Archive for the ‘Wood working’ Category

May 7

Here is another quick update, this was some shots of the piano coming apart.

I began by taking off the front panels, that was easy, they are designed to come out…

Doors removed

Doors and panels removed

Then I removed the fold down cover over the keys…

Me hard at work

Me hard at work

Next I tackled the hammer assembly, please note I’m not sure that’s the right terminology, but it had to come out no matter what it was called.

Coming apart

Coming apart

Then I started taking out the keys.  I cleaned each one and the tray holding the assembly.

Keys coming out

Keys coming out

And finally I removed the key assembly and the tray running across the supports.  Now comes the real fun, removing the piano wires.

Piano wires

Piano wires

I could have bought a piano tuning wrench, it would have made life much easier.  But no I tend to do things my own way, so I had to make my own tool so I could work on it right away…

My homemade piano tuning wrench

My homemade piano tuning wrench

Now comes the cleaning and reassembly, more to follow…


Apr 20

It has been a long time since I posted here last (I slipped the piano post in yesterday), I plead guilty of allowing life to get in the way.

The truck has been sitting in the garage waiting for warmer weather.  I have stayed busy with things around the house, I went out to the garage a few weeks ago and spent some time trying to get organized and clearing space so once warm weather hits I can get moving on it again.

I did have a realization that the first thing I will have to do in the near future, is going to be put in at least one new garage door.  We have a 2 car garage with 2 doors.  For years the far side was blocked off, the opener didn’t work, so I screwed the door to the wall to seal it closed.  When we brought the truck home, I moved the woodworking to the far side and didn’t think about it.

This week, while talking through things that I need to do and want to do, I realized that since I can’t get the garage door open, I can’t get a new table saw into the garage, and I can’t get the engine block out of the garage… unless I move the truck.

Since the truck is on jack stands with the wheels removed, that is not likely to happen, so the first thing I have to do is put in a new door on the far side so I can get things in and out and expand the shop out into the drive when I need more space.

The piano is well under way and I will be posting more updates on it as I can.  I’m going to be behind on posting for that, it is going together already and I haven’t put together the photo’s of it coming apart… LOL


The piano

posted by mark
Apr 19

Family legend has it that my grandfather bought my grandmother a piano.  When she got sick he learned how to play it and also an organ.

The piano stayed in their home for many years after my grandmother passed and when my grandfather passed away, it was given to my family.  I was in the military stationed in Wyoming at the time, and the military shipped it for me and it has resided in my home ever since.

Much to my mother’s dismay, she was a piano teacher, I can’t play the piano in spite of years of lessons.  My children didn’t pick it up either, in spite of attempts at lessons.  So the piano has sat in my home, a piece of family history, and as much as I love it, it was never going to be appreciated by being played.  The sounding board is also cracked badly, so would require extensive repairs.

I have thought about doing many things with it over the last few years; a fish tank, a computer cabinet, TV cabinet or a desk.  Nothing ever seemed to click in my head.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my office staring at it, when it clicked.

Mama Bear will tell you, that I do not start projects until I can see the end in my mind.  This time was very different, I have no idea what the end will look like, but I am building my new desk, pictures will follow.

The start of the journey

The start of the journey


Oct 7

A long time ago, not to far away from here as the crow flies, I had another hobby…  Model Railroading.

When I left for the military everything got packed into boxes and stored.  Over the years I had friends who had model RR’s that I would help or go work on, and I managed to collect some stuff second hand or at garage sales that went into boxes.

A few months ago, I told Mama Bear that I wanted to open up the railroad again.  This amused her as she had never been a part of that part of my life, and it isn’t like I have enough time as it is to get everything else done already…

The planning started, and in my typical fashion, it got kind of wild.  I went through multiple iterations, trying to see what I could do depending on what gauge I used, lots of planning.  Some small, but most of them grew to the size of my office, which is half of our basement… LOL

Dreaming big

Dreaming big

Mama Bear was not quite so excited by the prospect of trains circling the room, and intruding through the middle, depending one which set of plans you were looking at.  The question of which gauge to use was also problematic.  I already had some stuff in HO, but going to N would give me a huge space advantage because it is so much smaller than HO.  I didn’t know how much stuff I had in HO, but I figured it was worth looking at switching just because of getting so much more mileage of track if I did.  This went on for months.  I didn’t actually do anything except lay out track plans.

Finally, this week I decided I wanted to make some sort of progress.  So after work and a couple times at lunch, I built a table and then started to try to find the boxes with the old train gear.

The table got built

The table got built

It took me several days to find the boxes, and I am sure there is at least one more missing, but the “stuff” made an appearance on the new train table.

The mess gets laid out

The mess gets laid out

This morning I went down and started trying to figure out just what all do I have, and what is worth keeping or pitching.  It turns out I have quite a bit more than I originally thought, not a huge amount, but definitely more than I thought.

Things starting to get organized

Things starting to get organized

So I think the decision is to stick with HO for now at least.  And for Mama Bear’s sanity, the start will only be a single board, but built with expansion in mind.  I plan on laying out the basic areas, building some industry and switching into the base board with one continuous outer loop.  But build the switches in for the next phase so I don’t have to tear anything up when I can expand.  I currently plan to run a loop of the main board that circles my desk on one side, then the other loop will be a long countryside run, probably crossing the Mississippi river, with an eventual city at the other end.

Basic beginning layout

Basic beginning layout

I also found some treasures.

Long hauler

Long hauler

Another hobby has crawled from the woodwork…


The 2017 Eclipse

posted by mark
Aug 20

In spite of other plans, thing worked out that I was not going to be able to travel for the Great American Eclipse tomorrow, 21 August, 2017.

That’s OK, my brother is and hopefully he sees some great sky tomorrow.

So making the best of the situation, tomorrow is a practice run for April 8th, 2024, the next total eclipse, which happily will pass very near to our home town.

And in the spirit of being prepared, and hopeful that the sky will cooperate, today I went out around the right time and did a complete run through, including taking pictures, lots of pictures.  Although tomorrow will hopefully be even more pictures, hopefully.

Setting up for a trial run

Setting up for a trial run

I can tell you that it was warm this afternoon, 89.6 degrees when I checked the weather…  You can tell my helpers are covering things for me while I do the heavy lifting… LOL

I’m being a high tech red neck.  If you read my earlier post reviewing the telescope I bought, then you will notice the wooden “stand” the telescope is mounted on.  This allows me to view most of the sky, and particularly the track the sun will be following during the eclipse period.

Here is one of my test pictures, I love the effect of the clouds passing in front of the sun.  Note the group of sunspots almost perfectly centered on the sun and framed by the clouds.

Passing clouds

Passing clouds

The telescope has a Canon T3i with a 2X extender, giving me an ballpark focal length of 1250mm.  I am shooting using the Canon utility which allows me to use live view to work on focus and exposure and the Goto computer on the telescope mount that allows me to move the tube to track the sun.  When the sun is out, it is bright enough that seeing the screens is difficult, but a hood made out of a cardboard box shields the laptop for me… 🙂

Taking pictures during the trial run

Taking pictures during the trial run

While I do have some issues with the focusser, I was able to get quite a few good shots today.  I played with several different settings and exposures, so hopefully I am as prepared as I can be, now we will just have to hope the clouds hold off, or at least we can get some good views of the sun during the eclipse.

I’ll close with one of the shots I like that that was clear and  you can clearly see there  is a group of sunspots centered in the image, with one trailing on the far left side just in view.

Practicing on the Sun

Practicing on the Sun


Aug 20

I was writing a review on this telescope on Amazon, since that was where I bought it, when Mama Bear suggested I put it here also.  So here is my review of the Meade ETX 80 telescope.

The ETX80. First, the good; As a beginners telescope, this seems to be a pretty good telescope.

The Goto functionality is nice, it makes finding objects much easier than trying to find on your own. It is fairly easy to set up, once you understand the process, unless you have to reset the computer, which I had to do. After trying to align two nights in a row, I found a forum that discussed how to reset the computer to factory defaults, as soon as I did that and started the process over, the telescope aligned first try. So in that respect, it is a good beginners scope but if you have problems aligning it, reset the computer and start from scratch. That was nowhere in the manual I could find.

Being able to use the electronic control for moving without aligning is nice, when you are using it for something like the sun (only with approved filter material) or the moon, finding them is easy, you don’t need a computer to point them out.

It is easy to pack in the included backpack and fairly easy to set up an a remote location, so it easily transportable.

The eyepieces seem to be a decent quality, something you would expect from Meade, the included 45 degree prism can be useful, except for the catch I point out below about range of motion. I don’t use the eyepieces, I am mainly interested in photography, I’ll get into that below also.

Now for some of the cons that I have run into; the “clutches” that bind to the Goto drives are not the best in my experience. The lateral clutch is somewhat loose, the lever that tightens it is limited in range of motion, so you can’t just keep tightening it, and the up-down adjustment clutch is difficult for me to get tightened and loosened easily, and still have it tight enough to not slip.

I found the focus knob to be “loose”, not that the knob is loose in the mount, but that there is play in either direction and it feels like you have to take up that slack before the focus changes, but going back you have that slack feel in the other direction then. So sometimes focusing can be frustrating because if you go a little too far, turning back seems to me to be hard to recover and I end up going too far and starting over again.

The tripod is very lightweight, and not totally in a good way. The aluminum tubes and clamps are light enough to worry me a little, when fully extended that getting hit might cause it to buckle. This has not happened to me, it just feels that way and I am careful to avoid that happening.

What isn’t obvious is that for photography, DSLR – not hold your iPhone up to the eyepiece photography, even though it is advertised with the T adapter and camera mount available on Amazon the range of motion seriously limits the telescopes use for photography, almost to the point of being unusable. The T adapter mounts to the rear of the optical tube assembly, when you look at a picture of the telescope, envision a camera hanging off the back end, now envision trying to swing the tube higher than about 35 degrees above the horizon… it cannot be done, the camera impacts the base of the mount as it swings down into the “U” shaped yoke mount. You can spin around 360 degrees, but only below 35-45 degrees above the horizon, depending on your camera.

Maybe I am missing something obvious, but I don’t think so, I haven’t found another alternative. So the only obvious alternative is to get an eyepiece T adapter, which I understand causes issues with the focal length. I have read of people cutting the tube you insert eyepieces to shorten the length to the camera, not something I am interested in trying. Unfortunately I did not think that through and by the time it occurred to me it was past the return date.

My solution to the range of motion for photography was to build my own 45 degree mount, take the plate off the tripod and mount the plate to my “redneck” mount. Then mount the telescope to the plate, which is now pointing up at about 45 degrees with the tube “level” to the mount, similar to an equatorial mount, but not quite. At least I can shoot the eclipse this way.

The bottom line to me; for a beginner looking to explore the solar system and maybe the near universe, this might be a good place to start. If you are interested in astrophotography at all, this is probably not the best place to start, in fact I would say it is a bad choice for that unless you plan on remounting the telescope, then why buy something with a Goto system as remounting will most likely make it unusable unless you go to a true equatorial mount so the computer can be aligned. Note, the Goto system does have an equatorial alignment option I think, so it would work if you do I assume, but I haven’t tried it.

Here is a shot of my “redneck” mount in use

Eclipse prep

Eclipse prep


Jul 10

We had a good fourth weekend.  We had most of the family over and I smoked some pork and chicken.  Unfortunately, the photographer (Mama Bear) let us down, she was too busy conversing and eating to remember to take pictures…

But on the fourth I did take my new telescope out to play for a little bit.  Bear with me, I’m still learning and I think this is going to have a bit of a curve translating what you see to what you photograph.

Backlit Leaves

Backlit Leaves

I did capture a couple shots of the moon, but the focus is much different between using a normal camera lense and the telescope, so the result isn’t quite as sharp as I had hoped.  It will take some time to get things figured out, but I am happy so far.

The moon on the fourth of July

The moon on the fourth of July

But, I did make a bunch of sausage the next day, and I did remember to get some pictures of that.  Mama Bear walked by at one point and grabbed my camera and snapped a shot of me while I was grinding.

Working hard

Working hard

I tend to be a little bit of a purist (sometimes referred to as anal)…  I believe toasting my own spices and grinding whole spices gives you the best flavor.  Here is my Fennel and Anise seeds during the toasting process for the Italian sausage.

Toasting spice

Toasting spice

I was the mad scientist mixing my recipes…

The mad scientist at work

The mad scientist at work

Which resulted in over 30 pounds of Italian, Breakfast and Chorizo…

Sausage, Sausage, Sausage everywhere

Sausage, Sausage, Sausage everywhere

The rest of that weekend and this past weekend was spent moving my woodworking shop/tools to the front of the garage to make room to pull the engine block from my Dad’s truck.  We are making progress on it also, I have the engine block almost disconnected and the drums off the the front brakes, so still going.  You can see more about the truck and it’s progress here:
https://www.halfpap.us/butchs_truck/

 


Jan 20

The sun and the moon have been hiding for days now, mostly behind a solid grey sky.  Yesterday and this morning we had some patches of blue and I had some hope maybe things were breaking, but no, the clouds rose back up and the night was just another wall of grey.

On another note, I took a break the last couple afternoons and instead of lunch I spent it in the garage cutting what I think were 4×6 Oak beams into pieces that would fit into the oven and I’ve had the oven going all day for several days, acting as a sort of kiln.

Home made kiln

Home made kiln

So, I did a bunch of reading to figure out how long and what temperature I would need to heat the wood to, and now I have stacks of what looks like some really nice wood ready to be put to good use, here is one day’s load…

Finished wood

Finished wood

Tonight, I made pickles, lots of pickles…

Pickle prep

Pickle prep

Mama Bear picked me up a couple of quart and a half jars at Ikea for my pickles.  I was discussing ( OK, complaining, or even whining might be closer to the truth) about having to use lots of different size jars.  We had one quart canning jar that I was reusing, with a couple pint size jars and a couple jelly jars, one of which I gave away full of pickles from the last batch… LOL

Pickles

Pickles