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Recipe - Marilyn's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Recipe - Marilyn's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Here is another recipe from the cookbook that my mother and wife created more than thirty years ago. 

This recipe is a family favorite and people cannot tell that there is zucchini in the cake. 

Marilyn's Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

1 stick of margarine

1/2 cup of oil

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of buttermilk

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 heaping tablespoons cocoa

2 cups of shredded zucchini

1/2 cup of chocolate bits

1/2 cup of nuts (optional)

Combine margarine, oil, eggs and sugar. Add vanilla and buttermilk. 

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa in a sifter. 

Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Lastly add zucchini, chocolate bits and nuts to mixture. 

Using a 9x13 inch pan, make sure that the pan is well greased and add batter to the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. 

Once the cake is cool, ice with your favorite frosting. In our pictures we added peanut butter frosting. 

Image of 3 pieces of chocolate zucchini cake with peanut butter frosting. - Dailey Woodworking
The lightbulb finally goes on

The lightbulb finally goes on

This blog post was originally posted on The Dailey Grind.

As I get older I realize that I need more light to see what I’m working on. I’ve been looking around for a light that was more than just a spot light to better help me see my work on the lathe.

Laguna Lathe Lamp mounted in ceiling and situated over my lathe. Sorry for the light glare in the upper left corner. It's coming from my 4 foot shop light. Laguna Lathe Lamp mounted in ceiling and situated over my lathe. Sorry for the light glare in the upper left corner. It’s coming from my 4 foot shop light.

Last fall when I was teaching bowl turning classes in S. Portland, Maine we were using new Laguna 1216 lathes for the two students in each class. On those lathes were new Laguna lathe lamps. They were longer LED lights and not the spot lights that Laguna previously had for their lathes or bandsaws. Don’t get me wrong the spot lights are fine but I already have one, from another company, that has a magnetic base to hold it securely to my lathe. I was hoping to find something with an articulating arm and that I could mount above my lathe and move into whatever place I wanted. It’s important to me that I could move it because I want extra light while I’m working on my pieces. Then I can move the light around the piece and look at the piece from various angles to make sure that I haven’t missed any scratch marks before I apply the finish. There are other LED light bars on the market but this is the only one, that I know of, that I can adjust the amount and kind of light on. By adjusting the coolness (color) and brightness of the light it helps me see the scratch marks better.

When you open the box you see the separate lamp parts in bubble wrap.
This is what you see when you open the box.
Lamp parts in the box once packing material has been removed.
Lamp parts in the box once packing material has been removed.

By mounting it in the ceiling and because it pivots almost 360 degrees, I can also rotate it around to put light on my router table too. There is a pin that stops the light from going a full 360 degrees probably so that a person can’t continually go around and around and damage the wires on the inside.

This shows how I mounted the lamp between the stringers and you can see the light control knobs on the backside of the arm.
This shows how I mounted the lamp between the stringers and you can see the light control knobs on the backside of the arm.

There are adjustments on the light near the base that allow me to control the amount of light. I can also move the light on pivot points along the arm to get the light exactly where I want it to be.

I’ve been working with the light for a few weeks now and so far I’m liking it. Time will tell if I like it better than a spot light and also the longevity of the LED bulbs.

The only thing that I would like to see changed on the light is where the knobs are located. I would like to see them near the light itself and not near the base but I also realize that I’m not using the light the way that Laguna intended for them to be used. If I had the light mounted on my lathe like they intended, the adjustment knobs would be near at hand and not near the ceiling like I have them.

I feel that I should also mention that I work at Rockler as a turning instructor. However I am not sponsored, nor did I receive any special discounts or compensation for this critique from them or from Laguna. I ordered this light from Rockler’s website on November 30th because of a Black Friday Cyber Monday special that Laguna was running at the time and had to wait weeks (because of COVID) for the light to show up, just like everyone else at the time.

Whiskey and Bog Oak?

This was originally posted on my other blog - The Dailey Grind 

Recently I made eight Katahdin ballpoint pens all from Oak. So what is so special about that, you ask. Well, six of them were made from barrel staves from whiskey barrels. And the other two? Those two were made from ancient bog oak from eastern Europe.

Picture of Oak pens made from whiskey barrel staves and bog Oak. L-R, Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Jack Daniels and last two are from ancient bog Oak. - Dailey Woodworking
Katahdin Oak Pens

The bog oak wood was carbon dated to be approximately 5,600 years old. Can you imagine the changes that have taken place with our world since those trees sprouted from an acorn?

The other six pens were made from barrel staves that were used in the actual production of whiskey. Two were made from Jim Beam staves, two more were made from Makers Mark bourbon whiskey staves and the last two were made from Jack Daniels staves.

Each of the pens had their own unique smell when I was turning them.

Left to right in the picture above, the Katahdin pens are Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Jack Daniels and the last two are the ancient bog oak pens.

Custom Bottle Openers

Custom Bottle Openers

A couple weeks before Father’s Day I was asked to make some custom acrylic handled bottle openers. Not a problem, I can do this and the primary color was to be orange. Once a again not a problem or so I thought.

Two finished bottle openers with custom handles - Dailey Woodworking

I decided that a good secondary color would be yellow or gold. So Mary (my lovely wife and assistant) and I got to mixing up the Alumilite. I poured parts A & B and Mary stirred them together. I added orange coloring to the Alumilite and it turned red. Wait red? So I put in more orange coloring and it was still red. More coloring, still red. I added gold flakes to the other clear Alumilite that we had stirred up and that was gold. We were running out of time. We have seven minutes from the time that part A and B start being mixed together until the mixture has to be in the mold and under air pressure or else the urethane acrylic starts to harden and the air bubbles are too big and will leave voids in the acrylic. The air pressure makes the air bubbles so small that they aren’t a problem. I realize that seven minutes sounds like plenty of time but it can get intense especially if things don’t seem to be going quite as planned.

So we are at five and a half minutes and things aren’t looking good. Actually they are looking great but it’s red and not orange. We pour the colors into the mold and mix them together to get some swirls working for us. We just made it under the allotted time and the proof will be once they are turned.

Block of Alumilite that will be turned into handles - Dailey Woodworking

The next day I took the block out from under pressure and, yup, it’s still red and gold. I cut the block up into the 4 blanks that I needed and the block is still showing red and gold but the shavings that were created during the cutting process are orange. Well all right, now things are looking up.

I start to turn the first handle and the handle looks like it’s red and gold but the shavings on the floor, the lathe and me are orange and gold. I get the handle done and polished up and it’s a beautiful red and gold but not orange, unlike my shop. These shavings are clinging to everything. You can see every place that I walked because I am leaving behind a trail of orange shavings.

My shop floor with orange Alumilite shavings everywhere - Dailey Woodworking

We show the customer two of the openers to see what she thinks of them, and luckily for us, she loved them. They really are spectacular. The coloring has a lot of depth to it and if you rotate the handles in the light things seem to change and shift.

Close-up of finished handle for the bottle openers - Dailey Woodworking

Close-up of finished handle for the bottle openers
Two finished bottle openers with custom acrylic handles - Dailey Woodworking
Two of the finished bottle openers