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The protruding finger joinery

One valuable lesson I got from this project was to hand plane the stocks before cut them to length. This way if there were cracks during hand planing which normally occurs at the rims. They will be eliminated by cutting to length afterwards.

 

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The property business around Bangkok

I found this restaurant on Google Map. The store has been around for years absolutely unbeknownst to me. The place was perfect. The food was fantastic. I cannot believe there could be such a wonderful restaurant around my neighborhood.

This proved to me once again that a great restaurant need no good location. People are willing to drive a long way to enjoy it. It is an exceptional characteristic of the food business.

Generally speaking, location is one of the most important factors in any retail business. The best locations are most likely located in the heart of the city. In such a place, one cannot afford to own, because it is going to be a huge investment. In fact, most of the best locations are not for sale. You have to rent them at a whopping price. That’s why many retail businesses do not succeed. They hardly make both ends meet.

For restaurants, things are different. As long as the food is great and the overall service is not too bad. You don’t need prime location. You can go suburb. You could even own the location, because they are not that expensive, either. This way you do not only earn profit from your food business but also enjoy the gradual price appreciation of the property simultaneously. The success rate of your business increases significantly.

Speaking of the retail property, Bangkok has too many old-fashioned commercial buildings. They make the city look ugly. Worse yet, the value of these buildings is declining due to traffic problem and the lack of parking spaces around Bangkok. It can be very risky to purchase these building. In fact, they are being replaced by condominiums which I am whole-heartedly endorsing  this trend, because they make the city look better.

So if you want to start a retail business in Bangkok, I suggest you rent spaces in the shopping malls. Don’t buy or rent old-fashioned commercial buildings. If you really want to own the retail property, buy new projects or even go suburbs and purchase a piece of land and build a custom store on your own. In the latter case, retail food businesses are among the best choices.

For residential property, things do not look brighter. Thai people do not like to buy second-hand due to superstitious reasons. Also, Thailand does not have tax-incentives to buy second-hand houses unlike in the US or in many countries. So, the demand of this market is not that big. You can flip the condos because of high demands in some urban areas but it’s quite risky. In addition, there are not high demands either if you decide to invest in a condo and rent it out. People who can afford to pay for the rent are also able to buy for themselves. The market of condo rentals is in the very high-end and the very low-end, but they both required a very high investment upfront.

That’s why I am not very keen about property investment in Bangkok. I find investments the stock markets are much more attractive.

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Daily routine by design

The most effective way to accomplish a long-term goal is to incorporate tasks required to achieve the goal into your daily routine and focus on practicing those tasks instead of obsessively thinking about the goal itself.

I am starting to do just that.

In my case I have several long-term goals e.g. good health, good investment returns, small business endeavor, developing art skills, etc. My typical weekday would look somewhat like this.

  • 6am wake up
  • 7am cook and eat healthy breakfast
  • 8am go to the gym
  • 10am hang out at a cafe to read, listen and write
  • 12pm have lunch
  • 4pm stop by supermarket to buy material for tomorrow breakfast
  • 6pm Youtube/Netflix time
  • 11pm go to bed

Nevertheless, due to the traffic, I could not do this the day I travel to my parent house to practice woodworking. So, during those days (normally 2 days a week), I will do nothing but switching between woodworking and Netflix time for the entire day. Also, during weekends, I have to relax my schedule a bit to accommodate time for my family.

From now on, I will try and stick to this routine as much as possible. Let have my fingers crossed.

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The Paris Food Journey

Before I visited Paris I had in mind quite a romanticized view of the French food culture. Having been there for a week, here are what I found.

Parisians drink coffee for breakfast, perhaps with a croissant to go with it. A pain au chocolat is also one of the most common breads here. At lunch they might grab a sandwich, a pizza or a panini. In fact, Italian foods are quite ubiquitous in Paris. The only time, they get into the business of eating seriously is at dinner. They might go to a restaurant with colleagues and friends. Otherwise, they might cook a large meal at home.

In Paris you can find so many types of food stores. You buy coffee at a cafe, but to drink alcohol especially some beer, you go to a brasserie. A bristot is a small restaurant. Patisseries sell bakery. Anyway, many of them are multi-function

In a typical restaurant, you will find a mixture of western food in the menu. For example, pastas and burgers are very common. Beef burgundy and tartar steak are among the food I would recommend you to try. You can go for a combo at a reduced price. A combo can be one appetizer + one main course + one dessert, but you can also opt for only one appetizer + one main course or one main course + one dessert for a smaller price. Popular appetizers in Paris include foie gras, escargots and onion soup.

Feel free to order tap water for drink. It’s perfectly fine here. Evain is so expensive.

The price of the food in Paris is not complicated. It already includes everything including taxes and service charge. So, tips are not necessary here at all. I love the practice.

Duck confit

If you feel like eating the French classic recipe, you have to do your homework. French people actually eat pizza and drink beer more often than duck confit or French wine. French foods in tourist area are not only very expensive but also fake. In my case I had to get on the web and search for a food blog written by a French or at least Paris locals.

duck with orange sauce

 

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Every woodworker has his favorite medium of finishing.

Too many media of finishing are available out there for woodworkers to choose from. They all have pros and cons. They all have their place depending on the situations at hand.

Anyway, every woodworker has his favorite medium of finishing, the one to rely on in most cases. Recently, I reckoned it’s time for me to have one, too. So I spent time experimenting with them to arrive at the final decision.

To begin with, I crossed out polyurethanes without hesitation. Despite its great protection, they look so artificial. I love to make furniture from woods, because of their natural appearances.

In this regard, to use just oil and wax is considered the most natural. It’s also the best finishing medium in the long run. However, it’s hard to find good wax in my country. So, I have to forget oil and wax.

I experimented with varnish. They say varnish is very common in the old day, plus it provides relatively great protection, perhaps second only to polyurethanes. However, we have to wait as long as one day between each varnish coat. so it might not be the greatest medium to use regularly.

I also experimented with shellac. It’s recommended by many pros as the best finishing medium of all. Shellac is very natural, because it’s made of insect secretion. It’s very fast to apply and also preserve the natural appearances of the wood quite well. However, due to the fact that we apply shellac to the wood by padding with cotton cloth. Sometime it is hard not to leave any mark at all on the finished surface.

In the end, I went for lacquer. It has best of both worlds in all aspects. It might not give as greatest protection as varnish or polyurethanes but it does not look too artificial either. It dries as fast as 15 minutes between coats. The fact that you can apply lacquer by spraying make it easy to apply nicely. It is definitely the best medium for me considering the kinds of projects that I usually do.

To prepare the wood before applying lacquer, I sand the piece to 320 grit and clean the surface vigorously with tissue paper. Beyond that, I don’t see any improvement on the final product. I then spray the lacquer 5-6 layers by waiting for 30 minutes between layers. I am not a big fan of lacquer sealer since I notice no difference using it or not. Before the final coat, I like wait for 2 days for complete curing and then smooth out the surface with 400-600 grit sandpaper. The surface can look ugly after sanding but don’t worry. It would look great again after the final coat.

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71. The Shaker-style Coat Hanger

This shaker-style coat hanger is probably the largest item I have ever built to put on sales at Etsy. The design was based on the previous coat hanger I built for my own use with many improvements. Isn’t it good to have such a storage shelf at your front door to store your personal belongings such as mobile phone, wallet, keychains and coins? I hope everyone would like it as much as I do.

Buy this item

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70. Bedside Organizer

This project was meant to be experimental. It’s the first time I use maple on my Etsy shop. Frankly I don’t like it very much after all. It didn’t look classy as I thought it would be. I would probable stick to cherry as primary wood for my future projects.

Anyway, beauty is in the eyes of the beholders. Others might like it. So, I have placed it on my Etsy shop and see how it turns out.