(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
Blue sky, 63 morning, almost grabbed my jacket but decided the truck’s heater would keep up with it. 83 late afternoon. Didn’t need my coat then. A nice breeze took away any excess heat of the afternoon. The sky was already light as I headed to Mom’s house. I remember driving in the dark not too long ago. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department Of Tourism.
I has seen signs for three yard sales on the way to Mom’s house. They tend to be set out when it is light, though some are put them out the night before.
Mom was driving and she decided to explore. We headed south first. We found all three yard sales first thing. They were interesting, but did not have what we needed.
Among other things, Yard sailing is a patience type project. The more specific the things you are looking for, the longer it will take to find them. If you are looking for “presents or gifts” for a person or group, there is a lot of options as long as you are not very specific. One year, Mom was looking for Jewelry to give a group of women as door gifts for a conference. It was an easy order to fill. One just had to look for something appropriate at the right price. Jewelry of some kind is found at most yard sales. If you are looking for something very specific such as “G-10 model 1998 thing-a-ma-jig,” then you might look for years to find it, if at all.
I am mostly looking for things I want to own or use, but am also looking things that can be passed on to someone else as a present. My thought on presents is that I should get something I like. That way, If I don’t give it away, It is not a problem because I liked it first place.
Opportunity and timing is everything. More than once, I stopped some place and someone purchased something seconds before I got to it. I don’t worry about what was sold long before I got there as, what I didn’t know is not a problem. I have also decided not to get something, and then regretted it for a long time after.
I picked up a little aluminum vice. It uses a cam handle for tightening. I examined the design carefully and what they did was to set the threads of the bolt to that point where a short crank of the handle pulls the locking nut tight. There is a thin plate on the handle that holds the bolt at the right point in the thread for it to cinch tightly with just a quarter turn. It is giving me ideas for other things I really need to make.
We got home and I decided to go out back for what should have been a very short project rather than taking a nap first. I first petted and fed the cat, petting her some more. Mom says she is growing a nice crop of fleas, though I did not see any. None of them landed on me to the best of my knowledge. The neighborhood is sand with a thin layer of vegetation. That is a great condition for fleas to spread in. They seem to love sand. Momma kitty likes to roll in the sand.
Last week, I told about the belt loom someone gave me. My project today was to make a tensioning rod for it. In theory, this is very simple. Drill a hole in a long piece of wood, turn it on the lathe, centered on the hole to near the right diameter and then sand. Then to drill a hole in a flat piece of wood and turn it so it becomes a knob. Inset the hole slightly for a nut to stick in the knob, then put together.
That is how it works in theory. In reality, You first have to find the right piece of wood. I could not find the specific wood I was thinking about. A piece of wood I found that could have been usable, turned out to be eaten by wood boring beatles. The next choice I found should work.
I should mention that we have wood boring beatles down here that will inject their egg into wood and the “worm” will eat out the inside of the wood. You know they are recognized to be in the wood from a tiny hole and granular “saw” dust that trickles from the hole. They are usually just a nuisance but have done serious damage over time in someplaces.
I then had to find a drill bit of the right size. I then had to figure out how to drill the wood in a way that would give me a straight shot all the way through. My first drill bit turned out to be just a little too short. I drilled the wood on the lathe. I had a drive spur on the motor side and the drill bit holding up the wood on the other side. Working the bit in little by little, I drilled until the chuck touched the wood. I flipped it around, and after figuring out that a drive spur with a tiny point would work to hold it, I did the same thing also on the other end.. When I removed the wood from the lathe, I could not blow through the hole. I was using a 5/16 bit which is the same size as the rod. I think I could have found a longer one if I searched, but I wanted to make the thing rather than spend my time searching. I had made my piece of wood a bit longer than the other dowels in the loom so that I had room to correct the ends from any “Roger Mistakes” I might have made.
My next choice of bits was slightly bigger. I had an 18 inch long spade bit that was 1/8th inch. Just a little bit bigger than the rod I was using. I stuck the piece of wood in the vice I got at the yard sale and held it in my hand while I drilled the hole the rest of the way through the wood.
I then mounted the stick to the lathe centered on the hole. I used the small drive spur again. I usually don’t use this drive spur as it loves to bore its way into the wood. I put that to the hole and turned the stick to the rough diameter of the other rods and sanded it really good. As expected, the spur worked its way into the hole.
I tested the threaded rod through it and it worked, Twisting a large drill-bit with my hand, I made the end of the hole a little bit bigger for the nut. The nut needed to be forced into the hole so it would not move. With a few light taps on the nut with the hammer to drive the nut into the slightly enlarged hole on that end, the rod cracked!!! The enlarged hole was not quite big enough. I glued the stick and clamped it with the idea of using the other end near the nut..
I then addressed the knob. My first attempt was on a 2x4 whitewood blank. I had it mostly shaped and then realized this wood was not strong or hard enough wood for what I was making. It would be great carving wood but not usable for this purpose. Looking at the results at least the concept right.
I had a piece of yellow pine that was a cut off from something. I measured and cut a square with expectations that it will later be a bowl or platter. I then measured square and cut what was left of the cut-off to make a smaller bowl ir cup blank. I finally cut the last piece square that was my knob and had a small piece of waste wood. If I keep that small piece of wood, I will never have a project it will be useful for. If I toss it, I will very quickly need to cut another piece that size.
I then cut the corners off the knob blank. I am still using a meat cutting blade in the band saw which has no set (side angle) to the teeth. It does not cut very fast. I also found it likes to twist a little and wander away from the line whatever angle I attack the wood at. It made cutting the corners off more interesting to say the least.
I should note that I am using the drill by hand with nothing to make sure it is straight and it this case, I drilled with the long spade bit since it was still in the drill. If one centers on the hole, everything works out nicely. If not, one runs into the problem I describe next.
I put the tail stock point in the hole and the back of the blank flat against the opened jaws of the chuck. It turned easily, though not as well as I should, and had the “underside” of the blank in shape. The knob itself is raised up from the surface for clearance for your fingers when turning it. I had that part of the shape nicely. I then flipped the work around to shape the face when I saw I made a really big mistake. I knew exactly how I was going to do this project to compensate my lack of skills and proper tools, on top my laziness. Somehow I did not follow my plan I was supposed to center the wood on the hole, not to the face like I did.
Even if the drilling is with a drill press, drill bits will shift due to different hardness of wood or the direction of the grains. To compensate for even a slight error, you center the work on the hole itself and that cancels out any kind of error.
When I was going to turn it around, the back side of the hole was way off center!!! When I slid the piece on the rod, the knob was at a slight angle. Had I centered the piece on the holes, it would have easily come out right. Instead, I see some work ahead of me.
I don’t think the wood tensioning rod is going to last even a single session with tight lines pulling on it. That is going to need to be re-made. I might make it a little bigger in diameter. I think also that I should look into using even smaller threaded rod to give more strength to the drilled wood.
The knob could be fixed, just by centering it on the holes and making it thinner. I might re-make it anyway. I should use the drill press but there is a lot of stuff in the way. That is why I hand drilled these in the first place.
Every mistake could have been solved by taking a bit more time at each stage. What actually took most of the time was trying to find the right tools and materials to do the job. Nothing is in a central location nor do I remember where everything is. The actual work did not take any time at all. After I finished, I then was faced with the clean up, which was a project as I had all sorts of things moved out of the way to work.
When I finally went in, I was done. I did not sleep, but did lay quietly with my feet up.
I am not sure what I will do tomorrow. Sundays tend not to be a day of real production.
Year 16, Week 17, Day Two (week 851)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
High 60s before I got up in the morning, 73 when I headed from home and 83 in the late afternoon. Blue sky all day, except for a small herd of thin cloud lines over the Everglades. This weather report is brought to you by The City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
I stopped at the plant nursery on the way to Mom’s. I picked up a Wild Coffee plant for her and myself, (Psychotria nervosa) and a Coco Plum (Chrysobalanus icaco) for me. The Wild Coffee is a distant relative of the commercially grown coffee. It is an under-story plant that has red berries a little smaller than a huckleberry and they have two tiny seeds. One person I knew collected a bunch of the seeds, roasted them and made coffee from them. He said it was disgusting.
The Coco Plum is a native plat that has green and red leaves and they have a thumb sized berry. The flesh sticks to the seed, but they are not bad tasting. I figured that Mom has never had a wild coffee plant and she likes plants best as gifts. She already has a coco plum I gave her years ago.
I took pictures of a few items when I got there, had lunch, and decided I had some work to do at home, so I did not spend much time at Mom’s.
I have two pair of pants that have a tear on the leg. They don’t look good that way. I cannot sew and am positive I will never learn unless the existence of the universe depends on it... There is a right way to do something, and a wrong way to do something, and then there is Roger’s way to do something....
I decided I needed to do something with these pants. There is an adage that says Just about anything will look better than the rip, and I was going to disprove that adage.. I knew what I was after and how I should do it (that is like everything I am involved in. I know how it is to be done, but doing it is something else). Theory is great. In theory one can move mountains with a spoon. Reality is something else. I just wanted to have the rip close just a little and started my stitch a bit away from the rip and went in and out a couple times before I got to the gap, figuring the fabric farther back would hold better than stitches just at the edge.
In the end, my tension was too tight and bunched the fabric too much. I actually intended there to be a whole lot more stitches, but that did not happen.
While my repair looks a lot better than the rip, it does not look great. Hopefully, it won’t stand out like the rips did. How my repair holds up will also be something else. I think I had better find someone who sews.....
Next weekend, I hope to either fix or re-make the loom parts I made yesterday. I want to sand that chip-and-dip platter I made a while back. I have a lot of projects in mind to work on. It would help if I retired and spent all my time on projects.
I will see what I work on next weekend.
Little vice is loose setting
vice set tight, note how the handle now touches the back of the jaw.
Bottom of the vice, Square nut is pulled tight to the metal with just a twist of the handle.
the stick to become the rod. Drill bit all the way in.
yellow pine blank about to be turned wrong, white wood knob shown next to it.
Nob and rod in place loosely
both knobs sitting on threaded rod.
Left side is the coco plum and the right side is the wild coffee plants I got.