Maybe I’ll put it over there…

Well the staples in the bench top were actually easier to remove than I feared and did not leave a big bunch of holes. Planing the top down has been an interesting experience. I have not used my planes too much prior to this project, Most are recently restored from garage sale finds. Definitely notice the difference a freshly and properly sharpened iron makes.

Only made it to the shop one day this week. Planned to work on the bench and the kayaks but instead I got completely frustrated by the clutter and spent most of my time rearranging.

and this is the ‘cleaner’ version!

The problem is the shop is still used by the landlord for storage as well. 90% of the stuff in this picture is not mine. The plugins on the far wall are suspect. I think squirrels have had at the wiring in the attic. I have shut them off at the breaker panel and decided since the outlets are useless I would use that wall as storage for their stuff. It is his tools and supplies and wood scraps.

I won’t be back to do more for a few days. The rest of the week I have to split and deliver firewood. I bumped into a fellow at the ferry lineup looking for wood and he has agreed to buy all of mine. It will be nice to have it gone, takes up way too much space in the shelter. I have no power splitter so it will be a long couple days with a maul.

Company coming

Company is coming so I am taking a couple weeks off.

Sort of.

Actually I have been knocking off honey-do list items list like nobody’s business.
• Finish placing mulch around trees
• Spread out remaining topsoil
• Clean off and store tarps
• Clean truck
• Build new shelves in office
• Clean out closets
• Install hangers for brooms, etc
• Cut the lawn

I even managed to get over to the shop to work a bit on the bench. Tomorrow will be the usual last minute stuff, general house cleaning and maybe groceries. Company arrives in two days.

Speaking of the bench, I had a nasty surprise planing the top.

Yes, staples! I’m glad it was my scrub plane that found them. Not that a scrub plane iron is any easier to remove nicks from. Not sure the best way to removed these now with it having to carve a big hole. Ponder ponder…

Busy Summer

For the first time since we moved here we did not have a long scorching hot dry summer. There have only been a few days above 25ºC and we actually had rain every couple of weeks. Last summer was many days above 30ºC and 12 weeks no rain.

In addition to giving the forest a stress break it also means that we have not been shut down by the fire department all summer as we have been in previous years. We had a short shutdown for about 3 days back in early July. That’s it.

The downside is that work continued all summer. No imposed vacation. No shortage of work either, as I have had all the hours I want and then some. Too many actually. We never got much of a chance to hit the beach, or paddle, of camp, or tour. I also never got much of a chance to use the workshop I am renting. Good thing rent is cheap.

I have been making a bigger effort to get to the shop more frequently over the past couple weeks. I have dragged in a few more tools, set up some shelving, and did a few small projects. Made some metal plant supports for Kelly, re-sawed some wood for a client’s facia, and finally made some progress repairing the landlady’s kayaks.

Today I started a new workbench. I am going to make it a hybrid of a Paul Sellers bench and the Moravian knockdown portable bench. This morning while waiting for the dog to be finished at the groomer I completed planing and gluing up the components for the top.

Next stop…lots of hand planing. Then I can start of legs which is lots of mortice and tenon cutting. Should be fun!

Hard Times

Another chance to try something new this week. I worked on a dry stack sandstone wall which surrounds a pond. The homeowner was a bit particular about the look so we did a lot of rock splitting to get a tighter looking wall.

Splitting rock this way involves drilling a series of holes along the line you want to split the rock in, then tapping pins into the holes. The feathers are metal shims places on either side of the pin. As the pin is driven down between the two feathers the rock eventually fails, hopefully along the line of the holes.

It reminds me of old stereotypes of convicts breaking rocks…

Honey do

With the nicer weather we are finally getting a little work done in the yard. Not that we can’t work in the rain. I just don’t want to.

First was to deal with the goofy soil available here. If you grew up in farming country it is not what you would call dirt. Very light weight with lots of compost in it. Maybe I should call it compostable material, because it has a way to go before I would compare it to the product coming out of my composter. The result is that the soil tends to disappear. Our garden beds probably sunk 8″ over that past two years. So, a couple yards of dirt to top up the beds so we can plant.

I also finally planted the apple trees we purchased a few weeks ago. These will fill up the orchard space and will likely be the last fruit trees we plant. Apples, crab apples, pears, peaches, cherries, sour cherries, haskaps, Saskatoon berry, and hazelnuts. Good list. Hopefully I get some produce this year instead of losing it to the raccoons.

Next up was to finish burying the bricks I bought to line the driveway by the lawn. I laid the first one 18 months ago. That’s embarrassing.

Of course you cannot only remove items from the list, you must also add new items. In this case we added a big one. Last month we scored several 8’x3′ double glazed glass panels and an assortment of single pane safety glass pieces for a ridiculously cheap price. They are currently stored behind the shed waiting to become a greenhouse. I hope to get onto this job in the summer. Seems like a good job to do during the summer shutdown when the fire department says no more using machinery.

Mike makes it to the island

Michael wasn’t able to make it here past time Tami came so they kids did a quick trip out during Easter break. The weather sort of cooperated but it sure could have been warmer.

May seems to be patio month.

With the weather getting nicer people are retiring to the great outdoors. For some the first thing they notice is the uneven ground they walk on as soon as the get out the door.

I finished two projects this week. First, new flag stone patio for Marshall. This is the same place we built the rock wall flower bed last year.

Work in progress

Very interesting stone here. It is chock full of mica and quartz so it is very sparkly in the sun. Does NOT behave though, had to use a saw to cut some pieces as they simply would not break clean.

Second project is re-levelling a patio stone sidewalk. This is an assumed job, as in I assumed it from someone else who disappeared part way through. I can guess why. The patio he laid on the other side of the house looks like a rollercoaster.

Pick’em up, fix the grade, and set’em down. Repeat all day long.

Shade tree fabricating

A buddy of mine just got a new”-ish” truck for his business and wanted to do some mods to it. First he wanted to swap his dump box from the old truck to the new one and refurbish the box. Over the years of dropping rocks into the box the floor was pretty much trashed.

Second, since the new truck is a cab over design the bed frame is quite a bit longer. He decided to use the extra frame to add a toolbox/mini excavator deck.

After a couple days in his yard we got pretty close to done.

Shop time

I managed to get over to the shop a couple times this week. There is a lot of work to do before the space is actually useable. It has not been used for several years except for off season storage and as a location for used items to be placed and forgotten about.

First thing I thought I would do would be to fix up the shelving that was already there. Simple plywood shelves fastened to the wall. Once I removed all the stuff that was on it and was able to get a better look at them, it quickly became apparent that the whole thing would need to be rebuild.

After a second, unplanned trip to the lumber store to get more wood and a couple new driver bits I tore the old shelving down. Once I got to the last shelf I made a discovery. Two discoveries actually.

The first I was expecting; a mouse nest. This is one of the problems I have to address with this space. There are a few places I need to plug up where nature comes to visit. This includes the attic which the landlord says is probably full of squirrels.

The second discovery made me laugh. I’m not sure if they belong to the owner or their kids. The issues are 24 years old, so could easily be either.