Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Arthritis & Stuff

As I get older, the accumulation of damage I have done to my body over the years adds up.
I have bad arthritis in my neck. When it is bad, in addition to the pain in my neck, I can lose feeling in the thumb and forefinger of my right hand, or ring and little finger of my left hand. This is the result of multiple rear end accidents in the car. Not me hitting someone, but someone hitting me. I used to say I ought to just paint a bullseye on the back of my car.
My left shoulder is messed up from my time in the Army, for which I receive a small disability pension. When it is bad, it feels like my arm is going to fall off. I strained it the other day splitting wood, so I have an appointment at the Orthopedic Clinic on Friday to get a cortisone shot. Cortisone to me is a magic bullet. Immediate relief.
Did I mention my appointment is on Friday the 13th?
My neighbor up the road has a small one man sawmill. He also has 40 acres and sells custom cut cedar lumber. He is down to making 2 X 4s because he has used up all the larger stuff. I had asked him to take a look at a tall dead Douglas Fir I want to take down. He got real excited when he saw some of the cedars on my property. I have some large cedars that are close to four feet in diameter. Prime cedar of that size is getting hard to find.He has suggested a couple of ideas of mutually beneficial plans for him to get his hands on some of my trees.
Of course he wants the largest trees, and those are the ones I don't want cut.
I would like a small road put in around the perimeter of the property just so I can get to the areas with my pickup. He has a backhoe.
I want siding for the greenhouse. Cedar would look nice.
I want to build a wood shop. A combination of fir and cedar would work well.
Lots of possibilities.
The neighbor is off fishing in the Colombia for  walleye.
We have agreed to get together and come up with a plan when he gets back.
Until then I have handrails to cut and peel for the deck.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sledding Hill

When you go to the end of our driveway and look to the south, the pavement ends in about a hundred yards. On the left side of the road, there is one house about a quarter of a mile south. On the right there is not another house. There is National Forest and Olympic National Park. The next house would be somewhere around Hoodsport or Shelton.
The road goes up. Then it goes up, then up from there. I have heard that the uphill is constant for seven miles.  I have heard that the grade is 14 percent, which is pretty steep. I have driven to the top once.
Around a half of a mile up the road is a steel gate, which is always open. Another half a mile up the road is another pair of gates, which are usually closed except during hunting season. One of the roads goes across the side of the hill, the other continues up.
There is very little vehicle traffic on the unpaved road. Especially when it snows.
Where the road changes from paved to gravel, a road takes off to the West. There are several houses on that road. It dead ends about a quarter a mile in.
This makes the hill an excellent sledding hill. The snow compacts well, and the road ends up very slick. The last time it snowed, we had to rescue three vehicles from the ditch. A fourth truck made it out without our help. Three of the four were on the same 40 foot stretch of road.
You need to have a sled that steers, because the road is not straight. Not a lot of sharp turns, but enough that you will end up in the ditch or maybe over the embankment. I think I need to invest in an old runner style sled.
If they open the upper gate, the sled run is 7 miles long, and I have heard you can reach speeds of 40 mph.
What could go wrong?

Saturday, February 24, 2018


About two years ago, I decided to build a deck off of the front of the house. Being the kind of person I am, It would not be like any other deck around.
I didn't want anything that was available commercially, so I figured I would build it myself from timber I made myself, harvested on our property, milled myself.
The first thing I needed to figure out was how to mill my own dimensional lumber. So I did some research and found the Alaska Mill, which attaches to a chain saw. I would need to upgrade my saw, so I bought a Stihl 362C, approximately $820 with a 24" bar., Alaska Mill to attach to it $320.
I selected two cedars for the decking. Felled them and cut them into two inch thick planks. Set them aside to age for a year' Also felled a fir tree to make the supports with. Set it aside.
Last fall, we decided to build a small greenhouse, eight by sixteen feet. For the work surface I removed the little existing deck from the house and use the Trex to build a couple of workbenches, so I decided that meant it was time to start working on the deck/
We dug out the cedar and fir, and bought the pier blocks, layed out the boards. They had a lot of saw marks on the so I used my hand held electric plane to work out the saw marks Half of the dedck is now fastened. After the weather breaks, I still need to do a little finish sanding on the deck so I can put on the weaatherproofing (clear Thompsons Water Seal.)
I will have to cut down another cedar to make the boards to close out the deck.
The upper part of the cedar I will use to make posts for the deck, after I peel off the bark. I will use peeled cedar poles for the handrails. Use maple branches to fill in.
As you can see, the boards are all 16 foot, and of various widths by two inches thick.
You can't buy the boards at Loews or Home Depot.
I guess I am about halfway through with the project.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Long time Comin'

Haven't been around here much lately. Just have been rel busy with stuff. Wood working, land clearing, lumber making.
I was out looking around the property the other day, and noticed a nice sized fir tree, maybe 80 feet tall standing there dead. Looks to have died fairly recently, like withing a couple of years, so it ought to be in pretty good shape.
My garage is getting pretty crowded with wood for projects, projects in mid stream and wood working tools and supplies.
If I have free wood, and the desire for a shop, it is a simple but time consuming thing to turn the tree into lumber and assemble a shed.
First thing is to decide where to put it.
There happens to be a fairly flat spot behind the wood shed. No big trees, fairly level, covered in ferns and salal.  I took the DR Trimmer mower out there with the toughest cutters and cleared out a 14 X 20' area behind the wood shed, and cut down some scrub alders. About that time my back gave out on me, and it has been slow to recover. Getting old pisses me off. I am always attempting to do stuff and my body just says "Whoa there dude, you are exceeding the design specs."
So at the moment I am having to take it easy, which grates on me.
Yesterday I spent part of the day cleaning the garage, but when I got bored, I went to build a raised bed box for the garden. I didn't last too long. swinging a hammer just wasn't in the cards.
I also have a request from Carol to build a greenhouse. That won't be cheap. Harbor Freight has one 10' X 12' for $650, but I need to figure out where to put it, level the ground. The fun never stops.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I have been awfully busy the last couple of months, hence no posts.
I cut down a good sized fir tree and made the structural components for my deck. It turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. It was right at the upper limit of what I can do physically by myself.
I pulled a muscle in my back humping one of the beams out of the woods, so I have been limited a little in what I can do. But the bottom line is that the structural components are all done and under the eaves of the garage aging so they will be ready next summer when I go to build the deck. I have an adze on order to finish up the beams and work out any imperfections.
Besides the Alaska Mill work, I have been doing some woodworking. I just turned out an incredible live edge burlwood maple side table. I also have a really neat piece of skelotonized driftwood I and finishing. Don't know exactly hoe to describe it, but it has lots of interesting shapes and lines. I will probably post a picture of it when I decide it is done. That's part of the problem. When is something like that done. I guess it's done when I say it's done. I have thought it was done a couple of times, but found myself piking it up and doing "just a little more".
There is an area just to the East of the house that was overgrown with nettles and brush. I have been avoiding doing anything about it ever since we moved in here, but decided it was time to attacck the area before it got completely out of hand.
Fortunately I have a DR walk behind brush-cutter trimmer mower. Unfortunately it had not been started in several years, so I dug it out of the equipment shed and it took all morning to tear it down, clean it up and get it started. It ran pretty ragged until the second tank of gas. Unfortunately the drive belt was old and brittle. It didn't break, but pieces of it started unraveling, so I had to get a new belt.
I also ran out og cutting string. The best stuff I could find, was just not up to the task. I have ordered some of the right stuff from DR, but it won't be here for a couple of weeks. The stuff I found locally flys apart when it meets heavy resisstance, so I spend more time installing new string than working. At least it came in a 150 foot reel so I have plenty to work with.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Live Edge Free Form Burl Bowl

I made this live edge free form Maple burl bowl some time ago. I really like the way it came out, but had no good way to display it. I mean it just looked incomplete without a complimentary stand.
When I was working in the yard, I was removing an old diseased rhododendron and looked at the base where I had cut it down, and it just looked like what I was looking for to display the bowl.
A couple of hours of trimming and debarking and here it the result.
Sort of an entish star ship enterprise looking fluid look to it.
I love it when disparate elements come together to make a whole different thing.

Sunday, May 07, 2017


Last year we planted three cherry trees and two five-in-one apple trees.
In other words, deer feed.
We got one cherry and no apples. I think that the deer left the one cherry just to mock me. My deer repellent of choice is my Airsoft reproduction 1925 Thompson sub machine gun. It shoots 6mm plastic pellets, so it stings but doesn't penetrate the hide. Only two problems with that pan. First of all I have to be there, and also the gun has to be charges (it is electric).
So this year I stepped up my game. I purchased a battery powered solar charged electric fence.
Take that Bambi!
I haven''t quite worked up the nerve to try it out on myself. I have been bit by an electric fence plenty of times, and while not really harmful it is less that pleasant.
I remember the time when we were having a going away party for my and J.B out at Art's little place out by the airport. There must have been forty people there in a tiny little house with only one bathroom.
The guys resorted to going outside.
We heard this hellacious bellow outside and looked out the window to see all six foot seven of Dave clutching his private parts and jumping up and down while bellowing at the top of his lings. Ranks as one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The people next door had horses and ran an electric fence around their property. Dave had stepped behind a tree and pissed on the electric fence.