Electrician for real!

Days, even weeks without progress, and then, well, progress.

So, 7:30am, the electrician came buy to scope out the work required. He’s going to replace the panel because, unfortunately, the builders of this late 20th century house put in the smallest panel they could get away with. The wiring will all be in conduit, to avoid having to rip out the drywall, and there will be separate circuits for the dust collector, the air compressor, the lights, the refrigerator, and the two sides of the work area. Also, there will be two 230v circuits, one on each side, in case I need to upgrade some tools at a later date.

Then, later in the day, just before noon, I got a call from Woodcraft. My band saw is in! Time to go get it, put it together, and not turn it on because I don’t have a circuit yet that can handle 20 amps. Aargh! Just like the dust collector – sitting in the shop – collecting dust without even being on!

Anyway, I think the electrical work is going to get done sometime next week which will make me really happy. Then I can get started setting everything up and maybe get to work on the templates for the first guitar. Sure, I could do ’em with a jigsaw and a lot of sandpaper, but I’d like the practice on the band saw before I work on the real guitar.

Electrician, perhaps?

I got word that the electrician might be out this week, which could mean I could have the wiring done before the tools show up. What that really means, though, is another spending spree.

I will need accessories for some of the tools, maintenance tools for the tools, additional tools that I’ve been putting off until this stuff gets wired, lumber for jigs and a workbench or two (to replace the makeshift bench I have now), lighting, and who knows what else.

I had thought that audio recording was an expensive hobby, and it certainly can be. Getting set up to do woodworking seems like a never ending money pit.

Building Electric Guitars

So I got a new book on building guitars called “Building Electric Guitars”, believe it or not. The book, by Martin Koch, is self published, just like another book I have on the subject by Melvyn Hiscock – “Make Your Own Electric Guitar”. It’s interesting, really, that two of the three books I have on the subject are both self published. I wonder, and suspect, that it’s an indicator of the size of the market, especially considering that the book by Hiscock is the one I see recommended most on forums.

I’m not even half way through yet, so I can’t give a thorough review, but I can make a few comments. First, and I suspect this is more due to the self published nature of the book and an effort to save on cost, the pictures and diagrams are tiny and not very detailed. Second, it’s translated from the original German, and it doesn’t seem to be a terribly poor job, but there are some places that seem a little off, making me wonder if the translator knows the subject or not. The book could also have used a better copy editor – but hey – it’s self published, and it’s really hard to get all that work done yourself, especially if it’s translated. No idea if the author knows enough english to be able to verify the translation or not.

Beyond the technical quibbling, the book seems to be pretty well done, and it certainly covers ground that the other two books I have gloss over. None of the three books are what I would call comprehensive, but this one spends a large portion of the book on available hardware, seven pages on how to build your own pickups, ten pages on tools, and doesn’t get to actually building the guitar until page 105.

And when you get there, it’s pretty complete, it seems, at least in comparison with the other books I have. There’s still no substitute for getting in and working on your own guitar, but he’s got lots of tips and tricks for doing the various tasks, including things like how to clamp up an angled headstock, how to make the transition on a single piece neck from neck to headstock, and others.

Which is where I’m at right now. I’ll update this as I work through the rest of the book. So far, I think it was worth the money, if just as a secondary resource. With the few books available on the subject, there’s no reason you shouldn’t own most or all of them, really, unless the book is a complete mess, which this one doesn’t seem to be.

The Waiting is Killing Me

It’s been a week since I ordered those tools, and it’s painful waiting. I’m used to ordering things and having them show up in five days or less, not three weeks. I guess it’s the downside to our “gotta have it now” society. When we’re forced to wait, we don’t know how.

In any case, it doesn’t really matter that much because there are two other things that have to happen prior to my being able to use those tools in my garage. The first is that I have to get the electrician out to my house and get that work done, and the second is that there is some old furniture that needs to make it’s way out of the garage and into some other storage area, like the relatives, or the dump.

The incomplete electrical work is my fault, through and through, for having told the electrician that I had a window of a few weeks to get the job done. I should have said I wanted it done asap. Lesson learned, I guess.

The furniture belongs to my wife, and she keeps telling me she’s going to send pictures to the relatives to see if any of them want it. She’s taken the pictures, and she promised me she’d send them off tonight. I don’t know if she’s done it yet. I’ve warned her that I will take them to the dump if they’re not gone before the tools show up, but I can’t really see myself following through with that. Hope she doesn’t read this until after that point in time has passed.


This weekend, I went and spent a pile of cash on tools.

First, on Saturday, I took a trip to the “local” Woodcraft store where I ordered two items. A Steel City 17in drill press and a Rikon 14in Deluxe Bandsaw. I’d been hoping to come home with them that day, but it wasn’t to be as neither of them were in stock. I was told that it would be somewhere around three weeks for the drill press. The band saw could come in sooner. I sure hope it does.

Sunday, I went out and bought two more items for my “shop”. The first was a dust collector from Harbor Freight Tools. It was cheap, and with some after market filters, it apparently does a pretty good job for the money. The filter I’m going to attempt to get is this one.

The second item I purchased was a stereo system from or called “iSymphony”. It has a docking port for an iPod, but that’s not why I bought it (I don’t have an iPod). I bought it because it also has an SD card reader and a USB port, and I can just plug in a 2Gb SD card and have more than enough music for a days worth of work.

So the only disappointment for now is that I don’t have the electrical work done in the garage yet. Hopefully, I will get the electrician out to discuss it sometime this week. I can’t run the tools until it’s done, and that makes me oh so sad.

The Beginning of a New Era

I haven’t been updating my other blogs much, for the very reason that the topics they cover either aren’t of much interest to me any more, or the projects aren’t being worked on for whatever reason, mostly because they aren’t of enough interest to keep me working on them, and I haven’t had much to say.

This one, however, is going to be just a random crap blog. Whatever I’m doing, I’ll probably mention it here. If I have political thoughts, they will go here. If I have books I’ve read that I want to talk about, you’ll find that discussion here. Here, you will also find my explanation as to why Infinite Suns isn’t getting done.

The reason? I don’t want to code anymore, at least not on my free time. I do contract work for Machineworks Northwest, and I spend a lot of time doing it, and it pays pretty well. I’ve worked on various games including Duke Nukem Arena and Guitar Hero III for mobile phones. When I’m done working on those games, at the end of the day, I just don’t want to code, and coding in my free time is the only way Infinite Suns would get done.

So with the copious free time that I have (about 4 hours a night), I am instead going to spend the time building stuff out of wood in my garage. The majority of that stuff is likely to be guitars. There will probably be some furniture as well, as Wendy has some things she wants. I’m sure that list will be never ending.

If you’re wondering if I will ever get back to working on Infinite Suns, the answer is a definite I don’t know. Maybe. It will depend on how well I do at building guitars. If my guitars aren’t shit, and I can sell them at a price and quantity that allows me to make them for a living, then perhaps Infinite Suns will see the light of day. But as long as I’m coding for a living for someone else, I don’t think it will happen.