Monday, January 31, 2005

Lodgepole Pine King and Queen Log Beds

I have finished the King and Queen lodge pole log beds. Both of the beds are 100% solid pine. The rails are 3" lodge pole pine logs and the support braces across the bed are 2x2 pine, NO metal frames here!. The queen log bed is the same look as the king but has 1 less ballister on the head and foot board and is, of course, queen size. These beds are very very sturdy, solid, and heavy. The kind bed weighs about 350 pounds and the queen weighs about 300 pounds. All of the logs have 2" tenons and the head and foot board logs are glued together with a more elastic adhesive which almost completely reduces creaking and is more solid than if wood glue or nails was used to secure the logs. The log headboards are 4 1/2 feet tall and the footboards are 3 1/2 feet tall. If you would like to purchase a bed like this for your house or cabin, call me at 360.903.7141. I will be selling king lodge pole pine log beds for $650 and queen log beds for $550. This includes the log head board, foot board, rails, and support braces, and finishing the bed with your choice of finishes. I will also be willing to make minor adjustments to height and design for you. The cost does NOT include delivery. I am willing to deliver and set-up the bed within 4 hours of Portland, OR for an extra $75 - $150 depending on distance etc. More pictures of my lodge pole pine log furniture
King Size Lodge Pole Pine Log Bed King Size Lodge Pole Pine Log Bed

Friday, January 21, 2005

Lodgepole Pine Log Furniture Building Hints #2

I have the queen headboard and footboard done and in the process I have some more hints to pass on.

HINT #1 : How to Center Mortise Holes on a Lodge Pole Log
To center the mortise holes on the log, which is especially necessary when building the rails, first find the center of both ends. Measure half the distance horizontally (remember to measure straight across at the widest part of the end) and mark it on the end. Then use a square to make a vertical line the length of the ends. Now use those two marks to make your line. To do this I used a laser just because it is cool but you could also use a chalk line. Now you can mark all of your mortise locations.

HINT #2 : How to Keep Your Mortise Holes Vertical
Now that you have your holes marked the problem is keeping the round and prone to roll lodge pole log along the same plane. If you don't do this right, your headboard posts will not match up. You can see how difficult and important this is by placing your forstner bit on the hole and then rotating the log back and forth. Notice how the drill bit is still in the center of the mark but your holes will be dramatically different and slanted. After trial and error I resolved this by first making a horizontal line on the end (now you have a cross since above you made a vertical line to center your holes). Then I affixed a small (about 3-4 inches wide) level along that horizontal line (I just taped it on but you could tap in a small nail etc depending on your level). Now to make sure the hoes are vertical just check the level and line up the bubble to level the log. Remember to check this every time you move the log because there is a good chance you will have taken it off level.

HINT #3 : How to Make Tight Mortise and Tenon Joints in Lodge Pole Logs
My problem here came because I made the tenons about two weeks before I made the mortises and so the tenons dried out and shrunk in diameter. I found that because they had shurnk, my tenons were not quite 2 inches wide and were instead between 1/8 and 1/16 to small. When I connected the joints this lead to too much slop. I have a 1 7/8 inch forstner bit but that was a little too small for the size of the tenon. So I used both bits. I drilled about 3/4 of the way with the 2 inch forstner bit and then finished out with the 1 7/8 bit. Then I sanded my tenons a bit to smooth them out. This provided for a very tight joint. There are two secrets here: First, make sure you make your mortise and tenons around the same time period. Second, to measure your tenons before you drill your holes because if you make the mortise too big you can't get that wood back.

HINT #4 : An Easy Way to Assemble the Lodge Pole Logs
Now that you have a bunch of logs you need to line up the mortises with the tenons and assemble the headboard etc. This is harder than you think because both of the horizontal braces have to line up with your 6-10 vertical logs. Then once you have them together you need to fully seat the tenons into the mortises. My secret is ratcheting tie down straps and a rubber mallet. Once you have the piece initially assembled, wrap a strap around it and snug it down. I use two for the head/foot boards, one on each end. Then start cranking both of them down to snug the joints together. Use the rubber mallet to convince things together. If you just use the rubber mallet you end up really whacking the logs and can risk putting dents in the logs. My favorite strap is a huge 25' 3500 lb load strap which is about 3 inches in width and is perfect for fitting around beds.

Good luck!

Long Beach Washington Free WIFI Access

I LOVE FREE WIFI! There I have said it, I feel better. No matter where I go or what I am doing it always seems like I need internet access. Working as a Software Engineer on mainly internet applications doesn't help. Anyways when in Long Beach check out the Long Beach Coffee Roasters of 811 Pacific Ave. It is a little hard to find, so as you are driving through Long Beach it is about 100 yards on the left after the light in a little strip mall. The sign is not that great but never fear if you pass it there is a huge sign on the back :) If you are ever on the North Shore of Hawaii Turtle Bay resort has free WIFI in their lobby and at the beach! Yes have your adult beverage and do some coding...hmmm not a good idea maybe just check your email.

ORACLE sqlplus "&" Character in String

I recently wrote some SQL INSERT scripts to add some information to a table I had created. The insert scripts were in a text file and I attempted to execute that text file in sqlplus with the @ directive. Everything ran fine but when it got to the "&" character, ORACLE prompted me for the new value from the command line. HUH?? I don't want a new value I want the string I entered. I tried escaping out the & with a "\" but that just now put a "\" in.

PROBLEM: How to insert a "&" character into a string in ORACLE sqlplus without being prompted to reenter the value.

SOLUTION: Place this command at the top of your text file: set scan off; This turns off the ORACLE defines and other similarly annoying features and allows your text file to run as you intended.

I am sure that ORACLE DBA's would say well of course but being a simple software engineer and only using sqlplus when I have to this was quite the annoying little problem.

So why was I need to insert a "&" well I really needed to insert a "≥" and "≤" into the string so greater than equal (≥) and less than equal (≤) signs would be outputted to the browser in my web app. After I overcame the above problem, I thought I was home free but alas I also need to set this as the value of a radio button. When I used value="≥" for my value Internet Explorer did just that and inserted the symbol instead of the string. So, when the greater-than-or-equal was passed through POST from the form, IE then converted it to another representation and by that time when I tried to insert it into the DB using JSP my prepared statement the whole thing would blow up. By blow up I mean that Tomcat would return some obscure error message which would be caught by my try{} catch{} and do me no good.

PROBLEM: How to pass a greater-than-or-equal symbol HTML representation (or other HTML entity) from ORACLE DB to a form and back successfully.
SOLUTION: I used the ISO-8859-1 decimal Code representation for the symbol. So instead of passing "≥" I passed ≥ which worked because IE did not convert it but would display the symbol as I needed.

This solution would also work if you need to display "≤" you could use ≤ and for any other symbol where the "&___" HTML format is needed. The moral here is good luck if you need to start passing HTML special characters as strings to and from a DB because the handling of those can be creative.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Lodgepole Log and Rustic Furniture

I have finished the first piece of lodge pole furniture and also a rustic knotty pine armoire I have been working on. I finished my knotty pine armoire with sliding front doors which has three shelves and a television shelf which fits a 32 inch TV. I also just finished a lodgepole coffee table with a slate top and knotty pine accents. The coffee table and armoire are the first two pieces in my living room group which also includes two end tables and a sofa table. In our Eagle Crest Rental we are pairing this group with two leather sofas and a couple of moose & pine lamps. Below are some pictures of the furniture in the shop, I will post better pictures once they are varnished and are in the home.

Knotty Pine Armoire Front Opened Knotty Pine Armoire Front Closed Knotty Pine Armoire Back Knotty Pine Armoire SideLodgepole and Slate Coffee Table Lodgepole and Slate Coffee Table Underneath

All my furniture is custom designed and I like to call it Modern-Rustic because it is made of pine, lodgepole, slate, and other rustic materials but has modern lines and design. I have decided to sell a few of my designs on a you-order-I-make basis. I have not yet finalized the prices but I plan on offering: the knotty pine armoire, lodgepole and slate sofa table, lodgepole night stand with drawer, lodgepole and slate end table, lodgepole and slate coffee table, Queen/King/Full lodgepole beds, and a twin over full lodgepole bunk bed. All of these pieces will be custom made once they are ordered and to a point can be customized in size upon request.

I will give more details and have better pictures once I have all of the pieces to display and everything is set up to begin filling any orders. For now, these photos will have to do.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Lodgepole Pine Log Furniture Hints

We recently purchased a vacation home in the Eagle Crest Resort which we will be renting out as a vacation rental (check out our EagleCrest Getaway for more information, availability, and rates). So, after checking on the prices of lodge pole pine furniture I quickly decided to see if I could make all the furniture myself. It took some work but I have the wood and supplies and have just started on the process. Here are some of the things I struggled with and my solutions:

Where to find lodgepole logs around Portland, Oregon?

After much useless searching on the internet and in log home magazines, I contacted a log mill in Oregon whom I was able to set up a relationship with to get hand pealed lodgepole logs milled. I ordered over 60 8ft hand pealed lodgepole pine logs of varying diameters (2'', 3'', and 5''). Two weeks later I drove down there and picked them up. A note, though, these logs were not kiln dried so I had to dry them as well as I could and the jury is still out on how good of a job I did.

Lodgepole Logs Drying
My pile of Oregon lodgepole pine logs drying in the garage.

How to create the mortise and tenon joints for the lodgepole

In this case an internet search was the key. After some searching I settled on a $90 2'' Veritas Tenon Cutter. I contacted other furniture makers to get their recommendation and they agreed that short of a $500 professional tenon cutter this one was very good. I purchased it through Rockler Wordworking's website and it arrived in about a week. For the mortise everyone agreed that a 2'' Forstner Bit was the necessary tool. Lowes had one for $35 and the Home Depot guy hadn't heard of one (although later I found them near the router bits for about $35 also). I would recommend a high quality bit since this will be one of your main tools. I chose a Freud Bit available at most home improvement stores.

Lodgepole Furniture Tools
The Veritas Tenon Cutter and 2 inch Forstner Bit

How to use this monstrous tenon cutter?

OK I am not stupid I know you use a drill to turn it and shave the wood but that is very much easier said than done. I first realized that no ordinary drill was going to

do here and I was blessed to have a coworker with an Electrician father and I was able to borrow his hole saw drill. This 30 year old
Black & Decker beast is just the ticket. Another quick hint is to tighten all of the set screws on the tenon maker and adjust the blade before using it our, as I, you will be very disappointed in its performance. Now I had to figure out how to prevent a large round log from spinning and moving while I applied the necessary pressure to create the tenon. For the solution, I used a piece of plywood as a base and screwed two 2''x2'' boards onto it to securely hold the sides of the board. Then, I used two long screws to screw a 1/2'' piece of plywood on top of the board to act as a vice. To use my creation I insert the log and then tighten down the two screws on the top of the board to clamp the to-be-shaved log into place. Works great!

Richards Lodgepole Vice

Lodgepole Vice In Use
My Lodgepole Tenon Making Vice

The best way to create the mortise?

Pretty easy for this one, a drill press with the forstner bit is the way to go. Here I wish I had a better drill press but even with the simple one I have this method works very well. Finding the center of the wood is still by the eyeball method but I have some ideas on improving this as well.

Once I really get into making the beds I am sure I will have more hints to offer. Lodgepole furniture has a great value and ease of creation for the do-it-your-selfer and I will try to put up some how-to's to de-mystify it some more.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Submit a form to a new popup window

Today I needed to create a new chromeless (no scrollbars, toolbarrs, navbars etc)
window and submit a form to it because we were directing users to another vendor's
product who required information to be submitted via POST to their site to proceed.
Here is how I proceeded.

PROBLEM: How to submit a form to a new popup window.

SOLUTION: I modified the <form> target and onsubmit properties.
Non-JavaScript users will get a regular new window which works fine for our
application because at least they are not taken away from the site.


<form name="frmModule5" id="frmModule5" action="processingPage.jsp"
method="post" target="moduleFive" onsubmit="'about:blank',
'moduleFive', 'width=800,height=550,resizable=true,scrollbars=true');">

.... form elements here ...

<input type="submit" value="submit">