Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holly Days

Season's Greetings from snowy Washington County Maryland

May everyone have a delightful holiday and a very good new year.

Staying warm, just north of Boonsboro,



Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Fall Project

Stare at the next two pictures for a few minutes.  They're not optical illusions that will suddenly pop into focus, I just want to drive home what a disorganized mess and underutilized space my garage has been for the last four years.

Little more than a concrete block and stud-wall dumpster.  A pretty oppressive space in which very little could be accomplished safely.

Now that I'm living alone, and always on the lookout for projects to occupy the hours, I decided to finally take on the garage and make a functional shop out of it.  I have all the tools I need to not only do the project but also to establish a great hobby woodworking setup.

The first step was to start organizing things into four categories:  1. Stuff to give away 2. Stuff to recycle  3. Stuff to keep  4. Stuff to throw away.

Then I started building storage shelves, first by dismantling the very impractical ones above and reconfiguring the materials into floor-to-ceiling shelves (below).

In a textbook example of working bass-akwards, at that point I decided to wall-in those shelves into a large tool closet.  One of the things that made the original space so unsightly was the visual clutter, a tool room would go a long way to alleviating that problem.

As the tool closet, pictured below, was taking shape I decided that rather than simply clean the place up and turn it into a woodshop I'd also create a fun environment to spend time in.

 That's when the place became Victory Wood Working my very own defense plant circa 1942.

So, here's a nice "before" shot...

Two weeks ago the door opened to this, the "after" shot:

The studs were covered with hardboard and painted, wiring was modified, wainscoating installed and moulding milled out on my table saw.  I think I brought the project in for less than $300.00, using mostly scrap lumber and paint I had on hand, and my own elbow-grease (who else's?)

I also made wall-mounted tool chests for each of the major bench tools to contain the various bits, belts, fences, etc. peculiar to each machine.

There's plenty of reproduction posters from the era exhorting my workers to buy bonds as well as to work safely.

The place even has a functioning time-clock.

There's calendars, magazines, tool manuals, and even Sawmill Worker's union buttons, all from 1942.

To see a short Youtube on the whole process including "before" and "after", click here.

Sometimes, staying busy's the best medicine, especially when the result turns out to be so satisfying.

Well, break's over, and its back to work for me.

Getting back to...

 enjoying life,

just north of Boonsboro.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another brilliant but too short day at the battlefield


and shadow...

the work continues...

at the Joseph Poffenberger barn...

just north of Sharpsburg.



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Snowy Illumination Day

On Illumination morning the Valley awoke to a blanket of snow.

Upon arrival at the Battlefield the Park roads were already being cleared by the Maintenance Division,

and the Park looked absolutely beautiful.

Volunteers had been out already for hours laying out the Luminaria.

Without these many hundreds of dedicated and hardy volunteers, this program simply wouldn't be possible.

The grids of luminaria were taking shape as the snow continued to fall.

One girl had the perfect shelter under a large golf umbrella.  It kept off the snow but it was still quite cold.

I saw a group of much warmer Boyscouts with steaming cups of something good...

Being doled out by an adult leader.

Their work done for another year, the volunteers piled up empty cartons for pickup by maintenance folks.

And I went looking for a hot meal of my own.

Regardless of the season, Antietam National Battlefield is a place of great beauty and meaning.  Come join me...

just north of Sharpsburg,

Ranger Mannie