Thursday, September 29, 2016

'Laser Beam' crate (2 of 4)

So I have continued my work building four crates to move some of the weight of my vinyl collection out of my office and across the floor plan of my condo.  When you worry about your record collection busting through the floor due to it's mammoth size....yeah, you have a problem. However unfounded my worries may be.

So I discarded (recycled) my old CRT television in the living room, I had not watched it in years.  I watch the TV in my bedroom where I have an antenna hooked up and my DVD player connected.  It had to have weighed 125 lbs.  I carried it (somehow) down 2 flights of stairs and across the street to the electronics dump in my village.  It was brutal.  But now I have room.  I have two shelves open to hold two bins each.  Bin #1 stores my CTI 3000 and general CTI collection.  This bin - named the laser beam bin due to its use of angles - currently holds my polka collection which isn't very big but growing.

So as referenced above, I wanted to incorporate some angled cuts on this one.  My chop saw has a jig to accommodate all angles so I tried to figure out the best way to put some simple 45 degree cuts into the mix.

I notched the sides of the lower part of the bin manually with a hand saw.  Alas, I may have been a bit ambitious as it is not a perfect cut.  But I suppose it is perfect enough, I acknowledge I may be peering at the thing through a microscope since I am naturally critical of my builds.

Again, I used only 1x4 and 1x6 and total lumber cost was only about $20.  I tested the limits of the Kreg jig as often it was difficult to find a place that I could use it on small angled sides.  Again (the last time!) I stained the box but this time I tried to do a lighter coat and really worked to rub away any excess.  It is an interesting look no doubt, a contrast to the heavy layers I applied on my other works previously.  I am looking forward to trying some new varnish or stain, etc on the final two boxes.  I already have some free lumber lined up....stay tuned!

Meddling in Maryland

Well - and I guess I can say this about many places I've been - I never thought I'd find myself in Maryland.  And not only did I go, but the whole thing came together with just a few days notice.  Worked for maybe 4 hours.  Can't beat that, right? Usually a plane ticket to Baltimore with that little notice (it was over $500) would be prohibitive and the customer would balk.  Not this time - and I think I might even be back.

As soon as I got off the plane, I jumped in an Uber and headed to a Goodwill in Glen Burnie.  I hate vertically stored records in thrift stores because they are never under any kind of organization.  Within about 10% of the stack I found a gem! I was sure it would be badly scratched or something but I was afraid to look, so I set it aside until I got through the rest.  I didn't find anything else worth buying but I did find a hilarious 'how-to' record.

Let's go back to my room.....nice hair, guys
'The Golden Girls' theme (original version) is so nice, someone did it twice...

So I was content that I was able to sneak in some thrifting (and even found something) before I had to go to work.  Now if work ran late, it wouldn't matter and I wouldn't regret it if I never made it back to Maryland.  But alas, we got done at a reasonable time and I had time to hit one more! So I headed over to Jessup, near my hotel.  The records were in the book section (nothing odd there) but the crates faced the back of the store and for a few seconds I got short of breath and thought perhaps they didn't have any.  Oh, but they did!

I found perhaps my favorite Dan Fogelberg song as the B-side to this single, I try to buy 7" only if they have a picture sleeve.  This one was 'naked' and now it looks like no picture sleeve exists.  I have mild regret for letting it go.  The Wes Montgomery I already have with about 95% of the CTI 3000 series but its a pretty nice find for a Goodwill.

Then I let out a gasp because I found something truly awesome.  I found a barbershop record (score #1), I don't already have it - and I have many (score #2).  It is for a local (score #3) and international champion quartet (score #4).  It is autographed (score #5) - and last but not least, I DO have this quartets other LP, but not this one.  So it is perfect in so many ways.  It is also in great condition.  I freaked out because I knew I had one or the other and I wasn't sure which.  What a very productive 24 hours in Maryland! (I also found a piece of Pyrex for my girlfriend as you can see on the recept)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Willful Wandering in Wilmington

Got a call out of the blue to head down to Wilmington Illinois.  Where is that? I had no idea either - I seriously figured it had to be down in central Illinois or beyond.  Turns out, it's just a little south of Joilet so only about an hour for me.

So I drove down there the next day and was ready to work about 8:30 (I was meeting the customer who drove from Wisconsin).  We worked for about 90 minutes and had a major issue (customer brought incorrect material) so we put everything on hold while they had someone drive down the correct stuff.  So I promptly headed for the nearest thrift store.

Had some trouble chasing Ultimate Thrift Store down as they had moved but rather than update the listing on Google Maps, they created a new one.  And I lost my 50/50 bet and of course headed for the wrong one.  (I have since made the correction on Maps).  I walked in and asked for the records and they had just one little stack of 45s.  But would you believe that I not only found a 45, it was a nice Tom Jones promo and wasn't even in the database? Not bad!

After that I headed down to a small antique mall in downtown Wilmington.  The place is run by a military fanatic so they also sell knives and ammo and some other stuff.  There was one cubicle in the mall which must have been his as it was filled with army surplus type stuff.  I was looking for some MREs which I might have actually bought one.  But as suspected based on my experience in these types of places, they did have plenty of records.

These two gems were the only ones I considered buying.  Actually, there was a third which was in the bin to the right.  The Robin Trower I would have bought just to be a completist as I have #1 and 2 and this is #3.  The Priest vinyl is one of my favorite records ever and I do regret that.  But neither as much as the one you cannot see.  My girlfriend scolded me as well and told me I should have just bought it for her.  It is still on my mind, should have grabbed it.  I had the tape in grade school (the edited cover) and played it to death.  

I also was able to stop over at St. Vincent in Joilet as I had to come back the next day. Glad to check that off my list. Lots to do in Wilmington!

This business card has WiFi, requires a passcode and also has a strong cellular signal.

Monday, September 19, 2016

St. Vincent, Joilet

Probably the final St. V's anywhere in the Chicagoland area (or beyond) that I have left, not counting out of state locations (though I've seen more than a few of them!).  I never get out this way so when I had the opportunity, I wasn't about to let it pass.

Nice stash of vinyl, albeit stored vertically which is useless when not organized.  All you can do is stretch out your neck and get to work! I was elbow-to-elbow with another digger for about the first couple minutes.  He was a bit chatty and looking back, I was a little too focused and probably should have been nicer.  But I think in those situation (not that they come up often) I have a sick paranoia that my new 'friend' will grab a score before I do, and I'm mad that I have to share the area so I just hunt faster and more efficiently, carefully scanning the covers in the hopes of finding the pot of gold before they do.  In this case, I think he got the hint and moved on all on his own.

I produced two very nice scores (as seen below) but I had to pass on both.  For the former, I already have it and mine is autographed.  Still nice to come across this classic barbershop album from the local boys and international champs.

As for the latter, this was a major heartbreaker.  This is the second time of late that I have found a Versatones album which had something else inside.  And while it may seem unbelievable, I know that the Frank Yankovic jacket is not in there.  Because if it was, I would have to find it and look inside in the hopes that the jackets just got switched.  But the experienced thrift store digger's greatest weapon is being able to identify the hundreds and hundreds of 'commons' at just a glance, and to be able to visually sort albums, mentally, without almost ever stopping.  And I would have stopped at a Frank Yankovic album just to have a glance.  I looked inside the Versatones jacket almost on a whim, an afterthought and I probably made an audible sound as evidence of my extreme disappointment.  Still, I got some great photos of the band from the gatefold (only Versatones gatefold that I know of) which also provided some excellent historical info on the members which I was glad to share on discogs.  I considered buying it anyway - I considered buying the 4 Renegades album also to try and sell - but I decided to leave empty handed.

I also found this album which looks to be Brazilian (or Portugese).  I can find nothing in my quick search on the artist or the label but the most interesting part is the writing on the generic outer sleeve.  What looks like it may be notes from some Brazilian reveal to actually be really poor Spanish written by an obvious gavacho.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

'Bird Skeleton' Crate (1 of 4)

I have been wanting to make another box for a while now.  I am a bit worried about all the weight on my record bins and hutch.  I estimate that the two actual pieces of furniture are 250lbs at least and the 600 records and 100+ 45s has to be at least 750lbs.  Besides, I really wanted to drag my CTI 3000 series out of there and put them in their own bin.  

I have been wanting to try and build a different kind of bin for a while, one that does not use plywood and just uses 'rails'.  The records don't need to be fully enclosed, so why use all that excess lumber?  Also a solid 1"x___ will be infinitely more drillable and can take screws better.

Even more fun is the fact that I recently got a beautiful new chop saw at work.  We needed it for cutting something at work but I instantly knew I could use it for a project.  It came with a grinding disc for cutting metal which had to be replaced anyways.  So I got a nice wood blade which is perfect for what we are doing with it and of course it's great for lumber.  I have been using it for a few weeks at work and I was blown away at how well it cut the 1x6 and 1x8s I bought today! The finish on the ends is better than if you sanded it and of course - finally - I know that my cuts are perfectly square because there is a mechanism that locks it down.  And I can cut very precise lengths because I can see exactly where the blade comes down and I know how much I will lose in sawdust.

So I of course screwed up a few things, one of the biggest is that I miscut the side rails.  I could shorten them of course but I had already tapped them for my pocket holes and I wasn't going to cut the whole area off.  So I lined things up the best I could and besides being a little ugly (and its largely hidden), it did not effect anything.  But I did finally build something with all my pocket holes hidden! I just barely got the drill in there for the last couple but it fit.  So all the holes are on the inside or on the bottom.

It only took me about 90 minutes to do the whole project, I was designing on the fly.  I can't draw in 3D so I have to just go by my brain.  When it was done it looked boring and too square.  So I cut the 'V' and the point by hand with a finishing saw.  Then I nailed the cut away piece on the front.  I sanded the hell out of everything which of course did not need much since again, for once my cuts are all very square.  But I should have just cut a quick 2x4 brace before I nailed that piece on the front, I very marginally knocked something just a touch out of alignment from whacking at it.  I couldn't figure out how I missed sanding a few joints then realized I did - but there were knocked just 1-2mm out of square by my hammer swings.  It is very minimal and as you can see, the box is not bent or warped.  But I do have a pile of 2x4s and 2x6s and should have cut one.  Live and learn.

Again, I used a basic stain because I really like the look and of course the application and use is exceedingly simple.  And I spent $9 on that can and everything I build will get that finish until the can is gone! I am already planning another crate, to be built in as soon as a week, as I already have some design elements banging around in my brain and I need to get them out.

Best of all is that I just made another trip down to Bel-Aire in Bridgeview, one of my favorite places in the world.  They DID have the record I needed to match the sleeve I already have.  I also picked up both of the albums by The Tones - I've played through both already, a few times and I am very pleased.  Glad they could be modeled in my finished work below.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Savers, Arlington Heights (and a couple other old haunts)

This Savers has eluded me for a few years, it is just too far out of the way to force me to get up there and I don't get that way for work often enough.  Finally made time on a lazy Sunday in my mom's borrowed car as I housesit for them while they were away on vacation.

I trudged through the bins while another fellow was at my elbow exploring the collection of CDs.  He largely stayed out of my way so I didn't pay him much mind.  I initially found a Lil' Wally reissue from his later era when he moved to Miami Beach.  You can tell by the Jay Jay Records address moving from South Kedzie Ave. to Florida, and more entertainingly, the rear jackets always display a large selection of 'stuff' that he sold.  There are many parallels one could make between Lil' Wally and Master P and this is yet another.  Check out some of the cool stuff.  

There wasn't even any other polka records and I was getting disheartened.  I was on bin 5 of 6 when I struck gold! I found another Bob James record I do not have and I have already run through it a couple times.  Some of my favorite side men here, just a classic record.  But when I grabbed it, I opened the gatefold and found an empty paper inner sleeve.  This scared me - of course I still had to check inside the jacket, but I immediately became pessimistic (this record didn't belong in a Savers anyway) - would I find nothing? No, I did find something - the record, in great condition AND in the original CTI inner sleeve.  Doesn't get any better than that? (Actually it does, I found a piece of Pyrex I need so I was really flying high).  As soon as I stepped out of the way, my friend the CD collector stepped in preventing me from getting a good shot.  I waited and eventually got one but I figured I'd make him a Z-list celebrity first.  As soon as he was done he walked off, with a cart in tow overflowing with clothes.  Hope he got some scores too.

So we headed back towards home and figured we would make a couple more stops.  First up with The Shelter, where I have actually found some Bob James (a promo, no less) and a couple other interesting platters.  Things have been getting worse record-wise at the Shelter for quite a while.  All that is left is a tiny, shoddy bookshelf in the corner of the store, not the beautiful dual bin they once had (or even the multi-cube shelf, they are not on configuration #3).  I hope it found a good home.  There was nothing but junk and with every flip the whole thing would sway and I worried it would topple over.  I actually moved that Jack Jones album to the end, it is all Bread covers and very, very mildly interested me.


After that we were going to check out Kenneth Young resale.  I witnessed some of the wildest shenanigans in a thrift store ever, back on the 4th of July weekend in 2015.  But alas, it is no more.  RIP - glad I got to check it out.  

After that, we were headed to the WINGS resale shop which I checked out once before long ago.  But Google Maps was confusing me and I missed my turn.  As I cursed and looked for a way to turn around, I was upon Savers in Hoffman Estates.  I checked out both before on a trip - and I had found some nice scores in Savers that time, and I don't think I had been back.  I had high hopes.  

However, I found nothing except an array of the most beat up AND overpriced Pyrex ever.  And the above, still in it's box.  I almost bought it.  But I left it behind and moved on - one good record per day is enough for me!