Saturday, February 21, 2015

 A Great Woodworking Class With My Girl.
I had a great day today. My wife Leslie had one of her 
BRILLIANT ideas back before the holidays and signed us up for a Shaker woodworking class at a small woodshop called Shaker Roads (around the Ancaster area near Hamilton- they have a website). 
Their intro class was making a Shaker Step Stool. Since it was an intro class, the focus was about shop orientation, using simple power power and hand tools, assembly and simple finish. So we were not ripping and gluing up boards in this class - all the component pieces were prepped, cut and ready for us but we had to do final adjustments, and fitting together along with all the other assembly steps. Although the instructor Maurice and his friend Joe did do a demonstration of how to take a piece of cupped and twisted common grade board of cherry and cut it, flatten it, plane it, and true it up into a beautiful board of furniture grade wood.
The class was all day (8:00am to 4:00pm) and included a simple lunch of fresh made sandwiches on homebaked rustic bread, homemade pickles, good coffee and homebaked ginger cookies - it was yummy. Maurice and Joe demonstrated excellent simple shop techniques and explained things in a very understandable way. I'm no stranger around a woodshop (and it was great fun to play in someone else's toy box, especially someone who had way better toys that I have) but Maurice did an excellent job of de-mystifying the whole process, so everyone felt confident about what they were doing regardless of their skill level, and went home with beautiful hand made shaker step stools they could be proud of. 
These are the photos of the ones Lelsie and I made today and it was great fun, but it did remind me of how long its been since I put a full day in a shop on my feet all day on concrete (my back is as stiff as the boards we were using). It also reminded me of how much I miss the smell of fresh saw dust.
Lelsie and I are signed up for the second class as well where we will be truing up our own boards and making a small cherry side table from start to finish. 

I am very much looking forward to that.

I'm lucky I have such a brilliant wife.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I've got 100 people following my blog ... when the hell did that happen ?!?!?!?

I'm not sure if that is awesome ... or really scary ...

... all right ... if you folks are sure ... but I ain't promising anything ...

... 100? ... really? ... cool ...
On winter days like this, when I look out my classroom window and there is a thick blanket of snow covering everything for as far as the eye can see - I can't help but sit back in my chair, wrap my hands around a nice hot cup of coffee and think to myself ....
... Stupid Groundhog ...

Monday, February 16, 2015

... Rant Warning ... I HATE FACEBOOK!!!

This is what I get for trying to be clever!!! I came up with the BRILLIANT idea of setting up a facebook account for my officer position in the SCA as the Minister for Arts and Sciences for our Barony (SCA'ers will understand what I am talking about). My intentions were good ... really they were ... I thought since everyone and their dog/cat were on facebook that this would be an easy way to maintain the class / workshop calendar for the Barony, to promote discussion and sharing of A&S topics and classes, set up albums of projects, track A&S in the barony for reporting - AND - have it all in a neat package to pass it on to whoever took over after me ... sounds reasonable, doesn't it???
I have been on facebook for less than a day and I already HATE it. This whole process would have been so much easier and neater on Google+ but it isn't as widely used as facebook ... grrrr ....
Why didn't I keep my big mouth shut ... ???
Hopefully I'll get some experienced guidance from more seasoned facebook-users in our Barony to help me sort out this schlamazel.
... did I mention how much I hate facebook? ... grrr ...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Problems with Salt.

No, not health problems ... PHYSICS problems.
Well, this is a new one for me ... but at the same time it just fascinates the science teacher in me to no end. Here is the story - several years ago some dear friends of ours have me this beautiful salt and pepper set as a gift (either Christmas or birthday - I forget which). This set has happily sat on our side-board ever since and Leslie and I kept only our favourite sea salt in it. Well tonight when I went to use the salt shaker during dinner, this is what I found.

The sea salt had absorbed enough moisture in the air that it had caused it to swell enough to crack the body of the salt shaker all around the bottom plug. Likely these were micro fractures that formed in the shaping of the cups - the set looks like it is pewter. They were completely invisible until the expanding salt forced them open.

I`m rather disappointed that my favoutite salt shaker is now severely damaged ... but the science teacher in me keeps saying, "... THAT`S SO COOL ...", a bit of a dilemma. Oh well - live and learn.

So, from now on, all salt shakes in our house will have iodized salt mixed with raw rice to deal with clumping and expanding caused by moisture ...

... who knew ...