My new word for the day “trans-sentient” – that is an individual who thinks he/she/it can think – but most often is dumber than a rock. We see these folks quite often on the news and usually find them employed in government.  The artificial intelligence folks are making great progress.  Robots are already better than humans at building most things.  It won’t be long till they can out think the majority of us.  The game expands – animal, mineral, vegetable, robot.

robots sentient

I think today I will be a diamond – bright, sharp, very hard, multi-faceted and highly prized. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be Norwegian – they have fun cruises.

Norwegian Sun

Trans-sentient – you get to chose – anything.


Is Racial Identity A State Of Mind – Washington Post

Surf’s Up

One of my favorite places is the beach.  Surf’s up.  How can you beat a day in the sun with good food, good friends, catching some rays.

The beaches seem to be changing.  It is slow but now days there is more trash washing up.  And the tides seem to push a little further into the sand.  And the storms, they can really pound.  Some argue global warming – some argue that it is not.

I think the earth changes over time.  Man can influence the rate of change but man may not be able to drive change (as in stop or reverse a trend).  If the melting that is observed in the large ice formations continues to accelerate as we have observed over the last 10 years we will no doubt see major changes in our coastlines.

The southeastern United States is especially flat and of low elevation.  Sea level rise would have an early and very negative effect on this huge portion of our nation.

So, for all the beach lovers out there, the question is; if the sea level rises will we have more miles of beach to visit or fewer?

Spring Cleaning – Table Saw

It is spring.  It is finally warm enough to work in the garage.  That means it is time to clear out all the things that were set in the garage over the winter and it is time to tune up all the tools.

Few things can match the satisfaction of sawing through a piece of wood – sawing smoothly, with sharp blades, running true, fences aligned and locked.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to tune up a saw especially if you had it in good shape before.

Frank Howarth made a video called Self-Assembling Table Saw.  It is fascinating to watch and is actually a pretty good prompt to use in tuning your own saws.

Frank’s YouTube channel has lots of great videos.  I encourage you to visit it as Frank shares many projects as well as shop tips.

Printing Magic

It took a lot of work, and that’s in the cross-the-Sahara and climb-the-Alps meaning of a lot, but we finally captured the old adage “What goes around, comes around” with some new technology.

printing magic

Now if we could just get all of the government offices to move to this system.

Hickory Log End Tables

I am putting the finishing touches on a pair of hickory log end tables.  This project has been a lot of fun.  It started last July while I was cutting some fine central Kentucky hickory for use in smoking meat.  I got a text message from my daughter sending me a picture of some neat end tables that were made from logs with large nodules on them.  Well, heck, I was looking right at two fine hickory logs that had similar nodules.  So I loaded them into the truck brought them home and set them in the garage to dry for nine months.

end tables 01

After nine months of drying, I milled the ends flat and parallel with my router (I’ll detail the simple milling stand I built in a later post).  Then I stripped the bark and sanded, and sanded, and sanded till I had the outside reasonably smooth.  That meant a progression of 60 grit, then 80 grit, then 100 grit, then 150 grit and finally 220 grit.  The final step for now was a robust application of teak oil.

end tables 02

After the teak oil has a few days to dry, I may apply another coat.  Whenever I am done with teak oil, I’ll wait a week or so and then apply polyurethane.

PVC Pipe Organ

At the School Of Hard Rocks we always enjoy a good pipe organ medley – especially on Sunday.  Today we have something very special – an organ made of PVC pipe.  The guy who built it (or builds them as he has made several) calls it a Rimba Tube.  It makes a very special sound.

This first video is a “top down” view.  In it we can see the mallets striking the top of each tube.  These are in fact PVC pipe couplers.  His mallets are specially made with fiberglass blades in the center and extra dense foam on the face.  I have seen other PCV pipe instruments played by whacking the tube with flip flops.  Anyway this first medley is a real treat.

Rimba Tube Medley

This next video is done in an open space – so there is crowd noise and such.  It does however give us a chance to see all the PVC piping.  It must be a real chore to tune one of these during construction.

Rimba Tube Medley II

iPhone Passive Acoustic Amplification Device – iPAAD

The iPAAD – iPhone Passive Acoustic Amplification Device – is something I made after seeing a similar widget while surfing the web.  As with most creative endeavors, your thoughts are triggered by something you see or hear and then you make your own design.

iPAAD 01

I chose cedar wood because I had some available and because I like the rich tones and the varied colors.  It is also very easy to cut and shape.

iPAAD 02

The iPhone slides into a central pocket where it is secure. It is an intentionally tight fit for my phone in an Otter Box.  The passive acoustic amplification works just fine for a phone that is not in an Otter Box.

iPAAD 03

The speaker wells are deep enough to support resonance at lower tones.

iPAAD 04

The back is flat and shows off some of the features that make cedar so sharp looking.

So how much amplification does this actually do?  Here is a video in which I play my iPhone first in the air and then in the iPAAD.  :You be the judge.

iPAAD Demo


Six Pack Tote

Today I want to share some images of a six pack tote I made.  This is another entry in our recognition of National Woodworkers Month.

I saw a tote similar to this on Pinterest or some place like that on the internet.  I loved the idea but knew I could make improvements in the design.

Six Pack Tote 1

This tote is a reasonably tight fit for six pack of beer.  The spaces in the tote are the same as the spaces in a cardboard box you would get from the store.  The tote is tall enough that you have no worry of dragging your knuckles on a bottle cap.

Six Pack Tote 2

The wood is cedar with a hand rubbed oil finish.  The handle is copper.  The box dividers all fit into rabbets and are glued in place to ensure rigidity.  All the pieces of the box remain in place with a friction fit but are glued with carpenters glue.  The side slats are nailed with copper tacks as a secondary means of attachment (and to look cool).

Six Pack Tote 3

This tote is ment to be an appropriate carrier for some of the excellent micro-brews available.

National Woodworking Month

April is National Woodworking Month.  Any month is good for working with wood.  In April we just take a little extra time to share our ideas and to show what we have done.  I made many gallons of sawdust last year which led to my building a cyclonic dust separator and then I built a whole shop exhaust system.  I’ll share those in a later post.

Today I am sharing a few of my more fun pieces.  The first is a stool – this one is made of pine.  It is 8.5 inches square and 12 inches tall.  I sawed it out of a log by hand.  This makes a great exercise program.

bullet stool

This second stool is made of a piece of hickory I had in the shop and it just called out to be used in something special.  That turned out to be a stool made of hickory and galvanized pipe.  You can follow this project step by stap on this page.

shps 01

The last project I am sharing today is an end table I made.  The wood is a croch from a hickory trea and the base is an assemblage of black pipe.  It is just the right height to compliment my easy chair and it holds a cup of coffee and an iPad perfectly.

side table

Come back soon as I will share more wood working projects and plans during the National Woodworking Month.

More Beauty In Math

It has been a while since we shared some fun with math in Science Club.  WIth nothing up our sleeves we proceed with some mathemagics.  As in three earlier sessions (#1 and #2 and #3) we use the operations of multiplication and addition to build a fascinating sequence.

1 x 9 + 2 = 11

12 x 9 + 3 = 111

123 x 9 + 4 = 1111

1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111

12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111

123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111

1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111

12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111

123456789 x 9 +10 = 1111111111

On occasion one might be a lonely number but we have demonstrated methods to form phalanxes of ones which are hardly lonely.

One is the Loneliest Number



But did you realize that ELEVEN PLUS TWO is an anagram of TWELVE PLUS ONE