29 March 2010Comments are off for this post.

Building a Table

Metro Shelving Table

I've been looking for a new desk, or a side table to use with my existing desk for a few weeks. There's not a lot out there that's practical, good looking and affordable. I am also a fan of metro shelving and modern furniture, and decided to put together a simple table using some metro shelves. It's not fancy, but it's practical, affordable, reasonably good looking, and even with my limited tools and skill set, only took an hour or so to throw together.

Here's what I started with:
- 2 small metro shelves from home depot
- 2 sheets of 72x28 laminated pine
- 1 small drill bit
- 1" drill bit
- Tape measure
- Pencil

And here are the steps.
1. Decide where you want to position the shelves in relation to the end of the table, and mark the center of the hole in each corner of the shelves.
2. Drill pilot holes with the small drill bit. Perhaps not necessary, but it certainly isn't going to hurt.
3. Drill the full size holes with the 1" drill bit.
4. Assemble the shelves with just the bottom shelf in place.
5. Slide the first piece of pine over the shelf uprights and into place at the bottom.
6. Put the middle and top metro shelves into place.
7. Measure the distance between the top shelves.
8. Remove the top shelves and using the measurement from step 7, mark the second panel for drilling. This must be properly measured in order for the second piece of pine to fit into place properly. If the holes are drilled incorrectly, it will not fit.
9. Drill your pilot and full-sized holes.
10. Put the top metro shelves in place.
11. Slide the second piece of pine onto the top of the shelves.

One important note: Make sure that both sets of shelves are the same size. Home Depot had three different sizes all in the same stack when I bought mine. Missing parts from one of the sets meant buying a slightly different size after drilling my first set of holes, which made for a very tight fit and cracked wood around one of the holes. The shelves also need to be the same so that it is possible to set all of the shelves to the same height so that the horizontal surfaces are always level.

A few other ideas that I've had along the way.
- Ikea sells some nice looking butcher block counter-tops that could be used instead of the pine for a nicer looking table. It's also slightly thicker so it might be possible to cut holes that only go part of the way through the wood in order to have a seamless top surface.
- If wood was used only across the top and not the bottom, one could make a desk. Leaving out the middle metro shelf on one end would also create a nice place to stick a computer tower. This might necessitate the use of some sort of cross brace on the back of the desk to keep everything solid, but would be easy to do.
- The laminated pine isn't terribly stiff, so if this were to be used for heavy objects, it might be a good idea to look for a thicker piece of wood like the butcher block mentioned above, or find a way to stiffen it up a bit.

And a couple more pictures of the table.
Metro Shelving Table
Metro Shelving Table

24 November 2009Comments are off for this post.

Mt. Silverheels (maybe)

Silverheels Tree

Will and I set out on Saturday with the intent of climbing Mt. Silverheels. Between confusing directions, and lots of roads ending with dead-end private property gates, we never found the trail-head. We had a general idea about where we needed to go. So, we looked at the our map, surveyed the area, and took off cross country through some willows towards the mountain that seemed most likely to get us on the ridge we were looking for.

There wasn't much snow at lower elevations, so bushwhacking through the aspens and willows was much easier than it might have been. However, any effort saved in the aspens and willows was quickly spent moving straight up the mountain in increasingly soft, deep snow over ice and frozen scree. After topping out, we contoured through a high basin past former mining cabins and worked our way onto a mostly windblown ridge. From there it was just a few false summits to the top. There was a nearby, higher, mountain, so we suspect that it was actually Silverheels and we were just on one of the high points around it.

By this point it was getting to be late, so we quickly descended back along the ridge. With a better idea of where the car was in relation to where we were, we took a more direct descent down some very steep terrain, hustled through the willows, and arrived back at the car just as the sun was setting.

To complete the day we stopped at Coney Island in Bailey for a couple of hot dogs. Aside from the novelty of eating a hot dog, in a hot dog-shaped building, there's little to recommend about eating at Coney Island, and we probably won't be stopping there again.

[svgallery name="Silverheels"]

19 November 2009Comments are off for this post.

October Ice Storm in Colorado Springs

Icy Pine Branch

The front range in Colorado usually gets its first snow right around Halloween. This year it came a few weeks earlier on the 11th of October. Denver and Boulder got snow. Colorado Springs got 36 hours of freezing temperatures, rain, and a whole lot of ice. It's not much fun to drive in, just walking to the car was treacherous, but it's pretty.

[svgallery name="Ice Storm"]

17 November 2009Comments are off for this post.

Nepal Part 4 – The First Real Day of Walking

Every single thing you'll ever read about the shoes or boots that you take hiking will tell you that they should be well broken in prior to leaving. One thing they sometimes don't mention, is that you should do this breaking-in with the same type of socks that you plan to use on the trip. I know better than to switch up gear right before a trip, but I bought three pairs of new socks that night before the trip, knowing full well that REI brand socks haven't worked well for me in the past. Within the first hour of walking today I had ripped the skin off a quarter size blister on my right heel, and had a hot spot on my left heel. You can probably imagine how much I was looking forward to walking another 150 miles at this point.

This was the first real day of walking and we walked from Nadi Bazaar to Jagat (pronounced Zagat). I don't have the actual stats, but I would guess that it was somewhere around six miles of walking and a couple thousand feet of elevation gain and loss over the course of the day. Most of the walking was on roads, with some sections of new trail bypassing the road. Physically, it really wasn't bad except for the heat and humidity.

Along the way we were introduced to Pasang's bizarre definition of flat trail, which is anything but; I developed some stellar blisters; we saw some pretty cool stuff; I was introduced to momos (similar to potstickers), which I had for lunch pretty much every day for the rest of the trip; and had Dhal Bhat for dinner, again.

This day ended with probably my lowest point for the trip. I freely admit that I've got a bit of a germ thing. It's not an over the top, constantly wash my hands thing, but I'm definitely not a fan of germs. Bathrooms in Nepal generally aren't as clean or nice as they are in the US. Actually, most of them make gas station bathrooms look sparkly, but this one was beyond compare. Shower water had pooled in the bathroom above it and was dripping through the ceiling. There were no hooks or nails from which to hang a towel. Diarrhea was splattered on the walls and floor around the toilet. The water was cold. And water was pooling across the floor because of another non-functioning drain. Dara told me I wasn't allowed back in our room without taking a shower (as I hadn't had an opportunity to take one since leaving Colorado) so with all of my germ sensors screaming, I cringed and almost cried my way through a cold shower in that cold little corner of my personal hell.

To be clear, I didn't expect sanitation to be up to Western standards, and I even hesitate to post this. But nothing I read prior to the trip had led me to expect anything like this, and I feel that some sort of warning should be out there. Consider yourself warned, and disgusted.

[svgallery name="Nepal3"]