Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bluebonnets Are Gone, Adirondack Fail, Fire!

No need to be nervous about the fire - nothing burnt down.  I'll get to that in a bit.
We were pretty lucky this year in the Bluebonnet arena.  It seems as though my mom's visit to Texas could not have been timed any better.  Given the dismal production of Bluebonnets along many portions of the highways around here, it was so nice to simply look out into our yard and see such an abundant crop.  But that all came to pass this week.

Friday night, I got on the mower and knocked out the empty part of the property, taking with what remained of the Bluebonnets, the big weeds and such that were starting to get a little tall.  Since my Husqvarna is strictly residential, if I waited much longer, it would have probably been an ordeal involving multiple passes and such.  Hey, I love to mow the yard but, let's not make it a job.
 The end result was that the place doesn't look all that bad.  Some day, we may have actual grass as opposed to a nice blending of green weeds to make it look like a lawn, but until then, this works.
So I have had this idea stuck in my mind for a few years that when I retire, I'd like to sit outside all day long making Adirondack chairs.  I've always been fairly handy when it comes to building things; I can swing a hammer and and use a saw.  I've even built a few things like shelves and shadow boxes and fences and such.  Having said that, I've never been particularly good at it, in a craftsman sort to of way.  I don't have the patients to sand things or wait between coats of stain.  But, wouldn't it be nice to spend some quiet time building some Adirondack chairs to busy myself into retirement?

That was the thought I had when a) I found out how much quality Adirondack chairs cost.  I want a bunch of them - like 20 of them that I can have spread around the various sitting places on our property.  And b) a friend of mine from work posted pictures of his ranch on Facebook.  He has this really nice flagstone patio with a huge fire pit in the middle, surrounded by at least a dozen or more Adirondack chairs around it.  Why should I wait for retirement to do this, I thought to myself?  I'll just build one now to see how it goes.
I consulted YouTube to watch a video on how to build one.  During the video, the guy mentioned purchasing a set of plans with templates on-line.  I went to the web page and ordered a set of plans.
As you can see, in addition to the full size templates for everything you need to cut, the plans have a materials list and it even shows how to maximize the wood purchased when you start cutting things out.
So first off, I now understand why people charge so much for these chairs.  I bought #2 lumber, knowing that the first one will turn out crappy.  Between the lumber, the screws, and glue, I'm already $45 into it, and that doesn't include the cost of the plans I bout for close to $15.  I also had to go buy some carbon paper (or tracing paper as it is now called).  That was $4.00.  I remember when you could buy a box of 100 sheets of carbon paper for 50 cents or so.  Computers have ruined everything!
So just to get started, I took two 1 X 8's and traced out the first few items that need to be cut.  Proof that I'll never be an artist, I couldn't even trace the lines on the template accurately.  Perhaps instead of drinking coffee during this task, I should have had a beer!
I whipped out my trusty jig saw and commended to cutting when I realized, holy crap, either I need a new blade or this is going to be a long, sweaty process.  What you really need is a scroll saw to make the tight curves.  I'll be honest, after a few pieces, I gave up and went and cleaned out the hot tub.
One problem is, I need to make a 28 degree cut along the edge of a few of the pieces in order to make a good fit for the angle of the chair back.  I do have a table saw that I can adjust the blade to do that.  The problem is, the wood piece is rounded, so I am at a loss as to how to make that cut.  Back to YouTube.

Anyway, I had enough fun for an afternoon and decided to do a little more research.  I also think I may start looking on Craig's List for people selling old lumber.  That could reduce the cost of each chair.
Friday night, we had one of the guys from work out to the house to sit around and tell stories of the military around the fire pit on Stoney Island.  Eva set up the logs and got the flames raising up pretty high in the air.  The bad thing about his is, you can easily lose track of time.  As it started to get a little chilly, we were all moving closer to the fire pit to enjoy the heat.  Before long it was time to be done and we all smelled like we had been sitting around a fire for several hours.  That's the problem with fires.
Speaking of Eva, this is a self portrait - her watching Swamp People.  Yes, she's nuts.
Oh, this is Eva's view each morning as she plays solitaire and waits for little squirrels to come play in the yard and for the humming birds to come by for breakfast.  This is her version of retirement.  I'm thinking maybe she could at least cut a few Adirondack boards for me while I work, right?

1 comment:

MsBelinda said...

I really enjoyed your post tonight. You had me laughing my head off :D

And yes...those chairs cost a lot and now I know why!