Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   if I was a bored teenager
Saturday, August 26 2006
It was another rainy late August day in the Catskills, and I'd arranged to see a shop on nearby Ashokan Road where I guy (a friend of a friend, actually) needed some help making a bunch of expensive aluminum interior doors for rich clients down in the City. I was considering the job mostly for experience with big metal working tools, though it wouldn't involve welding or many of the skills I really would prefer to learn. Part of the fun was just seeing what a well-organized garage workshop looks like, with its tidy collections of esoteric tools at the ready and interrupted by big mechanized workhorses, include a lathe, a "mill," a fancy compound mitre saw, and an industrial drill press. The nature of the actual work didn't appeal to me; it involved careful measuring and cutting, drilling holes with special jig patterns, and attention to fussy details, all with a strong emphasis on not marring the pre-finished pieces. I could see myself becoming resentful spending day after day taking such pains with luxury doors for the obscenely well-heeled. Also, once I heard the sort of money I could expect to be paid, I felt what little was left of my enthusiasm drain away. Still, I couldn't just tell the guy that I'd been wasting his time giving me the tour (which, by the end, included his weekend house next door, a remodeled colonial cabin). So I made noises like I was interested and even searched my ambitions on the drive home for a way to justify agreeing to do the work. Perhaps if I was a bored teenager living with my parents it would have been a great opportunity.
While I'm on the subject of dull shop jobs, I should mention that I spent the afternoon sorting and consolidating boxes of random things in the shop into well-defined locations. Deciding how to attach a taxonomy to the fixed number of categories suggested by a rectangular grid of small plastic trays is an organizational challenge, one usually done without much thought. I don't really know how I came up with this scheme, but it ended up being as follows:

large wood screws
small wood screws
brass wood screws
machine screws, bolts, and bolt nuts
bolts, nuts, and washers removed from a temporary vendor's tent frame
lag bolts
wire nuts
light switch and electrical outlet plate screws
locks with keys
small iron angles
screw eyes & hooks
expansion bolts & drywall screws
rubber items (device feet and some plumbing gaskets)

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