Monday, October 22, 2018

Fanciest Cheese Board Ever!

This project was a long time in getting to this stage but I finally got it done. If you recall HERE, early this year when it was still pretty cold in my shop, I started to fill in all the voids of this burl wood with a two part epoxy. It looked so nice that I put another coat over the entire top of the board. The problem with this is that it never really set and remained a gummy mess. So I let it set and gather dust.

About a month ago, I was cleaning up and found this project and dusted it off. The epoxy had set but there were boils and blisters everywhere so I took it over to a friend's house with a wide belt planer and he sanded all the epoxy off except for that in the voids. It looked nice but revealed some more defects that needed to be filled in. Now that it was warmer, I got out the epoxy and tried again though this time I vowed to not use it as a finish over the entire project just for food safety concerns. I filled in several voids successfully but then had another case where the epoxy just wouldn't cure. I cleaned it out and tried again. Through trial and error, I think that it just needed more hardener added than the directions called for. Why I'm not sure.

Eventually I got all the voids filled with epoxy and sanded down. The epoxy is clear so in the right light, you can see down into the depth of the wood which is pretty neat. I rubbed the entire thing with two coats of Tung oil. The picture attached to the top of this post is after I applied the Tung oil but before I wiped off the excess. The bottom picture is showing a closeup after the extra was wiped off. Now I'm just waiting for a cheese party to whip this board out and impress everyone.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Change of Heart

Yesterday (as I write this), my family met up at a local running race that occurs every fall during the countywide fall festival. I've been attending this festival nearly my whole life from my early days of selling pumpkins to these days just driving around, seeing the sights and participating in the run. Actually due to my previous knee injuries I don't run but I do walk.

This year, my mom wanted to participate with the family and so while others ran/walked various distances, I entered the 5k run with my mom and oldest daughter. We never planned to run it and didn't, but we walked the entire distance. About half way through, mom started developing a list to her left. At first I thought it was just due to the slope of the road which sloped down to the left but it gradually kept getting worse to the point I thought she might tip over. Towards the end she knew she was leaning but was powerless to straighten up. So with me walking on her side in case she did tip, we walked the last hundred yards or so to the finish line. I was proud of my mom but saddened to see such an obvious sign of the tumors in her head. She has always been athletic and could hike from sunup to sundown and now she can barely walk three miles on pavement. With the tumor location, this will only get worse.

Fortunately as mom rested after the race, the lean gradually disappeared and she was able to walk normally. While resting, I half jokingly, half seriously mentioned that perhaps my mom should get on the list for medical marijuana which will be starting up in our state in a couple months. I was surprised when my mom said she was already applying and had tried it out a couple times, through illegal sources! I was shocked but hopefully managed to conceal it.

I have never seen the need to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and still don't. I just don't think there is a system in place to regulate it so that people aren't using it on the road or job or around kids where someone else could be harmed by their actions. I've been on the fence about medical marijuana because I just haven't seen a lot of scientific studies showing it makes an impact. But as I talked to my mom about her marijuana use, specifically cannabidiol or CBD oil, I had a change of heart. My mom has been suffering greatly from death anxiety which causes headaches, sleeplessness and other symptoms. She has been seeing a psychologist and taking medication but neither seem to be enough. But when she took the CBD oil, she was able to relax, the headaches went away and she could sleep well at night.

Unfortunately her source dried up. (That is a story in itself but for the sake of putting too much on a public forum, I'll save that for another day.) She is applying for a legal way to obtain it but even that probably won't start up officially for another two months. But this talk has definitely persuaded me that there is a benefit and even if it is psychological only, it is well worth it if it gives my mom some peace from her disease. She voluntarily stopped driving because she doesn't want to harm anyone on the road if her mind messes up her driving, she doesn't work off the farm and us kids have flown the coop so there is no chance of us finding her "stash" and getting high. In other words, she isn't hurting anyone by what she is doing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Live Edge

If you follow woodworking blogs and such, you will see that "live edge" tables are all the rage these days. By live edge, they mean that the wood edge is left in its natural state (bark removed) which gives it some aesthetic appeal to some people. Other people have put two live edges together and filled the middle with a casting resin to create the illusion of perhaps a stream of water running through the middle of your table.

I've never done such a thing but thought perhaps I might try so on a much smaller scale. I dug through my pile of the cherry burl that I harvested last year and found this piece of wood. It really isn't big enough to do much with but does have some nice figure to it. So I trimmed it down a bit and made a mold for it as you can see above. I put painters tape on the edges just to prevent any leakage from gaps.

I bought some casting resin made for thicker castings, in this case about three-quarters of an inch thick. I mixed in the hardener for 16 oz's of resin, gave it a stir and poured it in. Below is a picture of it as all the bubbles were rising to the surface.  Right now the garage reeks of the resin curing and I can't hardly stand to be out there but it is setting up. Next I hope to unmold it and see what I end up with. The mold is only a little over five inches by twelve inches so I'm not sure what I will do with the piece if it turns out. Perhaps make a cigar sized box.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Rest of the Story

Although I didn't mention it in my last post, there was another reason I decided to rush the bookcase home and get it set up. As I had mentioned before, I forgot about the appointment and only learned of it while texting with my mom in chemotherapy. Mom broke the news to me that another brain tumor has formed in the last two months since her last MRI.

It hurts because I know time is slipping away and there really isn't much we can do. The oncologist is going to switch her back to using Keytruda which was the miracle drug I wrote about earlier that supposedly had a possible 40% cure rate and 70% remission rate for people with her specific and very rare type genetic mutations in the glioblastoma. Since it has been given to so few people, it really is jumping to conclusions at this point. The first time mom took it was after her second brain surgery last winter and in two short months, we found out this year in February that it hadn't worked.

It is such a new drug, that little is known about how much dosing or how long one must take it to be effective. At the time, the best decision seemed to switch to the chemo drug she has been on this summer in hopes of it slowing things down. Until now it has done its job. This would allow the cancer to mutate even more times which will help the Keytruda be even more effective in the future if we were to try it again. Well the future has become now and I feel as if this is the final stand.

I know mom is not ready and neither am I but the cards have been dealt. In an ideal world, I would have given the bookcase to mom for her birthday or as a Christmas gift (those days are only two days apart) but I'm not sure we will have that much time and so with the bad news she received today, I thought this might be something positive to her life right now. So off I went and now I am back waiting for them to get home from the cancer center and to hear word when they get surprised.

Friday, October 12, 2018

It's Home Now

Well there it is in all its glory. I had planned to let it cure another day or so but plans changed. I plum forgot about it being MRI day for my mom and by the time I realized it, she was on her way back home which is slightly over a two hour drive from the cancer center. My dad was there with her so she didn't go alone but I have made it a point to go to all of them thus far for support and failed this time.

But I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and take this opportunity to sneak the bookcase into their farmhouse without them knowing. I hurriedly took it apart into five pieces not counting the shelves, stowed it in our minivan and took off. I was sweating bullets as I carried it inside and put it all back together in about thirty minutes. It looks nice I think and Mom will by surprised.

Now onto the next project, whatever that may be. I'll have to ponder that so more.

Addendum: After sitting in mom's sewing room for two days without hearing back from her, I called and told her to go check out her sewing room. She went and came back surprised a few minutes later. After I hung up, she told my dad to do the same thing. Due to the location of the door, he ended up in the sewing room with his back to the shelf and couldn't see anything different until mom told him to turn around. I let them ponder it a week about how I got it in there all by myself until the next weekend when we came down for the afternoon. The both really love it.