Monday, September 2, 2013

Year 14, Week 32, Day 0ne (week 678)

Year 14, Week 32, Day 0ne (week 678)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-31-13 Saturday
    84 degrees early morning, 94 late morning, 86 in early afternoon. no breeze and humid early morning, light breeze in late morning that did little. High feathers and pebbles early morning, puffs showed up over the Everglades that decided to lightly spray us after one and continued to do so off and on the rest of the day. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department.
    We hit three yard sales. At one, I saw about four different things that I could well have picked up, but held off because I really don't need them. It is surprising how little I use now. At one yard sale, one where the guy has regular yard sales, he was still setting up. Out in his garbage was a large wicker basket that could be used for laundry. I asked him about it and he said "take it." That ended up to be the total of my yard sale finds.

Wicker laundry basket

    When we got back, I helped Mom move some plants around, along with a few bags of potting mix. I also helped her pet the kitty cats. Scarface was in a big fight. He has some spots on his legs where some fur is missing and he is favoring one leg. I wonder what the loser of the fight looks like. I always assume that he wins the fights as he keeps fighting again and again. I would not assume that a loser would continue for very long.
    I saw signs of bugs eating wood on my lathe. I emptied out all the wood and weights I keep under the lathe. The heavier the lathe is, the less likely it will "walk around" when you have a big, out of balance, piece of wood on it. My lathe is on wheels that can be rotated up, out of the way, so the lathe sits on wood blocks to be more sturdy. I have not needed to do that with any  of my projects, leaving it on the wheels.
    I have several choice pieces of wood among the cuttings and small stuff I store on the lathe. One thing I was reminded of, is that really choice pieces of wood never get used, as you are waiting for a project that truly deserves that quality piece of stock. Such a project never really comes.

collection of wood stored beneath the lathe.

    I swept out the accumulated sawdust and then put everything back in place. I really should do it again, but this time taking the lathe head, tale stock and tool rest off and really clean the lathe, removing surface rust and giving it a good lubrication and protective oiling. Part of the process requires the lathe to be laid down. I am not quite ready to handle the weight of that base yet. I have more projects that are slightly more important at this time anyway. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing to clean the base.
    I have decided that the bugs are in the plywood base that the wheels are attached to. The wet weather the past year has taken a toll on the edge of the plywood.
    I finally decided to get to real work. The carving from last week showed me what I needed to do today. I am after something that is simple, easy, and can use the bandsaw or lathe to remove excess wood to speed the process of making them since I hope to make a dozen of them.
    I use "Whitewood" two by twos for my Christmas ornaments. Whitewood is more brittle than Basswood but otherwise carves as easily, costs a whole lot less, and is readily available at hardware stores. The two by two size is perfect for ornaments.
    Last week, I had cut a couple lengths of two by twos, twelve inches long as that is the longest my bandsaw can cut across. I mounted one stick into the lathe. I measured so I could divide it into three lengths of four inches. I used a parting tool to cut in at the bottom and top of the base, and at transition points where I need to leave the corners for the design and cut in deep next to it. The main idea is to save time and effort on removing wood with the knife.
    I created the blank for one figure, because I needed to make sure the design would work. I cut that off the stick with the band saw and then sat down with the knife. I did not quite have the design right in my mind so there was a bit of guessing as I was going. Also, I lost some corners on the stick which messed up some parts that were supposed to be out a bit.
    When I decided I had the figure carved completely, It was still in question as to what it was supposed to be if someone were to see it, so I broke out my paints and painted it. Then it looked like it was supposed to. Well sort of. It was supposed to be a skating penguin. I gave up on the skates as soon as I got close to carving the feet, carving from top of hat to the feet. It was just too much wood to remove so it is sort of walking, rather than skating.
    I then took the remains of the stick and made two more blanks. I messed up on the measurement so one is taller than the other.
    I put the lathe away. Taking the lathe out, and all the accessories, and putting everything back in place is a lot of work. With the time standing and turning, my legs said they had enough.
    While turning, I kept having to shift my left wrist as the remains of the Tendinitis did not like how I had it positioned when the tool bounced.
    I sat down and carved the second penguin from the shorter of the two blanks. I got it finished and had to stop. It is one thing to nick the hand holding the carving. It is another to nick the hand holding the knife. I nicked the side of my thumb twice, the second time drawing blood. it is not as hard as it sounds. I wear a heavy cotton garden glove on my holding hand but nothing on my knife hand.