Categories
Arts Books Building

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.

Categories
Arts Building

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.

Categories
Arts Building

The Spice Rack

My brother-in-law requested a spice rack for his kitchen. And my brother sent me this link (https://www.amazon.com/Seville-Classics-3-Tier-Expandable-Organizer/dp/B001E2864K) to see if I could copy it. I knew that the rack had to hold 31 jars of spices and that each jar was basically 2 1/4″ in diameter and 3″ tall. So I figured four shelves were needed and the overall width of it should be 20 inches. I also had some maple boards in my garage that were old shelves from my condo. I figured I could split them on my table saw (which turned out to be difficult) and then cut out the pieces I needed. I’m very happy that I could use wood I already had for this, since I wasted a lot of the board when I couldn’t split it easily or evenly. I just used glue to hold everything together because the wood was pretty thin and I thought screws or nails would split it.

The first thing I did was cut out the sides, which were like a set of stairs.
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The next step was to basically connect the sides.
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Then I just cut pieces to be the “treads” and “risers” of the stairs. However, I don’t really have great cutting skills and I think my table saw blade wasa a bit dull AND my fence wasn’t quite square. Due to all of these, the places where the boards all met didn’t fit tightly together, as shown below.
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I also screwed up by cutting the front piece on the bottom stair on the inside of the two sides, instead of covering the sides. This just looked bad.
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I “fixed” all of these problems by cutting some small pieces and gluing them over the bad parts. And then because I still wasn’t sure they’d like it, I made another one out of some leftover recycled boards.

Here are the final products.

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And here’s the final one my brother-in-law picked with all of his spices on it.
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Categories
Arts Building Gardening Hardware Misc Resolutions Year in Review

Been A While

My summer has been pretty crazy with a big work conference that is finally over. My life is now my own again. Yay! I’ve been very behind in doing my monthly checking, but that’s ok. The good news is that I don’t have to go back to work for over a week. So I’m trying to do a bunch of projects around the house.

First up, I’ve never posted my video I made of the bookshelf that I made for a friend of mine’s birthday. It’s below.

That was a lot of fun to do and I want to do more woodworking. One thing though is that I broke my planer. It no longer will plane the really skinny pieces of lathe that I want to glue together. The thinnest I can plane a board is around 1″. I think this is because the belt broke and when I fixed it, I must have broken something else. I ended up buying a new planer. It’s a less expensive one, which is fine. I’m really just using it to clean up old, dirty wood. I have yet to set it up, so that will probably be one of my projects this week.

It’s harvest time in my garden. I’ve already gotten boatloads of tomatoes. I’ve given a bunch to my brother and just took a bag full to my Mom today. So I need to research how to make tomato sauce that I can freeze because there’s no way I could eat all of these before they go bad. Since the garden worked so well this year, I’ll probably make another little area next year. Think I’d like to try to grow lettuce and spinach.

If I’m going to make xmas gifts for people this year, I need to start. And while I like the idea of making bookshelves for people, I don’t want to give people a big piece of furniture. That seems a bit much. Anyway, I’m back to working with paper again. I’ve found some great youtube videos of how to make different types of books and bindings. That looks like fun, so I’ll see if I can come up with something cool.

Though, I would still like to make some stuff out of wood because I finally got my brand. I did have a little bit of time to do something fun last month and I designed a brand for myself. I then sent it to Shapeways to get made in stainless steel. It just arrived the other day. I’m quite happy with it.

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Now I need to put a handle on it so I can heat it up and put my brand on things. I bought a threaded rod and a tap and die set today. Hopefully, I can drill a hole and put threads in it. Another project for this week. But once that’s done, I should be able to brand just about anything.

Categories
Books Building Misc

Reading Again

Work was fast becoming overwhelming of late, so I have taken to quitting email when I leave work and not checking it again until I get back to the office to keep my sanity. And I’ve been trying to close my laptop up more and stay offline. For a short time, I feared I was addicted to the internet, but I’m pretty sure I’m not. I just like to read and I was reading a lot of stuff online. These days, I’ve started up my weekly (or every other weekly) visit to my local library. I’ve read a number of books and it makes me happy. Now that I’ve fully accepted that I should wear reading glasses, I’m happy again reading books.

This morning, I just finished on called “Resilience” by Eric Greitens. The guy is a former (are you not supposed to say former?) Navy Seal who is writing letters to a fellow seal who is having a tough time. This is the second time that I’ve read a book of letters and the format is growing on me. (The first was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I loved.) Anyway, the tag line is hard-won wisdom for living a better life. It’s basically a bunch of philosophy, but pretty easy to understand. And while I’m not nor ever had any desire to be a Navy Seal or even in the military, I thought it was interesting. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything that will “help you live a better life”, since I’m forever wondering if I’m doing it wrong.

What I wanted to note here were two lines from the book that really struck me. The first is this:

People who think you weak will offer you an excuse. People who respect you will offer you a challenge.

People who leave the military, especially those who are hurt in some way, are often never asked again to do anything for others. It seems like everyone thinks they’ve already given enough and shouldn’t ask any more of them. But this then leaves the former soldiers or sailors aimless. They don’t really have a purpose and no one is asking anything of them. The author says that this is why a lot of former military get messed up with drinking and doing nothing. I’m not that familiar with people in the military, but the line made a lot of sense to me (I love a good challenge, just ask my Mom.) and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for quite a while.

The other bit was a passage about work/life that he says he sees in the entrance to his building. He says it’s by an english minister from the 1930s. I googled it and found that it’s from a guy Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (or L.P. Jacks as he’s usually known).

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.

I completely agree with this. This is why I’ve always said that I love my job. It’s really no different than what I’d be doing for fun. (Despite the recent onslaught of email I’m dealing with.) I’m starting to try to not to make a distinction between my mind and my body, which I think is good. My weeks of therapy on my knee are starting to pay off and I feel like doing more things again. I think I might like to print this out and hang it somewhere in my house. It makes me happy when I read it.

Categories
Arts Building Insanity Repairs

It’s Funny

I’m a huge fan of YouTube for learning how to do different things. I’ve been watching tons of YouTube videos for woodworking while I try to build stuff with my reclaimed wood. Last weekend, I decided got a beanbag chair that had no cover. So I decided to make a new cover for it and in the process broke something on my sewing machine. So I was looking around YouTube for some help on fixing it. In the process, I watched a bunch of videos on sewing. It was so funny to me how the genders of the people hosting the videos just changed. For woodworking, I can think of one female who made videos. Everyone else was guys. For sewing, it’s all women. This just struck me as very funny.

Categories
Building Insanity

Early Gift to Me

Since I had been doing a bit more work in my basement, I was continually using my old workbench and it was annoying me more and more. It’s more of a cheap worktable than workbench. But the big issue is that it was just really too tall for me. It was around 36″ tall and I think that I’d prefer a workbench that was quite a bit lower. It really hit me when I was trying to use a handplane to clean up some old lathe. Along with being too tall, it was also too wobbly, which made planing impossible. So I found a design online that didn’t look too hard. I took apart the old table and made myself a new workbench.

Old table:
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New workbench:
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The height is definitely better on the new one. It’s really only 30″ tall. I’d like to say that it’s incredibly sturdy, but I think it still wobbles a little. I only know this because I was trying to plane the top completely smooth. I did an ok job of screwing the top boards together, but one did stick out a little more than the others. While trying to plane it, the whole table did move around a little. Part of the problem is probably due to my handplane not being very sharp. The other is just the design. I think I might put a lower shelf on and then fill it with some old bricks I have lying around. That should give it the heft I need to make it be a good workbench. I might also buy a nice piece of mdf or plywood to put on the top so I don’t have to plane or sand the whole thing completely flat.

Categories
Arts Building House

Final Fun

Before I even think about going back to work tomorrow, I decided to try to do something fun in my basement. My project is to make something to hang coats by my door. I have a couple of boards that I made out of lathe that are around 6″ wide and maybe 30″ long. I sanded them down and painted them red with milk paint. Once they dry, I’m going to pound in some of the original nails to use as hooks. Then I’ll hang one of the boards on the wall by the door. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll hang them both. I think I’ll see if I like the one by itself first to see if I like how it looks. And how the nails work as hooks.

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Categories
Biking Building Family Food Insanity

Black Friday

Today is “Black Friday”, which means that I’m spending it relaxing after hosting Thanksgiving yesterday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I believe yesterday was quite enjoyable for everyone. The wild turkey got deplucked and turned out ok. My turkey breast roast, made out of a bunch of pieces, was good. The roasted sweet potatoes were good. And as always the desserts were finished off without a problem.

I had fun yesterday posting to twitter about all the things I was thankful for. And we ended the evening by introducing my sister’s kids to the beauty of Star Wars. Since we normally have a Christmas viewing of Star Wars, I’m not sure what we’ll do then. We may have to move on to “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Today people will shop, which is a little weird after spending yesterday being thankful for what you have. While I have no desire to “go shopping” ever, I know that I ran out of laundry detergent yesterday. So if I want to wash all the dirty linens, a trip to a store might be needed today.

As I now have three full days over which I don’t need to think about work, I have a couple of personal projects that I’d like to take a crack at. One is the letterpress-printed save the date cards for my brother’s wedding. I’m hoping my plates get delivered today, though they may not. It would be nice to be able to play around with that today. Another is to build a little project with some of the wood I have in my basement and to try out the milk paint I bought as a finish. Lastly, though it’s supposed to rain for most of the day, I’d like to go for a bike ride. It’s supposed to be in the 50s today, which will make for a nice ride.

Categories
Building Insanity

Working with Wood

I have written before how I’m trying to reuse the old lathe that I saved when I redid part of my house. The procedure was basically to plane the lathe, glue it together and then plane it to a smooth thickness. This has produced some very nice boards and I’ve made a couple of nice things with them. The problem is that I’m not enjoying the process. First of all, the planer is freakin’ loud. I wear ear-covering sound mufflers and it still sounds loud to me. I tried using a sander and wet-dry vac, but that’s crazy loud too. As I get older, one thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I like quiet. Another problem is that the planer seems to be breaking a lot. I’ve spent a lot of money on a new set of carbide blades, which have worked well, but cost $249. And I’ve replaced the belt twice. It also generates a tremendous amount of sawdust that gets all over the place. But the main problem is the noise. I like working in the mornings…the earlier the better. But I don’t want to make that much noise. I’m sure my neighbors could hear some of it and I don’t want to be a jerk.

I still want to do something with the lathe though, so what to do. Perhaps I should be planing them by hand. I know, it’s crazy. I’m taking an already ridiculous slow task and making it even slower. But I tried it a little today and I think I might like this more. I took a very old plane that I had and tried planing a piece of lathe. I actually enjoyed it. The scraping makes a very pleasant sound as you go across the wood. It generates thin strips of wood and not sawdust. This should be easier to clean up. I think it might be kind of relaxing to do this after work. I could listen to music while I’m doing it, which would be great. Problems? Yes, this is even slower. More importantly, I don’t really have a good way to clamp the lathe down while I’m trying to plane. I also think it would be nice to have a shorter table to plane on, since I could see my back not enjoying the height of my current workbench. I also don’t know much about hand planes. I’m guessing I’d have to sharpen the blade a lot and I have no idea how to do this. But even with these problems, I’m liking this idea. I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes.