Monday, February 25, 2013

Router Switch Done

Router safety switch - final mount
Tonite I finally had time to finish mounting the router safety switch on the table saw the way I like it.  The first mount hanger I fabricated was too small and the material too light, but it proved the concept.  (See A Day in the Shop)  So I rebuilt it using a larger piece of steel and a thicker gage.  It was more difficult to cut, bend, and drill this way, but well worth the time and effort.  I also slathered a couple coats of paint on it to keep it from rusting.  This one doesn't budge when touched.  So it's a keeper.
Much more room for a screwdriver!
I also installed a hook on the side of the saw cabinet to hang the router and safety switch cords on.  This will keep them off the floor and out of the way.  I bought two hooks like this, one for each cord, but if just this one works I won't bother putting the other one on.  We'll see over time.
Cord hook
The only thing left to make this a fully functional router station system is to build the fence.  And that's about to happen soon.  The final coats of finish are on the tables now and they're just about ready to transport to the office.   Tonite I put a coat of wax on them and installed the mounting rails on the cpu cabinet.  All that's left is to flip the main table and install the cpu cabinet sliders on the underside and the shop will be mine again!  It'll be nice to get the truck back inside at night.
Cord hook at work
I'm not much looking forward to the installation job at the office... but that's another story for another day. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Day in the Forest

I'iwe feeding on Ohi'a luhia blossoms

I’m not a birder and have never spent time around any of them, but when I got an opportunity this weekend to go on a guided hike in the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the eastern slope of Mauna Kea I jumped at it.  This tour is specifically for viewing some of the rarest plants and animal species on earth, but especially oriented for spotting rare and endangered birds of Hawaii.  The Hakalau tour is provided by Hawaii Forest & Trail and is a long (12 hr) day from start to finish that includes 2 ½ hrs of driving one way, over 11 miles of off road meandering into the forest reserve, and roughly 4 miles of hiking with about 650 ft of elevation gain.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Vanlemtine's Day!

If I could spell I wouldn't have become an engineer.  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

NatGeo: The Last Roll of Kodachrome

You can still shoot film... but it's almost as difficult as it was at the origin of photography. And it will only get worse over time.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Day in the Shop

Finishing work started on the office build work tables last night.  My neighbor helped me hoist them up yesterday after work.  I'm starting on the undersides with a light coat of Watco oil and polyurethane satin and not get too carried away... this part of the project will never be seen.  By tomorrow they'll be ready to flip over for the real work on the exposed surfaces.  I like wipe on finishes, and this will be no exception.  Everything is cut almost 1:1 with either mineral spirits or naptha.  It means a slower build, but much easier work.

There was also time today to fabricate a mount and install the router safety switch.  The mount is nothing more than a piece of sheet metal cut in a 2"x4" rectangle, drilled to take screws, and bent to attach to the rail of the table saw.

If I had this to do again... and I might at some point... I would use the next thicker gage of steel.  The piece I used was just a little bit light.  That made it easy to drill and bend, but a little more "bendy" than I'd like it.  We'll see how it works over time.

While at the home center I also found a a hook (not shown) that looks like it might work well with a little modification to hold excess cord lengths.  It even came with Rigid orange plastic covering!  I'll figure out a way to attach it to the side of the saw somehow. More drilling steel... seems I've been doing a lot of that lately.
There was even time to spare this afternoon, so I cleaned out my messiest small parts and hardware drawer and organized a lot of the pieces into a new 22-bay small parts drawer set.  Each drawer now holds something.  I need to get a similar storage unit now for screws!  The drawer still needs help!

It was a good day out there today!  A lot got done.and it's always relaxing.

Oh, and how could I forget this today:

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

This is nothing short of absolutely wonderful! Watch at high resolution if possible.

And winner of the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tablesaw Router Station Build

This past weekend I completed the upgrade of my Rigid TS3650 tablesaw.  I bought this table new in 2003 and it has served me well in stock condition ever since.  But over the years the projects I've built have required more and more routing, and often the type of routing that is best performed on a dedicated router station setup.  This upgrade project was to install a new Excalibur #40-070 cast iron wing with a router plate cutout to replace the original cast iron wing that came with the saw.

Right up front I have to say that this idea wasn't an original one of mine.  The key piece of information came courtesy of a guy named Derek over at the Making Splinters blog.  Without his discovery of the cast iron surface none of what follows would have been possible!  So mahalos to you bigtime, Derek! :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

4 hrs

Red Chicken Chili


Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2-3#
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes w/ garlic
2 cups chicken stock (broth)
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and washed
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder

Optional extras:

3 medium potatoes, cubed
Fresh garlic, diced, to taste


1.  Cut chicken thighs into bite size pieces, season with salt and black pepper.

2.  Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir chicken until browned and no longer pink in the center, about 8 minutes per side.  Transfer to slow cooker, draining excess oil.  Add remaining ingredients.

3.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours or cook for 4 hours on HIGH. 

After the successful recipe I made last weekend, and the enjoyment of eating it during the week, it was a sure thing I would do something new this weekend.  These really are all pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and tossing in a few extras like potatoes, garlic, carrots, or whatever suits your fancy (and taste buds) only makes it better.  And it really makes the house smell great!  :)

This turned out really well!  Lots of flavor and the jalapeno disappeared into the mix.  So not to worry that it might come out too "hot"... It won't.  This is another one I'll repeat.