Well my “letter to the editor” was published in the recent issue of Fine Woodworking so I’m officially a woodworking curmudgeon. It’s all thanks to Jack Plane: https://pegsandtails.wordpress.com
My backyard project sometimes seems more like an archeological dig as 100 year old garbage keeps showing up. In additional to the usual broken pottery, animal bones and rusted cans a few interesting items have appeared such as a this small firemans helmet made from lead.
I also found this lump of rust next to an intact milk bottle and a set of nylon stockings (no idea if they were buried together). Somthing about its shape caused me to pull out of the pile and drop it in my electrolysis machine.
If you have any guesses this then in the comments and I’ll post what ends up coming out (my guess is a door knocker).
I actually made some progress on the bench as well since SWMBO suggested that I take a small break from the back yard and work on the bench. All the top rail mortice and tenons are complete and I have trimmed the top end of the leg based on the mortices.
I then started on the bottom rails and given the dimensions I have decided to use a double tenons to attach them to the legs, which will be a first for me.
My dry spell of wood working continued for the long weekend but extensive progress has been made in the back yard. for the past several weeks, every day after work involved digging up dirt and removing concrete so Friday I took the day off and had a disposal company come buy to remove the sand and concrete. Sounds easy enough but how to get three cubic yards of dirt (probably weighing 3-4 tons) and pile of broken concrete out to the front for pickup?
The answer is buckets, a hired day laborer, and a sonotube (aint city living grand).
The weekend hasn’t even started and I’m already tired.
Saturday I was already sore but luckily by buddy Andy came over in the morning to help before his flight (something about manual labor appeals my St. Louis friends).
Sunday was spent adding more tiers of blocks and adding gravel back fill. Monday I added the last course of stones and back filled with soil over the drainage. This wall only fixes a little over half of my slope problem (the fence gives a good idea of how bad the slope is) and phase 2 is a second wall at the base of the yard. Overall, I have 5 feet of drop over a 25 foot run (San Francisco is known for its hills). I’m going to do some yard clean up tonight after work and then give my body a couple of days (I hurt everywhere) to recover before I start digging the footings for the second wall.
Overall I like the look of the VersaLok system and it’s very homeowner friendly (though the large block weigh over 80 lbs). The weathered mosaic blocks do a nice job looking like a stone wall and I think as it ages it will look even better.