Sunday, April 19, 2020

Covid 19 week 5.1 - Futzing in the shop

It's Sunday... I spent most of yesterday foraging for supplies, dropping off a N95 dust mask at my friend's house, cleaning, and cooking. Yes, I gave a friend an N95 mask rather than giving it to the local hospital. First, it was already used and my local hospital only wants new-in-box masks. Second, while you are saying "ewww,  used mask", it had already been used by that friend so it already had his cooties in it.

I have to admit that foraging for supplies included picking up chocolate; however, in my defense this particular chocolate is pretty good. Also, they were taking phone orders and would fling it out their door as you drove past at a high rate of speed. I'm kidding of course. My wife walked up to the door, gave her name and the bag of chocolate was handed through.

Today is Sunday and I'd hoped to have all kinds of energy for going into the workshop. I didn't find the wellspring of energy I was hoping for; however, I did have enough energy to go futz around the shop.

I believe I lamented some weeks ago about having too many projects in flight at a single time. That's always a bad thing for me because while I have a good sized shop I've also got enough tools that when I am working on multiple projects they tend to all get pulled out and left around the shop. Once that happens it gets progressively difficult to keep the dust swept and becomes exponentially harder to get things done.

Today I put hand tools back in their spot on the peg board and in the cabinets, I put the large power tools back in their parking spot, and put the hand power tools back in their cases and then the tool cases into their storage drawer.

While cleaning up my box of hardwood scraps - which mostly consists of picking up the pieces that I'd flung in that direction but missed - I found a large enough piece of white oak scrap that I could make a handle for the top of the paper towel dispenser. Since in my cleaning I'd just come across my handle template I traced out a few, cut them on the band saw then cleaned them up on my oscillating spindle sander and stationary belt sander. The white oak was a leftover from cutting out the weapon mounts and was probably at least a full inch thick. This was much thicker than I wanted the handle so I ran the handles through my table saw. I didn't really measure but they are probably about 3/4" thick now.

To knock down the sharp edges on the handles I briefly thought about throwing a round-over bit in the router table but then decided this was a low use handle and I didn't care enough to take that much effort. In the end I just free-handed the sanding using the oscillating spindle sander and belt sander to get the corners slightly rounded. I left the handle in the shop and didn't attach it to the paper towel dispenser so if I change my mind later I can come back and round over the handle. The weather here in upstate New York has been horrible and all my projects are still sitting in the garage waiting for finishing. The forecast is more weeks of horrible weather so I have time to think about it.

The other thing I did while futzing around the shop was replace the dust collector connection on my router table. The one I had was 3d printed by a friend but he had used his standard infill that was somewhat less than 100% to save filament. Unfortunately that made the piece fragile and when I abused it it shattered. Fortunately he'd printed me two: a prototype and the real one. I removed the real one, gave it to my wife who in the past has been paid to glue things together and asked her to fix it for me. I put the prototype on the router table so at least I have dust collection again.

And that was about it for today. Spent a few quality hours in the shop, got it ready for real work again and made a handle for my paper towel dispenser.