(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
76 degrees at morning dark. 85 degrees at eleven and at three. A line of radar to the North was supposed to come down over us but stalled out. Lots of ultra high feathery clouds, with sheets and mid level blobs from time to time. Light breeze that did not help or harm. A bit of sun after noon. Showers arrived around Three. I had bathed in the morning so I did not make use of the shower....
I went to the Gold Coast Wood Turning Club meeting for the first time in several months. There were a number of faces I had not seen before. Also a lot of friendly old time faces too.
They had project challenge this month. These challenges are where they ask people to work on a project they might not normally don’t work on. The previous meeting has a demonstration on how to do the challenge project. The challenge is limited to work done in the past month. During the meeting, They give a raffle ticket to each person who brings in an item for the challenge and draws a ticket for a gift certificate. This time it was on making ornaments. The work was fantastic, making my best work look amateurish.
We have what is called an INSTANT GALLERY. The pieces you worked on is on display where people can examine them, handle them, look them over. Then, we have a show and tell where the artists comes up in the middle of the meeting and tells what the project is, types of wood, finishes, why and how they made it, etc. One can learn a lot from the instant gallery at times. There was a lot of excellent projects on display. along with the ornaments.
I brought the drum sticks I made last week just to have something to show off. The only thing that caught their attention was the fact that they were made out of Sea Grape Wood.
This month’s demonstration was on NORFOLK ISLAND PINE. Some people misname it as NorFORK Island Pine. This tree has an several interesting features. The branches grow in a circle, then there is a straight section of trunk, then another ring of branches, and does so up the tree. The knots are harder than the regular wood and have a deep reddish brown color and go to the center. The wood has streaks of colors running through it which gives additional interest, especially when soaked in oil. The wood is also soft. When they were discovered, they thought they would be good for ship’s masts. They found out that the trunks sometimes shattered when felled. Not a strong wood. The branches tend to break off during strong windstorms. South Florida used to have them everywhere, but Hurricane Wilma took down a lot and damaged even more, so people have been cutting them down and not replacing them with new trees. Years ago, I gathered a bunch of the branches and carved pixies out of them. Some I left the bark on for added interest. The inner layer of the Norfolk bark will degrade fast and it does not take long where you can put a slit in it and peel it off in one piece.
The demonstration explained about how to get the knots in the optimal location and adjust for the ones that are too high or too low for an even pattern. He explained about problems and techniques for turning the wood. As usual during these demonstrations, I always think, “I will always remember that,” and then a few days later wonder what that trick or secret was he showed?”
At work, they found a desk buried in the back room. It was bigger than the one I have. Someone decided it would be better for me to have a bigger desk, and there was just enough room for it to fit at least by the tape measure. Of course, I had to do a lot of work to get the office ready for the new desk.
It is surprising how much stuff there is hidden when you have to move it. My old desk came out of the office easily once I showed them how to do it. The new desk was just a hair too big for the doorway. The guys ended up removing the door and then the molding and then just barely got it in.
It is also surprising how little extra room a bigger desk gives you. Things don’t fit where had them so you make adjustments. Also, a lot of stuff is not yet where it belongs. That will take a little time to make corrections. It is also interesting that when your computer is shut down and disassembled, people need information on it the most....
My time on my feet would have done me in, but I was able to sit the rest of the day and recover nicely while I did my work. I had my workout for the month.....
After Breakfast, we visited two church sales. At one church yard sale which is run mostly by the priest and he has these often. The money goes for some youth projects the church sponsors. I had my hand on some pink yarn, and a coffee grinder. It dawned on me that I have three or four coffee grinders already, and two life-times supply of yarn and quite a bit in that pink color. I did donate a dollar, even though I did not buy anything. “It was the least I could do, I could not come up with less.”
probably should have gotten the yarn. One thing that crossed my mind is to go through all my yarn and pick out the stuff I will never use and donate it to some group that knits stuff for donations.
At another church yard sale. I think it is one where people rent spaces from the church. I picked up a pair of loaf pans. I don’t need them but since I am thinking of making bread tomorrow, I figure they won’t go to waste. I examined some cross stitch kits but cannot remember who I had heard do that and I don’t want it in my house.
We stopped at a pair of yard sales next to each other. There was one skein of macrame or rug yarn and I picked that up. Yarn that size is always useful but I also know someone who could use it. That yard sale had two complete sets of dishes each in a different color. They also had a bunch of pans, pots and dishes in original boxes. One would love to get such things but I cannot use them!!! Living alone, I barely use what I have.
Next door was another yard sale, but there was nothing there I could not live without. They did have an exercise machine. I joked that it is a medieval torture device. “Confess or you get ten more minutes.”
We decided to head home after that. Being up beyond my normal bed time on Thursday, working hard on Friday, I decided to make up for missing that sleep by taking a nap. It was about nine thirty.
At eleven, I got up and went out back. I was not absolutely sure about how long the weather would hold out, and since I was working on a low mess project, I only moved the lathe out far enough to enough to get behind it.
I could not get the jaws to open. I could not quite remember which way to turn the jaws to open them, I tried working it both ways and they would not open to release the drive spur I had left in it. These chuck jaws have a hole in the center when fully closed and I sometimes place the drive spur into that hole and close down the jaws on it, rather than remove the chuck and use the “Morris taper” of the shaft. Since the jaw would not work, I took a rod used for ramming stuck drives spurs when using the Morris Tape and banged on it a bunch of times on the back end.
The drive spur then popped out and disappeared. I could not figure out where it went. It did not sound like hit the ground, but came to a stop on wood by the sound of it. A while later, I did spot it. It somehow fell into a cubby hole where it should never have ended up.
down by the pvc tube is where the drive spur ended up.
how the spur got in there is something I will never figure out.
After the spur was out, the chuck worked perfectly. I still do not know if I will remember which way it turns. I need to paint on it arrows. I used to know instinctively, but it has been a while since I used it.
I had lost one point, but made a different one for another use. The cup on the right side on the second row is what I used for the drum sticks. The inverted cone naturally centers the work.
I mounted last week’s drum sticks in the lathe. I used a cup “point” in the tail stock and just stuck the end of the drum stick in the closed jaws of the chuck. The end of the drum stick was bigger than the hole of the closed chuck.
I started, by chance, with the smaller of the two drumsticks. It had a bad wobble so I could not shave it down enough to get rid of all the wobble, yet keep it a good working diameter, but helped it out a lot. I got it to the same size as the drum stick I was copying and got the striking-end shape better than it was.
I changed to the bigger drumstick and shaved it down to size and got the shape to match the first one. On both of these, I used a round nosed skew to shave the wood to size. In the places I did it right, almost no sanding was necessary. I did not do it right very often. I sanded the sticks well before I took them off. While there are flaws showing, the results were good. They could use some more sanding, but I am going to use the excuse, at least at this moment, that the sanding scratches are to keep the sticks from slipping out of your fingers....
With both drum sticks to the right size, I mounted on the lathe a sanding disk I made a few years ago. It uses the 9 inch stick-on sandpaper disks. I white-glued a strip of emery cloth on the edge. The disk was originally a two by twelve yellow pine board which I was going to make into a platter, but instead cut it down to the 9 inch diameter of sand paper diameter. I have a faceplate mounted on the back so I can mount it on the lathe with ease.
Sanding disk on lathe, rough end of drum stick to be corrected.
With the sanding disk on, I worked the butt end of the drum sticks which I could not reach because of the chuck.
The drum sticks are petty good. They are about an inch longer than normal sticks but that is usually not a serious problem. I figured that it is easier to cut a drum stick shorter, than it is to cut a drum stick longer.
Finished drum sticks next to the one I was copying.
I was more than ready to pack up, but since I had the lathe out, I decided to make use of the opportunity. I took out a piece of two-by-two and made it into a rod. I then measured out for snow-man shapes, I think I made them three inches tall. I also measured for each ball of the body, each one successively larger to the base. Using the round-nosed skew, I shaped the bodies of the snowmen without hats. I had started half an inch from the end to get away from any problems, such as end checking, and decided to make that excess wood into a hat.
I had seen on line where someone took figures like these where they made them into old ladies, angels, singers etc. I decided to give it a try since I was already at the lathe.
rod partially turned.
round nosed skew chisel I used for the this project.
It had been a while since I did any turning and I have completely lost a lot of the muscle memory I once had. I am finding this is a bit of a good thing. I am rebuilding my muscle memory. I am doing some things the way I am SUPPOSED TO DO, rather than the way I LEARNED it.
With wood turning. The proper method is to hold the end of the turning tool against your body and move your entire body, shifting from one leg to the other, rather than use your arms to handle the tool. Your arms wobble bend at the slightest pressures while your body is solid. I was depending on my arms for control before this because I was getting results. Especially with making the rod for the snow men bodies, I moved my body, rocking back and forth on my legs. It is surprising how good the results were. For the balls, I would just have to twist and lift the tool to do the curves. It was a whole lot of fun. I am working more from knowledge of how things are supposed to be done which makes a big difference. It will take time to make it a habit
Project rod where I finished up.
Cleanup was tough on me. I was already on me feet longer than I intended. I had to walk around to find the broom which just happened to be right next to the lathe all along. When I am on my feet a long time, I hurt all over to the point where picking something off the ground is nearly impossible. Of course, everything kept falling to the ground.....
The ground swept up and everything put away, I took the rest of the day off. I felt the day’s efforts for the rest of the day, but having accomplished a lot of stuff, It was well worth it.
I am taking tomorrow off to do some work at home. We have Thanksgiving with several days off. I will see what happens next weekend.
Year 13, Week 41, Day Two (week 687)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
78 degrees most of the morning. Showers from a front passing through, clearing for several hours before returning and leaving again. 81 degrees at four. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Sunrise Florida.
I had decided yesterday to make some bread. Bread and noodles are a couple things I only make when I forget how much effort it is to make them. I still remember the effort it takes for making noodles so I have not made them for quite a while. Bread though, I decided, would be something easy to make and would be a bit of fun.
This morning, after I got up, I started my first batch of fresh bread. I was out of Semolina flour, so I used regular white flour. I mixed and kneaded it, and then set it to the side to rise. I was getting a clue on how much effort is involved in making bread.
I then started a second batch. I was given some Sweet Sorghum flour, Oat flour, and coconut flour and a leftover bit of whole wheat flour. I started with half the flour a batch required as a good mixture of them (2/3 cup each). I then boiled some mixed grain (19 different grains) and added that to the dough. I finished up the batch with regular white flour.
The original recipe I am using was from a 1949 cook book. I heavily modified the recipe. It has no resemblance to the original. Instead of scalding raw milk to kill the enzymes. I use canned milk and don’t bother scalding it. I also add a small can of condensed milk for the sweetness, as I found I like my breads sweet.
To get the bread to the proper consistency (the wet grains added liquid), I had to add much more flour than normal, creating a much bigger batch than required.
Once I got the multi grain dough settled and rising, I did something different than what I used to do. I took the first batch of white dough and instead of punching it down to let it rise one more time before placing it in the loaf pans, I put the dough directly in the pans to rise the second and now final time.
I had to leave the house for a while and knew that would give the dough a good chance to rise..
When I got back, the dough in the loaves had risen to past the tops of some of the pans. The multi grain dough was about to overtop the bowl.
I put the white bread into the freezer for later use and then put the multi grain loaves into pans to rise. I would later remove the dough from the pans (which I lined with plastic first) and put them back in the freezer. This way when I get a hankering for some home made bread, I can just thaw and bake it up rather than go through the effort of mixing and rasing it from scratch.
Much later, I baked up the last tiny loaf I had from a few months ago, and then a tiny loaf from each batch I did today. I always like to know what they taste like in case there is a problem.
The bread is so good that I am not sharing any of the three loaves. The white bread loaf is the best, but the new multi grain has great flavor. I accidentally used the wrong temperature setting on the old loaf and while it came out all right, it is not as good as it could have but still good. I am learning through experience, that bread is not something that is really easy to do badly. It is hard, though, to do it great.
While there is a lot of work to bake bread, I totally forgot about all the cleanup that is involved. One never seems to remembers the cleanup. At least I won’t have to do it again for several months or more. The dough is in the freezer. I just have to take it out to thaw and then bake them.
I do see that the risen dough does collapse a little when frozen. I have no idea how or if these will rise when I take them out of the freezer to thaw. I am not worried about them not rising since I usually don’t do anything with the dough when I take it out, just bake it in the same sized pan I used when I froze them.
We have Thanksgiving next weekend. Years ago, we had them at my brother’s house and would do woodworking. Now we are having them in a condo so no woodworking can be done. I do get an extra day of projects, so the weekend tend to work nicely on that account.
I will see what happens next weekend.