Sunday, May 19, 2013

Year 13, Week 17, Day 0ne (week 693)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-18-13 Saturday
    86 degrees early morning, 94 as the high, mostly blue sky with the exception of a late morning Everglades thunder bumper that cried over us then disappeared. What momentary drizzle that came down, blown over us from the anvil head, evaporated almost as fast as it fell. A good brisk breeze kept the air feeling cool. This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    We saw two yard sales and they had nothing of interest.  I have started looking at what I have in my kitchen and considering what I will never use, with the idea of possibly gifting it, passing it on or yard sailing them.
    Mom got her back yard back in order again. It looks pretty much like it did before. The side yard is a bit of a problem as the lawn along side the neighbor's house has been replaced by sand. The wind blows it around, mostly onto mom's walkway. They are discussing solutions that do not involve a watering system for the lawn.
    Flowers are blooming like mad. Will have to get pictures into another note sometime later.
    The local Ace Hardware store is about three blocks away. Mom needed something so I went with her.
A couple months ago, they completely re-arranged the store. I was looking around today and found they have a whole “drool” isle. Most hardware stores have Dremmel bits on display. This store had all the RIGHT Dremmel bits on display. It had accessories for drills, routers, cutting tools, just about anything I would actually use. I forced , myself to walk through it fast before I grabbed an arm load. That will be for LATER.
    I went out back almost immediately and set up to get to work. Feeling a little lazy, I put up a folding table and brought out the little machine lathe. I've wanted to make a set of crochet hooks in black walnut for a while. Last week, I made two rods of the specified sizes based on a sizing template I have.
    Today I decided to continue making more rods. The template has sizes A throughF stepped at a quarter of a millimeter size, from two millimeters to 3 1/4 mm. Sizes G through K are half millimeter spacing up to 6 1/2 mm. L through P are single MM spacing ending at 16 mm.
    I was machining the rods as I would if they were metal, using all the same techniques except that wood is softer, easier to take big cuts, and a bit more flexible. I had an idea and decided to test it to get better accuracy in my turning.
    In the past, I would work from one end going down the rod to slightly larger than the size I needed, and then turn the rod around and work the next end. In this process, I would find the center of the unworked end when I turned it around which would cause some inaccuracy in the middle of the rod.
    What I did this time was to mark where my center was going to be on each end and then "rough round" one end of the square or rectangular rod with a knife (a grinder if metal). I would stick that end in the chuck. with metal working, the lathe has a three jaw chuck which is great for holding round stock but not suited for rectangular or square stock. I would mark the center on the other end and put that in the tail stock. I then machine just the end of the tail stock end until it is round. It does not have to be anywhere near the finished diameter, just completely round.
    I flip the rod around. The chuck is now holding a nicely centered round end. I machine the rest of the rod as far as the tool rest positioning will allow. To get the end by the tail stock, the width of the carnage of the tool rest prevents you to work near the chuck.
    I get the accessible rod close or even at the diameter I am after. I then flip the rod around and machine the first end until it is the same diameter as the rest of the rod. The whole rod is already centered and when I reach the already finished diameter it is in line. I usually will sand or file down to the final diameter I need.
    As I worked down to smaller diameter rods, I found a little problem. I have known about this but it became a bigger and bigger problem as they became smaller. The middle of the rod would bow out slightly as the tool passed over it. This caused the rod to be thicker there with each pass.
    A solution for this bowing problem is something called A STEADY REST. Depending on the materials and the size the steady rest could be wheeled or essentially metal surface. It goes behind the work opposite the cutter to provide the support to prevent bowing. A steady rest (wheeled ones usually) can also be used to support the work while working on the end of a long piece.
    I don't have a steady rest set up so I took emery boards used for fingernails and held them behind the rods to reduce the bowing. Since it was sand paper, it would assist in smoothing and straightening the work.
    Since I started early in the day and the first rods I worked on were fairly large and not subject to bowing, I had good production. Last week, I had made a L and K sized rods. Today I made six rods, J, I, H, #7 (which matches the knitting #7 at 4 ½ mm), G, and F rods.
    The rods will have to be sanded more before they the hooks for the crochet is cut into them. The simple rule is that if the rod fits into one hole in the template but not the next smaller one, that is the size of the rod. All my rods just barely go through the holes they are sized for. With sanding, they will fit better later.
    Having worked for several hours, I cleaned up and put everything away before taking it easy the rest of the day.

  Finished rods stuck into proper holes in template

    I have no idea what I will work on tomorrow. I have loads of projects and even more ideas for project (and even more wood than that).
    I will have to see what I actually do tomorrow.  
Year 13, Week 17, Day Two (week 693)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
05-19-13 Sunday
    88 degrees in the morning 94 degrees in the afternoon. Blue sky and sun all around except on the horizon -- ultra high thin wisps to the east, puffs far to the west. A good strong breeze made the air feel cool when seated for work. This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    Before I went to Mom's house, I finished off a scarf I've worked on at Mom's house and doctor's offices for a while. I worked this scarf from end to end, rather than side to side. When you work side to side, you set the width of the scarf at the start, and then work out the length by the amount of yarn you have or your intended length. When you work end to end, you set the length, in this case six feet long, and then work to develop the width by how many rows you want to do.
    This morning I added the tassels to the ends. I still had lots of yarn left. Mom trimmed a few long tassels to make it finished, but she said it was really good.
    I did a chain for another six foot long scarf to do at doctor's offices and other places. This will be a burgundy (reddish purple) scarf. I am thinking of changing up the stitch as I work across it.


 Finished 6'-0" long scarf

    I set up the mini metal lathe to work with more crochet rods. I was having a problem with the automatic feed so I partially disassembled the lathe and made some adjustments. I found that an eigth turn of the adjustment screw made a dramatic change in the way the controls operated. Too tight and it would bind, too loose and there was slop. I got rid of some old sawdust in the tight corners of the machine and lubricated a few items before getting back together. It helps to know where the controls are so one can do quick adjustments while operating. A couple were plainly visible but I was thinking those screws were something else.
    Now I was doing what I figured would be the smallest rod I would do in my crochet hook set I am making in black walnut. My experience yesterday said that this E sized (3.5 mm) hook would be a little difficult to make due to the bending of the wood in the middle. I had a piece of wood bigger than it needed to be, but small enough that I was not wasting wood for this rod.
    I used my method of rough rounding one end, placing that into the chuck and rounding the opposite end, then flipping it and rounding the rough end. One thing about rounding the end is that you eliminate the flats of the wood if you miss the exact center. You know how much wood you are working with. If you really messed up on the centering, you would know it before you go any farther. You might grab another piece of stock and use this one for something else.
    I got the wood mostly rounded, except for some flat still showing in the middle. I found that the best way to get the middle down to size was to work back and forth over a short area, then move over more. I got it round and it looked close to the size needed. I tested and it was too big, especially in the middle so I worked on down.
    I was close but still a bit too big so I took two emery boards and squeezed the spinning stock between them, working them back and forth over it. This did two things, it sanded the extra thickness away and the two boards squeezed on the work reduced the give or bouncing of the wood.
    I found that part of the rod fit into the "D" (3 1/4 mm) hole so I ended up making the rod fit that hole all the way through. A quarter of a millimeter is not much material. In actuality, one removes half the material you want to remove because you are working with half the diameter when you are cutting. This is a very small rod and likely subject to breakage if used rough, but I made it anyway. This forces me to make one more small rod, the E rod. I won't go smaller. I have three larger rods to make now. An to think that I eventually plan to make several more sets of these.
    After that  one rod, I cleaned up and went home.
    I have no idea what I will do next week. I do have that one last rod to make. In crochet and knitting, there are two ways of holding the needles/hooks. One way is like a pencil, and the other way is like a knife. These rods will get a handle to make it comfortable for holding them like a knife.
    Like this week, I have loads of projects in process, even more ideas and enough wood to keep me busy for several years, "IF" I choose the project based on the wood. If I choose the project first and look for the wood, I don't have anything.....
    I will see what I actually do next weekend.

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