Still Not Square Part II

I made another box and it’s still not square. Again out of boards I found in my basement. I tried to be a little more artistic with this one. Not perfect, but I’m happy with how it came out. My intent was to have a box to put my off-season clothing in. I’m not planning on going into the box very often. But I found an old hinge in my basement, so I used that for the top.

Still Not Square

In addition to not being able to make a square quilt, I also can’t really make a square box in woodworking. However, that doesn’t stop my from trying. I had some cedar boards and some old oak floor boards, so I decided to make a box. I wanted to have a box to store out-of-season clothes in, since I’m currently using a garbage bag in my room. I thought it would be good practice to try to make a nice box. Sadly, I didn’t succeed in making it square. Nor is it level. I’ve ordered some casters for it, so I should be able to use them to make it level. As for the lack of squareness, it’s not a big deal, except for the fact that it bugs me that I can’t make a square box.

Latest Quilt

I just finished a baby quilt for my brother and brother-in-law. John’s friend Richard picked out the great material. I’m fairly certain I would have gone with more plain, solid colors. So it was great that he picked such great colorful ones.

My skills are getting better, though they’re still not great. All my corners don’t match perfectly, which I’m ok with. To me, that’s a sign of a handmade quilt. My corners are getting better, but they’re still not good. I think I’m just going to have to buckle down and do a bunch as practice to get better.

Ideas

It’s weird. I’ve just spent the past two hours making myself a calendar. I was wondering how to design it and it just popped into my head that I have pictures from the early 2000s to now. Why don’t I use some of my own pictures on my calendar? And then find some quotes I like and put them over the picture. It’s a really simple idea, but I love it. I’m going to get a calendar that has motivational or inspirational quotes and I can look at pictures of things I’ve done which brings back those memories. Totally going to make me happy.

I had wanted to read a book tonight, but I finally got my bluetooth speaker working with my laptop. So I felt that I had to listen to music. I can’t really read when there’s music playing that I can sing along to, so I gave up reading pretty quickly. Then I was thinking that I need to start tracking that I’m eating vegetables, so I need a calendar. And making calendar on the computer is something I can easily do while listening to music. I don’t know why, but now that I don’t have a tv, I feel like I’m getting more and more good ideas for projects. Or maybe it’s just that I have the time to do them, since I’m not sitting in front of a tv. All I know is that I’m loving getting more and more ideas, so I hope they keep coming.

UPDATE: Just printed the calendar. I have a cheap printer and it says it prints on 13×19 paper, which technically it does. But on a few pages, everything was a little skewed. So I think it has a hard time handling paper that big. But it’s printed and hanging on my wall and I love it!

Project Time

I’m getting back into doing DIY projects at home, which makes me very happy. In general for the past few months, I’ve been thinking way too much about work and not doing things that make me happy. I’m shifting things back into proportion that will make me happier. The other day I finally bought myself a new sewing machine. It will get delivered soon, which makes me happy. And I’m going to use it for a big new project, which should be fun. I’ve also made a few stools for my brother’s pub, which was fun. I still wouldn’t call myself a good woodworker, but I’m improving which is all I can ask for. Still haven’t done much welding though and I would like to get into that. But today I spent a good chunk of money on supplies for my new hush-hush project that’s going to be a gift for someone. I’m looking forward to working on that for the next few months.

New Speaker

I bought this speaker yesterday to give to my Mom.

I bought the speaker because my Mom wants to listen to my brother’s podcast, but her ipad doesn’t get loud enough for her to hear. My brother bought the JBL – Xtreme Portable Bluetooth Speaker and recommended that I buy it for my Mom, which was my intention. However, when I got to Best Buy, I found it cost $300, which was a lot more than what I wanted to spend. Instead I found the one above, which I bought for basically $100. I charged it last night and have been listening to it and it should work fine. But I’m not crazy about this speaker.

I understand that this is entirely a portable speaker, so it runs on a battery. The battery is recharged using a usb cable. So periodically, you need to plug it in to your laptop. When I was looking at these in the store, a guy came up to me and started talking about these speakers. He said that the usb cord only charges the battery. So if your battery is dead, you can’t just plug this in to your laptop and use it. You have to wait for the battery to charge. And in a year or two, when the battery no longer takes a charge, the speaker will be garbage because there’s no other way to run it. I’m not sure if he’s right, but he said that he has the jbl one that my brother has and had wished that he knew that before he bought it. If that is true, and I’m leaning to believe that, it’s really poor design. So I was looking for something that I could just plug in to use. I get that it means it wouldn’t be portable at that point, but at least it would be usable if the battery died.

Then I started to think about how I’d use the speaker and I realized that for me, portability isn’t that big of a deal. But I like the idea of connecting via bluetooth. I mainly have Apple products and I have an airport express that is connected to my stereo to use, so I could play sound via that. But, it limits me to Apple products, like iTunes. I listed to lots of podcasts and I’d like to be able to play them on my bluetooth speaker. And I could use iTunes for my podcasts, but I like using Clementine. And I’ll be honest, part of this is that I want to move away from Apple products. This could be an entirely different post, but Apple is moving in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to go. As an example, they’ve taken most built-in connections off of their laptops. You get a single usb-c connection. Then you have to spend even more to buy all these dongles to do things that used to be built-in. I still use my ethernet connection a lot. I’m a system administrator and have to check if jacks are live or not. I also use usb a lot. I really don’t want to have to carry a handful of dongles everytime I go to someone’s office to check things. Right now, I need to be able to support Apple, Windows and linux. My macbook pro has been great in that I can run virtual machines with each of those operating systems, so I check things in all of those. The one improvement that I would like from Apple would be to be able to get more ram to make my virtual machines run better. I’ve upgraded my macbook pro from 2012 to 16gb of ram. Five years later and that’s still the most I can get. In fact, I bought a new (to me) macbook pro from Apple’s clearance section because it still had usb connections. It doesn’t have the network one, but Apple has definitely given up on that port. In my mind, I’m thinking this is probably the last laptop I’ll be buying that I’ll use at work. Once I’m not longer working, I can use whatever OS I want and these days I’m leaning toward linux. And so I’ve been looking at programs that I want to use that run on linux. That’s how I found Clementine and it’s worked fine for me. So getting off this tangent I just took, I like the idea of a bluetooth speaker because it doesn’t care what the OS is.

I haven’t been able to find a bluetooth speaker that I like, so my idea now is to build what I like. I like the YouTube channel Kirby Meets Audio and I actually bought some plans from him. It looks like a fun project and I think it would be exactly what I want. We’ll see how it goes.

Birthday Project Result

I took my book out of the press this morning. It’s not perfect, but it’s not at all bad for my first attempt.

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The cover looks good.

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This is my first mistake. I glued the cover paper too much to the text block. I think I maybe did 1/4″ of glue. It should have been much less.

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Here you can see a bit better that I glued too high on the cover.

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And I made the same mistake on the back cover.

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The back looks good. But the cover overhangs the pages of the book too much. I think instead of adding and extra inch of leather for the cover, I should have just added and extra 1/2″ to fold over.

But, by and large, I’m happy with the result. And now, I’m going to start using it as my own cookbook.

Birthday Project Part 2

My post yesterday wasn’t accurate. I hadn’t yet finished my text block. I still had to put the cover pages on it and the reinforcing paper. Before that though, I had to glue the binding. I made a book press out of a couple of pieces of wood and some clamps.

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I put two coats of glue on the binding. Then I pressed the book. I just put it back between the wood and put some weights on it. In the picture below, this is not nearly enough weight. The pages were a little wrinkly.

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Next, I glued my orange cover pieces on. This is a little heavier paper.

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After that, another piece of paper is added for extra support.

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At this point, my text block was done. Now I just had to figure out how to make a cover. I didn’t really want this to have a thick, hard cover, but something thinner. Then I remembered that I bought a piece of leather to play around with, so why not use that. I traced the book outline, then added 1/2 inch extra for the cover to go beyond the paper and then another 1″ to fold over. And I cut it out.

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This is the point where I actually realized that my weights on wood wasn’t going to work. So I ran to Ace Hardware and bought some bolts, washers and wingnuts and built a sort of press. I then put the text block in there to try to flatten all the pages.

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Back to the cover. I was supposed to trim the corners sort of like below for folding. I’m not exactly sure how they were supposed to be cut, but I was close. (Though in the end not close enough.)

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Next I had to glue the parts of the cover to fold over. In the video, the person used hot glue. I don’t have a hot glue gun, so I just used the pva glue I had been using. In the photo below, I can tell you that I used WAY too much glue. It made a big mess.

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Since the leather was sort of thick, I tried putting my weights on the edge to hold it down.

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That really didn’t work, so I got a board and some clamps and used them. This worked much better.

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On the last edge, I finally figured out how much glue I should be putting down. Below shows how much I squeezed out of the jar and then how it looked after I smoothed it with my finger.

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And here is my final cover. Note that the corners are not near square, which fits with my inability to make anything square. But it’s not horrible for my first attempt ever.

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Now, because I’m just like Cowboy X from Sesame Street, I had to use my brand.

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Based on the horrible smell that the brand made on the leather, I never want to be on a farm when they are branding cows.

Now the last step is to glue the text block to the cover. Here I’m laying it out to make sure I know where to put glue and where to put down the text block.

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I didn’t take a picture of it with the glue on it, but here’s how it looked before putting it in the press.

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And here it is, drying in the press. I added a couple more clamps to try to make it as smooth as possible.

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I’ll leave it to dry overnight and see how it all turns out tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it’s not too horrible.

Along with the YouTube video I posted yesterday for how to create the text block, I also referenced these videos.

Birthday Project

I’m on my annual birthday vacation. Just took three days this year instead of the whole week. And instead of taking a class somewhere, I decided to try to teach myself how to bind a book. Technically, I should say I’m learning how to do this from YouTube videos. First up, I folded and cut a bunch of paper. Then I had to sew them into a text block. I followed the video below:

The instructions were great and below is my text block.

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It’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for a first attempt. I also know that if I do this again, I need to get an awl with a really sharp point. Or put a handle on a needle to poke the holes through the paper.

Next, I need to glue it up and then figure out how to put a cover on. But that’s another video to watch.