Pam’s box

January 14th, 2013

Yes, another box.


Paduak and wenge, neither of which I’m certain how to pronounce. Wenge is very hard indeed and needs to be wiped with solvent before it will take glue.

The brass isn't really worthy of the wood.

The brass isn’t really worthy of the wood.

Made for a family friend.

Nadia’s box

June 11th, 2012

Among the various projects I’ve been working on over the last year or so, one of the two that turned out really well was a little box that I made as a gift for the daughter of some friends. I had the general idea for it when visiting them, and figured that they therefore provided a good excuse to make it.

As noted previously, I find boxes and containers fascinating. While I do not yet have the ability to make really intricate puzzle boxes or the like, I do have access to a Rockler, and hence showy wood. If everyone looks at the grain pattern, my reasoning goes, they won’t be looking at the mistakes. Also, exotic wood is interesting to work with; the incomparable moment when you seal it and it “pops” is satisfying.

Anyhow, this is made from paduak:

Unlike some other woods that I have worked with, notably some rough-cut lacewood veneer, paduak is a joy to work with; it behaves like oak, while looking like sunlight in a redhead’s tresses (or something like that). It isn’t much of a puzzle how to open the box, but it isn’t immediately obvious, either:

The brass rod is threaded into one of the blocks of maple on the side. When it is pulled out, the top can be pulled forward with the finger tab on top. There’s enough friction in the works to keep the rod seated in normal circumstances.

I’m glad it turned out well, and glad that it was well-received by the recipient. Making it was useful therapy of an evening after work and classes.




What is claimed is…

January 23rd, 2012


that I finally submitted the patent application I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.



This was certainly an education. CAD to slicing to 3d printer prototypes to illustrations to word doc to patent legalese. I’m sure that even now some poor patent clerk (Hi, Dan!) is looking at my application in disgust, what with my insistence on writing almost all of it myself. It’s certainly the most-revised document I’ve ever written, though likely not the most expensive, as I am a “small entity” and so pay reduced patent fees. My senior history thesis probably wins the “most expensive paper” award thus far.

Thanks must go to BPM Legal for far more work than I anticipated for my money. Extremely limited thanks to the Patent Office itself for not updating their new published guidelines until at least two months after they legally took effect.

It’s probably not the only patent application with MSPaint-edited figures, but it’s probably one of the few.

Small things writ large.

January 23rd, 2012

My vehicle had developed the exceedingly irksome habit of failure to start (n.b. – as it is not a Rolls, I can’t use the Rolls euphemism for a breakdown, “failure to proceed”). In a behavior also endemic to my old Buick, the factory Passlock(tm) system often decides that I am an intruder, and should therefore suffer the pangs of a disabled fuel pump. Unlike the Buick, which would lock me out for 3 minutes, the Saturn caused me to remain immobile for 10 minutes before I might try my luck again. As this problem was electrical, it of course manifested primarily in wet weather or (important) cold weather.

After having spent half an hour in the driveway of one of my friends at 2 AM on an exceedingly cold winter morn, the issue finally got above the “put up with it” threshold, migrating to the “deal with the problem” level. With the aid of an extraordinarily accessible tutorial, I replaced the ignition switch in the steering column. The major caution here is to disable the airbag. I have this aversion to exciting azides being “live” near my head.

The culprit, and cause for the immobility of ~2900 lbs:

This rinky-dink circuit board/resistor combo. If it gives the wrong resistance value, the idiot-level computer brain decides that some yobbo with a scarred-up screwdriver and a set of jump wires is trying to make off with my ride. It took 30 minutes to train up the computer to accept the new switch/board. Worth it, though.

Fortunately, none of my neighbors called the constabulary about the guy disassembling the steering column of my car in the parking lot.

Cabin Air Filter

April 7th, 2011


Evidently, when they say “it’s time to replace your car’s cabin air filter”, it’s time to replace your car’s cabin air filter. (Note: as the name states, this is not the air coming into the engine; it’s the air coming to you.)

I need to get out my microscope. There’s dirt, pollen, spores, and seeds from something like 15 states in there. It’s like a particulate jamboree.