Carpenter bee traps, a box joint finger jig and birdhouse ideas

Posted By on July 5, 2020

While I should be finishing up out taxes and figuring out how to pay what we owe … I instead found myself thinking about our BluebirdFlyinggranddaughters coming down later this summer and my promise to “build something for mommy” in the workshop (we made daddy a car when Annalyn stayed a week over Christmas last year).

Another request from Katelyn was for a Carpenter Bee trapCarpenterBeeTrapDiagramwhich both of us need! So I semi have that figured out … but Annalyn and I have been talking about building “the birds” (video) a house too. I’ve been working on a custom version that incorporates a new finger box joint jig to use with some ratty pine boards (wish I had a planner like my friend Mark!) … AND a roof utilizing 6061 aluminum leftover from building airplane parts. Who knows what will come of this idea?

The jig is a simplified version of a sled finger box joint jig, but instead uses the standard table saw miter guide that came with the saw. I rarely use it anymore now that I have a full size crosscut sled and my favorite lightweight MicroJig dovetail clamp incorporated miter sled. Basically this simple finger-pegged board can be created for any sized finger joint, but in my case opted for a dado stack that should make strong boxes for the base of the birdhouse. I’ve semi-sketched out and sized the birdhouse for bluebirds, but that sized is pretty standard for a lot of songbirds. More to come on this Bompa and Annalyn project as it progresses … for now, I at least have the box joint jig to attach to my table saw’s stock miter gauge.


Winning freedom is one thing, maintaining it is yet another

Posted By on July 4, 2020


As we celebrate our country’s freedom from oppression and an independence won from Great Britain this July 4th, it is hard to imagine any US citizen wanting to give up their liberty? Yet once again, it is looking more and more as if a vocal and radical segment in the most successful democracy on the planet, would rather throw it all away … and at the same time the law abiding, hard-working Americans decide to keeps their heads down and opinions to themselves; they pander to the mob in fear or retribution and just stay “silent.”

Too many Americans are compliantly letting radicals with progressive ideas who thirst for power over others have their way. This leftist group has relatively quietly taken over education, twisted our history and pitted one interest group against another. Like clockwork, this election year those behind the scene power-elites have incited and fanned the flames of discontent. They embrace the angry protestor and excuse the looting, rioting and burning. No doubt their ultimate goal is to keep the unrest going in hope it will force President Donald Trump and the Republicans out of office. If they are not carefully in their thirst for power, they may just trigger an all out civil war … one where innocent Americans get hurt. Not all are willing or able to defend themselves (or their property) against the anarchy we are seeing take place in cities across the country … but eventually the angry mob currently facing little resistance will trigger a response. Still most living in America will probably keep their heads down and stay “silent” …believing law enforcement and their elected leaders will eventually step in before the mob comes for them. I hope they are right … but their “silence” sure empowers those on the radical left willing to intimidate and destroy.

BLM_ViolenceCA_aniI read an excellent article in the American Thinker by Fletch Daniels this past week and it got me thinking about peaceful debate on political philosophy and ideas. Currently, the leftist movements afoot do not want to debate, discuss or negotiate with citizens who hold opposing views (those who are politically right or hold traditional American values). The “silencing of conservatives” has so far been successful in academia, the mainstream media, entertainment, sports and even in government (where Democrats no longer debate and compromise with Republicans to peacefully govern the country). At least when you are talking, there is an exchange and an acceptance that our country operates as a representative democracy held in check by an agreed upon United States Constitution. When people are no longer permitted to have a different point of view, things can break down pretty fast.

Lurking beneath the surface of virtue signaling leftists are tyrants seeking to exert their will over those they despise.  The defining leftist culture enables them to ruthlessly use all the power at their disposal, both real and imagined, to enforce a single acceptable viewpoint on society. 

My thought this week was: “As every negotiator knows, when talk and verbal debate (civil or otherwise) is no longer happening … the likelihood of violence increases.”

Let’s pray that we can hold things together and that cooler head prevail before much more physical violence takes over … it is not looking good. 

The problem is that the silence enables the leftists to continue to drive the narrative and normalize ideas and behaviors that would have been considered unfathomable just a few short years ago while winning more converts, which shrinks that sane majority.  It is their toxic ideas that are being force fed to every young person in America and we are paying a heavy price for that.

Tech Friday: Amazon’s AI notifications needs improvement

Posted By on July 3, 2020

As often as I gripe about ordering from Amazon or more to the point, complain about their delivery and updating, one would AmazonPrimeLogo2019think I would opt for another online ecommerce portal? Unfortunately there aren’t better options or more dependable deliveries.

This past week a small order came a day early, yet the app notification that should update the shipping information doesn’t seem to be in-sync with the artificial intelligence bot on the Amazon Echo. One would think once the shipping database is updated that the website, iPhone app, Echo and Chat-Bot would all pull that same data and information? How is a consumer expected to trust the information? Just as with telling me for several days that a shipment is running late… when in reality it will never be coming. How are we to know when to believe the notifications?

In this week’s case, which one was correct … the phone app, the website or Alexa on Amazon’s proprietary Echo? (Answer– the app was correct, this time)

With June 2020 behind us, how is Ohio handling COVID19?

Posted By on July 2, 2020


It sure would be nice to report all is well in Ohio, but unfortunately our returning to semi-normal routines  and statewide reopening has hit a snag … at least according to those elected and paid to monitor our health. See

ALERT LEVELS: (all include “Follow all current health orders”)

  1. Active exposure and spread.
  2. Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution.
  3. Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible.
  4. Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services.

GovMikeDeWineTwitterOhio’s Gov Mike DeWine sent our a series of tweets today and the map above reads like a school grade card  – a few counties are not getting an acceptable grade, including ours. I’m sure there will be those for a variety of reasons who will debate the numbers (more testing, younger people infected, protests, etc) and fear the data is not being interpreted correctly. Reading the data is above my pay grade, as it has been for most of the so-called experts  … so I’ll continue to do my part to limit my trips and public interaction, wear a face mask when going to the stores and social distance. Numbers aside, I doubt Ohioans or the nation will tolerate another lockdown.


  1. New Cases per Capita (When the data show that a county has had an average of 50 cases per 100,000 people over a 2-week period, that triggers a flag for an increasing case rate. Using this data means we are taking into account population of a county when monitoring case increases)
  2. Sustained Increase in New Cases (If the number of new cases in a county continually increases, that’s another indicator of virus spread. A county will be flagged for meeting this indicator if the data show at least a five-day period of sustained new case growth.)
  3. Proportion of Cases Not Congregate Cases (Data showing more than 50% of new cases originating from non-congregate settings during at least one of the past three weeks will trigger a flag on this indicator.)
  4. Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits (ER data will show us the trend in the number of people who visit an emergency department with COVID19 symptoms or a COVID diagnosis as a result of the visit. A county is flagged when there is an increase in such ER visits over a five-day period.)
  5. Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits (This data set looks at the number of people visiting outpatient settings, including telehealth appointments, with suspected or confirmed COVID19 symptoms. A county is flagged when there is an increase over a five-day period.)
  6. Sustained Increase in Hew COVID-19 Hospital Admissions (When the numbers show at least a five-day period of sustained growth in the number of county residents with COVID-19 who are admitted to a hospital, the county will be flagged for meeting this indicator.)
  7. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy (A county is flagged for this indicator when the regional ICU occupancy goes above 80% for at least three of the last seven days.)

Idea: Using eggshells as planters to grow seedlings

Posted By on July 2, 2020


Every once in a while an idea triggers me into thinking … “I’m going to try this!”

Last week I stumbled across a Lifehacker post that was worth archiving. Using biodegradable eggshells to start seedlings … and after losing half the $60 in flower flats we purchased this year, I may give this one a try for next year.

  1. Save a few eggshells and cartons
  2. Wash out the eggshells (I’m not sure how critical that is?)
  3. Add a little potting mix to each shell
  4. Premoisten a seed and top off with a little more potting mix
  5. Water and sit in a warm sunny window in early spring
  6. Plant the entire shell in a bed or garden after frost threat
  7. Crush shell as you plant and firm up soil around the new seedling


It was on my mind, so made a better Featherboard Hold-Down

Posted By on July 1, 2020

StarKnob_AmazonAs mentioned a couple days ago, I saw a fellow woodworker using a better featherboard hold-down clamp … and after over 30 years of using my “temporary” pine featherboard … with a makeshift wedge style clamp, I finally hodgepodged a new one together.

The new “hold down clamp” works just fine, but after using an old grill handle and wooden knob with a press fit and epoxied nut, I decided to buy a bag of 1/4”-20 Star Knobs instead for this hold down clamp … and to used on a few other jigs. Perhaps next on the jig list is to make a new featherboard … if I can get over being sentimental?

FeatherboadHolddown200630 FeatherboardWoodKnobs200628

EDIT: The new knobs came in .. so I’m adding the photo below.

Winding down June 2020 with a couple granddaughter photos

Posted By on June 30, 2020

FathersDayFacetime200621Time to add a couple photos to close out June  2020 and mark the 4 month pediatrician appointment for Ellerie. She is doing great and weighed in at 13 lbs 6 oz and 25 inches. Not to be left out, Annalyn is growing too, although 33 lbs is exactly where she was  when she jumped on our antique scale.Annalyn33lbs200626


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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