Monday, April 27, 2020

Avoiding Idle Hands

With the Governor continuing to encourage us to stay home, my idle hands continued gravitating towards the garage. With the kitchen for the Subie done, it was time to start creating future smiles.

As is typically the case for my gadget caches, I started with Baltic birch plywood to build the boxes.

Yes, that was boxes - plural. It's always more challenging to build several different caches at the same time. There's some process advantage, but since I'm too lazy to draw up designs, there's a lot more thinking time to keep the details separate.

I've used baltic birch with a seal coat of epoxy since I started building gadget caches 4 1/2 years ago. I've discovered the limits of that construction tends to be 3 to 4 years in our climate, so 18 months ago I started adding a layer of 4 oz fiberglass cloth on the exterior of the boxes. I figure that will add at least an extra year, even if I don't do any other maintenance.

The glass cloth should be just enough extra strength to eliminate (I hope) the weather checking that starts around year three.

This one is a design that I've had on my list to do for a couple years. The conceptual test had worked well, and I've had the bits and pieces in stock for a long time.

Turns out, the conceptual test was inadaquate. My design tolerances were tight enough that when fully loaded there was too much friction. I thought it might have been a high maintenance cache, so I took a detour and created a totally different design with the container.

This is another partially formed idea that had bounced around in my head for at least a year, but recently another cacher provided some input that allowed this one to see the light of day. It's reprentative of how I sometimes feel these days - a bit unhinged.

If that weren't enough, I got a bit wired on this one. We'll see if it makes people light up.

There's more to this one but you'll have to find it to find out.

All of these are designed to mount on 4" parking lot light poles. They seem to be safer there than hanging in trees out in the forest.

Cachers (including me) talk disparagingly of lamp post caches aka LPCs, but I doubt these will fall into that same category. Now all I have to do is convince the right property owners to host one of these on their lamp posts.

My anticipated road trip for August has cancelled for this year since it involved large international gatherings. I'm hoping things open up enough that we can go wander some back roads.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Time for a Kitchen

Our shirt-tail relatives at Glory Farm are building a kitchen this year. In an effort to keep up, I decided to take my woodbutcher skills to the garage and build a kitchen also. Of course, my kitchen is going to be a bit smaller...

Sometimes, I like to do fine finish woodworking. In this case, toughness trumps looks. No fancy joinery, just pin nails to hold it while the Gorilla Glue dries on the fancy two level structure.

The top section will have a flip top and a divider to separate the heavy stuff from the easily crushed, perhaps more important stuff like cookies and chips.

The only reason I used walnut for the doublers was because I had a left over piece in the scrap pile. Since I rarely draw any plans for my projects, it was less exciting to build the drawer after I had the cabinet constructed.

The drawer is divided like the upper section and is notched for a flat removable cover over one half of the drawer.

I'm kind of wishing I'd used oil based varnish for that golden glow instead of the water based (and water clear) version that leaves the cabinet looking pale.

Looks like these two pictures are out of order. Had to make sure the drawer fit before putting in the divider!

The drawer rides on full extension, heavy duty slides. The flip up top opens and jams nicely against the upper door frame when it's almost vertical. Sometimes you get lucky!

The shelf on the left rides on the shock tower at the forward end and an angled brace at the back. It will fit a 20 liter jerry can if I can find one with the vent in a better location. The unit is just long enough that the drawer pull clears the back door by 1/4 inch. No chance of the drawer opening by mistake!

With my kitchen done, here's hoping I get to use it this summer!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Have a Heart

As has been my pattern for the past several years, I took the Scamp to Quartzsite and Yuma for several weeks in late January and early February. On my list of things to do while there was to purchase 40 or 50 small ammo cans. In past year there has been a vendor in the swap meet that had 30 mm ammo cans for $5 each, but this year he had none - zip - zilch - nada!

I'd been day dreaming about putting out a themed geoart but with the lack of ammo cans that had been the basis (at least in my head) I had to shuffle a bit. I finally found a source for inexpensive candle tins that would serve as the containers for much of the series.

I'm a fan of letterbox style geocaches. The posted coordinates take you to a starting place and then descriptive directions lead you to the actual cache. This series of letterboxes was based on the concept of love letters. Ideally it would have been in place for Valentine's Day but it was not to be.

Dromedary Peak was visible from much of the area where the caches were placed and was often used as a baseline to orient the seekers.

The posted coordinates were chosen to create the shape of the geoart, and then individual directions were created from each of the posted coordinates to final placement. It took an average of 30 minutes each to chose a final location, take final coordinate readings, and write up the directions to navigate from the posted coordinates to the final location of each cache.

Even some of the cactus decided to play along.

There were occasional cattle trails, but almost always headed somewhere other than where the next cache was placed. Avoiding thorny stuff is a key skill for this series!

Sometimes a route would be obvious, other times it might require a significant detour to avoid heavy growth.

There's a cache out there somewhere - I'm sure of it.

Sometimes the obvious saguaro served as "signposts" in the directions,

But sometimes they weren't as obvious from a distance.

All told, the 41 letterbox caches spanned over 5 miles of desert as the crow flies. The reality was that straight lines between caches wasn't possible so the hiking distance is considerably more. Only a very small handful are near roads, assuming your definition of "road" is loose enough!

In addition to the letterboxes, Cupid put out 17 Wherigo caches - mostly in the form of preform tubes - to create the arrow portion of the geoart.

These were published in early March and have seen more traffic than I anticipated. Most of the smart folks have broken it into 3 or 4 different days but there have been some that did it all in one day. It's out of town far enough, and enough work, that physcial distancing for cachers hasn't been an issue!

For some reason the pictures disappeared from this post and then the post itself disappeared, so this is a rebuild for the record.