First page of the Biking archive.

Spring cleaning? You too?

Posted by is9582 on May 8, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , ,

I’ve been meaning to go through the iffy wood in my shop, to “honestly” assess it’s future use. This can be such a hard process, as “this little piece could probably be used as a shim, or at least a toothpick”. Have you ever had those thoughts, and found a way to justify wood that in all likelihood had no chance at all, of ever making it into a project? Well, I’m certainly guilty as charged. I’d love to say this is the only time, or even the last time, that this will happen, but I’d probably be lying.

 

With this in mind, I actually put a decent sized stack of not-likely-to-be-used wood at the street, as well as an old run down air compressor (the $50 or less versions), and a couple of other similar items. I have at least a couple of old kid’s bikes, that will never get used by my adult kids, which I may donate to a local charity. I expect I’ll find a range of other items like old weight lifting benches, weights, boxes of books (ok, the books get a free ride, as they are the wife’s), and other stuff in the crevices of the shop.

 

Stack of wood ready for the first person who wants it.

Stack of wood ready for the first person who wants it.

 

It was nice to see some space beginning to appear, as I purged the first set of items, and gave it a good sweep. While I’ve been spending so much time restoring order in another’s home, as well as helping move the furniture and stuff for a future Germany trip, it might seem this “Spring Cleaning” would be the last thing I’d want to do. Strangely enough, it actually inspired me to get into a higher gear, and to get after it. I’ve found that it’s best to immediately act on this type of feeling, or I can lose my extra push, if you will.

 

I’m hoping to get enough stagnant stuff out of the shop, so I can better arrange the bench and tools, to make my work more efficient and pleasurable. Ok, guess I’d better go get moving, while I’m ready for it. Can’t let that feeling slip away….  Anyone else have that Spring Cleaning feeling??

 

Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by.

 

Lee Laird

New additions – an iPhone 6+ and …

Posted by is9582 on April 27, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

First off I wanted to apologize for more time between posts, than I would like. I’m hoping things are about settled back down, so I get back to a more consistent stream of information for you folks.

Now for the new stuff. I’ve had an Apple iPhone 5 since they first came out, and often that’s what I have available, when taking photos while working on a project. The photos it takes are much better than most of my earlier cameras, and certainly better than any previous phone, but it still leaves a little to be desired. Enter the new iPhone 6 plus (I know it’s not just breaking into the market, but I just got mine), whose photos look much better to my eyes.  I took a quick photo of my mountain bike, after I took a ride last week, in a sense documenting both the ride and the iPhone.

A photo of my mountain bike, that I took with my new iPhone6+.

A photo of my mountain bike, that I took with my new iPhone6+.

For those that don’t know, I continue to spend time with my exercise programs, which now includes putting in some miles on my mountain bike, and I’m getting closer and closer to feeling as if the last three years (primarily the two back surgeries) never happened. I personally find it is much easier to complete the exercise routines, if you can either find one mode you really love, or if you alternate between a number of modalities. I have almost always been one of those people that just loves to do anything exercise related, and even more so if it connects to a sport. I also found a really cool app for my iPhone that keeps track of my rides, giving me a breakdown of details after I’m done, including a nice little map showing where I rode. The app is called MapMyRide (my best friend told me he uses a sibling app called MapMyRun, which also sounds very useful) and all I need to do is click the orange “Start my ride” button in the lower portion of the screen. That’s it! I just click my iPhone’s power button to shut off my screen and put it into my pocket, and then start riding. It is super simple and FREE! They do of course offer an upgrade, which does have fees attached, but the basic version is absolutely free. Below is a screen capture of one ride.

 

MapMyRide screen showing path ridden in red, along with distance, speeds broken down per mile and other details.

MapMyRide screen showing path ridden in red, along with distance, speeds broken down per mile and other details.

I have another addition to tell you about, other than the iPhone, and its back in the woodworking arena. I got a Festool Kapex KS-120 for the shop. I’ve owned an old Craftsman chop-saw for almost 30 years, and it is one the old 10″ guys that hinges, but does not move along any rails, severely limiting the size board it can cut. For smaller pieces of wood, this can still perform the basic function, but if any have much width to them, you’d better have an alternate solution.

Festool Kapex KS 120 with it's sliding rails and superior accuracy, is such an amazing tool.

Festool Kapex KS 120 with it’s sliding rails and superior accuracy, is such an amazing tool.

This new Kapex (also a 10″ saw) can cut up to a 12″ wide board, is amazingly accurate, produces a glass-smooth cut, and has just gobs of functionality. Festool just seems to understand what is needed in a tool, and then translate their team’s findings into a tool that is easy to use, yet has world-class abilities. Oh, and when it is connected to a Festool dust collector, it is in the 94% captured range. Very similar in fact to their Domino and my Rotex 150 (6″ rotary sanding tool) has even less escaping dust. I realize I regularly lean towards hand tools, but I like to have an integrated shop. Power tools and hand tools work together very nicely, and I use each for what they do best.

Thanks for stopping by and please let me know if you have any comments or questions.

 

Lee Laird