Saturday, November 28, 2009

Troys' Workshop-- Mystery Project - Step 1

Things on the gardening front are a little slow right now.

I have several herbs that I want to research out and write about once I am back at a desktop, but I'm not completely comfortable with a laptop, so it gets real distracting. Not to mention the fact that this laptop doesn't have MSWorks on it. That's the program that I have always written in, then I move it over to Blogger once I have it all written. My laptop has some kind of freeware that works, but it's not the program I'm comfortable with.

So anyway, all that adds up to me needing something to blog about, while my herb research is on hold.

I am working on my Garden Project 2010. Using some of the strategies and techniques I have learned in the last year or so. I am planning a low impact garden.
By low impact, I mean low impact on the environment, low impact on our wallet, and hopefully, low impact on our time and lifestyle.

So in theory, what I want to do is plant a garden that doesn't cost anything, that takes care of itself, and is environmentally friendly. The ultimate, optimal, dream “GREEN” garden.

I understand that what I want and what I get will not always match, but I am giving it my best shot, so I have been scanning Craigslist, Freecycle, and whatever other resources are out there for the things I need for a garden. I will be implementing the concept of plot sharing. In other words, I will be growing on someone else's property and sharing the harvest with them.

We'll see how it all turns out. I have started writing up the details so far, Once I get a few more details figured out, I hope to start a regular post about it. Watch in the future for Garden Project 2010.

While reading Craigslist, a week ago, I found an ad offering a whole bunch of wood/lumber free. All I had to do was pick it up.

I did a couple of quick calculations and determined that this would be enough to completely build a project I have been meaning to build, so I called the number and made arrangements to pick up the wood. I didn't have the camera with me when I unloaded my truck, so I don't have a picture of a truck full of wood, but after I got it unloaded I got the camera and took a couple of shots.

There was a whole stack of OSB board, and another stack of dimensional wood, mostly 2x4's and 2x2's.

I also got a bunch of laminated MDF shelving and some vinyl coated wire shelves, complete with brackets that didn't make it to the picture.

So, I made out like a bandit, and decided that there was no time like the present to start my project.

Now first of all, let me point out that building things is not my strong point. I was the kid who spent the whole semester in 7th grade working on a birdhouse and was never able to get the corners square. I just never quite understood why the birds cared if the bird house was an irregular quadrilateral trapezium.
I figured the fact that I knew what an irregular quadrilateral trapezium was, and could identify my birdhouse as such made up for the fact that I couldn't join two pieces of wood together at a 90 degree angle to save my life.

But Mr. Singleton, my shop teacher didn't see things that way. He seemed to think that it was important for the birds to have a proper house, with cute little angles and all the sides the same side, and no big gaps or anything.

I have since been to more than one art exhibit where I realized that my birdhouse was just being graded by the wrong teacher. I should have taken it to the art teacher and got my grade in contemporary abstract sculpture.

But I digress. My point was that I don't do well following a set of blueprint. But I have discovered that if I take a saw and some wood, a pencil, a hammer and some nails I can build some basic things, and each time I build something I learn new things. Every once in a while, something will click, and I say to my self. “Aha, that's what Mr. Singleton was talking about!”, so I guess, it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks after all.

But I do know that I still am better off without a blueprint. I see it in my mind, and try to put it on paper, but somewhere between brain and paper, there is a short circuit, then, between paper and hands there is another one. Much better for me to go straight from brain to hands, and cut out the middleman.

I did a little research on the internet, to see if anyone else had ever built one of these, and if so, if they had any pointers. I then dismissed about 90% of what they said, since it didn't apply to me, and, armed with the other 10%, I sat back and imagined what it would look like when it was done.

I saw a mental picture of the project I wanted to build, and I started picking up pieces of wood, and deciding which ones would go where.

When I was a kid, I remember working on projects with my Dad. Sometimes I would know what he was making, but sometimes, he would just start measuring and cutting. If I asked whet he was making, he would just give me a vague answer. I would guess all sorts of things, but he never told. But he would let me watch, and from time to time he would let me make a cut, or pound a nail, or hold a the other end of a board while he was cutting.

I used to think he was being mysterious, but now I have some insight. I think he didn't tell us what he was making, so that if it turned out different than he planned, he would be the only one that knew.

I often will start a project, now, but not tell anyone what I am making, or how I plan for it to look.

So, if you want, over the next few days, visit the workshop with me, and see if you can guess what I'm making.

First, I took a bunch of the OSB board, and ripped it down to 18” widths.

I may not be Norm Vila, and I am still not completely at ease with every power saw, but I do know enough to use push sticks.

One look at my push stick and it's plain to see why it's a good idea to use them!

Next I did a few test cuts to see how many little pieces I could get out of one 2x4.

I divided it into thirds first, then cut each third in half.

It took a couple of tries, but I was able to divide a 2x4 into six strips each roughly 1 1/4” x 3/4”.

At this point, it was time to clean up and call it a day. I wonder how much I can get done tomorrow?

This post is linked to the following Blogs:

Expressly Corgi -- Get R Done Friday

Funky Junk Interiors -- Saturday Night Special


  1. Troy!
    You'll have to rename your website to mystery project! I have to admit I kept thinking you were going to tell us and I jumped to the bottom to find out in the middle only to be disappointed and have to go back to the middle and reread!
    But isn't craigslist the best place to find stuff.
    Hopefully it will turn out just like you want it!

  2. Good for you. I can hardly wait to see what this mystery project is. Linda

  3. Troy
    Thanks for coming by to visit.

    I have not gone back over to exp corgi this week, but see you did a get r done post, and that is probably how you found me.

    I'll be taking a stroll through your place now.

    See you again.

    barbara jean

  4. Hi, Troy -
    Glad you stopped by - we're always looking for new posts for GET R DONE FRIDAY - although i did take this past Friday off - Family visiting from out of town! So refreshing! Your mystery project looks interesting, and such good things can be found on Craigslist! I'm a huge fan of that site - and have found some great bargains there, and even sold a few items I could no longer use, met some interesting folks, and I do check listings out faithfully - don't want to MISS any great DEALS! Welcome, and hope you will have something fun to post this up and coming Friday!

  5. Hey Troy!

    Thanks for visiting! I wanted to let you know that I was finally able to upload a few other of my snowflakes and I put them on another post.

    I'm also a fan of Dave Ramsey! And I am a serious couponer! lol Have you checked out and They have some great things to help us save on their sites.

    Hope you can join in again on Get R Done Friday so we can see your finished project or even another project.