Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I have a strong hunch Virby would just love this too if I had paddles like those! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Asymmetrial Offset Dovetails

A popular woodworking project recently has been a Classic Step Stool designed by Tommy MacDonald and published in Fine Woodworking magazine. Tommy designed and built the project with hand cut dovetails, and a lot of builders will go this way. Years ago I spent a lot of money on a very nice Leigh D4 dovetail jig (now out of production and replaced by the new Leigh D4 Pro), that has only gotten minimal use, so I decided to take this project in a different direction by machine cutting the joints with my jig. What makes it a different kind of challenge is that the joints on a project like this are asymmetrical and to complete the tail board cuts the pieces need to be offset. Doing this by hand would be fairly "easy" if you're skilled at hand cut dovetails. Unfortunately getting skilled at hand cutting dovetails takes time and practice. Machine cut dovetails are a little less flexible in terms of design, but the final outcome can be near perfect. It's the setup that is often time consuming and sometimes equally difficult. Both methods require a degree of care to get right.

On this project I opted for the perfect fit (yeah, full disclosure, I don't have hundreds of perfectly done hand cut joints in my arsenal) so the decision to expend time on the jig setup finessing part was easy. It's also a chance to learn the procedure of cutting asymmetrical joints with the jig too... something I've never done before.

So over the last couple of nights I've been working on the layout and test fitting joints using scrap material (poplar). To cut Tommy's design on the jig requires doing the layout on a test piece, transferring it to a scrap board, and then mirroring it as carefully as possible on both the left and right sides of the jig. It becomes critically important to keep track of which piece is which when doing this, so the markings in chalk denote the right and left, and inside and outside faces of the pieces. To cut the tails on an offset I inserted a filler piece of scrap against the boards being cut. As seen in the shot above, the joints fit near perfectly, but the spacer still needs to be adjusted by about 1/16" to avoid having to trim any stock. That part will be tested with more scrap tomorrow night. In my quiet neighborhood I don't use any power tools much past about 7:30 p.m.... it helps keep the "peace" part of peace and quiet we enjoy around here. :)

The internet is filled with people who have had trouble with the Leigh dovetail jig, and one of the biggest issues seems to be tear out. Honestly I never have that trouble, but I always do two things to avoid it: First, I use a backer board when cutting pins to support the fibers behind the cuts completely. And secondly, when cutting the tails I will route from both the front and the back sides of the piece to avoid tearout. It takes a little more time but the result is worth it.

My final project will be built using African Mahagony. Those pieces have already been milled to size so they're waiting and ready for the dovetail jig once I'm happy with the setup. The project also requires three stretchers that I will cut and fit by hand.

More as I get further along. By the way, this test piece fit so tight and so well that it easily supported my full weight unglued and without racking.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday NIght Movie

This week an animated short from the Netherlands. And you can probably guess what that means!

Synopsis: When you find yourself running scared and running out of energy, there's only a few options left to outrun your opponent through the southern desert. Stopping at nothing, watch these two guys wear each other out and rip through boundaries hitherto unbroken. Enjoy the ride!

... and now, "Mac 'n Cheese", directed and created by four students at the Utrecht School of Arts using Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Eyeon Fusion, Pixologic Zbrush. and TVPaint (and five months of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

Mac 'n' Cheese from Mac 'N' Cheese on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yo Yo Wow

As a kid it was challenging enough just to make one of these things go down and not come back up sideways. So I really have no idea how anything like this is done. Here's how the current world champion handles a yo-yo. Amazing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


MIDTOWN from Drew Geraci (District 7 Media) on Vimeo.

I'm a huge fan of time lapse photography, and when it's as well done as this short film is by District 7 Media, LLC, it's a real treat. Shot over the course of 6 months and comprising over 50,000 still images, the challenges to get this completed at all were formidable. The results were well worth the effort however. Here in a a little over two short minutes is a slice of life at the heart of the city that never sleeps.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday NIght Movie

It's time to start a new series here, one I'm going to call the "Friday Night Movie" (FNM). Each Friday (or at least when I remember) look in here to see a video short that has caught my attention during the week. It will likely be something you haven't seen yet. This first installment is especially apropos given that we are just about to experience the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower. If you have clear skies this weekend be sure to turn out the lights, go outside, and enjoy a bit of nature's wonder. It could be especially nice this year.

So with no further ado, please enjoy, "Borrowed Light", by Oliva Huynh.

Borrowed Light from Olivia Huynh on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Centrifuge Brain Project

Contact me if you need a good bridge. I currently have a classic one in NYC for sale. Or, if you'd like to build one of these in your backyard, detailed construction plans can be found here.

We're a little bit late to this party. This short film has already won numerous Awards.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cable Wars Again?

Every so often we (in the USA) seem to have to go down the rabbit hole above. Our cable television companies get into fights with their content providers over how much one is going to pay the other, and when they can't agree the cable delivery company simply pulls the plug. Channels like HBO, or networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, etc, just disappear from the lineup along with all their content for a while.

The cable delivery monopoly, be they Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Fox's Murdock, or others always have the upper hand because they get the signal into your house, and they get to frame the argument. Until the contract issues are settled your local news and/or favorite shows are simply yanked off the air. It's not like it used to be when everything showed up via air waves and antennae. Pay TV is here to stay. (My dad swore he'd never pay for TV. He did however.)

To quote Dennis Miller's, "I don't mean to go off on a rant here", line, I read the news about this the other day on the interweb. Then last night when I got home experienced it personally when Showtime (SHO) and a few other stations were AWOL from my channels listing along with a message about it in the onscreen guide. And today the local cable company, Oceanic Time Warner Cable (OTWC), sent me the email above. What caught my attention in particular was how that message itself was formatted! It's not very easy to read, is it?! The entire message isn't shown but trust me, it gets far more confusing further down. Yet this is on OTWC's own internet website email system!

Now you would think that if they can deliver HBO into our homes they would also be able to format an email on their own website correctly. But you'd be wrong. They can't. Their profit margins don't allow it apparently.

Meanwhile we wait for this to be resolved. I sure hope there weren't any good boxing cards on SHO this weekend because I'm missing them. And boxing is about all I watch SHO for anyway. Meanwhile, OTWC... when you get your big pay raise, hire a couple summer interns to fix your email system.

It stay broke.


Now CBS is blocking Time Warner Cable! Yes... we just read that correctly. CBS is blocking TWC. Apparently if TWC is your cable provider (mine too) all CBS content that might have been delivered to you over the interweb is now going to be withheld by CBS until the contract dispute is settled. So you can't watch them on television or on your computer. Great. Stay off long enough and I might not even care.

But will someone please tell me how this isn't CBS shooting themselves in the feet. I must be missing something.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Simpsons' Supercut

Did you ever catch a movie reference in an episode of the Simpsons? More than one? Well, there have been a LOT of them over the years. Film website, NextMovie, has discovered nearly 40 minutes of references in just the first 10 seasons of the Simpsons. And they've been on air now for 25 years!

Enjoy the super sampling above!