Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Sunday, August 27, 2023
This is a photo of the deck at the side of our house...or above the garage/basement. On the face of it, it's a nice deck, but it has some significant issues. For a start, it is constructed above finished space - mostly the garage - which means it has to be waterproof. The person who installed it thought that the way to make it watertight was by packing the boards really close together....oops...
Sizeable gaps between deck boards are essential for efficient drainage and circulation of air below the deck. Their absence leads to all kinds of problems, starting with vegetation growing between the boards....
|there's a stain in ma basement...|
|...what am I gonna do ?|
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Two of the little sheep are presently learning to drive. It's all changed since my day. Now you have a million hoops to jump through before you can get behind the wheel....Back in the late 80's all you had to do was apply for a provisional license and then shove the nearest parent into the passenger seat!
As it happens, that didn't work out very well for me - both my parents were nervous passengers, and I think they'd both agree, not exactly prone to calm and patient teaching. Or even anything approaching it. After a number of close calls, they clubbed together and hired a professional instructor with a dual-control vehicle....and the guy I got was a real bona-fide character, a real one-off. We'll call him Leo Stephenson here, although that's not his actual name.
Leo was a rotund fellow, about 5'6" probably. I think he was portly because he spent all day sat in the passenger seat while ingesting a mixture of pies, candy bars and Benson and Hedges smoke. He never got out of the car if he could help it. Each lesson would end with you driving to the next tutees home, where you would park, get out, ring the doorbell and then sit in the back seat and wait for the next student to emerge. That person would then drive you home while Leo stayed in his seat, probably puffing on a B&H or tucking into something he'd had hidden in the glovebox. When he did get out of the motor, he seemed to have trouble standing completely upright - like his body was so used to being sat down, that it couldn't entirely straighten itself.
Leo taught my mate, Nick the Butcher (as Leo called him) to drive, and I had heard he was "a bit of a character" but that was a significant understatement. He was entertaining company; he was funny and he liked to talk about the same subjects as me. He was also a rent-a-quote, and could come up with some superb one liners. Like: "Turn right over there. Where fuck pig is coming out of." Or "Ohh gawwd...I had a meat pie for lunch; I think it's give' me mad cow disease." But he was also a great driving instructor, and I passed the test first time. Well, I passed the test the first time I took it. On my initial test date, the examiner pulled a sicky and I had to wait an extra three weeks!
As I mentioned, Leo used to smoke B&H ciggies which came in a gold packet. If I did well in my lesson, he'd let me smoke a B&H at the end while the next student chauffeured me home. He wouldn't let me light up my "camel shit" ciggies in his car, but his B&H were ok. He actually taught me how to smoke while driving: "Forget all this looking at the ashtray shit! Don't take your eyes off the fucking road! Remember where the tray is and flick your fag ash in the general direction!"
He also tried to get me to keep both hands on the wheel - I was inclined to rest one hand on the shifter stick, a habit I picked up from watching my Dad practicing his rallying moves. He'd say "get your hand off that thing, it's not your knob!" Even today, with my automatic gear box, I'll find myself resting my hand on the "stick" occasionally.
My biggest problem by far with learning to drive was clutch control. I just could not do it slowly or smoothly. Leo once claimed my awful jerky driving fucked up his exhaust. I couldn't do the three point turn because I would let the clutch out too quickly and the car would lurch to the other side of the street in a split second. Leo would show me his version: using the pedals on the passenger side and leaning over to reach the steering wheel with his right hand, he would have his left hand down his trousers. As the car crept across the street he'd be crowing: "Look sir, I'm going so slowly I've got time to scratch my balls!"
My dad always said Leo's greatest skill was getting his students to relax behind the wheel and looking back now, that has to be true. But we had a laugh as well.
Sunday, August 13, 2023
I started by cutting the stock into shorter pieces: 24" for the rails, and 18" for the stiles. The finished pieces will be several inches shorter than this. From two 8' boards there was enough material for one extra rail.
The first step of milling the walnut is establishing the face side with the jointer. I could have done this with the full lengths, however using shorter pieces saves a lot of material.
Step two is making the face edge perpendicular to the face side, again using the jointer:
|Always wear your safety specs!|
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