What Have I Been Smoking?
Some things I have smoked since my last Rambling Session that come to mind first are:
- Eighty5 Cigars El Patron - I went into this cigar with low expectations. I often feel this way about cigars bearing the name of a sports figure or celebrity. However, this cigar delivered a nice flavor profile with perfect performance. Definitely not a gimmick
- Illusione Original Documents Corojo ~68~ - I have smoked a couple of these guys recently. They are a great little cigar that packs plenty of flavor into a short format.
- Lampert 1675 Edicion Azul Robusto - I haven’t smoked one of these in a bit, but since I smoked one the other day, it's been on my mind. Seriously a super solid cigar with a profile right up my alley.
- Casa Cuevas Connecticut Robusto - Casa Cuevas make real good cigars that don’t get a ton of hype. Their core line Connecticut may be one of my favorite Connecticut wrapped cigars. Super solid, super affordable.
What’s on the Bench?
Well, I am still working on this Black Walnut toy cubby. It has been a lot of work trying to clean up and square these rough boards. It took several sessions of hand plane work just to get the boards flattened out well enough to determine what would be usable. It then took another few hours to plane the 4 boards that make up the outer case of the cubby square and to a consistent thickness. However, I am to a point now that I can begin laying out the dovetails and start joining.
This has definitely been a process. At first, I thought using the rough lumber was a smart decision - and I still stand by it - due to the cost of Black Walnut, but I have second guessed the choice a few times. After making some estimates based on the most recent (August 2022) price sheet I saw from the mill I prefer, I would have spent around $240 for the lumber to build this cubby. Personally, I like free. That being said, I am fairly confident the cubby would be done if I just bought the lumber because they plane and rip your boards for free at the mill, so I would’ve just had to cut my lengths and start joining instead of spending many hours hand planing bowed, cupped, and twisted rough cut lumber.
However, I honestly am happy with the route I elected to go. It has been a learning experience and I also feel good knowing that when it’s done that I can say I put a lot of time and sweat into turning rough lumber into a piece of furniture, by hand, for my daughter. I have definitely improved my planing skills and overall feel for the work, along with understanding the wood and how to manage tricky grain, because there has been some tricky grain in these boards. I also enjoy the physicality of the work. Right now when I have the free time to work in the garage, it is at the expense of other activities, including exercise. With the work that has gone into this project thus far, I definitely can say that I am getting at least some exercise.
Now I am a reasonable man, and another lesson learned from this is that I do need to invest in a benchtop planer. Again, I am glad I tackled this by hand, but it really isn’t practical when there are several boards to take care of. My train of thought throughout this process has gone from “Man, I got free walnut and a couple hand-me-down hand planes - I got this!” to “I wonder how much I would’ve spent for this lumber at the mill. Oh, $240 isn’t really that bad…” to “This will be the last time I deal with stuff this rough.” and finally “Actually, for how rough this was, it was still worth the work for being free, but I imagine I could pick up a benchtop planer for a decent price.”
I think that last thought is where I’m at now. With the shape some of the boards were in, I likely would still have had to do some hand planing to them to really get them true, but that’s great - I prefer to work by hand. However, running them through the planer would’ve saved a lot of time and energy. Plus, having the planer won’t deter me as much from tackling super rough lumber again. So I guess I will be doing some looking in the future for a second hand planer.
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I was on a stretch there where I was listening more to podcasts than music. I enjoy following The Hoop Collective and The Lowe Post to stay up to date with basketball. Especially with some of the trade deadline craziness. Both of those shows do a great job of discussing recent news in the league and I enjoy hearing the commentary and predictions.
Some of my predictions:
Luka and Kyrie are going to kill it together, but it won’t amount to much. Kyrie isn’t what the Mavericks needed and I think that when the dust settles, Kyrie and Luka will have some trouble making it work.
The suns are scary… but I don’t think they’re the favorites in the west just because they got KD. I don’t know about their depth, health, and stability.
I think Jae Crowder was a nice pickup for the Bucks and they’re looking a little more intimidating for the postseason. That being said, the Celtics took them to OT with 4 starters out.. Muscala added some depth at the 5 and Derek white is on a tear lately. These two teams are getting more exciting.
The Nets are going to be fun to watch. They may not have a “superstar” anymore, but they have a freaking solid starting 5, and I think a couple stars could emerge - cough - Claxton and Bridges - cough.
Lee Roy Parnell is the man. After a couple weeks of mainly podcasts, I have been on a Lee Roy Parnell kick lately. I have always enjoyed the classics like “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am”, “Tender Moment”, and “On the Road”, but he's really got some gems. The whole Love Without Mercy album is killer. He’s really got a great voice, the lyrics are solid, the music is a classic Texas Country feel of the time, he’s a hell of a guitarist, and I always have a soft spot for red hair. Like I said, I’ve listened to some of his more popular stuff for forever, and I knew he was a good guitar player, but the more I dig, the more impressed I am with him and his music. Very knowledgeable, very skilled, and seems like a great guy. He makes me want to learn to play slide (but every time I think I want to play slide, I remember I just suck at slide).
Speaking of me playing - I am starting to play a bit more these days. It was difficult there for a bit. When our daughter was a newborn, I didn’t play a whole lot. I was either preoccupied with something else, or was trying to be quiet, or just wanted to sit and chill when I had a second. Once she started getting around more, it was harder to play because she loved when I got the guitar out and would come right over and want to play it with me - which made it hard to “actually” play. Now she still loves it, but usually she’ll come over for a few minutes, dance around, then go play with something else till I do something that gets her attention again. It's been nice to be able to play a little more, and especially nice not worrying about being too loud (the reason why I often wouldn’t bother playing while she napped, or I would sneak a few minutes in on the electric - not plugged in - before I’d leave for work).
Well, that’s probably good for now. Thanks for reading, and please comment below if you have anything to say!