DIY: Life Sized Ruler Growth Chart

A huge Thank You to Mr. J.D. Young for this guest post. This is a project I have been wanting to do for my boys. I am happy to take a note from this fine father and his craftiness.
Life Sized Ruler Growth Chart
Items Needed
1. Wood board
2. Black Paint
3. Wood Stain
4. Polyurethane
5. 220 Grit sand paper
6. Ruler/Tape Measure
7. Pencil
8. Stencils
9. Exacto Knife
10. Old socks or t-shirts to use to apply stain and polyurethane
11. Latex gloves
12. Paint brushes
When my wife pitched me this idea, she had seen many different variations on ETSY.  But in order for it to be extra special, she wanted it to be hand made.  There were many types out there that were as easy as just getting wood and putting stickers on it.  But I wanted something to do for Evan for Christmas that would be extra special.
When we were looking at wood, I figured oak would be a good choice due to how rich the color would look and how the grains would stand out once stained.  After a trip to Home Depot, we decided on an oak board that was a 1×6.  This would allow for the inch marks as well as numbers at the foot marks.  We decided to have our “ruler” to be 6 1/2 feet tall.
Picking a stain color was tough to do.  We wanted the color to be very close to the color of our hardwoods and cabinets in the kitchen.  After looking at what seemed like 100 different choices, we decided on a satin based stain called Antique Walnut by Minwax.  For this project, a small can was plenty.  The stain calls for the wood to be sanded prior to staining.  It recommends using 220 grit sand paper.
After this was completed, I began to apply the stain to the wood. I ended up applying two coats of stain to the wood to achieve my desired look.  Drying time varies and since I wasn’t in a hurry, I took 4-5 days before the second coat was applied.
 
Since the spot we elected to put the board on the wall wouldn’t be flush on the floor, we had to measure out how far from the ground the bottom of the board would be.  Once that was completed, the next step was to decide about the inch marks.  After using a spare piece of wood to get an idea, we decided on the following. The foot marks would be 3 1/2 inches long.  The half inch marks would be 2 1/2 inches long.  The quarter inch marks would be 2 inches long and the inch marks would be 1 inch.  After some practice on the spare piece, the marks were made with the ruler on the board, but before I could paint, I had to sand the stained wood one more time.
This next step takes time and patience.  Going back to that spare piece of wood, I practiced for days on getting my brush marks just right and making sure they aren’t too thick or thin. The paint I selected was a semi-gloss based black paint by Glidden.  Nothing major here, just some paint to put on the wood.  I used two different brushes for my marks.  For the foot marks, I used a medium sized flat bristle brush.  For the rest of the marks, I used a small round tip brush.
I bought 4 inch stencils from Hobby Lobby. I initially practiced on spare wood with some of the letters in the pack. I taped them to the wood, but found that the paint would leak through.  So to combat this, I ended up tracing the numbers on the board then painting them by hand, but I had to cut small pieces out of the stencils to make the numbers usable.  I used the small tip brush to trace the edges of the number, then filled in the rest with the larger brush.  This was a fairly easy process that took about 45 minutes.
After the paint had dried, I went back to the saw horses and applied two coats of polyurethane.  I used a satin based finish by Minwax.  We did not want the finish to be shiny so the satin base is the best way to go.  After the second coat had been applied and dried, it was time to put a bow on this gift and get it ready for Santa to deliver.
We mounted the board to a small area that separates our kitchen from our breakfast area. I used 3 inch screws to secure the board into the studs.  I also pre-drilled holes in the board and sheet rock to make this process easier.  And as soon as it was up, we had our first measurement.  Evan stood tall at a whopping 2 feet 6 inches.
If you had to this on a quick schedule, I’d say it would take you about 3-5 days.  The longest part would be waiting on your paint/stain/poly to dry.  But other than that, it can be done pretty quick.
When J.D. isn’t chasing is little boy around he is a realtor with DeSelms Real Estate in Nashville, TN.
 

The Ultimate Every Day Carry Guide

Every Day Carry or EDC is the minimal amount of gear I need – and can carry – on a daily basis to protect myself and others and survive whatever life throws at me.

Without looking like a tacti-cool nerd, that is.

Number one to surviving life is knowledge or software. There are a million books and courses to fulfill this requirement. EDC is about the hardware – how much or how little and how custom your kit is. I am a huge fan of anything custom and things that make sense.

I personally like looking at what others do and adopt what I like for myself. This is my ultimate tried and trusted guide of what I carry in various situations.

There are EDC kit lists that have way too much stuff or items in separate pouches, to where there is no way you carry all of that in your pockets every day. These items are to aid you in everyday life and in an emergency, but EDC kits only work if they’re practical, functional and you actually carry them. I believe in setting yourself up for success. Learn, blend and be prepared.

I’ve broken down into 3 levels what I carry depending on what I am wearing and doing. Most military will recognize the similarities as 1st, 2nd and 3rd line gear loadouts. This list is intended for a permissive environment, or everyday life. I have highlighted, in RED, items you cannot take through US government security check points (ie. gov’t buildings,airports, etc.). Take note and I hope this helps you. Feel free to change makes and models according to your taste and budget.

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Level 1: Jeans and t-shirt

  • Digital Watch – Primary – Suunto Ambit 2 (gps), Secondary – Suunto Core (Carry in Level 3 as back up)
  • Wallet – Custom by Chester Mox – ID, Concealed Carry Permit, multi-tool card, ceramic razor
  • Passport – with custom case by Chester Mox (Only during Foreign travel)
  • Cell Phone- iPhone 6 w/ Life Proof FRE Power Case (2x battery capacity) – VPN capable, survival apps, ebooks, music, light, unit converter, measuring, local map, language translator
  • Keys – light, handcuff key
  • Sun glasses – Gatorz, whatever fits your face and protects your eyes.
  • Knife – Zero Tolerance Hinderer Flipper, Other favorite: Spyderco Native (Check for state legal length)
  • Pistol –  Glock 42 .380 w/ RIP ammo and Techna Clip
  • Custom 17mm Tungsten wedding ring
  • Hidden money – in sock or small pocket in jeans
  • 550 para cord, kevlar or dynama cord shoe laces (match color of original shoe lace as to not stand out)
  • Polymer handcuff key – hidden in sock, small pocket in jeans or tied to shoe lace (not to be found during a basic search i.e. survival bracelet will be confiscated)
  • Metal Pen – I don’t have a fancy self-defense pen as I always lose them.. Ultimately, any pen will do.

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Level 2: Cargo Pants, Jacket or Suit and Tie (Add to Level 1 list)

  • Nice watch – Panerai PAM 328
  • Headlamp
  • Notebook – Write in rain or appropriate
  • Medical – gauze, tourniquet, curvat, quick clot (each in a different pocket will smooth out profile)
  • Fire – Lighter or paper matches to get through security
  • Multi-tool – Leatherman Wave
  • Self defense tool – spike, knuckles, etc. (Train with it or it becomes a hindrance in a fight)
  • Medicated chap stick – for lips and wounds.

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Level 3: Back Pack (Add to Level 1 & 2 list), (If in Level 1 attire add Level 2 list to your Back Pack)

  • Civilian style backpack (Anything tactical looking stands out and attracts attention)
  • Medium medical pouch – Gauze, chest seal, pressure dressing, quick clot, tourniquet, band-aid, antiseptic, pain killers
  • Batteries – in original packaging or battery container
  • Head lamp/ Flashlight
  • Small Solar Charger
  • Extra Clothes- pt shorts, socks, underwear, t-shirt (for unexpected overnight stays and lost luggage during travel)
  • Computer – VPN or Tor browser capable
  • Thumb drives and external hard drive
  • Strobe – VIP Strobe, 9v Strobe
  • Lock pick set
  • Cable box – all charging cables
  • Water bladder or bottle- Nalgene, Regular water bottle or Platypus (They will need to be empty when going through airport security.)
  • Food – MRE, Cliff bar, Gue, etc.
  • Water purifier –  tablets or straw
  • Book – Favorites – How to Disappear by Frank M. Ahearn, Escape the Wolf by Clint Emerson and Raising Men by Eric Davis (for the fathers in training)
  • Extra 550 cord
  • Riggers tape
  • Sharpie – extra pens and pencil and notebook
  • Fixed blade knife – Dan Winkler WKII, CND Custom, etc.
  • Rain jacket – REI black
  • Tooth brush and paste (3 oz.)
  • Comb
  • Hand sanitizer (3 oz.)
  • Tissue pouch or wet wipes

Blending in to the population around you, situational awareness and technical knowledge is the first line of defense and offense. These items are the secondary. Be smart. Don’t wear a maxpadition pouch and G-shock with a suit and tie or run around like you are in Kabul while you’re in Milwaukee (you might need to if you are in Detroit – haha). This makes you stand out and first to go in my book. Your situational awareness and posture will make you stand out and is a deterrent enough. If not, doom on them.

Practice, practice, practice and know what to do with what you have during threat identification, initial contact and post conflict. It can be an earth quake, drugged-up crazy with a box cutter, plane crash or zombie apocalypse. Have a “broad strokes” plan. As information comes in on what you are dealing with, then make adjustments.

This is not just about your safety and survival. As a father it is up to you to provide for your family. Be prepared.

I’m a grown ass man, I can figure this shit out.

Be a grown ass man and figure shit out.

Please comment and share your EDC kit. If you have any questions about my list, please ask.

Code Name Dad… Out!

What’s in your glass? A list of my favorite and must have booze for your home bar.

Hard day at work? Lost in the desert? Rollin’ down the street smokin’ indo? Sometimes life just calls for a cocktail. There are so many choices out there, and different situations demand different poisons.

While I’m certainly no sommelier, I do have extensive consumption experience. Here are a few of my tried and true favorites that won’t leave you high and dry.

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Vodka:

Whether you’re shooting straight with your Russian neighbor, mixing with tonic or having a martini shaken not stirred, a good vodka is key. Don’t settle for well, look for these options:

Tito’s – A great everyday drinker easy on the head in the morning.

Ketel One – My Bloody Mary mixer.

Belvedere – My #1 go-to vodka. A bit pricey, but worth it.

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Rum:

I can go on forever with this…I’m a rum-drinker and can tell you, you need to be picky. That said, here are my top three choices.

Cruzan #9 or white – Not so common mixing rum from St. Crox B.V.I. Nice change from Captain Morgan or Bacardi.

Koloa White – Once lived on Kauai Island Hawaii and fell in love with this mixer.

Havana Club – Another great distillery that you can not go wrong with anything they have to offer. A little tricky to get from Cuba though.

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Scotch:

If you’re channeling your inner Anchorman, you need to know what Scotch to choose. (Selections based on reliable recommendations).

Balvinie Double Wood – Aged in traditional and sherry oak this single malt burst with a multitude of flavors while staying smooth and mellow.

Macallan – With a variety of styles you can not go wrong with anything this distiller has to offer. The most mature pallet will be pleased.

Glenmorangie 18 – Top of the prestige collection this is a single malt scotch whiskey of serious distinction. Another must have.

Whiskey:

On the rocks, mixed with coke, or neat, you want a a whiskey that will complement the hair on your chest, not one that burns the esophagus.

Jameson Casemates – A unique experiment that came out delicious.

Lead Slingers Whiskey – Nice daily drinker and uber-patriotic.. ‘Merica

Mekhong Whiskey – From the deep jungles of Thailand this is mak mak ling. Taste like a rum but labeled a whiskey. Proceed with caution.

Bourbon:

Like scotch and whiskey, even if it’s not your drink, it never hurts to have a nice bourbon in the home bar. Pick up one of these stand-bys. (Based on reliable recommendations).

Jim Beam Single Barrel – Masterfully made by america’s finest Jim Beam has a spread any bourbon lover can enjoy.

Widow Jane 8yr – Hailing from New York City this craft bourbon is aged to perfection and worth the hunt to find.

Woodford Reserve 1838 Syle White Corn – The use of white corn instead of traditional yellow corn complements additional grains in the whiskey and allows for a sharper whiskey that’s lighter in body with a softer, sweeter, fruit-forward profile

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Tequila:

“You boys like MEXICO!! WoooHoo!!” Lets get south of the boarder silly with some favorites courtesy of the agave.

Gran Patron Platinum – A little on the pricey side but triple – distilled with a long spicy finish makes it way easier to swallow.

Herradura Reposado – Fermenting with naturally occurring airborne yeast and long stents in American Oak barrels really brings out the vanilla and butterscotch flavors while adding some color and unmatched smoothness.

Tapatio Blanco – Double distilled this is a great example of old world style tequila on a budget.

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Beer:

I’m not a huge beer drinker..sorry hipsters. Yet, certain occasions just call for a beer and why settle for Coors Light? Having a few go-to selections will come in handy when you need to grab a 6-pack for a BBQ, a little hair of the dog or something to wash down that burger and onion rings.

Dos XX Lager Especial – A favorite of “The Worlds Most Interesting Man” it’s not hard to understand why. A crisp, light-bodied, malt-flavored beer with a well-balanced finish is very refreshing on a hot summer day.

Any Octoberfest – Or Marzen as “ze Germans” call it. It is a shame this nectar of the gods is seasonal. Born in Munich, it is well worth the flight or at least a trip to your local store.

Gasser – I have only seen this in Austria. This light and refreshing adult beverage will be an internet purchase. A definite anytime beer…even with breakfast…Prost!

Monkeynaut IPA – Why? Why not. It’s a good beer with an awesome can logo. It’s you’re going to drink beer, you might as well be entertained at the same time.

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Wine:

For you single guys, being able to pick a good bottle to bring over for dinner is a definite plus. And a good husband knows the true value of a good bottle of wine. There are a huge number of good options out there and often a good liquor store will give some great recommendations. In general, avoid screw tops and don’t go for the cheapest bottle on the shelf. Beyond that, check out these no-fail bottles:

Dreaming Tree Crush – Everyday drinker. A California blend with mixed berries and vanilla oak flavors. Great on its own or with dinner, this reasonably-priced red is a favorite in our house.

Francis Coppola Claret – A Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine, blended in the classic Bordeaux style. Flavors of blackberry, cassis and roasted espresso.  This rich red is the perfect pairing with a nice steak dinner.

Archival Ferrer Malbec – A little vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina, the wife and I found this wine on our honeymoon. A hard find but worth the look. You can not go wrong with anything from this part of Argentina.

I’m a red wine drinker…ask your wife for white recommendations.

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Champagne:

The more accurately label for this list would be “Sparkling Wine.” Either way, when you are popping the top and sipping bubbly, you don’t care what it’s called just as long as the party keeps rolling.

Bollinger – the “James Bond champagne.” It’s been featured in 11 of the Bond films to date.

Cordon Negro Brut – A family favorite. Sunday brunch mimosas.

Krug 1975 Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs – For all of you ballers making it rain.

There is the list to church up your home bar, entertain a client at the office or surprise the Mrs. for dinner. I hope you enjoy responsibly. If not, at least take pictures and post them with #codenamedad

Please add your favorites in the comments.

For the difficult finds and imports, I have had success ordering from The Whiskey Exchange.

I will post new finds as time goes on. Until then, Cheers, Prost, Salute, Nastrovia, Skall!

CODE NAME DAD… OUT!