Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sniper Watch

The big topic of discussion at work lately has been the Republican National Convention that will be in St. Paul next week and what sort of impact that is going to have on traffic and downtown Minneapolis. The strange thing is that apparently a number of the big-wigs are staying at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis, which happens to be near my office building.

So at the parking ramp across the street police cars and vans line both sides of the street for an entire block. All of the windows on the bottom floor are blacked out to protect the command post and there are SWAT team members and Secret Service guys roaming around periodically checking out the area.

From my window at work you can see the roof of the Hilton, so my co-worker nearby and I have been joking about whether either of us has seen a sniper on the roof yet. That will be pretty cool, as long as we don't 'see' him via a red dot floating across my computer monitor.


Read the whole post.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Have a Seat

At the State Fair on Tuesday, we spent some time roaming the various grandstand and other ares filled with questionable, overpriced or just plain goofy products. The one we ended up spending the most time looking at actually turned out to be the Octane Fitness xR6.

The xR6 is a seated elliptical, a niche market I didn't even know existed. Since they were offering a free t-shirt if you listened to their sales pitch, and I was curious to see exactly how it worked and compared to my Q37e I agreed.

The whole concept is a bit strange. The main benefit of a regular elliptical is the lack of impact, so adding a seat doesn't really change that at all. It is more akin to the difference between a recumbent and regular bike. In fact, for the most part it felt like a really strange recumbent bike with some added arm motions.

I found the motion easy enough (if not particularly natural feeling), where as Linzy was too short and so ended up sitting far too close to the arms in order to be able to reach the pedals.

While I was testing out the machine, I spent my time quizzing the sales guy as to what problem they were trying to solve with the seated elliptical. It must be new because his explanations are ones that I would have tried to pass off from the top of my head. "Medical Conditions", "Seems easier", "More comfortable", etc.

The really crazy part is the price that they are trying to charge for it, I assume because it is the 'latest' model. The seated line of ellipticals runs about $1000 more then an equivalent standing elliptical (which are already pretty dang expensive). That seems like a big premium.

At least I got a new lawn mowing shirt out of the deal.


Read the whole post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

State Fair 2008

State Fair 2008-37Today I took a day off work so that Linzy and I could go to the State Fair together. I wasn't able to go last year, while Linzy went twice with others, so I was looking forward to being able to attend.

The weather was gorgeous, and while the crowds were more then I was expecting for a random Tuesday, they were much, much less then a Friday or weekend. We hit most of the high points at the fair, animals, schlocky vendor booths, free stuff, exhibits, and food.

The food turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. The best thing I ate was probably a twist cone, followed closely by half a piece of Vescio's garlic bread. I tried one new thing (for me), a Gizmo. It was a ground sausage, tomato sauce and cheese sandwich on an Italian roll. That sounded really good but turned out to be not so good and definitely not worth the ridiculous $7 they charged for it. Other things I ate included a sub-par bag of mini-donuts, some Sweet Martha's cookies, a few bites of a corn dog and some fresh french fries.

State Fair 2008-6

We didn't see anything too out of the ordinary at the booths. The Eco house was interesting, and we watched some dog obedience training demonstrations which was amusing when the young dogs were totally not doing what they were supposed to be doing. Since I had the same experience with Pippen, I could sympathize with their pain. I was also all excited when I saw a Rock Band tent, hoping that it would be a demo of Rock Band 2, but instead it was just regular Rock Band so I didn't stand in line to be embarrassed by all of the 14 year olds.

It was an enjoyable time and a nice way to spend a random day off of work just hanging out with Linzy.

[ The camera battery ran out an hour or two into the visit, but I uploaded the pictures I was able to take. ]

Read the whole post.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Full Disclosure

Late Sunday afternoon, after finishing up work on the shelves and hitting the local dog park with Linzy, I managed to find the time to complete my annual 25-mile bike ride in preparation for the St. Paul Bike Classic.

Unfortunately, my complete lack of regular training this summer sabotaged my hopes for at least holding steady with last years time. Instead, I put in a time slower then even the very first year I did the ride.

In 2005 I completed a 25-mile route in 1:37:04.
In 2006 I completed a new 25-mile route in 1:34:14
In 2007 it was 1:35:10
In 2008 it was 1:39:15

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that isn't the direction those numbers are supposed to be going.

All-in-all I am rather embarrassed with the clear demonstration of my lack of training. Like many things, there were always good excuses for why I didn't have the time to fit in bike rides or even elliptical sessions, but the end result was disappointing regardless of the (many) reasons.

Luckily the St. Paul Bike Classic is all about fun with friends, so as far as that goes the times don't matter one whit.


Read the whole post.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bookshelf Update #3

IMG_0584After a weekend off from working on the cabinets, Dad and I made lots of progress this week.

Most of the initial work was 'pennance' for messing up five of the sides last week. Thursday we went and picked up the replacement/additional wood from Brenden. Then Saturday we spent about five hours making new side pieces to replace those that we had made incorrectly a couple weeks ago, and then put two of the boxes together.

Today we spent just three hours working, but managed to put the remaining three boxes together, and cut back panels for all five boxes. That left us with a nice sense of accomplishment since we were able to bring all five units downstairs to the room and test fit them on the ledge.

Next up, we'll actually attach the bookshelf cases to the wall/ceiling and then get down to work on the face frame. I'm excited to work on the face frame, and then move on to the crown molding.

Some pictures from this weekend:

Clearly I need a larger garage
IMG_0582

IMG_0583

Can you really have too many clamps on something? Incidentally, this particular case freaked Linzy out, because she thought the wood we were using to keep it off the garage floor was the permanent back
IMG_0579

Tacking on the back panel with the nail gun. If you can't see me, it's cause I'm wearing camo.
IMG_0590

The new bookcases downstairs awaiting installation.
IMG_0593


Read the whole post.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Just Like Home

Last weekend when we were up north, on Saturday Linzy and I went into Park Rapids for lunch. Park Rapids has a population of under 4,000 people, and is more or less a typical Northern Minnesota town getting by on tourism and summer lake homes.

As we were driving down main street, we randomly saw a Khan's Mongolian Barbeque restaurant in town. Apparently they have four locations in the Twin Cities (Roseville, Richfield, etc) as well as a fifth in Park Rapids.

Which seems pretty random, when the other four are clustered relatively close by each other. My assumption is that the owner owns a cabin up near Park Rapids and decided that the tourists should lose some money up there, just like they do down in the Twin Cities.

But still, kind of strange.

Read the whole post.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Theodore Wirth

On Tuesday night I went golfing with a bunch of people from my group at work. It was a good time.

We played at the Theodore Wirth course, just outside of downtown. It is an old course, one of the first in the state of Minnesota. The course is pretty tough, filled with narrow fairways lined with huge mature trees, and endless super steep hills. They also threw in water (which you normally couldn't even see due to those dang hills) and frequent shoulder-high rough patches just for good measure.

I hadn't played golf for nearly a year and a half, so I was a bit nervous about the whole deal. Luckily, we were playing scramble rules, so we didn't have to use most of my terrible shots. It would have been very helpful if I had at least been to a driving range beforehand, as by the back nine I was making noticeably better contact with the ball and actually contributing to the team.

Unfortunately that better contact frequently just translated into longer distances into the woods or deep rough. And so I lost a ridiculous amount of balls (probably 5-6 for the round).

All in all, considering I hadn't played for 16 months and not for years prior to that, I didn't do too bad. We used some of my shots other then just putts especially on the back nine, and on one hole I drove to within 5 yards of our 8 handicapper who hits a really long ball.

Our team did pretty well overall, finishing 3 over with a 38 on the front nine and a 37 on the back nine. That was good enough to win the round, as even though the other group had a 36 (or 35) on the front nine, the wheels came off on the back nine with a 41.

I've never done a scramble before, but it was really a nice way to experience a course that otherwise would have been painfully difficult. While I wanted to at least avoid embarrassing myself, in scramble I didn't have to worry about every single shot. Starting a full 18-hole round at 4:00pm makes for a long day, and I was starving by the time 8:30 rolled around and we were finishing up the last hole but I would definitely play again.


Read the whole post.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Skunk!

DSC_2410On Saturday when we were up North, after dinner Dan and his dad had started a campfire. After sitting around relaxing on the hammock for a while, I talked Phillipa into continuing our games of Touring. While we were playing all of the sudden there was all kinds of commotion outside, followed by screaming and everyone from outside running inside.

When I asked what had happened, Brenda explained that there had been a skunk or some kind of animal invading the backyard! While everyone else went around the back of the house, I went around the other way to see a jacket being tugged across the front lawn by string.

After much laughing, it became clear that Dan's dad Charlie had gone out to the garage in front to get some more wood while everyone else was still around the fire. On his way back he tied an old jacket to his leg with a long piece of string. When he strode nonchalantly up to the fire, off in the darkness the jacket rustled along the ground making a small dark shape moving across the lawn.

Someone heard the noise and saw a shape moving in the darkness and somewhere along the line the leap to Skunk! was made, and everyone ran inside. Including Charlie, which of course meant the "Skunk" basically chased after them, increasing the panic.

It was pretty hilarious and clever, though I suspect it loses something in re-telling.

Read the whole post.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Up North: Water Sports

DSC_2377After doing our tourist-duties on Saturday, we all went back to Dan's parents house to do some swimming and other water activities. After getting acclimated to the rather cold water, we did some swimming and looking at the bass house, and Linzy and I did some kayaking.

After that, Dan's nephew Mathew and his friend wanted to do some tubing and water skiing.

Dan's nephew was learning how to water ski and that inspired Dan to give it a try. Here his sister Brenda is helping him get setup.
DSC_2333

Unfortunately, there were no adult-sized skis on hand, so Dan was trying with Mathew's kids skis.
DSC_2336

The pontoon, Dan, and skis were never able to come to an agreement on how this whole deal was going to work. There was an adult single slalom ski at the cabin, but...well...a number of people tried it and the prevailing excuse was that the pontoon didn't have the get-up to pull them out of the water. Yep. That was the story.
DSC_2339

Brenda brought two kayaks over, and we all had a good time paddling around in them. Linzy and I took them up and down the shore for quite a while. Here Judy (Dan's Mom) is trying them out.
DSC_2354

Tubing was much more successful then water skiing (except for Mathew, who did just fine on the training skis)
DSC_2375

After watching everyone else have fun on the tube, Nikki worked up the courage to give it a go. Fully-clothed no less.
DSC_2380

And had a blast.
DSC_2385

In that "I'm pretty sure I could die at any moment" sort of way.
DSC_2391

Read the whole post.

Up North: Pictures

DSC_2299We had a full day last weekend when up in northern Minnesota. We spent quite a bit of time at Dan's parent's cabin on Lake Belle Taine, in between Nevis and Park Rapids, MN. We also went into Park Rapids, up to Itasca State Park, and to Dorset, MN.

I took a fair amount of pictures, and while some are self-explanatory, some might need some explanation:


Megan getting ready for her first-ever pontoon ride, by getting strapped into an infant lifevest.
DSC_2197

It was a snug fit, but Megan didn't complain at all. She slept for most of the ride.
DSC_2206

Linzy and I saw one of these on the trip up north, it is basically a multi-person jetski boat. It is really quick and turns on a dime. Although the young guy driving it nearly swamped it trying to make a 180 degree turn at full speed, burying the nose in the water.
DSC_2222

This chipmunk was hanging out in a tree near the stairs that lead from the beach up to the cabin.
DSC_2262

On our tour of Park Rapids Linzy and I got turned around in road construction and ended up stopping at a random park and doing some hiking around on the trails.
DSC_2268

After Park Rapids we still had some time to kill, and decided to go up to Itasca state park to see the Mississippi headwaters.
DSC_2294

Amazingly, that is the entire headwaters. Even just a few hundred miles downstream the river a massive, but it all starts from this little creek. Plus a lot for groundwater.
DSC_2298

Linzy didn't have any interest in scrambling across wet rocks, but I did the traditional walk across the Mississippi river.
DSC_2302

The state forest had quite a few downed tress, as apparently back in 1996 (?) they had a major wind storm with 100 mph sustained winds and 120 mph gusts. They lost somewhere around 10,000 trees.
DSC_2328


Read the whole post.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Full Weekend

DSC_2217Linzy and I made it back from our weekend up north in Nevis, MN. We had a terrific time, and managed to pack a ridiculous amount of activities into the day-and-a-half we were up north. We caravaned up on Friday after work with Dan, through incredibly annoying traffic from downtown to St. Michael, and then spent the evening catching up with everyone.

Saturday was our one full day up North, and so we took advantage of every second:

We started the day out with a pontoon ride around the lake, then while the Phillips' all went to a family reunion picnic, Linzy and I went into Park Rapids for lunch. Then we did a little shopping and went to a local park, and afterwards drove up to Itasca state park to see the Mississippi Headwaters (which are shockingly small, even if you are prepared). After that we drove back over to Dorset and met up with Dan and Nikki for a Dorset House (established 1894!) ice cream cone.

Then it was back to the family reunion picnic to watch some Phillips-versus-Reynolds tug-of-war. After that, it was back to the house to do some swimming, kayaking, tubing and water skiing. If that wasn't enough, I also played some games of Touring with Phillipa, we had some smores around a campfire, and initiated Phillipa and one of Dan's nephews in snipe hunting.

It was a full day, but a lot of fun.

DSC_2205

Up North Pictures Post 1
Up North Pictures Post 2

All Pictures


Read the whole post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Upcoming Plans

Fall Vacation Cabin 024Just like the cool kids did last week, Linzy and I will be heading up north this weekend. Dan and Nikki, and their parents were nice enough to invite us up to their home in Nevis for the weekend.

We had a good time the last time we visited them, and since things have been so busy lately I am looking forward to getting away for the weekend. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and we'll be able to enjoy being 'Up North'.

Then next Tuesday, I'll be voluntarily embarrassing myself on the golf course with some co-workers. Nine people from my group are going after work on Tuesday to a course nearby to play. With 16 months of rust on my already poor golf skills, it should make for quite the performance.

In theory next week should also be my week for a 30-mile ride in preparation for the St. Paul Bike Classic, but since my bike's rear wheel is currently out of commission again, and I haven't even brought it in to be fixed that seems unlikely. Which is fine, since training this year has been...intermittent. Even compared with last year when I spent half the summer in Massachusetts.

Read the whole post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Ice Cream

Roughly once a year at my office, the office building gives away free ice cream to the employees of tenants. Last year they had ice cream bars and some packaged dipped cones. Being a fan of ice cream, this was right up my alley. This year they raised the bar significantly, and offered us free Coldstone Creamery sundaes.

My co-worker and I were discussing just what it costs to have Coldstone send half-a-dozen employees out to a business and serve sundaes for two hours. The crowd was steady the entire time we were there, and while I don't know exactly how many people work in our office buildings, three thousand seemed like a safe guess.

The question then was just how much of a discount Coldstone is willing to give on the price of each sundae in exchange for guaranteed sales of a couple thousand. If the non-discounted price was $12,000 ($4 per sundae) we were figuring it was probably 10k or so, which would have worked out to a 25% discount and free labor/setup/etc.

That's a lot of money to spend on the employees of your tenants, especially considering they likely have little or no input into the real estate decisions their company is making (assuming the office space is at least remotely satisfactory).

On the other hand, that money was a drop in the bucket compared with what it cost the tenants in lost productivity to have 3,000 employees traipsing down to the lobby at 2pm and standing in line for 30 minutes waiting to get a sundae.

I liked it, though.

Read the whole post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Battlestar Galatica

Over the past month or so Linzy and I have been enjoying watching Battlestar Galatica quite a bit. I originally selected it from Netflix as a series that I could watch at my own pace as Linzy said she wasn't interested in it. Then after watching the pilot/miniseries she was hooked and we've been working our way through the first season since.

The series is largely standard sci-fi fare, so I haven't quite put my finger on what I like about it so much. It certainly isn't as good and/or funny as Firefly, and features rather typical TV-level special effects, but it does have interesting characters and so far has had entertaining plots.

I'm interested to see if it continues to hold up over the duration of the various seasons and prequel movie. But we've been enjoying it so far.

Read the whole post.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Personal Finance

Earlier this month we got a pop-up in Microsoft Money warning us that our two years of online services would be expiring starting next month. That was a new thing that started a few years ago, that even the fully-purchased version of the software was time-bombed to stop being able to work with the Internet after two years from activation. Party like it's 1996, I guess.

The trouble is what to replace our (artificially) aging copy of Money 2006 with. My initial instinct was just to buy Money 2009 and continue on like we always have. Unfortunately I had read just a few days prior that they announced Money 2009 was not coming out and in fact the 2008 version was only going to be sold online and there was no set release schedule for future versions. But they are leaving the two year time-bomb in place.

Sounds like a dead and/or dying product to me.

So then I started trying out Mint.com instead, despite Linzy's valid concerns about security. That would be tolerably close, except that it is missing the only two features that I actually really want in Microsoft Money, electronic bill pay and investment tracking. That plus the fact that it only intermittently works with TCF Bank makes it a non-starter.

That put me back in the camp of just buying Microsoft Money again despite its likely limited lifespan, and then trying Mint.com again in two years. Except that when I actually went to order the $29.99 version of the software it turned out to be $49.99. Apparently 'average' retail price doesn't apply now that you buy the software direct from the manufacturer. Today they change the site to imply there may be a rebate, but it doesn't appear to be possible to actually download the form anywhere.

Another possibility would be changing banks to somewhere that offers online bill pay and a better Internet experience with Mint.com then TCF, and cross my fingers that the long-rumored investment features come soon. But that requires even more effort then trying to track down a $20 rebate form, in addition to adding recurring hassle to our lives since we wouldn't be able to use the Cub banks.

All of that combines to leave me without an obvious solution to the problem of personal finance software. The whole thing is quite annoying.


Read the whole post.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bookshelf Update #2

IMG_0561This weekend, my Dad and I spent two days actually working on the built-in bookcases for my guest bedroom, rather then just preparing to do so.

Saturday was all about finalizing the plans (which were admittedly a bit vague) and cutting support pieces. We chopped up the 4x8 sheets of oak-veneered plywood into tops, sides, bottoms and 21 shelves. It was a lot of cutting and absolutely no assembly.

Today we spent most of the time doing all the rest of the work necessary to finish the support pieces. That included trimming the top pieces to be shorter, putting dados in the tops, bottoms, and backs, cutting notches for the top face frame, and drilling the shelf holes.

IMG_0570

Everything was going perfectly according to plan up to that point. The next step was to finish drilling the shelf holes and then start putting things together and cutting the back panels. Until I was looking at one of the sides I had just drilled holes into, trying to figure out what its partner would look like, and realized that we had inadvertently cut five of the side supports incorrectly.

The wheels had come off when we cut the notches in the top of the sides, and we hadn't considered that only one side of the plywood was 'A' veneer. With a dado on the back, since we put notches in the same spot they all became 'left' sides with no 'right' sides. It was a stupid and expensive mistake, since five were wrong and we only had enough leftover wood to make one new support. So I'll have to buy an entire additional 4x8 sheet.

IMG_0571

With that, our bookcase construction efforts came to a halt. Instead we spent some time figuring out the best way to make a crown molding jut-out, and after some trial and error came up with a pretty good process. We managed to cut all five pieces that make up a jut-out and they looked pretty good. I'm excited to see what they will look like from the real crown molding (which is another inch wider), and when actually glued instead of just being held in place.

IMG_0573

It will be a few weeks before we can get back to working on the shelves some more, which is OK since I have to get the extra wood first anyways. We made a bit more progress then I was expecting, even considering the setback, and it was a lot of fun working on them with my dad.

[ Pictures from the past two days were added to the set (with some comments). ]


Read the whole post.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Boxers

The past two days in a row, as I've driven home past some townhouses near our house, I've noticed a guy standing in his garage wearing nothing but boxers. No shirt, no shoes, no socks, nothing but his underwear.

Now, this isn't on a back road or anything, it happens to be a townhome that looks right out to one of the main roads in and out of the development. In the morning, going out to get the paper, perhaps. Middle of the night going out to your car, OK. But 6 o'clock in the evening in the middle of the week? Two days in a row?

Seriously?


Read the whole post.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Money Well Spent

Today on the bus ride into work, I finished up the last bit of Final Fantasy 5. As I went to save my game for the last time, I noticed my total play time had just ticked over 46 hours.

I bought the game used for $20 and debated long and hard about whether it was worth that price for an ancient GBA game based on an even more ancient SNES game that wasn't even good enough to make it to the US. Turns out to have been worth it, I guess.

Now I definitely took my time with the game, spending a ridiculous amount of time leveling up to try to compensate for the insanely frequent encounter rates and overall difficulty of the game. And I finished not only the regular game plus extra bosses, but also the bonus dungeon, bonus end bosses, AND the post-bonus bonus challenge. That's a lot of unnecessarily difficult bonus material to wade through.

I did enjoy the game, even if it was a bit unforgivingly hard. Most of the difficulty came from the rather bizarre class mechanism they used in the game which required you to master classes one at a time, so that the abilities carried over to a super-class where you couldn't gain anymore class experience. Basically you spent time wandering around with a couple characters not gaining any class experience, and two mostly-deadweight characters collecting class experience. Then rotate the roles and repeat.

Next thing you know, three months and 46 hours of your life have whizzed by. Interestingly, by a rough count the 46 hours works out almost exactly to 5 hours a week (30 minutes each way to work, five times a week), ignoring vacation and travel weeks.

Read the whole post.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Book Loan

One of my co-workers who rides the same bus route that I do spends his trips reading similar fantasy books to the ones that I read. As far as I can tell, he only started reading them when he got the job downtown a few years ago, so he has close to an infinite array of books to choose from.

Somewhere along the line I got talking with him about how I have read a lot of books in my day, and which ones I liked, which ones I didn't, etc. Since I have piles and piles of books that I couldn't possibly find the time to read on a regular basis I have slowly been loaning him various series to read. Which is a surprisingly tricky business.

Like it does with most things, everyone's tastes vary slightly and so the books that I really like may not be the ones that other people really like. There is always the risk that I bring in a book and a few days later he stops by to say "What the heck did you give me that one for?". It hasn't happened that often, but there have been a number where I didn't need to dig out the second or third books in the series.

An added complication is I have a fair amount of books I read back in junior high and high school. Some I have read since, and confirmed my opinion of them, but others I haven't touched since. And recommending a book I haven't read for 15 years seems somewhat suspect, particularly based on the literature opinions of a teenager.

On the other hand, when you have 30-40 minutes each way five days a week, you can do make some serious progress on books, and anything is better then just staring out the window dully at traffic. So I assume even if he doesn't like the book its better then that.


Read the whole post.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Projectiles

I was walking the dog the other day and walked past a mother out in the front yard playing baseball with her little son (maybe three?). The son was practicing batting, and they had a little contraption that shot foam baseballs into an arc in the air, so that you could practice swinging at them. The balls went into a tube in the back, and then were shot out of the front one after another.

Anyways, as I walked past the machine stopped shooting baseballs out, so the kid ran over to check it out. He was yelling "It's stuck, It's stuck" as he raced over to the machine and crouched down at the back of the machine to inspect it. After a few seconds he went "There!" and stepped back.

Meanwhile the mother had come over and was looking at the front of the machine, specifically the ejector mouth. Right as the boy went "There!", he fixed the problem and a foam baseball shot out of the machine right into the mother's head. She was already trying to get out of the way, suspecting I guess what was going to happen, but it was too late. To add insult to injury she tripped trying to go backwards so it ended up looking like the ball hit her in the head and knocked her completely over.

All the while more foam balls were shooting out of the machine and landing near where she lay as the son ran over going "Mommy, Mommy, I fixed it!".

Read the whole post.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bookshelf Update #1

DSC_2173So, a week has gone by since I got the wood delivered for my new built-in bookcases and progress has been minimal. It basically all falls into the category of 'preparation'.

I put up plastic sheets along the back wall of the garage to protect the stuff from being layered in sawdust (to the extent that is possible). I also took off the old shelf and chair rail from the bedroom, and my Dad brought over tons of the tools we'll need for this little project.

The only thing I did that is even vaguely like woodwork was that I started trying to figure out how impossible the crown molding was going to be. Since I don't have the real stuff yet, I bought an eight-foot piece from Menards and proceeded to hack up about three feet of it trying to figure out how to cut crown molding. And it is definitely tricky.

DSC_2179

Making the template pieces wasn't too bad, and I was able to use those to determine the compound angles necessary to compensate for the spring angle without too much trouble (it was a standard size). From that I was able to cut one of the face pieces fairly easily. The piece ended up too small by an eighth of an inch, but for a first try I was satisfied. Then I moved on to the much smaller jut-out sides which need to be a mere 13/16s inch wide at the widest point with two different angles cut for each side (inside corner RH on the left and outside corner LH on the right). That was a bit trickier.

The first attempt was totally wrong, it didn't even end up with the correct cuts (it's surprisingly difficult to figure out which angle the blade should be at, which side of it should be cutting, and which side of the molding should be against the fence). The second attempt ended up with the correct angles, but it took three cuts to get to the right size, and during the last cut the piece shifted and so the end result wouldn't have been usable.

DSC_2178

Clearly more practice will be required, and that is the project for next week, along with actually starting this project next weekend.


Read the whole post.