Monday, November 17, 2014

Year 15, Week 41, Day One (week 738)

Year 15, Week 41, Day One (week 738)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-15-14 Saturday
    68 degrees early morning, 84 degrees in the afternoon. Blue skies with puffs of clouds zipping across the sky. We got one band of dark bottom puffs that worried mom a little. I stayed with the forecast of the whole weekend being nice and it was. Periodic gusts of wind took away the heat without blowing things around. This Weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.
    This morning was Yard Sailing again. I brought a whole bunch of stuff with me from my house. With the stuff I normally bring with me and stuff I need for doing the yard sale, it took two trips to get everything out to the truck.
    Mom started setting up her stuff.  I went for breakfast while putting out the signs, and stopped at two yard sales while driving past two others. I saw nothing I could not live without.  One big advantage of doing a yard sale rather than hunting, is that I am not spending a whole lot of money for things. I don’t get much from my part of the yard sale but again, I am not spending.
    Mom came up with a project during a yard sale lull. She had a plant that was looking quite sick. Much of the plant was already looking dead. A fungus showed up on the plant, likely injected by an insect that sucks on the sap, and the plant was just not doing well. I got my Saws-all out and first cut the plant near the roots. I then cut into the ground around it, freeing the roots so Mom could pull them out.
    Using the hand cart, I brought one of her potted Norfolk Island Pine trees out front and we got it in place right where the other one was. It is a little shorter than the plant we pulled, which is about 6 feet tall with the pot. It looks good in that place.  Luckily, I was able to rest between steps and mom did the hardest part of the work.

Massive "tree" we cut down. as you can see, most of it was already dead.

    My main project for the day was carving on my ornaments. I touched up the chimney ornaments I had in process already. I then went out back and made blanks for mice and chimney ornaments.
    The previous time I used the bandsaw to make my mice ornaments, I cut way too deep. This time I sliced off only a little bit to give the impression of the shape. I left the ears thick figuring I can easily shape it exactly the way I want it when carving.
    The chimney ornaments are cut to length, a cut going only part of the thickness of the blade is done on all four sides about mid way. This is the edge of the chimney. I then used the disk sander to smooth the sides and square the ends. The ends are squared by repeatedly rotating the piece, placing the end against the disk each time. When any angle is up and down, it squares the end. 

Chimney ornament and mice ornament blanks with nearly finished example of each

    A bit later, I sat down and started carving on the mice. They were easiest to do. I rounded the shape, all over and got the body and head close to where it was needed on all three blanks. Other than cutting the sides below the ears and the space between the ears, I left the ears alone. I will do the ears next time.
    I then took on the chimney carvings. Other than the blank description given above, these are all by hand. There is not too much more that could be done with the bandsaw. I should make a 45 degree angle jig so I could put a stick or board on an angle to cut off a corner. That could allow me to remove two corners from the leg portion of the ornament and save me a little more time.
    As I am carving these ornaments, they are getting easier to figure out what needs to be done and how to do it. I will have it exactly right and carve them efficiently and quickly. That, of course, will be when I stop carving them....
    I am also developing callouses on my hand where the knife rests as I work. They will likely be perfect about the time I stop carving by hand....
     As it is, I am getting back into the swing of carving. My results are coming out the way I want it.
    I decided to try something I have never done before. When I make my crochet hooks, I use the Dremmel with a cutting disk to cut in the hook. Today, I took a bamboo rod and used my carving knife to make the hook. The technique is a whole lot different than with the Dremmel. With the Dremmel, I would come straight in and use the angle I am holding the cutting disk to make the slope and the hook. I work it side to side to make it even, but that is about it.
    I had remembered that for most of the history of making crochet hooks, they did not have spinning cutting disks.
    With the knife, I shaved down the slope of the hook first, and then had to work the sides of the hook. The Bamboo does not cut straight in on the ends of the grain nicely. I had to come in from the side and work the hook in by cutting wedges. Once I got it to where I wanted it, I used sandpaper to clean up the cuts and smooth everything out. I tested the hook out and it worked nicely. When I did a little bit of crochet, I forgot for a little bit that I was using the new hook to do some stitches.
    It does take longer, but with a sharp knife, one can make a hook anywhere even without any power at all. 

New Crochet hook. Rod is a chop stick I machined on a mini machine lathe to a working diameter. I then made the hook using my knife rather than the Dremmel

    When the yard sale was over, we packed up everything and put everything back. Mom loaned me some bins and I ended up filling another bin of stuff. I was tired, and a slight be sore, but it was an excellent day. I was ahead of mom on sales (a few things went cheaper than they should have) until her last two sales, then she ended up with nearly four times what I had made. Considering most of my stuff is junk says something.
    I have two places in my house where I need to move stuff to get to some items that would go well. I am not sure if I can do that this week. It would be nice to get to one of them at least.
    I would like to work on my ornaments, but Mom has a couple projects in mind for tomorrow. One is where I take a couple of my wheeled baskets and use those wheels to replace the broken ones on one of Mom’s wagons. I have some other wheels that are smaller than on these baskets and I would put them on these baskets.
    Another project is Mom’s sand pile. She is leveling out some low spots in her yard and using a lot of sand in the box. She wants to re-do the boards of the box, fixing them better. My idea is to screw blocks to the boards in the corner to hold them in place.
    I will see what I actually do tomorrow.
Year 15, Week 41, Day Two (week 738)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-16-14 Sunday
    82 degrees around ten, 86 around two. Half blue sky and half puffs with some semi-towers over the Everglades. A nice breeze kept it comfortable.  This Weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.
    Somehow I got an early start today. I set up my table and then started on a project I thought about all night. I dug out some old two by fours that were recovered when we had to hook up to a sewer system. I dug out my Saws-all and cut the three foot boards in half. I then got out Mom’s Forster bit set and drilled holes half way through the two inch thickness of the boards in two places. I got a drill, and drilled in the centers of the pockets. I pulled a fifty foot cord and screwed the blocks to the back board of the sand box.
    The back board used to be an N gage model railroad layout and has a two by all the way around the edges to stiffen it. That gave me more to screw into. The pockets were because the screws I have would only have gotten a little bite into the wood. The pockets gave me the depth I needed to get a good bite and the holes I drilled made it easy to start with the bit going into the wood beyond directly.
    Installing the two blocks in place on the back side required some high stepping and balancing on shifting wet sand. I used the shovel to try to pull the side tight and it did not move. I did a balancing act using my cane and shovel to get behind the side. I found out that I would need to move a foot of sand in order to move the side to where it needed to be.
    I decided I was not going to shovel sand as my back would never take it, so I went back to my work table, got out my carving stuff. A glance at my work, I decided to paint everything that is close to being done.
    I nearly emptied my carving basket out to get out the bottles of paints that were on the bottom. I selected a red and painted the pants on the two finished chimney carvings. I then painted all the sox and mittens red except at the cuffs which is supposed to be white.
    After I decided all the paint was dry, I applied grey to the heals and toes of the sox. That made a big difference. It made them look like sox, not red boots or something else.
    I then dug out some orange and painted the palms of the mittens so they would look less like boxing gloves. Not exactly the effect I was after but will work. If people decide they are boxing gloves, that is all right. 

Sox and mittens painted by still requiring work.

    I took a darker red and dry-brushed the surfaces of the bricks on the two completed Chimneys. Dry brushing is where you only have a little bit of paint on the brush and you drag it over the top surfaces of the texture so it the color does not go (or go much) into the deeper parts of the surface. The bricks are dark red and the mortar is wood colored.
    I painted the boots. My black paint was watery and came out thinned so you can see the wood beneath the color. You can still see it is black, though.

chimney ornaments. The painted ones require loads of touch-up.

    I took my other chimney carvings to the bandsaw. I started cutting light grooves into the surface of one and it was uneven as there was a slight angle to the face I was cutting.  I took them all to the disk sander and sanded each surface, squaring them and making sure they are straight. There is one where the wood broke off at the top of the chimney and that will have to be. I would have to spend too much time at the disk sander to get it down far enough for that to disappear.
    With the chimneys square and smooth, I returned to the bandsaw and cut the horizontal grooves for the bricks. I laid each chimney on the side and held it to the blade for a moment. I guessed the thickness of the cap stones, and then went half way between that and the bottom and then half way between them so I ended up with four slots. I would tip the cut side up and then try to match the blade in the edge of the groove. On a couple, when I went all the way around, there was a slight error on the last edge. The knife can fix that.  I will later cut the vertical grooves between the bricks.
    I have one blank I have not started carving yet. I considered cutting the bricks for that also, but realized It is best to decide which end will be carved for the legs after I examine it. Knots are best in the chimney, not in the legs where it is hard to cut.
    After lunch, Mom decided to come out for a project. We had two choices. One is to replace the roof of her wishing well fountain which is deteriorating bad, or to tackle the sand box. Because I started on the sandbox already, we challenged the sandbox. We pulled the boards out. I used the saws-all to cut one side in half as it was too tall. I held the saws-all almost laying down with the blade against the edge and started cutting. The blade sliced in and I just drew the blade toward me and it cut quickly. I found that by tipping the saws-all slightly, I can guide the direction of the cut.
    We had to do some digging (by mom, who placed the dug sand in the depression of the yard) and maneuvering to get the side where we wanted it. I tried screwing the side to the block from the outside. I was crouched down and my leg let me know it detested that position. My leg was not happy the rest of the day. We decided to put the wall to the inside of the block and learned that the back board was slightly bowed which made getting it screwed in place a challenge. We got screws in place on that end, then mom drove a stake deep in the ground at the other end and I screwed the side to the stake. We were both tired and decided to call that project done for now. We can do more next weekend.
    We packed everything up, then sat and talked while recovering.
    I got a lot done on a number of projects. The chimney carvings need clean up and then paint. The mice need the ears carved and corrections made on the body and head because of that. I plan to put in black beads in for eyes but that will be later. What I have on both sets of carvings is eight, once I carve the last blank I had made. I need to make four more of each to have my dozen of each set. On the stockings and mittens, I have to cut a whole bunch of wood into small pieces and then paint them different colors to represent presents to go into the open ends. I have two weekends to get all my ornaments ready for display / sale. As long as other projects don’t interfere, I think I can do it.
    The weather will be the main factor in our plans for next weekend. If it is raining, the yard sales will be off. As long as it is not a driving rain, I will likely be in back under the awning and working. If the weather is nice for most of the day, we will do the yard sale again. I will work on carving and crochet, but not as much as I could.
    I will have to see what I do next weekend.

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