new wooden things
Sunday, February 7 2010
While Ray and Gretchen were out looking at Rosendale real estate and dining at Woodstock's only vegan restaurant, I was back at home mostly doing web development. But distraction comes easily when doing that kind of work, especially when things get frustrating. At some point I decided to fix a metal spatula that I'd accidentally destroyed by leaving its plastic handle on leaning against the side of a frying pan while preparing BLTs. This hadn't been the first time the spatula's handle had partially-melted, but the handle had become so weakly-attached the the metal shaft of the spatula that it had snapped off. So I made a replacement out of hickory. I cut down a sapling less than a hundred feet from the house, cut a handle-sized piece from its trunk, skinned off the bark, and then sanded it with various belt sanders until it had a pleasing shape. Then I used the drill press to cut a slot in the end of it for the metal shaft of the spatula, which I set in place with the help of epoxy. The new handle was almost entirely sapwood so it was nearly as white as the old plastic handle had been. It was still green of course, and it cracked a little here and there as it dried throughout the day. But hickory makes for solid handles that are unlikely to split. The only problem with hickory as a material is that it rots quickly when left in contact with the ground. I would never use it for applications where it could be exposed to the elements.
In the afternoon, after Ray had driven back down to the City, our friends Tara and Brian came over to bring us a large wooden chest Gretchen was buying from them. It was a gorgeous rustic box of smooth, distressed wood, assembled from salvaged packing crates from the 19th Century or perhaps earlier. Its new home would be our upstairs bathroom, where it would serve as a place to feed Marie (aka "the Baby"), our elderly cat who happens to have bad teeth and a permanent case of diarrhea.
Later David (of David and Penny) came by and we all sat around in front of the fire talking (among other things) about the craziness of the man known as the Alternative Baker. Some of us believed a little crazy hostility should be tolerated, particularly when the bread that results from it is so delicious. Others recounted unpleasant incidents and declared they would never buy bread from the man again.
Brian gave us the latest news on the house he shares with Tara, which they built last year on a remote hippie farm at the base of the northeast corner of the Shawangunks and which remains off-grid. Evidently the tracking mechanism for the solar panels hasn't been working too well, so they'll be ground-mounting the panels and adding a small 400 watt wind generator. That left me intrigued; hmm, maybe we should get a wind generator too! But what with the trees, the house, the topography, and the property lines, I can't think of any place we could actually place it, even if it is as small as Brian says it is.
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