So I feel like I shaped my first boards today. I'm glueing in my stringers in the first batch of Dow blanks tomorrow, which means that I can shape 'em soon. I have to plane out my last 5 Clark Foam blanks, and switch the planer blades out to the new ones for the Dow foam. Anyway, I shaped Smokey's board today for Nica. It was the first one in the new shaping bay. I was figuring that I've build at least 8 bays in my career so far, and I think this is the first time I REALLY feel like I got it perfect. My chiropractor told me to raise the racks an inch, and I did. It's soooo nice. Plus, hooking up lights with the perfect shadows is kinda tricky, I usually settle and adjust to what I've set up. But as I cut out Smokey's concaves, I realized just how sweet I could see everything. It's another of those humbling moments, where it's like WOW! Look at how the bay COULD have been set up all this time. But, I'm soo stoked. The shaping machine finally made it through customs, and got delivered yesterday! Tommy came straight over and we got it set up. So, I'm checking off the very last few items on my re-tooling list. I feel good. Plus, I actually got paid for the first time in six weeks, sweet. Oh, and I found out I'm going to Hawaii in April, my first surf trip since 2000, way too long. Aaiight, the commercial's over and American Idol is back on (Nicole thinks she's one of the judges) gotta go.
If you start this one, I hope you have some time to burn. Well, it's another sleepless night here. I'm soooo close to reaching my goal of getting back to work, I'll get back to that, but the wheels are SPINNING up there tonight. I guess it's because I was all wound up before we laid down, and just wanted to get to the shop. I start thinking about things to do at work, and can't sleep. Then I have this gnarly habbit of cracking my ankle (old skate injury, actually the reason I NEVER skate anymore) and Nicole couldn't take it, I got kicked out of bed. Usually I go to the couch and watch late night t.v. until I wake up drooling, but I remembered tonight that we just got a wireless internet connection at the house (so stoked on that one!!) and I can come out here and I can catch up on catching you up. So, I left off telling you just a little bit of what I had to do to beat the Clark Foam crap and keep this little boat afloat. Well, here's the update. I spent the last 4 weeks tricking out my new space. I have to thank Winrow and Justin before I go any further. I'd still be walking circles around Home Depot, trying to figure out how to load 12' drywall into the truck if it wasn't for them, THANK YOU!!! We basically built a small home in 3 weeks. Seriously. We framed out the office and new shaping room in 1 day!!!! Of course, that was the day we were "all fired up" on the new project and I'm still amazed at how much we accomplished in those first few days. But, those guys stuck it out and I have to brag a little right here, WE KILLED IT!! I'm so proud of my factory. For the last 5 years the factory has had the "garage" feel all the way. The new one is so tight!! Tommy even hooked me up with the trim he took out of his new house, so the factory is "finished". So, I'm almost done tightening the last screws. Alright, here's the part where I'll probably loose you. I'm making tools to hotwire blanks now. I found some really helpful websites, mostly for making airplane wings, and got some high-tech tools from there, but I still have all these little hurdles to jump (and I'm only 5'6"!!:) So, I'm waiting on my cabinet guy to finish off the new templates (thanks again Keith!!!!!!!!!!) and I'm trying to figure out how to split 'em to glue in stringers. I've done it before, but like 8 years ago (yeah, and a few of those were college years) so I don't really remember how we did it!! I planned on building a "table saw" contraption and pushing the blanks through. I thought this was brilliant, but hated designating that much of my factory to only one stupid little step. Oh, forgot that DOW quit putting factory edges on my foam, and now I have to "trim" the edges to get a factory edge. So, I really want this space to do some other things like vaccum experimenting and blank glue-ups. My next idea was to build a giant bread cutter thing. This was going to be on a pulley system, complete with laser guides and mirrors. Believe it or not, I think I had it wired, and spent the better part of last Thursday in Radio shack bugging the crap out of some kid that really didn't even know where the AAA batteries were. Now I just bought one of these laser levels from the Depot (it'll work just fine). But the bread cutter idea was too big, and I'm doing all of the hot wiring in the old sanding room, not exactly the biggest space, but perfect ventilation and the giant fan will cool the wire for me. So, Winrow has really been my right hand man for all of this. I mean, we couldn't have built this shop without Justin, but he's busy selling houses. Tommy's been here almost everyday, just thinking in circles with me, figuring it out. I know it's 'cause he just can't wait to see it happen. He wants to experiment with chambering out the blanks, like Solomon, God bless him. But, Tommy comes up with this brilliant idea to make like a giant paper cutter which got us to where we ended up. Follow? Didn't think so. So, we built the most impressive hot wiring work bench, uh, probably anywhere. Tommy is super handy, and builds all this cool stuff. If you didn't know, Tommy and I started building boards at the same time. I almost wrote that we started building boards together, but it wasn't like that. He got his blank a few weeks before me, and I was insanely jealous, we were SO competetive. That's exactly what made me like this. He's one of my best friends, and we're so competetive. But, the point of all this is Tommy is so good at building stuff. He makes his family adirondack (?) chairs for Christmas for pete's sake!!! Not just little crappy Cracker Barrell ones either, good ones, solid, comfy, I'd put one in my living room if Nicole would let me!! yeah, I'm getting tired now 'cuz I'm drifting off subject a little. Back to this hot wire bench. I swear I'll post some pictures of it soon, but you really have to come to the shop and see this stuff for yourself. OK, the bench is 8' long, 22" wide with 16" x 48" foldable wings on both sides on piano hinges with it's own power, WHAT DO YOU WANT!!!!! The edges are even rounded over!!!! All it's misssing is a sink and a wet bar!!! It's that sick. Oh, and we built it out of my friggin' scraps!!!!!!!!!! THAT is what Tommy's so good at. I'm so under budget on this project. I'm just so stoked right now. Tomorrow, all I have to do is make the guides for the hot wire table (marble, player) hook up the laser, pick up the templates, and I think I'll actually be making blanks by lunch! So, for the fun stuff. Today Nicole and I went shopping for the finishing touches, you know my typical "Frank the Tank" Sunday: Home Depot, Ross, Marshalls, Target, and most importantly Petco. If they're not floating upside down when I get in tomorrow I'll post some pictures of my new fish, I got two Oscars: an Albino named "Boo" and a red one named "Shady" oh, and the sucker fish: "Miss Lewinsky".
Well, I found something I hate more than mudding drywall, it's sanding drywall mud!! I'm kinda frustrated 'cuz it's taking me way too long to get the new factory all finished up. If you didn't know, I rented Greenie's 1000 s.f. unit next to mine, doubling my space. I FINALLY built an office for myself. If you've been to the factory, you know that my current "office" is a joke, with bills, invoices, etc.. all over the place. I'm all cramped up next to the crapper. Not anymore, I built a pretty big office (12' x 15') and a new shaping bay next to it. The office is going to be tits with a futon, fish tank, crown moulding, tv, the works. My new shaping bay is about a foot bigger all around than my old one. I'll use the old one for my new profile machine, which I hope arrives this week from Australia so I can catch up a little on work. The new foam is here along with the epoxy, just waiting patiently for the hot wire gear and my new templates. I'm so stoked I found the perfect guy to build my blank templates and stringers. Keith works about half-a-mile down Dobbs Rd. from me. He builds cabinets, I just happened on his shop. I asked: "are you the best guy in town with a band saw?" and it was on. Lucky me, Keith likes to mess around shaping a few boards here and there and is all about helping me out. He's going to build stringers for me (the part I was DREADING!!). So, everything's going ok, just a little slower than I wished, I need to finish my sanding today and get the primer coat on, then I'll feel a little better. I'll post some pictures later.