Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Second Racking (and sampling)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Performed the second racking at the weekend – siphoning off the wine from one carboy to another leaving all the settled out sludge behind. It’s clarifying nicely – had a little taste and…. it’s wine, and it’s actually not bad at all! Amazing! I’ve certainly drank worse :)

During the second racking I also removed the oak cubes that I’d added as it now has a nice hint of the oak but nothing overpowering. Pretty pleased with it overall. So now I’m thinking about bottling – and most importantly labels…

Hoot Harvest & Crush Update

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

So we picked and crushed on Saturday – couldn’t fit the monstrous automated crushed/destemmer so had to do it all by hand. Luckily my family and neighbors helped out so we were able to get it done. I couldn’t quite face actually tromping them with the old hooves so we did it with our bare hands! So we are doing somewhat of a whole berry fermentation. As picked they were 25.4 brix and after about two days bubbling away they are down to about 18. Super fun punching down the cap and watching it all fizz up and you can smell the brew from outside!

Saturday I have a press reserved but we’ll see where we are at – it might be a bit premature but only time will tell. So who knows how it will all turn out but Hoot Vineyards is in full swing!

Hoot Vineyards

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The Penney’s recently moved to Moraga and our new house is home to about fifty Pinot Noir vines and to a whole bunch (pardon the pun) of Great Horned Owls so it only seems appropriate to launch Hoot Vineyards :)

Knowing absolutely nothing about wine other than the fact that it’s delicious I’m having to rapidly come up to speed with regards tending grapes and making wine.

Yesterday after noting some yellow leaves I did a soil test which indicated that the soil was completely depleted of Nitrogen, fertilized with some fish emulsion which was pretty grim. I had the first three gallons spill out of my backpack sprayer all over my nice shoes.. sigh. That stuff is pungent to say the least. Hopefully the emulsion will perk things up, will wait three four days to see how things are doing and potentially follow up with a foiliar spray.

We should be approaching veraison soon and in preparation of harvest which should be about six weeks later I invested in a refractometer.  This cool little gadget takes a drop of juice and tells you how much sugar is in the grapes. When it hits 25-26 degress brix it’s time to pluck em.

Google Groups KillFile 3.5.3 Released

Friday, December 11th, 2009

So looks like Greasemonkey changed the way I was supposed to save things within Firefox which prevented the KillFile from being updated. Quick fix and it looks like we are back in business :)

Here is the link to the updated script.

Google Groups KillFile 3.5.3

If you need to clear your old kill list completely just type about:config into the address bar and then seach for killfile – right click and reset that to clear your list.

Google Groups KillFile 3.5.2 Released

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Thanks to an anonymous user there is a fix for the missing Killfile menu option. I haven’t tested this personally but hopefully it address the problems people have been having since Google updated things.

Here is the link to the updated script.

Google Groups KillFile 3.5.2

Sideboard – Veneer delivered

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

So I got my shipment of veneer from Certainlywood last night. The figure is really nice but it looks a bit too pink, must be a freshly cut log, but that will darken up nicely with some time potassium dichromate :) The eucalyptus looked really nice too. Excited to get started on this project

Completed Holtzapffel Workbench!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Okay, well it’s 99% complete and since I started it almost exactly a year ago figured I’d post it (catching up blog posts to pdo – this was actually where I was around March 10/09)

Still have a few dog holes to do and need to trim the end without the vice but other than that we are in business :) The top has walnut strips, and the whole bench is done in maple, weighs a ton and is solid as a rock. I’ve already gotten a ton of use out of it, and I’m looking forward to it giving me many years of faithful use.

Front vise is the Veritas twin screw and the end vise is just a big metal jobby (same one Schwarz recommends) based on a suggestion from one of the other Popular Woodworking editors I just glued the pieces that the twin screw passes through, seeing just how strong these glues are (they are supposed to be stronger than the wood so I don’t really expect any issues) so far so good, but it’s early days.

Anyway, it was a great project and I’m really pleased with how it came out and that I didn’t settle for a store bought one (I was close).

Light at the end of the tunnel

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

So catching up some blog posts here at, this was my progress 10/18/08 getting closer at this point :)

Just need to add the vises, do some final flattening of the top once I flip it et voila :)

And a quick pic of my new pride and joy :)

— I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

Happy Halloweeeeeen

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

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Holtzapffel Workbench – The top comes together!

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

So it’s been a long time since my last post, had a bit of down time where I went on vacation and did odds and ends but I’d been making slow and steady progress on the top.

I can’t believe how much trouble I had gluing a bunch of sticks together :) All my issues stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have a good way of surfacing such long pieces. My 6” jointer just wasn’t up to the task so I faffed around trying to do it other ways. I eventually used a huge 9 foot straight edge clamp thing that I use for cutting ply to run the strips through my table saw which got me one reference edge, then I glued a bunch up and used a router on a sled (the white piece of melamine in the background is the sled) to flatten the resulting slab.

Anyway, here’s the top, it’s still in two pieces here, just getting ready for the final glue up but you get the idea.

Holtzapffel Top

So I have to glue the two halves together, trim the ends and then complete the joinery for the base, but I now feel as though there is light at the end of the tunnel :)

I also have to trim my short stretchers a bit because the depth of the top is about 3/4” less than I’d originally planned.