Saturday, June 12, 2010


I just added 5 more names to my list of heroes this week. Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Chance and Deidra Fite and their 3 sons Carson, Cody and Clay. As you can read from their blog (and should take the time to read if you want your faith and courage to be strengthened), on Valentines day last year (2009) little Clay was burned severely.Austin Hendrickson, one of the guys in my flight, heard about Clay and the battle he and his family have been fighting for over a year now (and will have to continue fighting) and arranged for Clay to come be our "Wingman for a Day". Having Clay and his family with us was the most rewarding experience of pilot training! I pray that I can have a fraction of the fighting spirit that Clay and his inspiring family have had. I thank Austin for setting it all up, Katie Crosby from Channel 3 here in Wichita Falls for following such an inspiring story and most of all to Clay and the Fite Family for their quiet example of Faith and Courage. Thank you!

This is a picture of the K Flight students, Major Segal (our Flight Commander, in front of me), Captain Podschun (our Military Training Officer, left of Major Segal), Katie Crosby (front Left), Cody and Clay and Mr. and Mrs. Fite


(Carson was at a Church camp in Colorado and wasn't able to be there)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

They Let Me Loose...

I had my solo flight on Thursday! It's amazing how much better the plane flies without the IP in the back... strange! It was a blast. The best part about the day was having Amy and the boys come out to the flight line with me and watch me do all my ground ops and start-up. After I taxied away Capt Cline (my flight commander) let the boys and Amy up onto another T-6 and look in the cockpit. He showed them the cockpit and moved the stick around to showed the boys how it moves the ailerons and elevator. They were able to see me do my pattern work and were there to meet me when I got off the bus. I don't remember a time when I was more proud of who I am and what I was doing. On Thursday, I was the greatest dad in the world! Here's some pics...

The other gentleman in the flight suit is Capt Cline. Amy's sister Ashley was there with us as well.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I finaly finished Amy's Kitchen-Kubby. I forgot to take my camera to the shop so I didn't get any more pictures of the construction, but here are some finished shots. Mitchel joined me again at the shop with Trinity's son Justin (Mitchel's "Best Friend").
I added caps to each box unit. They over hang 1/2 inch on the sides and front. I also thought up a drawer system that allows the fruit, or what ever is in the drawer, to slope to the front when the drawer isn't very full. This is for asthetics (the drawers always look full) and for functionality (you don't have to bend over and reach way to the back of the drawer). I made a false bottom with a finger pocket in the back. When the drawer starts to get empty you simply reach back, lift the false bottom with the pocket and slide it up and back. The front of the false bottom stops on a catch on the bottom of the drawer. The drawer with fruit in the picture is actualy half full, but the fruit is brought to the front by the false bottom. I think it's pretty cool... and Amy likes it!
I also added a base to the bottom box unit to bring the whole thing a little higher, to add a little class, and because Amy wanted something like it! Trinity designed that part and I think he nailed it!
I had such a great time making this with Trinity. He showed me a lot of techniques and tools that make the process quicker and the piece much nicer! I want to public thank Trinity for all his help with this. It would not have happened without him. Again, if any of you have some sort of piece of furniture in mind; from cabinets to entertainment centers, to doors, anything, give him a call and he can make it for you! Look at some of his reclaimed wood furniture on ebay. Look up "reclaimed gun cabinet". From simple and standard, to unique and complex he can make it! I don't just want to put his phone number out into cyberspace, but contact me if you want his number and I'd be happy to put you in contact with him!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amy's Surprise Part 2

So, I finaly got back in the shop with Trinity to finish (or so we were hoping) Amy's Kitchen-Kubby. (That's my amazingly clever name for it.)

So when we left our daring hero last he was trapped... oops, wrong story. When we finished last we had only made the 3 box sets. I went to work making the trim that goes along the top while Trinity started manufacturing the boards for the drawers.

The boxes are 39 inches wide, so with a radius of 1.5 inches, the box would allow 13 circles to fit tangentialy. I made them with a radius of 1.75 inches so they would over lap just right. Setting the center each radius 1 inch from the top of the trim gave enough material at the top to allow them to be attached to each box.

Trinity cut the trim out with the bandc saw after I had stenciled out the patern on each trim.

You're probably noticing a patern of Trinity doing most of the work with the large machines. The first reason is that he knows what he's doing and the second is that they belong to his employer and you can imagine all the legal issues that could come up if something happened... but mostly because he REALLY knows what he's doing... No, seriously, look this guy up if you want anything done wood-work-wise. Their shop is amazing!!...

After everything was cut out I glued them to the tops of each box and I tacked them on with a nail gun.

The boxes needed a lot of work pluggin the screw holes and sanding, so Trinity started building the drawers while I was working on the boxes.

The drawer is suppose to stick out from the front of the box with a beveled face to allow a better view at what's inside.

So, Trinity and I had the boys (he has a son the same age as Mitchel) and we got pretty involved and were there until midnight. The boys were great though. They played around in the sawdust in the shop and with some big lego blocks Trinity brought. Around 9:00 they got pretty hungry, so we made a Taco Bell run and set up the DVD player in Trinity's truck, which we pulled inside the shop to allow for better "baby monitoring." The boys were such troopers and they had a blast! The shop is right by the rail road tracks. They went nuts and made sure we took them outside to see the it go by.

Here is the finished product! (It still has a couple things to build, such as a base and the guides for the drawers... along with a couple "Zack" touches which are classified, but they will be released after Amy has seen them.) Anyway, I think it's coming along great and I can't wait to put some paint on it, glaze it, distress it and then lacquer it. What do you guys think?

Sorry for how goofed the pictures and text are... I don't know what happened and trying to fix it just made things go crazy!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Fountain...

So, while I'm waiting for schedules to work out to finish Amy's Kitchen-Kuby I started a couple other projects for Amy and also for my mom.

This is the fountain my father and I have been working on for a couple weeks. I didn't get any before and after pictures to give you an idea of the structure under the fountain, but I'll just say it involved a bit of a retaining wall, a lot of cinder blocks and some serious construction glue. The sides are still not finished (the membrane can be seen along the edges) and we're still tinkering with the flows, but it's pretty much finished. Here's a couple of pictures.

The pictures make it look pretty 2 dimensional. I'll see if I can add a video or something...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Amy's Little Surprise!



I recognize that placing this on my blog kind of blows the surprise, but the surprise isn't that she doesn't know that I'm building it, but more in HOW I'm building it (and probably to her, that I can build it!) So, here are some pictures of the box portions being biult. I'm going to build the drawers next. In a shameless plug, and to give ample credit where it is due, my friend Trinity helped me by using the facilities at his job, Stellar Millworks, Inc. They are a fine company company who produce a great product... if any of you are in the market for custom wood works.

Here's crunching the numbers and making the cut sheet

We started out with 1 inch thick knotty alder boards 8 and 10 feet long to manufacture the required 3/4 inch thick planks.

The individual boards were glued together to make 4 boards 14 inches wide. Then they were squared up (I thought I took pictures of those two steps, but I didn't...) Then they were put through a band saw to, as shown below, to bring them to a thickness of 15/16. A bulk of the material is taken off with the band saw to decrease the amount the sander has to take off.

The planks were run through the wide belt sander to bring them to the final 3/4 inch thickness and for the desired finish texture

The planks have been laminated (glued), squared up and sanded. They finaly needed to be cut to the 14 inch width before the box sections could be cut. The saw we used for this step is called a Sawstop. It senses when a material besides wood hits the blade and stops it within 2 to 5 teeth. This stoping speed would result in just a nick on the part of the body that touched the saw. It's really quite amazing! After the planks were ripped to the appropriate width they were run through the belt sander to finish the edges.

The planks were finaly ready to be cut into the necessary pieces for the boxes.

Now the boxes could be built.

Plugs were made to cover the screw and fill in the hole made from counter sinking the screws.

Here is one of the three boxes. Two of the box sets have 3 bays, while the bottom box set has 2 bays for storing items that are larger and that we'll have more of. Now all that they need is the crown molding, paint and the distressing. I didn't put them all in the picture because I don't want to give too much away right now!


Friday, March 28, 2008

The Orders Are In...

Well, we found out the when and where's for the next year. I commission on 14 August at 11:00. I enter active duty on December 28. I will head to Maxwell AFB in Alabama for about 5 weeks for training. Its considered TDY (Temporary Duty) en route because it's "on my way" to my actual receiving base (Sheppard AFB in Texas.) After Maxwell I'll go to Sheppard. We'll be there together for a month or so and then I leave in March for IFS (Initial Flight Screening) in Pueblo, CO. That will go for about 5 weeks. I'll return to Shepard and "work" until ENJJPT starts in June. Right now Amy and I are discussing and praying about what to do in the times between April -August and August - December.

I just can't wait to get done with school and get on with life. Part of the plan will to be let Amy go back to school and take some classes that she's had in mind for a while. She really has grown a love for Africa, its people and their history/struggles. So, one or more of the classes will be an African Studies class. Anyway, that's the quick and dirty on our plans for the next year or so.
We are so excited to get started with this new chapter of our lives.
We are so thankful for the Lord's help in getting us to this point. He made it clear that this is what we were suppose to come and do and from the way He has made things possible we have no doubt that this is where we're suppose to be.

I have to say, that I have been blessed with the GREATEST wife in the world. From the time we moved up here to finish school and go through ROTC, everything has seemed to revolve our me and Amy pushed everything in her life out of the picture to fit my big fat schedule in. Though she would never think of saying anything about it, I have to tell everyone that she has sacrificed so much for me to be where I am and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her. She has kicked my butt when required and put her arms around when needed. Amy is AMAZING! ...but I'm pretty sure you all knew that!