Tool Sharpening

I got a set of cheap chisels and a block plane from Home Depot a few years ago. There are times when they come in super handy, but how do I sharpen them? If you search online, there are a bazillion different options and each one is a bit of an investment. I wanted something that I couldn’t screw up and was quick to use without much cleanup. I ended up buying the Work Sharp WS3000.

The basic kit comes with two glass plates and four different abrasive levels. The abrasive sheets adhere to the glass so you can pick the right one and flip it to the correct side. My chisels were in rough shape but in less than half an hour, I had flatted the backs, and established both a bevel and a micro bevel. Brilliant! I’m so excited to finally start using my hand tools more.

Fear of sharpening was a major reason why I haven’t invested in a bigger plane yet. Maybe a jack plane will find it’s way into my shop.

Safeway Monopoly

Monopoly is back at Safeway (and related grocery stores.) I know it’s a ridiculous game and the odds of winning anything are astronomically low, but for some reason I still find it fun. And last year I did win a reasonable amount of small stuff so why not go for it again.

During the “off season”, I had spent a little time futzing around with a phone application that would read playing pieces and keep track of how you were doing along your futile journey to win prizes. I even thought you could get into a group with friends and digitally pool your playing pieces for a little better chance at winning something. I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time on that because they have improved the app that comes with the game. Not only can you scan the bar codes for the second chance prizes like last year, but now you can also scan a 2D barcode on the back of the playing pieces. It figures out what all four pieces are and keeps track of your progress in the app. You still need to keep the physical playing pieces to redeem your prize, but this automates away a lot of the time consuming part.

I’ll do another post in a couple months and let you know how it turned out this year. If you aren’t playing and want to fuel this silliness, feel free to pass your tokens along to me.

Best of YouTube

I hope you got a chance to watch the Falcon Heavy test launch by SpaceX earlier this week either live or afterwards. If you didn’t, grab your popcorn and fire up this video. I watched it live at work and it was quite a thrill to watch the biggest rocket since the Saturn project lift off and then see the two boosters land simultaneously back on earth. Unfortunately the main booster didn’t land successfully back on the floating platform (not in the video), but two out of three isn’t bad. Since this was a simple test flight, Elon loaded his personal Tesla Roadster into the rocket for weight (generally companies just use heavy chunks of metal, etc) and there was a subsequent live stream of the car floating through the solar system.

I love the videos about the science behind games at the fair, but Mark Rober’s video was the first time I’d seen the same formula applied to an arcade. it taught me something about the rainbow circle game that will change my life forever.

And everyone’s favorite woodworking geek, Matthias Wandel, posted a video showing how you can use a free app on your phone or tablet to measure the RPM of your shop tools.


Barbacoa Beef

I enjoy a Chipotle burrito every now and then, and I always get their barbacoa beef. For the Super Bowl party, I finally got around to attempting to make something like it myself. I picked up 6.5 pounds of chuck roast from the butcher and plopped it in the slow cooker for about 8 hours. It was so good! This one is going into our regular rotation. Below you’ll find the recipe that I used from Genius Kitchen, modified just a little bit:


  • 1⁄3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3⁄4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 -5 lbs chuck roast


  1. To make the adobo sauce combine vinegar, lime juice, chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper and salt in a blender or processor on high speed until smooth.
  2. Remove most of the fat from the roast and then cut into large chunks.
  3. Pour oil into a frying pan and sear all sides of roast on medium-high heat until browned.
  4. Place meat into slow cooker and pour adobo sauce over meat.
  5. Pour in the chicken broth and add bay leaves.
  6. Cook on high heat 6 hours or on low all day.
  7. While still in the Crockpot, shred the meat with two forks and turn the heat to warm. Serve with hard or soft tortilla shells when ready.



Telemarketing Experiment

For the past few months, I’ve been getting multiple telemarketing calls per day. Some are legit-ish (the police fundraising, NRA, etc) and others are just blatant violations of the do not call registry from randomized phone numbers. The Truecaller app does help, but it’s not perfect and it’s not as good as having them not call at all. It’s time to try something new.

Lifehacker published an article written by a telemarketer about how to get him to stop calling. Ignoring the calls or hanging up after you realize what it is won’t actually help. The best way to get off the call lists is to be polite and a complete dud of a sale. This article goes into more detail, but the summary is to say “No thank you” to every question and don’t engage in any conversation.

I’m going to give this a shot and see what happens. If it backfires and my phone rings all day, you can laugh when I make another post saying that I’m changing my phone number.