This is a chronicle of my somewhat creative (though arguably more on the engineering than artistic side) journey repurposing some 290x45mm KD mixed hardwood from the local timber yard, which I had around from a previously abandoned project.
This took place on and off over the last eight weeks.
To cut the shorter plank in half for the bench legs, I used the 210mm Ozito Compound Mitre Saw I’ve been using for nearly a decade now.
I flipped the piece to be cut in half a few times, and made 4 cuts which got close, but was still joined.
So I decided to go with a hand saw for that last little bit in the middle …
… what I have just learned appears to be an astroid.
(I originally thought about “inverting” the sides of a Reuleaux square for lack of a better definition – it’s not a quadrilateral because the 4 sides are a round shape).
That’s starting to look like it could become a bench!
Next challenge – joining wood. I chose dowels.
But as I suspected from my Year 7-10 woodworking …
… too many dowels is a bad idea!
This ultimately required a little improvising to plug the extra holes,
and chiselling off the excess dowel, after binding the dowels and plank with a cross-linking PVA glue, wiping away excess glue with a sponge, and letting it dry.
“… you have to build the machine that makes the machine …”
Drilling holes for the crossbeam turned out far more complicated.
As my existing dowel jig (I could probably get a better one at some point) was definitely not wide enough, I used multiple clamps and some spare wood to rig up something for it to hold on to.
This actually worked out quite well.
Looking through the hole to the destination, I actually drilled the first side dead-on target.
However, I think I properly re-learnt my lesson about dowels here (glad I didn’t try 6), even 4 points and a slight bow in the cross piece meant that the ideal spot didn’t quite line up with the actual.
To keep the main 3 planks square, I worked with the slight bow in the crosspiece as indicated by being off target center when I used a pencil to draw around and thus mark the dowel’s destination.
To test final assembly, I didn’t have a 1.2m long (or longer) clamp and they’re not cheap, so I used two short clamps to clamp two 1m long clamps together.
Sanding always takes time, especially as I do it by hand. If memory serves, 2-3 days of time.
I could probably get an orbital or belt sander, but at this stage of my life (jobless & car-less, though that may change soon, and definitely not yet home-owning) I actually kind of like keeping things as cheap (or efficient) as reasonably possible – and a ~$1 sheet of sandpaper that gets 4 usable squares is far cheaper than acquiring more power tools.
Oiling (or painting) is pretty standard – lay out a lot of newspaper to catch any excess flicks and drips.
What you can’t see here is more spare wood underneath the oiled pieces, so they don’t stick to the newspaper.
I also used a wood putty I had on hand to fill most of the holes – the exception being the very large knot. I might need to fill that in at some point as it holds water until it dries out, though I will see how it goes for now.
Though I did end up buying the last two 900mm clamps that were on special for $20 each with a small amount of cosmetic surface rust – they’re a lot less rusted than the two I inherited from my Dad.
It worked out, as I needed them to hold the long pieces together until the cross-linking PVA glue took hold.
Final mass: 27kg.
Final dimensions: 1200 mm long, 530mm high and 290mm deep.
Thank you for reading, I hope you learned something.
I object to the term black swan … for me a black swan is something that is not only unlikely, but [is an event] you never even thought could possibly happen, whereas this has been an event for weeks now … I think it’s an event that has been pretty well telegraphed …
Having weathered every business downturn for nearly fifty years, we’ve learned an important lesson — nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances. In downturns, revenue and cash levels always fall faster than expenses. In some ways, business mirrors biology. As Darwin surmised, those who survive “are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but the most adaptable to change.”
In any case, I’m glad I didn’t buy a house or car and cancelled my Netflix subscription, leaving me with plenty of capital and time, and far freer to consider the pursuit of genuinely inspiring opportunities to do the most good in God’s world, whether they be in employment, study or otherwise, wherever or however they may arise. It’ll be interesting to see how God’s world continues to change.
Thoroughly agree with things like how precise communication needs to be (and how easy it is to mess up which can require much patience and forgiveness) having been fortunate to be in a globally distributed team with no timezone overlap at MongoDB (Australia, New York, Berlin), an Australia-Vietnam team at Adam & Paul, and also most recently a semi-remote Melbourne/Perth/Sydney team at Arup.
I particularly like the reminder that not all employees can work remotely from home – I’ve been known to try coworking spaces, community rooms, libraries, parks, coffee shops and even trains, though would definitely recommend a decent coworking space as soon as there’s the need to Zoom, Skype, call or chat about anything deeper than a few messages on Slack.
I can’t live up to all of this, though it’s good enough advice I remembered and was able to dig it up, and will apply what I can.
I most loved the bit about the convicted felon, wonderful to hear of someone willing to be honest, admit their past mistakes, and most importantly pick themselves up and make it clear they’re willing and able to get hired.
For me, that was I think a little simpler, like quitting the best job I’d ever had with MongoDB with no plan after the 2018 Robocup World Championship, having seen the (metaphorical) handwriting on the wall as per Daniel 5:5 and praise God having the grace to hire and train my replacement.
For the BSG corners on my about me picture, inspired by this codepen, in Firefox I used the CSS clip-path (MDN), disabled the body background image of chrome://global/skin/media/imagedoc-darknoise.png, screenshotted it then used the macOS Preview magic tool to cut out the background to get the clear alpha.
Some years, life is less kind to us. It’s a little harder to justify spending AUD $150 every year just for hosting (excluding domains and email) as our currency keeps falling against the USD, so cutting that closer to AUD $90 and picking up mobile support overall seems like a win.
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Last Friday was one of those special moments that’s a little bigger than a tweet. Thank you to Guido van Rossum and Mariatta for reviewing and merging my PR on PEP 484.