Daily Archives: July 23, 2006


This afternoon I make a totally rocking router table fence. I use these plans from the Stots website, although I don’t own the dust sucker accessory. I’ll figure something out on my own for hooking up the shop vac.

I start with a piece of 3/4″ MDF that’s been hanging around the shop for a while. Not sure what I made with it originally, but it started out life as a two-foot by four-foot handy panel from Home Depot, and it’s an L-shaped piece now, two feet on each long side. I’m able to cut out the fence and the base pieces at 24″ long, not quite the 31 1/2″ that the plans call for having, but close enough for me. And I have to slim them just a tad, maybe half an inch short of the width in the plans. And for the fence faces I use a leftover piece of laminate-covered 1/2″ MDF. (Leftover from what, I don’t remember, until Dawn reminds me that it’s from Ikea, that we used the rest of it on the kitchen cabinets.) It’s only about a foot long, short of the 17 3/8″ in the plans, but still now proportional since the base and fence itself are shorter.

So my fence is altogether a bit smaller than it could be, but it’s still a real good size. And the laminated faces are totally sweet. The other major change I make is to reverse the fasteners holding the faces to the fence. The plans say to use screws coming through from the back into t-nuts in the faces. I use instead bolts counterbored through the faces then going through the fence and held on with wingnuts.

Mostly the project calls for drilling. A lot of drilling. Pilot holes for the screws holding the fence and base and braces together. Then big 2″ holes in the fence (in lieu of machining slots for the faces to slide side to side). Then the holes that the bolts go through on either side, counterboring them on the front of the faces. At a certain point it dawns on me how much easier all this drilling is with the drill press, how much of a nightmare it could have been.

I finish and set up the whole router table assembly, with the table and the insert and now the new fence. Oh so nice. But I don’t have anything to actually rout today. Next weekend I’ll use it to joint the balusters, to remove the saw marks before sanding. I can joint now because of the independently sliding fence faces, where I can shim the outfeed side to act as a kind of jointer. I had meant to order some proper shims from Rockler, but I have some old playing cards that’ll probably work just as well. Maybe even better since those shims are sized for Rockler’s own fence.

Now I am thinking of souping it up with proper knobs rather than the wingnuts, but, hey, let’s not get too crazy, huh?

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What with the choir being gone, and so much to do around the house, we go again to 8:30 a.m. Mass. Leading us is Father Caulfield, with Deacon Work assisting him. I see Heather in the procession as one of the eucharistic ministers.

The readings are all shepherds, all the time, scattering and reassembling the flock. First is from Jeremiah. “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord … I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow.” St. Paul tells us, “In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.” And especially Christ the Good Shepherd, from the Gospel reading:

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

Now, oddly enough, all this makes me think of President Bush, who famously declared to be “a uniter, not a divider.” And I had never ever noticed the evangelical overtones to that statement before, but there it is. Here it is.

It makes me think of another semi-famous instance in 2000 where then-candidate Governor Bush in his stump speech would say, “Don’t be taking a speck out of your neighbor’s eye when you got a log in your own.” Then Washington reporter (and now food critic) for the New York Times, Frank Bruni, reported that Bush seemed to have invented a new twist on the old adage about the pot calling the kettle black. Governor Bush of course was loosely quoting Jesus, from the Gospel of St. Matthew.

I don’t know if President Bush actually believed it at the time, about being a uniter, not a divider. More lately he has declared that he is the decider. But whatever, he has rather become a most polarizing figure. But the message that he presented way back when, was both politically soothing, as well as a Biblical reference, that some people got I suppose, but I didn’t.

Or, as better put elsewhere, here’s how a profile of Mike Gerson in the New Yorker explains it.

Gerson says that he is flummoxed by the debate over religiosity in the White House. “There’s an idea that we are constantly trying to sneak into the President’s speeches religious language, code words, that only our supporters understand,” he said. “But they are code words only if you don’t know them, and most people know them.”

Gerson then goes on to cite the Frank Bruni example, saying with obvious relish, “No one at the Times seemed to know that these were the words of the Sermon on the Mount.”

(And I have to admit that I know the reference from first reading it in Stephen King, in The Stand, where Frannie for some reason ponders the line from St. Matthew, wondering about motes and beams, as they’re called in the King James. She free associates, coming up with Abe Beame, once the mayor of New York. Hearing it in church ever nowadays, or reading it in St. Matthew, or hearing Mike Gerson talk about it, I still instantly think about Frannie and Abe Beame.)

With all the shepherds, the Responsorial Psalm is, of course, from the Twenty-Third.

The processional hymn is There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy. The first time I glance at the title on the music leaflet, I think it’s “There’s a Wildness in God’s Mercy.” Whatever could that mean? Or, it’s better than “There’s a Weirdness in God’s Mercy,” I suppose.

Then, later, I can’t for the life of me get out a line, without screwing up, of the recessional hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. It’s in 3/4 time (or maybe 6/8, with snatches of 3/8?) with syllable count of 14 14 478. Crazy. Dawn has no trouble with it, though.