TSA air travel rules continue to frustrate pocketknife people

Posted By on December 11, 2019

Pocketknives have been part of my life since I was a 5 year old … yes, you heard that right, FIVE YEARS OLD. My grandfather gave me my first SwissArmyMiniChamp1-inch semi-toy pocketknife when my family was still living on Spencer Street in Toledo – which means I was likely still only 4 (it was a key chain version that once said “Florida” on it).  I’ve carried slightly larger ones ever since and eventually settled on a Swiss Army version from either Victorinox or Wenger (now the same company since 2005).

During high school and college it was always a larger Swiss Army Knife version, but as my pocket filled with a lot more keys, a cellphone and thicker wallet, I switched to my current Victorinox #53973 MiniChamp knife in the early 2000s. SwissArmyKnifeThere was never a time one had to worry about where we could or couldn’t carry a jack or penknife (another terms for the small folding knives). Eventually I even opted to carry a SwissTool SpiritX on my messenger bag! I always had them in school and years ago they weren’t even a problem on airplanes. After 911, things change and I understood the new TSA rules after terrorist used boxcutters. But now with air marshals and locking security doors to the cockpit, I thought maybe nail clippers or a small bladed pen knife would be acceptable?

Nope, they are still perceived as weapons! Unfortunately for me, it’s just another thing to remember to take out of my pocket before heading to the airport.


Finally, a crosscut table saw sled jig for my woodworking shop

Posted By on December 10, 2019


After posting a photo of a table saw crosscut sled a couple weeks ago, I finally decided to finish the one I had been planning. In part because I had some extra 1/2” white finished plywood (I didn’t want to use the heavier 3/4”) and in part because SlidingCrosscutSled_a_2019I needed to cut a bunch of tendons for a Christmas project that I’m working on.

Since I’ve been planning this crosscut sled project for years, I’ve held back a 48” chunk of perfectly straight 2” thick oak and used my taper jig to cut away some of the heft so that it is easier to lift on and off the table saw. I added a small foot to the rear as a way to keep the fence perfectly vertical (not really needed) and also as a reminder that the saw blade exits where the yellow tape has been added (just next to the leg … I might add a chunk of plexiglass there if I can find a thick piece). Instead of simple woodscrews, I ended up drilling for 1/4” – 2”  flathead machine screws and tapped the threads into the oak. Nice and sturdy.

SlidingCrosscutSled_b_2019The “stiffener” away from the operator is a 46” piece of aluminum angle and decided to face that with a piece of plywood “just in case” the blade should tick it. The plywood had just a slight bow so with both the aluminum angle and heavy oak fence … it is now perfectly flat. All edges were rounded with a router roundover bit and sanded smooth. I keep the oak fence unfinished but added a little ZipGuard to the plywood and then waxed with my butcher’s wax/bowling alley polish.

So far I’m very pleased with using oak wood slides and the 28”+ by 46”+ supported panel sizes. I kept the wide at 46” so that I could clamp a workpiece off the left side of the table saw and easily have plenty of space to extend work either to the right or left.

Music Monday: Just Another Day in Paradise – Bertie Higgins

Posted By on December 9, 2019

BertieHigginsJustAnotherDayinParadise1982The perfect Music Monday song for early December is one that moves me mentally to a warm tropical island … Bertie Higgins and Just Another Day in Paradise is that song for today (his website: BertieHiggins.com).

Ah … memories of sailing Brenich with Brenda in the 1980s … or just staying warm nowadays! 😉

  Just Another Day in Paradise
      Bertie Higgins | 1982

Can stamps get you in the Christmas spirit? #random

Posted By on December 8, 2019

While trying my best to get in the Christmas spirit … how about something from the philately world? Although I’m not a stamp collector, back in the day my company Consolidated Printing and Publishing did some plate work for special cancels and printing for a stamp collecting organization. Canada-85Besides, my father-in-law had an impressive stamp collection (that reminds me to check on it with my sister-in-law).

Anyway … here’s what his considered the first Christmas Stamp.

On December 7, 1898, Canada issued what many consider to be the world’s first Christmas stamp.

In 1898, Imperial Penny Postage was established in Canada, lowering the postage rate from 3¢ to 2¢.  New stamps were needed, and it became Postmaster General William Mulock’s duty to present the design to Queen Victoria for approval.Canada-85-86

The new stamp featured a world map with Great Britain’s territories highlighted.  Mulock reportedly suggested issuing the stamp on November 9 “in honor of the prince [of Wales],” but Queen Victoria made her displeasure known immediately, replying “what prince?”  She and her oldest son had a notoriously rocky relationship since Prince Albert’s death in 1861.  The Queen is said to have blamed her son and the stress caused by his “playboy prince” reputation for his father’s death.

MORE from Mystic Stamp Company

Remembering the 2403 who died on December 7, 1945

Posted By on December 7, 2019


One of the most impactful photos for me on Pearl Harbor Day is one we took while watching the oil still rising to the surface from the USS Arizona while visiting the memorial. It was a solemn visit and moving time for us, decades after the surprise attack by Japan on December 7th 1945. As President Roosevelt declared, A date that will live in infamy.”

Photos from our Hawaii trip in 2006 and other parts of Hawaii225662227_397b3d6019_o

On that day, 2403 died and the thousands were call to arms, we remember their sacrifice in 2019 on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Here’s a bit of  the speech from President Roosevelt as we went to war with Japan.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. . .



A Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer for the BMW X5 35d

Posted By on December 6, 2019

One of the engine components known to fail prematurely on BMW diesels is the weighty harmonic balancers on the 6 cylinder crank shafts. Perhaps the park is designed with fluidamprimagethe vibration rubber material that degrades or perhaps it is just the constant hammering of the diesel engine that is hard on the original design? In any case, by the time the engine closes in on 200K .. you’re likely running on borrowed time. Personally I suspect that those who run these engines a little harder or chip-tune them to gain horsepower and torque need to give even more attention to this component.

I’m not particularly hard on my BMW X5 35d, but do have over 180,000 miles and want to replace before I’m dead in the water. Also, I wanted to replace the original designed dampener with a Fluidampr design … so since my friend Andrew Rodriguez was running a Black Friday sale at TuneMyEuro.com, I ordered a new Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer from him. Now to find the time to replace it (a fair amount of weekend work).

Comment: I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering the future of internal combustion engines in cars (and in particular diesel engines) as electrically driven cars start to take a bigger chunk of new car sales. It is still small, but after bmw-x5-m50d-2018watching the Tesla Cybertruck presentation, even I can see the writing on the wall. Eventually the next generation will decide on an EV or some other “yet to be seen” technology. Thankfully I’ll still be driving ICE vehicles and doing my best to keep them going. Likely first to go will be diesel vehicles, but I suspect that even diesels will continue to be around for a long time – BMW Says Diesels Will Still Be Around For At Least 20 Years.

How long does a harmonic balancer last?

The crankshaft harmonic balancer is also known as the crank pulley damper. It is connected to the crankshaft on the engine and reduces vibrations that originate from your engine. In addition, it serves as a pulley for the drive belts. Without the crankshaft harmonic balancer, your vehicle would not run smoothly and it would have constant problems, including not starting. There are two elements of the crankshaft harmonic balancer. They include an energy and a mass dissipating element. Together, these work to balance out and get rid of the vibrations from the engine.

Each time the cylinders in the engine fire, torque is applied to the crankshaft. At certain speeds, the torque is in sync with the cylinders, which creates resonance. This resonance causes too much stress for the crankshaft. If this stress continues, the crankshaft will break and your vehicle will be inoperable. To balance the vibrations and resonance, the mass element resists the acceleration of the vibrations and the energy element absorbs them.


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.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!