Honey Do Lists

Ever since I completed the House in a House (HIH) project I have been on a mission to do more work around the house. My newly remodeled shop is one. The shop became a repository for all things that became refugees from the remodel job. I couldn’t stand to work in the space because it was crowded, cluttered, and disorganized. Before I could even think about adding the final step of the HIH, which is a drop ceiling, restoring order to my personal workspace became the number one priority. At this point, the shop is 80% converted back to a working space. There is still one wall that needs a cleaning, purging and organization, but it is usable as is.

The final step will be completed once my honey-do list is completed. In my case I am the honey, and all the do’s are mine. One thing that happened during the HIH process was a move-in by my step grandson. He unloaded seven trailer loads of personal belongings into our living space. The entire house was decorated in simplistic modern, now it looks like an antique shop. One piece, an old TV cabinet found a home under my two hanging art-glass plates. The cabinet is a 1950’s Zenith TV console, and looked okay under the plates, but I could’t stand to see the aged finish. Refinishing it became the number one job on my list.

I uncovered a cute little table lamp with touch control in the piles of stuff moved in. It has potential as an accent piece. The trouble was that when I touched it to turn it off and walked away it turned back on. It became another line on the list.

After providing shelving in my shop for all the miscellaneous tools and materials for projects I decided it was time for better organization. I bought a dozen plastic bins that fit nicely on the shelves and sorted all my shit into visible bins; measuring tools are in one, tape and adhesives in another, chisels and sharpening tools in a third, files and rasps in a fourth, and so on. Soon the place developed an appeal for work, I love what I have done.

The sliding glass door in my bathroom was sticky and leaking. I hate cleaning the floor each time I shower, and the thought of not showering as a solution does not appeal to me, so I ordered a set of new wheels to install. They were made in China, and on the surface they looked acceptable. In practice, however, I began to wonder which Chinese MORON eliminated the hex nut on the inside of the wheels? It took me considerable effort to hold the wheel hub stationary while I screwed the axle into place. I’ll remember shoddy Chinese engineering for the remainder of my life. Little things matter and the Chinese lack any common sense toward providing those details to make life easier. Instead of stealing and extorting American engineering they should decide to go the route of Japan who decided to adopt American Quality control processes, and are now world leaders in product quality and reliability.

So, the to-do list is getting shorter, and I have begun a list of actual build projects. My old bird feeder fell apart from decay, and I still like to attract birds to my window, so I will build a new one. The same goes for replacing the four supporting legs of the tower of three bird units that have decayed. The tower became the Leaning Tower of Joe in the yard so, I took it down. I miss the family of wrens who raised a family in middle condo for the past five years. This spring they will have a remodeled home to move into. For such a tiny bird their call is very loud, and I want to enjoy listening to it once again.

Last, but not really the last ever, are two new intarsia projects. Last week I received a 2023 calendar from the Heritage Foundation and the January picture is a Bald Eagle with his wings fully extended and arched, his talons spread open to drop, and latch onto his next meal. I will develop a pattern from this photo and turn it into an almost life size Intarsia work. The previous eagle which I stopped working on when the HIH project began will be scrapped. The second Intarsia piece will be a rendition of cat tails from the fall garden. The colors will be suitable in wood and the outcome should be very natural. All I have to do is to learn how to make paper thin foliage that is twisted and bent naturally.

New Project

My winter is booked.

Take One Off the Bucket List

Some projects take long than others. As an example I built a work bench for my shop in 1992. The bench is the first project I built with my new Craftsman table saw. At the time my favorite can’t get enough, watch everyday TV program was The New Yankee Workshop on PBS, channel WTTW. The host was Master Carpenter Norm Abram. I bought his book and fell in love with the workbench. It was a good learning exercise for the new saw, and it developed my carpentry skills as well. There is one tiny detail I left out. It is the tiny detail I left out. The workbench included a unique built-in flush wood workers vise. I built the jaw part, but didn’t buy the screw mechanism for another three years. When I finally got the screw at a cost of nearly $100, it was too long for the bench. Oh well, someday, I’ll have it cut down and make it fit perfectly. The screw sat for another seventeen years until my oldest son asked me what I wanted for my birthday. “You know, what I really want is for you to take my vise screw and talk one of your machinist friends into customizing it.” Mind you, I worked in a place with ninety-three tool makers under my supervision and I couldn’t bring myself to ask one of them for the favor. That would be showing bad example. How would it look if the boss conveniently asked the company machinists to work on his G-jobs?

My son graciously said “Sure Dad.” I gave him the screw never expecting to see it again. After all he is a busy father with young boys who demand his attention and time too. The screw didn’t get here for my birthday last year, but it did show up for Father’s day this year.

The screw disappeared again, this time for three-months in my workshop. For the last month I have searched for the dang thing so I could finish the job. Then last night I saw the screw in a dream. It sat on top of my surplus TV in the basement out of harms way. The problem being that the TV was now so covered with stuff that make up all workshops that the screw became invisible. For that matter the TV was invisible too.

This morning I got up at my usual time fully expecting to get to the shop early to put my hand on that screw and to install the last piece of a twenty plus year old project. Wrong! Grandma Peggy had an agenda. Rather than piss her off I said to myself why not surprise her and take her on the rounds early, then go to the shop. And that my friends is what finally clicked. She hasn’t bothered me once all day long. I had two hours of fun installing this screw to the sliding block that is the vise jaw.


The large black crescent at the bottom of the picure is my belly sucked in as far as it will go. It is still not far enough.





Note, the many scars on the bench surface. This bench has been used extensively for twenty years.

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I lied, the bench is still not 100% complete. A wooden handle must be installed on the end of the screw. I promise the handle will be added this year.