Archive for March, 2008

The Week

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Easter was last Sunday.  We enjoy the eggs and the bunnies, but it’s always good to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  Some good traditions we have include Easter cookies the night before, Easter bunny in the night, sometimes visiting relatives, and more.  The weather is also fairly good.  It’s getting to that time of the year when it’s not freezing cold but it’s not burning hot.  It’s nice!  Ryan got to participate in the BYU regional science fair today, which is an honor.  I’m not sure if he got an award, but we’ll know soon.


Rescuing a disaster

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Several years ago, when I was first learning to build furniture out of wood, I started a project that was too difficult for me. It’s a set of window seats, which are essentially cabinets with drawers inside, and a soft, upholstered top that people can sit on. The problem is that the cabinet must be stronger than an ordinary wall cabinet, so the construction is a little different. I didn’t have the right clamps, so when I glued the cabinets, they weren’t perfectly square. Here’s a picture of the window seats (still unfinished) in my workshop in the basement.

Having a cabinet that isn’t quite square is bad enough, but it’s especially bad in a cabinet that has drawers. When the cabinet isn’t square, it prevents the drawers from sliding properly.

I don’t have a perfect answer for the problem, but I have an answer that’s good enough. I shimmed the inside of the cabinet with plywood, squared up the shims, and installed the glides. Then I cut a sample piece of plywood to represent the drawers, and fine-tuned the size of the plywood until it fit perfectly on every set of glides. Then I had to build twelve drawers that were all exactly the same size as that sample piece. Here’s a picture of a drawer sitting on the floor of the workshop, with the clamps holding all of the pieces in place while the glue dries.

It was slow work because it takes a lot of clamps to ensure that the drawers stay perfectly square. I learned my lesson with the cabinet bodies. Now I just need to build the cabinet doors and the upholstered tops… maybe I’ll be done in another five or six years!

Ryan’s Tuba

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Ryan has been learning to play piano, but he’s ready to switch to a different instrument. So he’s learning to play tuba.

My brother Joe is a professional tuba player, and he found an excellent – almost professional quality – tuba for Ryan. We got a very good deal on the tuba because it’s older and the silver has turned black in many places. But the sound of this tuba is very mellow, and it’s easy to feel the difference between the partials, so it’s easy to play with good articulation.

Joe is going to be Ryan’s teacher, and he taught Ryan’s first tuba lesson last Saturday.

Thanks, Joe! Good luck, Ryan!

Our Week

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

This week, nothing much happened, but what did was really cool. First of all, Ryan (me) got a tuba! So far I can play…nothing! Unless you count Hot Cross Buns as music, in which case I could. For one thing, I still need a mouthpiece. Its kind of hard to play a brass instrument without one.

This week we also went to a chemistry magic show at BYU that our uncle Matt Asplund, or Dr. Asplund to some, put on for a combined activity. There were a lot of explosions, and what’s more? We actually learned something! We thank Matt for doing that for us. It was lots of fun.

In band at school, Nick was invited to be a featured soloist for the upcoming junior high concert in between the intermediate and beginning bands. Good job, Nick!

I hope I may have written something useful for you all.


Matt’s magic show

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

We took the 12 to 18 year old young men and young women from our church to BYU so they could see a “chemistry magic show” by my brother in law, Dr. Matt Asplund, who is a chemistry professor there. Matt taught some basic chemistry concepts like air pressure and extreme heat and cold.  He did a reaction that glowed in the dark like those glowing light sticks that you can buy for the Fourth of July.  He blew up balloons full of several explosive gases.  He even made nylon thread.  It was amazing! Everyone loved it, and many people stayed late to talk to Matt and ask him questions after the show was over. I did take some pictures with our old camera. This was really fun!

Here’s Matt with the equipment

And a fireball from one of the experiments

And everyone wanted to talk to Matt afterwards

I think Matt’s magic show is one of the very best things we have done with the youth. Many don’t get a chance to see science being “cool.” And he definitely makes it cool! Thanks, Matt!