Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... #25: The Secret Lumberjocks Auxillary ASSEMBLY MISADVENTURE

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 06-29-2011 03:17 AM 4728 reads 0 times favorited 47 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 24: in simple things.......drivin' steel.....feelin' like John Henry! Part 25 of Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... series Part 26: Preview…Minibench Makes Minibench…is this Self Propagation? »


OK, for you of the politically correct persuasion, I believe either sex can be in the Auxiliary in LJ’s, how could it be otherwise? That is the last homage to ‘politically correct’ you will get in this blog……….so savor it…....

………..this is the last smiley because, this whole thing is a smiley………(-:

So…I know, an apology is due here, because this is not strictly woodworking. But I used my new little vacation home minishop here in La Conner WA. It will soon gain real woodworking abilities…although limited, on purpose. It was a test run of sorts. Had to keep it simple. Get to know my current tools…flex my Lumberjock muscles…..a prelude to assembling woodworking mega tools for the minishop.


So, we go shopping for food and stuff…lot of stuff and way too much shopping for me, typical of a new house scenario…

It’s a new house.

La Conner House from the back……….

Where’s the grill?

….…it is part of my persona…bet a lot of you LJ’s identify with that…….

Now, let’s face it, grilling and barbecuing is left to the guys…….as the girls feign insult over being displaced in their normal roles as cooks and providers of all daily needs in the homestead.

Of course…in the shadows, beneath the trees, they are clustered…….

…..drinking sherry, savoring bon bon’s…….

……enjoying our mishaps with giggles and pointing fingers, as we strut, emote in testosterone laden grunts and postures, and ebonize fine cuts of meats and strange vegetables…reducing them to elemental carbon……

Look closely through the gloom and the haze…….there we are, wincing in the smoke laden atmosphere, lords of the fire pit…tattoos, cut offs, sledges, uproars, grimaces, laughs and gestures, smeared faces, discarding empty cans and bottles, throwing partially gnawed bones to the growling, fussing, and begging entourage of dogs………………

The gals are happy to see us stone age brutes, hunkered around the barbecue, probably a BUDWEISER MOMENT…be it wood fired, gas, or electric………

Well, it’s their true PRINCESS MOMENT, while we tyros try to look accomplished in a realm of homespun duties, that they long ago mastered on their road to be Heads of the Household.

”What!”, you say, “wait a minute, who is the Head of the Household?”

Only for works of fiction and delusional minds does any claim to Head of Household truly exist for Archie. Accept your fate, we guys are the inferior sex. We live in a matriarchal society, all other arguments to the contrary. The secret is out. More evidence shall be forthcoming.

SCENE 1…….

“Hey”, I says,” we gonna get a grill this trip?”

Who is she to complain?
Of course, then I cook the meat, occasionally cremate a few veggies…….what’s to lose?

So Sherie and I are grocery shopping and looking for stuff. Looked at the BORG, Lowe’s, Ace, and Sears the last trip. I was thinking another Weber….rhymes with Budweiser…but said hmmm, as we looked at grills wandering through the multi-mart……known as Fred Meyer in this region….

“This infrared technology looks interesting.”

Understand that I am a CLOSET GEEK, former physics major, Ham radio operator, build and repair computers, hobbyist programmer……..I know and am on speaking terms with the electromagnetic spectrum. Did you know your true love emits infrared………..

……..well, that is a little too familiar.

“……this s—- is cool Mom”, I says.

Understand, Sherie, in reference to my closet Geekhood comment always says……”you came out of the closet decades ago”. So she is unimpressed.

SCENE 2…………

As all GEEKS and for that matter, all LJ’s do……..I looked up the reviews on the NET…………

Fortunately, in this realm, Sherie abdicates her Princesshood.
“No”, she says, ”I don’t want to be the queen………, I want to be the Princess!”

Think about that….guys. I am a very experienced and capable footman.

So I got permission to choose the grill.

Char Broil Quantum Two Burner Infrared

Lots of good stuff for the small form factor Char Broil Quantum…….other people, including me, liked the fact that it didn’t dominate the landscape, cooked great……no problems. Just right for up to 4 people, pretty realistic for this place.

Reading the reviews, one gal said it took her over 3 hours to put together, that was her main complaint. I chuckled.

Yup…well meet Alaska Jim the Lumberjock…….no sweat.

Not much else creditable in the complaints section.

So go to buy it. We have this car, rented……now why didn’t we rent the usual SUV or van? This is the first trip in 15 years we rented a car. So we had to pull the box apart, couldn’t even access the ‘free assembly’ offer.

Not a problem. Lumberjock.

The helper from Fred Meyer says, “heard a lot of good comments about this grill.”

I’m struttin’.

SCENE 3……..

OK, got it home, we decided to have barbecued pork chops for dinner.

Out comes Bosch, got two drivers and a drill…this is big time LJ stuff…the sparks are gonna fly!

Let’s get this sucker put together……….NOW!

Cut open the packages. Get it organized. Hmmmmm………yup this thing has a lot of parts.

Put on my LJ T-shirt, and….I go into my focused LJ realtime assembly megacontrol constructo attitude.

Yup, well, mucho parts. Lotta instructions. Little parts for these big fingers. Sweat pours. Light not too good. This is not the home shop. Kinda stiff. Getting hungry.

What was it that gal said about 3 hours?

OK, an excuse. The sheet metal was bent from shipping in a few places, and things weren’t lining up and had to take it partially apart. This meant Sherie had to come help once again, they even said it would take two people at that step and it did.

With Sherie watching on, I bang on it with my trusty, already getting worn new rubber mallet, and finally, a glint in my eye, it lined up………

But then I couldn’t find one of the screws. So looked and looked, getting pissed here, sweep the floor with a flashlight, lie down on the floor, look under the car……

………and then sweet, feminine, Princess Sherie, saunters over to the tool bench, counts 5 remaining screws of that length, and sagely notes……..why would there be an odd number of screws left?

………and then I remembered I hadn’t gotten to the fourth screw, because the third screw wasn’t fitting.
So I picked up the fifth screw, put it in, and now there were four……..

But, that isn’t the real issue……..

the real issue is whence comes such insight, impeccable shop logic, and general smartass attitude in the Princess. Something isn’t right here.

Let’s face it guys, at this point I have a right to be suspicious, certainly a conspiracy is a strong probability, in fact I think a conspiracy is a certainty.

There has got to be a first class endeavor out there to make the spouses more savvy about the shop…you know, so they can censor purchase plans, and clear out the smoke screen that hides our furtive efforts to smuggle in new shop mega machines. Only LJ’s could pull this off…there has to be a secret Lumberjock’s Auxiliary Guild...

…and so that is how I found it.

Sherie denies she knows of such a thing…………. she denies she is a member……. But then she smiles, and even smirks when I quiz her. Explains a lot.


Well, old Lumbering Lumberjock is now into his 3rd hour.

What did that gal say about a lot of parts, and….JUST three hours?

I think she was not forthcoming, this is gonna take longer than 3 hours. She is probably a member of the LJ Auxiliary Guild as well.

Sherie when noting that I was not going to get it done in time for cooking dinner……… could she know that, unless she was in the AUXILARY?..... dragged me down to the microbrew, where we ate nachos, and fish tacos, and imbibed a brew or two.

So the next morning, this is what greets me, still a lot of parts to go………

After trying to place an un-scrutinized malformed bolt into a nut, inevitably in the most difficult place in the whole project…………

……..and then having to get it out with AUXILIARY help because it not only wouldn’t tighten, it also wouldn’t loosen……..

I replaced it with one of my providently purchased collection of bolts and nuts from Ace.

Finally got that grill done, and moved it out to one of the decks.

Total time expended…….at least 4.5 hours.

The grill, on one of the decks…….ready to go………


Last evening I used the grill and it did a better job on pork chops than the home grill. So at least my Geek persona didn’t malfunction.

But who would have thunk it, a Secret Lumberjock’s Auxiliary Guild...

……what’s this world coming to?

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

47 comments so far

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2937 days

#1 posted 06-29-2011 03:23 AM

Well done Jim. I don’t think my wife has heard about the guild yet…

I was looking at this very grill this afternoon…love the geek factor, but not sure I could give up the taste of flame kissed meat….

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 06-29-2011 03:40 AM

Yes, I was a little hesitant, but no contest, it certainly did better than my standard grill at home, a natural gas Weber. 3 burners, nothing fancy, but it doesn’t get hotter than this one. I used charcoal for decades. Lived in Fairbanks awhile. Always, and I mean Always, the turkeys get cooked on the grill, since 1970. Using the grill effectively as a convection oven. So on Thanksgiving, when it was 60 F degrees below zero (not an exaggeration), I would light the charcoal in the garage, and when it got going, open the garage door and push it out onto the driveway. Got older, got lazy…....gas.

Nothing beats a charcoal grill, but….....lazy….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#3 posted 06-29-2011 03:55 AM

By the way, I grew up in Virginia Minnesota, not that far from you, and of course I have been to Thunder Bay….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#4 posted 06-29-2011 03:56 AM

im really trying to figure why it took you so long for the little machine…and did you say you had 2 drivers…...LOL easy for the guy who has a 5 burner gas grill…lol…in fact i just washed mine the other day….i wonder if we could do a cross country cook off jim….a nice southern pork butt…against a swanky halibut roast…lol…or do they just come in fillet’s…so does this infra red cooker, does it still taste like fod when its done…i think you should have gotten an egg… those things really cook…and ive heard they do a mean there not all shiny like this one you got, but it does look like something from another planet…in fact when i see one i always want to say shuzbud…or nanew nanew…....well i think i would be hesitant to ask the lady who said she did hers in 3.5 hours how she did it…as i think she must be the queen and president of the AUXILIARY….... i wonder how your new grill does pancakes…and seeing you have multi level decks…would you buy more of these for each level or is there a sthil winch to transport it…if you get one for each deck, you might get it down to the 3.5 hours…now that other thing to consider…i bet that women who did it so fast…had to be pumped up with at least 6 Budweiser…and i would want an official parts count on hers…it could be that if a strong wind comes along…hers would need to be put together again…well i dont know if ive added anything of value to this post, but i will offer this…if this new grill doesnt cook as well as your thinking…try the WEBER…i guarantee it wont take but 10 minutes…and the food will taste better then ultra violet rays,,:))))

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2897 days

#5 posted 06-29-2011 04:11 AM

If there is such a think as a secret auxillary guild as you mention, I know my wife is part of that conspiracy. She seems to take great pleasure in watching me scratch my head, cuss, get to the point of trying to pull out hair that I no linger have anyway, before she nonchalantly saunters over to hand me whatever it is I’m looking for, or easily explaining the simple solution to the overcomplicated problem I may be dealing with at that very moment.
I never knew before now it was associated with Lumberjocks though. I have always thought there was some kind of class young women took that was mandantory for them to take before marriage. I assume it is called something like “How to make your husband feel like a dumb@$$ 101”.


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#6 posted 06-29-2011 04:16 AM

OK, the cooking results are going to be an adventure. The one thing I liked though, is these things really get hot. It is a well designed outfit. It was hard to stray from Weber, I bet I have had 15 grills of one sort or another since about 1970, and probably 13 have been Webers…...mostly because you can find parts. At home, I have a 15 year old Weber, with new natural gas burners….....straight from Weber…....and of course a bunch of other parts have been replaced. I suspect that is my last grill in Anchorage. I will keep it going.

.......a funny. When I bought this grill, even before I used it even once, I put wheels on to replace the unwheeled legs, because I always used it on the deck, right in front of the door, so that I could open the door, and check the food without putting on shoes… know….....the Alaska thing about shoes come off at the door. And I use the grill all winter long. But when done, I would push it over so that it did not obstruct the view, hence all wheels.

So a number of years ago, we got one of those infamous winds roaring through Anchorage, over the passes, over the Chugach, because of pressure differences between Prince William Sound and the Anchorage area….....and we sat and watched that grill make a stately march right across the porch…..coming into view…....and going out of view. The winds were close to 100mph, took off shingles… know the routine. Had to go out there and put the grill in a corner so it wouldn’t go down the steps.

Bring back memories, brother?..............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#7 posted 06-29-2011 04:19 AM

........and by the way, I am going to try some different stuff on this grill….....Sherie says steaks are next…...gonna be interesting. Will report back….....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


12153 posts in 3810 days

#8 posted 06-29-2011 04:23 AM

I bought the Weber (gas). Cast iron grill grates. Pizza done in about 7 minutes (600 degrees)! Boy, is it good!!!!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2937 days

#9 posted 06-29-2011 04:27 AM

Jim: Glad to hear that you’ve made it up to Thunder Bay. Sounds like Minnesota gets just as cold…I’ve spent my share of winters BBQing in the extreme cold too…found that it doesn’t work so well once it gets colder than -25 though….I bought my first charcoal BBQ last summer, grew up watching my dad use a propane bbq, so never gave much thought to using anything different until one of my buddies bought a charcoal grill and kept talking about the flavour…I love the way food tastes cooked on charcoal, but I’m with you, lazy most of the time. I’ll give the grill some thought; certainly a lot cheaper than a new Weber gas grill which was the other bbq I was eyeing…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#10 posted 06-29-2011 04:30 AM

OK, I have one confession. Sherie is 15 years younger than me, we have been married 27 years. But I is gettin’ old, although I am still working. So, we had some furniture to put together, some cheap IKEA stuff while our better furniture was getting done, and IKEA stuff will be used in the second bedroom, etc.

So I introduced her to the Bosch drivers, I have two here, and she is getting used to the power tools. No, she will never get into the big saws, but she has to get as self-sufficient as possible… just never know what is going to happen. So I am dragging her into the do-it-yourself realm. So, she is getting pretty savy. She understands, but won’t accept the reason for doing it.

The upshot is, she is getting a lot of skills other wives might not have. But of course…....understand…..they have been always smarter than we are….....(-:

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#11 posted 06-29-2011 04:36 AM

yea when i last experienced a Chinook…my weber top took off over across the street and over to the neighbors…we almost got into it trying to figure out which top was his and which was mine…after that i mounted my last moose rack onto the lid…we called it rocky j bullwinkle….the best part was the antler configuration would hold all of the steaks … these little rabbit size deer they have here…just do not do to well…..well good luck….did you see that our ex govenor had to lay his bike down uo my fairbanks…busted bones and punctured lung,,,he drove all the way from alabama….said he was going to loose control if he had not laidid down…..i hope you dont try to ride this grill down the road to show off all the new grill owners….thsat you can pop a wheely…i did that put my burger right where i wanted it….it was the hot dogs that got mre into trouble…i think it went into the wrong bun…they still try to tell me tht a case of amber was to much that year…lol…......i think i better go to bed…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#12 posted 06-29-2011 04:40 AM

How are you doing the pizza, are you using a stone? (Sherie just asked). This grill gets very hot, but I am not sure how it would work for pizza, but I had already thought of it. In theory, it gets hotter than the normal gas grill.

My grill at home has the cast iron grates.

This is sounding pretty interesting. Sherie cooks pizza at 520 deg in our Viking gas stoves. It goes fast, but the hotter the better.

We need a pizza forum here on Lj’s….....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#13 posted 06-29-2011 04:47 AM


Sherie says, I cannot ride the grill. And she will take care of the buns. And she is laying claim to the hot dogs as well. ......and she is worried about the meat balls….....that is a quote….......


Maybe I ought to go to bed as well…................

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3358 days

#14 posted 06-29-2011 05:01 AM

well it reminds me of the train car creck we had on ft richardson…they were bring in the extra grills for the genreals run…and to many people thought that they were the boss of buns, the boss of balls…and the hotdogs…there all ran toward each other in a rage od grill excitment, and the next thing you know what heppened…...yep…whatever you think happened …it did…lol… of them has a daughter with a veryy strange nose…and one guy has a son with some oretty large buns…they see special dr’s…thats all i can say…yea im going to bed….to much pickle jiuce….....they put pickles on everything here in the south…i nver heard of a pickle on a pulled pork roast sandwich….....its all messed up over here…........well gill away…...oh yea the other problem…was the kid with the larger buns..whenever he twitches them…the kid with the hotdogs get all weird…now i am for sure going to bed…goodnight.grillmates….....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3219 days

#15 posted 06-29-2011 05:54 AM

I am definitely not going to comment on your entry.

So this happens since my last entry….... would love La Conner. Sherie says she wants dessert. Well this being a town of 839 people, in a down economy, not much going on. So, down to the microbrew, walking, 2.5 blocks, for a to go piece of cheesecake. So I order at the bar, at one end is our landscaper person and his girl, in front of us is a guy who just starts talking. He has a piece of a San Juan Island called Blakesly (sp?). So we get into this extended conversation…...we have sailed through the San Juans with some friends… get the picture. Small town.

.....but after thinking about it for awhile…..don’t ever visit La Conner, you would never leave….........

...this place is a fantasy…......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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