The Big Think

June 21, 2004

You are standing in an open field…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 6:23 pm

If you use AIM or iChat, start a chat with “infocombot” and type any of the following:

deadline, hitchhikers_guide, leather_goddesses, lurking_horror,
planetfall, shade, wishbringer, zork1, zork2, zork3

You can play any of these text-based adventures through your IM client! Cool.

Bench Pics!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 6:04 pm

Finally! Here are some pictures of the custom bench I just finished. It was my first fine furniture commission and I’m very pleased with the results. The client loved it, too, and said that they’d be back for more! If you don’t mind me tooting my own horn, here’s a quote from them:

I just wanted to tell you again how much I love the bench! It fits in the space perfectly: when I walk around it, it is in no way obtrusive. It
feels like it was meant to be there, which is exactly what we wanted. The shoes all fit perfectly, including my tall boots. And, of course, it is as
beautiful as it is functional. I could not be more pleased. It has only been here for a few hours and it feels like it has been there forever – such
a great fit! Thank you again for a job so very well done,

Really made my day. Does this mean I’m a “professional” now? 🙂

Here are some pictures:
The bench is an original design. It’s 64″ long, 15″ deep, and 18″ high. It’s sized to fit a small inlet in the clients house. The short shelf is designed to keep a few pairs of shoes off the floor (they have a problem we all have- too many shoes on the floor). Taller boots can go under the right-hand side under the curved wood. The bench is solid African Mahogany with mortise and tenon construction. The top has a semi-hidden “I-beam” construction to keep it from sagging. This makes it possible to have a top only 1″ thick with the strength of a much thicker (12/4) top.
The wood is sanded to 220 grit and finished with Bartley’s Dark grain filler, 3 coats of Minwax Mahogany gel stain, and 3 coats of Minwax wipe-on satin polyurethane.

Here’s a close-up of the shelf.

And here’s the bench at the foot of our bed.

And here’s a shot of the bench in the client’s house.

Here’s a shot of me working on the mortises for the legs. Hours of painstaking chiseling after I roughed out the holes with my router.

Success! I had a great time working on this project. My wife was sad to see it go, and wants me to build one for her! Best of all, I gained a lot of confidence and was able to make some money on the project.

Now for the next project…..

Compound Miter Station

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:21 pm

Even thought I built this about 2 months ago, I’m just now getting around to posting these pictures. I finally got sick of crouching down on the floor to use my Ridgid compound miter saw (CMS). I had seen plans online for a CMS station that incorporated fold-up wings for longer pieces. Instead of buying these plans I just decided to wing it and design it myself (using the rough dimensions of the space I had available as well as the dimensions that would let me get the most out of my available wood). I’m pleased to say that this whole station- plywood, walnut trim, hardware, casters, knobs, hinges, and drawer slides- only cost about $80 to build. I had an old piece of ash plywood lying around and used a lot of walnut I still had that I used previously on my router table and wall mounted tool cabinet. Here are some pictures (click for larger pics, but be warned, I’ve started taking pics at 2megapixels so the larger pictures are quite large… don’t click unless you have broadband)

This is a 3/4 view of the whole station. Note the fold-up wings, excessive use of walnut trim :), and cool drawer/doors.

Here’s a closeup of the right-hand wing. It incorporates a T-track assembly with a left-to-right tape measure for quickly cutting pieces to length. Again, I got crazy with the walnut trim, but that only added a few days of work.

This third picture shows the drawer and doors in an open position. Note the micro-adjust feature of the CMS mounting platform. I saw this in passing on another station someone had brought into Woodcraft. Liked the idea and stole it. Also of note is the fact that this was my first “real” drawer. Previous attempts had been of embarrassingly shoddy construction. I’m quite proud of this one. It’s made of 1/2″ ply with a piece of 1/2″ maple for the drawer front. The drawer and doors are all trimmed in walnut. The drawer runs very smoothly on its slides.

Close-up of the micro-adjust platform assembly.

Finally, here is the CMS station with my router table and hanging tool cabinet.

I had a lot of fun putting this together. It went together in about 4 days, matches the rest of the shop tools well, and is very convenient to use. Finally! No more bruised knees from kneeling on the ground to use my saw!

More on SpaceShipOne/White Knight

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:54 pm

The official numbers are in. This morning SpaceShipOne reached an altitude of 328,491 feet, or 62.2 miles above sea level (just over 100KM). This officially qualifies test pilot Mike Melvill for astronaut wings. A personal wish: that Melvill will refuse the NASA astronaut wings. After all, the X-prize is about getting government out of our way so that we can go to space. Why not start some new traditions? Now would be a perfect time.

In the meantime, some more pictures:

What is so wonderful about this picture is that all three of the craft in the photo came from the mind of Burt Rutan. He not only designed SS1, but also its ferry plane (White Knight). The third plane (bottom of the photo) is a personal favorite of mine. It’s a Beech Starship (full-size photo here). Rutan designed the Starship way back in the 70’s. The forward canard wing eliminates a dangerous wing-stall condition that is inherent in all conventional empennage-based aircraft designs.

The next pic is my favorite, and qualifies for my personal “picture of the year” award:


Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:01 am

History: Designer Burt Rutan, Pilot Mike Melville, and the entire team at Scaled Composites have successfully flown the first civilian-designed spacecraft into space. I got up early this morning to watch the coverage on TV. In fact, I came thiiis close to buying a ticket to LA and renting a car to go to the Mojave myself last night. If I had known that the movie was going to wrap early a few weeks ago, I probably would have gone. Nevertheless, I still got to see it. Look for a follow-up flight within the next 2 weeks so that Team Scaled can win the X-prize.
The brothers Rutan (Dick and Burt) have accomplished today something as big as what the brothers Wright did 101 years ago. It’s a small step, but a significant one. Burt has already publicly stated that he intends to design a craft that can go into full earth orbit (at mach 25 compared to the mach 3 of today’s flight). That future flight will be the equivalent of Charles Lindbergh’s accomplishment.
But tomorrow will come in time. Today is SpaceShipOne’s day.

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