The Magician’s Notebook – Supply Staging for Spring

Magic Lives in the Shop

Of necessity, we must begin with a short discussion of Magic.  I mean the real, in touch with God (or Universe as you prefer) deal is the setting of our relationship right with Universe. Which in turn sets the tone of our Voyage Through Life.  Alignment with “divine winds” is “the groove.”

My exposure to more than the mass-marketed (and thus somewhat superficial) Major Religions took a ginormous leap forward when in 1970 a delightful woman DJ at the radio station I worked at (KOL in Seattle) gave me her personal copy of H.P. Blavatsky’s Treatise on Cosmic Fire.  That generous woman, by the way, Max Sartori, went on to become a cross between legend and giant in Boston radio, shortly thereafter.

Contained in the Blavatsky (a/k/a Alice Bailey) book was some extremely useful and powerful concept material for dealing with Magic of the absolute, most real sort.

Central to Magic, which I have come to learn over the years, is the process by which we humans, as loved students trying to emulate a loving Higher Power, involves mastery of creating first good ideas. Then we need to actualize them; workng them past the mental barriers then human barriers to at last, become worthy works in the Physical world.  (Heady stuff for a Making site, huh?)

The barriers are called “ring pass not.” No, I’m not into theosophy – being on my own search and discover mission – but it’s an interesting “lake full of ideas” to fish; as all major belief systems are.

Back to point, in terms of being a Maker (and wink-wink, all junior understudies of the Bigger Maker many levels up…) we have times best suited to the hatching of plans and we have other periods more suited to banging out projects.

Now there are two sorts of people, if you look: Singular Project Types and Batch Processors. Singulars and Batchers.  I’m a Batcher.

Which allows me to be very comfortable in what may look like chaos. Tons of WIP – work in progress – to put it in manufacturing terms. There are times when the supply chain is filling – and that’s what the holiday period has been about out here in East Texas.

Holidays are for fires and dreaming.  That’s followed by Planning incessantly.  The supply chain must be filled, and long lead-time efforts commenced. No one says you can’t “line ’em up and knock and down” so with practice, a dozen or three projects can be knocked out sequentially.  To innocent bystanders, it looks like amazing results sure as day follows night.


Big Projects Mean Lots of Supplies

With the temperature in the shop nowhere near shirt sleeves, I was able over the holidays to sketch out a number of Big Projects that will get knocked out before the hot weather shows up this summer.  Some of them will be just a day or two, but others will take some genuine effort.  Let’s go through some and I’ll explain the “supply chain” and “deal points” (ring-pass-not) barriers and obstacles.


The first “new area of Making” for me is Rustic Furniture.  Any damn fool can get on Amazon and order a few thousand dollars’ worth of Outdoor stuff.  But for me, the making is the Joy.  So I try to limit myself to tools from Amazon.

This week, a Milescraft Drill gauge showed up.  It’s a dandy tool for cutting the correct angles into rustic furniture.

Remember, as I’ve taught you before (unless you’re a new visitor) there are only a few major operations in Making of anything.  Measure, cut, finish, and assemble, though the last two can be pushed around.  (You paint a house after siding it, but with fine furniture, finishing shelves before assembly can make more sense, see?)

This was not an easy choice of tools, though.  Since Lumberjack  which makes the tenon cutter I’ll be using for the rustic joinery, makes a very nifty drilling at angles devices.  Unfortunately, it’s about four-times the price of the Milescraft solution and while heavier and more robust, rustic furniture is not a new Career Path for me.  Inside the 60-day marker before age 75, so trying to look at not more than 20-year ROI’s on things.

Speaking of the Magic in Making, though, I did spend a little time this week going through the rustic furniture plans in the Lumberjack Bit and Cutter kit.  Very useful and good grist for the planning department between the ears.

There was one other thing that came in this week.  Since we talked about the right tenon sizes: That 3/4″ tenon cutter is in hand now and it’s the professional grade version with the visual sighting holes to judge tenon depth.

The first project will come down to whacking the top off an old cedar log outside the guest room. Presently sitting on a couple of concrete blocks it just doesn’t look the red-necky part for our Frontier Land mindset.  I’ve had my eye out – when out on the tractor – for fallen trees in the 2-inch diameter range that would make good feet.

I haven’t been in a big hurry to venture more than 50-yards from the house, though, since the opening of White Tail Deer season in the fall.  But, at least in theory, that closes today according to Anderson County Seasons— Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.  We will still put on the orange out here, but statistically it should be safer now.  

Hydroponic Plans Advanced, Too

Picked up some great ideas when comes to making 3D printing hydroponic grow towers from this fellow over on YouTube.

You’ll notice, if you watch the video, that he’s keen on using white PETG filament.  Makes the point that PLA (regular cheapo often on sale) filament is not as well suited for exterior use.  Also, PETG is food safe, too.

So (back to the supply side here) my UPS guy brought out a half dozen spools of filament this week which landed in filament storage above “printer alley” in the shop.

This will not be the main emphasis of our Chillerponics website as the year rolls along, but it’s always better to have too much information (and materials on hand) from which to pull when you get into building in unfamiliar territory.

Shout Out to Robert Nelson

You’ll recall he’s another “Olde Man of the Web” like Ure’s truly.  And as a thankyou for splashing a few bucks his way to help keep lights on at his Dandy and Marvelous site, he sent me literally many gigabytes of information and a ton of it was on Greenhouse design!

There was one article in particular on the design and build of Chinese greenhouses that showed me the many ways I did my lean-to greenhouse off the Studio rather wrong. Way totally cool scoop, really.  (Donations to Rex Research can be made via PayPal.)

We will do the corrective rebuild one of these days.  2 by 4’s galore will be required, though.

Back to Food and 3D Printing

Printer Alley was busy this week cranking out plastic boxes for the sprouting trays which will be going into the hydroponic hatchery in the recording studio.

Not exactly a genius level design – just a topless box with a wide end of it open.  Two such covers (with one printed at 104 percent scaling) should fit nicely over the two pack of sprouting trays you can get on the ‘Zon here.

Roof Patch Worked Well

I get sick of my son calling me “I just saw you on the ladder on the surveillance system, Dad.  How many times do I have to tell you OLD MEN DON’T BELONG ON LADDERS????

That may be, but I don’t pay roofers $300 to come out and do a 20-minute project, either.  I mean, I’m generous and all, but can we get real, please?  (He has my best interests at heart and I do appreciate that, but sheesh.  I may take some of the camera network down when I need things to happen…and no witnesses.

Meanwhile, the Spring Spray Paint load showed up.  Consisting of primer for the metalwork projects, Machinery Yellow for the legs of the radial arm saw restoration.  And the spray-on beige for the side of the house where the Roof Leak led to finding where it was more siding caulking than roof issue.

I should get this “base coat” on today.  That will give it several months to dry.  Thinking about painting the house again, one of these days.  But the ladder discussion still rings in the ears.

New Tool of the Week

Very fair price for a new 1/4″ trim router from a new favorite seller on eBay I bookmarked this week.

No, I don’t know why, but lately I have had a “hankering” for a backup to my other routers.  Thing is, you can use ’em for so many things.  Put one in a router table and if you’re not in a big hurry, you can turn out all kinds of trim pieces.  But that puts the router in the table out of the way for rounding off work on saw work.

Then there are the guys who are using trim routers as the power unit for he-man CNC builds.  Take for example Ben Makes Everything

Not like it hasn’t been done – and if I could pick up a brand new small router for $40 bucks (including shipping), it’s hard to be a tool slut and not do that.

One other new tool showed up this week – popped out of my looking at Lifetime Carbide tools on eBay.

$10-bucks for this new in box (NIB) punch set.  Which is cheaper than the Glocke punch I bought a while back and maybe useful.  We’ll see. But that’s what drawers in the rolling tool chests are for…

What Really Got Done This Week?

Besides writing 33 more pages on my next book?  Getting that irritating tiny leak fixed? Besides downloading a zillion invoices and reports from banks and such to line up the process flow for jamming everything into TurboTax in a couple months? Sniping day trades?

Well, yes, there was one thing, and it was not a small one.

I disconnected Elaine’s separate phone line.  Which she hardly ever uses except to call her half-sister on and to hear from her boys.  Since most men don’t talk to moms on much other than State Occasions (All are over 50 now, too) I figured for 5-10 calls a month that $135 a month to the Century Late Phone Company even if it gave use another onramp to the internet was absurd.

We will also drop the ViaSat link when fiber lands…Spectrum is trying to hire a sales team to sign people up… I applied just to tell them I want the service last week… anyway…

I had distributed the internet connections over two DSLs and two satellite links.  So now, I have redistributed to one satellite and one DSL link.

If I missed one of the video surveillance cams, I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

I’ll use the cover of web darkness to get some ladder work done.

Now, go bang on something…

44 thoughts on “The Magician’s Notebook – Supply Staging for Spring”

  1. dumped the century late landline and modem lease for a savings of $1k/year.
    they lowered the net fees to $35 from $50 since competition is wiring the hood.
    currently with mint mobile for $15/month.
    will switch to tello for $5/month.
    not sure how they can turn a profit but it’s practically free. :w00t:

  2. “No, I don’t know why, but lately I have had a “hankering” for a backup to my other routers.”

    Nope! Don’t blame ME for your addiction! 🙂

    • Hell I would blame you lol if i could .wife can’t visit with you.. so I would gladly say it’s Hanks fault..or it’s G’s fault. Lol lol

  3. I’m convinced that George has an agenda to turn us all into tool sluts like him. My weekly ‘medication’ turned into this:

    Being a previous purchaser of their purveyances, I got a 15% discount coupon on this also. Now it goes against my ‘one brand’ battery tools, but the Ryobi equivalent was a LOT more money, and out of stock at the orange box. And this is a tool I REALLY needed (aren’t they all?) to beat back the ever-encroaching jungle growth.

    • I already am one lol lol.. I have the drill guide.. I was trying to buy the civilization reboot kit from Rex research that way when shtf I have it..

      • I bought the original drill guide more than 40 years ago at the State Fair of Texas. The new one looks to be much more versatile.

        • that is when I got mine.. in the eighties.. not sure how the new one is.. mine can sure do a lot of stuff… I think the cost for mine was around four dollars.. I got a saw guide at the same time.. bought one for my grandson as a graduation gift for him.. ( construction engineer) and it was way over a hundred dollars for the saw and router guide..

          I don’t know if he uses it or not.. but I bought one way back.. when it first came out for around twenty dollars.. I love the thing..
          the nice thing is you can set it up so that you have a permanent tool.. build a frame mount it on the frame then just slide your panels in put a stop on the frame.. clamp it down precision cuts and you don’t have to keep doing setup..
          like this frame…

          I did the same thing with making a wall panel guide.. set up for ten foot wall panels.. lay it flat set the door frames where you want.. the cripples and bang bang bank the wall is done.. built my house that way.. no crew just me.. build most of the walls in a day number them to go in place.. the garage header.. and the one wall in the dining room was the heaviest.. I did have to have help with that… helped a couple guys take down three trees to get them to come over and lift LOL.. a local concrete company seen me struggling with the header for the garage door and came with a bucket.. saved my ass.. on that one..


    My first experience with hydroponics was the year after I almost starved to death..I worked for a gentleman.. That was one of the boxcar children.. They literally grew up living in a boxcar. He manufactured furnaces..I had the plant build me big trays .. And a huge rack to put them was a monster and heavy..
    There’s an easier way .. Lighter and more versatile.. The fence post unit I am giving to my grand daughter for their greenhouse..nice unit works on a timed water exchange and it does very well.. The downspout is more compact and lighter.. Root growth is really good..
    Rain gutter is good to the only difference that I would do is beside the root watering system I would put a top drip..

  5. “Which allows me to be very comfortable in what may look like chaos. Tons of WIP – work in progress – to put it in manufacturing terms. ”

    I am definitely a butcher as well.. Got a stern talking to from my mini me about an elf cottage that needs to be done.. And the kraken hydrogen cell..

    Which is nothing more than changing the frequency to that of the water and hitting it with a Magnetic frequency vortex..
    We all know what has happened in the Bermuda triangle my thoughts on it is nothing more than a dual magnetic electrical vortex with an electrified field or better known as an electric fog.. Now some speculate its time travel from the memories of survivors.. Or did their brain just open to the frequency .. and Is the fate similar to that of frequency in a dual magnetic frequency vortex that eases the atoms to disperse..kind of like a bug zapper when the fly hits the sweet spot.

  6. I swap the Stetson for blaze orange headgear during hunting season. Now the numbnuts have no excuses to miss.
    I hid the last 6 foot step ladder from Diana. When we were getting ready to go up to Nurse Practitioner daughter’s for Christmas dinner she asked me to bring that ladder I’m hiding in the shop to the kitchen so she could get the big roasting pan down from the top shelf in the pantry………..BUSTED.
    Stay safe. 73

      • Of course. But she kept grabbing at my behind while I was climbing up and back down. Says she was making sure I didn’t fall. Suuuuure you were.

    • I have a foldup two-step ‘stepstool’ mini ladder that lives behind the kitchen door with the brooms & mops. That’s the ‘high shelf’ elevator for the kitchen storage.

    • For some reason, no wife, girlfriend, or offspring has ever cared when I went high on ladders, scaffolds, or roofs. I’ve done it all my life and still do. I can’t imagine anyone I know even trying to tell me to stay off a ladder, a roof, or a rope. One day I might regret being so cavalier, but so far, so good. Sometimes a man just has to do what he’s gotta do!

      • After giving my wife several chances to kill me by lifting me in the tractor bucket to do high tasks, I’ve reverted to the ladder. If I kill myself it won’t be her fault.

  7. Spectrum? I am on the edge of suburbia, and I can’t even get a land line with f’ing voice mail or DSL. All that is available is analog POTS with a j-box that goes under water every time it rains.
    There is a j-box for a SWB fiber bundle the size of my leg about 1000 feet from my gate, and 10 years ago I was told that it would cost $300 a month to get a bare internet service out of it.
    There are so many satellite customers in the area, satellite internet is almost impossible to get on.
    If it wasn’t for a microwave ISP and cell, I would have nothing. You apparently have some people at work for the county who aren’t too busy counting their kick-backs to promote services for the rural and suburban residents. Communication infrastructure in unincorporated areas of this county are very poor. My taxes are very low, and I have services to match.
    With regard to pricing for national comms, I recently upgraded the Experion monitoring service and used them to successfully renegotiate my ISP service.
    The net savings (snicker) was $30 – $7 = $23 per month. I think Spectrum is on their list. They also have SiriusXM on the list; I normally negotiate with them myself, but it will be easier to let someone else do it. My cell provider is already $25 a month for 35 gig unlimited, but Verizon and T-Mobile are on the negotiation list for the brand conscious.

      • I keep thinking of adding a StarLink setup for redundancy. But, my main sys is fabled “fiber to the curb” with a GB main svc wifi (being an early adopter they are now offering me 5GB. Not yet. The main attraction is being a hot totally wireless node in remote location. If the power goes off the fiber still serves. I have never (knock on red oak) had the fiber down. Per the Tech at my Coop ISP it’s akin to the ole wired landlines. As long as the distribution node upstream is hot so am I. We also were supplied with a large backup battery so wifi stays on 5-6 hours after power goes down.

        Backup channels include a VOIP landline and VZ cellular. Next level, melt down includes an old SW base and 30′ whip, and small form radios, and the SW, AM-FM from Ure advert. But, an uplink to the bird might be worth it. TBD. I was one of the Beta testers when DTV lit sat. svc. (bud was a hardware engineer and sent me the gear for price of shipping). We wonders Precious, do atmospherics intrude?

        Worker Bee youngster about to arrive so I will get to staging a few more sets of tools to check boxes on the todo list. World went white here ATL overnight. 10-15″ is in the long range. Bring it.


    • I hear ya.. We live in a hole all the signals are to high up. You either have cable or satellite.. A tv antenna has to be a minimum of seventy feet.. Many times I have had someone say..why not get a tv which point I point to a nearby business that has one..two power poles strapped together and a wood beam about 12 feet long attached to the top pole with the antenna on it.
      Now that Verizon switched towers cell phone drops off but still works somewhat.

    • T-Mobile has a fast and reasonable 5G home internet service in my area ($50/month). I switched a year ago & got better service while saving money.

      • T mobile.. I had it but to get a signal I had to climb on the roof with aluminum foil hat holding a coat hange to even attempt a wasn’t long before I dropped all cell line we had a pager and a roll of quarters on the fridge.. there was a pay phone at the corner quarter a minute..then the built the cell tower just outside town..

    • I guess I’m lucky. Spectrum cable service here with internet, and I supplied my own cable modem to avoid another monthly charge. Copper POTS available also that I do not use. No DSL available here. But Telco is aggressively putting in fiber now and I’m getting mail offers to sign up. There is telco fiber out in the boonies where there is no electric service yet, and the off-gridders are snapping it up! And that $30 ‘discount’? You are being played! The FedGov now offers ISP/subscribers a $30 discount to encourage service to rural areas. Spectrum notified me of it and applied it to my account automatically.

      • I repeatedly asked the ISP to lower my bill, because I knew they were charging me more than neighbors, and they refused. I was being played, but not by the negotiation service.

      • You guys are very lucky.. We were paying several hundred dollars for cable.. We have fiber options but that’s still 125 for cable internet..

        • Your lack of off-air channels means the cable company has you by the shorts. I am getting by with some ‘Zon Prime add-on subscription channels, and the MagicJack. In most areas, the cable companies are closer to the going rate for a bare internet connection than what you are paying. The 5G home services competition to cable have brought the going home internet rate down to more like $50 – $60 a month and less, but the service providers resist giving the current pricing to old customers. That’s where the negotiation service came in handy. I don’t know if your cable outfit is on the negotiation list or not. Once you throw in the TV, phone and subscription channels, cable does get really pricey.

          • I love prime.. Hulu and Disney plus..
            I have curiosity channel and Gaia I would watch them day and night if the boss would let me. I added the kids section to curiosity.. I have a couple that loves art and reptiles
            We had cable it was close to 500 a month for cable and cell phones I keep considering getting rid of them..

    • I’m just as frustrated! There’s fiber on my curb and it’s been there for 13 years, done as an Obama “shovel ready” job(done with a trencher).

      The damn fiber has been dark for all that time even though select places nearby are lit up and working. Several calls to the company but they’re not ready to “expand in my direction”. Less than 1 mb upstream is useless for both security apps and many remote jobs. This 3/4 mb upstream is what I get from CenturyStink, and they’re the best option so far. I’m considering signing up for Starlink though I’ve got reservations about wireless anything. At least there’s no trees obscuring the view here, even at very low looking angles.

      • The 50 MB line of sight wireless service is adequate for work and streaming. 5G home isn’t out here. The availability of the microwave link has been very good. There is no viable hard line of any kind out here.
        Now that I am being charged something close to the going rate, I feel more comfortable with the ISP. They can be deceptive, but their equipment is performing OK.
        Starlink is almost double my current cost, and uses a lot of power, from what I have read. My microwave transceiver, my gateway router, my firewall server, and my wireless access point all consume a total of 30 watts, which I use a 500 wh power station as a UPS to power. Since the last big winter grid failure, the local electric company has been doing a better job of keeping the cell towers and my ISP’s tower operating during power failures. I have very limited alternatives.

    • It can be.. I love downspouts.. Larry Hall in Brainard Minnesota..He had crappy soil.. similary to what I have.. when I built our home.. the company that I had hired to do the foundation took the money and ran.. I had to put a deposit of one third down.. ( there was a lot of that back then) so I ran out of money at the end.. leaving two rooms unfinished and the landscaping except for fifty seven loads of gravel.. and one clay that someone offered.. that is all the soil we have.. so raised bed.. I experimented with hydroponics.. still do.. wonderful works great.. I had visited with Larry and he came up with the raind gutter grow system.. He has hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe building them.. it works great.. I used down spouts.. and that works great to.. the first one was made out of fence post covers.. and end caps.. the down spouts work as good or better..
      the end cap is the hardest part.. I made a mold of one and now just make my end caps..

      then the pool noodles.. I used net pots but those work great.. but pool noodle is as cheap or cheaper.. and works perfect for it.. like the cube.. witch is a table that can go versicle the reason I love that Idea is your plants can still reach for the light..
      similar to this table but instead of shelves you have grow trays..
      I am giving the onions a try this year.. I have one grow table that will work perfect.. the best potato growth I ever had was in old composted horse manure..
      wow.. in a four foot by eight foot area I had over three hundred pounds of potatoes.. I have never gotten that again.. this next year I totally plan on doing hydroponic potatoes.. as a test.. the grow bag Idea I did last year was a flop..
      the plastic bag carrots is awesome as well
      Now.. how I plant in them is take the five inch pool noodle.. and then take a straw.. cut the straw in one inch lengths.. plug one end with cotton or soil etc.. place your seen in the other side.. then plug it.. now you take your pool noodle and a paper punch punch holes in it five holes.. in those holes you put the one inch straw seed container.. place it in the vomit bag.. I do have a piping coupling on the down side..
      hose goes on the other end.. then depending on what you use for the root structure in the bag.. you have total flow..
      I am going to try potatoes in that to.. hopefully I can get a good crop from it..

    • Pipe is cheap, but the fittings get pricey if you go beyond couplings and ells. Watch out for the new “furniture grade”, non-schedule 40 stuff if you’re dealing with real plumbing. It’s probably OK for non-pressure hydroponic stuff, but I always prefer real schedule 40, or if underground, schedule 80, if you can find it. Only schedule 80 can be reliably and “legally” threaded for plumbing apps.

      • I can’t tell a difference between Sch-40 and the furniture bits and I’m guessing for pressure under 60-80psi it’d be just fine. I use 1 ½” furniture grade, mixed with Sch-40, Sch-80, and sometimes PVC conduit, when I’m building field lighting, and have used the furniture grade stuff for the high-stress center couplings. 4′ legs with 14″ reflectors on their ends have had no issues, handling 80mph wind gusts.

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