Shop stories and my day off

Jan. 28, 2020 Last Saturday I picked up four 5 x 5′ sheets of Baltic birch plywood from Harry’s Lumber on Northwest Hwy. As I watched 2 men load them into the van I thought about how the hell I was going to maneuver them. They were big, heavy and bulky, unlike 4 x 8’s that I can actually grab. Well, let me tell you, I managed to get two pieces into the shop all by myself with the help of a dolly that looked just like the one from HD. Then I had to figure out how to cut them for the storage box. I got to the shop early and there were only 2 men there. One of them, Tony was very sweet and we talked about my projects for the van. Tony was working on a desk for his bed because he was having surgery and was going to be immobile for a few weeks. He mentioned that the easiest way to cut the plywood was with the panel saw that was on the back wall. I did not know we had one of these. Oh Joy! He offered to help me with the cuts and brought the plywood back, then showed me how to line the blade up and pull down on it. Sadly, I couldn’t reach it when he showed me, and he cut the first piece for me. After that, I figured out how to make it work for me and I sawed away!
I cut the first sheet for the box and discovered that I cut one of the pieces the wrong way and had to cut into the second sheet. Tony was nice enough to bring the second sheet over as well. I then used the StopSaw to cut down the pieces and my box was cut and ready to finish. I reshaped another finger at the circular sander, though it’s not too bad. I used a parking ticket for the first time. This is a piece of green paper that you put on your pieces to keep in temporary storage for 3 days. It can be renewed for another 3 days, and so on. After that, I packed up and spent the rest of the weekend visiting my mom, who lives with one of my sisters near the Wisconsin border. It’s her 85th birthday Monday, and I bought her favorite Chinese takeout, then came home in time to go to a NATGEO seminar the next day. What a weekend!

Today was a day off to go to the RV shop and get the rest of my electrical installed. First, I stopped at the storage unit at 6 am and put some stuff back in. Then I drove to the shop and updated the date on my parking ticket. No one was there and it was as clean as I’ve ever seen it. Then I drove to the RV shop and got stuck in traffic. I arrived early enough to grab a quick breakfast at McDonald’s then stopped at the shop at 8:30 am. I gave Tim a battery monitor and he had that installed but said that I really didn’t need it. He was thinking about using a volt meter to test the battery. They installed two new AGM deep cycle batteries at 105 amps each and I should have plenty of power when I need it. We talked about my next project, the upper cabinets, and he gave me some helpful hints. As I was waiting for the work to finish, I browsed through one of his RV parts catalogs and got a lot of ideas. I gave him an update on my timeline to finish the van and told him that I would see him soon.

After that, I went straight back to the shop and worked on my projects from around 11 am to just before 5 pm. My back is killing me! I hope the Aleeve kicks in soon.

I learned what not to do with a drill press and got sucker punched a couple of times at the StopSaw, but all of my fingers are intact and I didn’t get any bruises, just a lot of slivers in my clothes. I’m stronger than I thought and that is all I’m going to say about it.

In summary, here is what was done. I cut the sides of the cabinets from the Baltic wood using the templates I made on Saturday and ran out of wood as I was about to cut the last one. I hope that the templates worked. So one more piece and I can start assembling the cabinets in the back by the bed. They are going to be 14″ deep and 14-15″ high. I’m short and can get away with this size. I also put two coats of clear polyurethane on all of the box pieces, which took all day. The only piece that didn’t get painted was the top, since I was busy being creative at the drill press and the band saw. I will finish that the next time. I stopped around 2 pm for a break and ate at White Castle. Geez, what a fast food day. I will need to bring my food with me the next time.

I just finished washing the slivers off and am going to have a glass of wine. See you soon!

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