Monday, July 3, 2017

It's The Down Season

Florida tends to be opposite of the rest of the country when it comes to weather.  The most obvious example is mid-winter and pretty much all of February.  The first time I noticed that our northern customers would come to visit us in more in the winter than the summer was when I was a pup in the late 70s.  For the last 20 years of my career, I worked for a company headquartered in the Great White North.  Every year from late January through February, the president and others would come down for a regular visit.  It was always sold as a "State of the Company" or "Engineering Staff Update".  I guess we didn't need updating in August. 

While most of you who don't live in the deep south probably look at the mid-winter as your indoor time, for me it's now.  Well, say August and one or two weeks on either side, which can vary with the weather.  Obviously, life goes on.  We still go to the range, we still go fishing and all those other outdoors things, it's just that the best time to do these things is early in the morning, or in the case of fishing, overnight.  If you're involved in outdoor sports, you know that the golden rule is to drink more than you think you should.  As a cycling friend taught me: "drink before you're thirsty". 

So I'm studying.  I study machine shop practices, tricks and things to improve my work (like here).  I'm studying details on building an acoustic guitar (like here), because I think that recent fix to my project guitar is going to become another project.  And I'm studying precision shooting (one example) because, well, I want to become better.  Really ought to get some fishing in, though. 

Except for today.  Today I sorted a box of mixed stainless steel hardware I got at a hamfest years ago for a couple of bucks per pound, and separated the pieces by size.  Learning is more fun. 
(impressionistic summer sun)


  1. That is the reason behind my trip to Alaska this summer

  2. I used to take home all the "junk hardware" from a little place I worked at. It was "junk hardware" because the PHB would look at an assortment of mixed machine screws, flat and lock washers, and various types of nuts (regular, small-pattern, and locking), and scream "That's just a box of very expensive JUNK!" at all my Techs. day I asked him if I could take it home, and he told me to get it out of there so he wouldn't have to look at it. I used to spend many happy hours with my son sorting it out, first by whether it was a screw, washer, or nut, and then by size.

    I now pretty much own a "lifetime supply" of 2-56, 4-40, 6-32, 8-32, and 10-24 stainless hardware!

    And my son learned a lot while we would do it!

    1. This box of hardware probably started out like that. There was a small surplus dealer at the hamfest a few years ago with a big box of hardware, a scoop and a scale, selling it by the pound. If I'd had any sense, I should have offered to buy the whole thing.

      Over the last few year, I've sorted out some bigger pieces of hardware, and lowered the level in the container. I've found things in there that really saved me a lot of grief. Ever use a #2-64? I needed a screw for my string height gage and it was in there (I found four more yesterday). I have about a dozen 3/4" cap screws in 4-48 or something odd like that.

      But I made some mixed hardware bins for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and started sorting into piles. There was a couple of dozen nuts and washers that look like they're for switches, and dozens of crimp on pins, sockets and other little pieces from connectors. Some M6 metric nuts, metric screws, what seem to be #12, and all sorts of oddities.