(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
76 degrees early morning, 85 in the afternoon, closely spaced patchy clouds in the morning with the sun peeking through south of due west, changing to blue skies to the North and patchy clouds to the South in the afternoon. Very light breeze, almost unnoticeable. Sunshine nearly all day long. I’ve noticed the past few weeks that it is still dark when I get to Mom’s house at 6:30.This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.
It dawned on me this week that I have not started on my Christmas Ornaments. Each year, I try to create four designs of Christmas Ornaments and try to make a dozen of each. I try to have them done by the end of November. I had given the project a slight thought over the past couple months, but this week, I realized November was about here and I had not come up with any designs. I try never to repeat what I had done before. People who get them regularly get tired of some designs.
I logged on-line and searched DOGPILE.COM, GOOGLE.COM, LYCOS,COM and WEBCRAWLER.COM. I typed ORNAMENTS in the search and clicked IMAGES. I searched through all the ornaments they had on display. Most were round ornaments, though some were decorated kind of nice. If I had time, I could turn some and do some interesting work on them. Some other designs could be done on the lathe but that is not what I was after. I am carving the ornaments, not turning them. I am also using 2"X2" sticks of wood, which limits the sizes of my designs. Out of 28 to 38 pages of ornaments with each search engine, I got three basic ideas.
One is where someone took real paint brushes and decorated with faces, Santa belts and other things. I thought I could carve some paint brushes and then carve and paint decorations on them. Lame once you think about it, but it was an idea. These would be on the level of quality as the sox and mittens I made last year. They filled in for a design but not great.
Another is to do different kinds of crosses. I’ve made a few crosses before. Not much to them.
The third design is based on the basic turned snowman body shape. They had them decorated as old ladies, Santas, angels and people. With these, they added the arms to the bodies and the hands were holding things like trays or books. Previously, I have carved snowmen with arms but the arms were carved on. These were like rods or dowels that were shaped and then attached.
I had promised myself to make new Sea Grape drum-sticks. Considering my lost skill levels and physical limitations, it is going to take some time to finish so I figure the ornaments are out for this year.
Mom did not expect any yard sales today, as in previous years she had yard sales during Halloween and had no traffic. After we got home from breakfast, I decided to go out on my own. I traveled nearly all our yard-sale rabbit runs. The first two I went through had nothing. I was starting to think that Mom might be right. Since I was near the far end of another rabbit run, I went down that path.
I got into Deerfield Beach and found one yard sale. Nothing there to pick up. I then found four yard sales in Lighthouse Point (you cannot tell the difference between the two areas as they are all expensive homes along the canals). It was fun to look at the wares at the yard sales, but not much that was worthy of buying. I am not decorating and that was mostly what they had. At one sale, I found a pair of folding display tripods. I had no idea if they were any good, but grabbed them anyway because the price was good. Once I showed how they set up, Mom snatched them from me before I could get a picture.
Near the end of that area, a section I tend not to go into, I found some cookie cutters. They also had some Star Wars cookie cutters and I did not get them. I am kicking myself for not snapping them up. I was in a super cheep mood at that moment and thought better of getting them.
I then hit two more rabbit run sections, since they started near where I ended the last one, and found two more yard sales, one in each, and got nothing in either one.
Mom was right, there was very little in the way of yard sales today. I’ve visited three of the yard sales before during the past year. It was a lot of driving to say the least.
After relaxing for a short time, I went out to the back yard. There was a lot of stuff between me and pulling the lathe out. I found out that it was not to be as bad a job as I thought. I got the lathe out. That thing looks pretty sad. The bed of the lathe, the rails that the head stock, tool rest and the tail stock slide on, has a bad coat of surface rust. It needs serious cleaning. The last time I saw it, the rust was just a bright surface powder. Now it looks like I might have to sand to clean it up. Luckily, I was able to move the tail stock and tool rest to where they needed to be while I worked.
All my turning tools are also in sad shape. Years ago, I took a small engine repair class. The instructor showed a set of points in a sealed package. He said that anywhere else in the country, you could open the package and stick it in the engine and it would run perfectly. Here in Florida, the salt in the air is so bad that when you open the sealed packages, you have to clean the points before you use them. Now consider items where the salt air has easy access to the surfaces like my lathe and tools.
I tried sharpening one bowl gouge that has what is called a Fingernail Grind, where the sides are flat and meld into a rounded tip. I messed up while grinding it. It will have to be fixed later. I took one of my first bowl gouges, that has a standard grind on the tip and, after messing up at first, I FINALLY remembered how to sharpen it. It is now passably sharp. It is horrible sharpening job but it is able to do a rough cut, which was what I was going to do in the first place.
The two sticks of wood I was working with, Sea grape, are not square, and are really rough. One was almost diamond shaped. I punched what I decided would be the center of the wood on each end and then mounted the wood on the lathe.
They were mounted in what is referred to as “Between Centers”, where a drive spur at the motor end has blades that stick into the wood beside the point, and turns the piece of wood, and the tail stock has a point that is mounted in a bearing that spins with the wood that holds the wood on the other end.
I rounded both sticks, first knocking off the sharp corners working toward the head stock from the far end, and then rounded the piece as I moved to the tail stock. They are not absolutely round as there are bad spots still visible. One still has some bark showing.
The two sticks are about four or five inches longer than I need for drum sticks and both are bigger in diameter than needed. One stick is much bigger in diameter than the other.
While turning, some skills came back to me as I worked while other skills will require me to practice to retrieve them. I know that my turning tool, not being sharpened right, hurt my technique. I was happy just to do some turning after a long time and remove some wood.
first piece of wood to be turned. Notice the corners
the head stock is the far end, the tail stock is the near end.
The surface of the rails between them is supposed to be shiny steel.
first piece of wood rough turned and still on the lathe.
you are looking at the tail stock and the bowl gouge I used to turn it.
The second piece of wood mounted on the lathe to be turned.
The two rough-turned pieces of wood. the one on the left still shows some bark on the surface, testifying that neither piece is completely round.
After rounding the two pieces of wood, I looked at the project of cleaning up. I decided my legs had already had it and I could not have cleaned up even in an emergency such as oncoming rain. I hobbled into the house and decided to lay down for a nap as the best way to rest my legs.
beetle larva caused saw dust from beneath the lathe base.
Total sweepings from the lathe area and the sawdust from the turning. Each paver is a twelve inch by twelve inch block.
Half an hour later, I got up and my legs felt good, so I went out and cleaned up.
One problem is that wood boring beetles have been having fun with the wood base of my lathe stand. The base is 3/4 inch plywood and I have some three by threes mounted beneath the plywood. I also have wheels that I can tip up so the lathe is able to sit solidly for really out-of-round work. I seldom use that feature and let the lathe stand on the wheels so I can move it around. The metal frame of the lathe stand is screwed to the plywood base. That base, and likely the wood I have stored in the stand, has wood boring beetle larva pigging out in them. The evidence is the pile of sawdust that developed on the ground beneath where it stands.
I really need to disassemble the lathe and the stand and replace all the wood, clean the lathe parts sanding where needed, and make sure everything is lubricated that needs lubrication. That would likely be a multi-day project. I am not looking forward to that. I likely would need help and that is even less likely.
The wind blew leaves into the area the lathe is kept, along with sand and other debris. It had been a few months since the lathe had been moved. I swept up that entire area so it looks somewhat clean and ended up with a nice pile of leaves and sawdust.
I put everything away and felt fairly good when I went back into the house, job done.
It is frustrating to not be able to stand long enough to do a full project, and it is also frustrating to have forgotten how to sharpen tools (I’ve remembered some of it since) but it was nice to actually get some work done for once.
After lunch I napped a little more and was feeling good again. I went to a local Dollar store and “yard sailed” new. I was after something specific but could not remember what it was. I recognized it instantly when I saw it and was able to get out of there at only six bucks. While in line, an artist was telling about a Medusa costume he was making for someone. He had some toy snakes and a metal mesh basket. He said the basket was to be used to give the right texture he was after. My presumption would be that he would use the mesh to block a spray of paint giving nice edges to the scales. The toy snakes were to be put in her hair. Since he said he had needed MORE snakes, I figure he had a whole bunch of them already and just needed a few more. I like the way he was thinking. I would have loved to have seen the finished costume.
I walked the entire store, which is a nice sized dollar store. I then went to a True Value store, that used to be Ace Hardware, and walked a third of that to find a replacement light switch for at home. When I will replace that, I will have to see. I don’t think my breakers are marked so I will finally learn which goes to some of the parts of the house. When I got back to Mom’s house, I rested until it was time to go.
I went to a meeting in the evening and walked around a bit and stood around some while there. I also had to park quite a ways from the building. When I got home, I knew I had done enough walking around. I had pushed it far enough by the time I got home.
I hope to work on the drum sticks tomorrow.
I will see what actually happens tomorrow.
Year 13, Week 38, Day Two (week 684)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
86 degrees, loads of sun. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
Since I was gone during the early dark, I never saw any trick-or-treaters last night.
I got up very early in the morning, like I normally would for work, before I changed my clocks. My legs let me know they were not happy about yesterday. I decided that since I had not enough sleep, I went back to bed. I got up a bit later, hit the internet, and went back to bed. At that time, my legs were still bothering me. When I finally got up officially, my legs were not complaining near as much so I knew I could face the day.
When I got to Mom’s house, we decided to go out to dinner with some friends. I considered skipping that and working on projects, but my tummy and my legs overruled me. Two hours later, I had to get going and headed home.
I have a practice that if I have to go someplace, I like to locate the place days before, to make sure I am not searching for it while late for an appointment. I had an appointment on Thursday at a place I have never been to before. On the way home I tried to locate it. I went past the place three times before I finally found it. I was given a description and still missed it. It was a nine story building standing all by itself. This is why I like to locate the place ahead of time. This has happened to me many times over the years and it caused me to develop this practice of finding the place ahead of time. It is really bad when you are far away from the place you are supposed to be and still searching for it when your appointment arrives. Now that I know where it is and how to get to it, I will get there directly and on time for the appointment.
I got home and the sand man held some of his magic sand in front of my face and asked me what it smelled like...... When I woke, it was too late to do anything around the house.
I do hope I will be more productive next weekend. I will have to see.
I forgot I had this on my wall. I think this was an advertisement from 1995. If you noticed, computer prices absolutely never change, they just get faster and bigger.