Porsche 944 Turbo RIP

Alas, my car was destroyed by a rear-ender in Los Gatos a couple of weeks ago. I think the driver was changing lane and didn’t see the line of traffic in front. The collision was strong enough to push me into four more cars, but I think mine was the only one to be a total loss. Fortunately no-one seems to have suffered any real injuries, although I had a stiff neck for a while. Apart from the loss of a car of which I was rather fond, the biggest issue is the time and cost of finding a replacement.

I’ve settled on an Acura RDX as a replacement: it’s a small SUV like thing that drives like a car, but is a bit higher and has good space and practicality. The practicality will finally allow me to tow a small boat, as well as taking lots of tools and wood etc. in its boot.

It has a voice operated control system that has trouble with my accent – I say things like “navigate to home” and it replies “air conditioning off” or “fan level six”. I just hope it’s not running Windows.

This image is from the launch of the car – mine is a pearl white – rather like my first 944 Turbo.

DIY furniture

I’ve always enjoyed woodwork – ever since I was introduced to it at school, building simple things like a pencil case and a tray. True craftsmanship is a discipline I find hard, however, so I’ve tended to find quick and efficient ways to make things. I enjoy the puzzle-solving aspect of design as well.

These are two recent pieces – a shoe rack for the front door (we tend not to wear shoes inside), and a long, low bookcase that’s also big enough to store records.

They are built from 3/4″ birch ply – reasonably good quality at $40 / sheet, but tricky to cut without splitting. I use mitred joints for the look – without dowels or biscuits these were the very devil to glue up – and double thickness for the carcass to create a strong outline. The shelves of the shoe rack are 1/4″ marine ply (oukoume), and everything is finished in clear lacquer.

Lacquer turns out to be a very easy finish to apply – brush it on and it dries almost instantly. Use steel wool (very fine – 0000 grade) to polish the surface and keep on adding coats until you’ve had enough.

The downside of lacquer is that it is easily damaged by water – not a good surface if people are going to put damp glasses down, as I have already sadly discovered. At least with a DIY piece I don’t feel bad about sanding it down and putting on more lacquer.