Cryptic Woodworks Weekly Update 27 Jan 2019

So, the last two weeks were a little slow. It happens when you are an independent with a day job. That day job needed a bit more time as i have a new resource on board to train up and work into the team. Add onto that a problem with my right arm and I was slowed down a bit. Looks like the arm issue is in my neck, maybe a herniated disc that I’ll need to start physical therapy for. I’m hoping it goes well and I get my shoulder, neck and arm back soon. It doesn’t feel really bad, but some positions are sore/painful and other make my hand tingle and fall asleep. Aging, I guess. Comes with the territory. I’ve handled every other injury and come out on top. This won’t be any different!


Some work went on, regardless of health or day work. Well, when I say work, what I really mean is the most difficult shelf ever made. If I was to ask you to make a simple shelf out of 2x4s that’s only 24” high you’d think, what, maybe a few hours, tops - and that’s if you need to get supplies. Well, strap in for this ride. I had a bunch of 2x4s sitting outside that used to hold lumber and firewood. They’ve been in the elements for years but were still decent, I just needed to do a quick joint, rip, plane to clean them up. That went pretty well till I realized I needed a little bit more. Of course, everything left outside was kinda wet - I had grabbed all the driest stuff. Luckily the fireplace was lit, so a few hours in front of that dried them enough. All the pieces cut, I grab my drill and Kreg jig to join it all together. After drilling a few holes, my trusty old Bosch portable drill shoots sparks out at me. Yep, drill died. So, my wife found our old corded Craftsman drill out in the barn which while it worked, would slip a lot and oddly enough lacked the power of the battery version. However, the job was done, all the pockets drilled. I only had 2 1/2 Kreg screws, but I thought they might work and they did for some of the parts. Others, though, they were too long. By this time it was late on a Sunday, too late to get more. Monday came and over lunch I picked not just the Kreg screws but a new pair of Bosch batter drills. That evening I did wrap up the work, but at this point I’m 3 days into a really simple project. But hey, I got new drills out of it!


If you are wondering about the drills, I had a 5-7 year old Bosch 18v drill driver that had served me well. Especially around the farm it could drill through fence posts, assemble chicken coops, put raised garden beds together, you name it. In the shop, it did everything. Worst problem I had was it maybe being a little too big for some smaller projects. I always like it. What I picked up was a Bosch combo set which had the 18v drill driver and an impact driver along with 2 new batteries and a charger. Seems like my old batteries fit these too!. The drill driver is just as powerful and a somewhat lighter than the old one. The impact driver is much smaller. We got a chance to try the impact driver and let me say, these live up to their hype. They are meant for driving screws and do so with zest. We threw together a quick roost for a chicken living inside a bit and the little impact driver punched 2” deck screws through 2x4s with nary a pause. I am going to like this when working around the property! All that I needed was a proper “passing of the bits” ceremony.

I spent a few nights taking care of the photography and video of the engagement box. i won’t get another chance, so I wanted to make sure I got everything I needed now. I’m currently using just my iPhone and my shop lighting isn’t the best, so I’m really glad of photo editing tools. I got a lot of nice pics, plus a full video showing the whole box. I won’t post anything until it’s in the hands of the client, though. In terms of shipping, I’m just trying to figure out the best way to ship from the US to Australia. USPS seems the cheapest but they tell you nothing about properly filling out the customs forms and declaration. UPS seems nice but their cost estimator was 4 times higher which seems really weird. So, I’ll drop by the UPS store and check with them, see what they provide and if that estimate is at all accurate. I’d love to send it on it’s way this week!

Lastly I upgraded my old 8.5 version of V-Carve Desktop to 9.5 - this is the software that makes the designs for the CNC. The older version worked fine, but as I’m between projects I felt this was a good time to upgrade. Price was reasonable and there are some features I wanted. 2 sided cutting, better snap to grid, easier control of layers. I’ll be using it shortly as I design the sign I need to make that will close out all my old tasks. I’d like to do something that has a nice 2.5D carving as I haven’t done much of that. If you have a project, why not have some fun!

I’ve been looking at a Cricut. It’s a tool generally used by crafters, quilters and such. But, they are amazing at making stencils and can do much more fine work than a CNC since they essentially work as a drag knife. They are good at papercraft and scripting too. It could be a machine that gives me neat new capabilities.

That’s been the last few weeks. I’m looking forward to working on new puzzle boxes soon and have a bunch of ideas in my head. I want to add more puzzles, more complexity, more codes and a lot of uniqueness. It should be a fun year.

Until next time, stay dusty.

Tackling Lumber Storage

I have the fortunate problem of too much lumber on hand.  In years past I was able to get dropped trees cut up into boards and dried for relatively cheap.  Until now I never had a good way to store it.  I've been using one of the tarp sheds (or garage in a box).  It's been up for nearly 10 years and has done OK.  However, back during Hurricane Sandy it was broken and I've had it patched together ever since.  It's full of holes, has a broken frame and needs to go.

While the tar shed worked for an interim solution, it had some issues.  For starters, they have poor ventilation and the wood can't breathe as well during temperature/humidity changes.  Also, it's open on the ground so rainwater flows along the bottom.  My wood stacks turned into mouse nests (cats weren't pulling their weight!).  Plus, the top started leaking so much that the stacks of lumber in the tarp shed were themselves covered with tarps.  Oh, and the spiders.  So many spiders.

And then there's the problem of needing a board that buried under 10 others.  Getting one piece of wood often turned into a frustrating workout.  Not to mention coming back from the lumber yard only to realize I already had some of the same stock I just bought still on the stack somewhere.  Stacks get a little tippy.  It's hard to get just one board.  I think you see how this was a problem.

Time to change all that.  I dropped by a local shed company and put in an order for a new one.  Sure, they aren't cheap, but it's oh so necessary.  I'm going with 12x16 (the biggest I can go before I need a permit and a permanent pad).  I'm putting double doors on the side, near to the back.  When opened, I'll have racks going back about 10-12' for the long board storage.  This will let me separate sets of wood and then I'll have less digging to get one board.  I'll have some room at the opposite end for sheet good storage and then a bit of space along the front for scraps, spare equipment, etc.  I will have a single door on the front.

Now I'm moving everything out of the tarp shed onto temporary stacks under tarps.  Then I need to get rid of some small trees and a bush and take down the old tarp shed.  It's a good bit of work, especially since we're into summer temps.  But, I am so looking forward to having dry, covered, protected and easy to access lumber storage.  This coming winter will be the first time I don't have to go out during snowstorms and knock the snow off the shed!

BTW - I ran into lots of camel crickets in the tarp shed.  Biggest I've ever seen.  They are funny critters, hopping around like mad in all directions.  I don't know if they are destructive but I always found them to be neat bugs.  Other than that were some good sized fishing spiders (much to my wife's dismay) and a nice snake skin (but no snake, probably just a garden snake, that what we have here).