Digital Signage

I’ve been experimenting a bit with Digital Signage. I have a TV set up on the wall in the basement with my Raspberry Pi connected to it so it is the perfect place to try out some signage software.

After trying a couple of signage apps, I put this together using DAKboard. They have a free to use version which allows you to create a screen with some options for layout, background, calendar, weather and news, etc.


Here I have selected a basic layout and linked my Google calendar, some local weather and I’m cycling photos from one of my albums on Flickr. There’s an option to add a news RSS feed as well, but after a while I decided the screen was too cluttered and removed it.

DAKboard is web based and thus is platform independent. I have created and edited my screen using my Windows 10 computer as well as my Raspberry Pi running Pi OS.

If you want multiple screens and more advanced features, you can upgrade to the Plus version for a monthly fee.

Some of the digital signage apps I’m looking at are:

High Speed Internet

I posted back in the summer about our internet woes. Our service from Xplornet, formerly Detour Wireless was relatively slow and at times unreliable.

I recently took up an offer from Bell to install their high speed rural internet. It’s still a line of sight system but we have gone from 3 Mb/s down 1 Mb/s up with Xplornet to 25 Mb/s down and 10 Mb/s up with Bell.

That’s a significant increase and I’m also hoping for better reliability. The Bell tech was here today and everything seems to be working. And yes, it is noticeably faster.

As part of the deal with Bell, we are also getting an upgrade to our satellite TV package. Just in time for winter!

Cutting boards

A while ago, I picked up some bamboo cutting boards when they were on sale at Canadian Tire. My son Joe’s birthday was coming up so I wanted to carve something personal on it for him.

Joe has become quite a good cook of turkey using his back yard deep fryer, so I came up with the following design.

Joe’s Gourmet turkey

The board was carved with a 120 Degree V-bit on my Genmitsu 3018 PROVer. The piece is approximately 12″ x 18″ and is by far the biggest item I have carved. The grooves were pre-cut, the only area I carved is the center and that used most of the 3018’s available workspace.

The board was finished with a mineral oil / beeswax paste that is food-safe.

I had good luck with an image of a Buck’s head on a previous project, so I decided to carve myself a cutting board with that image.

Buck’s head cutting board

I used the same 120 Degree V-bit and finished it with the food-safe paste mentioned above. I was so happy with how this one turned out that I cut 3 more of these, one for each of the guys in our hunting party with their surnames on them. I gave them as early Christmas gifts.

Big bucks and does

A couple projects I finished up this week. With deer hunting season over this year, I wanted to create something with that theme in mind.

I found a nice graphic of a buck’s head on the interwebs and imported it into my design software. I had a nice piece of maple on my shelf, about 10-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches and I carved the following design into it.

Buck’s Head on maple

I used a 120 degree V-bit to do the V-carve and it took about an hour to complete. I also carved my logo on the back and added a keyhole so it could be hung on a wall. I sealed the wood with a coat of shellac and after it dried, I applied a coat of black acrylic paint to fill in the carved areas. The next day it was on to the sander where I removed the excess paint and shellac and returned it to bare wood. Three coats of Tung & Teak Oil completed the project.

I had another graphic of a buck and doe that I liked, so I cut it into an 8-1/2 x 11 inch piece of pine. This time I made a simple pocket cut with a 1/8 inch flatnose endmill followed by a finer contour cut with a 1.4 mm endmill. My logo and a keyhole were cut into the back side.

Buck & Doe on pine

Again, the wood was sealed with shellac as a sealant. After it dried I hand painted the cut out area with dark acrylic paints, mostly blacks and greens. Then it went to the sander to remove excess paint and shellac. This piece was finished with three coats of Danish oil as I liked the effect it had on the pine.

Travel Bug

Back in the spring, I made a unique travel bug as a birthday present for my oldest son Stephen. A travel bug is a trackable item that people who geocache pass among themselves and log in and out of geocaches. The Geocaching website records the travels of all registered travel bugs.

I started with a block of maple I had left over from another project. This was going to be a two sided project.

Geocache logo

On one side I used my CNC machine to carve the Geocaching logo and Steve’s geocaching name or “handle”. I hand painted the 4 cells of the geocaching logo, then filled everything with clear epoxy. It took a bit of sanding to get the surface smooth but I got it by working my way down to 1600 grit.

Normally, you buy a travel bug tag and attach it to an item. However, in this case I decided to carve the travel bug number into the block of maple. I had an unused travel bug tag so I carved the travel bug image and that number on one side of the block of wood. The cut out area was filled with black epoxy and sanded smooth.

Travel bug

Another block of wood with a groove cut in it made the perfect stand. Everything was finished with a few layers of polyurethane.

Steve has taken his travel bug to numerous geocaching events though out Ontario and it has been logged many times.

Fall Deer Hunt 2021

The 2021 Fall deer hunt is now in the books. Together with Dave B., Frank P. and Angelo S., we had another successful hunt.

Opening day we saw lots of deer, including one huge buck who teased us in the soybean field with a couple of does. I was the closest to him but was still well over 300 yards – so no possibility of a shot.

The morning of Day 2 we were blessed to have a few deer run by the tree stands we has set up along the western bush line. Dave and Frank were manning them and Dave managed to shoot both a doe and a buck.

Dave with his buck & doe

We immediately noticed that our big buck was back again in the soybeans. This time he found another younger buck to play with. Too far for a shot once again but we came up with a strategy for the next day.

Day 2 success

On Wednesday (Day 3), Dave and I repositioned closer to where the big buck had been and we waited for him to return. Frank and Angelo covered the hay field. I had a beautiful spot overlooking the soybeans, but the big guy was a no show.

My spot on Day 3

We decided to use Thursday (day 4) to butcher our kills and the four of us spent the day in Dave’s garage.

Hard at work
Cuts from the buck

Friday we set up the same as Wednesday, hoping that big buck would return. Unfortunately all we had was great weather and not sign of bucky.

My tree

Saturday was our last day. Having been frustrated by Bucky, I returned to my regular position in the hay field at the back of the farm. Frank took one of the tree stands and Dave was in a ground blind, close to where Bucky had been playing. Angelo was unable to join us.

After seeing nothing all morning, Dave walked back to where Frank and I were. We decided to call it a day and were walking back when up ahead we saw 3 deer poke their heads out right where Dave’s ground blind was!!! Too far for a shot so we just watched them as they looked at us and eventually took off for safer pastures.

Two deer seems to be our average. This is the 3rd year I have hunted deer and each year we have managed to get two.