Summer Solstice Parade

Solstice Parade


This’ll separate the wheat from the chaff.  If you watch this parade and you still want to live here, you’ll do fine.  If you shake your head and wonder how much pot you have to smoke to do something like this, island life may not be for you.


The people in the amusement park ride were hilarious (third row of pics, left side).  They walked down, two abreast, in a snaking roller-coaster pattern and every so often they’d raise their hands in the air and scream.

Celebrate Sun

Table Saw Restoration (part 2)

Snail PaceFigured I’d start off with a photograph that represents the pace at which this project is going.  I am happy to say, though, that the list of parts I still need is down to one sheet of paper, and I now know where to find most of them.  Just need to spend some time on the internet with my credit card in front of me and everything will be on its way.

The table extensions came in.  These were really hard to find on the Sears website because they don’t actually go with my model of saw.  According to them, they don’t fit and won’t work with my model and if I attempt to install them on my saw it will shred the warranty, condemn me to a lake of fire in my afterlife and every cut I make on the saw will be unsafe and inaccurate.  But in reality, these are the best table extensions out there, and they fit like a charm.

I didn’t even need to use shims along the sides.  It’s dead flat.

Saw BladeMy new sawblade came in also, and it’s a beauty.  Those of you who are woodworkers know how much those things cost.  Those of you who are not, you don’t want to know.  This is certainly not the most expensive blade out there but Forrest makes great saw blades and this model is excellent for both cross cuts and rip cuts.  I am far too lazy a woodworker to change out my saw blades for each cut.  I like to have one blade for everything.

Oil PlugI also started dismantling the motor today.  All I was going to do was put a new power cord on it but the further along I got the more I wanted to keep taking it apart and cleaning it.  I found the two oil plugs underneath about a centimeter of sawdustdirtgrease, a paste like mixture of sawdust, dirt and oil.  I’m sure the motor was happy to get some fresh oil on it in there.

Then I started painting it.  I figured, what the heck.  I got nothing better to do and I have a third of a can of red spray paint that I may as well use.  Make that motor housing shine and gleam in the light of my overhead fluorescent shop lights.  It would not have been wise to spray paint the motor itself so I painted it by hand.  Dismantle

I have an illness.  I know.  I’m well aware that no normal person would clean and paint an old motor that’s just going to get covered in sawdustdirtgrease.  It’s madness.  This is a lot like restoring an old antique.  Or getting it ready for a museum.  This isn’t necessarily the table saw I wanted to have, but by golly it’s going to be the best dang table saw I can make it into.

Besides, the paint may keep it from rusting.



I had more paint in that can than I thought I did so everything got about ten coats.

More Paint


The motor I painted black, to kind of go with the red.

FaceplateThe last thing I tried to tackle today was the faceplate.  The existing one is a little cheesy looking and I wanted to make something with a smaller aperture where the tilt indicator comes out. A lot of sawdust leaks through that big slot and I want to kind of close that up on the final make.  Also, you can’t really see it in the picture but it’s coated with this layer of crackling plastic that is simultaneously peeling off and difficult to remove.  I thought I would just make a new faceplate out of 1/4″ laminate paneling, but once I got it cut and in place  ….

Hate thisI hate it.  I absolutely hate the way it looks.  I know Hate is a strong word, and that’s why I chose it.  It looks really tacky and I don’t think it will hold up well.  I’m going to seek out a small sheet of metal that I can work with.  Maybe brass or copper.  Heck, how about gold foil?  Platinum sheeting.  Apparently no effort is too great and no expense is too much for my table saw so I may as well go all out.

Hoping to have this thing up and running in about two weeks but it really depends on how fast things gets shipped out here.  It’s tourist season and I am in no mood to brave the lines at the ferry landing just for a trip to sears and home depot.

Fancy Switchplates



Here’s a really quick and easy project to make some decorative switchplates and power outlet covers.  It’s very simple and not terribly expensive, and can give you an eclectic look in your home.

Our home, like many old houses, came with a plethora of those cheap, crappy plastic switchplates.  You know the kind.  Loosely fitted with stripped and mismatched screws, shattered with tiny little cracks, splotched with paint, so dirty that you couldn’t clean it with sandpaper.  I really hate those things.  You can replace them, of course, either by buying the same crappy plastic plates for about 19 cents each, or you can get them from the high end restoration websites and spend about 19 dollars each.  Or anything in between.  You get what you pay for.  The expensive ones are really nice, but when you have 64 plates in your house it really adds up.

Copper SamplesWell, we were looking for copper sheets for a completely different purpose and we ordered a sample pack to see what the colors were like.  We got a variety of 36 gauge copper sheeting, each one with a decorative finish on it.  It’s like malleable foil, soft but durable.  The samples cost money so I considered them mine to do with whatever I pleased.  I decided to use them to cover some switchplates around the house.

My only real concern was that the switchplates would look just as cheesy and stupid as the ones people cover with wallpaper.  Well, they don’t look quite that cheesy.  Copper sheeting is way cooler than wallpaper.  Okay, I admit the final product does have a bit of cheese factor in it, but it sure beats the craptastic plastic ones I replaced.

Cut to SizeLike any good handyman, I have a small collection of existing switchplate covers of various sizes and materials.  It’s a good idea to use metal ones for this purpose.  You’re going to form the copper foil around them and plastic just won’t take the beating.  The cheap metal ones retail for about a dollar or two so it’s not like some huge expense.  Anyway, use metal ones for the backbone.

WrappedOnce you wrap it around, you can press it down to kind of see the outline of the holes you must cut.  This copper foil cut really easy; scissors cut through it like paper and all it took to punch out the holes was a dull x-acto knife.  Don’t use your pocket knife; the copper will dull it very quick and you’ll be sharpening it for two hours to get the blade right again.

Cut out holesJust follow the edge and saw your way around and it should look great.  Again, this is why you use a metal backbone.

You don’t need to use an adhesive, but it’s not a bad idea.  I did one without any adhesive and the copper wrapped around sufficiently to hold together, but over time it might fail, and I wasn’t very happy with it.  A spray adhesive would probably work best but that’s messy and I was all out of spray adhesive so I used some double sided tape that I bought two years ago and never found a use for.  That’s why I buy things like that.  It may take two years but you never know when you’ll need it and if you have it when you need it you’ll be glad.

TapeThe only drawback is the tape is thick enough, believe it or not, that its contour will show through the foil if you look at it from a certain angle.  Had I known, I probably would have run to the store to buy some spray on adhesive.  Yeah, I’m kind of a perfectionist.  But I’m also a realist.  I’m making really cool switchplate covers for about $3 each instead of spending $19 each at some fancy pants restoration store.

FinishedThe final product looked great.  I mean, not nearly as cheesy as wallpaper covered switchplates and a vast improvement over the shoddy plastic ones I had.  One of the covers I replaced was this resin bas-relief of a moose and a tree that looked like it was a rejected prop from the Red Green Show.  I’d post a photo but it’s too embarrassing.  I didn’t have enough to do all the switchplates in the house but I got most of the visible ones.

SwitchplateSadly, they make the paneling look even worse.  But the paneling is not long for this world. Never fear, it will soon come down, replaced by sensible drywall and real woodwork.

NightlightAnyway, I thought that was a good use of the samples we bought.  Adios, amigos.  Until next time!




Lights and Fans

We’re pretty close to having replaced every light fixture in the house.  Makes a big difference.  It’s a small house but it’s kind of a big space, and the dark wood and paneling make it tricky to illuminate.  Not that the paneling is going to live much longer.  We’re either going to paint it or put up drywall, but the paneling has to go.  In many cases, the new light fixtures just make it look worse.

The laundry room got a pretty dramatic change.  The Jimmy Carter era florescents were removed and replaced with nice halogen track lights.  Seriously, we found a price tag on one of the florescent bulbs and it said $1.95; I think they sell now for about $12 at our hardware store.  The new lights aren’t as bright, but it’s so much nicer in there without that crappy, dingy contraption of cracked plastic and jagged sheet metal.  I thought about keeping the florescent lights for the shed or something but I just couldn’t stand looking at it for a minute longer.  As of today, it’s in a pile at the solid waste landfill.

That ceiling fan… it was a bitch.  It’s about 17 feet off the floor and the only ladder I have for that height is rated at 200 pounds.  Okay, I weigh a solid 220 and the fan weighs 50 so both of us on it made it more than a little wobbly.  Yes, I had to disconnect the existing fan and carry it down the ladder, then carry the new fan up the ladder and connect it.  I gotta say, though, ceiling fan technology has come a long way.  They make those things as convenient as humanly possible.  They even think to include a spare bolt because they know, just know, that when you’re 17 feet off the ground it’s very possible you will drop a bolt and it’ll be nice to have a spare one in your fanny pack.

The new fan looks great.  It’s dead silent, but for some reason Inky is terrified of it.  She knows when we turn it on.  Her ears fold back and she peeps a little meow.  Sometimes she hides under the bed.  I’m not kidding.  It’s like she hears some alien mind control waves that humans can’t detect.  She’s gotten better about it now that it’s been up for a while.


We even got a new lizard.  Cool, huh?

Fawn Season

Hide and seekThese fawns are probably just a few weeks old.  They’re tiny little things, not much bigger than our cat.

We learned a few things about fawns the other weekend. The mother deer sometimes leaves them while she goes off and forages.  And they just nap.  Like, all day.  Just sit there and hide in the grass.  We didn’t want to get too close to them because we didn’t want to spook them, but I got a few pics.

Mom's back Mother finally returned later in the day and picked them up.  Would have been nice if she paid us for day care service since we looked after them pretty much all afternoon.  But no.  She just came by and ate more of our grass.

And she stuck her tongue out at me.