29 May 2017

Something new


So my research project is slowly chugging along. I made codes work and now is all down to going through the collected data and performing calculations that I will use for the final step in the analysis.
This part of science is usually a bit boring but has to be done. I’m not solving problems now, I’m just supervising computer and making sure that all data are processed in exactly the same way. This last point is crucial. If I make any changes, I have to start all over again. All data has to be processed exactly the same. That will ensure that my research is reproducible by anyone who wishes to reproduce it.

I personally have an additional issue. I’m doing my analysis on an old slow laptop. And even for scalable codes, it takes time to run the data. Plus the computer is basically crying if I try to run something else at the same time.
Suddenly I ended up with loads of free time. Enough time to try to learn or do something new. I hate to be idle.

I picked woodworking. I always wished to try it, but either I did not have the time or tools to do it.
I decided to start with an outdoor bench. We need one, and outdoor furniture is supposed to be a bit rugged, so if I make a mistake, it could be tolerated.
I found plans online from Projects with Pete, free ones. Sort off, bloke asks for email. I gave him my 'email for spam' - a particular account I have just for such purposes. This bloke also offers some videos on how to do it on youtube, so that makes an excellent project for a beginner like me.
Next, I read about the types of wood, and learn what all those clarifications of wood mean and what is the difference between different types of lumber, like poplar or pine. So I found in the local library a few books and started reading intro parts about the wood for woodwork, and tools.
IMG_1525Apparently, the quality of wood depends on how the board is cut from the lumber and how many knots it has in it. Fewer knots, better quality. Then there is dryness of the wood. The drier the wood, the better quality, because it will not warp after you make your furniture. The best option is kiln dried wood because that one has the lowest percentage of the humidity inside.
So armed with knowledge about types of wood I went to a local hardware store and picked needed lumber. Most of my boards were kiln dried (surprisingly that kind of timber was actually cheaper than ordinary dried wood).
Except for one board.

Recommendation from the books was to put non-kiln dried board somewhere flat, out of the sun, exposed to air. I put mine on the porch where the completed bench will be. This needs to be done so that humidity in the board equalizes with the humidity in the surrounding air. I have no idea for how long exactly the board needs to equalize. I left it for 4 days. I hope it is enough.

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