Monthly Archives: September 2021

Woodworking: Cutting Board Project

Since I’d gotten a table saw, I figured I’d make a cutting board. So I went down to House of Hardware to pick up some pieces of wood from the scrap area. I found some walnut and some maple, and I had the plans in my head already as to how to combine those.

And I will be making that as a cutting board. That will be its own series. That’s not this standalone post.

But I also came upon some pieces of oak butcher block scrap. I didn’t ask, but I guessed that there were counters that were made, and there was more counter than necessary. They cut the piece in half for me, which saved me some work.

So I purchased the maple, walnut, and oak. The oak would be my first project. This project.

The ends were uneven, and I considered using my plane for this type of work.

And then I remembered.

My new coffee table workbench has the mounts for my tabletop belt sander!

And I’d get to test how effective my vacuum is with this machine.

Sanded (below) compared do unsanded (above)

The sander did wonders–and fast! Consistent sanding for a flat edge.

Now, I don’t have a router, and I wanted to round the edges. I could use the belt sander for that, too!

rounded edge (above) non-rounded (below)

I continued.

I liked being able to compare it to the other piece.

After that, I used my DeWalt random orbital sander to go from 80+ to 220+ grit sandpaper. No pictures of that, though.

I rounded off the edges and tinkered until the corners met to point diagonally to the sharper corners. A router would have made this easier and consistent first time, but it was so much fun to watch the belt sander chew through the wood and the vacuum take away the dust.

And then I was ready to treat it with butcher block oil.

After many coats and drying sessions, it was finally complete.

My next cutting board will be from scratch entirely, but this was a good way to start.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-20-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 6A The “S” of L.S.U.: STATE because I found it interesting that LSU specifically was used. So I looked up Pao Roy, and it turns out that they went to LSU. Makes sense. Good tip of the hat to your alma mater, Pao Roy!

A themed Monday!

1A What lava becomes after an eruption: ROCKS.
60A What lava is before an eruption: MAGMA.
27D Volcanic emissions: ASHES.
43D Sweltering: HOT.

Finished this one in 6:04.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-19-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 63A Relative of cerulean: AZURE because I got it immediately, and I’m proud of that. Hooray for blues!

From National Colour Supplies.

Pantone named Cerulean the color of 2000/color of the millennium. They really cut it fine waiting until 2000 to choose it. But that’s smarter than calling the murder of Stanford White the Crime of the Century back in 1906.

The title of this puzzle is New Look.

23A Meticulous magical beings?: THOROUGHFAIRIES. Just because you’re winging it doesn’t mean you can’t do a good job.
32A Like some cross-Caribbean flights?: PANAMAHAITI. The first of two headwear clues. More on that a little later.
50A Journals of a certain stunt performer?: DOUBLEDIARIES. A better clue would have been Journals of certain game show contestants?
68A Possible reason for refusing to wear a tank top?: SHOULDERHAIRINESS. Nothing to be ashamed of. Be who you are.
85A Means of learning about Chiang Kai-shek?: BOOKSONTAIPEI. Checks out.
99A Inept dancers at Oktoberfest?: POLKAIDIOTS. So true!

116A New look provider … or a homophonic hint to this puzzle’s theme: FRESHPAIROFEYES. Because they’re other phrases when you remove the I’s.


Now, there’s 124A Felt on the head?: STETSON. And Stetson makes a Panama hat!

From Del Monico Hatter

Finished this one in 37:25.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-18-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 56A File type: RASP because rasps and files are not the same thing. Really disappointed here.

The terms file and rasp are often confused and many times interchanged.  However, a file is intended to be used on metal whereas a rasp is a tool specially meant for wood. Each of these comes in a variety of different grades that determine the degree of fineness or coarseness.


Per usual with Saturdays, no theme.

Finished this one in 22:04.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-17-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 55A Cheese whose name is a semordnilap: EDAM because I had no idea what a semordnilap is. I really, really didn’t want to solve around it and for sure not look it up because it seemed to be something I could try to figure out. So I stared at it and realized that it’s palindromes backwards. So then I tried to think of a cheese that’s a palindrome. Nonresultant. But EDAM is a crossword cheese. And EDAM backwards is MADE. So I figured a semordnilap must be a word that isn’t the same word backwards but a different, real word. Which, I guess, semordnilap now is, despite the red squiggly?

No theme, but some other tough clues from today’s puzzle:

18A Social protest lecture series: TEACHINS. Makes sense.
51A Monkey head mushroom, by another name: LIONSMANE. Now, I’ve never heard of either name.


Finished this one in 26:55.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-16-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 9D Famously sleepy animals: KOALAS because I was convinced that it was PANDAS. All pandas do is sleep. And eat. But those things notoriously get in the way of making more pandas! Even if it’s actually for a different reason.

Theme! I now understand it!

1A Christmas classic covered by Bing Crosby and Bob Dylan, among others: BELLS.
6A Kind of gorilla: BACK.
10A Second-best era: AGE.
16D Gift of persuasiveness: TONGUE.
51D Metonym for the movie industry: SCREEN.
71A Symbol of privilege: SPOON.
70A Forks and knives, e.g.: WARE.
69A Attractive older fellow: FOX.
42D Marvel character with metallic skin: SURFER.
1D Simple solution to a big pro: BULLET.

33A With 44-Across, bit of consolation … or a feature of this puzzle’s grid?: SILVER LINING!



Mike Tyson reportedly offered a zookeeper £9,000 to fight a huge silverback gorilla, because he’s Mike Tyson.




Finished this one in 13:45.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-15-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 1A _ Modern (London gallery): TATE because I went there back in 2014 and saw a piece of art and felt abused. See, I had thought that there was a patched part of the wall where art had been, and I looked to see what had been there because the plaque was still up. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t a patched wall at all but the art itself:

Richard Tuttle’s 8th Paper Octagonal. (wikiart)

Tuttle’s Paper Octagonals are paper shapes that he cut from a template and glued to the wall. The orientation of the shape can vary from one installation to the next. Tuttle intends that the octagon should disappear into the wall as much as possible. Nonetheless, once noticed, the work becomes strangely present. As an object it is ultra-thin, but it still takes up an awkward place between painting and sculpture.

Tate Modern

I lamented to my brother-in-law about how it’s not art to put white paper on the wall, but he said that art is supposed to make you feel, and since anger is a feeling, it is art. So there!


And now for the theme!

17A Socket replacement?: GLASSEYE.
24A Canine covering?: DENTALCROWN.
36A Batter’s additions?: FALSELASHES.
46A Old rug in a courtroom?: POWDEREDWIG.

57A Basketball feint … or a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 46-Across?: HEADFAKE.

Finished this one in 11:20.

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NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-14-21 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 63A Readers of mss.: EDS because I didn’t know what this clue meant. Now I know, and it’s dumb and I hate it. Mms. meaning manuscripts. And who reads manuscripts? Editors! What a clue. Good going, Christopher Adams! Way better than Helms and Asner.


15A “Everlasting” candy from Willy Wonka: GOBSTOPPER.
22A Teeny-tiny futuristic machines: NANOBOTS. Really?
46A Tale of woe: SOBSTORY.
9D Orchestra once conducted by John Williams: BOSTONPOPS.
13D Some vaccine shots: BOOSTERS. The dream at the moment.
26D Places to sign in in inns: GUESTBOOK. What do they do with the guestbooks when they’re full?
32D “Peter Pan” group: LOSTBOYS.

57A 2013 Best Musical Tony winner … with a hint to this puzzle’s theme: KINKYBOOTS. Because BOOTS is jumbled up in the other clues.

Finished this one in 12:22.

NYT Crossword Puzzle 9-14-10 Complete (contains spoilers)

I pulled out 6A Features of Sophocles plays: ODES because I hadn’t realized until I got the blue Congratulations! box that I’d done today’s puzzle from 2010. But it proves that for more than a decade ODES has been a go-to answer in the New York Times Crossword Puzzle.


17A In consecutive order: SEQUENTIAL -> (S)(E)QUENTI(A)(L) -> SEAL.
25A Just barely legit: BORDERLINE -> (B)(O)RDERLI(N)(E) -> BONE.
36A What a slow person may need: HEADSTART -> (H)(E)ADSTA(R)(T) -> HEART.
50A Slip-up: MINORERROR -> (M)(I)NORE(R)(R)(O)(R) -> MIRROR.

59A Fragile articles … or a hint to the things named by the circled letters: BREAKABLES.

Break a seal, break a bone, break a heart, break a mirror.

Finished this one in 7:29.

Woodworking: Coffee Table Workbench Project

I don’t have a dedicated workbench or permanent shop.

That makes things difficult when I have pretty much any project.

I had picked up a discarded round coffee table years ago that I’d more recently attached my vise to, as featured in a prior post.

But since I knew I would have to turn the table back into a table after using the vise, I put anchors into the table so I could make the process easy and stable.

This proved to be reliable, and I had used this setup since May of this year, but the table was just too unstable, and the roundness and rockiness of table were making for a difficult surface for other projects.

As luck would have it, I found another abandoned table a couple weeks ago. It just screamed, “I’m a balcony workbench!”

At least to me.

Under the street lights, it looked like solid wood.

Issues with it were the flaking polyurethane, the horrid design, and the aphorisms.

Clearly someone had put in a lot of effort, but yikes.

Armed with my new Vacmaster 6 gallon, 3 HP shop vacuum, I was ready to do stuff with less concern for making everything dusty.

My dad commended me for having R2D2 help me out.

Also instead of the 2AH batteries I’d been using for my sander, I now have 5AH batteries!

The designs were going pretty quickly with even pressure on the random orbital sander with the 80+ grit cubitron sandpaper.

I started to realize that it wasn’t solid wood but veneer. But that’s not so bad.

I also didn’t need to get all the design off.

Protecting the surface was imperative. This is the time of year I see a lot of termites around, and I’m not interested in giving them free meals.

I let the table dry before moving on to the anchors!

Penciling in where the holes should be would make for a reduced chance of error.

And then for the anchors themselves.

It looks in this photo a little more crooked than it is.

OK the vise is done.

Moving on to the tabletop belt sander-disc sander combo.

I did the same penciling in.

Anchors installed and ready to rock.

The sander and vise on opposite ends of the table means that both can be up at the same time.

But there was one more thing I had to install.

My benchtop table saw!

Pencil first again and then drilling out the holes.

I had to use smaller diameter anchors because the inside allows only for smaller bolts.

And they fit into place.

I chose that space for maximal outfeed area.

I expect to have lots of projects with this setup.

And my new shop vacuum did an amazing job. Full cleanup took almost no effort.