December 5th, 2016

Macbeth the Usurper


Jenny was away at her mom's this weekend, leaving me and DesignGirl to our own devices.

This weekend, I acquired a new project. A neighbor tossed a rickety folding bookcase. Score! The thing proved itself an absolutely wonderful practice project, and required just the sort of attention that I could muddle through.

The whole thing was badly made of butted joints and pneumatic nails. Over time, it had worked its butt joints loose, so I've chosen to replace the folding panel butt joints with lap joints, which means that this project is just perfect for learning more about chisels.

Step one was cutting new slats for the crossbars. Now that I've learned the basics of the plane, I didn't even need to sand the pieces. Just a few minutes with the plane smoothed out the saw marks. Sweet!

I tried a few different ways of taking out material with the chisels, generally improving my comfort level with them. Wow, these things really are useful once you get them sharp. I only just realized that they act as their own straight edges, which means that when you're trying to make an area even, you don't need to change tools, you just use your chisel.

The lap joints weren't quite tight enough, so I need to reconsider the way that I'm measuring, but they weren't terrible, either. I must be letting the scoring knife bump out a bit too much as I'm determining dimensions.

As the joints weren't quite tight enough, I chose Gorilla Glue for my glue as its expands as it sets, filling in some of the side gaps. Tight and strong. Yes.

I checked the piece this morning. The new slat greatly steadied the piece, which will make working on the rest far easier and the clamping a little less crazy-assed. (Trust me, my shop is something of a kluge.)

In other crafting news, we got our pottery back from the paint it yourself place. My bowl came out looking fun, joyful, complex, and on close inspection, utter crap. Yay for my first time! If I did this more often, I'd get terrific at it, but I wont' be doing it that often.

We inaugurated the bowls with big bowls of ramen. Yay.
Macbeth the Usurper

The Coelura (1987)

The Coelura (1987) is a novella first published by Anne McCaffrey in 1983. The romance is a throwback to the pop SF of the 50's and 60's, with great regard to form and little regard to function. There's nothing amazing about the story, but it's an entertaining enough romance and an absolute representative gem of retro fiction. (Arguably, since Anne got her start with this sort of fiction, for her it isn't retro at all, just a little misplaced in era.)

Accompanying the story are some gorgeous ink drawing which capture the tenor of those simpler SF times. The future in these drawing is indeed futuristic, with a European opulence poured on top, to give an elegant, decadent, and skin tight feel.

Our heroine is harder to get than she looks. Our hero winds up the lucky man. Some La-La-La happens offscreen, and in the end, there's a happy ending. But you knew that because it's a romance.

If you feel like something retro and just a little decadent, check this one out.