Patriotic DuckThe All American RunnerDuck Review
December 5, 2009
 Welcome Back
First off, "MERRY CHRISTMAS"! There we said it out loud and now you can do the same everywhere you go for the rest of the month. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ so don't be shy shout it out to the world, that includes the greeters at big box and discount stores, the checkers at the grocery store, the hardware assistant at the hardware store and anyone else you see.
The month of November was very typical Washington State weather. We had rain and wind storms one right after the other for what seemed like weeks on end. Then comes the first day of December and we have beautiful sunny and cold days. The weather prognosticators are predicting a warmer and dryer winter than usual due to La Niņa but so far they've been wrong. Of course in their defense winter doesn't actually start until the 21st.
We told you about all the scarecrows that are placed all over our little town well they've all been put away and the snowmen are out. They put life size snowmen all over the town at almost every intersection and it makes for a very festive look. We don't get much snow if any so seeing them is really fun.
Christmas will once again be celebrated at Ken's daughters with our big annual White Elephant party. Ken's folks started the tradition many many years ago and it continues today. Everyone brings a silly gift with the rules being it can't be bought as a gift, it can't be "junk" and it's best if it's extremely silly. Wrapping is half the fun with newspaper, brown paper bags or anything else that comes to mind. We play a game with a spinner where each person is given a number. If the spinner lands on that number they get to choose a wrapped gift. Once everyone has a gift the next person whose number is picked can either keep the gift they have or swap with someone else. This goes on for five minutes and then we open the gifts one at a time. This is where the real fun begins as we get to see who gets stuck with what.
If you want to have a fun time at Christmas you just might give this a try.
Ken and Marilyn
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In This Issue
What's New
Site of the Month
Marilyn's Corner
The Tempos Big Band
Joke of the Month
This Months Recipe
Woodworking Project
Free Rockler Catalog
Please Donate
Wood Plans
Woodworking Tools
Rockler Specials
Rockler always has great specials, here's the latest! 

What's New?
The computer that we built last month is up and running with Windows 7. We told you we'd report on it this month so here goes.
We like it! Yep it looks like Microsoft finally has their act together. Ken had been running XP at home and Vista at work and Windows 7 wins hands down. It seems to be much more stable and the user interface is good.
During the upgrade we also installed Outlook 2007 and Office 2007. We have to say that we are not as impressed with them as the operating system. They work just fine and have some neat new features but things just don't seem to be as handy or easy to find as they were before. It would be great if they had a switch to change the tabbed user interface back to the old pull-down menu style.
All in all though we are quite pleased and glad we made the change. We're not sure if it's worth an upgrade from XP but definitely from Vista. If you are getting a new computer for Christmas it should have Windows 7 installed.
Site Of The Month
Since we are in the Christmas spirit here's your chance to brighten up some solders holiday. Send a card that was designed by a child with your own message to a solder. Xerox has set up this web site that lets you create a nice greeting that will be sent overseas. It is a tough time of year for all those brave men and women that are serving our country.
Click on this link and follow the directions on the web site, While you are at it send a bunch :-)

Marilyn's Corner
Santa Pinecone Ornament

Here's a cute little addition to your Christmas tree or a nice gift to give to a friend.
Red felt
Pink felt
White fuzzy fleece
White pom-pom
Jingle bell
Tacky glue
String for hanging
Pattern: Go to  to print a pattern for this project. 
Note: The top of the pinecone should be pointing down.

Cut the face out of pink felt and draw on the face then glue it to the pinecone.
Cut out the beard and hair from the white fuzzy fleece and glue to pinecone.
Cut the hat out of red felt and glue onto the pinecone.
Glue the pom-pom on the top of the hat.
Glue the jingle bell on the bottom of the pinecone.
Attach a string to the top for hanging.
Be sure to get your kids involved in this little project, it's really fun for them as well as you. I hope this makes your Christmas Tree a little cheerier.
If you have a craft project that you'd like to share with our readers just send it to

The Tempos Big Swing Band
Here's another stocking stuffer idea for the music lovers in your family. Just click on the CD cover below and order some good old swing music, they'll love it!
If you have an event planned in the Seattle area and in need of a great band The Tempos are ready to perform for you. Just drop a line to

The Tempos

The Tempos CD, "Big Swing", features fourteen great swing songs from the 40's and 50's. If you love the old big band swing music we think you'll enjoy this CD. It's the kind of music that makes you just want to get up and dance, you do remember how to swing don't you?

The only place you can get this CD is from our web site. Go to and click on the "Click Here" at the top of the web page or click the album cover.


If you'd like to get a taste of this CD just go to The Tempos web site. When you are at the Tempos web site click on the horn valve button that says "Hear our CD". Then click on the song titles to hear a little bit of each song.

The Tempos big swing band is available for hire. If you have a special event that could use the wonderful music of a classic sixteen piece big band be sure to contact We perform all over the Seattle area for all sorts of events.

Joke of the Month
We're not sure if all the quotes are accurate but they sure sound plausible!
Priceless Observations Department:

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, 'Lillian, you should have remained a virgin.'
- Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter) -
I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'
 - Eleanor Roosevelt - 
Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.
- Mark Twain -
The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible
- George Burns -
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
- Victor Borge -
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain -
By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates -
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
- Groucho Marx -
My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
- Jimmy Durante -
I have never  hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor -
Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
- Alex Levine -
My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.
- Rodney Dangerfield -
Money can't buy you happiness ... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
- Spike Milligan -
Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP .
- Joe Namath -
I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
- Bob Hope -
I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it..
- W. C. Fields -
We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.
- Will Rogers -
Don't worry about avoiding temptation.   As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill -
Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.
- Phyllis Diller -
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.
- Billy Crystal -
And the cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good spit it out.
If you've got a funny family friendly joke send it to

This Month's Free Recipe
Ranger Cookies 
Here's a simple recipe for some really yummy cookies. These are great to have around for the holidays and also to give as presents.
Rumor has it that these cookies have a long shelf life and would be sent to the troops during World War II for Christmas cookies, hence the name "Ranger Cookies". 

1 Cup Shortening or Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
5 Cups of Stuff - This can be any combination of the following as long as it equals five cups - Coconut, Nuts, Oats, Raisins, Crassins and/or Chocolate Chips.
Mix all the ingredients together and roll into balls.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.
That's all there is to it so get busy and enjoy!

If you have a recipe you'd like to share with our readers please send it to We'd love to share it with everyone.
Woodworking Project


Download WOOD StoreŽ woodworking plans directly to your computer and start building in just minutes! OR, we'll mail them to you, your choice!


This Months Woodworking Project

Mancala Game Board

Here's a great Christmas present that you can make in time for Christmas. It was given to us by Matt, Ken's son-in-law. Matt is a fine woodworker and still had some trouble making this game board.
His main problem was the Purple Heart wood that he used. Purple Heart has a real propensity to burn when being cut or routed. The size of the router bit he used really made it a challenge.

For directions on how to play Mancala go to

Material: Wood of your choice 16 1/4" X 5 1/2" X 3/4"
48 glass beads

Special Tools: 1 1/2" Core Box Router Bit Core Box Router Bits Core Box Router Bits

1/2" Cove Router Bit Cove Router Bits Cove Router Bits

Cut the wood to size.
Using the 1/2" Cove Router Bit, route the edges around the back of the board.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the set up but I'll try to describe it.
Because this will use a large router bit you need to keep everything stable. Build a jig the height of the wood about 6" wide all the way around your piece. This will give your router a nice flat surface to ride on and it will hold the piece in place.
Make a bottom for your router out of plexiglass about 12" square, this will make a good clamping surface to hold the router steady while making the large bins.
Route the bins and Kalah's with the 1 1/2" Core Box Router Bit. I would use a scrap piece of wood to set the speed of the router and the rate of your cut. You'll want to slow down the router and plunge at a very slow rate. Practice a few times before going on to the real thing.
The centers of the Kalah's and bins start 1 7/8" from the end and are 1 3/4" apart. The centers are 1 1/2" in from the sides and 5/8" deep.

Mark the centers for each bin and Kalah and plunge your router down with the motor off to center the cutter then clamp the router in place. SLOWLY plunge the router until the bin is cut then proceed to the next.
For the Kalah's set up a fence for the router to ride against along with a start and stop. Make shallow cuts from start to stop until you've reached the final depth.
The trough's between the bins are made with the same bit and are 1/8" deep.
Again the same set up that you used for the Kalah's will be used with a fence, start and stop.

The key to making a really nice looking game is in the setup and taking your time.

Matt wrote about a modification he made on the one for his wife. "The board I made for Jen and I was a little more complex, I took the board blank and ripped it in half lengthwise the routed one dovetail plow down the center of the newly exposed centerline ripped edge and mirrored it on the centerline edge of the other half. Then I milled a bow tie shaped spline that adjoined the two halves. A 1/2" gap was kept between the two halves which revealed the contrasted color and grain of the different species of wood the bow tie spline was milled from."

Thanks Matt for sharing this neat project.

That's about it for this month. We hope you liked this project. If you build it and your friends ask where you got such a clever idea, please tell them that you got it at

If any of you have wood projects to share I would be happy to put it into a format for our newsletter. Just send me an email at and lets see what we can come up with. Thank you!
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     If you want to talk about something just drop us a line to any time, we like to talk about most anything. We are always looking for content for our newsletter so if you have something to add we'd love to publish it, assuming it meets our strict family oriented requirements!

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