The Canary islands

Punta del Teno

Punta del Teno

I visited those last march along with my girlfriend’s family. School prevented me from taking part in the whole two week trip, but during my stay, we visited the two main islands, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Much of the days were spent touring around in rented vehicles to see the sights, which were mainly pretty villages, vistas and geological formations. Between this very busy schedule, I still managed to fit in a morning of diving with my brother in law.

In some respect, the Canaries are sort of the Fort Lauderdale of Europe: pleasant weather year-round, resorts, beaches and the kind of crowd that comes with it. The comparison ends there, the Canaries are much more varied and interesting in landscapes (I’ve never been to Fort Lauderdale, but according to my sources, Florida is flat…) and more importantly, they are in Spain, which equates to history, food and culture. Tenerife and Gran Canaria are both home to two large cities of the sort found in mainland Europe. Regrettably, we spend too little time visiting those, especially that some in the group had never experienced the old continent, but that’s just my opinion. Luckily enough though, some of us were brave enough to stay out on the first night and take par in Gran Canaria’s carnival.

On the whole, I can’t really complain. An all-expenses-paid trip to such a nice destination was a very much welcomed break from the winter.

Laminated plywood desk

For a long time I had dreamed of the perfect desk and finally last summer I got around to actually building it. Having come across pieces of furniture made from laminated birch plywood grain-side up, I opted to use that technique for the desk rather than making it from solid planks. Using leftovers, I also built a liquor cabinet in much the same fashion.

Laminated plywood desk oblique view

Laminated plywood desk surface closeupThe surface features inserts of walnut, apple and padauk and the beams are held together by compression using threaded rods. Adjoining the desk is a side table also built using plywood but this time held together using glue. The side table has been made hollow to accommodate some computer parts in a fashion similar to that coffee table I built some years ago. To manage all the cabling, I simply reused a system I had put together for my first desk.

Now for the actual experience of making that projet into reality, it was much much more difficult that originally expected and ended up taking a lot more time. The surface of the desk is actually assembled using beams composed of three planks of plywood screwed together and then planed. Thinking that the beam would sit square once assembled by alternating the saw cuts to offset any errors, I omitted to joint the beams before planing them. In the end they didn’t and I ended up with many crooked beams and a wavy desk surface.

Plywood is not very rigid, that I was aware of, but it’s also quite compressible. In the end, my desk was not thick enough to account for that so once assembled and taught by the threaded rods, it would start bowing after a while. I managed to make the surface sort of straight using shims, but it’s still far from perfect. I’m also not exactly satisfied with the look of the legs, so I plan to revisit this project in the future to build metal legs and a frame to straighten it out.

In spite of all the challenges of building this desk, I’m still very happy with the way it came together. I don’t think I’ll be reusing plywood again for woodworking projets, but I certainly gained a lot from the experience.


Liquor cabinet

Liquor cabinet side view

Or rather a liquor table. It was built entirely using laminated baltic birch plywood with walnut, apple and padauk inserts. All the layers of plywood are grain-side up and held together using threaded rod. The table features its own lighting system for a spectacular effect at night.

Liquor cabinet

The projet was meant to match my computer desk and was put together using leftovers from its big brother.

The hook multiplier, another small project made from apple wood

For a while now, I’ve had a stockpile of apple tree wood from a tree we felled a couple of years ago. Normally, thinking of woodworking projects isn’t too difficult, but this particular essence of wood is unfit for most projects but the smaller ones (for example, wine bottle stands). However, what it lacks in workability it makes up in beauty. Some pieces are rather drab, but others, especially the ones that have been damaged by pest and water, can be spectacular.

Hook multiplier in useA simple idea came to me upon seeing my girlfriend’s clotheshook overly crowed with scarves and coats. By expanding one hook into a column of smaller vertical hooks, we’d be able to free up some space.

Here’s what it turned into. The whole project took about an hour an half and I was able to put to use the most crooked but most visually appealing plank of apple tree wood (excuse the bad pictures, I could not get proper lighting).

Hook multiplier closeup

Fixing a flooded iPhone 6 (or any other phone)

Your iPhone fell in the water and no longer works? Here’s how you might be able to fix it. My girlfriend had dropped her’s in the toilet (don’t ask how) and with a bit of patience and some chemicals I was able to get it working again. This little trick might also work with any other kind of electronics.

  1. Take your phone apart completely. iFixit has some very well made guides for most iPhone models. (If you don’t have the proper screwdrivers, spudgers, suction cups and things, Ebay is a good place to get them, they only cost a couple of dollars.)
  2. Take the logic board out.
  3. Look for water deposits and corrosion (bluish/greenish spots) on the logic board and everywhere inside the phone.
  4. Put that logic board and every other part that’s been exposed to water in a plastic container.
  5. Pour a generous amount of isopropyl alcohol (the higher the concentration the best) in the container so that the parts are completely submerged.
  6. Let them sit there for a couple of days, intermittently shaking the container to swoosh the alcohol around.
  7. Get a soft bristled toothbrush, dunk it in the alcohol and gently brush off all the corrosion that you can see. Pay extra attention to the connectors and the logic board, inspect them meticulously and clean them thoroughly.
  8. Let the parts dry for two or more days. (You can put the alcohol back in its bottle.)
  9. Put the phone back together, working in reverse from the guide you used originally to take it apart.
  10. Plug it in and hope for the best.

Hope this helps… If you have any other suggestions and if it worked with your model of phone or electronics, I’d appreciate it if you leave a comment.