Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colorado Reunion Trip

Here are a handful of photos from our recent trip to beautiful Colorado.  We had two aims for this trip: a few days in Boulder with my friend Dennis, and then a few days at the YMCA of the Rockies for a Claspy Clan family reunion.  We had great success in both!

First up was Boulder.  Sam enjoyed the kid-friendly Pearl Street pedestrian mall, which has several play areas for small ones.  Here he is with big sister Anna and a great big bunny.

Right across the street from the historic Hotel Boulderado (where we were fortunate to stay) was a rank of rental bicycles, very reminiscent of Paris Velib stations.  Boulder is a bike-friendly city!

Bill and Dennis, catching up over brunch at the restaurant Snooze.

Dennis explaining the fine points of pea gravel to Sammy.  Not for eating, for concrete sublayers!

Day two we took a short hike in one of the many Boulder green space parks, this time the Chautauqua park.

The Veseys arrived on Thursday and stayed in Boulder overnight.  We initiated Gabi to the playground and ate delicious pizza at Pizzaria Locale.

Friday found us in Estes Park at the YMCA of the Rockies.  It is directly adjacent to the Rocky Mountain National Park and couldn't be in a more beautiful setting.

Sammy gets his first popsicle.

 The Claspy Clan!

We found refuge in the shade where and when we could- here in the evening on the patio above the dining hall.

Sunday we headed into Rocky Mountain National Park.  This lobo greeted us shortly after we entered the park.

At- or near- the summit of Trail Ridge Road, we stopped for a break at the Alpine visitor center.

At about 11,000 feet, these elk could relax in the cool mountain air.

It was a great trip!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Big pieces smaller

The wag refers to woodworking as the process of making big pieces of wood smaller, and as I was spending a small amount of time in the shop messing about on a project over the weekend, the aphorism seemed particularly apt.

The procedure in question is making dowel pegs.  In cabinetry, these are traditionally used to pin mortise and tenon joints.  The joint is actually drawn together and held by the dowel pin.  The pins are best made when the wood is still green.  Straight grained wood is a must, and usually wood like oak is used.  In this case, the pins are for a piece I'm building using cherry.

Flash back two weeks, when I took down a small decorative cherry tree for a neighbor.  The tree had died so I offered to remove it.  I sawed the six-inch diameter trunk pieces into firewood lengths and tossed them on my pile.  The other day I stood at our kitchen window, just above the firewood stack, admiring the yard.  I looked down and noticed that one of the pieces of cherry I'd cut was straight as a rod and didn't have any knots in it.  Dowel stock!

The process is to split (rather than saw) the still-green wood to allow the length of the piece to carry the strength inherent in the grain of the wood.  So, I work from the back of the above picture to the front.  It begins with the froe and maul.  The froe is that L-shaped tool in the top right.  This cleaves the wood in half, in successively smaller pieces.  Next is the drawknife- the blade with two handles right in the middle of the picture, which I use to get the stock roughly round and roughly 1/2" in diameter.  The finishing tool in the process is the dowel plate in the lower right of the picture.  This is a piece of tool steel in which I've drilled successively smaller diameter holes.  The stick of green wood is beveled at the end to get it started in the hole, then pounded down through, peeling it like a banana to that diameter.  Those three next to the dowel plate are just about finished.  Once done, they'll be allowed to dry completely before being used to pin the 14 or so mortise and tenon joints on my bookcase project.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Commencing and Parading

It has been a busy early June here at Chez Claspy, with all kinds of festivities and end-of-school celebrations.

First up was the senior award ceremony at the high school.  Anna graced the stage a few times- as a National Merit commended student, as a graduate with honors, as a Ohio Department of Education Award of Merit student, and as a recipient of the President's Award for Educational Excellence.

Next up, Senior Prom!  Our graduating scholar and her date Peter looked happy to celebrate!

Then graduation itself.  Held in the historic downtown State Theater, the 480+ graduates in their robes and mortar boards queued up to cross the stage, shake a hand, and get their diplomas.  Here is Anna getting hers.

After, here is the scene in the opulent theater's lobby.

On our way home, a beautiful rainbow showed Anna that her dreams are RIGHT OVER THERE.  (Does it seem to be pointing to France?)

Later in the week, 8th grade promotion and farewell to middle school for Maggie.  She was also recognized during the event as outstanding instrumental musician (no surprise to those who've heard her play!) and honor roll student.

This past Saturday we enjoyed one of Cleveland's best arts events, the wonderful and colorful Parade the Circle.  We made the trek with friends along for Maggie and Anna.  Sam, of course, makes friends wherever he goes.

One hallmark of this parade is that it is all people-powered.  No motorized floats.  Also, there are usually excellent musicians in the parade, including steel drums.  Sammy's reaction to the music can only best be captured on video.