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Concrete forward motion + bike maintenance

When I go through spells where I am too busy and overwhelmed to spend time on creative projects, I struggle. This weekend I finally had the time and energy and determination to work on one, so I decided to work on refinishing the cabinet that came with the old Kenmore sewing machine.

First things first, how to remove the old finish. I tried the heat gun plus scraper for about 5 minutes before giving up. All the heat gun did was heat the previous finish into a sticky goo, which I could ineffectually scrape with the scraping knife. I cast around a little, and found a box of those replacement sandpaper pads for an oscillating sander. Promising. That suggested there was an oscillating sander somewhere. I cast around some more, and found the sander.

A job which could have taken several solid weekends of work instead took about 2 hours. This morning, I applied stain. Supposedly the color is "honey," but maybe that applies to pine and not whatever wood this thing is made of.

Stained sewing machine cabinet

The stain is drying, and after that, I'll put on a couple coats of Polycrylic until it gets a bit glossy.

Whenever I work on this kind of project, I think of my mother. She's the one who taught me how to refinish furniture. Refinishing furniture was also an arena where we discovered that we had some differences. The first desk I refinished with my mom's help was one that I then used all the way through high school. That one was pretty straightforward. The second desk was a nice wood desk she had picked up at a garage sale somewhere. It had very elaborate molding along the edges. My mom thought that a chemical stripper would be our best bet for removing the old finish. I put a lot of elbow grease into trying the chemical stripper, until I finally blew up and gave up on the entire project. Sandpaper would have been way easier, but also a Dremel or detail sander for that molding. Only now do I have a sense of the right way to approach that sort of project.

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Bike maintenance, on the other hand, is in one of those "two steps forward, one step back" stages. I picked up new tires for the Jolly Roger on Friday, and put them on today. As mentioned previously, they're 1.5 inches wide instead of the 1.35" balding tires I've had on there for the last couple of years, because traction is a good idea. Well. I finally had to just take off the front fender because I ran out of time to work on readjusting it so it doesn't lock the whole front wheel in place. Futzing around with that setup takes time.

On the other hand, I managed to re-jigger the Fenix flashlight so it works again (short-term nuisance), and I now have nice new grips (some of the Ergon contoured ones) in addition to the new wheel and fresh set of tires. The replacement CygoLite Expilion 720 headlight is cooperating so far, too.

If I get to feeling ambitious, I may go through and update cables and cable housing sometime soon.

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