The One-Legged Sandpiper
Saturday, February 13, 1999
Number Seven
"Knee deep and just a little behind"


Econo 2x4s even more econo then before.

Thickness Sander up, then down, then up again.

I-Beam, You-Beam, Why can't we all just get along?


Didn't snow, didn't rain, wasn't warm, kinda windy.


Saturday started with an early dump run to get rid of the last of the dumpables and recyclables. The wind made it seem colder then it really was and a good day to stay inside. On the way back from the dump, we stopped at Buyrite for the sale on econo 2x4s. At a $1.19 each they're the cheapest around and if you're lucky enough to get at a new unit of them, you can usually get fifty or sixty nice ones at less then half of what Home Depot charges. This was not to be. They were all frozen solid into a block and had to be pried out one by one. It took what seemed to be an hour to get thirty lousy ones. Some of them looked like they still had roots on them. Econo 2x4s get used a lot for bracing and temporary structures. I was hoping to start stock piling for the second floor on the wood shed but these are a little too econo. Here they are racked in the lumber dryer to get the ice and dripping water off them before strapping them up nice and tight. The cheap ones tend to warp like pretzels when they dry unless they're strapped.

Back in the nice dry shop, the first order of business was to set up the new light duty table saw for the shore. This is a newer version of a saw I bought about twelve years ago for seventy dollars that works like a champ on smaller cutting jobs. They weigh about thirty pounds compared to six-hundred for the big saw, and more then a hundred for the Ryobi table saw. Nice choice for lugging around.

Here it is nestled in a base to protect the plastic cabinet, and allow it to be bolted to the cool new saw horses for quick setup and put-away, and a stable cutting base.

Then on to laying out the curves for the I-Beam looking columns that will support the outboard edge of the promenade deck overhang during the C of O inspection. The overhang would hold twenty people jumping up and down without a problem, but... according to code, there should be columns.

The tool of the day had to be the new hole-saw from Home Depot. Mounted in the big drill press it made quick work of cutting twenty-seven five inch holes in 3/4 inch plywood without so much as a splinter. Twelve bucks and it can take the place of the two-hundred dollars worth of individual hole saws, and it's infinitely adjustable to six inches. It's kind of scary spinning at four or five-hundred RPM.

This is the rib for the center I-Beam support. This one will be straight to take up less floor space in the center of the shop where the in feed tables roam.

Here's the curved I-Beam rib held up where it will be mounted permanently. Just to see how it looks. These will be painted gloss white to contrast with the finished wood.

As the shop becomes cleaner and more organized, sawdust becomes more of a noticeable problem.

Soon, all tools will be connected to this, the big dust collector. At twelve hundred cubic feet per minute, this thing really sucks. Permanent ductwork will need to be installed to every tool, leading to this baby. The piping will need to be hung from over head to keep the floor clear. Nice and sunny for a while.

This flex duct is nice, but it's like stepping over a large plastic octopus.

The tool of the day throws chips and dust over a ten foot diameter circle on the floor. Every cutting, grinding or drilling tool (about twenty five of them) needs a dust hood and connection to the collector.

Time for the daily walk before dark. I hate seeing a dock in distress. This pathetic specimen is at the cool cottage at the lake.

Nice sunset though. The procedure is to stop at the cottage on the way out for a picture, and again on the way back (fifteen minutes or so later) for a follow-up.

Best inland sunsets in Connecticut.

On the way back. See... ya have to stop again.

Back at the ranch, the sander is hooked up and ready for a real test with full dust collection. It takes two four inch hoses to handle this thing.

A few minutes in to the process, the handle that controls the conveyor belt height broke off. A disappointment, but not a surprise. Temporary fix: grind flat spots on the casting and clamp vice-grips to it. Looks cheesy but works.

Under the hood, the sanding drums show little sign of wear. It's quite a thrill running this with the hood off to clean the belts with a cleaning stick. That looks something like a large eraser that gets held against the drums while they whiz by at 40 feet per second. The whole thing feels like it would grab you, pull you in and grind you down to the bone if given the opportunity.

Danger Kitchen

No, it's not the results of an alien autopsy, it's the ultimate salmon dish from a salmon-only cook book from Alaska.
Onions, shallots, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and white wine baked with half a salmon in foil, and then dressed with a sauce of the vegetables mashed, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and heavy cream. It went nicely over wild and brown rice with steamed beets on the side. A must-do at the beach next time.