I’ve been looking for a tablet for a while now, my wife has an iPad and am very jealous of her ability to watch tv and surf the web at the same time from our couch while I just watch tv like a sucker. Ideally I’d like an android device, but I’m cheap. I know android tablets are generally cheaper, but I’m too cheap even for that, so when I found a first gen iPad at a yardsale (just when you’d thought you might read a non-yardsale post) I leapt at the opportunity.
Imagine my joy when I found it had a 3G connection but, alas, it’s old enough that it’s locked to AT&T. What is a poor nerd to do?
Once that’s done, in theory, verizon will happily take money that should contractually go to AT&T. In reality, apparently, it just crashes your machine and refuses to update. But it also opens up some other interesting possibilities. Remembering my previous want of an android device, I found it’s possible to install some of the sugar-themed Android incarnations.
But you know what? Any yahoo can do that. I want something really stupid to make me stand out from the tech crowd. I want an iPad that runs DOS so I can finally beat Jumpman.
So here is some non yardsale related rambling. I guess technically it involves things I bought at yardsales but really it’s about what I did with those things once I got them home: I put them in a box and ignored them for a while.
I like to pretend I am a woodworker. I can make a decent set of basement shelves and can polish and finish a surface to an acceptable shine, but the finer details are currently beyond my skill. I’m working on that. Despite my lack of ability or need for such things, old hand planes fascinate me. They just feel good in your hands. The weight, the faint smell of oiled metal, the shine of the underside (called the sole by people who care about such things), and the patchy rust all add up to something if not timeless, at least ancient enough to make it significant. I wouldn’t say they are relics because they still are being manufactured today, but something not too far off. Some are upwards of 150 years old, and in that time there have been few, if any, improvements. Consensus on the interwebs is that the older ones are superior to almost anything made today. Unfortunately this means that when you find them they are either expensive or in rough shape. I generally opt for the latter, but this means I have to put some work into them.
Which is fun.
There’s a lot of info out there about restoring them (some projects involve cleaning them with electrolysis, but that’s for a different post), but nobody seems to deal with what seems to be a fairly common problem: The handles break. This is due to the grain (lines) of the wood and I will talk about that another time.
Anyway two of mine came with broken handles. Not chipped or damaged – they were broken in half. I thought it would be a simple matter of gluing them back together, possibly inserting a small dowel, but alas this was not the case. Someone had already tried nails in one case and staples in the other and neither worked particularly well. They’d done enough damage putting them in that much of the wood around the break had chipped away.
I decided I needed to replace a section of the wood. Generally the handles were made out rosewood, which I can get but there’s still no guarantee that the colors will be exact or that the grain will line up. I may be color blind but I do know this about color theory: If you can’t match, contrast.
As you can see from the pic I went with the lightest wood I had on hand, maple. I cut out a little brick of it, but before I could put it in, I had to do the harder work of making room for it. I wish I could say that I had some highly technical way of cutting away the broken parts to maintain angle and length, but in all honesty I just eyeballed it and hoped for the best. Gluing was tricky as well and again I just had to use my best judgement. It all worked out reasonably well but the two halves are ever so slightly angled to one another. It feels fine in my hand and you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it specifically. I can live with it.
After that it was a matter of progressing from the coping saw to rasps and files to 60 grit sandpaper. I had to first make sure the seams were perfectly smooth and then move on to stripping the rest of the old finish with finer sandpaper. I stopped after 220.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, more as it happens.
I was not intending for this to be a yard sale blog, not that it’s a bad idea, but that seems to be what it’s becoming. Perhaps I should just embrace it.
A few weeks ago I made a truly incredible find: the Complete Far Side.
Complete might not be – dare I say it – completely accurate, as it doesn’t have any of Larsons post-syndication work like Weiner Dog Art. Still, its got every Far Side ever published in a newspaper, plus some that (perhaps deservedly) never saw the light of day. It’s also got letters of complaint, commendation, and confusion from readers, a general introduction by Jane Goodall, and an introduction to each chapter (one per year) usually from Larson himself. It’s enormous. There are so many Far Side comics that they had to divide it into two volumes, either one of which is heavy enough to bludgeon someone to death, if you actually had the upper-body strength to swing it like a club.
When I read it while lying on my back it the corners poked into my chest so hard they left marks.
It took me several days to finish the whole thing, mostly due to the fact that I mostly read in bed and I could only manage a few minutes at a time before it became painful. But who who else do you know who has read EVERY Far Side cartoon?
Among the many traits I inherited from my father is a love of yard sales. When I was a kid, every Saturday morning my dad would get on his bike and cruise the neighborhood looking for people selling their old junk. These were the days before craigslist so he’d ride around until he found a sign and then headed off towards wherever the sale happened to be. Later he’d come home with something old and dusty to show my brother and I, but we were not particularly interested.
I did not understand until I was older. While yes there is a definite frugality to buying used things, that’s not what drives me (and my wife) to get up at 7 on a saturday to go drive around suburban Boston. I think it’s just the thrill of the chase, the sense of surprise, the “what the hell is this thing and how have I been able to live without it for so long?
A craftsman drill press mount. Just strap in your electric drill and go to town. I don’t know if you can even buy these anymore. They’re certainly not as good as an actual drill press but I only occaisionally have need of one, so this was a good find for me. What makes it an unusual yard sale find is that I was actually looking for one. I wonder if I can rig up my dremel to it. Then I could have some real fun.
Right now you’re probably saying “Wait a minute, Mr. Huge Nerd, today’s drills are much bigger and shaped differently than the older drills this was designed to hold. They’d be near impossible to fit into that ridiculous contraption. That’s just a recipe for frustration. And if you’ve got one that runs on a battery pack, forget it. You’d need a drill as ancient as that thing.
Right? That’s exactly what you’re saying, isn’t it? Maybe?
Well, if you are actually saying that, don’t worry. Thanks to another yard sale, I’ve got it covered.
I keep buying domains whenever I get a good idea for a name. Or, at least, when I think I have a good idea. I suppose in retrospect arthroblog.com wasn’t so clever, but I still have hopes for hamletoftheapes.com. Aaaanyway…
I’m hoping to fill this with all the random hobbies I keep attempting and then forgetting about.
Perhaps it will amuse you.