I started working regularly at Pine Ridge Cemetery, an abandoned, historic cemetery in Bay City, Michigan in 2009. For several years, I concentrated on mowing and clearing out scrub growth (clusters of hawthorn with up to 1 ½” thorns). I reached a point where things looked better with the grass and trees. That’s when I began working on monuments that needed to be raised, straightened, or stood up.
My neighbor Rollie is always coming up with these unbelievable deals along the highway between his home in Bay City, Michigan, and his cabin a couple hours north. The latest super deal was a big red garden tractor that was mechanically in near perfect working order—except the previous owner ran it into something and busted up the grille. He brought it over and asked if it could be fixed. Here’s how we repaired “Big Red.” Continue reading →
At the end of the season this year while riding in a local terrain park, I misjudged the approach to a pipe and ended up crashing the nose of my snowboard into the end of the pipe. Fortunately, I was able to ride away from the impact. Later in the day, I noticed that the nose of the board had been deformed. When I got home, I studied the damaged area closely and determined that it was not safe to ride the board in that condition. The entire nose area had become soft and flexible because much of the wood core in that area had been broken. In addition to the bent nose edge, the top sheet had cracked. Left as is, this would have allowed water to penetrate to the core of the board which would have made it unrepairable. The technicians at my local board shop told me it could be repaired but cautioned that I needed to use an epoxy that remains flexible after it cures to prevent the repair from breaking. Continue reading →
Like a lot of people, when I’m at work I like to keep busy. It makes me feel good about myself and the bonus is that the day just flies on by. Having said that, it’s also nice to escape from the walls of my office now and then and head out into the shop to see what the guys are working on. For some reason, this gravitational pull I feel from the shop occurs more when my boss is away. We can just call it an unexplained phenomenon and leave it at that. During some of my excursions to the shop rather than just observing they let me help them with the projects they’re working on, which I absolutely love! Continue reading →
Ronnie Janowicz, a good friend of mine, called to say the wooden horn on his antique Edison Concert phonograph was cracked. I had Ronnie bring it by so I could take a look.
I told him it could be repaired very nicely with epoxy if that is what he wanted to do. “Why wouldn’t I want it repaired that way?” he asked. I explained that repairing an antique with epoxy may affect its resale value if the potential purchaser objects to the repair. Some collectors take a dim view of wooden antiques being repaired with epoxy because repairs are not easily reversible like they would be if hide glue was used for repair instead.
Vern, a good friend of mine, turned the exterior of a wooden goblet made from a nice piece of spalted sycamore. Unfortunately, the blank was not as dry as he thought and it cracked along one edge as it sat uncovered on his lathe overnight. He called to see if there was anything available for gluing it back together. I said I had some ideas and asked him to drop it off at work so I could take a stab at the repair. Continue reading →
The evening of March 19, 2013 I inspected my 217cm Atomic™ downhill race skis in preparation for race day. Because of the early ending to winter in 2012, these skis have not seen the light of day in almost two years. The only real chance I get to ski with them is at the annual Boyne Highlands Downhill Race in Harbor Springs, Michigan. This late March tradition is usually the grand finale of Michigan’s ski racing season. This year the weather was shaping up perfectly for outstanding conditions, and I was chomping at the bit to ski fast! Much to my surprise, when I picked up one ski I found that a section near the tail was delaminating. On the inside edge of the left Continue reading →
25 years of use (some might say abuse) had taken its toll on the heavy aluminum rip fence on our Delta Rockwell 12″–14″ Tilting Arbor Saw. Deep saw kerf grooves on the face of the fence had become a hazard because wood occasionally got hung up on it when ripping stock.Over a few months, each time I used the saw I thought about how it could be repaired. While the plan was still developing in my head, more than once I clamped a flat piece of plywood to the ripping fence face to temporarily create the smooth surface that I needed. Continue reading →
This winter (2011) in Bay City, Michigan, we’ve seen a couple of big snowfalls and lots of small ones with 1″ to 2″ of accumulation. Not enough snow to bother breaking out the snowblower, so I usually shovel it by hand. About 10 years ago I fell in love with the plastic snow shovels that are lightweight and the snow slides off of them easily compared to the metal snow shovels that are heavy and snow clings to stubbornly.
My problem with plastic shovels is they wear out after one or two seasons at best because my driveway is made of fiber-reinforced concrete. It is like a huge piece of 80-grit sandpaper waiting to devour my plastic shovels. Continue reading →
I work here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. as Operation Supervisor in the epoxy department where we do production mixing, assembly, packaging and quality control of the epoxy products. A lot of the guys I work with here ride motorcycles. In talking with these guys, I found out that it is not uncommon to punch a hole in the ignition housing cover. In fact, that’s what happened to my bike. Continue reading →