Monday, January 19, 2015

Year 16, Week 01, Day One (week 746)

Woodworking - 88
This like an on-line diary. I write my activities in my hobby of wood working, bragging about my accomplishments, crying about my failures, and mentioning what else is going on in my life.
In spite of the fact of my regular postings, anybody can post here, on any subject, at any time. Join in the fun and let us know what you are doing.    

Year 16, Week 01, Day One (week 746)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-17-15 Saturday
    55 degrees early morning. Roads were slick from the frost because the temperature was below the 56 degree frost temperature of the tropics. 74 degrees as a high, almost no breeze, sunny with some clouds around the horizon. This Weather Report it brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of tourism.
    Back in 1999, I would go to my Mom’s house each Saturday and spend some time. While there, I finished an unpublished (and now lost) novel, and was work on making buildings for my model railroad using scale sticks of wood.
    In 2000, it dawned on me that my dad was in his 80s. I realized I did not want to have one of those “I wish I had said, I wish I had done” feelings at his passing. For a couple years before, he had asked me to learn how to carve. I was not interested at that time.
    On Saturday, the 17th of January, I borrowed one of Dad’s knives, and took a small stick of wood, and started a carving. When Dad was learning to carve, he had a problem of not removing the corners of the wood so his carvings were still somewhat square. I think this was from a fear of making a mistake. He quickly got out of that but he still retained the reputation. I decided I was going to be bold and dig in deep.
    The carving I was doing was supposed to have a hat with the brim going all the way around but it kept breaking. I did a fairly good carving of a man from the waist up. He had a big nose, which was intended, and the brim of his hat is on an angle. He looks like a French Foreign Legionnaire with his hat on a slight angle. I am still proud of that carving.
    I used to keep count of my carvings but lost count when I did some real tiny carvings for a scene I was thinking of doing, which never was done. I did not know whether to count them all as one or individually.
    I saw an article about making bells, Christmas trees, and Snowmen on a lathe. Dad had a tiny Craftsman lathe but the motor had a problem. It would run for a short time and then die. After a few attempts, I realized I could make the ornaments by hand and started carving. When I had a bunch made, I decided to make a dozen of each, which also included some sleighs, I never realized how big a project that was as a beginning carver until I had most of them made.  48 little carvings!
    In October 2000, Mom got me a lathe (Chicago Electric made of sheet metal. They can still sometimes be gotten through Harbor Freight).  That got me into Wood turning also. I used it to make the bags of presents on the sleighs as my first wood turnings.
    I joke that the way dad taught me to carve was to pat me on the head and tell me to do another. Over the years, taught me how to make my own knives from files and how to keep the knives sharp.
    Since that time, I got a better lathe and developed my carving skills and created some impressive works. When my dad died at the age of 89, I kept carving and wood turning, both as I enjoy them, but also because it was a memorial to my dad.
    Back in 2012, I had an auto accident and have been trying to recover from the injuries. Since the accident, Iwrote these posts because I did not want people to worry about me, I wanted to tell what projects I’ve been involved in, and writing the posts are fun and uplifting for me. I did a bit of bragging of doing better than I really was. Again, I did not want people to worry about me and my condition. I also pointed out stupid things one should never do. I hoped it would help others who ran into difficulties
    Back in December, I got some discouraging news and stopped posting because I was depressed. I could not bring myself to write uplifting posts and gave up on them entirely. I am still a bit depressed, but since this weekend is the anniversary of my starting wood working, I decided I really needed to start these posts again.
    I have to have a knee replacement. My knee is collapsing and wear a brace to help with re-aligning  my leg. That leg does not respond as quickly as my good leg and acts like it is slightly shorter, so I have a bit of a balance problem. Also, if I am on my leg too long, either walking or standing (standing is actually harder on my leg) my leg hurts worse than it normally does.
    I have back problems from injuries from the wreck also. Bending over and picking things up is painful. Bending over slightly, for long periods of time, to do certain types of work, such as working with the big lathe, making pasta or bread, painting, model railroad, and so on, does me in also. My tail-bone was also bent from the accident and sitting is “a pain.”. Since I am always sitting in my work and other activities, I use special padding or ignore the discomfort.  I dislike taking pills of any kind, let alone pain pills, so I will ignore the constant low-level pain as long as possible. I tend to practice avoidance of activities that aggravate my leg or back.
    As for the period without my posts, I gifted most of the Christmas ornaments I was making.  I also finished a bunch of dish cloths and scarves using Crochet and gifted all of them. They were really appreciated. I also was able to paint my Christmas cards. It took me a whole week to paint them as I could not stand long enough to add more than one color in a session and then had to sit or lay down to recover, which made adding a second color in that evening impossible. Some people actually got their cards after Christmas because they were not done at the time to give them when I saw them before hand. I was told by some people though, that these were the best cards I had done to date. That is nice, but I know every single mistake I ever made in them, and had wanted more detail and quality in them. I did not have the time or physical ability to do more on them.
    After the Christmas rush of making ornaments, dish cloths, scarves, Christmas cards  and wrapping, I my depression really set in and have not done much of any wood working since I looked around at projects I could be working on and there is always something that prevents me from doing them. Most lathe projects require me to stand way to long to get to finish them up. I have not had luck with stuff left on the lathe over night, let alone all week. Most carving projects requires the use of hard wood, which my left wrist cannot handle, or getting covered in dust and I have found I am not as tolerant to getting covered in dust than I used to be. A few projects require chisel work such as ladles, and my wrist cannot handle the pounding either, and usually I have to be standing to do themand I am limited there too. I have more than enough wooden crochet hooks right now so I don’t need to make more for a while. There just isn’t a whole lot I can really care or can do right now.
    I have done yard sales since I last posted. I have a problem where my balance is such that I have to watch where I am placing my feet, rather than where I am going. When we arrive at a yard sale, I am uusally Mom’s passenger. She parks at the side of the road and I get out on uneven ground, mostly in grass. I have to watch carefully on where my feet are being placed, concentrating on my balance using the car to help me. I am better on the road or drive ways.
    At the yard sales, if they have stuff on tables I am all right. The problem is when they have things laid out on the ground. I don’t like stepping over things for the balance reason, and to pick something up off the ground, I have to place my cane in front of me and use my arm strength to bend over with my weight on the cane, and use my arm strength to straighten up again to keep my back from doing the hard work. It is a real bother since my arms are not really strong and I do enough of this in normal activities. These problems generally prevent me from selecting things that are laid out on the ground. It would be too embarrassing to ask them to show me something, especially if I choose not to buy it. My yard sale purchasing has been limited because of this.
    We hit a few yard sales today. We went to two church sales and a couple individual sales.
    One church yard sale was in a play yard. Tree roots above the ground, the ground uneven and covered with wood mulch, made it a bit tough. They had a lot of tables filled with stuff. I tried using the tables to help with my balance, but when one table wobbled threateningly, I decided that was not a good idea. I found I had to watch my feet and take a couple steps, then look around me at what was nearby, then look to take a couple more steps.  I forced myself to ignore the yelling of teddy bears asking me to take them home. My seven teddy bears on my computer desk had threatened me should I came home with another. They say they don’t get enough love as it is.  I saw a motor tool (like a dremmel) but I have too many as it is. I considered getting it as a gift for someone but they were not worth that price....
    Another Church yard sale was inside a small dining room. I walked around the place, and talked to some people I knew there.  There was a sewing machine there and I considered getting it. It would be like the scroll saw at Mom’s house, though. “I have other things to do.” I sat a couple times to rest while mom examined everything in the place.
    The sewing machine was eventually purchased by someone else and eliminated my thought of getting it. There were really pretty and interesting stuff there, but I am not into decorating my home for entertainment. I did see a bunch of cook books but I don’t use the ones I have and none had anything I really wanted to make. I don’t buy clothing if I can avoid it. It was nice to look at a dozen yard sale’s worth of stuff in one climate controlled place.
    Two of the individual yard sales had nothing of interest and the people didn’t have an interesting story.
    One individual yard sale I went to was really good. I found that the guy makes prosthetic limbs. I also found that one of the couple’s fathers built boats, the other did wood working and they had tools from them. He had a air filter unit for wood working on display (great for clearing saw dust and dust particles when working indoors A hose runs from it to the machine you are using and it clears the air and reduces sweeping ), a really expensive hand powered miter saw (I have several and don’t use them either)  and a power hacksaw. A power hacksaw turns the spin of a motor into a reciprocal motion, moving the hack saw back and fourth. These saws are patient and will cut for hours if one adds a little cutting oil when cutting large bars of stainless steel. Also standard hack saw blades last for a lot of projects as there is no twisting which using a hacksaw blade by hand happens to suffer.  My brother made a power hack saw and has used it often. Each time he thinks about rebuilding his, he has a project that needs it. This one was a commercially made unit. I will let my brother know about it and see if he is interested in getting it. We have the address so we can send my brother there if he wants it.
    After settling in at home, we went out back and petted the kitty, walked around the garden to see what plants are blossoming and what mom has done since I last saw the yard. She had extended the paving stones almost to my shed, making it easier for me to walk there. She says she has a little bit more to do to make it easier on me to get to my stuff in the shed.
    Mom had some sticks of wood for stakes to stake up plants and stuff, and she had me bandsaw points on them so she can drive them into the ground easier. That was the only woodworking I did today.
    I did do a little bit of crochet. I am making covers for frypan handles. I have steel and cast iron pans and they get hot after a long period of cooking. I got some crochet patterns for  Christmas and one pattern was for these covers. I look at this as a step towards making stuffed animals. I have to follow the pattern which is good for me.
    Besides a nap after lunch, that was the total of my day. Not great, but it was a bit fun.
    I have no idea what I will do tomorrow. I will at least look at all the projects in process and all the wood I have and think about what they can become. If I actually do a wood working project, I will be much surprised.
    I will see what I do tomorrow.
Year 16, Week 01, Day Two (week 746)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-18-15 Sunday
    64 degrees early morning 76 in the afternoon, light breeze that moved leaves and loose bits of paper, mostly sunny with lots of cloud puffs everywhere. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    I stopped at Home depot and walked around in hope that there might be some inspiration to be found there. They still have the really soft whitewood I used for carving my ornaments this year. I had examined a blank I had from last year and there is a big difference between the woods. Whitewood is not consistent in hardness. It is raised as a fast growing wood, not for qualities used in carving. The really soft wood I got this year was why I was able to do my Christmas ornaments in spite my wrist. It did not need a lot of pressure to slice through it. I do not know how long Home Depot is going to have this wood. I forced myself NOT to get another stick of it “just in case”. I instead walked away grudgingly.
    In to toy, I mean tool section, I found an interesting chisel. It is thick and it one side is angled so it can be used as a side chisel, a saw, a regular chisel, and a knife. I had a gift card in my pocket so I decided to get it as an experiment.  It might be useful for some projects I am thinking about.
    A couple years ago, I made some little bowls with the idea of making bird heads for them. Last month I carved a duck head and last week, I fitted and glued it to a bowl.  Today I did some final touch-ups and filled some gaps in where it met the bowl. I need to paint the head and tail and give the whole thing a good coat of varnish. The bowl is not well sanded but I had decided to go with it.
    After I was letting some glue dry on it, I examined my knives and then sat and read. Mom found out my brother wasn’t coming up so we went out for Chinese Buffet. Other than packing everything up, that ended my day out back. Good food is always nice.
    There is a turning club meeting this week. I have to see if I am in condition to go to it. If I do the paint and varnish on the duck bowl before then, I can take it with me to show off.
    I have no clue what will happen next weekend. I really do feel I need to do something, though, even if it is to embarrass a piece of wood a little bit.
    I will see what I do next weekend.

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