Tomato Report

When I watered my tomatoes and cucumbers this morning I knew I was going to take this picture late in the afternoon. That’s because it’s the “golden hour” of light known to all serious photographers. The angle of the sun is low in the sky and the resulting light is subdued and takes on a golden hue. It was around 5:00 p.m. when I took the picture below of my ripest tomato. You can compare it to a fully green one just above and a piece of the #2 ripe tomato in my garden. It won’t be long now before I pick that ripe tomato and enjoy its fresh from the garden flavor. I’m excited! LOL

First Red Tomato 2017

Share Your World – July 31, 2017

Share Your World – July 31, 2017

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts? Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected?

I’ve been wearing prescription glasses since I was 6 years old. I’m now 68 so that’s 62 years of wearing glasses. Now I’ve developed cataracts in both eyes and don’t see well even with glasses on.

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?

I’m a cat person who tolerates dogs.

If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top three items on your wish list?

For what seems like forever I’ve lived in tiny apartments. The last one was 182 square feet in Beaverton, OR. The rents rose so high I had to move out of state to government housing in Uxbridge, MA. I live in a one room apartment with all utilities for $519 a month. With food stamps and VA medical I survive.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Nothing inspired me this week or this year. I’m rather low emotionally right now so I’ll not bore you with why.

How To Skin A Cat

Have you ever heard the expression, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” ? Granted, the poor cats get a bad rap here but the point the saying is trying to emphasize is that there’s alway more than one way to do any task.

Here’s the task, use the MatchFit Dado Stop on the left side of a table saw’s blade. The reason I wish to do this is that my new Incra Miter Express Crosscut Sled is set up to be situated to the right of the tablesaw blade. I want to be able to use that great sled in conjunction with the MatchFit Dado Stop referencing from the fence on the left side of the blade.

MatchFit Dado Stop Mod

Issue #1 – Adjustment #2 on the Dado Stop represents the thickness of the saw blade in use. Therefore it will ALWAYS stick out further than the fixed measurement of Dado Stop leg #1. That causes a problem when switching which side of the blade you mount your fence.

Solution – The #1 leg on the Dado Stop represents one side of the saw blade while the #2 leg represents the thickness of that blade. It’s ONLY a reference so you can set up leg #3, representing the thickness of the board you’re trying to cut into. Once you set the #3 leg up you no longer need the #2 leg to be sticking out farther than leg #1. You can reposition the #2 leg to be shorter than leg #1 and all is well with the setup. From that point forward you’re making all your cuts based on leg #1 and leg #3. You see the distance between leg #1 & leg #3 is the width of the slot, ie. dado that you’re trying to cut. You can make all 16 dado cuts to build a no miter picture frame without ever measuring anything. The Dado Stop is calibrated to make every cut accurately. Clear as mud right?

Precision cutting with repeatability built in is all about the setup. If your setup is accurate you can make 500 picture frame pieces without a single measurement. Your setup become a jig, a fixture built for a specific task. I’m glad I have my main workbench in my livingroom. My tablesaw sits atop that bench which allows me to get a good look at how everything is supposed to work and fit together. Add a little ingenuity, incite & troubleshooting skill and you can overcome, conquer and persevere.  I guess the cat will get to live another day. LOL


I’m sorry my modification didn’t work. You see the #3 leg that sets the material width is physically located in front of the #1 center leg when clamped to the fence on the left side of the saw blade. Because of that design it interferes with sawing the dado in my piece. There’s no way around that limitation. I will, therefore, be forced to relocate the dado stop on the fence to the right side of the saw blade, lining up the3 legs of dado stop in the correct orientation. This will also require me to detach my new Incra 1000SE from the crosscut sled in order to install it on the left side of the saw blade to make my dado cuts. 😦 It’s all a minor inconvenience. I tried, and failed. Onward to the next hurdle! 🙂


Learning To Use Your Tools

I’ve been an educator most of my life so I’d also need to define myself as a career student as well. Before you can become an effective teacher you must first understand how you learn. I spent 45 years as an electronic technician, a troubleshooter. I fixed things, any things. That type of job requires a lot of deductive reasoning to be effective. The same processes can be applied to any new skill development.

Woodworking as a hobbyist demands that I use a wide variety of hand and power tools. Before you start building a major project it behooves you to learn how to use your specific tools.

When I taught students how to use a personal computer years ago, I explained to them that they needed to “play” with a computer before they began using it for critical work. There’s an old cartoon I used to show them of a poor office worker with unopened computer equipment piled next to her desk. As she began opening the equipment she grabbed the first manual she could find that might teach her how to setup and use all that technology. As she turned to the first chapter her boss walks up and dumps a thick printout of data and tells her he wants a spreadsheet compiled on that new computer before the weekend. The look on her face was of shear panic.

My computer students laughed at the concept behind that simple cartoon. You don’t learn well under extreme pressure to perform. She needed time to develop a skill set that would give her the abilities to use her new tool, that computer. She needed to “play” with it before she could “work” with it. Make sense?

The same principle applies to woodworking and tools. When using a new table saw you need to make a simple birdhouse instead of trying to start with a new chest of drawers. The techniques you’ll learn in play mode will carry over to a bigger project and you’ll not be under a lot of pressure to learn on the fly.

Thus it is with my new tablesaw accessories, especially my new Incra 1000SE miter gauge. In the short time I’ve owned it I’ve learned to assemble it properly, calibrate it and check its accuracy as well as  modify it to meet my needs for a specific task. The more I “play” with it the more I realize how fantastic an addition it will make to my skill set and ability to make accurate, repeatable cuts for any project. It’s such a versatile tool I literally threw away the miter gauge that came with my tablesaw.

So let the games begin! I need to play with some scrap wood in making no miter picture frames. These are ideally suited to my Incra miter gauge because of its precision and repeatability. I need to cut 16 dados to make just one picture frame and each cut needs to be precisely made. It’s time to cut up a 2″x4″ for scrap pieces I can use to “play” with during my next learning lesson. What fun!

Incra 1000SE miter gauge and extendable fence & stop system.

Incra 1000SE

No Miter Picture Frames

No Miter Picture Frames

The Guarantee

How do you know you’re getting exactly what you ordered? How do you know that you got a good price? How can you judge the quality of a hand crafted tool? The obvious answer is that you ask for a guarantee.

I was shopping for a good, high quality Japanese hand plane. I wanted something beautiful as well as functional. I wanted adjustability. I was looking for a tool that would give me years worth of reliable service. I wanted a tool I could sharpen and service myself.

When I saw the plane pictured below I wanted to know if it would yield wooden shavings thin enough to justify the price. By American standards $165 is NOT a lot of money for a finishing plane. If you don’t think so shop at Veritas in Canada or Lie-Nielsen in Warren, ME.


The final answer to all my questions about that Japanese smoothing plane was the fact that I was reading the invoice through a shaving made with that plane. Once peeled away I could notice that remarkable demonstration. Sold!

Japanese Plane


After an all day project just completed I’m again reminded why I love woodworking. I’m what is known as a hybrid woodworker. I feel comfortable using either power tools or hand tools to accomplish most tasks. For me the idea of getting outside and getting your hand dirty is part of the fun of the hobby. It’s a bonus to wind up with a project you made yourself.

When I completed my vegetable/fruit crate yesterday I carried it down the sidewalk to show my neighbors the finished project. I have worked about 6-7 hours making it, half with hand tools and the other half with power tools. You see I live in a seniors only government housing community. Management frowns on power tools being used too early in the morning. It was 9:30 a.m. before I threw the first switch on my jigsaw or table saw.

When it was time to do repetitive work cutting the side slats for the crate I switched to my table saw. It took me about 30 seconds to make 6 slats that were exactly the same and fit perfectly. The time consuming part came in pre drilling and  countersinking all the screw holes. I used Kreg pocket hole screws and glue to build an incredibly strong box.

I’m paying the price for being on my feet in the hot sun all day. I have one shade darker tan for one thing. The other is dealing with my big toe cramping from all that standing I had to endure. It’s impossible to do good carpentry sitting down. LOL

So now it’s onward to other projects and more fun. I really don’t care what my neighbors think about my hobby. I must have looked quite a sight covered with sawdust yesterday. I’m sure they also noticed the smile on my face. You see, “I’m not quite dead yet”!

Crate Build Complete – Very Nice

I was determined to complete just one of my projects. The weather cooperated with the temperatures in the mid 70s and sunny. I set up shop early this morning, around 7:00 a.m.. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fire up any power tools for fear of complaints from my senior neighbors so I started the job of building a vegetable/fruit crate using just hand tools. I was able to complete both ends of the crate in this fashion, doing an exacting job to make sure everything was cut flush to my marking lines.

At 9:30 I was beginning to tire so I took a break for half an hour before getting back on the job. This time I set up my table saw with its new crosscut sled and Incra miter gauge. The task was to cut all the side rails to exactly the same size, 21.5″. It was incredible easy using the new table saw accessories, measure once, set a stop and cut 6 more in seconds. I was duly impressed with how easy this was to accomplish. Way to go Incra!

I finished the box by 1:00 p.m. and started cleaning up my work area to return everything to indoors. I still need to sand, stain & polyurethane the box but the building part is done. I am very pleased with the results. The box is screwed and glued together using Kreg pocket hole screws, not in the normal fashion but countersunk and recessed screws securely hold this sturdy box together. I sat on it after showing my work to my neighbors. On to the next project!

I used 1″x4″ fir that literally measures 3/4″x3 1/2″. I used a sheet of 1/2″ Baltic birch (Russian) plywood for the bottom. I drilled two 1 1/4″ holes and jigsawed out the two handles. There’s lots of room in this crate for anything I want to put in it, even bowling balls. 🙂

Crate Build

Changing Gears With YouTube

I watch a lot of YouTube Channels, choosing to subscribe to most and comment on the occasional viewing. Over a period of time some of my subscribed channels suddenly change their format or begin posting videos that lose my attention. I don’t hesitate to move on, unsubscribing from them. There are thousands of channels on every topic under the sun so It’s not like I’m sad to see them go but that It’s education and entertainment that I crave.

I’ve moved on to new channels when the old channels start finding the need for live broadcasts where online viewers fire questions at the host as he/she  explains some practice or answers the myriad of questions coming his/her way. Honestly I find this format very boring as most hosts may have skills that interest me but aren’t good at all at handling the hardware and software necessary for a live broadcast, constantly fiddling with camera focus or alignment. It’s quite disruptive and not at all professional. After watching one or two i soon unsubscribe to their channel.

Not everyone can talk as they film a “how to” video. I’d prefer a silent film where i can see the flow and planning along with the actual build. I don’t require the detailed “why I cut this board” kind of narration. I’ve been in woodworking 45 years and can figure that out.

I like to subscribe to the maker’s website of major tools I buy and use regularly. Lie-Nielsen planes, Kreg tools, Micro Jig, Incra tools and Infinity Blades & Router Bits come to mind. I’m always in the market for new helpful tools. An example is Incra Tools. I just spent a total of $300 on two tools that complement each other, an Incra miter gauge and an Incra crosscut sled that accepts that gauge. Together they cost as much as that table saw but will stay with me even if the saw changes.

So you can see I use YouTube as a tool as well, a research tool to shop for tool reviews and project plans. Just as with its parent company, Google, you can find anything on YouTube if you know how to use it well. Thanks Google/YouTube!

Share Your World – July 24, 2017

Share Your World – July 24, 2017

List some of your favorites types of teas.

Lipton tea bags, regular.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Caution, curves ahead!

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

Be quiet!

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do?

Be a skydiver without a parachute.


“Visions of Sugar-plums Danced In Their Heads”

Yup, that’s the words from “Twas the night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore. It also applies to woodworkers dreaming of their next big acquisition or a fisherman catching the one that got away. Dreams are what keep us going, keeping the old juices flowing.

I’m a sawdust junkie that thinks the sound of a well tuned table saw making a precision cut is a thing of beauty! My relatively new DeWalt 745 contractor’s saw is looking and sounding mighty fine these days, what with the addition of my new precision Incra 1000SE Miter Gauge.

The temperatures are about to return to the 60s for highs in the next few days so if I can dodge the raindrops I’m looking forward to setting up shop and making some sawdust. I have a few picture frames in mind that will greatly benefit from my new toys. I’ve got plenty of wood, glue and pneumatic staples and brads. It’s time to get constructing! LOL

I also want to continue work on my Japanese tool box and those fruit & vegetable crates I have partially constructed. I want to finish at least one project during this coming week. I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor in my tiny garden and those green tomatoes hanging all over the place will be growing and turning red soon. I’m excited!

Picture Frame Plans

Test Strip Lion Frames

Japanese Tool Box

Japanese Toolbox 01

Fruit & Veggie Crates

Veggie Crate