Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Action photo from left to right:
muscle ninja 
sky lander
chicken lady
hot dog boy.

halloween 2012
spirits are high (even without sugar)
the bags are full and it is about time to call it quits.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lick o'rock

Seasonal snacks from the south shore of branched oak.

as what not to do is lick the moss rocks that are the size of toads and hallucinate of 
double rainbows and ponies.

frothing like water turned from drift wood and a trip to the doctors, that would be in order.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Finger in the door

On the branched oak trip, two of the three boys managed to smash their finger in the camper door.

lochlann was the first.
pasty faced and ill from the incident, loch hugs his new best friend (plastic lined bag) just in case.

three days later he is still claiming workman's comp.
that is not what we taught him.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Camper camping fire building

With the many ways to start a fire, the camper camping tends to be the least labour intensive.

we bring all of our kindling and larger logs. if we do any scavenging it is for medium sized sticks or in the case of a place like branched oaks where there is lots of larger driftwood pieces, medium and more large.

building the branched oak camper camping fire/layered cake:

one flat board
some crumpled old school assignment paper from the boys
one paraffin fire starter sitting on the board and paper
starting the teepee with some dry woodworking scraps
some small branches with dead pine needles (nice and hot)
layering the teepee of scavenged medium sticks
final teepee layer of larger pieces.

light the corner and that is it. the campground pits are easy to light because the also have that convenient barrel containment that acts as a wind block.

a piece of the woodworking scrap still visible.
the coffee was already done and was just staying warm on the grill. otherwise we will put the pot in the outside of the fire.

Branched oaks sra trip

Just returned form a 3 day camper trip to branched oaks. 

the far end of the south shore sites was lightly populated and away from the more congested pads.
this time of the year is nice too, with the fair weathers not in site. 
this trip was just to do some shore walking and take it easy.
night time temperatures were in the upper 20's
day time temperatures were in the mid 40's.

the south shore side was more interesting for shore walking. the wind was blowing from the north, providing a massive supply of driftwood sticks.

a bit further in were a steady supply of dry driftwood too for the fire.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


That is not one of our dogs, 
it is an upside down orangutan hogging the couch.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bizen yaki beer vessel

It had been a while, but then i had the urge to unwrap an old package.

a 1997 acquisition from bizen.
a 6500 yen purchase for this beer drinking vessel of awesomeness.

the ribbed profile shows the slowness of the wheel as well as the deliberateness of the hand.

stories told:
the bursting of the skin tells of the materials used in the clay making process.
 the light ash dusting informs of the firing.

i am not sure but i think this mark is from a piece of straw made laid on the bottom the vessel before firing.

purpose filled.

purpose being fulfilled.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Railhead trousers

Finished the papillion extreme run (a mud run) and was very pleased. the staff was well placed and very friendly. a short run with enough obstacles. 
the more obstacles the better it breaks the monotony of the run. 

ran in an older pair of railhead trousers 
they served me very well.

it is very easy to run in trousers and the leg coverage is nice, especially on the natural obstacles (hay, creek runs, ect). 

the key is that the pants need to be snug, two coats of scotch guard and suspenders.

railhead trousers and the mud run

the real muddy challenges happen at the very end of the race 
(slip & slide mud hill and a mud/silt crawl).

according to gentlemen's emporium

these are tougher canvas pants. 
my favorite work pants!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Burning bush in Autumn 2

Took a leaf inside to show the boys under a thread counter magnifier.

had to take a quick still of the obvious.

burning bush ignited

the indoor lighting changed the color of the red. 
much bloodier.

thread counter magnifiers are great compact little tools. lets one look pretty close.
it is the visual details that get the young ones really thinking.

thread counter
these little tools fold up to about the size of a thick half dollar.
ver transportable.

Burning bush in autumn

For fire safety alone, one should hold certain realities from your children.

"With this year's weather so off, it was necessary for me to ignite the burning bush into color."

autumn burning bush 
my point to the boys,

being outside everyday, the familiarity of the surroundings slowly turning into the next season seems to hinder our observation of some of the more dramatic events.
just last week these bushes were green. we must have been so focused on the trees changing, because when we went outside yesterday and saw nothing but red.

 the color seemed to change almost spontaneously.!.

On either side of the grill are two burning bushes (appropriate).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fallen limb

Wind and rain for most of the day.  

one gust took down this 28 foot limb.  

i was impressed how its butt end impaled itself 8" into the wet ground before it rested just 2 feet from the boys play fort.

i reminded them that this is why we do not play under the trees in a storm or gustier winds.

in the upper middle of this image you can see the stump where the fallen came from.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ludlow trousers

Another pair of pants that have been relegated to work.

these pants are durable and comfortable. 

from the gentlemen's emporium site.

Desk blink

I keep a small decorative Kerosene lantern on the left side of the desk for clarity.

at the end of the night i can use a bit of that.


a soft light that flickers and wains not in fatigue,
 but in blinking moments of clarity that offset the dumbing brilliance of this damn screen.

so right is the antiquated light.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Length of shower

Took the last glass to the shower.

sprecher brewery's power "commando"
a "scotch-style ale aged in oak bourbon barrels"

this wee heavy had the weight and flavor but was so well made that i couldn't call it a sipper. not a regular drinker but too good for a slow drink.

despite the definite scottish ale flavor, the bourbon barrel aging left a strong presence.
good complement.

10% octane

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Craftsman vice cork trimming

Update on the vice maintenance. 

removed the wax paper and trimmed the cork. 
i recommend trimming the cork inward at a 60-45 degree angle.
when you are making your cut apply the pressure on the pull and not the push.

cut on the pull, not the push, beveled in about 45-60 degrees

Friday, October 12, 2012

Church key

A pet friendly house: dogs, birds, three children and one gold rabbit.

fairly substantial,  3/8ths of a pound steel

i believe that this was another tokkyu hands acquisition.

Carrom board maintenance

Attention!!  Attention!!
Carrom season is at hand!!!
Actually there is no such season but here at the fort we tend to play this game the most from fall through early spring (more of the indoor months).

Each year it is important to give the board, coins and striker(s) some maintenance. Consistent use will roughen up smooth playing surfaces and the ambient moisture in the air will gum up powders.

One can probably get away with just a quick wipe of the board and start playing but a more finely tuned playing surface will make for a better playing experience.using 

This is a 4 year old board that the entire family uses, sees lots of use.
the more use the greater the friction.

before maintenance

 This detail shows the carrom powder embedded into the wood grain and that is good. it also exemplifies the reasoning for applying a base layer of silicon before the carrom powder. the grain increases the boards surface area therefore the increased potential for friction.

before maintenance, the white is the carrom powder embedded in the wood grain
 After a wipe down with a lightly moist cloth to remove all of the old powder, the silicon is sprayed and then wiped in small circular motions to make sure it gets into the grain and is evenly distributed.
it doesn't take much silicon to do this.

Something to note is that any over spray will turn whatever it lands on very slick. 
caution to over spray on the floor! 

cleaned and siliconed
 After the board is treated the wood coins will do well to be treated too.
i spray while the coins are sitting on a cloth to contain the mess.
then i can also use that same rag to rub into the grain.
the coins need to be cleaned and siliconed too
 the board is ready to go.
i never apply carrom powder immediately after silicon treatment. give it awhile to settle.
board and coins ready for action
for anyone interested in the game, instead of purchasing online try your local indian grocery store.
aim for $50.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finally i am home

Wednesday is friday and no where near a banker's saturday.

i am just glad to be home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vice pads

Adding new corked wood pads to the vice.
i would compare this to getting new tires. you just know there will be a smoother ride.

the new blocks compared to the old.
it is always the axe and hatchet heads that tear up the blocks the most. i keep using this vice because it is the easiest on the heads. the metal working vice doesn't cut it.

the wood flooring plank is left over from wood flooring i laid in the kitchen.
using the whole buffalo.

decided to increase the width so the block will hang over just about 3/8" on each side.

old cork mangled to hell mostly from the axe/hatchet maintenance.
the oak wood is prefinished so it needed some rough sanding and rasp scratches before i would be adding the glue.

there are two things to note here. one is that i glued both the wood and the cork before clamping together and the second is that i put a little strip of wax paper on the bottom to catch any drips. 

glue to both the cork and the wood blocks
the final step before clamping is placing some wax paper between the cork. last thing i need is to glue my cork together. 

it does not get any easier than the clamping procedure for glueing cork to the wood pads in a vice.

after i took this photo i wiped off the excess glue and then i will let it cure for 24 hours. 
after that the vice will get a new handle.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Addressing the workbench tabletop

A distraction from my original task.
In the decision to do some maintenance on the vice, i could no longer ignore the maple workbench top surface.  
 this bench sees lots of different work (from the utilitarian to the finer work
((may i add no fine work, just finer than utilitarian))
and therefore some of the remains of a job well done is not the best for the next job, or materials used on that next job. 

i first took the very top layer off, removing glues/ greases/ paints ect. after that i added new bumpers on the long sides. I had some left over oak flooring that i cut down and screw fixed to the side. screws make for an easy changeout. 
first layer removed and oak side bumpers added

after adding the new bumpers i rubbed in linseed oil.

showing the difference the oil makes.
apparently i am also showing the maple wood chips from a spoon i made the other day
soaked in, the wood was pleased with the oil.

after the oil soaked in
now i can get back to the vice work.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Salvaged craftsman vice

I wanted to make the boys some short posts on simple vice maintenance.
to start though, i wanted to give some familiarity to the test subject and a thank you to the fellow that scored me my craftsman 5204.

some of the best tools are those that have been saved from salvage. often it only takes a quick cordial, tell the original/current owner your intentions and maybe a few dollars.

even if discarded there is a procedure for saving the tool. one never knows the history between that tool and the current owner. for anyone that uses tools they should know that behind each one there is often actual blood and sweat shared between the steel and the worker. that exchange creates a bond that needs to be properly respected before it can pass off to the next.

1. one must ask permission to have the tool. let them know that you want to actually use it as a tool. to show intent use words like "revive", "repair" or "let it live again".  
2. let them know that you are not taking it to resell but to use and appreciate in your own workshop.  owners are always more likely to pass it on if they know you are going to appreciate the tool and interact with its original purpose.
3. depending on the tool it doesn't hurt to offer some dollars for it. ask yourself, if someone came to you for it would you want them to offer some money. how much is fair.

my craftsman 5204
about 15 years ago a friend of mine, Dave, was at a site and saw this old vice laying outside in a scap pile. he knew i needed one, asked permission and now i have had it on this work table for over twelve years.

thanks again Dave!

craftsman 6 1/2" wood vice model 5204

axe heads have chipped away the cork lining my wood blocks

simple spacer to make the vice level with the table top

the next posts on this vice will be replacing the handle and the cork on the pad blocks.