“Mission-in-Progress” or “My First Glue-up!”

UntitledSo this pirates chest toy box… The poor woman made the quote request for an aquarium back in December ’13, made a downpayment for the product in Febrary, knowing I’d be at-sea until the fall. No sweat, right? Wrong. She contacts me some time in May or June and asks me if she can change her order from this really cool ice-cube-tray betafish breeding tank thinger ( I was really excited to build it ) and wanted a pirate themed toy box for her 4 year old buccaneer. No problem, right? Wrong. I offered it to her for the price of her half-down-payment for the complicated aquarium, in the spirit of her being my FIRST customer, and her paying so early, which actually got me through my training for my job, but that’s another story. We figured out this little toybox, and I had it all planned out. Was a pain in my ass for some of the compound angles, but it’s all part of the challenge. So I began work on it, finally this week, and boy have I got a story to tell.

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“Facebook Page” or “Time for Some Cross-Traffic!

Yes, yes, many of you may have actually found us through our regular facebook announcements facebook feeds, but great news! Now we have our own! Due to increasing local demand for questions, answers, product quote requests and more, we’ve decided to make a FB page to corral all of these new client demands. You can reach us here, and keep up with all the latest and greatest. Feel free to check this page out, since all new article posts and updates will appear there by default, and occasional updates will appear on other facebook feeds as well. Don’t be shy!

“Widdershins Rescue Shelter” or “Inter-Organizational Humanitarian Partnership”

Small Shelter 3Not too long ago, I was approached by one of the organizers of the Silver Linings Cat Rescue with a request to design them cat shelters. After some collaboration, it was decided that this plan would suit them best. The box measures 4′ (~1219mm) long by 2′ (~610mm) wide by 2′ (~610mm) high. There are only 4 sheets required for the whole job. This plan involves a 3/4″ (~19mm) of ply for the outside shell, 2″ (~51mm) thick rigid insulation for the middle layer, and 1/4″ (~6mm) for the inside layer. 3/4″ (~19mm) might be a little heavy for you, but shaving (half) that difference off all four sides isn’t complicated mathematics. This shell is easily modified to involve pressure treated wooden feet, ramps, swinging doggy (or kitty!) doors, even a light bulb with mason-jar shade to keep it heated when it’s near people’s homes. There is a lot of potential to do some really good work here. Hell, if your animal LOVES it outside, put one of these in for your dog or cat! I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

Anyway, onto how it’s built, eh? Continue reading

“Current Affairs” or “Just Another Update”

Not much to report in the world of Casa de la Gossa. Though under the weather, we are plugging along and moving on with our lives and our affairs. The final death-throws of my season’s work with Seawatch are almost over, and the winter chill is in the air. I’ve received most of my work-related expenses and we enjoying the windfall. Buying more wood (before we begin a cycle of winter harvest for following-years-burning), I’m upgrading my phone and bought a nice new camera for my shop. I say new, but I bought the Nikon Coolpix L120; a $500.00 camera for $100.00 used; the thing is still shiny and has that “new toy smell”. I also have a new helper for my shop, am upgrading my cellular phone, I’ve begun doing localized I.T. repair work for the area, will soon be completing my first shop commission, and have an idea in my head for a small assortment of indoor herb gardens. Please allow me to share some of the recent updates, in summary, with you in a group article. Continue reading

“Solar Soda Can Furnace” or “FREE Solar Heat System YOU Can Build!

We’re not talkin’ photovoltaic panels for power, though they’re pretty sweet, too. I’m talking about a MUCH simpler system, this one is based on the principle of “Black things heat up in sunlight”. Direct is better than indirect, but that’s the beauty of this system… it scales. You’re not getting enough heat on chilly overcast days? Build MORE of these systems! Play with the pitch-angle, rig up some kind of stepper motor to angle the panel WITH the sun as it traverses the sky. There are many ways to make the system BETTER, but my goal is to make it SIMPLER. I take a page from Isaac Azimov’s book (giggle at my own pun), he rewrote hundreds of textbooks on science in an attempt to simplify the language. I’m not of HIS caliber, but I do my best to make the fundamental woodworking projects a little easier to swallow; so to speak (editors note: Do NOT Swallow woodworking). I want to make it as simple as I can so everyone can grasp the fundamentals, then the exploration is up to you. Sorry for the rant, onto SOLAR HEATING! Continue reading

“Wall-Mounted Dog Food Dispenser” or “Simplifying Doggy Duties”

So, I have been meaning to write an article on this, but after experiencing April Wilkerson’s job, I honestly couldn’t think of a reasonable way to improve upon it. Adding bells and whistles, transparent panels and gadgets makes it look more like a Rube Goldberg Machine than anything that’s meant to do a simple job, simply. This is an elegant solution to a typically dirty, dusty job, and the use of French Cleats (my favorite!!) makes detaching from the wall for cleaning a walk in the ….. dog park.

This very simple machine is as functionally simple as it gets, the article that she wrote surrounding it can be found here, or by clicking on the picture to the left (like ALL my pics, unless I made them myself, it is linked back to it’s source… not so much to drive my dear audience away from my site, but to avoid plagiarism scandals). Based upon her articles and videos, she’s a real sweetie, and I just couldn’t bare to improve on such a lovely device. Please, let us revel in it’s construction, and again, please visit her blog and her youtube channel for more awesome offerings!

“Tin Can Phones in a Digital World” or “Rural Broadband Infrastructure”

I love everything about living in a rural community, well, almost everything. The air is clean, the water doesn’t need filtration, the air is nature-smelling and the ocean waves are our lullaby. We have a large house, a significant block of land, and friendly neighbors along a quiet street. What’s not to love? While we do get five bars on our cellular service, there is insufficient population and local demand to justify broadband internet in the area. Period.

We have four choices, really. Do without, 54kbps Dial-up (Why, exactly, am I even listing this as a choice?!), Cellular internet and Xplorenet Satellite 3G (for now). Please allow me to discuss with you why some of these are viable, some are not, and while others are hideous to even consider. Continue reading

“New Paint Job” or “Making A Huge Mess, On Purpose!”

IMG_1521So, having received a letter from the mmunicipalityexplaining that garbage collecting is a very dangerous job and that all garbage collection bins must be no more than 10′ (~3.048m) from the asphalt in order to be collected (the poor dears), we had to move the bin. It’s not complete, but I noticed some minor little things that need attending to, like covering the top (and probably all sides) to avoid snow from building up inside, building some stops so the collectors don’t beat the lid off, and it has to be painted. Since we bought paint (uggh, hate painting) for Sarah’s room recently, I suggested that if we had any left we could paint the garbage box. My darling wife reminded me that we had “tons” downstairs in the furnace room. Tons, you say? I had to investigate. Maybe not tons, but certainly gallons! I intend to put that paint to good use. Ima buy a tote bin with a volume equal to no less than half the volume of these cans (about 30-40 litres, or about half of these 10 gallons), based upon the weight of the cans. That amount of paint ought to be enough to do the entire floor of the garage two or three times, though I am not sure what sort of colour it’ll turn into once I mix these “Acrylid-Latex” paints together. I’ll certainly take pictures!  Continue reading

“Space travel and Woodworking” or “High Technology’s Effect on Heritage Crafts”

This may shock my darling audience, but I am of two minds regarding the dire negative effects of space travel, robotics, modern factory technology and chinese ultra-mass production trends. Is the market being flooded with Walmart and dollar store junk, made for half a cent and sold for a couple of bucks doing bad things for our heritage trades? Will outsourcing our labour to foreign countries where workers in sweatshops get paid a sack of rice per month to make Nike sneakers for a fraction of a percent their retail cost encroach on our market shares? You know what? I really don’t think so. I will confess that it has an effect, but I don’t think it has the one you might suggest. I think it improves our market, considerably, for those savvy enough to consider the shifting dynamic of an increasingly demanding customer base. Continue reading

“Bird Condominium” or “High Density Avian Architecture”

Birdhouse - Complete  Okay. A few people were so impressed with my Avian-House Compendium that I was asked to design one of my own. Now I’ve always been a huge fan of “Go big or go home”, and the addage from Mr. Hadden in Jody Foster’s Contact, “Why build one when you can build two for twice the price?” We must remember that economy of scale works, to a degree, and sometimes bulk-orders matter.

I’ve designed this 8-room bird condo for the purposes of installing it below the eave on my garage. It will be in perfectly plane view from my back deck, the bathroom window, and from the rear door. I will go through the design and setup of these units step-by-step and we can just see how easy it is to assemble it. It could be as few as 7 cuts with a hand saw or circular saw, then the fasteners (Screw, glue or nail), a few holes for entry ways and dowels.
Presto. Time to mount! Continue reading