Friday, December 27, 2013

Heavy on the nib creep from a Wing Sung 235 i took to work

Everyone has their unique "perfect" blend of fountain pens ready to go for particular occasions. 

i have simplified my catagories to:
at the desk (safe working environment),
at work (semi-safe working environment),
in the workshop (not safe one damn bit working environment).

safety in the above categories is toward my pens safety. although i suppose the way i go about projects the workshop may apply to both my pens and myself.

most of my work fountain pens need to be of the tougher variety. usually made of aluminum or brass and need to be able to take a knock. every now and then though i take a less than sturdy variety that i can use as a highlighter next to a computer or tethered to a clipboard. just to put some variety in the standards.

earlier this week i took a Wing Sung 235 to work as a highlighter.
this was the first time i had taken it to work.

heavy nib creep on a wing sung 235 fountain pen

heavy nib creep on a wing sung 235 fountain pen

 i had purchased some time this summer just for the hell of it (under $5). I wanted to see how a very inexpensive pen like this would hold up. The pen had somehow managed off the computer and onto my person.

jumping forward to this morning when i was sorting out my day, i saw this pen and opened it up.
needless to say it did not handle the knocking around very well at all. most pathetic was that day wasn't even a heavy physical day and the pen did this. 

despite the heavy build up in the feed, if i were to just wipe it off with a cloth then it would write fine. but a deep cleaning is in order and quite honestly am done with this experiment and will relegate this pen to a R.I.P. drawer. the pen preformed how i thought: poorly.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Line work and designs

Making a brief calm before the work week storm begins.

 sitting down and just focusing on some line work is usually all i need to adequately prepare for such a challenge. 
in this particular session, I started with some handmade paper that i formed from about 18 years ago. 
this cotton paper was made with a hollander beater and a proper press.  hollander beaters really are the best way to maximize the fiber fibrillation and get the strongest bond after sheet pressing.  this paper is workable with both dip pens and even some quick motion, linear fountain pen work at the very end. after saturating (and then letting dry) the cotton with different layers of pigmented ink, the paper can handle some looser ink like that from a fountain pen.

working on line work and some designs is a way to prepare for some less than desirable times
 by the time i have laid out the plaid (the first step in some line work), i am able to change my mind from a more disorganized free flowing mental state to a very directed thought process. 

the blood pressure drops and the mind's capabilities expand during this focused time.
 when finished with the design, i can then take this state to any challenge off the page.

another benefit of this type of "calming" process is that i get something tangible at the end. this object can be pulled out at anytime and reference my mind back to the focused state that my mind was in.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Similarities between my worn field notes and crows feet

The similarities between my worn "drink local" field notes
 crows feet. 

the field notes worn into crows feet

i am really pleased with how the stout aged. i would rank this as the most visually interesting when finished. the white lines were very pronounced and shot out from the binding like lightning bolts in the black of my beer.

i am ready to switch this stout edition with a "cold horizon" book.

switching from the field notes "drink local" edition to the "cold horizon"

hoping for some potential in the pages.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A perfect marriage: Kaweco AL Sport and my pliers holder

I think that everyone is (or should be) just a bit concerned as to what they carry on their person. 
each item should have a valued purpose and an equally heightened aesthetic level. this elevated concern for how something looks is not at all about vanity but rather a discerning view that stands firm on the notion that the looks should be as good as its performance. why in the hell should we sacrifice one for the other, we are better than that.

a perfect example of a lasting aesthetic-function marriage:
the last pliers sheath i made paired with a Kaweco AL Sport. they make a damn fine couple.

This particular fountain pen looks like it belongs on a workers belt.

it is compact = the pliers sheath is big enough. in fact it's smaller size draws attention to it.
machined from aluminum = it is tough and can take a beating without hurting the nib
screw cap = does a good job keeping dust and grit out.
faceted cap = aluminum is slick enough and the faceted sides of the cap when posted give it a grip. 

the octagonal cap is also a familiar feel as it relates so well to the handles i hang on my restored hammers.

feels good works even better!
everything about this pen is a win.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The value of the riffler when hanging a hatchet

Restoring a hatchet for a local and just wanted to promote the use of the riffler for those fine adjustments for the best possible fit.

this particular hewing hatchet is a good example of when the detailing end of a riffler becomes invaluable. that pointed lug can create a bit of a challenge when using bulkier tools.
 one can use a dremel but the riffler offers excellent control and does a better job of smoothing out the transition between the fitted area and the unfitted area (at least for myself)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Diamine sunset ink flush

Diamine Sunset is one of those brighter colors that works really well as a highlighter/underliner.

after a couple of weeks, with multiple fills, it is always a good time for a flush.

dissolve the old and the newly cleaned feed will flow better.

a quick note, that although to clean a fountain pen is a bit of work it is my NO means a chore.
i accept the task with a beer and a moment to relax.

i usually have a few work pens (3-4) going on at once.
getting the production line speeds up the process and justifies another one.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saving the leather from an old stirrup bag

Along with the leather saddle bags i also acquired this leather stirrup bag that had some great stamping.
the bag itself is in pretty rough shape
the outer leather is nice.

an old stirrup bag to be readied for a future project
the stamping is very attractive
there has to be something that i can make from this skin.
the problem is that i am not sure what yet. a small hatchet sheath is the easy answer, but i would like to find something else. if anything just for the challenge of making something that i want/need but can keep as much of the tooling composition intact.

no matter what, it is important to prepare future material for use now. no need to wait until the thoughts come to mind for what this shall be used for. 
just get it conditioned now.

first i removed the suede liner. the threading of course is usually the first to go, but there are also cuts and discolouring in the suede. i will save for another project. right now i am only concerned with focusing on the full grain leather outer.

removing the inner suede lining from the leather stirrup bag
after the suede and the stitching is removed, i started the cleaning process.
first removing the dirt and grime with water and a very light amount of soap.
next some light coats of neatsfoot to condition the slightly dry leather.

the stirrup bag has been disassembled and the leather conditioned for future project.
the stamping is a keeper
this will do for now.
brainstorming begins for a project. if anything when the thoughts do come to mind then i will have the leather ready for use.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Small leather saddle bags as another winter project

A fool i am.

i have added another winter project on the list of to do's.

this is going to be a good one thought. 
when i go off to deer hunt i always get more than good times. i get caught up with good friends that i can only see once a year. i also bring back food and some other gems.

this time i was given some old leather saddle bags.

the leather is very pliable and will condition nicely. 
there is a bit of stitching i will need to do, but that is it.

the character on these bags are amazing.

projects like this one fit the space where i want to do sitting down work.
since this photo i have already cleaned the dirt off.
next will be to condition the leather and then do the stitching work.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Back and forth, this week it is dyeing craftsman axe sheath

I often follow common threads, but rarely is there a need to only prescribe to one aesthetic.

for tool leather i find myself going back and forth from letting the leather color naturally 
dyeing in the construction.

currently i am in the dyeing mode. one thing is for certain and that is dyed leather blends in better with the dirt and grime that it weathers through.

i have rehung my craftsman single bit and thought a new sheath was in order.
the dye has been applied before the rivets and snaps.
choosing to dye the sheath before rivets and snaps rather than going all natural.
i am looking forward to seeing the axe completely finished.
maybe by this weekend.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cup of pencil shavings

The more shavings made the more design and mark making i have completed in the shop.

cup of pencil shavings

this is not all from today
i am definitely contributing to the fill.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Table top baseball game refinish

winter time is tabletop baseball season!
today was time to give it a quick refinish for another season of gameplay.

A few years ago, whilst in the middle of one of my many tangents,  i was on the computer looking for ideas to make new table top game for me and the boys when i stumbled on a dice rolling baseball game.

i liked the idea but thought the aesthetic could use a little enrichment.
the original one i saw was on a built made out of a simple pine 1 inch thick pine plank, and had some simple lines and a scoreboard.

i started with a round oak table table top that had survived a bar fire. it was about 2" thick, finish was bubbled and smelled of smoke. i removed the finish with an old jack plane i use for such occasions and then smoothed from there. i like the heft of a solid wood game.

squared up to the size i wanted and quickly went to creating bolder color fields for the playing surface.
i really enjoy design and the layout (as simple as it is) was extremely entertaining to create.

i needed to contain the dice when rolling
i wanted it to be easily replaceable, after all this game is meant for young ones that will be dropping it as some point. the mahogany trim was a quick solution.

there are two types of square cut nails used. one size if for the players and the other size is for the 
game keeping.

mint tins make a perfect holder for the pieces and a place to put the directions.
with an old manual typewriter i applied to paper i made years ago and adhered to the mint tin.

i uses pigmented ink for the colorant. this ink is extremely lightfast and allows the grain to show through. plus this gave me an a color palate i wanted.

"play ball!!"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Collins homestead shipping off to boston

This collins took a fair amount of file work to make the bit more practical.

now off to the east coast.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deer hunting 2013 - sunday morn

The day started out and continued to be windy as HELL.
this type of wind will only keep the deer in shelter and not moving one damn bit.

not only does this wind mess with the deer but when given opportunity can absolutely foul up a shot.
if there is anything that i DO NOT want and that is to have a bad shot.

we after hunting the first part of the morning it was obvious that the day could be as fruitful as saturday.
the first have we hunted the south
the second part we hunted the north

in this vid we took a quick break. it sort of shows a bit of the wind but by no means shows its force on the body. literally 5 minutes I took after this i found my buck.

sorry about the finger.

from about 125 yards I went at this nice buck. 
fortunately it was from my position that I could claim him first.

2013 mule buck with 24 inch spread

what this photo doesn't show is that this buck actually has a 24 inch spread and there is a nice thickness to the base,
then on top of that, the antlers were very symmetrical. my favorite though was the G5s. they were both curled up evenly.

was able to get a fair amount of meat with this gem. 
as most know we are huge fans of deer meat.

in the end, this may not be a monster buck but damn if it isn't the closest i have ever been (so far).
GREAT hunt.

the next day two other fellows we were hunting with took theirs.
both were good but doc's was a very nice one. another big boy with some nice brow tines and 
great height on his 2s and 3s.

i am already motivated for next year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Deer hunting 2013 - saturday afternoon

The ridiculously nice weather continued.
the dry spell runs though the afternoon.

at the end of the day, we spotted a monster of a buck.
he stood with 3 does at about 400 yards.
the light was all but gone and the distance was far enough away it is best to try for him in the morn.

saturday night is a full moon. not a good thing for deer hunting.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deer hunting 2013 - saturday morn

The first morning of rifle season was too nice, nothing to drive the deer. 
Saw a total of 12 does and 2 smaller bucks. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dropping hand tools after running power tools

At the workbench and this is the third time i have dropped the tack hammer!

i have been running the orbital sander for quite some time
the prolonged use has vibrated my grip away.

for these long sessions with this tool, i may actually have to consider getting one of those 
shock absorbing gloves.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Arnold fountain pen

Just received my auction win of 4 Arnold fountain pens. 

although i knew these inexpensive writing utensils were occupants of the third tier,
i still wanted the experience of writing with them. better yet, i wanted to interact with them. work on some designs and makes some notes. 
Quite frankly, i am a second or third tier sort of fellow, so i have taken GREAT enjoyment with using these categories of writers. 
if i am lucky the sum will become greater than the parts.
just received my 4 arnold fountain pens.
before charging up with ink, i went in for a close up.
one can see how a tip is formed by the simple bending of the end.
at this point of observation, i was beginning to doubt the pens ability to write. 
the pen's feed was also feeding this doubt. personally, i had never used such a feed before.

arnold fountain pen close up of feed

even under glass i couldn't see how the ink was going to migrate to the nib.
very curious, i immediately went to the diamine oxblood. i wanted to use an ink that was rich but not too opaque when thinned out.

the nib was dipped in for about 3 seconds and then looked at. 
here i can now see the thin channels carrying the ink.

arnold fountain pen close up of ink in the thin feed channels

it was time to give the pen a line or two.

maybe it was my low expectation, but i was quite pleased with how it wrote. there was no scratch to the pen to paper contact, a bit of feel but it wasn't a drag nor any roughness. 

arnold fountain pen after some lines. the ink on the top of the nib was from dipping in the well

i gave the pen a few more lines and was very pleased.
i do write fast, so the consistency of line was fluid and smooth.

these were all broad tip pens and i think that this will work to my advantage.
i can actually see some variation of line (i am an italic/stub fan).

arnold fountain pen wrote very smooth with no skipping. the broad nib allowed for some variation in line.
next i will fully ink up the pens and put them to use.
this broad nib was wet enough that i will not use on a field notes notebook 
but will be perfect on a rhodia or doane.
(most of the vintage pens i have can only be used on the weightier paper).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bale with cat skin and free range running

A visit out to father's means the boys run untethered.

bales of hay act as elevated running platforms. jumping from one to one.
as long as they don't go tearing into them it is good.

i don't dictate on free range movement
every now and then they do need a second set of eyes.

this particular moment involved reminding the youngest to watch out for the 1/4 cat skin that had fallen off of the top of the bale.

at least one fox has been thinning out the cat population.
some days before the fox took this cat to the top of the bale for some dining privacy.

now the cat serves as another jumping obstacle on free range bale running.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Keeping an eye out(let) for dust snakes

I am just going to start with how i admire good writers.

I have rewritten this opening about 20 times.
i cant find the words to express how "just keep an eye out" can provide some simple 
valued entertainment.

if there is anything i am fairly descent at is "keeping an eye out" for:
the absurd, the humorous, the threatening and the unique. 
at least finding an image that can become anyone of those.

after i have captured an image of value, i then take great enjoyment in expanding its context,
basically making up stories in my mind. these stories i usually keep to myself but when the story is rich enough will share with family or friends (once again, all in order to entertain). 
such mind play is absolutely essential in my life. they offset the seriousness, stress and overly hard working, non-creative facets of my life.

here is an example, i was walking down the stairs of a business when i saw this outlet at the bottom.

i find this to be extremely visually rich and full of potential.
this business was actually very well maintained except for this outlet in a back stairwell.

breaking down this into multiple who, what, where, when, how and why will start to expand all of the possibilities. a sort of kafka's "unbridled horses" from the country doctor take control and i find myself just going not fully knowing where it is going to end, if it ever does.
 the stories are endless.
i would keep on going with the stories i have weaved but i am an on the spot oral observer/story teller, 
when i write almost all is lost. 

i admired good writers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pliers holder rig

After finishing this last pliers holder, i decided that it was time to see what else i could do with the sheath.

pliers, in a simple pliers holder, can always be found on my person.
a pair will act as: pliers, pry bar, slot driver, hammer and so on.
there are situations where i want to temporarily add another tool or at least have a loop or two to temporarily suspend a tool(s) that i am juggling on a project. 
sort of a practical puzzle, my first plan is to explore a system that i can just snap on a leather attachment to the back of the pliers holder. an attachment can cater to tools of a specific job. 
by being a snap system i can remove it easily for when it is time to walk away. 
i absolutely want to be able to remove this attachment when i walk away from the project.

tonight i quickly put together this leather rig with chicago screws, in order to try out potential attachments.
pliers holder rig to test potential snap on attachments

i can still go back and add snaps to make the potential attachments more real to the final but this was a quick fix for rough ideas.

pliers themselves are one of those essential every day carries. 

words of wisdom for the day,
"to avoid looking like a tool, one should not carry too many tools on their person in public".

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Companion pack hatchet

I am sending this restored Companion pack hatchet to Washington D.C.

i rarely hang hatchets on handles below 18"
there are times when the occation is very applicable:

when the head is small the handle does need to be shorter. this proportion is needed to maintain balance and a balanced blade will always be a safer striker. 

there are also times depending on how one wants to pack their gear that a short hatchet is needed, there is something to be said about the portability of a tool with a shorter handle.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Wet formed leather pliers sheath

I am jumping right to the results 
the wet formed leather around the tool vs wet formed around a wood tool blank.

the winner by far was around the tool itself.
wet formed leather pliers holder
the left cee tee is the one i used to do the forming.

i did dye the leather and riveted with the copper roofing nails.
beween rivets, stitching and cementing, i am confident that this full grain leather sheath will hold up very well.

after this post i will be attaching to a belt and start testing the wear factor.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Victory plumb carpenter's hatchet great for woodworking

This victory plumb carpenter's hatchet is on its way to Georgia.

these victory plumbs really are excellent workers. 
especially when at use at the work bench. 

for woodworking this steel preforms very well. a person can take that bit to cheek angle to a fine angle and still get good life between sharpenings.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wet forming pliers holders

Had some time today to

start the comparison between wet forming a wood form vs an actual tool.

i know for a fact that the actual tool is best when a specific tool is to be used but i would like to make one that can work for more shapes of pliers. to try a compromise i picked an old pair of Cee Tee pliers 
(my favorite, the newer ones after being bought out are inferior)
with wide jaws to make if fit all pliers with a smaller jaw profile.

also i have to add that i really like the look of wet forming over the actual tool. to be able to see some of the details of the tool itself is an attractive aesthetic. 

i would rather do this test at the same time, then to do one at a time.
looking forward to getting to the end product.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Window trimming away my day

Actually, i am having a pretty good time replacing the north side of the house's exterior window trim.
the north and south sides of the house take such a beating that it was time to replace the window trim. one of the base board needs to be repaired too (that is a bit more involved).

i passed on to the boys that house repairs should always come first.
if something needs tending to, then time lapsed will only make the chore more difficult 
expensive (in either time, labour or money).

coupled on that no matter how much the home is valued at, a well kept residential shows pride and personal value.

if only they would remember what i say.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Leather sheath for collins single bit axe and being an evolving jack of all

Making the leather sheath for the collins single bit that will be going to Georgia
was pleased that my leather working was improving (there is always room for improvement).

i am a firm believer in being a jack-of-all-trades ,
it fits my style of needing to know how to make as much as possible.

within this thought is also my strong pull to making my end product better than the last.
not just for myself, but ESPECIALLY when the object is destined for someone else.

i thoroughly thrive in a state of analyzing my work and challenging myself to do better.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Butter licking dogs

Yesterday morning the boys left the butter dish lid off.

when i came back home both dogs were doing their cowering moves so i had to give a quick tour to see what they were going to get in trouble for.

i couldn't find anything, so i sent them out and started to prepare some spread for the banana bread.
and there it was
one of the damn dogs had got on the counter and had their way with the butter stick.
maybe they took turns: "one took the high road and one took the low".
an almost full stick of butter tongue lashed by one of the dogs

we have a pretty good sense of humor here
and just seeing the two main tongue tracks is enough to laugh.

the deed was done.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Collins camp/pack hatchet - keeping the balance

Just finished the farewell hone and polish on this collins camp/pack hatchet.
will be shipping of to the East Coast.

this is a 5"x3" head, so a bit smaller than i am use to
i was able to find an 18 inch hickory helve that had great orientation and yet was very light weight for the quality. it is important to keep the balance of the tool so such paring are essential.
a good stock of handles on hand to pick from is a huge plus. this affords the hanger to pick the best option for the head.

i have always been an advocate of the longer handle; for reach or for leverage.
when doing detail work (which this tool will be very good for) just choke up.
this lighter handle will be safer (because it is balanced) and yet very sound.
the more versatile the tool, the more useful.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Length of shower - INVASION

Beer in the shower is as essential as the soap and water. 
in fact, soap is really an elective and ranks 3rd.

it was late and i am not afraid to say that i don't like to sleep in a bed dirty, so i go to basement shower and WHAM! 
wifey moved all of these health and beauty items into the dirty pigs, mac (oldest son) and my, shower. 

just so there is no concerns, i relegated one health and hygiene bottle and replaced it with another (heavy horse scottish ale).

heavy horse scottish ale from big sky brewing company is one of my favorite fall seasonals. 

this beer's octane qualifies it as a wee heavy, but is so smooth that it tastes more like an 80 shilling.
from the big sky website:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Collins single bit axe and a passing idea

Finished up this collins single bit and will try to get it posted tomorrow before work.

collins single bit. 
i take great satisfaction in getting others excited about restoring their own tools, especially when someone is able to do some of the work for themselves. there is something to a tool when their own hand was in the restoration process (or the entire process).
 the one variable that i keep constant, is that if the person does not have enough experience then i am there during the final hanging. this affords me first-hand inspection and guarantees that the tool will be safe and reliable.

i briefly played with the idea of offering kits for others who may want to tackle some of the different levels of restoration. there could be a kit where they get a completely restored head and an unfitted helve and they do the entire hanging.
a kit with a completely restored head and a dry fit helve. the new owner just needs to put the final whacks on hanging and do the wedge work.

in the end i talked myself out of it. 
the "kit" idea would take me too far from the individual tackling the project. this restoration process is about being able to be there, constantly evaluating the soundness of the tools parts and the skill of the restorer. without that fist hand accountability to make sure all was safe and sound, i felt the idea to be not responsible. 

it was still entertaining to play with the notion of different kit offerings.

Monday, October 7, 2013

2 hatchets and 1 axe crate

Finishing up the final gluing of crate flash to 2 hatchets and one axe crate.