The tech of kitchen butcher block countertops

Wait, why is there woodworking on a tech blog?

 I grew up around woodworking. I've been a practitioner for over 7 years myself. I've had a woodworking blog for quite a while. Why am I writing about woodworking on my tech blog? Because I'm tired of keeping 2 separate blogs. Inevitably one blog will suffer. So, I've imported all of my woodworking posts into this blog, thanks to SquareSpace's import capability. You can explore the history and see my projects. The years and blogger were not kind, and some images are missing. Now, on to the woodworking.

Hard Maple workbench

Counter tops

Long ago, I made a workbench. It turned out pretty nice. My wife and I are remodeling the kitchen, and she asked me to make butcher block counter tops. Sounds fun! 

The counter tops will be made of hard maple boards turned on edge and laminated together. Most butcher block style counter tops are 1-1 1/2" thick.  For cost reasons I decided to make mine 3/4" thick with a 1 1/2" thick lip and 4" back splash. This is the same way our current laminate counter tops are made. 

Rough lumber

S4S hard maple

I began by gathering the  hard maple that I had left over from my workbench build. It is S4S with a straight line rip on one side. Since the wood is S4S it is already finished to 13/16" thick and is almost ready for glue up.  I sawed the lumber into 13/16" widths, which will end up being the 3/4" laminated face of the counter tops.

Test clamp up

Test clamp up

Our current counter tops are 25 1/5" deep including front lip and backsplash. I did a quick test clamp up to verify that I had cut enough lumber to for the required depth. In the picture of the clamp up the counter top is 23".


Next steps

Next will be glue up, but first I need more clamps... 

Back to tech

So how does woodworking relate to tech and programming specifically? In my opinion they compliment each other. Woodworking, like programming, is an iterative process. You design, implement, test woodworking projects just like software. Craftsmanship is also important. If you have ever investigated fine furniture, art, or home construction you have probably noticed that some have a much nicer "fit and finish". Just like those open source projects that are well documented with a complete unit test suite.

Minion Trade Study

I decided if I had power, I'd need minions. According to   minions are "servile follower or subordinate of person in power". Oh, but what kind of minions? Cute minions like in Despicable Me or something more vicious?

I ended up deciding on animal minions, but which animal? I needed to do a trade study. 


As you can see Raptors won. I can see it now, me and a flock of Raptors at the office. No one would dare write a GOTO.

vim, ruby support and rvm

I build vim from source, just because. Each time I do I struggle to remember how to get Ruby support to work. Here's a quick post so I can remember. This should work on most Debian based distributions.

1. Download the latest vim source

hg clone vim

2. Configure vim. The part I always forget is finding the Ruby header files. RVM stores them in "rubies" based on the version installed.

./configure --prefix=/home/nate/.viminstall --enable-pythoninterp=yes --includedir=/home/nate/.rvm/rubies/default/include/ruby-1.9.1/ruby.h --enable-rubyinterp=yes

3. Now build vim

make && make install

4. Enjoy vim!

Redshift, an alternative to f.lux

I have used f.lux for a while now. Unfortunately, with the latest versions of Linux Mint and Ubuntu f.lux seems to be broken. Fortunately thanks to the answer on this Ask Ubuntu question. I found Redshift.

Installing Redshift was easy because it was in the default repositories for Linux Mint. I used Linux Mint's "Software Manager" app. Redshift  is configured manually but using the example it's easy to do.

So if you're frustrated with f.lux being broken on your distro, try Redshift.