Update on the Great Nubbing of 2015

I haven't taken any pain meds in 3 days. Finger hurts, but is more annoying than ZOMGCUTITOFF!!!!! Looks nasty, but I'm able to change the dressing without wanting to puke. Friday I had a wound check & they had to rip off the bandages because they had fuse with the clots. There was so much pain.

Later, the tip of my finger went numb. At this point, I'm chalking it up to a bit of nerve damage. Hopefully this will not be anything that will interfere with my guitar playing (once I'm able to use the finger again, of course).

I'm lucky. There's a little less 'finger' there than there should be, but it'll grow mostly back and the worst case is a little numbness & a nasty scar.

Thank the Lord the jointer threw my hand & didn't pull it into the machine. I'm very lucky.

And now I'm also a very poor typist

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/28/2015 12:51:59 PM | Feedback (6)
The instructions for using a jointer are not printed in braille on the blades

So, last night I was cleaning up some wood in the shop on the jointer when the wood slipped and my hand went into the blade.

Not fun.

I managed to turn off the jointer, the shop vac, the lights, lock up the shop, turn off the hose filling up the pool, locked the door, got Irelyn, locked up Pepper in her crate, & drive myself to the ER where I bled all over the place.

I have a much, much bloodier pic

I lucked out as it didn't hit the bone so they were able to sew the finger back together (cut is on the fingerprint side from top to the 1sr knuckle) but OMG does it hurt, & I have a rather high pain tolerance.

Anyway, no guitar playing for me for a while, but it should heal with no problems & just a nice scar to remind me to always use push sticks.

Guess I'm not starting the storage bench build this weekend.

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/23/2015 10:42:48 AM | Feedback (15)
I shot steel plates yesterday

Poorly, but that’s to be expected for not keeping well regulated lately.

I misunderstood the amount of ammo necessary. I left with 7 rounds of .40 to my name. Luckily the reloads I had didn’t jam which tells me the full case resizing die I bought does its job, but I hadn’t really put it to its test like I should have.

First 4 stages I did well enough on, but the last 2 I had a hard time hitting the berm for some reason. I was shooting way high, which really, really sucked. I never have a problem with horizontal aiming, it’s always the vertical that gets me. This can be corrected with adequate practice, of course.

Here’s the Smoke & Hope stage, which I did well on once I slowed down a bit. The first shot was a miss because I was shooting ‘on time’ rather than ‘on target’ (i.e. pulling the trigger on a metronome rather than when the sight was on the plate). Eventually, I got the hang of it & did it in 3.88 seconds which ain’t bad for me.

Going to definitely start shooting steel a bit more. It’s a lot of fun & I need the practice!

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/20/2015 10:40:04 AM | Feedback (0)
Raising the bar by raising my children right

Last night, I finished up the top for the ‘planter’ by the front door. It’s cheap aspen from Lowes. I routed the edges with a 1/4 round-over, sanded it several times with 120 & 220 grit, then applied Minwax pre-stain.

Next came 2 coats of Minwax Red Mahogany stain, followed up by polyurethane, sanding, polyurethane, sanding, and polyurethane.

The results are gorgeous.

So good you can smell it. Literally. Polyurethane is smelly.

There is still a little work to do to properly secure it to the rock wall, but because I took a jigsaw to the back, it fits around the molding and is pretty snug.

Because of this success, I will be moving onto building a storage bench for between the garage & pool. This is the main entry point for us into the house and where the girls put their backpacks from school. The seat we had from the old house is too small and of such low quality that we need something else, so that’s next up on the to-build list (it also is why I’ll be getting a nice Delta table saw!).

However, I’m not going to do this alone. I’m going to have both of my girls, 10 & 13, out there with me to not only help, but to do some of the work as well. Maybe not the table saw, but I will have them help me joint the wood, drill the pocket holes, glue things down, and work a drill.

Schools educate children, but barely. Reading, Math, & Science are very important, but they only scratch the surface of what a person needs to understand to live. Spending 3 weeks on economics in “Social Studies” (a poor, poor substitute for actual history) doesn’t prepare a young adult to make good decisions about credit or how to properly save money.

We no longer do real home-economics. The 1 lesson on making pancakes isn’t teaching a person the basics on how to cook food. Kids have no idea how to determine if the 2lb box of pasta is actually a better buy than the 1lb box. Hell, half of the kids I deal with at fast food restaurants can’t even handle giving me the correct change.

Part of the problem of course is that schools aren’t really geared to do all of these things. A lot of this is a parent’s job to instill into their children. However, since so many parents can’t even handle their own financial affairs, change a tire, build a trellis, or figure out why the toilet isn’t flushing, they can’t pass on that kind of knowhow to their offspring.

I will not fail my children in this regard.

One of the many things I will instill in them is the mindset that you do not always require someone to do labor for you. I want to make sure they help me repair / improve the house so that when it comes time for them to weigh the opportunity costs of “DIY” vs. “Hire someone”, they can make an educated decision, not one based on the inability to do something.

I have ulterior motives here too. I am trying as hard as I possibly can to influence my daughters’ lives by example & reason. I want them to be strong & self sufficient so that when the day comes where they decide that this man is the one they want to spend their life with, he is a man worthy of them. I want that man held to high standards. I want them to pass over the ‘men’ who can’t take care of themselves. I want them to, by their very nature, find emasculated man-children worthy of disdain and not their time. Oh, you can’t even handle a table saw? Sorry, I’m busy this weekend… making a chest of drawers to keep your balls in.

I don’t necessarily want them to end up as carpenters, mechanics, or anything – but I want to make sure they have the opportunity to do that if they choose.

I’m in my 40s and just starting to do some of this. I’ve always been competent in such things as I’ve got, for some unknown reason, a pretty good gut instinct on how things mechanically work. I find writing code to be intellectually challenging & am learning that building things / repairing them feels the same in my mind. I hope to pass this on.

My dad did well enough having me help him with things, but it was always more as a “here, hold this while I try not to run the drill through your hand” than “here, do this so you understand why / how”.

I simply love my girls too much to rely on strangers to handle their entire education.

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/16/2015 12:44:28 PM | Feedback (11)
The next hobby

Now that I’m all moved in to the new place, I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and one of those fruits is a 364 square foot workshop in the back yard.


Fully powered with steel roll up door & AC, this place is awesome. I’ve always wanted to get into woodworking, and now I’m actually beginning to do just that.

The house we live in was built (like a tank) back in ‘76. It’s an amazing place on an acre, but some of it is pretty dated, so there’s a lot to do. Because I have a workshop, I’m investing time & money into woodworking projects that I can handle, hopefully each one building on top of the previous one.

The first thing I had to do was repair a door that a panicked pooch decided to go through.

Our dog is part termite

Since the house is older, I wasn’t going to be able to match the molding on the outside, so I opted to simply grab a slab door and take my chances that I could hang it on the preexisting frame. The doors come 30” wide, but of course the frame is 29 3/4” so, using my workshop, guides, and my new circular saw, I cut it down. I then mortised out the hinge joints, and with a bit of planing to remove wood where it was rubbing, viola! A new door (plus the inner trim).

With that task done, it was only a few more weeks before the dog decided another door needed the same treatment…

I only screwed up 2 doors before I got one up (pro-tip – 2 50” aluminum guides will only clamp at the ends of an 80” door. If you don’t want the middle to move, use carpet tape to hold the center parts down!). The bottoms of all the doors have considerable space under them to allow airflow, so I cut off 3/4” off the bottom, just like I did with my daughter’s door.

Turns out, on this particular door only had 3/4” of solid wood at the bottom. After my cut, I was left with a nice, gaping hole. No problem, I salvaged the MDF from the original cut, trimmed off the veneer, slathered it with wood glue, clamped, and bingo! Like new!

I did all that with a screwdriver & pliers

Next up on the honey-do list – in the front of the house is a planter. We have rock walls (remember, 70’s house) and the planter too was rock. With hideous artificial weeds. The Mrs. wanted me to build a top & stain it instead, so that was the other part of this weekend. I grabbed some aspen wood, routed a nice edge, cut out slots for the molding on the wall, and stained it. I still have to polyurethane the hell out of it, but it’s looking good!

Pre stain Lotsa Stain
First coat wiped Ready for the cat to sit on

I’m trying to get decent tools for this work as I go. I did pick up a Porter Cable jointer to help with … uh… jointing.

Jointers work at times other than 4:20, you know.

I’m also going to need a thickness planer & a better table saw as mine is the Jennings of table saws. Using the jointer, I practiced putting two pieces of poplar together and I’ll be damned if it don’t look like a single piece of wood.


Once I get the top poly’d, I need to work on some way to mount it better than plain old gravity. And then the next task is creating a seating / storage bench for the pool entry. I did this in Sketchup to start figuring out what wood / cuts I’m going to need.

Have a seat.

Anywho. I’m planning on shooting steel this Saturday, so I haven’t given up on guns. I should have GoPro of that hopefully. It’s just that guns are such an integral part of my day-to-day life that they don’t even seem interesting to talk about much any more.

Hopefully I’ll keep all my fingers attached so I can continue to blog about my wood centered escapades. If anyone has any tips, hits, or free sheets of nice plywood, let me know!

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/13/2015 10:21:18 PM | Feedback (9)
A day for celebration

13 years ago today, one of the most important things in my life happened – I became a father. Every day has been a blessing, every moment one to cherish. And today, I now have a teenager in the house.

They grow up too fast

Happy birthday, Georgia!

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/11/2015 7:23:18 AM | Feedback (4)
This is what anti-gun people think of us

From: Florida Carry <support@floridacarry.org>
Date: September 9, 2015 at 5:12:22 PM EDT
To: support@floridacarry.org
Subject: Florida Carry, Inc.: Corruption
Reply-To: Thomas Booth <XXXXXX@tampabay.rr.com>

This is an enquiry email via https://www.floridacarry.org/ from:
Thomas Booth <XXXXXX@tampabay.rr.com>
Is your organization run by the same racketeers, extortionists, and murderers as the NRA?

Hard to reason with the unreasonable. So instead, we can just point & laugh.

P.S. We are such extortionists that I didn’t even put the dude’s email address in the post. And being that the last time I checked, our body-count was a collective 0, we make crappy murderers as well.

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2015 6:23:14 PM | Feedback (4)