tragedies #8: several near misses

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-21-2010 01:19 PM 2850 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: still hoping to fix that Craftsman planer... Part 8 of tragedies series Part 9: I got the new bearing in place! »

I have not been lucking out timing-wise these last few days. I used a $50 gift card to Rockler from my aunt from Christmas last week, but I guess I ordered too late in the week, so I haven’t yet gotten the stuff that would have helped this weekend.

Taking some advice commented to my last post (and wanting to try the heat/freeze and light sanding method combination), I actually tracked down a local bearing shop not too far away. I had looked before and found nothing but wholesalers and other places that couldn’t help. This guy had a few of the bearings with the exact measurements I needed, all ‘motor grade,’ and used in cars, so he said to come by and take a look. He said he closes at 5 to 1, which I at first thought meant he was open from 5AM to 1PM, but then realized he meant he closes sharp at 12:55PM. Curious. I’d already been working for hours in the garage, and so planned things out so I could accomplish a few more things out there while still stinky, then shower up and have a half hour to get to his place. It wasn’t that far away.

I completely neglected to factor in LA traffic, however, and hit light after light, got stuck behind 5MPH trucks, trapped for minutes in a few separate construction areas (one erecting a massive metal street light with a crane reaching over the lanes of traffic!), and even had to weave back and forth into parking spaces 5 times to let other cars by in just the final 3 blocks to his building on his street, because it was one of those narrow roads with cars parked on both sides in an industrial area with lots of business traffic. So frustrating. Long story short, I got there at 12:50PM, about 20 minutes later than I expected. He had locked up and was loading his car. He remembered me, but said “I can’t let you in. The alarm sets itself at 1PM.” Ah ha! Mystery solved. Still weird, though. As he looked at me, a loud bell went off over his building. “See? That’s the alarm. I can’t go back in.” I wondered what he did if a customer lingered too long. Sleep over in the store with them until morning? I told him I’d see him Monday, when he’s again open 8AM-12:50ishPM. Another 35 minutes to go 10 miles home again with no prize.

And finally, craigslist. I scour for things like lumber, logs, trees, wood, and so on often enough. Most things are way too far away to be worth the round trip, as here on the west side there isn’t much tree-felling. Once in awhile I’ve found some halfway decent things to play with, like a pile of like-new pine 1x lumber, and those enormous eucalyptus logs (largest 234lbs!). One thing I’ve really been wanting to get my hands on is California pepper (Schinus molle). I’ve seen some turnings online, and they’re very pretty. I recently ID’d them in my neighborhood, and now that I know them I see them everywhere.

The trunks are large, warm brown and beautiful, often full of burls. The long, hanging, opposite compound leaves smell like pepper when crushed up, and they create the pink variety of peppercorns, which are edible and used in cooking, either by themselves or mixed with regular peppercorns. I’ve been thinking it would be cool to strike when the scores of peppercorns appear, collecting and drying them out, then get myself a small branch from the same tree and turn a peppermill, fill it with its own pink peppercorns, and present it as a gift to someone (probably my gourmet parents).

Anyway, the other night, while trawling craigslist again before going to bed, I found a full, slabbed tree, all planks 5” thick, and in the 2’x10’ area. That’s 100BF, and he was just giving it away! He was also in S. Pasadena, not too far away at all – 20 minute drive, maybe. I called early the next morning, and he said someone was already hauling it away. Siiiigh… Oh, the things I could’ve made. I’ve never seen anyone giving away slabs in the year I’ve been looking, and especially not a wood I particularly wanted to try. I just hope it was a woodworker who grabbed it, and not one of the horde of people always scrounging for firewood. I’d prefer to give them a truckload of my crappy ficus logs as trade for pretty, 5” thick slabs.

Oh well. At least I’m getting good things done in the garage, and Monday I’ll be picking up a couple of bearings, and probably getting the light-sanding (to knock down the peening and remove nicks) + heat/freeze method to work (crossing my fingers). I remain hopeful. The Rockler box will probably show up on Monday, too, and then I’ll have WAY too much to do all at once :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

8 comments so far

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 4777 days

#1 posted 03-21-2010 03:33 PM

A day late huh well better hunting what you want than being hunted


View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5091 days

#2 posted 03-21-2010 05:23 PM

Have had many days like that, so I feel your pain.

In the words of the immortal Red Green- “Remember, we’re all in this together, I’m pullin for ya”


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4669 days

#3 posted 03-21-2010 10:15 PM

Bad luck is always followed by better luck. At least that is what I’ve heard.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 5121 days

#4 posted 03-21-2010 10:46 PM

hi Gary
hope this helps you. Applied IndustrialTech inc. 760-241-7238
They are who I use for bearings.
Or SC Bearing & Industrial Supply 760-952-1211 I believe 1 or the other should be able to help although they may need yours to measure to be sure of a correct fit.
Good Luck!

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 5326 days

#5 posted 03-22-2010 07:50 AM

Is it me or is there something morbid about making the tree provide part of itself for the grinding of its children embodied in the peppercorns? lol

-- Jim

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4717 days

#6 posted 03-22-2010 09:02 AM

I’m pretty upbeat and not worried about it. They’re sigh-filled moments, but I’m working to get things humming along smoothly, and making great progress. But man… all that beautiful peppertree wood… Sigh…

Jim – thanks for the info! The bearing is only $4 through Sears, and it’s the one specifically for the planer, but then you also pay shipping and wait awhile. They backordered it last time, so it was more than a week before it arrived. I’ll probably do that again if this bearing shop I found in town here doesn’t have something that looks just right, but it seems they do. Always good to have alternates, though. Thanks again!

Jim (OutPutter) – Ha! I think I’ll write that into the card with the gift :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5063 days

#7 posted 03-22-2010 03:48 PM

i wonder if you could actually post a craigslist add for trades. Maybe some turners out there would like to give you some boards in exchange for some of those cool finds you found earlier. I don’t know.

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 4705 days

#8 posted 03-22-2010 05:54 PM

I resemble this remark!!!!!!!!!!! Sounds like my luck.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

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