Pizza Oven

I made my very first wood-fired pizza!

Pizza Baking
Bak­ing a piz­za in less than 90 seconds

I’ve always been a fan of piz­za and I’ve made piz­za at home since I was a teenage (okay, Chef Boyardee kits count, right?). I’ve made my own dough and even tried my hand at my own sauce before. Angela and I upgrad­ed to a piz­za stone years ago and they do help a lot. Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, we start­ed mak­ing even more piz­za at home and my daugh­ter real­ly upped her bak­ing in general.

So one of the things we all agreed would be real­ly awe­some would be to have our very own piz­za oven. After see­ing just how involved a “real” piz­za oven would be, we fig­ured we could scale that back to a “portable” piz­za oven. They’re on par with the expense and use of a meat smok­er and gen­er­al­ly are “coun­ter­top” sized; though of course you use them out­side as they do pro­duce smoke.

Getting Hotter
Hot as hell on the inside, cool outside

The par­tic­u­lar mod­el we got is an Ooni Koda 16. It’s portable in the sense that it’s not bolt­ed down; but at about 75 pounds (34 kg), we’re not like­ly to take it on many camp­ing trips or any­thing. It’s a mul­ti-fuel in that it uses a mix of char­coal and hard­wood. It’s pret­ty much the same prin­ci­pal as a Kama­do-type grill, in that it uses nat­ur­al draft­ing to pull in fresh air over coals to get them real­ly hot. Onto which you then add some hard­wood to make flames and get the oven even hot­ter. Like 700°F (340°C) and more hot. Fur­ther, like a Kama­do, floor of the oven is ceram­ic tile which retains that heat. This cooks the dough while the flame lick­ing over the inside roof of the oven cooks the top­pings. And it does this in about 90 sec­onds (this is Neapoli­tan style; if you have “thick­er” crust you reduce the temp some and cook for longer).

First Pizza Bake
My very first wood-fired pizza

I’ve had piz­za in New York, Chica­go, and yes, even Naples, Italy. Was my very first piz­za the best I’ve ever had? No, but it was up there for me. And I got to make it! In my back­yard! The pic­tures here just don’t do the chewy, warm crust jus­tice. Yeah, I was sec­onds away from burn­ing it but it was still so good. I start­ed with just a sim­ple cheese piz­za, and then made a pep­per­oni piz­za and anoth­er white piz­za (well, pret­ty much cheese-bread as I did­n’t use enough olive oil).

Oh, yeah: recipes: I know that there are purists who spend a lot more time on ingre­di­ents than I ever will, but I just use a super-sim­ple dough recipe, my favorite brand of sauce, some store-brand shred­ded moz­zarel­la, and Ital­ian sea­son­ing. Chefs and cooks can hate on that all they want, but I can make this any time I want now. ;)

Bathroom Shelves

I did­n’t add this on Insta­gram, but it may be worth explain­ing a bit more detail. The birch was left­over from some hard­wood edge band­ing I used else­where in my daugh­ter’s room (more on that once that project is com­plete). The board was far from flat, but this was a pret­ty good way to make use of the less twist­ed sec­tions of the board. I used a bis­cuit join­er for the first time in the pan­el glue-up. I man­aged to come up with some flat shelves after some plan­ing & sand­ing. I made the wall mounts from some of the cut-off scraps, so there end­ed up being very lit­tle waste here. 

The cir­cle cut­ting jig was based on Col­in Knecht’s design (though did a plunge cut on the router table instead of on my table saw; that just looked way too risky). I drilled a hole at the cir­cle cen­ter, since I knew I’d have to have a notch for the dry­wall cor­ner, anyway.

So Much Storage

We moved to our new home back in late June. The irony of hav­ing so many projects to do at a new house is that there’s not quite as much time to write about them after­wards. And there have been a lot of projects. Most­ly around stor­age and orga­niz­ing. That means a lot of shelves need to be built.

Attic Shelves

We have non-insu­lat­ed attic space off of one of the bed­room clos­ets. While it’s not awe­some hav­ing to car­ry loads and loads through our son’s bed­room, it’s cer­tain­ly a lot more con­ve­nient than the attic over our old sep­a­rate garage space.

Sketchup Model of Attic Storage
Sketchup Mod­el of Attic Storage
Bottom View of Shelving Units
Bot­tom View of Shelv­ing Units

Since part of this area has no floor­ing (and those por­tions of the roof truss­es aren’t designed for stor­age loads), I want­ed to add some dry­wall. This would pre­vent us from push­ing any­thing off the back of the shelves and into this space where it could get lost or, worse, fall through the garage ceil­ing onto our vehi­cles! I did a rea­son­able job of hang­ing the dry­wall and mud­ding the joints and screw heads. I did­n’t real­ly do much in the way of sand­ing, as it’s going to all be cov­ered by the shelves (you have to pick your bat­tles, folks). I also replaced the ter­ri­ble light­ing with four LED strip lights, which is more than enough for this 24′ by 6′ space.

Attic Drywall
Dry­wall in the attic — the wet area was a small roof leak that was fixed

The design of the shelves is pret­ty sim­ple and mod­u­lar. The shelves are 15″ deep, sup­port­ed by the truss mem­bers (you can think of these as wall studs real­ly) along the back and then some 2x3 posts in the front. Those are spaced at 4′ on cen­ter. The shelves them­selves con­sist of 2x2 frames and 1/2″ OSB. The 2x2s are ripped down from 2x4s and screwed togeth­er. The OSB was ripped into 4′ long by 15″ wide strips using a track saw.

Breaking Down Sheet Goods
Break­ing down sheet goods with the track­saw on the trail­er. Note the 1 1/2″ foam insu­la­tion boards for support.

I built all the 2x2 frames in my shop and then car­ried them up to the attic space. There I could use the laser lev­el to set the bot­tom shelf height (at 18″ above the floor) and use 3″ screws to secure it to there truss members/studs. I then lev­eled the shelves front-to-back and secured them with the 2x3 front posts. Last­ly, I placed the OSB (smooth side up, which is real­ly upside-down for OSB) down. I screwed it down to the frames every 24″ or so using some 1–1/4″ deck screws.

Attic Storage System
Com­plet­ed attic stor­age sys­tem with full shelves

The mod­u­lar­i­ty of these 2x2 frames made it very easy to vary the lengths to form the “gal­ley” like design I had for this small area.

Last­ly, my dad was vis­it­ing when we were work­ing on some of our stor­age projects. He jumped right in an helped out with some of the attic shelves and it was real­ly great get­ting to do this project with him!

Garage Shelves

Suf­fice it to say, we have a lot of stuff. We’ve gone through and got­ten rid of loads and still have a lot of stuff. So, while the attic shelves were great we knew they’d be no where near enough. So I also had planned on mak­ing some “loft” style shelves for the our garage. We want­ed to have every­thing sup­port­ed from the ceil­ing to max­i­mize floor (aka, car) space. 

While there are some met­al frame kits avail­able, I real­ly liked the method that Jay Bates and John­ny Brooke used for their garages. So I adapt­ed it to our garage. Basi­cal­ly, these are 2x2 ledges along a wall and ceil­ing, with 2x4 hang­ers to sup­port ply­wood shelves. These shelves are about 30″ deep, again with sup­ports (in this case, the hang­ers) every 4′. The hang­ers are glued and screwed in place for added stiff­ness. The shelves them­selves are 1/2″ sand­ed poplar ply­wood from the home center.

These go up rel­a­tive­ly fast once all the dimen­sion­ing is in place. Locat­ing the wall studs and ceil­ing joists is crit­i­cal here, though. Our garage ceil­ing actu­al­ly has a fram­ing change so I had to accom­mo­date for that. Basi­cal­ly, this amount­ed to switch­ing the 2x2 ceil­ing ledge to the oppo­site side of the hang­er. I end­ed up still miss­ing the ceil­ing joist so I swapped it out for a 2x4 to make up the extra inch or so. It’s not very pret­ty, but what is is sol­id. I made the hang­ers and ledge at a height so that I could eas­i­ly stack two large bins. With 32 lin­ear feet of 30″ shelves so far, we have a ton of stor­age out here now. 

Still More to Go

The real­i­ty is that we’re still not done. Most of what we have left to sort through are box­es of books. Some we’ll keep and put on book­shelves inside but a lot of them are out-of-date ref­er­ence books or even tech­ni­cal books from col­lege that we just no longer need. 

I also want to add some of the garage loft stor­age over the shop area garage door. This will be for stor­ing paint­ing, tiling, dry­wall, etc. sup­plies and tools that we need less often. It’s easy to pull them down with a lad­der but there’s just no need for these to take up floor or shelf space in the shop or garage area.

Sliding Mixer Shelf

Some addi­tion­al details on this lit­tle project: the shelf was a piece of scrap 3/4″ maple ply­wood my lit­tle broth­er gave me. I did­n’t want to take the time to edge band the entire thing and I fig­ured a small lip on the front would serve as a pull han­dle. So I cut down some 3/8″ sol­id maple I had. I used my new pin nail­er to attach the hard­wood while the glue dried (yes, that works just as well as every YouTu­ber indi­cates it does!). This isn’t the pre­scribed method for using these under­count draw­er slides, but they work great any­way. Nor­mal­ly, this sort of draw­er should (in addi­tion to being an actu­al draw­er) have sides and a front.

Updating Our Bathroom

Angela & I updat­ing our bath­room with new lights, sinks, faucets, and cus­tom mirrors.

Our fin­ished bath­room update

After hav­ing com­plet­ed some updates to the oth­er two bath­rooms in our house, I have to con­fess I was some­what dis­ap­point­ed every time I stepped into our “own­er’s” bath, as it was the same old builder-grade stuff. We did­n’t want to break the bank in updat­ing it, so we set out with a bud­get-friend­ly set of updates we could accom­plish ourselves.

You’ll notice that a lot of the images here are out of order, as the work isn’t real­ly done one trade at a time. But I broke this up into the sec­tions of work to bet­ter high­light the parts of each.

Lighting

The over­all light­ing lev­el in the bath­room was­n’t ter­ri­ble, but I real­ly did­n’t care for the look of the sin­gle light above the large mir­ror. I real­ly want­ed to put in some wall sconces. In order to do so, we first had to take out the old light. This was most­ly a straight-for­ward process. I would­n’t be using the exist­ing loca­tion (like I did in the oth­er two bath­rooms, more-or-less), so I cut out the wall box and then patched over the open­ing. I end­ed up hav­ing to cut the wiring, as it was (cor­rect­ly, per code) sealed into the top plate with some fire­proof­ing foam.

Dig­ging through blown insu­la­tion to drill in the wiring was­n’t too fun.

As a result, I had to install a junc­tion box in our attic. I would have to drill lat­er­al­ly through too many studs to use the approach I used to add a sec­ond light over the kids’ van­i­ty, so I instead drilled two addi­tion­al holes in the top plate (I re-used the old, cen­ter hole once I freed the cut wiring). I then ran “U” shaped sec­tions of wire to set up the three lights in series from the junc­tion box, which con­nect­ed back to the wall switch. I put in the old-work box­es and had the lights up in no time. Last­ly, I used some expand­ing fire-proof­ing foam on the holes in the top plate (no one is ever gonna check, but we’ll know it would pass a code inspection!).

Old-work box­es and wiring for lights.

I had ordered some nice-look­ing wall sconces from Home Depot and used some “Edi­son” style LED bulbs that I already had. They put out a very “warm” light, but as they’re just above eye lev­el, any­thing brighter would be too much.

These LED Edi­son style bulbs are sur­pris­ing­ly warm in color.

Plumbing

The good news was that since this was already a dou­ble van­i­ty, there was no changes need­ed to the water or drain lines. The bad news was that since this was a dou­ble van­i­ty, get­ting a new top with square bowls was the sin­gle most expen­sive item (by far) of the entire project. Even though it raised the final counter height a bit, we real­ly want­ed a slight­ly thick­er top. We found a pret­ty good deal on an acrylic Ver­sa­S­tone top with inte­grat­ed sink bowls at Home Depot (it’s out of stock at the time I’m writ­ing this, but Ama­zon car­ries a small­er size). Oth­er than the sheer weight of pulling off the old top and then putting the new top in place, this was prob­a­bly the eas­i­est part of the whole project. The cab­i­net is a “stan­dard” size, so it fit perfectly.

We also man­aged to get Moen Gen­ta faucets on sale at the Home Depot, too. They were very straight-for­ward to install except that I had to cut-down the rod con­nect­ing the sink stop­per to the pull lever, as it jammed in the drain! I did also have to get some water line exten­sions (why do plumbers install the water lines so low!). So that was a con­sid­er­able amount of mon­ey (near­ly $50) for 2″ of line. But the faucets look great with the lines of the van­i­ty top.

Our faucets installed and working!

Angela also put in a short back­splash with some mar­ble tiles. We end­ed up hav­ing to cut just a few, and I was able to use a grind­stone to bev­el the edge of a half-piece so it fit in the end. I think Angela has def­i­nite­ly decid­ed that tiling is her DIY job of choice!

Detail of mar­ble tiling, includ­ing the beveled edge I ground on a cut piece.

Mirror

If you’ve nev­er lived in a spec-built home, let me explain some­thing to you: the mir­rors are glued to the wall with con­struc­tion adhe­sive or mas­tic. It’s fast and easy to do them this way, but it is a huge pain to remove them. We lucked out in get­ting the small­er ones off the walls years ago. But the mir­ror in our bath­room was 6 feet by 3–1/2 feet. We knew it had to go, but we were more-or-less ter­ri­fied about split­ting it into a mil­lion pieces all over our bath­room. I watched a num­ber of YouTube videos about the process and it seemed that pry­ing it off all along the top by dri­ving in wood­en shims was con­sid­ered the best approach. So, I got a very large pack of 14″ shims and then pro­ceed­ed to tape up the mir­ror. You may think this was overkill for the tape, but I seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered just cov­er­ing the entire thing! Angela was there for sup­port, both fig­u­ra­tive­ly and lit­er­al­ly (do not try some­thing like this on your own!). We went through the entire pack of shims, even going so far as to re-using some that fell down and we could reach. In the end, we had them stacked about four thick. But with a final, sat­is­fy­ing pop, the mir­ror came free in one piece. It weighed 70 lbs (I did the math), which isn’t a lot for the two of us to car­ry, but when it’s that large and frag­ile, it’s pret­ty scary.

We had to patch up the walls where the adhe­sive pulled off the out­er lay­er of dry­wall paper. I’ve learned the hard way that this stuff is near­ly impos­si­ble to patch right, even with dry­wall com­pound because the inner, brown paper isn’t water proof. It just sucks up the mois­ture and then bub­bles up when paint­ed. Using a repair primer first seals off that paper. We used Zinss­er Gardz, because it’s avail­able in a quart (how­ev­er, I under­stand Roman Rx-35 Pro-999 is just as good; it just only comes in a gal­lon and this stuff goes a long way). Just make sure you cut back to sound out­er paper and paint it on with a foam brush (it’s like milk). Then you can patch up the dry­wall with com­pound, sand, and paint. 

I used some min­er­al spir­its to soft­en up the adhe­sive on the back of the mir­ror once I got it out to the garage floor on some card­board. A rub­ber head­ed ham­mer and a wide put­ty knife made short work of scrap­ing it off. I then used a cheap‑o glass cut­ter and a dry­wall square to score the front sur­face along the first cut. I was plan­ning to low­er it back over a broom han­dle as a piv­ot, but it end­ed up just split­ting as I low­ered it! One quick change over under­pants lat­er, I repeat­ed to split the small­er side into two final sections. 

I ordered a cou­ple of 6′ long, maple 1x4’s to mill up into some frames. I want­ed a nar­row, yet deep frame for each. So they were essen­tial­ly cut into 1x2’s, framed in the “skin­ny” direc­tion. The boards were pret­ty rough, with lots of chat­ter marks and snip­ing. I don’t have a pla­nar, but I was able to smooth them down with my belt sander. Rip­ping the pieces into nar­row boards cer­tain­ly relieved a lot of strain, to the point I was con­cerned I would­n’t have enough straight sec­tions to make decent frames! But the hock­ey stick end aside, I was able to mea­sure and miter each board to fit the mir­rors. I cut the dados on the table saw. The glue-up for the frames was pret­ty easy, though hav­ing only one band clamp and lim­it­ed work space meant I had to make one at a time.

I tried using some plain spar ure­thane at first on a sam­ple piece to try to match the cab­i­netry, which while also maple is now over 12 years old. It was­n’t near­ly a dark enough match, but my son helped me pick out a close col­or of get stain at Wood­craft to match one of the false draw­er fronts. So, Amer­i­can Oak col­or wiped on very thin and then fin­ished with spar ure­thane spray does a very good job of match­ing old­er maple, if you ever find your­self need­ing to do such a thing. Just be sure to do a bet­ter job clean­ing up your glue and wood filler than I did first.

I used an 18gage nail­er to rein­force the miter joints from the bot­tom and top, none of which are vis­i­ble when hang­ing. I used some thin foam sheets to pad the mir­ror and then cov­ered the back with a 1/4″ sheet of ply­wood. I used a cou­ple of sim­ple met­al clips to hold it in place. The nar­row frame means that the hang­ing hooks are vis­i­ble from the side, but oth­er­wise it’s a very clean and min­i­mal look.

It’s not all smoke and mirrors.

So that’s our final bath­room update! And mak­ing those mir­rors was a real­ly great experience. 

Thinking About John Lewis

We lost a giant among men today. I just watched the doc­u­men­tary John Lewis: Good Trou­ble a cou­ple of weeks ago. Though his life took him from rur­al Alaba­ma, Nashville, Atlanta, and the to D.C., he moved the nation for­ward along his jour­ney. This clip from when he won the Nation­al Book Award gives me some sense of the scale of how far he came in his life. 

View this post on Instagram

Prob­a­bly the best Ama­zon order I ever made

A post shared by Jason Cole­man (@super_structure) on

Let’s all remem­ber the debt we owe Con­gress­man Lewis and more impor­tant­ly, that it isn’t yet paid. Even ‑or, per­haps espe­cial­ly- white folks like me owe him a debt of grat­i­tude. Through his lead­er­ship and non­vi­o­lent protests, he forced us to see Christ in those that do not look exact­ly like us. As this coun­try pulls down mon­u­ments to those whose deeds betrayed the nation’s ideals, let us con­sid­er that stat­ues should instead be erect­ed to those who made the nation greater than the one they were born into. 

It believes in itself

It does­n’t take itself too seri­ous­ly but it believes in itself.

Tai­ka Waititi

In the round-table dis­cus­sion slash behind the scenes doc­u­men­tary series, Dis­ney Gallery: The Man­do­lo­ri­an, Tai­ka Wait­i­ti dis­cuss­es direct­ing the sea­son 1 finale. I love this quote as it sum­maries so well the idea of be true and earnest, with­out a fear of ridicule or need for val­i­da­tion. Sim­ply the joy of can be val­i­da­tion enough. It real­ly sum­ma­rizes a lot of Wait­i­ti’s work (at least the parts I’m famil­iar with), like Thor: Rag­narok. But it’s real­ly true of any­thing worth being pas­sion­ate about: your joy of the thing is enough.

Sabbath Drive

This is a post that has been a very long time in the mak­ing. I start­ed this project back in Octo­ber of 2018. Gui­tarPCB had a sale and it looked like their Sab­o­tage Dri­ve would be an inter­est­ing chal­lenge. There were six (!) tran­sis­tors in this cir­cuit. But I want­ed to make this a real­ly fun project so I designed some cus­tom art­work as well, all themed around Black Sab­bath — the inspi­ra­tion of this cir­cuit’s sound. This cir­cuit fur­ther seems to be inspired by Catal­in­bread­’s Sab­bra Cadabra ped­al, anoth­er pre-amp in a box effects that tries to cap­ture Tony Iom­mi’s sound of a Dal­las Range­mas­ter tre­ble boost push­ing a Laney Super­group head1. Or, put it anoth­er way, the sound of doom metal!

Sabbath Drive Workstation
Sol­der­ing com­po­nents for the Sab­bath Dri­ve project

I did some lay­out in an SVG file for the graph­ics, which you can see above. This is also large­ly where I did the drill hole pat­terns for the enclo­sure, as those go hand-in-hand. My graph­ics incor­po­rat­ed some of the Sab­bath album cov­ers. I was fair­ly proud of the design, if not the actu­al imple­men­ta­tion. I then got to sol­der­ing the cir­cuit com­po­nents. Bar­ry Stein­del of Gui­tarPCB did a great job design­ing this for a rel­a­tive­ly com­plex build, it is a very clean layout. 

Sabbath Drive PCB Resistors
Resis­tors and tran­sis­tor sock­ets in place

I think I’ve men­tioned this before, but I am in the habit of tap­ing out all the com­po­nents to a parts sheet with labels that cor­re­spond to the PCB silk screen labels. This would­n’t scale up to a large pro­duc­tion, but for one-at-a-time builds, it real­ly takes the stress out of try­ing to find the right com­po­nent for each step.

Sabbath Drive Component Leads
Com­po­nent leads being cut
Sabbath Drive Components
Close-up of the tran­sis­tors being placed in the sock­ets — bend those leads!

Once the com­po­nents were in place, it was time to final­ize the enclo­sure lay­out. The rel­a­tive place­ment of the pots/knobs are fixed since they are sol­dered direct­ly to the PCB. But the place­ment of every­thing else is depen­dent on get­ting it all to fit. I would have loved top-mount­ed jacks as you can see in the orig­i­nal sketch below, but that was­n’t going to hap­pen with this PCB lay­out (in the size of enclo­sure I chose, any­way). I need­ed to for­go that in order to squeeze every­thing in place. Regard­less, no 9v bat­tery in here! I don’t use ’em anyway.

Sabbath Drive Enclosure Layout
“Dry fit­ting” the off board com­po­nents and con­trols for the layout

When it comes to drilling the enclo­sure, I use a step bit in my drill press. Anoth­er thing I’ve prob­a­bly men­tioned: I have a small med­i­cine syringe with machine cut­ting flu­id. That way I can use my cen­ter punch to mark the point on my tem­plate and the put 1–2 drops of cut­ting flu­id right at that spot.

Sabbath Drive Drill Press
Drilling the enclo­sure holes

As you can see below, I actu­al­ly test­ed the cir­cuit before I even com­plet­ed drilling all the lay­out holes. I drilled the holes for the pots to get those mount­ed to the PCB in the cor­rect ori­en­ta­tion. I think wired up some leads for sig­nal in/out, the 9v pow­er, and ground to hook up to my test­ing rig.

Sabbath Drive Test Box
Test­ing the effect on the my test­ing rig

Then it was time to fin­ish drilling the holes and wiring up the off board switch, jacks, and LED.

Sabbath Drive Case Layout
Off-board wiring in progress (I don’t recall why there was a third jack!)

It was a bit of a tight fit into the enclo­sure, but part of that was my desire to place the LED near the top of the ped­al I real­ly don’t like LEDs right by the footswitch, where the get cov­ered up by your foot! Sure, they’re a lot eas­i­er to put there, but they don’t make it easy to tell you’ve prop­er­ly engaged the effect.

Sabbath Drive Offboard Wiring
Com­plet­ing the off-board wiring

I tried using our vinyl cut­ting machine to cre­ate paint­ing a paint­ing tem­plate from my SVG file. My first mis­take was using some cheap vinyl which did­n’t stick to the pow­der-coat­ed sur­face well. 

Sabbath Drive Vinyl Cutter
Cut­ting the paint tem­plate on our Cricut

Then I used acrylic paint which bled under that tem­plate. Also, the tiny let­ter­ing details were just about beyond the scale was which the Cri­cut could suc­cess­ful­ly cut this vinyl. The end result looked about like I’d just hand-paint­ed the whole thing. I was­n’t at all hap­py with the paint job, but know­ing I was­n’t like­ly to improve on it, I went ahead and sealed it with some spray clear coat.

Sabbath Drive Paint Template
Vinyl paint tem­plate trans­ferred to the enclosure
Sabbath Drive Painting
Acrylic paint on the template

So I fin­ished all this Decem­ber of 2018. I nev­er post­ed about it all last year though because I real­ly was­n’t able to get a good sound record­ing of this. My iPhone demos so far have been pret­ty lack­lus­ter. And this effect did­n’t sound as great as I’d liked any­way because it’s real­ly meant to run into a cranked amp. Though I used my pre-amp, pas­sive vol­ume con­trol I could­n’t real­ly push the pow­er amp sec­tion of my tube head. Well, in the past cou­ple of months I got a pow­er atten­u­a­tor and a pret­ty good mic to record some audio with. My ampli­fi­er has a “cab emu­la­tion” out­put, as does the pow­er atten­u­a­tor but both frankly sound pret­ty ter­ri­ble. None of the record­ings with those ever had any of the low end that the amp actu­al­ly pro­duces. But using the atten­u­a­tor with the head vol­ume cranked and the mic into my record­ing inter­face, I’m final­ly hap­py with the sound I can get recorded.

So here is the full sig­nal chain: 

  • My Fend­er Tele­cast­er with a Lace Sen­sor Death­buck­er pick­up in the bridge posi­tion2
  • This runs through a TC Elec­tron­ic P0lytune 3 (I men­tion this because it has a buffer — all oth­er effects are true bypass) and then into the Sab­bath Dri­ve pedal. 
  • The Black­star HT5 Met­al head on the clean chan­nel (cranked to 10) and a TC Elec­tron­ic Hall of Fame 2 reverb ped­al in the effects loop. 
  • The head runs through the Bugera PS1 pow­er atten­u­a­tor into the Black­star 1x12” cab­i­net with a Celestion G‑12T speaker.
  • The cab­i­net is mic’d with a MXR R144 rib­bon mic into the Behringer UMC22 audio interface. 

I use some of the EQ set­ting in garage band for the gui­tar and the over­all mix. This par­tic­u­lar record­ing was used with one of the “auto” drum­mers in Garage Band. This video is the live record­ing you’re hear­ing; just poor­ly sync’d to the audio. The gui­tar is a sin­gle track.

*cough, cough* Sweet Leaf — Black Sab­bath (with all apolo­gies to Tony Iommi)

On the whole, I’m real­ly pleased with the sound of this ped­al. The Range and Pres­ence con­trols give a real­ly wide tonal range. I’ve cranked the dis­tor­tion here (hon­est­ly, not even sure why that knob exists! Just fix it at 10!). The vol­ume is about at noon. I shud­der to think just how loud this ped­al would be with that cranked. 

Also, for ref­er­ence, here is a short demo I did of a Sleep song (“The Druid,” only slow­er tem­po) using the cab emu­la­tor from my amp head. The sound is def­i­nite­ly more “fizzy” and flat here.
  1. For the record, even though the old­er Sab­bath records were record­ed using those, it does­n’t appear Tony Iom­mi uses those any more. He has a sig­na­ture Laney head that appears to have the tre­ble boost “built in”. Laney also has a sim­i­lar, sig­na­ture ped­al which claims to box all this up, but appar­ent­ly Iom­mi does­n’t use it at all accord­ing to his site. []
  2. Yes, I need to write an entire post on my gui­tar and the mod­i­fi­ca­tions I’ve made to it. []

Hello From the Inside

Sneak­ing in at the end of the month…

Like most all of Amer­i­ca (and the world), I’m stay­ing home these days, hop­ing to avoid the spread of coro­n­avirus. Of course, I’ve worked from home for over twelve years now, so what’s new? Well, for­tu­nate­ly, my spouse is also able to work from home. We are both gain­ful­ly employed for the fore­see­able future (which admit­ted­ly, isn’t as long as was a month ago). Our kids are old enough to be respon­si­ble through­out the day to large­ly see to them­selves. In those ways, we are excep­tion­al­ly for­tu­nate. May folks are see­ing reduced ours, being fur­loughed, or even laid off of work all togeth­er. Many peo­ple are weath­er­ing this alone. Many more are deal­ing this while hav­ing to care for defen­dants that need far more attention. 

But even for us, it can be tough. So I tru­ly empathize with those who are deal­ing with far more issues than we are. So to those who read this, do try to take care of your­selves. These are tough times. It’s best to admit that we’re all hav­ing to deal with this to some degree. But it’s also good to acknowl­edge that every­one else is, too. Find some­things to help you keep perspective. 

I’ll try to share some pho­tos of some of the high­lights of what we’ve been up to soon. I think I should be able to find some time…