Sunday, April 29, 2012

My view on Toys

Now that my boys are being boys, the toys I have made are getting a little more abused and showing wear.  It is a lot of fun to watch them play with the toys.  Unfortunately there are times where the play is a little too rough and the toy breaks.  Here are some of the casualties of being a toy:

There have been others.  I knew that toys would be broken.  The nice thing is that most of these can be repaired.  I do not have any yet that have to be thrown out.  My pride and joy is not, nor will it ever be, the completion of a perfect toy that looks too good to play with.  My joy comes from seeing kids play with and enjoy the toys. 
Here is a warning to all those how have received or will receive a toy from me either through purchase or gift.  If I see it on a shelf for display not for play you will never receive another wooden project from me again.  This would be an insult to me and I would take it personally because the toys are meant to be played with.
I do not nor will I ever make a model for display.  It does  pain me to see these toys broken however it warms my heart to see kids happy and smiling because of them.
 My furniture is purely functional.  When it has lost its function it needs to be replaced.  As in the post with the desk, I do not have a problem throwing stuff away that has outlived its usefulness.  Now I did keep the hardware.
I like what I do and I love the smiles I receive.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fail...Maybe not so bad

In the words of my son "FAIL." The Internet lied or maybe I have a different mattress.  I was so proud of the design and worked hard on making this bed come together nicely.  However I failed on several different fronts.

My son knows to measure twice and cut once
Screwing together the foot board
Adding the drawer glide rails
My son put all the screws in the holes and helped tighten them in
He was also the strength test
Have to check hiding spaces
Adding drawers and yes I was a little frustrated
Drawers pass quality check. 100  lb rated glides are a wonderful thing
Too bad the crawl space was filled with drawers

He wants an addition to his bed

 Was this project a complete waste, no.  It turned out nice despite the fact that I can not measure and follow my own design.
Completed bed with drawers showing

Sectioned drawers.  All three are the same
So here are the problems with the bed:
First I had originally built the bed upside down.  The thinner rail needed to be on the bottom and I put it on the top.  This error caused the drawer rails not to fit how they were designed.  The plan was to be able to disassemble the bed with the drawer glides in the rails.  This error was fixed but at a great cost.  Glue bonds are stronger than wood, so on disassembling the front of the bed chucks of wood were also removed.  The good thing is that all the damaged areas are not visible when the bed is assembled.
The mattress is two inches too narrow and two inches too short.  I designed this bed off of dimensions from the Internet.  So either the Internet lies (that is obvious) or I have mattress made for a trundle.  I think both statements are true.  The mattress is on loan to us currently.  So if anyone has a real twin that they would like to donate to us it would be much appreciated.  I am cheap.
Last major fail, the screws for the hardware are too short.  The drawer is supposed to have hardware and the screws are in, they just do not show through to the other side.  On one of the drawers I did not check be for I drilled it and it shifted 1/2 inch down.  Oh well I can fixed that problem too.

Now for the fun stuff.
The project was actually good for me.  I used some different methods to join wood.  For the most part, when I followed the drawings there was not very many problems on assembly.  All the parts came together and will come apart.  I probably should have protected the threaded insert when finishing.  Some of the screws needed a little more than gentle persuasion to go in.
Here are the specs.  All of the visible face material is pine.  It is cheap and works well for kid furniture.  If it gets ruined no big deal.  The drawer rails are out of beech and oak.  It was a long board I had which was not delegated to a project.  The drawer boxes are out of pre-finished plywood. A very cheap grade with one almost clean face.  Loved the stuff.  It had a nice smooth finish that I did not have to do.  It did tend to chip out on the cross cuts. I had to slow my cutting down a lot to keep the cut clean.  This was the best discovery of the project.
The part that I am most proud of is the ability to assemble and disassemble the bed.  All main rails and top and bottom are screwed into place using threaded inserts and screws.  There are 28 holes that had to line up perfectly.  Half were one size and the other half another size.  The header and footer holes had to line up with the holes on the sides.  All the drawer glide rails had to be at the same height so the assembly was universal.  For these 28 holes I probably sent upwards of two hours on setup.  This was not easy but it came out perfect.
Two drawers are mounted on 22" ball bearing glides and the middle drawer is mounted on 24" ball bearing glides. I have to admit I really like ball bearing glides.  They have a load rating of 100 lbs do they hold up to kids standing on them.
The plans did take some time to work up and figure out all the potential problems.  The fun thing was I was working in 3D space.  This allowed me to find out some of the problems before  I encountered them in the build. 

Plans are located two posts below this.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Saturday

It was a cool (cold for Californians) morning at Irvine lake.  It was overcast and even a slight drizzle of rain occasionally.  You would think this is going to be a nice peaceful post about being out in nature and seeing some of the beautiful things our God has created for us to enjoy.  However the picture does not show the blaring music, announcers, or the noisy cheering from the volunteers.  It has been about fifteen years since I have competed in a race.  Yesterday was the Irvine Lake Mud Run.  I do not know my time but there were several things that I remembered or learned in this race.
My work put together a large team for this mud run.  The better thing was they paid the registration, so I was in.  I had about three months to train which was plenty of time to prepare for a 5k.  My wife also ran but she ran in the individual race earlier.  She did well.  I do not have any pictures of her in this post.  She will post on Facebook  or maybe her blog about her experience.  This blog is not about my family and out of respect of my coworkers I will not mention their names even though I ran with six of them.
There are no pictures of first part of the race because it was up a hill and really not a lot of good obstacles.
I am at the top of this 20 ft hill.  At the bottom is a deep water hole
The last mile had about 25 of these mud pits.
First of five mounds in this obstacle.  I am a little tired.

The bottom of the mound
This is one of the last obstacles before the finish line. No mud but the mind thought there was.

The vary last obstacle was going through a tube.
After the run.  I was a little dirty
Other obstacles included walls, ramps, cargo nets and the worst was running in a simi-dry clay lake bed.  Runners lost shoes.  I sunk knee deep and could not get out. There were parts where it was like running on a water bed.  I have been asked if I would do it again, yes I would.  Maybe not this year and not in March again.  It was a lot of fun.
I am going to bore some of you with things that I have learned from this race.
First, I had to prepare.  I was not going to be able complete this run if I was not going to get in shape for it.  In order to accomplish this I need to have a goal.  I would not be running again if there was not a goal insight.  Several times I have wanted to train for a marathon.  I figured it would take about a year and a half.  I would start and get discouraged and stop.  I have found that it is a lot easier accomplish smaller short term goals to accomplish a larger goal.  Now I need a 10k in about 6 months.
The value of a team is important even though running an individual sport.  It was nice to run in a group.  I did not know how well I would do or even if I would be able to run the entire 4 miles.  There were six of us that would be within eye site of each other.  So many times we are focused on our part we forget that we need to encourage the others around us.  They help us and we help them.  I will have to admit.  I ditched the four person team that I was on.  We were a group of all different running capabilities and decided to run at our own pace and in groups with similar capabilities.
Encouragement has to be honest and sincere.  The volunteers were here to help and guide the runners and they were a great help and energetic.  There were a couple at the last mile that were saying the finish is only a quarter of a mile left.  Runners mustered up more energy to finish strong.  In reality, a quarter of a mile ended face to face with a 20 foot tall dirt mound with water before and after this obstacle.  This is more discouraging than encouraging.  Focus on the good that has been accomplished and sense of accomplishment after.
Somethings just cannot be done on your own.  In mile three there we ran over half a mile in a clay lake bed.  This was freshly wet from recent rain and the water table underneath.  Two things I was not doing.  Looking ahead.  I did not see what people ahead of me were doing.  I was not looking at what I was currently doing.  I made it five feet before I sank to my knees in clay and fell forward and sank to my elbows in clay.  I was suck.  Looking ahead no one was running the path.  They were running on the out side where the clay was not so soft but very slippery.  This was the hardest part of the race.
Showers are ok but a fire hose is better.  They had a set of outside showers to rinse off, then they had a person with a fire hose on the other side.  Once numb the cold water was not too bad.  Good water pressure and lots of it removed the mud faster then the showers.  There are times were we cannot just lightly put in the effort, we need to come at a task with full effort and force.
Last, there is great power in the mind.  I was lucky in the first couple of obstacles I was able to break free from the main group and insert myself in the lead pack of my work's team.  I did not imagine I would ever be able to keep up with them but I was in a good pack.  After two miles I was ready to give up, but through encouragement and keeping a positive outlook I stayed with the group. 

I had lots of fun and was very dirty.  It was a little cold for me to do again in March maybe in the summer.