Saturday, June 13, 2009


I think I over did it today.

It was the first sunny day since I have begun to recover from that gawd-awful cold that smacked me down so badly for TWO WEEKS. You know, I can handle being sick occasionally, I understand that it happens to us all and I'll take my turn like everybody else, but for TWO FULL WEEKS? That was just unreasonable. I tried to recover, but ended up doing more than I should have and got smacked back down for another four days. Bleh.

So today was beautiful. After almost 10 straight days of rain and crap, we woke to sunshine and blue skies. I left the house by 8 and went to the garden shop to pick up the rest of a client's order. If the sunshine holds, I can get those planted this coming week (fingers crossed). Then I stopped at the hardware store for some advice, then at the boneyard of a contractor for some junk pieces of pipe. I'll explain that quest in another post, maybe tomorrow. You'll like it, I promise.

So I got home at 11 and started working out in the yard. Within an hour I was back inside to trade my t-shirt for a tank top. It was HOT out there! I had about four things going at once today. I needed to clean out my tool chests in preparation for a trip out of town beginning next weekend. It's going to be a work trip, so I need to maximize what I have and what I am bringing.

The first step to organizing such a project is to remove the contents from all of the tool chests (keep in mind these are HUGE chests - four feet wide, two feet tall and two feet deep, BOTH of them) and strew them about the yard. Good. Then I remembered that I had planned to actually build some stuff today, too. Oh, that's kind of a problem. But, hey, I have the tools out already...
so I started building a bookshelf out of some scrap lumber. It's not pretty, the lumber was not perfect, but it's for some friends who have a greater need for a bookshelf that works than they have for fine furniture. So I put that together, and then I started working on a box to house my newest tool acquisition.

Feast your eyes on this:

Yeah, baby. It's a Shopsmith Mark V. It does a ton of stuff - it is a table saw, a drill press, a lathe, a lateral boring machine and a disk sander. And the one I am getting is old, probably a 1960's vintage, but it is in fantastic condition and has all kinds of do-dads and whatsits that come with it. And it was free. Yeah. That was an amazing thing. Seems the old gent who so loved this thing has passed on, and his widow nor his kids really have any idea how to use it or any inclination to try, so they decided to check out how to donate it. Only it is old enough that it doesn't have any of the new-fangled high-tech safety gizmos that come on modern machines, so no non-profit wanted to get near the thing. But a friend of mine at one of those non-profits suggested that they could get a warm fuzzy feeling (if not the tax break) by donating the monster to a hard-working tradeswoman in their area. And that tradeswoman would be me! I went over to check it out last week and was just amazed at the shape the thing is in. It is simply beautiful.

It won't fit in my basement workshop, though. So one of my projects today was to build a box (on wheels) in which to store and transport the thing. After the bookshelf, I started on the box. It turned out to be quite a substantial thing, this box, using almost all of three sheets of 5/8 inch plywood, plus eight or ten of those little not-quite-two-by-somethings. You know, they're smaller than a two by four, but still enough to put a nail into. Yeah, those. And I put some wheels on the bottom so I can get it in and out of my truck.

The tool itself measures just about six feet long at the base and 22 inches wide, and it is about 40 to 42 inches high. The box will keep out most of what mother nature wants to throw at it, although I think I need to get some handles to help steer it. It's a bit of a beast to negotiate. Oh, and it does not fit in my truck. Allowing for six feet of tool I built the platform to that specification, but the added thickness of the plywood walls made it just an inch too long to let me close the tailgate. Dammit. Oh well. I'll get some good tie-down straps to secure it. For now it is tied in with some rope.

Like I said, I did a lot today. I emptied both tool boxes, burned a ton of scrap lumber that was cluttering up the yard, then built the bookshelf and the cool box, and tomorrow I have hopes to build a box to transport my air compressor. The thing is a lifesaver, but it is heavy and awkward to carry as is. I want to make a box with handles so I can lift it with a helper or move it by myself using a hand truck. And if it is in a box, I won't have to scramble to get it indoors and down the cellar stairs if it is the back of my truck when the rain starts. Maybe. We'll see if there is anything left of me when tomorrow gets here.

Now I think I am off to find the aloe. Ouch.


Robin said...

Ouch! That must hurt.

Congrats on your new tool/saw thingie. I must admit I'm on the side of the family in not having a clue what to do with it, but I'm sure under your loving care it will soon be cranking out all kinds of good stuff.

PS Buy sunscreen!

msladydeborah said...

It hurts me to look at your picture.

I've been sunburned once in my life-yes we do burn too. It was just across my shoulders and it hurt like hell!

Sunblock is a good thing-get some please!

It sounds like you're going to be busy creating some wonderful pieces. What a nice gift and the price was definitely spot on!

ANPfisher said...

thanks for the reinforcement ladies see we do have sunscreen and bug dope and a combination of the two (she is bitten up as well as burnt) I try to no avail to get her to put on something to protect her from the pain.

Middle Aged Woman said...

spray-on sunblock meant for small children. It can go on your face without stinging your eyes, you don't get slippery hands, and it can hang in your tool belt.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new Shop Smith. You deserve it. I am sure you will treasure it for many years to come, which was the donor's intent.