out on the display. Easy, necessary work. I ran through the wood I had, found a few more pieces, got permission to cut them, and continued on, eventually emptying the pile of faucets from the bins. There were plenty more that needed to be checked, but there are certain volunteers that do that.

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I unloaded a delivery truck and helped a few people load their purchases as well, all good breaks from the constant drilling and cutting work I was doing. I took a short break to grab some food and then came back to ask what else I could do. I almost wish I’d found something because the guy asked me to look at the tile aisle and clean it up. Apparently people are stacking partial boxes of tiles on top of others when there are slots to display the tiles like records. Small on a long shelf, big on a lower set of pallets with rails.

Moving tile is hard work, and most of the work was with big tiles on the lower shelves. I arranged things, cleaned up areas, and managed to make the aisle look good before I left at 2. I had to take a few breaks and sit down a few times and my knee was aching a bit during the day. A hard day.

And only half over. I also had class. I’d arranged my shift on the same day as class to limit driving, which was good. However it made for a long day. I had 3 hours between work and class, so I grabbed lunch (a protein bar wasn’t enough), read some homework I had, sat in the student lounge for an hour and tried to relax, and then went early to do some sharpening.

Photo Jun 10, 4 52 15 PM

I managed to get my chisels sharp, removing the machine marks from the back, and also getting the back flat. I finished just after class started, and was happy. That put me behind on sharpening a plane iron, but since my board was flat, and others hadn’t done that, I wasn’t worried. In fact, since my board looked good, I then flattened the other side. Either I’m getting good, got an easy board, or others aren’t doing well, because I showed the instructor both sides. He then challenged me to make the sides parallel.

Hmmm. I knew a planer would do this, but how to do it by hand? He actually showed me that using a marking tool and then a pencil, you can find a parallel thickness. We marked my board and one corner was the low spot, with the other three, and most of the board, high. I’d actually build some sort of trapezoid. I went to work getting it close, but didn’t finish before we moved on to learning to square a board. We learned how to flatten a side and then get the next edge parallel.

That was a challenge and much harder. I got one side flat fairly easily, but the second side was almost angled away. I marked it, planed, checked, and struggled. At one point I either went too far, or I had the board backwards, but by the end of class, 3 hours later, I almost had it square. Just a little off.

However I was tired, so I called it a day.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Back to Pilates

I started back today. The instructor worked with me to keep the knee inline, and I managed to even kneel on it a bit. We did some lunches, some other movements, and I could do most things, though I did need to bend too far on a few of the exercises.

I definitely worked hard, though not as hard aerobically as I couldn’t go too fast. I was worried about the knee.

Glad to be working back at Pilates. Next step, yoga.

Sabbatical–Day 6 Grrrr

After a semi-relaxing weekend, I was ready to get going this morning. However things weren’t going my way.

Catch Up

I spent part of Saturday catching up with a few things. Since I got cut short last week, I spent a few hours getting my plywood cut out and ready for the jig. I worked with a straightedge and cut 3 8” strips out.

Photo Jun 07, 12 21 04 PM

I then used biscuits to join them together and I had a long, 24’ base that I set on my workbench. I used some clamps to hold things down and let it dry.

Photo Jun 07, 1 04 02 PM

However the weather didn’t cooperate. A light rain and wind Saturday, and then a big storm with hail on Sunday. As a result, all of the work I did on Saturday morning was a bust. The plywood warped a bit and the biscuits came out on one of the joints.


When I got out there this morning, one of the joints had pulled loose and the other one was badly warped. As I look at it, I think the jig is toast for this project. Not a hue big deal as I can re-use the plywood for scrap work, some other jigs, some shop stuff.

However it meant that my plan to add the cleats for the jig were ruined this morning. Not a big deal, and I decided to make a few small buckets to hold spare parts, which will be handy as I do other work.

I started cutting some pieces, and I was ready to assemble a few little drawers, but nailing brads didn’t work well. I left to go to Pilates, and when I came back, I realized that I couldn’t get these assembled today without other brads. I added them to the list, along with marine wood glue and more plywood.

I then decided to work on some horse jumps, which I’ve needed to do. These are good projects, and items I’ve never built. I set up some 4x4s outside on the bench and drew lines across.

Photo Jun 09, 4 08 20 PM

Next I started to hog out the space in between my lines, using a circular saw to cut things down. A lot of sawdust being made today.

Photo Jun 09, 4 12 37 PM

I managed to complete the two dados (slots) and then I took the two pieces and stuck them together. A couple of deck screws held them and I had the side of one jump.

Photo Jun 09, 4 08 27 PM

It went pretty quick, other than lots of sawdust, so I did 3 more, giving me two jumps. The cross pieces went on the list as well.

Photo Jun 09, 4 44 39 PM

I did manage to get a few other things done outside as well. I sharpened a bench chisel and a couple of turning chisels outside, which I’ll compare to the ones I do in class with waterstones.

I also built a small shelf to hold my circular saw, so that it has a home rather than laying below a workbench. My plan is to get this into a drawer or mount it on the wall, but that’s for another day.

At that point I had to knock off and cook dinner for the kids. Not a lot done on the flagpole, but I did get a list of supplies to purchase tomorrow or Wed morning and I also realized that I need to get my jig setup and covered if there’s weather. Nothing in the forecast for now, but once I get more plywood and put this together, I’ll need to cut my flagpole pieces quickly.

I do need to also buy my long pieces, but I’ll do that when I get other supplies. I learned a few things the other day about wood grain and warping, and I’ll put those into play and pick out some good pieces. That might have to wait until Friday or Saturday, when I have time to go through a lot of wood at Home Depot.

I’m also still debating what to do about the miter saw. Mine is old and not great for cutting larger pieces of wood. It also won’t bevel pieces, which I need to do for this project. I’ll likely drool over a few saws Tues or Wed as I pick up other supplies.

Tomorrow is volunteer day for Habitat.