Sunday, May 5, 2013

Year 13, Week 15, Day 0ne (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-04-13 Saturday
    A cloudless blue sky early morning. Soft, puffs appeared in the early morning, a real surprise as I never saw them coming. They were heading to the beach to get some sun. 80 degrees When I got out back, 85 in the afternoon, nice brisk breeze made the day quite comfortable for everything except working hard. This weather report is brought to you by The City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    We only saw one yard sale with nothing we could not live without, so we headed home. Mom took a nap while I puttered in the back yard. I had several projects going at the same time.

When I got off the walker and the pain medicines, my left wrist started hurting. I tried hard to get a doctor to even look at it, but they were interested in the bigger problems. The wrist was the reason I never carved any ornaments for Christmas last year. I tested a design and found that my wrist could not handle it.
Last month, I finally got someone to look at it. I have tendinitis in the thumb. the cure is to isolate it so it does not move.
This week, I picked up the proper wrap to cure it. I should wear it for six to ten weeks for a full cure. The great thing I learned is that the wrap has no effect on my typing. It is as bad as ever....... I also learned that it gets dirty fast. I did just a couple quick projects and it was filthy!

The sand pile is smaller than it was. The really wet weather we had this past week, spread the sand out some. While walking to my truck I stepped into a slumped part of the sand pile. My foot sunk in like it was quicksand. I checked the "impression" later, and it was four to five inches deep. I stopped sinking only because of the concrete beneath it.

 My footprint in quicksand.
 The sand pile  eaten up by the storms.

We have been doing construction and materials accumulate in the way. Also, over the past year, I really have not done much woodworking. Last week I used the bandsaw and was using it in a way that really was not recommended as I could not get into the right position without a whole lot of work. I pulled all the stuff that was in the way out, relocated them and then put something that will move easily in their place. Now I can access the bandsaw safely.


 These popped up this past week.

I have a BBQ cart I acquired and since my accident, I have used that as my machining table. Before this, I would carry the whole lathe box out from the shed each time. That cart had a loose board right on the end. I had, a couple times, considered clamping something to it and that board made sure it would never happen.
One bolt was holding it in place and it did not have a nut. I dug through the nuts and bolts in jars within the shed and found some nuts that fit. It also had bolts the same size, but too short. I searched in the shed some more, then went to the garage. Digging there, the first thing I found that would fit was a toggle bolt. I grabbed that and headed back out. I positioned the toggle nut to follow the supporting tube of the cart. It needs to be trimmed, but it will do for now. I may trim it later.

In metal machining, one develops something called a CHOWDER BOX. It is a box of bits and pieces of metal that might be just what is needed for a project. I have a small one. It has blocks of metal waiting to be machined into parts, sheet metal bits that might be used as shims, rods that might become parts or tools, and so on. Because of the size of my lathe, I don't have a lot of really big pieces of metal laying around.
I knew I purchased some fender washers, really big washers, sometime in the past and thought I might have stuck them in my chowder box. I dumped out the box onto the table and re-stacked the box again, big stuff went in first along the side and then the small stuff on top.
I did find a small washer that was big enough for the BBQ cart repair. I had some pieces of metal where my brother drilled a hole in a pipe and gave me the waste pieces. I have used these to help hold a work on the lathe while machining, more than once.
Also within the chowder box was some cutting bits and grinding bits that accidentally ended up in there. They are now in the lathe box itself. The chowder box is too heavy to also have in the lathe box.

Over the past couple months, I have had a problem with my truck. Once in a while, I would place the key in the ignition and have power. I would then try to start the engine and everything would shut off. I would have to mess with the battery to solve the problem.
A couple weeks ago, I learned that the wire going into the terminal clamp (I learned later is a universal) had pulled out some and the wire clamp was loose. I tightened it to get going.
During the week, I talked to my mechanic and he told me how to solve the problem. I removed the wires entirely, and with a wire brush, I cleaned the terminal, the clamping surfaces, and cleaned the wires (they really needed it). I then put it all back together. I made sure it was tight. Now I will see if I have the computer problem, which could have been caused by low power going to it.

Mom needed some paving stones for her patio. I talked her into getting some mulch while we were at it. I was happy as I was going to see what my truck was going to do with a nice load on it.
We ended up getting 45 of the 12"x12" patio stones and six bags of mulch. I forced myself to let the workers load the truck without any help from me at all. I am not really in great condition, my messed up leg and a wrist in a wrap, to help anyway.
The drive back was nice. the truck rode smoothly on the rough road, had good pickup and stopping power. That truck, with the overloads in back, is supposed to be carrying a load.
At home, mom decided she would use a hand truck to move the load to the back. I went back while she went inside to drop some stuff off, and I got the handcart. I loaded five of those stones onto the handcart and pulled it to the back. Mom was coming out just at that time.
I don't have much range in walking and both my wrist and my leg was unhappy with the work. Mom took over moving and unloading the handcart, while I stayed at the truck and helped her load it up. She took eight stones each time. Individually, the stones are not too bad to lift. I was mainly lifting them a few inches off the tail gate of the truck and lowering them to the handcart. Not much work, and mom did half the load each time. 

Half the patio stones already taken off

All the new patio stones

Sand bin and new mulch. the mulch is leaned against the boards to help hold back the sand.

I put two bags of mulch on the hand truck each time after the stones were gone and mom took them back.
My back was really no different than before the project, but It let me know that it would not be happy if I did any more than this load.

Several years ago, I received some black walnut two by twos. they were out in the wood pile, in the weather for years. I finally got them into the shed for protection a couple years ago. Most of them have some rotted wood surface. A quick hit with the disk sander removes the bad wood and exposes the good wood again.
My little lathe cannot handle very long pieces of wood so I had cut some black walnut sticks into shorter pieces. I grabbed two of them and after clearing the path to the disk sander, I sanded the mess off the surface.
Had I given it a moment's thought, I would have removed my wrap for this project. I touched the stick to the disk and powder flew up into the air and right into my wrap. I would hold my breath while sanding, step away and inhale the clean air, then do it again, since I did not have a dust mask. I finished the project, shook the wrap out to get as much dust out of it. it now looked dirty.
The sticks I sanded will be cut up long ways until I have sticks small enough for my crochet hooks, while not wasting a whole bunch of wood.

Resting after unloading the truck, I started on a project I planned to do before the shopping trip. I took a box of "stuff" off the BBQ cart and emptied it out. There was a whole bunch of sandpaper, there were tools, and lots of wood.
I would pick out a piece of wood for a project and then things would change and it not get done. The box was also partly a catch-all for everything that had to be unloaded. I found cutting bits for the little lathe, I found a salt and pepper grinder set that I planned on disassembling and making out of wood.
I sorted everything, put the wood into the box in a bit easier way to find, and the bits and pieces of sandpaper in a basket that I set on top. Packages of sandpaper for power tools went in separately. It was nice to get everything under control there.

I have loads of future projects coming up. Messing with the BBQ cart is the first step on cleaning the workbench and getting stuff put away. We are running out of room. I do want to make a complete set of crochet hooks in black walnut. That is sixteen different sized hooks. I really would like to make several sets.
I have metal machining projects in line. I have a dragon to continue to carve on. I have a vase started that is supposed to have five faces carved into it. I have several wood piles that need to be used up.

If my brother comes up tomorrow, we may be moving sand. If not, I will see what trouble I can get into.

I will see what I do tomorrow.

Year 13, Week 15, Day Two (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-05-13 Sunday

80 degrees when I got out back, 85 degrees later in the day. The sky was filled with thick white puffs that sometimes blocked the sun. The wind was brisk and kept the day nice. This weather report is brought to you by The City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
I stopped at Harbor Freight Toy Store, I mean Tool store on the way to Mom’s house. I needed a clamp as the meat grinder I got has a little tiny problem. My counters have a false edge that is about two and a half inches thick. The clamp of the meat grinder opens only to an inch and a half. I have to clamp it to a big cutting board I have. I needed to pick up a clamp to hold the cutting board in place as the meat grinder moves the board when you crank the handle.
I was lucky to escape there with only four items. That was really hard to do.
Santa told me that if I am good, I will get the full contents of one of those stores. I sure do hope he does not know about all those incidents..........
I forgot to put on my leg brace and while walking around the store, my leg bothered me more than normal. It was when I was walking out that it dawned on me that I was not wearing my brace. Too far to go home to get it just for the short times I would be on my feet. I have to walk differently with the brace than without it.

 I have tested the meat grinder with pork and it works nicely. Now the grinder comes with three cutting bits. That controls the size of the “grain” the burger meat has. The three bladed cutter makes for large grain while the twelve and twenty four make for even smaller grain. I tested the three bladed cutter during the week and liked the results. Today I tested the twenty four blade and, at least with pork, almost created mush that would not come off the cutting bit without help. The finer cutters are for harder, courser meats like the cheap cuts of beef.  The plunger I made last week works great, though it is almost not needed as the screw inside draws the meat in quickly and easily.. The clamp I got helped to hold the cutting board in place, but the spot I was working would not let the clamp be at the right angle to work properly.  I should have moved a bunch of stuff and worked in a better location.

At Mom’s house I brought out of the garage a folding metal table and set it up near my mini lathe. I then could not figure out what I did with my extension cord for the lathe and had to steal one from my big lathe. I set up the mini lathe. I had a small piece of black walnut that was not quite square. I marked approximate center at both ends and started machining.  The chuck for this lathe has three jaws which is great for holding round materials, but horrible for square or rectangular.
I am machining the wood like it were metal. One places the cutting tool in a tool rest carriage and you turn a crank to move the tool down the length of the lathe. It is great as the wood becomes the same diameter the entire length. Many times when working by hand, you might have one end or another a different size than the middle.
Now the design of the carriage for the cutting tool prevents one from cutting from tail stock to chuck. One has to stop a short distance from the chuck. Because of this, I have to swap the ends of the material around if I want the entire length to be even. One problem is that when you flip the piece around, it never lines up exactly so that when you get half way through the piece, there is a wobble that causes some cutting of already machined surface.

 Mini lathe with finished rod and rod in process using new system.

I don't have it perfected yet, but I figured out that what I need to do is to round the end of the piece right at the tail stock first. I then flip it around, with the three jawed chuck holding the nicely rounded end. I then machined the new end round, before I started working the length. I prefer to flip the work at least twice just to make sure the rod is straight. Luckily, with the crochet hooks, sand paper can fix the transition and no one will notice it.
I made two rods that will later have the hook added to make them crochet hooks.
It should be noted that making something small in wood takes only a little less time than making something big in wood. I am not exactly sure why but that is the way it is.

Finished rods next to sizing gauge. these are size K and L.

After I finished my second rod, I decided to clean up and get going. I ended up taking most everything out of the lathe box and re-stacking it so I can get the lathe out without having to move half the stuff in there.

I will have to see what I do next week.

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