Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 update

Life got in the way, and I neglected updates to this blog for a very long time:

1. Lynna's mom, Mickey Poole, passed early Sunday Morning, October 16, 2011.  When she didn't show up for breakfast, her caregivers checked and found her seated with her back against the wall.  She had gotten up, done her face and hair and was just finishing dressing with one sleeve of her blouse buttoned and the other still undone.  She was a believer and is now with her Lord.  We miss her greatly and look forward to the day we will see her again.

2. In January 2012, our church called Dr. Christopher Bechtel, of Edinburgh, Scotland, to be our Pastor.

3. In March of 2012, Evergreen Church received two large, anonymous, gifts dedicated to replacing the church heating system and church renovation.

4. A contractor was hired to install a new heating system and I was asked to oversee installation of a new roof and re-painting the sanctuary plus as much renovation as possible with any remaining funds.  There was also the removal of the old boiler/radiator system to be accomplished.

5. Stayton City Public Works notified us of a 1.8 million dollar street improvement and that we would be assessed a portion of the costs based upon our (large) frontage and property size.

6. Finishing work on our home needed to continue, cars had to be maintained and we found time for family.

I am posting a few pictures and will make additional posts with further details later.

Monday, August 1, 2011

June & July Happenings

I'm chairman of our church's Pastor Search Committee & that took up much of our time for the past two months, but, praise God, the committee made good progress & we still managed some progress on the house. I built a garden shed with left over materials I had accumulated & a window from the "Re-Store". I made some more saw horses, cutting some of the the joints with my radial arm saw & some with a hand saw.

I was ready to begin the baseboard install, so I laid about half of them out in my shop & put the Danish oil finish on. Lynna asked me to put trimming out the bedroom french doors at the top of my list so I suspended work on the baseboards and got that done. I put our vegetable garden in late because it was cold & wet for so long, but its beginning to take off now & we had our first Zuchini & Summer Squash of the season a few days ago.

In late June, we took Lynna's mom up to an alzheimers hospital in Beaverton for a few days of tests to adjust her medication. Others had seen big improvements from this & we hoped it would result in slowing the progress of her dementia and sundowning/exit seeking. A few days later the hospital called to let us know she was stabilized but needed 24 hour care if she was to continue living with us. We weren't expecting this change so soon, but a few months ago, had checked out several memory care facilities in the area & found they all had waiting lists. Now, a couple of them had openings & we were able to settle her at the Clare Bridge home in South Salem. She made a good adjustment to the change & seems happier there. She doesn't remember back more than a day or so now but tells us she likes being there & feels safer with the friendly staff always available. She hasn't shown any sundowning since the move.

I found some $ .25/foot Cherry crown molding at the Habitat for Humanity "Re-Store" & also snagged a No 246 Stanley mitre box complete with the original Disston back saw. It will clean up nicely & I plan to repaint it too. I've been watching for a good buy on a 3 h.p. router & was happy to find this Swiss made Elu on Craigs list.

8/6/11: I added some pictures of the mitre box after clean up. I replaced the sacrificial board, added some new paint, adjusted & lubed the saw setting device, cleaned & polished the saw plate and refinished the handle. It still holds accurate settings & makes a very clean cut. I will be using it any time I'm not comfortable cutting a small piece on the Bosch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saw Till

I recently replaced the table on my 1958 Delta radial arm saw. The original table was made up with 3 beautiful pieces of 1" clear Fir, but they were deeply grooved on both sides after 53 years of use. I couldn't bear to toss them into the burn box, so I decided to make a saw till to hold all my hand saws. The deep grooves resulted in some unexpected breakage during construction, but with a few glued repairs, I ended up with some useful storage and the price was right! For the classic saw shape, I drew around my Disston Acme 120.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Some 20 years ago, we had just built a home in Kingston, Washington and I needed a workbench. I had planned on building one but the local Ernst Hardware store got in a batch of European style benches. They were a knockoff of the Hoffman & Hammer compact bench, but also had 3 drawers & a storage cabinet. The vise & drawer hardware wasn't bad & they were made with Mai Pradoo (Burma Padauk) which is a nice looking, medium hardwood.

Ernst offered them at $400 but there were few takers. I kept researching bench designs and pricing wood. Meanwhile, Ernst cut their price several times. When it got down to $169, I bought. It was easy to assemble & made a good light duty bench. I put it together without glue so it would be easy to dis-assemble & move.

Life went on & I was quite happy with my new bench until one day I heard a crash from the garage. Shortly, my dear wife entered the house and told me I needed to go buy another bench! Our killer Audi hit the bench pretty hard, smashing the drawers, cabinet door and face frame. So off I went to Ernst.

There were 2 benches left & they were marked down to $99! I put the new bench together, then, after a few weeks, started to take apart the old bench, thinking to use the wood for other projects. I found the main structure was mostly undamaged, so I rebuilt it. It wasn't as pretty as the new one now & had a bit of racking, still it was useful.

The problem with such inexpensive benches was, I tended to disrespect them. In addition to woodwork, I used them for car & tractor repair, even dis-assembling & overhauling 2 tractor & 3 Mercedes engines on them. They got pretty beat up as a result.

I hadn't glued my benches during assembly & they developed racking problems as bolts loosened, requiring re-tightening every few months.

We moved twice since I got the benches and both times they weren't dis-assembled, just moved in one piece. So I decided to re-assemble them with glued joints this time.

Our new home in Stayton required some big, Fir beams and I saved all the large cut-offs along with some 4X4 & 4X6 pieces. Since I was going to tear down anyway, why not improve the bench while I was at it? One of the beams approximated the size of my bench top. Also, I had been admiring a vise I'd seen. It used a hand crank to quickly move the jaws. Only the astronomical price held me back. I found a crank on e-Bay & so I began to re-build the bench into a Hermaphrodite Roubo.

I'm quite happy with the results. I got rid of the annoying tool tray, raised the benchtop height to match my Delta radial arm saw & added the beam to the back of the bench with two 4X4 legs dovetailed in for support. The bench top has twice the area now (24" X 55") & I incorporated a reversable planeing stop down the middle. I put the hand crank on the front vise. The extra mass, glued joints and 2 additional legs make the bench extremely rigid and solid.

I liked the results so well, I decided to make the remaining beams into a larger bench. The result so far is a massive 24" X 84" Roubo style bench with 4" X 6" legs dovetailed into the top. I tied the two beams together with 2" X 4" scraps. I didn't bother fitting either cross piece with dovetails or through mortises, just bolted & glued it into place. My son was disappointed with me for taking this short cut. I don't agree. Its crude, but effective and doesn't detract much from the overall appearance. The bench is also the same height as my Delta RAS, & has a reversible plane stop down the middle. I'm going to have a local artisan make 2 hold fasts & I will drill the bench top for them. I had intended to tie the legs together with stringers and through mortise joints, but the bench is so stable already, they may not be needed. I will use the bench with hold fasts for a while but may add a good vise later.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Old WoodWorking Machinery

Old woodworking machines offer a great deal of utility for not much money. Over the years I acquired several:

The 1958 Delta 900 Radial Arm Saw(3rd & 4th from top) is my best buy so far. Picked up from Craigs list $35 to use as a dedicated dado machine when I had to fabricate door jams to hang our fir doors.

Despite noisy bearings, it handled that job & several others well, but eventually the blade began to wobble & the bearings developed a grinding noise. I dis-assembled the motor, installed new bearings ($20) & repainted the saw with some Benjamin Moore Industrial Machinery paint ($5 at the Habitat Re-Store), so now it is a $60 saw. When I replace the table, I will still have less than $100 in this Articulated Turret Saw.

The top 2 pics show my 1948 12" Red Star Radial Arm Saw. At $250 it is my most expensive used machine but it was newly cleaned, rewired & repainted, so almost a new saw.

Red Star produced their line of Radial arm saws until 1948 when Delta bought the company. Their Multiplex saws were more versatile than any other RAS, but had some features that were expensive to manufacture and a name like "RED STAR" was a handicap when the cold war began.

Delta continued to produce the Multiplex line unchanged except for adding a Delta decal. Later Delta redesigned their RAS, changing to a fixed turret mount and adopted a different bearing system for the saw head. They soon dropped the 9" & 10" saws, but the 12" & bigger models are still available today. They are often found in commercial shops but rare in home shops.

The bottom picture shows my 80's era General 6" jointer. I own a General 10" Table saw that is impressive in its quality, accuracy & durability, so I was quick to buy this machine when I found it for $150 on Craigs list. It has a new motor, is usable as is but needs a tear down for cleaning & repainting.

Back in the 80's I picked up a Sears 12" Bandsaw and a Shopsmith Model 10ER, for $150 each. I will add some pics of them later.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Lynna's mom, Mickey, will be 92 this August. She was widowed years ago & lived a very independent and active life for many years. She had a cottage at Lakeside Assisted Living nearby, but came to live with us in January when she was unable to continue living on her own.

To accomplish this, I needed to quickly finish the West Bedroom & Bathroom trim & hang the closet doors.

Everything got done in good time and that part of the house is much improved.

Mickey is much doing better but there have been a few setbacks along the way. Her doctor continues to search for a more effective medication to slow & moderate the progress of her dementia. A caretaker comes daily to take some of the load off Lynna.

Sometimes Mickey has "Sundowning" episodes but I secured all our gates & she is always back to normal the next morning. We have visited all the memory care facilities in our area and found a few that are acceptable, but for now, the present arrangement is still her best option. Mickey is able to attend church with us on Sundays & still enjoys lunch out afterwards.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Projects with Life Changes

I have been posting some of the housebuilding progress and life changes during the time I wasn't updating the blog. Hopefully I can stay more current through the rest of 2011.

We wanted a breakfast bar on the pony wall between the Kitchen and Nook, so I started with a cardboard mock up and Lynna approved. We worked with Dieter's cabinet shop to find a good piece of Cherry, which was cut into 3 pieces, then edge glued into a nice bar. I mounted it the same way I had done all our previous bars.(I used 1/4" angle iron that could handle some dunderhead trying to sit on it!) . Once the bar was up, I was able to install the appliance garage cabinet Lynna wanted.

One of life's great inequities is the short lifespan of our canine companions. Our jolly old dog Sunny was a character. A Border Collie/Pointer mix, & a dog genius, always examining the world around him, learning as he went. He could open doors & unscrew bottle caps. Like many herding dogs, he would bare his front teeth in a smile. Last Summer, Sunny was nearly 15 y.o. & well stricken by age. He could no longer race about but still enjoyed walking with Lynna & would poke around the yard while she gardened. He spent evenings sleeping at my feet in the study. We were unprepared when he passed away June 15th, 2010. We both missed him greatly & our other dog, Peaches was lost without her buddy. She got very clingy & refused to go out in the yard unless I came along. She would lean on me while we walked the yard. Within a week we were at the Humane Society Pound & rescued a 4 y.o. male German Shorthaired Pointer.

This friendly bundle of energy had been spoiled by two successive families who gave him little training or exercise, let him free feed into a typical obese pet, then dumped him at the pound when he became "to rambunctious". A female Shorthair was part of our family back in the 60's & 70's. This guy was amiable & seemed trainable, so we added daily work sessions, walks & obedience class to our busy lives.

Nearly a year later, Gunther (we call him Gunny) has made great strides, with diet & exercise his weight came down from 80 to 55 pounds, his behaviour is much improved with only a few things chewed along the way. He sticks to me closer than a shadow, likes to hang out in my workshop(where he eats sawdust & chews scraps at every opportunity), Peaches is back to her old self again, & the cat has accepted Gunny into the pack.