Thursday, November 2, 2017

Turning Back The Clock: Adrian Photo Edition

Back in 1993 my parents bought me a 1985 Ford Ranger.  It was the best truck in the world to me.  It was fun, easy to drive, and most of all, I had a truck!  Everyone at school even knew my truck.

One Sunday I realized I didn't have a picture of my truck.  So I had Dad take a picture of me in my suit in front of my Ford Ranger.  The original photo was taken on 9MM film.  So it looks a little fuzzy when scanned to a gif.

So now, in 2017, I wanted to recreate that photo now that I have the first truck since that Ford Ranger.  So here I am in a suit, in front of my 2014 Ford F-150.

Pretty awesome, right?  Maybe I'll have another picture taken in 15 years or so?  Who knows?  But I'm sure it will be an awesome photo.

Woodworking: Wax Ecstatic

Dad recently found a shortcut when processing wood.  When the wood is rough cut, it is still wet and prone to cracking.  For this reason woodworkers put a seal on the ends.  There are a few products on the market, but Anchor Seal always worked well for the woodworkers I knew.  The only problem was that it was so sloppy to put on.

Dad was checking some woodworking forums, and they told of an ingenious way of sealing wood and not spilling sealing wax everywhere.  Basically, you take an old fashioned crock pot, fill it with water and wax, then heat it up.  The wax will float on top, and the water will keep the temperature down low enough so the wax doesn't catch fire.

Here's a photo of what I'm talking about.

A lot of woodworkers like using a mixture of mostly paraffin wax mixed with a little bit of honeybee's wax.  However, I was lucky enough to find a box of red sealing wax free on Craigslist.  What I didn't know was that it was about 50 pounds of wax.  Great find, huh?

It came in small pencil sized pieces.

Due to the sealing wax being so hard, you can put mineral oil in the mix so the wax will be softer when it hardens on the wood.  We haven't had this problem since we mixed paraffin wax with the red sealing wax.

Once the wax is soft and in a liquid state, you can then dip the ends of the wood in the wax.

As you see it makes it easy to dip the wood in, and looks professional.  It also keeps the wax from spilling everywhere.  It's a win/win!

So, if you ever need to seal the ends of your wood/lumber, remember this way of sealing it.  Oh, and for those who didn't get the title reference.  Take a peek at this.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Make a Little Birdhouse In my ... Backyard?

A long time ago in a backyard far away....  I put up a bird feeder.  It was really successful.  As in, the birds were eating one pound of birdseed a day.  In other words, one 20 lbs. bag of birdseed wouldn't last a month.  Sometimes it would barely make it to two weeks.

This lead to problems.  Namely, the squirrels started to take over.  They would toss all the bird food on the ground except the sunflower seeds, which they would eat.  But they wouldn't let the birds have any of the birdseed.  So I did what any angry American would do.  I started shooting the squirrels out of the bird feeder.

This lead to more problems, as in, what is the legality of firing a 12 gauge shotgun within the city limits of Lutz?  After I'd shot the tenth squirrel it really dawned on me that they were coming as fast as I could shoot them.  Also, thanks to all the practice I had out duck hunting, I'm a pretty good shot.

Now for those who would say that I killed those furry rats for nothing, know this.  I took them over to the bottom of the tree where the hawks had their nest.  That way, the didn't go to waste.  And the hawks had some nice squirrel to feed their baby hawks.  And for those who think I'm having a bit of fun by saying a mated pair of hawks lived in a tree just off our backyard, well, take a glance at this.

In this next picture you can actually see my birdfeeder, and the hawk flying right by it.  They did their best at keeping the squirrels honest.  The birdfeeder is in the lower left of the photo, and the hawk is the giant blur in the middle.

In this photo you can see the hawk giving me the, "What are you looking at chowderhead? look."  I know it looks like I am far away in this picture, but remember when I took my camera was not near as nice as the ones they have now.  Yeah, my camera took floppy disks.  I'm not making that up.  So the quality of this photo is not great, but the hawk is actually pretty close to me.

Back to the birdhouses.  During this same time I bought and painted a few birdhouses.  When one would rot and fall apart, I would buy, paint, and hang up another.  I had the birdhouses hanging from a limb in one of the oak trees.  I've had a number of birdhouses, and as far as I know, I've had four families of birds live in them over the years. 

I just learned not long ago that the proper name for these small birds is a "Tufted Titmouse. (I'm not making that up.)  One time I had a pair of red cardinals raise a family in one of the houses.  That was really neat.  What I thought was weird was that, they only stayed for about three weeks, and then everyone was gone.  The babies had grown up, and moved on.  

So due to the cost of the seed, and multiple problems with squirrels I gave up putting bird food in the bird feeder.  I also gave up hanging my last birdhouse since it kept falling down.  I wasn't sure if it was the rubber string dry-rotting or the squirrels chewing on it.

So the other day I was looking at my old birdhouse.  It was still in good shape.  I decided to do something about it.  I decided to hang it ... somewhere.  That's when I looked over to where my birdfeeder still was.  "Well, that could be an easy solution," I thought.  I'd just take off the birdfeeder and put up the birdhouse in it's place.  Way back when, I intentionally put the feeder on a metal galvanized pole to keep the squirrels at bay.  It was somewhat successful doing that.  So I figured it would be a good spot to hang the new/old birdhouse.

Here's the birdhouse.

As you can see I painted it a dull green/gray so it would blend in with the oak tree.  Here's a picture taken from a bit further away.

I realize that birdhouses are supposed to be up a little before springtime, so that either makes me half a year late or about half a year early.  Either way, I hope that some birds find it as a nice little place to live.  I hope it will be birds and not wasps.  They have a way of getting into everything down here.

If anything moves in you can be sure I that will take pictures and write a blog post about it.  And if any squirrels come near it...  Well, I can't talk about that.  Also, that was a car backfiring.  Or fireworks.  Or something.

If you didn't understand the pop culture reference in the title, give this a listen.  Also, you may contract an earworm.  Be warned.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Rick Bass Project, Part 2: The Boat Anchor

Here is the first part of the Rick Bass blog post:

So things haven't gone so well on the Rick Bass project.  Not only was I unhappy with the wood the body was made out of, something on the body kept the stain from really soaking in.  The C.A. glue wouldn't even let any stain go over it.  Then, when I put the Odie's Oil over the body, the Odie's Oil wouldn't stick to any of it.

So I just decided to make my own bass body.  This way, I could decide what wood I wanted to use, and make it my way.  First off, I had to be reminded of some rosewood that I had hidden.  I had used this piece on an earlier project.  So yes, it's that big of a piece of rosewood.

I'll skip a lot of the steps since they are somewhat redundant.  Basically I took the piece of wood, cut it, and glued the outside edges together.  The outside has the sapwood which is white colored.  When I glued the edges together it made a lightning streak down the middle.  Here's the photo of it so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

Here's a picture of the wood wetted down so I could have a better idea what it would look like when it would have finish on it.

Here's the back.

Here's where I traced out the old body on the rosewood.

And once I took the wood to the band-saw this is what I came out with.

Not too shabby, huh?  Again, please note that this took some time and very careful cutting on the band-saw.

Here's another photo of the wood wetted down.  It really makes the color pop.

Next I used a spindle sander to smooth out the sides of the body.

I have to say, that's some of my best work.  I do have to give credit to using really high quality sandpaper on the spindle sander.

Next came the hard part.  I had to mark out the lines where the routs would go.  Again, I'm making this short, but I really had to take my time on this.

Here's where I have laid out the lines for the neck pocket and control cavity rout.  I also used a forester bit to cut away some of the wood for the control cavity.  Doing that will make it easier for me to work the router.

And the question, "Does it weight a lot?"  Oh yes.  It can double as a boat anchor.  It's insanely heavy.  But I have a feeling that it will have tone for days.  It will as long as I can stand it hanging on my shoulder.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So Chewbacca Has A Guinea Pig Now?

Like everyone else on this planet I saw the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," trailer.  Forget all the light-sabers and space battles.  What we really want to know is why Chewbacca has a guinea pig?  For those who don't know what I'm talking about, look at this.

I can only imagine how the meeting went when a writer brought this up.  Here's how I imagine it went down.

Writer:  Here's the thing, and you're going to love this.  Chewbacca, right?  He has, and get this, a guinea pig.

Hollywood Big Wig:  Wait, what?  You mean like my daughter has?  So you're saying the big hairy dog now has a guinea pig?

Writer:  Yes and no!  He has a guinea pig, but it's a space guinea pig.

Big Wig:  Well, how's that any different?

Writer:  We won't call it a guinea pig.  We'll call it a Porg.

Big Wig:  You mean like the fish?

Writer:  No, that's a Porgy.  This is called a "Porg."

Big Wig:  I don't know about this.

Writer:  Hey!  You wanted the next Ewok!  Here's your #$%^ing Ewok!

Big Wig: (10 seconds of silence.)  Can it be ready by Christmas?

Writer:  You bet your sweet @#$% it can!

Now I can't be sure if that's exactly how the meeting went, but ... Of course that's exactly how the meeting went!  But who cares.  You know come this December we are all going to the theater to see it regardless.  And if you have kids be prepared to purchase some serious stuffed toy Porgs.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

There's a Fine Line Between Customer Service and Stalking

There's a fine line between good customer service and stalking, and doesn't seem to know the difference.  I've ordered a few things from them, and they always call to make sure that my order arrived, and if I was happy about it.  I can understand asking about tubes I've ordered as they can be finicky, but strings?

This last time I ordered a pack of strings. As in, ONE pack of strings. Yes, I ordered one pack of GHS White Bronze strings. 

They called the house.  My family thought I had ordered something important and gave Sweetwater my cell number. They then called my cell number asking if my strings were okay, and if I wanted to order anything else.  I told the salesman I was driving, and couldn't talk.

Okay, let's back that bus up. It's a pack of strings. Okay. It's a $7 pack of strings. They usually work just fine. I can't say I've ever had a pack not work right. And no, I don't want a Gibson Les Paul as an add on sale.

Seriously, I can't order anything without them stalking me, and trying for more add on sales.  One time I hadn't ordered anything in a while, and they called me up asking if I wanted to buy something.  Another time, I was called by the new salesman since my previous one had been promoted.  He wanted to "introduce" himself, and ask if there were any musical instrument purchases I would like to make?

It seems that there's good customer service, and there is stalking, and Sweetwater doesn't seem to know the difference.  Really guys, if I want something I will let you know.  You don't have to stalk me.  It's becoming creepy and unwanted.  Now I know how a stalked woman feels.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Go Truck Myself! Part 2

Back on my birthday I bought my first vehicle in 22 years.  I wrote a pretty good blog about it.

Here is it.  (Part 1.)

Go Truck Myself!

I ended up selling my longtime car, a Ford Focus, to a friend of mine.  Included in the sale was my milk crates with all my car supplies.  Things like oil, brake fluid, anti-freeze, rags, window visor, a screwdriver and other hand tools.  So I needed to replace all of those things.

First up, I needed a toolbox to put everything in.  I found a great deal on Craigslist for a Husky brand toolbox.

Now that I have a toolbox, I can fill it... with tools.  Now comes the fun part.  Time for a trip to AutoZone!!!

First up, I needed to make my truck wheel look classy.  So I bought one of the wheel covers.  I think this one makes my truck look... sophisticated.  

I don't know why they put carpet in trucks.  You know us outdoor guys are just going to get dirt, mud, guts, etc. in the floorboards.  So I bought some heavy duty floormats.  I have to say these have some weight to them.

I couldn't leave AutoZone without buying one of those nice smelling tree thingies.  

I ended up buying a lot of supplies now so if I need them later I will have them with me.

I bought oil, anti-freeze, windshield washer cleaner, bungee chords, chrome cleaner (for my toolbox,) dashboard cleaner, and something I had never bought before, microfiber cloths for my mirrors.

That's what I have so far.  I already had jumper cables and a four way.  I still plan on buying a brush guard.  I'm trying to hunt down a used one for a decent price.  I did buy a new set of tires, and am just waiting for a time slot to open up to have them installed.  

So things are looking up for me.  This of course makes me paranoid that one of these terrible drivers around here will plow into my truck.  I've managed to go 19 years without an accident, and I want my streak to continue.  When I have more work performed on my truck I'll make sure to write a Part 3.