Saturday, August 21, 2010

More politics, plus car show report

Our July 17 car show battled adverse weather reports for nearly a week, and, before it was over, got caught in a pretty fair deluge. The result for Toys for Tots, though, was a large enough net to add more children to our list for the coming year.

 An old friend sent me the attached poster. It states the case about these entertainers as well as anything I've seen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Politicians and diapers need to be changed often--and for the same reason.

Oddly enough, though, it's the guys who depose those who were in place for a long and incompetent tour who get the blame for all the incompetencies and nonsense. That leads to another change, and puts the fecal matter right back in the same old place.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New tools

Over the years, I've written a lot of tool reviews and tests. As time has passed, I've whittled my own shop down to a bare minimum, which is still unwieldy in some ways.

I'm working on a new small project book, with possible break-outs for a couple of magazine articles as the book progresses, so I recently got hold of a new tablesaw of a type that might possibly interest the space-challenged weekend project builder.

The saw is a Ridgid Job Site saw, with a folding stand, with wheels that allow for easy moving when the stand is folded. The only lack I can see on the stand is of a brake: if you tilt it against the wall so the wheels rest on the floor, you need to block the wheels to keep it from sliding down. Otherwise, it operates easily and quickly.

Some years ago, I wrote an article on job site saws for a contractors' magazine. Of the saws I checked, most of those on the market at the time, the Ridgid turned out to be the most feature laden and best built, though it was a pretty tight battle for the top spot. Bosch was a very, very close second place.

It pays to remember with this type of saw that you're not buying a Delta Unisaw or a Powermatic 66, though. If you go into it with the expectations of getting all the benefits of a 500+ pound, 230 volt, light production cabinet saw, you'll be disappointed. If you buy a saw such as the Ridgid with an expectation that you can build small projects quickly with the tool, you're closer to the center of the bullseye. The Ridgid weighs about 110 pounds, an aid to portability. It has a composite table that extends for wider cuts (up to 26"), and a fence that is accurate and holds settings well. The miter gauge is surprisingly good for a saw of this class, too.

On the portability front, the stand rides on 8" diameter wheels, a real help whenever the saw is off of a paved driveway or a floored shop.

I'm not wild about the standard blade. It's serviceable, but not great. In the good old days, many saws came without saw blades, and those that did include blades, came with cheap steel versions that were invariably crappy. This carbide tipped blade isn't bad. To see an apparent improvement in power, and an actual improvement in cut quality, try a Freud, CMT, Infinity and similar blades. I wouldn't buy a Forrest blade for a job site saw, but if you have one on hand, and want to see an improvement in the saw's speed and accuracy, give it a try.

The shot of the Ridgid Job Site saw that you see here is of a saw that is about three years old. It's in my shop, but isn't the new saw I just got. There are some minor differences, largely in the realm of the blade guard, which is now well enough made I'll actually use it. The new guard has a two part lift so you can work close to the fence from either side, along with a removable splitter/riving knife assembly that accepts anti-kickback pawls for through cuts.

Blade height and tilt are controlled by a single wheel/lever combination, with a bevel locking lever to make sure everything stays the same once it's set.

On-board storage for an extra blade, the miter gauge and the fence are easy to use, while the cord wraps easily around its prongs at the back of the saw.

The package is complete, and is useful for the beginning craftsman, and for carpenters and others who don't want to be hoisting a 300 and more pound "contractors" saw on and off their trucks to start and end the day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

July 17 Car Show Entry Forms Ready

There's not a whole lot for me to add to the above.

Currently availability is just on-line,which Blogger doesn't allow me to paste in here. Sigh. For Pete's sake! Email me and I'll send you the PDF.

Soon the forms will be available at participating merchants in Bedford County, City and environs. We don't want to pass them around so early they get covered by other material.

Looks for the posters, too, which will go up within three weeks.

We're really looking forward to this one. Our meeting last night has a team heading out to search out some really great awards for winners.

We're also just about ready to send out news releases to as many local publications, radio and TV stations as we can find. If anyone has any questions, we're ready to answer them.

Here's the text:

On July 17, 2010, the Bedford, Virginia detachment of the Marine Corps League is presenting its first ever Car Show. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the show will run until 3:30 p.m.
The MCL Car Show will greet the public from the Mayberry Drive-In theater grounds, directly in front of the Mayberry Diner, in Moneta, Virginia. This '50s style stainless steel diner/movie complex offers a superb site for a car show as well as a meal and a movie. Rows are already in place, with slightly elevated fronts to making movie viewing easy. The elevation does just as well for the cars, helping them show to their best effect.
There are eleven classes, overall, with a Best In Show People's Choice being the final judgment of the day.
Classes are: antique; classic; custom; hot rod; light truck; modified light truck; motorcycle; modified motorcycle; muscle car; modified muscle car; sports car; street rod.
Each class receives three awards, while People's Choice brings a single award.
Spectating is free, while early entries (on or before July 16) are $15.00. On site registration the day of the event is $20.00. Each entrant gets a free 5" x 7" photo of his or her car in front of the diner (by mail, a few days later). Larger sizes are available at nominal cost.
Food, drink and Tee shirts commemorating the event are available at the diner, or on the grounds.
The show is a benefit for the Bedford Area Toys for Tots and the Detachment.
Rain date: July 24, 2010, same times and place.
For the Marine Corps League: Charlie Self, 540-297-7535,

For Toys for Tots: Robin Mills,

Bob Craig, 540-296-1480,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Marine Corps League Car Show

We're almost ready. My Marine Corps League Detachment, Bedford, Virginia, has been preparing for a July 17, 2010 first time ever car show. We are supporting both our detachment and our local chapter of Toys for Tots with the proceeds from the show. It's a double whammy folks: you get to help area veterans help kids who might otherwise not have much of a Christmas. We've already supplied thousands of toys to hundreds, maybe thousands, of children over the past decade or so.

Bob Craig, owner of Mayberry Drive-In & Diner in Moneta, offered his theater site. Today's drive-in movie theaters are also ideal car show sites. The stanchions for speakers no longer exist (sound is radio broadcast), but careful rows with slightly elevated front are in place, making it easy to show and judge all kinds of cars and motorcycles.

An entry form is available at and

Here's the show in poster form. In a couple of weeks, we'll be posting this, with fliers also available, at various Bedford area merchants.

All cars and motorcycles and light trucks are welcome. Trophies will be awarded to winners in each class, plus a Peoples' Choice winner. Food and drink is available. We'll know more about music in a week or two or three.

Come. Watch or show. Enjoy.

As always, spectators enter free.

Friday, April 9, 2010

News for Bedford (VA) area car nuts.

Things got a touch hectic around the edges by the end of summer last year. They now seem to have settled in, with no major twists and turns expected, outside of the political arena where such things are always to be expected.

My mind meandered off to an area where it stayed busy with things other than posting blogs. I hope at this point, I can pull up the small amount of time that's really needed to sustain a site like this, making it interesting at least for a few.

We've (my local Marine Corps League Detachment and some friends) settled almost all details of a car show we'll be producing on July 17, at the Mayberry Diner in Moneta, VA. This '50s themed diner is a great place to have lunch or dinner, or breakfast, but it's an even better place to have a car show.

Why? Part of the theme includes a drive-in movie that opens on weekends. Today, there are no speaker stanchions to gouge expensive paint, but the rows still are clearly defined, and have elevated fronts that make for better viewing. That means there is plenty of space for upwards of 100 vehicles in various classes to line up neatly, while presenting excellent views of each vehicle.

All in all, we're expecting an experience worth having for entrants and spectators alike. Part of the profits, if any, go to support the Detachment, but as large a part goes to support our particular fund eater, Toys for Tots. Trophies are award in 12 classes with #13 being the "People's Choice."

The diner is easy to find and is central to much activity in the Smith Mountain Lake area, on the Bedford County side. Visitors from all around are welcome all the time, but especially so when the "Marines Have Landed" will ring out over the entrants' cars.

Our advance notice poster tells it all. This is the first view outside of those who had to approve it.