My “new” leg vise!

I was having a crappy day yesterday and the best prescription for that is always to check something off of my to-do list. My leg vise had been sitting half finished on the corner of my workbench bugging me so it seemed the job. I drilled the vise jaws and attached the screw from a cheap grizzly workbench.

My new leg vise!

My new leg vise!

I was looking forward to having the vise but it is a huge improvement over the other vise on my bench. Kind of odd since it is the same screw mechanism. I might have mounted the screw a little too low but I am very happy with it. I really should take some time and clean up the look of the leg. As this was my first leg vise I was just shooting for functional – but since I get the feeling I will be using it a lot I should probably go back and clean up how it looks.

Simple tiling problem

This makes for a nice problem in tiling. At first glance it looks hard to solve – but you the solution is obvious seconds after you start formally trying to solve the problem. Put this as an example early in the chapter on tiling and segmentation problems to help motivate readers.

Simple tiling problem

Simple tiling problem

Deduction problems….

So some nut jobs out there on the web have published a puzzle they claim Einstein authored. They also claim only 2% of people who try the problem will solve it.

Since it is a fairly straightforward problem to solve if you have any training I very much doubt both claims. I know for a fact that anyone who has passed a college level freshman chemistry course or digital circuit design course would have the tools to solve this type of problem.

They are an enjoyable type of problem though. I will be posting my write-up with solution to the problem in the next day or so. I have been thinking of how to make this type of problem for a book and that got me to thinking about making one that is harder and easier.

The idea: Noah’s Ark.

Problem One: Noah has to get the last N animal pairs packed into the remaining N cages on the ark so he can close up before the flood hits. He knows things about the animals such as

Types A can not be next to type B or they will eat eachother

Problem is fairly simple to make it harder add

Constraints where there are M cages and N animals pairs with M<N so Noah has to pack some animals together.

Problem is fairly simple to make it harder add

Size information on animal size so a small and a medium animal can be in the same cage, or three small animals can fit in one cage. This combined with predator problems can be set to make the problems more complex to tackle, but still solvable with the same tools.

Problem to make it harder add

Size information known about some of the types, and position of some of the

Cages e.g. large tall cage is next to two short cages.

Adds another dimension of constraint variables making the problem potentially much harder. Also makes the graphing tools used to solve it a little less intuitive.

Figure I can give 3-4 variations on the Ark problem to teach different approaches to solving deduction problems.

Writing a “math” book…

So I have this nagging desire to write a math / puzzle book. I had a really hard time with math in high school and early college since I think about problems and how to solve them very differently from most people. After about your freshman year of college people don’t really care how you solve problems – just that you can solve them. So I have always wanted to go back and write up math book for young minds that provides some tools for solving problems that had I known them would have made my life a lot easier.

Not sure if I am actually going to write the book – but I decided to collect 80-100 problems and write-ups on how to solve them and then decided. This section is for collecting my general thoughts on how the book. Could be structured.

Penan Sandan Kata

Only got the first 10 moves or so of this kata the other night at the dojo. Since I am about the slowest person at the dojo for learning kata I am going to start keeping notes. It should also help capture the subtle comments that sensei only makes every once in a while.

Penan Sandan Kata

Penan Sandan Kata

Pictures of my “new” lathe in better light

So I had to wait until daytime to take some better pictures of my lathe. Unfortunately I was using my iPhone, which means I got like 2 pictures that were OK for the 10 I tried to take. I really need to buy a real camera.  And just to be clear I was not using the hammer to adjust anything on my lathe!


The integrated gearbox quick-change gearbox means I can cut threads on this lathe – which I am fairly excited to try. Yeah, I need to get out more. I am thinking the stand will also give me a nice place for mounting the DRO hardware (a digital readout that tells me where the cutting tool is currently positioned).


My “new” lathe

Well, today I went and got a “New” lathe. Actually, as close I can figure it is from the late 60s – but that still makes it about 20 – 30 years younger than my other lathe. It is a Craftsman 12”x36” – like these.

I was already looking to add a quick change gearbox to my older Atlas lathe, and build a stand for it. So when I saw this one come up on craigslist I figured I would break even over upgrading my old lathe if I can sell the old one for a decent price.

Looks like I will need to make a new motor pulley, and replace the headstock bearings soonish – but I am kind of excited.

My "new" lathe

My "new" lathe

Here you can see the lathe wrestled into the corner of the shop. Joel came over and bailed my ass out big time. It was clear I would have dropped the lathe and maybe screwed up my truck the way I was planning on moving it if none of my friends could come over.

Wire rack

Helping my friend Joel move I noticed this wire rack in the corner. He said he just threw it together to hold all the different spools of wire he was using on a car rebuild he was doing. I really liked the design. I use a hanging rod to hold my wire at the moment but think I will replace it with a rod held by a wooden rack like this.


Adding a leg vise to a cheap Grizzly workbench

Since I cant afford the time or money to make or buy a cabinetmakers workbench I decided to improve the Grizzly bench (H7724) I already had. I already added a plane stop – so the next thing to add is a leg vice. I already had two of these benches in the garage – so I am steeling the vice hardware off of one of the benches to make the leg vice.

The first thing I did was to attach a 2×10 to the leg of the workbench. This will act as the base for me to build out one leg of the bench so it is big enough for a leg vise. I used the plane stop to plane down stock from the lumberyard so it was flat and without twist. Then I roughed up the leg of the workbench and glued the board to the leg. I used woodscrews to help secure the board to the leg.


Once the glue had dried I came back and glued another flattened 2×10 to the first. The combination should give me a solid foundation for the leg vise. I also made sure to plane down the second board so that it was flush to the edge of the table


And now to wait for the glue to finish drying…

Adding a plane stop to a cheap Grizzly workbench

Grizzly sells a really nice bench with lots of drawer space. I already had two of these benches in the garage – and rather than buy or build a cabinetmakers workbench I decided to improve the bench I had and use it until my woodworking projects outgrew it.

The first thing I wanted was a plane stop. The stop is basically a board that sticks up proud of the table surface by an adjustable amount. Here you can see a profile of the stop.


The stop attaches to the end of the bench by two bolts. I milled slots in the stop board to allow it to slide up and down. The board is held in place by friction and adjusted by a quick light taps with a hammer. I have some ideas for a screw lock for the stop – but so figured I would use the friction adjustment first and it seems to work great.


Below you can see the stop in use. A board rest against the stop so the length of the board can be planed right out over the edge of the board. This is useful for thicknessing stock by hand.