Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Final Straw

Did you ever reach a point where you said, "Enough!! This is crap and I'm done with it."? Last month, I went in for a checkup and was given a test for sleep apnea. Sure enough, I have moderate sleep apnea. I stop breathing about 10 times an hour. They set me up with a CPAP machine to wear at night to force air into my lungs when I stop breathing. Two weeks ago, I stepped on the scale and saw that I have set a new personal high for obesity. I'm 6 feet tall and weighed 236 pounds. Not a fatso, by modern, lardass American standards but, at least, 50 pounds more than a guy my height should weigh. For me, that was the point when I said it. No more. I cut back on my food intake and have been watching what I do eat and, in a bit less than two weeks, I'm down 9 pounds. 190/195 is my goal. I have not had an episode of a/fib in several months. I don't know why, but I'll take it anyway that I can get it. I don't know if loosing weight will help with it, but it sure as hell can't hurt. I need to get back on the treadmill also. I was up to 7 miles a day at 7 miles per hour and then I broke my toe. It took over a month before it stopped hurting and, by that time, I lost my desire to get back on. At 66 years old and with a family history of death of male members between 55 and 62 years old, I really am pushing my luck, carrying around all this extra fat. I've always been one to take my excesses to the limit before I get the message. So, along with cigarettes, drugs and drinking for effect, I have to say good bye to gluttony.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Memorium

No silly puns or corny jokes today. In 2002, we lost our son, Tom. As anyone can imagine, it was a devastating event in our lives. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. He was 29 and had so much to live for, especially his beautiful little girl, who is an even more beautiful 14 year old now. This happened in Kansas, where he was living. We flew there and brought him home. He was cremated and buried at our, local cemetery. I kept a small container of his ashes, planning to make some sort of urn for them. It just seemed like it was never the right time to do it. The small container sat in the closet, semi forgotten. The other day, I decided that I needed to do something. I have a bunch of really nice, exotic hardwood that I got when I helped to clean out my uncles garage. They had to put him in a nursing home and I got most of his tools and materials. I cut some 1/8 veneer from a particularly pretty piece of South American Macacauba. I laminated the veneer to some 1/2 inch birch plywood. I then cut the four sides and the top and mitered the corners. With some careful clamping, all the corners came together very nicely. I wanted real crisp, sharp corners and I managed to get them. After a good sanding down to 320 grit, I sent it to the local trophy shop for laser engraving. Tom was an avid skateboarder, so I made this little skateboard and mounted it on top. The board is maple burl and the wheels are walnut. I used brazing rod for the axles. I put a couple of strips of grip tape on the face of the board. I know the real boards have the tape covering the entire top, but I wanted the figured burl wood to show, so I took some artistic license. In all, it turned out very nice and we're both very pleased with it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Framed Again

A friend asked if I could build a couple of picture frames for him. The pictures were a Japanese landscape and zebras at a water hole. The first one, I just milled up some maple into a pleasing (to me) profile for a frame. I mitered it together and cut a piece of glass for it and mounted the picture. I failed to take a picture of it. The other one, I thought I'd get a little fancier and follow the theme of the zebras. I cut some long quarter inch strips of the maple and some walnut and laminated them together. After the glue set up, I cut across the laminations, at one inch increments, and glued them up. This left me with two long, inch by three quarter strips that were dark and light every quarter inch. I then ripped these strips on the band saw to one half by three quarters. I cut the main portion of the frame from some more of the maple to the same profile as the first one. I then glued the strips to the perimeter of the frame. Cut another piece of glass and it's a done deal. I think it came out pretty nice.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Boxing Day

No, this isn't about some British Commonwealth holiday that no one's ever heard of, much less celebrates. I made this box for the little guitar. It is made from the rest of the African mahogany with some walnut accents. The accents are there for two reasons. One is to match the walnut strips and fretboard and the other was that there wasn't enough of the mahogany left to make it deep enough. Poor planning can be a creative tool. It's hard to see in the picture, but I cut a decorative rosette pattern on the lid, using a router and a special jig. I lined the inside with some felt. The hinges and latches came from Lowes. A few coats of lacquer and a rub down and it's a done deal. As a post scrip, we were able to hook it up to an amp today, and it played just fine. I would like to build another one. I guess I'll just have to wait until someone requests one