Thursday, November 13, 2003

Bad Blogger

I'm not a very good blogger. I get too wrapped up in actually living my life to sit down and write about it. That, and it's been boring lately. :-)

I recently checked out a 7" high stack of magazines from the library. I never knew that Kellogg-Hubbard had a subscription to Fine Woodworking! I'm in awe at the full page spreads on furniture making, stain color mixing, the different specialized machines and intricate chisels used to make these works of art. I'm thinking I'd like to make furniture at some point.

I'm very proud of the fact that I recently learned how to use a carpenter's square. Also called a steel square, it's an L shaped piece of steel or aluminum with tables inscribed into it. The tables are various measurements to help lay out hip, valley, common and jack rafters as well as braces. Once you learn how to work a square, it's pretty easy. Breaking through the initial technical jargon will give you a headache though. Example:

Fig. 8. Problem 7.

Let 37 degrees be the required angle. Place the body of the square on line FG, and, from Table 1, lay off LS (12.04) on the tongue and LM (15.98) on the body. Draw line MS, then angle LMS = 37 degrees. Line MS will be found equal to 20 inches to any angle, because the values given in table 1 for LS and MS are natural sines and cosines multiplied by 20.

I lay in bed with the book and my square past 2am, while trying to make sense of it all. That morning I went to work and banged out perfectly cut and angled valley jack rafters my first try, in no time flat. Success!

I still have no idea what sine and cosine are.

I also started putting up siding in my van. Pictures are on my mom's blog. The weather hasn't been cooperating for painting. Everytime it's nice out, I'm at work. When I'm home, it's either snowing or below 40. Tonight we're supposed to have blizzard like conditions, up to 8 inches of snow and gusting winds. I'm staying inside, baking bread, and figuring out what to do with my life.

This week I've been disgruntled with my carpentry skill level. I feel like I've reached a standstill. I want to work for a big construction company and expand my repertoire. I want to work on BIG projects. I want to learn more about framing. I want to build the perfect set of stairs. I also want to get more into detailed stuff...detailed mortise and tenon joinery, handcut dovetails, and elaborate detailing.

I've been crawling around on the internet looking for anything to do with carpentry in this area. I've called the local carpentry union and the Department of Employment and Training about their apprenticeship programs. Step-Up and WomenBuild aren't hiring at the moment, but I'm filling out applications anyway. Job Corps, Youth Build, and other such programs sound really interesting, but aren't geared towards my level.

What I really need to get ahead in life is to have my van fixed up and finally get my driver's license. I've been putting off both because I know all four brakes need new shoes, the oil and coolant should be flushed, and they may have issues with my muffler. After getting that fixed and inspected, I need to get a license. Once I get a license, I have to cough up big bucks for insurance, to the tune of $800 every 6 months.

Can I go back to being a kid again? I want somebody to take care of me while I tromp around the woods, build treehouses, and do nothing but read books and magazines for hours straight.

I guess I'll have to either work for a living or marry rich to attain that standard of living. :-) I'm too young and crabby to get married yet, so it looks as though I'll go back to looking for the perfect job.

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