Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Doctors, teachers, priests, bureaucrats, politicians (the list goes on and on... managers, cashiers, mechanics) are apparently used to the authority that comes with their position.

Through my life I've been eager to please and respectful of authority. Polite.  I've bent to make the transaction easy.

It's true that you can negotiate best when you can walk from a deal.  You can walk from a deal when you're in control and know what you want. and, better yet, know that you can live without the deal.

When authority is complacent, merely counting on respect and ignorance (theirs are the expert opinions we must trust and follow, aren't they?), they are in a position of weakness.  It's amazing to watch their faces when you take control of the situation by weighing their input and politely telling them "No, I'm not going to do that."

It's like a cat with a mouse.

Monday, March 25, 2013


The Toadroller family home schools.

Our main connection with the local schools is through our eldest tadpole who plays on the golf and baseball teams. 

It's a bit of an extra-normal experience to swing by the school and drop the boy off.  There they are in the parking lot, the many parents I know, waiting to pick their kids up.  There I am, letting my child go.

I wonder why someone would do that- give their kids away every day (in many cases, from the time the child is a few weeks old) just to go and get them back. 

Do they look at me and wonder why I would do what I do- just bring the kid by for the sports and then spirit them away again, out of their society, their group, their normal, back into mine?

If possession is nine tenths of the law, where do your children spend most of their waking hours?  To whom do they belong?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hand Burst

Last night, we stained.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

HamyV update- Veneer we go again

I took the dive about a month ago and started back in on the Hamy V project.  We'd been on hold for about a year as I waited for some kind of inspiration to deal with the veneer that went on poorly.  Inspiration never came, so I was forced to confront the fact that I'd made a mistake and I needed to take a risk to repair it.

Out came the heat-gun, a putty knife, and cautious use of the orbital sander to clear away a side of veneer which came out wavy and buckled.  Crap.

I started again, but this time I put TWO bags of sand on the top to keep it flattened.

Come the morning, this round of veneer had buckled as well.

Inspiration decided to finally come around and pay me a visit, asking, "Why are you using sand bags when you have many, many clamps and plenty of wood with which to press this all together?"

I replied in a shy manner, "Because I'm stupid?"

"Exactly.  Now back to your wife's pink heat gun and the putty knife and let's do it right this time."

This weekend, I laid out another sheet of my dwindling supply of sapele veneer and clamped the mother down.

 Lots of clamps.  And a wee crack at the end.  That's life.

I put some small wood filling in minor cracks and openings. 

Inspiration piped up to advise me I could have masked around those areas and reduced the amount of sanding I'd had to do.  I smacked Inspiration upside the head and asked it if it had any more brilliant insights.
"Just one," it said, "you could have tinted the wood filling, combining the grain-filling and crack filling into one process."

Inspiration then ducked.

I mixed up wood filling with some red and black and magenta paint, and a little water, then scraped it into the grain on the veneer.  A few hours later, I sanded the excess off with 220 and a sanding block.

 What we have now is a well sanded, grain-filled veneer top on the body and the peg head.  It is ready for staining (we're going to attempt a ragged on nuclear orange with a bit of a burst to the edges) and follow up spraying of many coats of glossy poly to seal it all in and make it shiny.

From there, a small matter of drilling out the various holes which lie beneath the veneer, fretting, nut placing, wiring and, um, rocking out.