Root Beer Sampling – Update

I've continued tasting any bottled root beer I can find locally, and have expanded the brands I've sampled from 12 (in the last post) to about 20 now. Although I think my favorite is still the Bulldog. I need to find some new grocery stores in the area - I've tapped out the varieties available in all my usual (and some not so usual) stores.

Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Root Beer Sampling – Update

Hand Sander

Borrowed an idea I saw in a YouTube video - basically, when the hook-and-loop pad on my random orbit sander wore out, I replaced it and screwed the old one to a nice piece of cherry to made a hand sander. The hook-and-loop still has enough grab to hold the sheets when hand sanding - plus it is nice and comfortable to hold. Although I probably need to add a strap across the back to make it easier to hang on to.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Hand Sander

Bartop Arcade

I'm convinced that I've posted about this project before, but I can't seem to find it on the blog no matter how I search. Back when I made it, it was sort of a rush job to finish it before a party - so I guess I must have forgotten to post it. Anyway, here is a bartop Raspberry Pi arcade machine I built a year or so ago. The best part? It's got a pair of USB jacks on the front that can be used to plug in some USB SNES controller I've got, or you can also insert a memory stick to install new games to the system.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Bartop Arcade

Weekend Projects

Made a few tools for myself this weekend. On the left is a carver's mallet that I turned on the lathe from a piece of red oak firewood I had laying around. I forgot how much I love using the lathe! I'm going to have to make some more projects on that soon. Later that morning Carter came out to the shop and asked me to teach her how to turn a pen. I forgot to take a photo of it though - hopefully I'll take one soon and post it here. The second photo shows a pair of hand planes I made this weekend. The bigger one is a standard block plane made from cherry with a bubinga sole and a walnut wedge. The smaller one is a chamfer plane made from hard maple (center) and morado (cheeks). For that one, I even made the blade myself from some O1 tool steel. I still need to cut the wedge down a little shorter on that one - it's pretty tall right now. I've also got a long jack plane that I'm working on, but it's not finished quite yet.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Weekend Projects

Root Beer Sampling

I don't drink, but I like the idea of craft beer. Recently I found out that there are lots of small bottlers that make root beer in the bottle, and I've been sampling all of the ones I can find locally. I think I've tried about twelve different types so far. My favorite to date is probably Bulldog (9th from the left). The weirdest one so far is the Bundaberg (the short, stout bottle - 2nd from the right) - it was really fruity. I found a cool place online called "The Root Beer Store" that stocks more than 100 varieties at reasonable prices - the only issue is the shipping is a killer. Glass bottles filled with liquid are just really expensive to ship. Which is too bad - but for now I'll just stick to what I can find around here.

Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Root Beer Sampling

Secret Drawer Keepsake Box

I built this keepsake box recently as a proof-of-concept for an idea I saw online. The top is some burl veneer (I don't remember the species), the main body of the box is black walnut, and the skirt and legs are curly maple. Inside, if you look carefully you'll find a tiny hole. Poke something into that hole (like a paperclip) and one end of the skirt will pop out - revealing a secret drawer below the false bottom.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Secret Drawer Keepsake Box

Bedrock Gardens

A few weekends ago Lori, the kids and I met my sister and her kids at Bedrock Gardens, in Nottingham, NH. This place was really cool - I wish I had taken more pictures. It's basically a 20-acre garden in the middle of the woods, with all kinds of sculptures everywhere you look. They're only open two weekends a month - we'll have to get back there sometime and take more photos.


Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Bedrock Gardens

Voice-Controlled Mood Lamp

This little project uses a Raspberry Pi and an 8x8 Neopixel grid from Adafruit. I've got some scripts running on it that let me control it via the Amazon Echo. We can say things like "switch the mood lamp to green", for example It's working, but I still need to come up with a way to keep the port served up permanently - right now I would need to log into it and restart the server any time we lose the power.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Voice-Controlled Mood Lamp

Walnut Frame for Painting

We've got a friend who paints, and she gave us this painting recently. I made the frame for it out of a piece of walnut that hand a big knot in it, that I haven't been able to figure out what to do with. It worked perfectly for this project. This is now hanging in our bedroom.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Walnut Frame for Painting

Bluetooth Speaker

After shopping for a bluetooth speaker lately and being somewhat shocked with the prices of anything better than a toy, I decided to try building my own. This one is made of oak and mahogany, and has a 4 inch full-range driver. I found an off-the-shelf little board (for around $20 or so) that handles all of the bluetooth details. It sounds great. The range is a little low, but that may have to do with having to receive through 3/4 of a inch of red oak. I can probably only get around 10 feet away and still have it work - but I can live with that. We put it on this shelf in our living room. It really looks pretty nice over there.

Posted in Projects | Comments Off on Bluetooth Speaker