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. 

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