(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
78 degrees early morning 92 in the afternoon. Loads of cloud puffs in the morning with Southern dots of rain, blue sky in the afternoon. Light breeze almost unnoticed. Because of the time change, the sky was almost light enough to not need headlights. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
After breakfast, we hit a few yard sales. One was nearby, but the lady was just getting her stuff out. I glanced through a few of her boxes and did not see anything I could live without. My problem was that I don’t decorate. She had books and a couple seemed interesting, but I really don’t have time to read the books I have, let alone other reference books.
We went to a set of yard sales in the yachting part of town. Both sides of the road was lined with two story mansions. Drool-worthy homes, to say the least, and that is just on the outside. Two yard sales were across the street from each other. Not much there. One has to look “just in case”
The properties are wide. Three to four times the width of normal properties. I saw that the other yard sale was “Just a few houses” up the road. I decided to walk there rather than get into the car and ride with mom while she turned around and drove up there, which she had to do anyway. It turned out to be a longer walk than I expected. I needed to do some walking, but.... Mom arrived not too much after I did.
I found a pair of the tubes for making shaped breads. I have seen them at other yard sales at other times. I just never decided to get them. Out of curiosity, I asked the price. She did not have a chance say another word other than Thank You, as I handed her my money. The instructions say they come in a set of three. A heart shape, a star shape and a ripple shape. The star shape is missing, I don’t mind. With these, you put your dough in the tubes and then bake them. The dough expands and fits the shape of the tube. One can then cut them into decorative slices of bread. I periodically make bread so this is something I might try.
A church had a craft fair. I seldom buy anything at these but it is fun to see the skills and imagination of these crafters. One woman made outfits for Barbie style dolls and for Teddy bears. They had trees of hand made ornaments. One that was interesting was they took the tiny decorative pots, hung them upside down and painted them to look sort of like a snowman. Another I liked was where they took a golf ball, added a long golf tee to the bottom like an icicle, and then painted a face on it. It was actually cute. Other ornaments were nice, but I was looking for ideas for me to make. That craft fair was nice to go through. They also had “do nots” I mean donuts for sale.... I am not into sweets.
When we got home, I decided to lay down. I laid for about half an hour and napped for about ten minutes Then decided I needed to do some work outside.
After petting the cat, pulling out my lathe and all the stuff that was in the way, sharpening some tools, I tackled the two Sea Grape rods I had for drum sticks.
My memory for how to sharpen tools was a whole lot better this time. A couple tools I sharpened, needs more work, but I was able to get several edges to where they were usable. It is surprising how one week improved my memory.
I mounted the first rod onto the lathe and worked it down to the proper diameter. I started at the tail stock and made my way toward the head stock. I tested a couple tools and chose a tool with a flat top and a rounded nose that seemed to work best at sheering the wood off. At the start it was easy as the wood was held firm and steady, but as I got to the middle, the rod started flexing under the pressure of the tool. It also started vibrating. The vibrating creates ripped surfaces which are not pretty.
What I need is what is a device called a Steady Rest. This is basically a frame with two or three wheels aiming towards the center. You set the wheels to a rounded piece of work so that when you apply pressure to the work, the work does not flex. The wheels hold it in place. If I had that, the work would stay straight and not vibrate. Other than constantly having to relocate the steady rest for where I want to work, it would make the work faster and better. I know how to make one, but given a choice of working on a steady rest or a project, the project always wins.
From the time I decided to get up from my nap, until the first rod was the right diameter and rough sanded, was an hour. I sat down for a couple minutes to rest, and then decided I might as well get the second rod done so I can say I did something today. I was already over-doing it for my physical condition. It was an effort to pick up something that fell to the ground. I set up the second rod and started working on it to get it down to size. I finished it about twenty minutes later. Some very recent experience helped.
I did have the problem that the rods would flex, the tool would go beneath it, and get dragged into the work in. My left hand, being closest to the work, would get pulled against the work. Ouch. Try as I might, I could not quite prevent that from happening once in a while. I would get some wood off, then the work would bounce up and in came the tool. A steady rest would have prevented that problem, of course. I did though, get both pieces to close to the right diameter.
We went out to the Chinese buffet for lunch. I avoided over eating for once. I knew exactly what I wanted.
When we got back, I went right back outside and since the weather was good, I remounted each rod, rather than cleaning up immediately, and shaped the tips. On one, I made a mistake and broke the striking end of the drum stick. I made the other drum stick and got the end shaped right. After some thought, I disk-sanded the end flat until I was past the splintered wood, and then fitted it into the tail stock (the whole stick was now shorter). Luckily, I had more wood excess left on the handle end that I had not needed but also not had removed, so I worked the wood back until I had the proper length. I then shaped the tip so it was close to the other drum stick’s ends.
One problem I found was that the wood had developed a wobble in the process, which changed over time, and that made it hard to get it really smooth and straight.
I will say that at the moment, I am at that level of woodworking that 32 grit sandpaper was invented for. Heavy sanding can correct all sorts of blunders as long as you are willing to sand and sand and sand..... After I had the sticks shaped, I bandsawed the excess wood off and sanded the ends smooth.
I tested them at night and found the sticks. They are a bit too fat and the ends don’t bounce right on the drums. I need to re-mount them in the lathe and clean them up. My tail stock has many kinds of removable points, some that have points that stick in, some are shaped to cup the work. I need to use a cup type point that goes to an angle inside – self centering. The handle end will go into the chuck to spin it and I should be able to remove the excess diameter and should correct some wobble errors that they have.
The two drum sticks along with the end that I broke.
I definitely over-did it today. I still have a way to go to build up my strength and endurance. I do figure that the more I do, the stronger I should get.
I will have to see what shape I am in tomorrow. I would like to work on the drum sticks but will have to see what happens.
Year 13, Week 39, Day two (week 685)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
78 degrees at about 10. Never checked the afternoon temps. Heavy puffy clouds with a few dots of rain rushing by in various places to the south early morning. It was dry where I was. The clouds spaced out quite a bit in the afternoon and seemed continuously sunny. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
My brother came up and since I was recovering from yesterday, we just sat and talked. We did check a few things out on my truck. He made some suggestions of what I should get in case of an emergency and to be able to do more with it..
He is trying to get rid of some materials he accumulated so he says he will see about making a new cart for my lathe, but will use aluminum. He needs practice on welding aluminum anyway. We need to eliminate the wood I have used for the cart as the bugs are loving it..
I will have to see what happens next week.