Advice Really Needed

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As I wrote in my last blog, I have become interested in doing some hobby woodworking.  Whenever the lockdown ends and things get back to “normal” I hope to take a course at one of the community centres or a night school course at one of the high schools–in Ontario, it is common to run community programs out of the high schools.  It helps ease the financial burden on the school boards.  The benefit of this is both instruction and access to equipment.

However, no one knows what the post lockdown era is going to look like.  Will these courses run?  Will insurance for these courses or physical distancing rules make them prohibitively expensive?  We really don’t know.  It is most likely that they won’t run for this year.

I took stock of my equipment and I have enough pieces to do some hobby work.  The only tough one is the band saw.  I got a band saw from a friend when he decided the band saw wasn’t safe enough to have around his children.  He had bought it used at a garage sale.

I took a look at it and it is going to need some cleaning, oiling, and I am going to have to replace the blade.  My only question is, should I?  It would be infinitely easier to just buy a whole new saw.  It would also be more expensive.  I just don’t know enough about saws and their maintenance to make an informed decision.

I could also buy a table saw, which seems less intimidating and would probably make straight cuts.  Yet, if I go down that route, I could end up with a lot of expensive dust collectors, or worse massive credit card bills.

Readers, I would love your advice.

Bitten Again

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It has been a year since I wrote in this blog.  I haven’t given up my hobbies, I have just been pouring all my blogging energy into my other blog.

I have been bitten by the hobby bug again.  I want to become a Maker.  I am not sure why I put a capital M on that, but being a Maker looks better than being a maker.  I have always wanted to make a clear resin container for the gearshift knob from my first car.  I kept it when we sent the car to the scrap heap.  I had always liked those clear paperweights, but didn’t know what they were called.

So, I searched YouTube and found out that they make them out of epoxy nowadays.  I found a whole bunch of people with incredible shops full of the best and most amazing tools turning out cool projects on a weekly basis.  They’ve got dedicated shops and shops crammed into one and two car garages.  They’ve got it all.

These videos cause a bit of envy, but I also know that the pressure to create, and the pressure to maintain an audience is high.  I also see that companies that do sponsorship for these channels seem to be demanding more explicit advertising.  A quick glimpse of the product is no long enough to warrant the amount of money these companies are spending to provide the tools.

So, I do what I always do.  I have bought a woodworking magazine and watched a bunch more videos.  I would have taken a whole stack of magazines out of the library–but thanks to Covid-19 or the Coronavirus, the library is closed.  I have gone to Amazon and made out a list of books I might buy–then again, I hope that I can just take then out of the library at first.  While some might be worth having, others may not.  Others may not be appropriate for my low skill level.

I don’t have a lot of tools, but I probably have enough to make a box or so some stuff with epoxy.  I am certainly not going to rush out and buy a cabinet saw, a drill press, a router, a jointer, a planer, a spindle sander, and a mitre saw–though of course I want to .

For that matter, I am not really sure what I want to build.  I was thinking of a planter for the back yard.  I wouldn’t mind building a jewelry box for my girlfriend–but that might be a curse because she might be expecting me to fill it also.

I’ve got a band saw–but it would need a new blade.  I’ve got a router table, a jig saw, and a detail sander. I also have a drill.   I am sure I could put something together.

Any advice you could give me about tools, or easy beginner projects would be wonderful.  I would be interested in books or videos–also if you could get me sponsored by a Canadian tool company, that wouldn’t hurt either.   Conversely, if you have a way to discourage me from starting another hobby, that would also be appreciated.

Going Back to the Hobby Shop

A quick check on this blog reveals that I haven’t written anything in eleven months.  That is far too long and kind of sad.  After all, this was my flagship blog.   I even transferred it from one platform to another.

The subject of today’s blog is the train shop.  I visited George’s Trains today for the first time in over a year.  And, well, things seem a bit off.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew something just wasn’t quite the same.

They’ve moved some products around.  The N scale stuff that I was interested in had moved and there were far fewer pieces around.  The HO scale stuff was still pretty abundant, but there did seem to be a bit less of it.  They still had a huge selection of magazines and books for sale, but it just seemed like there was less.

I also noticed that the prices of stuff had really jumped.  While the engines had always commanded a high price, the rolling stock seemed to be moving in that direction also.  A lot of what I saw was double the price it was five years ago.

I walked around in a bit of dismay.  Is this what the internet has done?  Or is this just the reality of the hobby now?  Are the aging train lovers not being replaced by a new generation?

Maybe I am one of the causes of the problem.  I walked out of the store without buying anything.  I also walked out without really considering buying anything.

What Coke Has Produced

I’ve been seeing these Coke ads for quite a while now, but never tasted them.  I think I was put off by the small cans and the fact that I haven’t seen them in the dollar store fridges yet.

I love Cherry Coke, so I was somewhat interested in these things.  I wasn’t particularly clear why they had to be diet, but I am not in charge of that billion dollar enterprise.  However, I have two words that should send shivers down their spines.  New Coke.

I finally decided to try these.  I am trying to cut down on pop (or soda or whatever you call those fizzy drinks with tons of sugar) and maybe drinks without calories is a good idea.  At the very least, if I hate them, maybe they will dissuade me from drinking any fizzy drinks again.

The Cherry version wasn’t bad.  It still had that horrible aftertaste.  We can put people on the moon (allegedly), we can get anyone elected president of the US, we can make purple ketchup, but we can’t get rid of that?  Really?  Really?

I will drink this one again, but once it’s gone, I will probably switch to cherry Pepsi…gasp, until some genius finds a way to bring Cherry Coke back to Canadian stores–and not Cherry Coke Zero.

The Orange version was much worse. I actually felt ill afterwards and I don’t know if I will drink another one.  Oh no!  They’re going to be in my fridge forever, just like that jar of pickles.

 

The Honda CB750F

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Just a quick progress report on my hobby of model making. I decided on not starting the Junyo aircraft carrier because I wasn’t sure what colour I should paint it.  Instead I decided to do a Tamiya motorcycle.  I have always enjoyed these builds.  I also appreciate that they supply some of the wiring for the engine.

I got the parts cleaned off and prepped for painting.  I also took a good look at the instructions.  I find it never hurts to look at all of the steps first.  I might save you a headache in the end.

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I am energized by the work I have done so far.  Hopefully, I can continue without becoming discouraged.

 

Hobby Store Questions

Today, I had time to ponder a question. What do you want your hobby store to be?

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Do you want to find it in your shopping mall, in a dark corner of a subway concourse, in a suburban strip mall, or tucked away in an industrial section of town. I can find hobby shops in all of these places in the metropolitan Toronto area.  Prices seem to be cheaper in the industrial area, but less convenient to get to, and somewhat dark.

Do you want it to cover the full diversity of hobbies, or do you want it specialized? I prefer the specialized stores, even though they tend to be somewhat overwhelming in nature.  I think I just prefer the directness of the advice rather than the some general knowledge.

What made me ponder this question. Today I went to a hobby store that I hadn’t been to in many years.  They have moved shop from a bigger location or they shrunk from two stores to one.  I am not sure and I don’t want to speculate.  They have a lot of stuff crammed into the one store and it got me thinking.

They had trains (HO and N) model kits (gundam, cars, military) RC (boats, planes, and cars in multiple scales). and rocket kits.  Of course they had paint, glue, tools, fuel, spare parts, balsa wood, and even a few jigsaw puzzles.  Really, a lot of stuff…just nothing I was looking for today except some paint.

It was still fun to wander around the aisles and ponder what I could do next…if I didn’t have so many projects and hobbies to do next.

 

A Question of Paint

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So, I am going to build the Tamiya 1700 Junyo waterline aircraft carrier.  It’s a nice little kit and I am pretty excited about it.

One small, slightly worrying snag, though.  The kit art makes it seem like the ship is green.  When I consulted people online, they also claimed that it was green.  However, the instructions clearly call for the hull to be grey–I even checked the Japanese instructions and they agree that it should be grey.

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What should I do?