Sunday, August 31, 2014

Year 15, Week 32, Day One (week 729)

Year 15, Week 32, Day One (week 729)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-30-14 Saturday

96 degrees, brisk breeze carrying the heat away, blue sky with lots of thin clouds that never seemed to really block the sun. One baby cloud’s diaper leaked on us for a moment as we were walking from the car to a yard sale and it was over before we got there. The wind was perfect for under the awning, blowing in on the right angle to really keep it cool under there. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

We saw on a county map that the Pompano area Mom lives in is on a ridge that has a 15 foot elevation. Most of the rest of the county is at a 10 foot elevation above sea level. I know that the highest natural points in the county is an ancient sand dune that is 29 feet above sea level. Of course we have overpasses now that seem like they are a hundred feet up in places. 

  In yard sailing, our normal area was devoid of yard sales. We did see in a local flier about a yard sale over in Deerfield Beach, which is on the other side of the US-1 / A1A just north of us. We drove through the back ways heading North and we accidentally found a yard sale. We finally went across the highway and we found more yard sales. We ended up doing well. 
I got a 1956 cook book that is made up of a bunch of booklets. They were national and regional recipes. I really had no use for it but cannot resist old cook books since my favorite two recipes are from 1949. 
I got some political joke books, a spice mincer, a wand blender of a design I like, a pair of straight razors, some playing cards I got for a game I got a few weeks ago, and a travel fishing pole set. I think I spent like $16 total. 

I have wanted to get my hands on real straight razors for a long time. The last time I saw some at a yard sale, they were like twenty dollars each. One of these has a broken handle. I think I can replace that when I get to it. These have a really thick back of the blade and the sides cove in strongly to the edge. I figured out within moments that this forces the edge at exactly the right angle when stropped or sharpened. They need sharpening. 
There were several ideas for getting them. One idea a very long ago was to make one into a carving knife. Razors have the blade characteristics great for carving. They are hard, and can be made sharp. I have tested the sharpness of my blades by shaving the hair on my arms. I know the basic concept of shaving with a blade. Actual practice is something else. In practice, I figure I would shave as well as Don Knotts shaved. He nicked the mirror several times.......

straight razor blades

I have a game kit with 9 different games. It was supposed to have a deck of cards in it. That was gone. The playing cards were a quarter a piece and I got four as I did not want to deal with change. I am glad I did. One card set was Pinochle deck.  I put an unopened CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE deck in the game set along with the Pinochle set so I added another game. 

decks of playing cards.

I once had a wand blender, maybe a decade ago but have no idea what happened to it. A couple times this year, I would have loved to have one. I had heard and read recommendations for the best design of the blenders and this one fits everything I would consider good. 

wand blender

While looking at the books that Mom has. I glanced in a CROCK POT cook book. It had bread recipes. I had given thought over the past month of making bread. Looking at the recipe, it was simple. You put the bread or cake dough into a pan and put the pan inside the crock pot. The crock pot becomes an oven.  Since I am off Monday, this gave me the idea of making bread this weekend. 

1956 cook book

spice mincer

After Yard Sailing, we took what was supposed to be a short nap. It stretched into the afternoon. We then went for Chinese food and then had to digest that. 

I went out to pet and feed the cat several times, photograph my finds, and I looked around, but that was all that I did outside. No wood working. 

I do intend to do wood working tomorrow. I have about six dozen projects in mind but much has to depend on what I am in the mood to do. 

I will see what I do tomorrow.

 Year 15, Week 32, Day Two (week 729)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-31-14 Sunday

95 degrees, blue skies with fast moving puffs zipping by. The sun ignored them and shone right through them. A brisk breeze helped a lot. The wind angle was not as good as yesterday, though. In Sunrise there was a spot of showers, but it was always dry in Pompano. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

After taking care of a few things my truck needed, I got to moving equipment out of the way so I could get to the band saw. I wanted to test at least one of the Christmas Ornament ideas I had. I cut two sticks of 12 inch long two by two. On one I drew a shape of a Christmas Stocking, then a second one to use some of the wood. I then started cutting. I cut both out of the board, then cut each blank in half as stockings did not have to be that thick. 
I looked at the cuttings and thought it would be nice to come up with a use for all those pieces, but it does not pay to hang onto them until then. When you find a need for a piece, it is usually faster and easier to cut a new piece than figure out where the stock is and then find something that will work. I tossed them in the garbage. 

stock wood, blanks and trimmings.I can still get several more from the stock board. I used a few of the small pieces of trimmings for presents inside the sox.

I sat down and started carving and shaping. The rough shape was already made, the main thing was to round and detail the sock. I made them fur socks with thicker white at the top. I then decided it could be hollowed out a little and using my knife and a chisel, I gouged out the inside of the lip some. I then realized it would be great to have some presents in there. 
I went to the garbage and dug out the pieces I had tossed. They were on top of some stuff already in there and easy to find. I trimmed a couple pieces, then cut them into small segments, and then touched them with paint. 
Since I was testing to see how these will look and whether they will work as ornaments, I painted the sox and then glued in the little pieces to look like packages. 
Now one of the sox was not completely shaped as it was the second cut. While the paint was drying on one, I started this second type of blank. I left the top on an angle and went with the design. I got them both painted and the presents glued in. 
These are not my favorite design of ornament, but they are fast and they are the first design I have tried this year. I need a dozen of these made. I also need three more designs that I can carve and have ready before November, preferably, but definitely before December. 
I am working out the best place to put the hooks on these. I think placing the hook so the toe points down and the presents are visible would likely be the best place for the hook.
These need touch up paint, maybe a little better color selection for the heal and toe. I was working fast and used what I grabbed quickly. 

finished stiockings, except for paint touch ups, and the blanks they were from.

I decided to start some bread this morning. I had some dough starter in the freezer, I would let my bread rise once and take some of the dough for the next batches, freezing them till later. Because of the way I had handled the dough, it became a sour dough. The last time I made bread, I made a multi grain bread, so one ball was regular and the other multi grain. I decided I was going to combine them for this batch of bread since they are quite old and need to be used. 
I broke the balls of dough into small pieces and then added the liquid. I then used the wand I got yesterday to puree the dough into the liquid before I started adding flour. At the moment of this writing, the dough is sitting to rise. 
RED MILLS is a grain company. You can get whole grains of nearly every kind in the world, in rough ground grain for hot cereals, and flours. They also have bread mixes where all you have to do is to add liquid and oil. It comes with the yeast in the package. I have a package of their multi grain bread mix and am thinking about starting to fix that tomorrow morrow morning.
The nice thing about bread making is that you can do a whole lot of other stuff while waiting for certain steps to do their job such as rising. 

I have work to do around the house so I won’t be going out or doing wood working. 
I do have definite plans for wood working next weekend. A few more ornaments would help. 

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Year 15, Week 31, Day One (week 728)

Year 15, Week 31, Day One (week 728)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-24-14 Saturday

92 degrees, blue sky overhead with some puffs over the Everglades on the west, light breeze, higher humidity than I like. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

The company I work for LaGasse’ Pool Construction Company celebrated their 60th anniversary Monday. The third generation is working their way into what will eventually be management positions. Any company lasting this long is amazing. I would brag that I have been there for 37 years in two months, except that a third of the people have been there longer than I have.  


The Gold Coast Wood Turning Club meeting was Thursday night. I went with some of my stuff. The demonstration was on how to make salt and pepper grinders. The difference is that because Salt is corrosive, the grinding mechanism for salt is Ceramic instead of metal. It costs a little more. 
The basic turning follows knowledge we all know or can learn easily. There were some steps that, while I knew the concept, was happy to see done. I did learn some things from the basic turning, especially that my tools are dull, big time.
They’ve been getting the mechanisms for over a year. One person would order them and they would get a deal on shipping or other discounts because it was bulk orders. I had considered getting them a few times but held off. I am now glad I did. There is a lot more to making these than I thought. He used five sizes of Forsner bits to drill the diameters that certain parts were needed. I have the bits but would not know that I was to use them. I tend not to follow instructions well.  There is a special tool to put in a groove in the wood for the parts to fit tightly. The one demonstrating made his own tool from one of his turning tool blanks which he made a handle for. He made the offset, put in lines for depth, and a little hook on the end to cut in the groove. 
I have not been really interested in specialty type projects. I never got into pen turning as you have to have certain tools to make sure everything fits. Pepper grinders are nowhere near as hard to set up than a pen, but I doubt I will get into them. 
As I mentioned before, I did learn some basic turning concepts that I had not paid attention to before. 
The turning clubs have what is called an INSTANT GALLERY. It is where you put your work on display and people can examine them closely. Later, the creators of the work will do a quick show and tell, explaining about what it is made from, how it was made finish and other things involving the piece. Seeing other work up close really helps. One sometimes gets ideas, sometimes sees where you make mistakes. You also see over time how different wood workers are changing and improving. 
I had crochet hooks, drum sticks, a wooden ladle I made, my “stool samples” and some non-turned items. 


I strongly noticed that we are heading to winter. For a long time, I would actually be leaving my house for the half hour drive to Mom’s house, it would be bright. Today, the sky just started lightening just before I arrived. 

After breakfast, we searched for some yard sales. We went most of our total route and only found a few yard sales. Most had nothing that excited us, though a few had some great stuff, if only it was like five years ago, I would have gotten them. But now I know I will either never use them, or already have two of them. 
We did find a yard sale where I picked up a book on Chinese Treats and Snacks. The book is written in Chinese and English. 
I also picked up a beading tool for sheet metal. I almost got an electric sheet metal sheer but I decided my brother was not worth it.

After a short nap, we went “yard sailing” at a craft store that is going out of business. I had been there a few weeks ago when they had things at 90% off and did not buy anything. It was advertized at 70% off today. 
We got a big bag for our purchases. Later we heard that it was $10 for anything that will fit within the bag. Mom and I grabbed a lot of stuff. We were fairly picky, not getting things that we did not need at all, but a lot of stuff “we might use”.  I walked the store three times. The last time my bag had a lot of small cans of sign painting paint and it was heavy. We saw people with carts with three or four bags of stuff, we saw people loading their cars with large boxes of paints, purchased in bulk, 
I got a couple Balsa wood boards and a Basswood board. I got all the pen tips I could find. I plan to make my own handles with them. I got a lot of other stuff. 
My bag was heavy enough to mess up my back, but when I laid everything out to really take stock of what I got, It amounted to almost nothing. There were things I later decided I should have grabbed a bunch of but did not. 
Even so, I got several hundred dollars worth of things for about fifteen bucks (the longer boards were a separate price)
This store won’t be open next weekend. It will be officially closed. 

When we got back, my back was a mess, my whole body was tired and my leg seemed to be doing good. After I rested some, my leg decided to really start complaining. 
There was nothing else to be done during the day. I was not in shape to do anything.

I hope to do some wood working tomorrow. What I do depends on many conditions. The weather should be dry like it was today.

I will have to see what I do tomorrow.

Year 15, Week 31, Day Two (week 728)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-25-14 Sunday

96 degrees, moderate humidity, nice breeze but a fan really helped. Blue sky except for low puffs over the Everglades itself. The blue sky was nice. This is great beach weather. For others, it is great Mall weather.  This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of tourism.

I had a hard time getting started this morning. My back was quite tolerable, but my leg was stiff and sore. It took quite a while to get my leg working right. 

I sorted my craft store finds and separated them out. I was really disappointed at how little I actually got. Oh, Well.

I got to Mom’s house, petted and fed the cats before setting up my work table. We found that Scarface is getting dominated by Momma cat. What I think was that because he had not been coming around when Mom was outside, he was stealing Momma Cat’s food and she got tired of it. His favorite feeding spot is on the work bench above where Momma Cat eats. He is hesitant to hop up there as he has to come close to her in the process. I tend to have to lift him up there. He is not the happiest cat to be held. 
He’s been in a few new fights, nothing bad. He has a few pin scabs on his cheeks this time. He must be winning as he keeps fighting. He reminds me of that old boxer who has to keep fighting as he knows nothing else. 

I took out the dremmel and my old dragon carving. This dragon started about three or four years ago. I had gotten a four foot diameter, U shaped, piece of Norfolk island pine and I had cut it in half so I could manage it. One piece had a bark inclusion that looked to me like it might make a good dragon. I separated it out at the bark inclusion and started working with it. I had hoped to have it done for the art show that coming year, but when I saw it was not going to happen, I set it aside to work on projects that could be finished. Near the end of the following year, I brought it out again and started working on it for the next art show and stopped when there was no way to get it done in time. The same thing happened last year. 
There won’t be an art show next year.
I decided to give it a look. There is a lot of wood that has to be removed. I am making this by power carving, grinding so it is a bit slow. 
I basically worked on the dorsal fin running mostly on the tail. I might have removed a quarter inch off It before I needed to let the dremmel cool down.
I took out the Ladle I had made and decided to make some changes. The handle just seemed too bulky, especially near the bowl. I chose to leave the top the way it was, while removing wood from the sides underneath the handle. 
I also wanted to make the sides of the bowl thinner. I ground inside the bowl, especially at the top edge, so it would get into the pan easier. 
What I did, did help, but I can do more. The handle near the bowl could be thinner at the top without sacrificing a lot of strength. I should do more shaping of the outside of the bowl as it is too square. Maybe next weekend.

I was tired, a little sore and it was nearing lunch time so I packed up the projects. I did not do near as much as I wanted, but of course, I really need to start at dawn and go till dust before I have any chance of seeing an improvement. My dad worked dawn to dusk, seven days a week on his wood working and other projects, and he got production because of it. That really is what I need but I am still making a living so that is out.

I hope to actually get some real wood working next week. I have a couple ideas for Christmas ornaments for this year and will have to see if they are worth doing and what they will take to make. One idea is to make socks, the other is just a Santa hat. It could also be a wooden bell, but will have to explore the design. The socks will be bandsawed out and details would be carved into them. The hats would be turned on the lathe so that the parts that stick out can be carved into shape.  I have the wood to make the first few for the tests. I did not do it today as Scarface was laying in the way and I decided he looked too comfortable to move. It would have created a lot of work that I did not feel I was in condition to do today. 

I will have to see what I actually do next weekend.

The things I brought to the turning club meeting. 
The candle holder with the wrong kind of candle. a small bowl, a sea grape platter with sea grape rug needles, some "stool samples" for the doctor, a pair of drum sticks, a ladle, and some crochet hooks made from tooth brushes. 

Back side of the dragon before I started today

The front side of the dragon after some grinding on the dorsal fin

The back side of the dragon with some grinding. You can see the patina on the wood from sitting for most of a year.I have a lot more grinding and shaping to do.

The underside of the ladle after I ground on it.

The enlarged bowl of the ladle. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Year 15, Week 30, Day One (week 727)

Year 15, Week 30, Day One (week 727)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-16-14 Saturday

92 degrees, dropping down to the mid 80s in the afternoon after the sun went behind the clouds, partly cloudy all day with them thickening into towers as the day wore on. There was some wetness on the road in a small section in the morning and we got a little bit in the later afternoon. Most of what we saw were over the Everglades heading away from us. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Department Of Tourism.

We hit a couple yard sails early in the morning but we did not find anything of interest. We got home and all of us napped for a while. I then went out on my own for yard sailing. I hit half a dozen yard sales and did not find anything I could not live without. Mid way through my run down the back roads, I came to where there was wetness on the road so I skipped that entire section since I figured they would have packed up. A dozen blocks down it dried up again. I then worked my way back north on the back ways, shifted to one of the main roads to bypass the executive air port. There I found a yard sale. Good stuff but the only thing that caught my eye was a travel fishing pole. It was in a case. I got that and ended up giving that to my new dad.

A friend of mine pointed out in an E-mail a project where you make rug needles out of tooth brushes. I decided to give it a try. I did have some tooth brushes that would work for this project, but I also have a seemingly nearly inexhaustible supply of wood. I have some Sea-Grape wood that I had split and had a few thin split pieces laying around. 
I took a nice piece of wood and split it into usable pieces. I used my knife to finalize the size and shape of the first needle. I used a cutting disk first to make the eye, and it slipped and went longer than planned. I then decided that a wheel bur would work better so I used that to make the eye.
Knowing better what I needed to do, I quickly made three more. I used the disk sander (the sanding disk needs replacement) to finish the shape and getting the surface closer to what is needed. I am not in a position to test them out right now. I do know I need to sand them some more, which is typical for me. These are not pretty but I do think they will work. I am worried that the first needle might break, but the others seem strong enough.

My first rug needles, one piece I started working on and a piece of wood yet to be touched. Not the dark color of the surface. The wood will turn that color as it ages. 

The good side of the four rug needles.

The five toothbrush crochet hooks and the bad side of the  four  rug needles.

I used the crochet hooks that I made last week on a scarf I am working on. These were made from tooth brushes  A couple were made so the hook was on the side that the curved handle bent up. The other four had the handle on top were bent down. I found they felt similar in use. It was not spectacular in differences.  It might show with heavy use. While they could be sanded and polished, I decided that the yarn should do a good enough job of that and the roughness was not a serious problem.

At one point in the day, I had the cat on my lap. She melted. It is kind of fun to have a furry puddle of cat in your lap. I had to set her on the ground when I HAD to get up. She was a bit disappointed with me over that.

I did find that I damaged my camera. I took a nap with it in a pouch on my belt and apparently something got pressed hard on the screen in back. It will take pictures, but I cannot see what the settings are and cannot see to change it. I would simply have to take pictures and hope I get them. Luckily, I do have another camera. This one will become an emergency camera now. It will take pictures. 

I hope to do more wood working tomorrow. It would be nice to say I accomplished something this weekend.

Year 15, Week 30, Day Two (week 727)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-17-14 Sunday

92 degrees at noon, 86 at about three. Hazy sky high up, a few puffs showing up. Around two, a thunder tower built up over the Everglades and then faded off in the distance. The haze thickened to where you could just barely see the sun through the clouds overhead. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I hit one yard sale and got some games, some smokeless ash trays, a Vinyl repair kit, and a plastic cutting board. I was thinking of gifts rather than for myself. The nice thing is that if they are something I decide not to let go of, that is all right too.

Vinyl repair kit, has iron, color touch up, patches, and press rod, along with instructions.

Plastic cutting board.

Game set. seems all there except playing cards.

Smokeless ash trays with extra filters. They have a little fan in them that pulls the smoke through the filters.

I then got curious as to the design of the crochet hooks I made last week and tested yesterday. I wondered if holding the handle sideways would feel better. I had some extra tooth brushes to play with. I removed the brush from two of the handles, and held one with the curve to me and put the hook on top, and then held the second one with the hook away from me and put the hook on top. I was not too happy on how they felt in my hand in a quick check. I then decided to use the third brush I had to put the hook on the curve up side. The other two I did that were just slightly off straight, while this new one was a strong upward tip. 
In the quick tests I did with the three new crochet hooks, they were not quite as comfortable as the ones that pointed down. I will need to give them a better test to see if that feeling is true.  
One thing I learned with the first hooks I made, the shaft itself could do well to be longer. There is a long taper and the diameter increases as you go away from the end. The shaft might change two sizes as you get closer to the handle. I took the time to make the shaft approximately the same diameter for at least an inch. I used my knife and dremmel to get it about the same diameter the entire way, then used files and sandpaper to make it smooth.

Having time I found a piece of split Sea grape that was about as long as the tooth brushes. I had considered making handles the shape of the tooth brushes and then sticking the crochet rods into the handles. Since I had the piece of wood right on hand (I can make a whole lot more as I have a bunch more pieces of split sea grape in a bin) I split it in half, then took my knife and shaved the first piece of wood till the ridges was gone. I then shaved down one end so it would be a crochet shaft the size I wanted to work with (L size). I rounded it first with the knife, then with a file, then with the dremmel and sand paper. I shaped the handle so it would feel pretty good. 
I finally used the cutting bit on the dremmel to add the hook. It feels pretty good. 
I started making a second one and the shaft got smaller than I planned. I messed up on cutting the hook into it twice, and called it a day. 
I should note that on the tooth brushes, I got them right the first time, which was something I was worried about. I did not have a whole lot of room for mistakes. This last hook showed me that I was purely lucky on the other hooks.  
I will have to shave the handle back on that last wood one and re-cut in a new hook and hope it will be strong enough. 

Four rug needles on the left, Two wooden crochet hooks on the right (the one on the far right does not have a hook on it). the two toothbrush crochet hooks on the right have their hooks up as they lay, while the others on their sides have the hooks with the curves.

Again I did not accomplish much, but I did get something done.  I would love to work on some big projects but things are not working in that direction right now. 

I hope to do even more next weekend. We shall see what I actually do next weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


From Hyperion, cover artist(s) unknown
Okay, for those few out there that may not know the premise behind all of this; Castle is an entertaining series on the ABC television network about a famous mystery writer who, among other things, helps Detective Kate Beckett and her squad at the New York Police Department solve homicide cases.

One of the show's initial ideas was that author Richard Castle got permission to ride along with Beckett and company because he decided to use her as the inspiration for a new book series, which resulted in HEAT WAVE, released in 2009 between the first and second seasons of the program.

Detective Nikki Heat of the NYPD and her homicide investigating squad face a sweltering New York City summer, the death of a real estate mogul with suspects and alibis aplenty, and the unnecessary(?) presence of journalist Jameson Rook, assigned to write an in-depth article about her squad.

After reading the first novel, it is way too easy to draw parallels between book and television characters, especially when both follow similar background plot points regarding the main casts. Yet the book is more than capable of standing on its own merits. HEAT WAVE is also a guilty pleasure of enjoyment for both the casual reader and the long time mystery fan; especially because the novel took full advantage of the excellent opportunity to tell a more complete, detailed story outside the restrictive confines of an hour of commercial television.

In reel life, Richard Castle is the accredited author and, as a fan of both the book and television series, I will do nothing to discourage that premise.
For review purposes, I will note that in real life, the author(s?) remain anonymous, although actor Nathan Fillion sometimes makes appearances in character as Castle the author at book store signings and new release events.

I have also read NAKED HEAT, the second novel in this series. There are five to date, with a sixth scheduled for release this fall. That volume will be the subject of a future book review, but I look forward to reading the others as time permits.
Lee Houston, Junior, one of the founders of this fine blog, is the Editor-In-Chief of The Free Choice E-zine and the writer/creator of Hugh Monn, Private Detective and Alpha the superhero.
When not busy writing, in what he laughingly calls his "spare" time, he wishes he had more spare time.
He maintains a presence on G+, Facebook, and his own writer's blog. His creative work can be found at and other outlets.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Year 15, Week 29, Day One (week 726)

Year 15, Week 29, Day One (week 726)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-09-14 Saturday

86 degrees at nine, 95 degrees at one, patchy clouds that faded out to blue sky just past half way above us. Sunny all morning until about three. Thunder burster hit at about five thirty.  It was calm in the morning and the winds started picking up in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

After breakfast we hit a few yard sales. Pickings were not spectacular. There was a number of things that would be nice to have but I would absolutely never use. 
At One yard sale, I picked up a twelve inch square by heavy two inch think block of Teak. The guy said he got them as cut-offs from a friend’s project. He used some in his own project and these were the last of them. It happened that he sold two earlier in the day so I got the last one. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. I have a problem of where I don’t want to waste really good wood so I will wait until I have the right project, which tends to be forever.....
At another yard sale, I picked up some little books. A small five book desk set of dictionary/thesaurus/spelling dictionary/ and so on. I handed that off to my new dad. I also got some famous quote booklets. 

12" square by thick 2" TEAK

Later in the day I went “yard sailing” at a local dollar store. I got some things I needed and some goodies too. 

After we got home, Mom decided to “trim” one of her trees. This Clerodendron had escaped the pot and went into the ground and has been going crazy. I dug out my Craftsman Saws-all and mom told me where to cut. I would then pull the branches out from the tangle of other branches. Mom would move them out of the way.
After we butchered the tree, I trimmed the branches into manageable sizes and mom took them out front. I kept a couple pieces of “trunk” where the largest was a little over two and a half inches across. I stuck them into the shed to dry. This is a soft wood. We had a number of branches split while working with them.
When we were done, I was wore out, sore, and soaking. That is a little tree. I can fit my hands around the actual trunk. All the branches that we cut expanded out from the trunk and wove in and out as they rushed to the sky. Most were less than a finger or thumb thickness

The remains of the tree.

cut branches pulled out of the way

Craftsman Saws-all. I like using this more than a chain saw when cutting wood.

The trimmings finally at the street.

The pieces I kept to turn into sawdust.....

I laid down for what was supposed to be a quick nap and woke three hours later. That killed he rest of the day. 

Tomorrow I am hoping to do some wood working. 
I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 15, Week 29, Day Two (week 726)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-10-14 Sunday

94 degrees at noon, 96 degrees at three. Blue sky to the east, patching clouds to the west, the clouds faded out directly above me. Sunny all day. Nice breeze, but I ran the stand fan anyway. That helped a lot.

Last week, someone pointed out a web site in another language that had where they made crochet hooks out of tooth brushes. My browser translated the page but the pictures told the whole  the story in detail and the text added nearly nothing to it. Of course I have a bunch of tooth brushes that have not been tossed yet. 
The idea of using tooth brushes is that the handles are already comfortable to the hand. Instead of drilling the handle and inserting, gluing the crochet hook inside the handle, one can use the neck of the brush for the crochet hook. 
I brought the tooth brushes with me so I decided to give the idea a try. My brushes were rubberized plastic. It takes a different technique to work that then the more brittle plastics. 

The brushes I started with.

The bristles removed.

I took the five tooth brushes I had and sliced off the bristles. On the first tooth brush, I decided to round the slightly rectangular profile. Using a Dremmel, caving knife and lots of different grits of sand paper, I shaped the first tooth brush. The others were slightly more round and I decided not to care as much about the shape.

completed hook and original toothbrush. Note the rings on the shaft that I had to remove.

 I had two tooth brushes that had ribbing just before the end. The tests with the first tooth brush crochet hook told me that the more shaft you have the better. I carved off the ribbing trying to make it close to the same diameter as the beginning. It was slightly tapered.  After I finished each hook, I gave them a test. They actually work. 
Now my work is sloppier than I would like. With a round rod, it really does not matter where the gap of the hook is. I will need to work with these to see if the next ones I do will be better on an angle to the way you hold the hooks or not. 
These hooks need more clean up, adjustments, and polishing to be perfect them, but they are usable. For those who know hook sizes, these are about J to L sizes. 
To make perfect crochet hooks out of them, I would need to work out the best way to mount them in the lathe and make the shaft longer and remove the taper they added to it. I am thinking that would be more effort than it is worth. 
I will test them out some more. Emery cloth or some sort of scrubber should clean them up more. Filing and sanding will help shape them more. I used them to test a stitch I was curious about and while they are rough, they do work all right. Of course, the more they are used, the more polished they will end up being.

Finished crochet hooks

I was looking at the ladle I worked on last week. I decided that the walls are too thick. I have a choice of making the inside bigger, or making the outside smaller. What I am thinking to do is to adjust the shape of the outside so it is nicer, then work with the inside with grinding, knife and chisel to make ti match the outside with a thinner wall. 
Because I had a late start today, I did not have time to deal with it. Hopefully I will work with it next weekend. 

I will see what I do next weekend. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Year 15, Week 28, Day One (week 725)

Year 15, Week 28, Day One (week 725)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-02-14 Saturday

94 degrees, some moisture during breakfast but after that, mostly clear and hot,. The clouds mostly stayed over the Everglades with thin edges coming directly above us. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

We hit a church yard sale early and even went back for a second look. I picked up a tiny bit of yarn and a coffee grinder. I did not need either. I looked at it more like a donation. 
I saw a lot of yard sales but I had something else to do with most of the morning.

yarn and yarn stretcher.

Coffee grinder

Last night my battery light came on. It would go off if I doubled my idle rpm. This morning, with that going wrong, things went really good. I did not hit any lights and the closest I came to stopping, about a mile from home, the charge looked good. I drove to my mom’s house and decided not to take the more wandering route that checks for any new yard sale signs out before I get to Mom’s but instead headed directly there. Again all lights green. 
When I took my foot off the gas to coast into my parking space, the engine died. I did not bother testing whether it would start. 
A bit later in the morning, we took my battery to the parts place I was hoped it would be the battery that was the problem since that is easier to deal with than an alternator. Darn, the battery was good. As I was buying the alternator, I was telling them about how inept I am at mechanics and there just happened to be a guy there who was a mechanic and was willing to come over and replace the alternator for me. 
In less than twenty minutes after he pulled up, he had swapped the alternator and had left to help a woman who had the same problem and her car died about two blocks from his shop. There was about six things I would have not known to do if I were to do it myself. It would have taken me about three hours. I could do it in about an hour now after I had seen it done. One thing was he had the right tools, and He had more strength to break free the first bolt that was put on with an impact wrench. After he was done, I started the engine and it was perfect. 

After a break and a nap, I headed down to Pearls Arts and Crafts. They are closing down their stores. This one has been there since I’ve been in Florida. Most of their stuff is for the professional artist.
Everything is 40% off or priced as marked. I walked through nearly all the isles to see what they had. They did not have yarn, and the types of paints in the colors I wanted to get, and they did not have blank greeting card stock. 
I did see some stuff I could use but will wait a while and then see what they are selling for. They had some good basswood in sheet stock and sticks. They also had some model railroading scenery stuff in one area and some “scale lumber” in the basswood section. I don’t have any time for model railroading right now so I could not see getting any. I have stuff from my last “blast” of model railroad structure and scenery making sitting around that needs to be used up.
One thing I THINK I have use for is they have the calligraphy pen tips. I have thought off an on to get a bunch of them, and then make my own handles out of various wood. I was not quite ready for them, though. 
The big problem is that I kept seeing things for arts and crafts that I am not doing right now, that I don’t have any time to do them even if they were not superceded by more important hobbies. I may go back next weekend and see what is going on.

I changed colors on a scarf I am working on. The first row was an orange red. The second color was a orange yellow. It was wider than the first. I shifted to an orange red. If you compare them in the sun, you will see a difference but in low light they are close enough. When I get that to the same size as the first color, I will have to decide if it is wide enough of should I do something else to make it wider. 

Between yard sailing, taking care of the truck and going to Pearls, and had a late lunch, there was no time to do much else. I hope to be able to get something done tomorrow.

I will have to see what tomorrow brings. 

Year 15, Week 28, Day Two (week 725)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
08-03-14 Sunday

85 degrees, cloudy, some wetness later in the day, no breeze until one of the storms approached. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism. 

I got to Mom’s house and settled down with the idea of doing something simple. I took my scorp set, which is a set of chisels that are pulled sideways rather than pushed down the length, and worked on the bowl of my ladle I have worked on this month. The scorp did some work on cleaning it up but I decided it was not going to pass muster. I found a rotary rasp I had was too bit. I dug out my dremmel and first removed the tear out caused by the chisel and to even out the sides and bottom. I then went to flap sanders to clean up the marks caused by the bit I used first. I then hand sanded with varying grades of sandpaper. There are still some dremmel grinding bit marks in it. 
I finally re-mounted the ladle on the lathe and adjusted the handle. I did not quite get the effect I was after, but was not about to do any more with it. I disk sanded the top until it was even and looked right, then shaped the outside to match the inside of the bowl. I got that were I wanted it and did some hand sanding. I finally soaked the ladle down. I will sand it one more time to remove the raised grain. I will call it done. This ladle is not exactly what I was after, but it came out pretty good. You can tell it was not factory made. 
These are kind of fun to make so I may well make more. 

I started working on my magic wands by trimming with a knife, but then the wind picked up and since the clouds were heading north, there was something dark to the south so I picked up. 

I hope to finish the wands next weekend. I have lots of wood waiting for the sawdust to be removed from them to see what is beneath the surface. 

I will see what I do next weekend.

roughed out bowl of ladle.

bowl set off center

Handle set offset.

Ladle set on lathe ready for turning handle 

Finished reshaped ladle handle.

Finished ladle

finished bowl.