Monday, January 25, 2016

Year 16, Week 02, Day One (week 836)

Year 16, Week 02, Day One (week 836)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-23-16 Saturday

50 degrees early morning covering everything with a light frost since it was below the 56 degree frost temps down here. 65 degrees in the afternoon, cooling down to 60 before four. 20 mph constant winds with 35 mph gusts knocking things over and blowing things away and sucking any heat from your body (I have not used heat in my place and it is 65 there, but with no breeze, it is tolerable). Mostly fast moving patchy clouds. It is supposed to get into the 40s tonight. Ice on the roads should be serious. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


I went to the wood turning club meeting on Thursday. The demonstration was on the 
Lichtenberg (fractal woodburning) The video linked here shows what it does. The gentleman demonstrating this said the video shows how to get electrocuted. The microwave unit needs to be in an insulated case as one of the wires connects to the outside of it.

The demonstrator was an electrician and said that his way was safer. He used a Neon transformer, which puts out 55,0000 Watts, had an on/off switch and regularly unplugged the set up when in doubt of how the switch was set and every time he moved the contacts. He used wire for high powered electricity that had thicker insulation, as needed for high voltage. If the insulation feels tacky, it is too thin. 

He showed some finished pieces that had the tree like structure that you are after, such as shown in the video. He had a problem with his demonstration. Just as with any demonstration, sometimes something goes wrong. We think the wood he was demonstrating with was too thick or it tripped an internal breaker. He was not working with turned vessels which are quite thin when done. We did see just enough of the effect working to get the idea of what the process was. 
It is an interesting effect, but like many forms of decoration, it would fall into a “one trick pony” kind of thing. How many burned in trees do you want? If one is talented, one can copy the effect with the right bit in a dremmel, but it would be more work.
It did give me an idea of a new type of decoration, though.

The work on display in the instant gallery (the pieces are on a display table so people can examine them, then there is a show-and-tell about how it was made) was fantastic. Whenever I bring something, I am excited as to how good it is, then am disappointed when comparing it with the work of others, even the rank beginners. This time I had nothing to bring. I must work on the finish of my  pieces. I also need to work on the conditions I finish my pieces in
It was nice to see old friends and meet new ones. This was one of our larger gatherings in a very long time. I now have to work to come up with something to show them next month.


It was cold when I got started in the morning, but once we ate and were out-and-about, we warmed up nicely. When you are comfortable at 80, the 50s and 60s are sharp. 
After breakfast, we headed out to find yard sales. A neighborhood mom’s friend lives in is manufactured homes (it is still referred to as a mobile home park even though the homes are solidly made and bolted to a foundation. The homes are built elsewhere and brought in when needed).  Every year, they have two community yard sales. One is early in the year, today for example, and the other is around Easter. Most of the people who live in this community live part of the year elsewhere, such as Toronto Canada, for example. They have the early hard sale to get rid of stuff they brought down or had in storage. The Spring yard sales are to unload stuff that they don’t want to take with them or keep in the home while they are gone. 
I would say there were between fifteen to twenty homes that had a sale. A few had one or two items out for sale, (we skipped a couple of these as we saw what they had as we drove by) while others went all out. A few people recognized us as we have done these for several years. We recognized a few ourselves. Some people wanted a “fair” price for what they had, while others were trying to unload items and giving deals. 
I picked up some items that I am not sure how I will use them. A tin with a dog on it caught my eye and I found that it contained a leather carving kit (there is a simple rule in yard sailing. Look inside anything closed as you never know what is in there). You can often surprised.  I have not tried carving leather but the tools might be useful for other things too. Will have to see. 
I picked up a couple Coleman white gas camp stoves. One works fine. I have to work with the other to see why it is not working. 
I have a friend who has too many cookie cutters and I figure that she can pass them on if desired. 
I found a set of cast iron serving dishes. You heat the food in the dish and place it before the people, or you can use them to make individual breads or such. I love cast iron. I have developed a really easy way to season them and keep them seasoned. I will tell more about that some other time.
I also picked up a small travel iron (can be used for crafts) and stainless steel bowl set (kitchen, gift, or crafts). It was not that I needed either, but my practice is to get something I like and that I can  possibly pass on to others. 
A rawhide leather mallet has uses. The guy said the guy he got it from did sheet metal. You want a solid hit but hot a sharp hit. The leather gives. Nowadays they use the rubber mallets and mallets with beads in them (dead blow) are available to do the same thing.
I also found an aluminum burger-patty maker. This is adjustable. One can make the burgers at different thicknesses easily. That is a nice feature. I have some plastic patty makers and I think I will pass them on.
We were wore out after the yard sailing. A few times we debated on whether it would be easier getting in and out of the car several times or walking the short distance between yard sales and back. It was nice to get back home and rest.  We never bothered to go anywhere else to see if there were any yard sales.. 

I got out back and after feeding and petting the kitty, I dug out the work table, photographed my finds, and then set up for wood working. 
The past two weeks, I had made bodies for angels, and then made the wings. I used the dremmel with a flap sanding bit (has dozens of sandpaper impregnated sheets formed into a cylinder. It spins fast and the grit near the ends wears away the wood and slowly the sheets get worn shorter to expose fresh grit) to finish the shaping of the wings and clean them up. 
I used a knife to cut in on the backs of the angels to accept the wings. In spite of careful measuring, it was never quite right the first time when I thought it was deep enough. I ended up using the flap sander to clean up my cutting, then use the knife again to fix the fit for the wings. 
I used a yellow glue to glue the wings in place, allowing a lot of glue to fill gaps (I am not all that accurate). The one I have is listed as water proof. I don’t ever plan to test it. 
After the wings had dried some, I used a course bit to hollow out the center of the halo and then touched up with the flap sander where it caught and jumped to hit some place else. I will use another bit to clean up the inside before I do any final finishing. I should have done this before I added the wings but remembered about it too late. I had to be careful of the wings even though they were staying put for the most part. 
I have a lot of cleanup on these before I apply the finish. I have not liked how white paint looks, especially the brushed-on acrylic I have used before. I have heard suggestions of using silver paint, glitter, along with a different white paint. I will have to give it thought. I might do a bunch more of these before I commit on the color. I also want to see how the yellow glue looks when fully dried. If it blends it, it will make some choices better. 

While the angels were drying, I cut some blocks of two by wood into pieces to make cubes. I then went to the disk sander and shaped each side to make them square to the other sides. You do this by touching the side you are working to the dish while rotating it to the next side down. Any side-to-side angle gets eliminated after a few times if you are careful because they become top to bottom and that is square). Once the sides were nice and square, I took one and applied my knife to it. 
Years ago, I saw an article, where at one of the carving symposiums, they had a challenge for the carvers there. Take a cube, and carve something out of it. After reading the article, I gave it a try and carved a frog. It came out pretty good.
I decided I would carve some frogs as Christmas ornaments and I chose to use a cube as the starting point. We all know what something looks like.... until you try to recreate it. Recognizing a tree is different than painting one that looks like a tree, especially a recognizable species. I know what a frog looks like, and have carved a couple in my life. The instant I put knife to wood, I realized this is not quite as easy as I remembered from the last time. Over the past several weeks, I had imagined making some quick cuts on the bandsaw to remove wood to make carving them easier. With the knife on the wood, all those sure cuts suddenly left my mind. 
When carving, if you remove too much wood and one has to work to make it look like you intended to remove that much wood. 
As an Artist, I might say something on the line that, “I like to work slowly and listen to the language of the wood and bring out the love that is inside it.  I want to know the nature of the wood and bring out the best that is in the materials and never force it to be something that is not in the wood.  The viewer must feel the emotions created by the surfaces, angles,  volumes, and empty spaces. ” 
As a craftsman, I might say, “I want to have a full feel for the tools against the wood and I want to bring out the best in the work that I am able to do. I will take my time and make sure it is right”
As an advanced hobbyist, I might say, “I am afraid to make a mistake so I take it slowly so that I can be sure I don’t go too far. It is easier to correct a small mistake than a big one.”
They all have the same problem. The language is the difference between them. 
By the way, all my wood working falls into two artistic series. One series is MAN’S INHUMANITY TO GOOD DESIGN. And the other is MAN’S INHUMANITY TO WOOD. I have done well in both series. I will let you decide which each piece fits into....
Anyway, as I started cutting into the cube, I began to doubt my design plans.  What angle did that part of the leg actually go? Where was that part of the body? After removing a bit of wood in a few places, I decided that the angels were dry enough to work on.......
Thinking about it, I have a better idea of how a frog is formed in the position I am working with. I do have an example available to copy if I just got it out.  Maybe next weekend.

I intended to work outside most of the day, but the really strong gusts of wind just sucked the heat out of me. It was too far below “room temperature” for me with that wind. I went in and took a long nap (missed about three hours of sleep because of the turning club meeting on Thursday) and to have a chance to warm up. 

I have a “quick” crochet project of making a “case” for my crochet hooks. This is a project I wanted to do a couple years ago, but did not have the time to do them at that time. I have seen several designs for this project. It is basically a cloth with several pockets or loops that they slide into. One then rolls the cloth up and tie it. It keeps them in place and protected. I have a carving chisel set in such a case of the same style and it protects them well. 
When leaving home, I grabbed a zipper bag of yarn I got from a recent yard sale as the material for the project. I found that the yarn were in loose skeins and I had difficulty finding the ends, let alone keep it under control. 
A while back, I figured out how to wind a ball of yarn where the yarn will pull out the center. I won’t describe how I do it now. It needs pictures and possibly videos to explain. Anyway, I decided that I should wind the half dozen skeins of yarn into balls so that they  can be controlled, before I started my project. In the some 30 or 40 times I have made such balls, I have had two failures where they would not pull out. I had one where it fought me at first but then I got it to work. This method is nice to know.
That “quick” project ended up taking more time than expected. While working the yarns, I was trying to decide what color yarn I should use. There were several thicknesses of yarn and I have to decide which of thickness to use also. 
By the time I finished winding up most of the balls, I ran out of time and it was time to leave. 

It is getting cold tonight. I hope my truck starts from being so cold.

I will see what I do tomorrow.

Year 16, Week 02, Day Two (week 836)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-24-16 Saturday

44 degrees early morning, some early morning clouds disappeared. Blue skies the rest of the day. A light wind sucked any heat out of you when you were out in the morning. 60 degrees as the high. Being in the sun did not help too much because of the wind. The cars got nice to be in, if they were sitting in the sun.  This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department Of Tourism.

It was so far below the 56 degree frost temperature down here that the ocean froze solid to about a mile out from the coast. Ice breakers kept a large path for the ships to travel in and come into the ports. I had hoped it would freeze all the way to the Bahamas but we would need several days like this, especially if these were the highs,  before that could happen. Once I got the truck started, I was able to drive out onto the ocean beyond the beach and see the land as a ship would see them. I was able to avoid most of the traffic going to Mom’s house by driving on the ice. 

I stopped at two yard sales on the way to Mom’s house. One family was emptying out a cargo container so they could put other stuff in. They had some excellent collectibles, but that is not what I was after today. They had a couple model railroad engines but they were what you would get in the train sets in the toy stores.  I spent a second on a couple items in considering them but decided not to get them. I patted myself on the back that I was good this time. I have been very good at avoiding decorator items. 
The second yard sale was a guy with a storage bay that he was emptying. He told about how he stored tools there and it took him some time to realize that the cost of the bay was more than the tools were worth. I considered many of the items like table saws, drills, etc, but did get some long drill bits and drill-bit extensions. I only got small ones that will fit through the tail stock of my lathe. I can drill out my work for various reasons while they are spinning on the lathe. I do figure these may need to be sharpened, but I will deal with that later. My brother has become an expert in sharpening. 

At mom’s, we ended up inside, talking while mom fixed dinner. A short time after dinner we had to go home. I had decided it was cold enough not to do anything outside. Just as it takes time to get used to hot weather, it also takes time to get used to cold weather. I work from the idea that being used to being really hot, like in the summer, is more important than handling the cold in the winter. One can bundle up for the cold, but cannot bundle up for the heat. 

I have projects to work on and will have to wait until the weekend to see what project gets the nod.

cast iron

stainless steel bowls and adjustable aluminum burger press

travel iron

leather mallet 

some of the cookie cutters

leather carving kit and decorative tim they were in

coleman gas stoves

cubees for frogs

partly done angels. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Year 16, Week 01, Day One (week 835)

Year 16, Week 01, Day One (week 835)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-16-16 Saturday

66 degrees early morning 81 in the afternoon. Morning fog heavier than I remember driving in. Blue sky as soon as the fog lifted. Clouds started building up and a shock wave of showers in late afternoon (around three) that lasted about fifteen minutes, with light showers for about an hour after. Light breeze during the day but strong gusts as the storm raced through. This past week it got below 60 degrees but not much more. Starting tonight, we are supposed to get lows below our 56 degree frost temperature. The area should be kind of nice with a thick coat of frost on everything.... This is the wettest year in my memory. Fall is usually the start of our dry season and normally at this time, the news is filled with panicked messages from officials about how we are running low on water. This has been a year where there was no dry period to speak of.  This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


This is the sixteenth anniversary of the start of my wood working.
My dad had retired when he was 58 years of age and quickly got involved in lots of different kinds of projects. He quickly started complaining that he needed to retire.... A next door neighbor was an art teacher for the school system and challenged him to learn how to carve. 
A couple years before Jan 2000, my dad was doing wood carving and kept asking me to start doing it with him. I did not have any interest at the time. I was coming up each Saturday and writing stories, or creating buildings from scratch for my model railroad. He kept asking me to start wood carving. Finally, Saturday, January 17, 2000, I borrowed one of his knives, and a stick of wood and carved a figure straight out of my head without any instruction. I still have that piece and am not ashamed of it. My dad had an early reputation of not digging deep enough into the wood with his carvings as you could still see the square block in the wood. He got out of that quickly as he gained confidence. Even with my first carving, I decided to remove wood and get deep and get complex. 
I joke that the way my dad taught me to carve was to pat me on the head and say “good job, do another.”  My dad taught me how to sharpen knives, make my own knives. I had his work to copy and lots of opportunity. 
He was in his 80s at the time I started carving and I had decided I did not want that “I wish I had said, I wish I had done” kind of feeling and used wood carving to get close to him and spend the time that needed to be spent.
In October 2003, I ended up with a lathe and started learning wood turning and added that to the projects I worked on. During different times of the years, I would concentrate on wood turning, or I would concentrate on wood carving.  
Dad had the advantage of being able to get up at dawn and work until dusk on his projects. He made two of each of his major carvings. He would keep the good one and try to sell the lousy one. I tried that once and then realized that I was not working all week long, all day long. I was only working two days a week and just a few hours each day. I had to work on what interested me at the moment, Two of everything was out of the question. 
After Dad passed, I kept up the wood working. It was satisfying to come up with results, and it gave me a reason to be with Mom every week.  I continued to improve in my work. 
Over the years, I have made thousands of Christmas ornaments, trying to make four sets of twelve every year, plus extras when needed. I have made a lot of fairies that would stand about ten to twelve inches tall, but these were never standing. It was a reaction to dad making standing cowboys all the time. I wanted more of a challenge so they were kneeling, sitting, reclining.  I wood turned a lot of small vases (a few big ones), bowls, platters, cups goblets. I got into making vases and carving faces or other designs into them. I made platters (plates) with carvings and lettering in them. 
I learned that when you make your own tools, you are not afraid to make changes to them, as you know that if you do serious damage, you can repair it, or make a new one. Also you can make your tools exactly the way you like it rather than what some manufacturer thinks it should be made. 
Over the years I have had successes, setbacks, and challenges. It has been an excellent hobby when looking back. 

When getting ready for this anniversary note, I found a number of mistakes in the title I am using. Somehow, in October I ended up using Year 13 rather than Year 15. Also, I found that my week count, for the year, was off. Out of curiosity, I went to a site that will tell you how many days, weeks, months, there are between two dates and found that my total week count I used was way off.  There are 835 weeks between 2000 and 2016. I’ve been using 694 weeks for this date. That is 141 weeks difference!!!! I know some errors came in due to health reasons and miscalculations over the years, but some of that amount of error cannot be accounted for from just that. Thinking back, to the best of my analysis, when I started this diary, I must not have counted weeks where I did nothing in wood working. For clarity, I've decided I am going to go by the actual weeks to the date from now on. 

A new Walmart store opened near work this week. I went there Friday evening and was shocked at the size of the store. It quite possibly as big as the Festival Flea market. Pushing a shopping cart, I walked around the perimeter, then up and down the grocery isles on the far side to the front, then went to the back again and then over to the center and to the front there before going back out to my parking space a distance from the building. I felt good when I did that. I also stopped at the dollar store and walked that too.
Friday Night, I suffered leg cramps like I have not had before. I guess I over did it and then some. 


The morning drive was in fog. It was so thick that I could not see six to eight street lights ahead of me. They were spaced very close together too. I was shocked when I saw them in daylight as to how close they actually were.  I have never driven in that thick a fog. It was already burning off when we headed to a prayer breakfast we were invited to at eight. 

I was kind of wary over being on my feet too much because of the leg cramps I had last night. I went out back and, because the weather was so nice, I got the lathe out. I had a Christmas Ornament idea to try out. Mom gave me an angel decoration that was a cone with crochet wings and beads for the head and halo. I’ve wanted to make this since she gave it to me several months ago.  I knew the proportions would be different. I am using two by two wood sticks of whitewood and for the same proportions, the angels would be two inches tall.  
My band saw has a 12 inch long throat so what I did was to cut a stick of wood I had into five sections. I chose one and mounted it on the lathe. My first job was to knock off the corners of the stick with a bowl gouge. Once it was about round, I decided on the length of the first angle and started shaping it with a bullnosed scraper. Usually, I make the small end at the tail stock. There was a spot where a bug ate into the surface of the stick so to remove that, I made the big end at the tail stock and the small end toward the motor / head stock. 
I marked where the ornament would end, and then worked the diameter down in steps. Shaving a little bit at the end, then moving back a little farther and shaved to the narrow end, working my way back farther each time. With each pass, the narrower end had more wood removed to create the slope of the cone. 

I sharpened my tool before I started and once near the end of the project. It makes a big difference on how it worked. When it comes to “sharpening” there are different levels the tool is worked. With the grinder, one shapes the tool and the edge. This is often referred to sharpening and many times that is all that is needed. What I did was use a diamond stone to clean up the edge and create a new burr, which was what did the finest cutting with the tool I worked with. That is also sharpening. Now what I did not do was use a steel or a leather to hone the edge, which would straighten out the burr, which is also called sharpening. 
I have to re-teach my body how to use the tools properly. When you start out, you use what gives you success rather than what the old masters have discovered through long studies. Those habits are hard to remove. Over the years, I have seen and been told how to use the tools properly and sort of ignored it because I had my methods to do things. Since I lost all my muscle memory for wood turning over the past year or so, so I am re-learning how to do my work and am attempting to apply my long gained knowledge rather than what “worked” before. 
With the sharpening of my tools, and my using the tool properly, I almost did not have to sand the angels at all. I just had a tiny bit of tool marks showing that a few moments of 100 grit sanding removed. That was nice.

When I had the first angel done and sanded, I then made a second angel. Then the third and forth. When I started the forth angel, the wood moved in the chuck. I then realized I never cinched the chuck tight. I tightened it and finished the last angel. It is always good to get each one completely finished before you do any others just for this reason. It is hard to make corrections when the work is bouncing around because the wood is now flexible and no longer in the exact same position (experience talking here again). I bandsawed the angels apart, then used the disk sander to flatten the bases and the haloes.  
Next time I will use the dremmel to cup in the top of the halo before adding an eye hooks. Usually, I would hollow out angels like this, but since this wood is light, I decided not to. Also, hollowing creates problems when working with flexible pieces that are barely connected together as it is. It would be something I might do if I was making these one at a time, but not grouped in one stick. 
I have to decide what kind of wings I should use. I have some white felt as a possible wing material. I will have to give it a thought.

I packed up and headed in. It was long enough on my feet and I was satisfied with some excellent results. 

I will have to see what I do tomorrow. 

Year 16, Week 01, Day Two (week 835)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-17-16 Sunday

66 degrees early morning, 78 degrees late afternoon. A squall line went by early morning (tornado reports in central and north Florida) and after the following drizzle stopped, the clouds were solid with only slight shade changes of gray.  The sky became blue, then large puffs started building again. The wind was strong, knocking things over, blowing hair out of their stays. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism. 

Last night, an idea on how to do the wings for my angles came to me. It was simple and “easy” and would be strong, not subject to breaking. 
I went out back and had to clear some equipment from in front of the bandsaw. Quick single cuts can be done from behind the bandsaw by pulling the work through the blade rather than pushing, and did not require a lot of stuff being moved,  but I needed to do some complex cuts. Working from behind was not an option. 
My idea for the wings was to cut the wing shape in the block of wood, and then cut the wings as slices. I would have the grain of the wood run side to side in the wings. I would then use the sander to create an angle in the thickness and make it a lot thinner and lighter. 
My first attempt did not look right, way too narrow. My second attempt at the wings corrected the errors of my first attempt and ended up more like a bow tie. Neither were satisfying looking wings. I decided to try a third time. I went wider than before and the indents shallower. 
The bandsaw blade is not absolutely true and square. It might need to be replaced also as it appears to be getting dull. This is an old machine and is showing its age it works so one does not want to replace it, at least just yet. On each, I used the disk sander to clean the surfaces and remove pen marks. The disk sander being round, instead of square, it has some problems in getting the things nice and square where the edge is at. 
Satisfied with the results on the third attempt, I marked it and made four slices from the block. The results were far thicker than the wings were supposed to be. I went to the disk sander and sanded an angle in the wings, I created an angle on the outside, then matched that angle on the inside. When I finished them, I decided I had a good day and called it done.

What I have next to do is to clean up the wings with the dremmel and a sanding disk. I won’t put in feathers. The results of that won’t come out good and is unnecessary. I will also use the dremmel to cut in the center of the halos so it will look like a ring rather than a hat.  I will cut a notch on the “back” of the angel to give a flat surface for the wings to set in and glue them in place. 
I have not decided whether to paint them white, or leave them the wood colored. I have not been satisfied with how the white paint looks, nor how the wood color looks. I will have to give it some thought for a while. Maybe some silver paint will make a difference. Will see when the time comes.
I might make three more sets to have my dozen ornaments. It has been easy so far. Now that I have done it, it should be a lot easier to come up with the pieces as I am not designing it as I am going. That should speed the process. 
I do have other ornaments I would like to make. Will see how the upcoming weeks go. I also notice I have blanks for other ornaments I have done in the past years and never finished. 

I have loads of projects to work on and even more wood available for future projects. The wood turning club meeting is this week. I am not totally sure I will be able to make it. 

I will see what happens next weekend.

starting with the stick and beginning the first cone

First angel done

third Angle done. 

all four angels done, ready to be cut off.

the four angels. top are two wings stood on end (before the wind could blow them over) to show how I created the angle in them. the ones to the side show wings face down.
On the bottom are my first two attempts at creating wings, not cut into individual wings. They got tossed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Year 13, Week 48, Day One (week 693)

Year 13, Week 48, Day One (week 693)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-09-16 Saturday

66 degrees early morning, 80 degrees late afternoon, Indian fog reported in the area (Apache fog) I saw a little mist in my early morning drive, and some low hanging, tree high clouds but nothing else early morning. Scattered clouds of various densities during the day, with sun peaking out often. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

We figured there would finally be some yard sales today. We were past the holiday season so we went out hunting. We decided not to do a full yard sale hunt, just go through half of two sections, taking a shortcut between them. 
In the first area, there was nothing, but when we got into the Deerfield / Light House Point area, we did find some yard sales. I was really good at first. I would look at what the people have, see some things of interest and force myself to walk away. There was nothing I could not live without.  A couple times, there was some things I knew someone might like, but I decided they did not have any more shelf space to display them...... I am being nice to them this time...
I then found a sale where I picked up a couple figurines. I have a friend that likes frogs and got a pair of them.  There was a kitty and a set of Pentair drafting pencils (ultra fine leads with the lead holder-pencils). 
At the last yard sale we went to, there were several families selling together. I saw something I sort of wanted for a long time. I had toyed with the thought of making one. I do crochet as one of my hobbies. I have toyed with the idea of making my own yarn. I have made, but not used some drop spindles for making yarn. My main problem is “carding” the yarn, a process of making the fibers parallel. I kind of wanted to make a spinning wheel but never quite understood how they worked so making one was out of the question unless it was simply for display. At this yard sale was a spinning wheel sitting there,  I walked past the spinning wheel several times. I was told that it belonged to his great grandmother’s sister, Great Grand Aunt. I knew for a fact that it was something that I would be kicking myself for if I did not come home with it, and I would be kicking myself if I did come home with it. I walked by it a bunch of times. The wife said he might go down a little. He said something about “I will go down a lot.” And “I don’t want to take it home.”  
I had no choice.. No choice in the matter at all. 
We rested when we got home, then I went outside to photograph my finds, and look over the spinning wheel. I pulled up on my tablet a search on spinning wheels. Pictures showed that what I thought was to go into one hole in the base, was actually the treadle. I then did a closer search on it. 
This is a Saxony style spinning wheel. One model I saw in pictures that looked like this one said they were made from the late 1800s to 1900. That could well be when this was made based on the age of the guy who sold it. 
More searches showed how they actually worked. I then examined the working parts and found that the spool assembly was worn out. Unusable. I have the problem of not fully understanding exactly how this works and is assembled. I can make anything if I put my mind and time to it but I do have to know how it works first. I saw in a search I could get a set of four spools and the working mechanism for twice what I paid for this wheel.  I doubt I would get into spinning my own yarn, but it would be nice to have it working. It might be worth the price to get the parts.  Of course, I likely could find the right parts on line at a less price if I searched.
There is a U shaped piece with hooks on it that wraps the newly made yarn onto the spool inside it. (I wondered how Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on the spinning wheel and it must be the hooks that caught her finger) It is on a shaft that also has a pulley that the big wheel spins. It is all stripped out and I cannot figure out exactly how it was arranged. I assume that the spool on the inside does not spin so the yarn builds up on it. The pulley and the U thing spins and the yarn feeds through the center of the shaft and onto the U device. There is a square section of the forged shaft on the end that has the hole for the line to feed into, and the other end has an extremely worn thread of a size that fits nothing in real life. I need to see a working unit to understand how it is supposed to work. 
This spinning wheel shows signs of repairs over the year. The wheel has loosened up and there are now gaps in the sections. That can be fixed easily.
I took a wire and temporarily  hooked up the treadle and was able to spin the wheel. The pictures show they used a wooden arm, which I can make no problem. I give thanks to all who posted the pictures and articles I examined. There was even a video on how to thread the machine for use. I looked for any “reporting marks” and saw nothing. This was a nicely made unit. Several parts need to be tightened up a little bit but could be used without that. 

If I never replaced the spindle unit, it would still be a fantastic  display piece. Boy does that look good. I figure eventually I will get the replacement parts so it can be used. There is a hole in the base for something else but I need to search the web for what is missing. I have seen something on some spinning wheels that I have not learned what it is. I will have to do more research over time. It would be nice to have it working again.
At the moment I am “storing” it at mom’s. She sort of wanted it and she found a nice place for it to sit on display for the moment. It will come home to me when she decides she needs the room. 

The study of the spinning wheel took up enough time that wood working was out of the question. 

I will have to see what happens tomorrow.

Year 13, Week 48, Day Two (week 693)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-10-16 Sunday

78 degrees, high, low and middle height lightly colored clouds in the morning, a black boil of a front came through, then high platelets and feathers. We are expected to get into the 50s tonight. Later in the week they are forecasting temps near our 56 degree frost temperatures. I cannot wait until winter is over. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

The way the approaching clouds looked said that wood working was unlikely. Radar showed it would wet weather for a couple hours.  The stuff on the radar images passed through about the time Mom served lunch. Since it was leftovers, she had it ready soon after I arrived. Good meal. The showers split and fizzled before it got here so the plants just got a taste before it was past. 
I did not get enough sleep last night so after lunch, I decided to go home rather than work on anything. I feel guilty about not making use of the opportunity, but I need to take care of myself. I also figured that if I was home, something there might actually have a chance of getting done. 
I did rearrange some of the stuff in my truck earlier so I did accomplish something today.

I heard rumors that Mom may have plans for me for next weekend. I will have to see if I actually accomplish anything.

My Christmas cards over the years

The spinning wheel  

Another view

The view that shows the working mechanism between the two uprights that need to be replaced.

figurines I picked up

 fine lead drafting pencils and leads.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Year 13, Week 47, Day One (week 692)

Year 13, Week 47, Day One (week 692)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-02-16 Saturday

A frigid 76 degrees early morning, a sweltering 78 degrees in the afternoon, a nice calm breeze, sunny blue sky in the morning with only a few tips of towers to the North East over the Ocean, puffs arrived and started crowding in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

Figuring it was a beautiful day, there might be some yard sales out. We went out and drove part way through one of our rabbit runs and saw nothing. We came home and killed some time. 

I went outside with the idea of many projects. We got a piece of yellow pine that was less than a foot long and had straight grain running through it. The rings went on an angle through the section of it.  I had looked at this piece for almost a month. I knew it would be something but was not sure what.
I split the wood in half, parallel to the rings. I then used my knife to knock off all the corners of both pieces  before I mounted it on the lathe. I decided to use a cup center on the tail stock. I used my knife to shave the ends so they would fit into the cup. I figured this would make centering easier I put the big end into the hole of the fully closed chuck, which was just about small enough to hold them in place. It was strictly friction holding the sticks between center.
I rough turned both pieces round first, then reduced each to the size I was after, and made a few more adjustments to get the to the shape I was after. Because the ends were in the cups, I could not reach them with the lathe tools. I used the sanding disk to clean them up. I made a mistake on sanding one striking end, and had to shape the other stick’s end to match. Matching was more important than being right.
I finished and put everything away, before I wiped varnish on both sticks and set them in the sun to dry. I went in to take a long break. I figured that I can always pull the equipment back out if I decide to do another project in the afternoon. Even if I did not work outside again, I was satisfied that I accomplished something. Also I figured that if I did not go out to work, everything was already put away.
The drum sticks were a quick and available project to try, since I was staring at that piece of wood for several weeks. I have some ornaments I want to turn. I hoped to start on them in the afternoon.

Before lunch, Mom decided we should go to the Festival Flea Market. This is a mall with stores along the back wall, split by the food court, and in the main mall area, are hundreds of small booths selling all sorts of wares. 
My favorite stores are the DOLLAR AND UP store, with two locations. One is near the middle as a store on the back side. The other is a gigantic booth closer to one end. These are not actual dollar stores, but have a fantastic choice of items at a very good price. (Think real yard sale prices) Mom and I walked both Dollar and Up stores, going down every isle. I did the booth location twice. All three times I ended up finding great stuff to buy. There was only two things I was really after and found them. The rest was pure opportunity or desire. A few booths away was a watch repair booth my mom likes, and I ended up getting a new watch band. That stop was between the two passes through the Dollar and Up booth.
We stopped at the farmer’s market they have there, I did a quick walk through before sitting down and resting, something I should have done after the first time through the Dollar and Up booth.  It has been a while since I made noodles and I am beginning to forget how much work it was. The farmer’s market had some bean noodles and they looked interesting. Just an idea....
The walk back to the car was really tough. Even pushing a cart to take the weight off my legs did not help much. 

Back at mom’s house, I napped for a while, before I decided to load some books and apps on a tablet I got for Christmas. I went out to feed the cat and was listening to a radio station. Momma kitty kept getting spooked and decided only to eat a few mouth-fulls before dashing off. I had even turned it to almost nothing and she still did not like it.  
I was wore out from walking that I was not in the mood to do any more work out back, especially at the lathe. My ornament idea has to wait.

I have no idea what I will do tomorrow. I have plenty of projects, but have to see what crops up.

Yellow pine drum sticks. I would never give them to a professional as they would likely not last long.  I gave them to a amateur wanna be.they should last her a lifetime.

Year 13, Week 47, Day two (week 692)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-03-16 Sunday
76 in the morning, 80 in the afternoon. Some areas of the sky was blue, filled with feathers and splashes, but the rest of the sky was filled with grey puffs and large blobs. A light, almost unnoticeable, breeze made it nice. It is supposed to get below 60 sometime this week. I doubt it will get down to our 56 degree frost temperature. It will just be a warning.  This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism. 

It took me an hour just to get my body moving properly this morning. I definitely over-did it yesterday. I was moving all right when I left the house but I was not walking anything close to normal. 

I got to Mom’s house, and my brother was there. We ended up talking and comparing web sites on my tablet to his phone. I showed him some books on the site that he would be interested in.  
My body was not in the mood of standing in front of the lathe or doing any other kind of standing. That eliminated the main project I had in mind for the day which was to explore a design of Christmas ornaments.. 

I left soon after lunch. 

I hope to be more productive next weekend. I have more than a couple projects in mind.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Year 13, Week 46, Day One (week 691)

Year 13, Week 46, Day One (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-26-15 Saturday

Fast moving clouds, dry, strong wind with gusts tugged at hats, 79 in the morning, 84 in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

During the Week.

I finished lettering all my cards on Wednesday. Some I gave out on Monday and was adding interior stuff as I was giving them out. I somehow misplaced about ten cards. Either I gave them to people I’ve forgotten or I lost them. I have no idea which. I did keep two cards for my collection, where I have a copy of most of the cards I have made to date. 

My Christmas cards for this year. This is only part of what I had made.

We gather on Christmas Eve and open presents so the kids have all Christmas morning to play with their toys. If the parents have to go to visit someone else, they can go on Christmas day but the kids already have toys to play with. 
I did not think I had enough presents to give everybody so the day before, I stopped at the dollar store and got some items. Since the kids were teens, I started the practice of giving money as the gift, but adding something inexpensive for them open as presents. Many times, the small items turned out to be great gifts for them. I’ve continued it since they became adults
After the presents were open, an In-law with her kids arrived. I had brought a few extra things because I was thinking I missed someone or did not pack something in the gifts. Early this year, I was given, by mom, some craft stuff that included some stuffed animals. Sorting through them after I got the beany babies a couple weeks ago, I chose to give the ones I did not want to keep. I had just a few left on Christmas Eve. I let her kids choose their stuffed animal and gave her a dish cloth I had made. What really made Christmas for me was her littlest one, two or three years old, was walking around all evening long clutching a panda bear he picked out. For me, that was the best thing that happened that night. 


We knew there would be few, if any, yard sales, so we did not even try to look for them. We instead went to the stores. I got good exercise at Walmart, basically going around the perimeter. I dodged some desperate yarn in the craft craft. I don’t think they were quite awake yet as it was morning and their timing was off. I ignored the pleading of some ornamentation that could go onto my carvings. I did rescue a couple pieces of white felt, that I have ideas for. I picked up a few items along the way as I circled the store. My biggest complaint is that none of the stores carried pumpkin-spice coffee that one can brew this year. I have seen K cups and Tea, but coffee, no. I did find some pumpkin-spice instant coffee mix and am using it like a creamer, using just enough to get the pumpkin spice flavor (I usually don’t use creamer because I am not a barbarian......).

Later in the day, I went to the dollar store and found some of the same things that I purchased at Walmart, but for a dollar rather than six. I got more anyway even though I don’t need it. I love the dollar store because it is like yard sailing, but with new stuff. I also got some craft ideas for later....

I went out back and set up the table, dremmel and carving basket. I dug through some bags I had and sorted them. Someone asked me a few months ago to make a cross for him. A tiny one for a necklace. I selected a piece split from Sea Grape that I had, that was about the right size. I thinned, squared and straightened it with knife and sanding disk. I then drew out the dimensions and used the dremmel to cut it. I had to do some hand sanding to clean it up. I did not like the looks of it. It was not straight and square.  I knew I could do better.  I dipped it in some old varnish and it took all day to dry The varnish needs to be thinned a little. I prefer wipe-on poly, but this was Spar varnish. It was at hand at the moment.
I took a chunk of sea grape that was about three inches long and about an inch and a half wide and thick. It had some bark on it. I first split off the bark using an hatchet and hammer. I then split off a second piece. I see I can get more out of that piece but each one will be less wide which might not be a problem. Splitting it parallel to the bark allowed the pieces to be fairly even in thickness. 
I took both pieces to the disk sander and started by sanding off the bark, getting that side flat, then flattening the split side. I sanded both sides of the other piece, and squared both pieces. Satisfied, I sat down and measured out the size of the crosses. I made the “boards” about the same thickness as the wood was.
Using a cutting blade in the dremmel, I cut the excess wood off, leaving the line and a little bit more.  Errors in technique basically made the width about right. After lots of sanding and cleaning, I got the crosses where I wanted them. 
I had found that a brad (a tiny nail) made for a good drill bit for eye-hook starting holes and I drilled the tops of the crosses and then added the eye hooks. I liked the shape of the second two a lot better than the first one (Editorial note, my friend took the first cross I made. I think because it was smaller).

Several weeks ago, I had picked up a package that contained  set of four metal crochet-hooks. I decided I needed a handle on them to make them easier to use and less likely to get lost. I had a rod of oak I had made either for a crochet hook or for a handle, I forgot which. As a crochet hook, it would need a handle and would be a very big crochet hook. 
I measured half way on the rod, which did not match any number I had on my rulers, and then cut that, then measured each piece in half and cut them (there ended up some difference in lengths not noticeable unless you compare them). I tried a succession of drill bits but after drilling the tiniest drill bit, the next size kept wandering. I used my brad, which was a little bigger than my smallest drill bit and that got me to where my larger bits would work. The final hole was slightly bigger than the crochet hooks, but I used a lot of glue to fill the gap. 

Several weeks ago, I had turned some snowman bodies and then put dowels into them as arms. Since I had the dremmel out and plugged in, I put a flap sanding disk on the dremmel and did a little bit of cleanup. I really should have done that on the lathe, but if I remember right, I was at the edge of my endurance for that day. I did some correcting on parts of the surface, but there was places that the sander could not get to. I will have to do some hand sanding. I do plan to carve these so some of the corrections can be done with the knife.

I have hopes for tomorrow, but will see who has what planned.

crochet hook handles and crosses I made. 

Year 13, Week 46, Day Two (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-27-15 Sunday

85 degrees, lighter winds than yesterday, a few dots of showers but they were gone before they were really noticed and none during the time at Mom’s house. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

A couple weeks ago, I got some plastic tool / fishing boxes. I had considered giving them as presents, but that did not happen. My truck has storage beneath the back seat. My metal tool box would not fit. It was too tall. Out of curiosity, I checked and found the plastic tool boxes did fit beneath the seat. That is fantastic. I transferred my tools to them. One box is double walled so it does not hold as much as it looks like it should. The contents of the big box filled both small boxes. I had to leave the trays out. The metal box went into my shed. I might find a use for it later. Getting those tools out of the way was great. 

My brother and nephew came up. Before lunch, I did some more sorting of bags while we were talking.  After lunch, we were catching up on old times. I did go out and put everything away, then a while later, called it a day as I had stuff to do at home while they were still talking.

I do not know if there will be any yard sales next week. I have several ideas of projects as to what to work on. Some of it will depend on the weather. This has been a fairly wet year this year and that has made working outside a bit tough. This is our traditional  dry period and we have not had very much dry weather. Usually they are already talking about water conservation by this time of the year. 
I have ideas for Christmas ornaments that I was supposed to have made this year. I think I might make them for next year and if I come up with more near the end of the year, all right. I have three designs in mind already. Will see if there are more that show up. It is nice to get back into working wood, even it if is little things. 

I will see what I do next weekend.