Saturday, March 30, 2013

Whiskey marinated deer stew

Tomorrow's Easter dinner will be a whiskey marinated deer stew.

the essential key to excellent deer is marinating, browning, low temperature cooking.

first = cut deer roast into stew bits
next = soak submerged in marinade for 24 hours
next = cornstarch the individual stew cuts
next = in a stock pot get the liquid base with seasonings up to temperature.
next = brown stew cuts in a dutch oven or other deep welled pot (oil dances)
next = on last pieces of stew cuts add onions and garlic. when the stew pieces are done so will be the vegetable sauteing. 
next = when meat is getting close to done then prepare potatoes in a separate pot
next = rinse potatoes and set aside.
finally = when meat is done add potatoes and any other vegetables.

there are a few steps to pass along to the boys.
first is that deer and seasonings go hand in hand. 24 hours is a good time frame to let the deer cure in a salt/seasoning liquor. when done this way deer looses its so called "game" title and becomes a well prepared venison. 

this marinade was soy sauce, seasoning salt, garlic powder, sweet chili sauce and spiced canadian whiskey. 

when browning, we will be addressing two sides of the stew cut meat so we will be dividing the cooking pot into two parts. one half will contain meat being browned on its first side and the other half will contain meat being browned on the second half (or flipped side).

this will allow for a continual flow of production.

another variable to keep in mind is that there will be multiple pots going on. while the oil was heating up in the deep welled dutch oven i had started the broth, italian seasonings and seasoning salts in a large stock pot. later on there will also be a separate pot for the potatoes. 

the pot has been divided into halves. the upper side shows the mead being browned on the second side and the lower half shows meat just added to the pot. when the upper half is done i will put the stew bits into the main stock pot (on another burner) flip the lower half over and moved to the upper half and add more fresh deer to the lower half.

when the last of the stew pieces are in the pot i will add the onions and one full head of garlic.
when the meat is done the vegetables will also be ready for the stock pot.

when the meat is done so will be the onions and garlic
the stock pot has been on a low simmer for an hour and then i start the potatoes in a separate pot. the water from the potatoes is very starchy and i want to keep that away from the stew. 
we just want the potatoes, the garden wants the starch water.
when the potatoes are almost done i will rinse in cold water and set to the side until the meat is done.

when the stew meat is done i will add the potatoes and any other vegetables 
(today it was corn and peppers).

the deer absolutely melted in the mouth!

now the stew will cool and we will reheat tomorrow for dinner.
sitting overnight will really blend the flavors.

First spring bulbs equals gardening soon

The fist of many that will really start dotting the internet.
spring bulb are up and today the crocus (as usual) are the first ones out.

this is not a sign of pretty flowers (actually i suppose it is) but the first indication that spring is close and therefore if the garden has not already been planned out then one had better get in gear and do it.
by may 15th everything is a go,
the farmer's almanac has a 50% chance of being frost free as early as april 25th.
technically cabbage, broccoli, radishes and other cold greens are ready in a week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Smoking hammer crate

With all challenges of the last week past but not forgotten, 
today still ends up being a wednesday in disguise as a friday.

time to do some shop work:

sharing a cigar with a restored hammer. i think there was appreciation.

this late afternoon i will hinge and stain the restored hammer crates.

if i get this done then tomorrow (a day off) i can add the crate flash, photograph the final product and post on etsy, the hammers. 
this is long over due.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A funeral in the country

Today was cold and windy,
typical beginning to the "spring".

a cowboy funeral for my uncle:

young ones peeking out at me whilst taking the photo.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring snow then the moon.

a full moon at the end of a spring snow day
 the central plains provides a full 4 seasons.
this nicely breaks our year into 4 fairly definable categories.

today's "bleeding of the seasons", weather talk, can start and or end all sorts of topics
(tangible or less than).

Hammer shipping crates

There are just under a dozen restored vintage hammers that are waiting for shipping crates to be built.

a simple process that of course i had to make more difficult.
i wanted to keep to the same general aesthetic, yet add some variety. a hammer crate that was a variant of the mallet/axe/hatchet shipping crate.

i think that an answer is forthright:

these crates will not have a hinged, horizontally opening door like the mallets
but a vertically opening panel hinge at the bottom three slats (sort of like an upside down top hinged memo pad).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Westcraft and Master Builder carpenter's hatchets

Today was able to start a new design on the restored hammer shipping crates 
took the photos, as well as posted two restored hatchets on the etsy shop:

the master builder carpenter's hatchet is a nicely thick walled tool.
this will take some serious knocks as well as maintain a sharp cutting edge.
restored master builder carpenter's hatchet

restored master builder carpenter's hatchet with gun sights flash
 The restored westcraft was another good one.
very pleased with the steel quality.
restored westcraft hatchet

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Nebraska" field notes

This is and always has been an import state for many goods.
nothing wrong with that. in fact, with the right mentality can be a moment to relish. 
so when the mail comes it just might be an EVENT.

today my Nebraska county fair field notes arrived.
with electronic tracking there are few surprises on the arrival, but when it is time for the walk to the mailbox the mind races through the possibility of cleverness/organization/forget me never/ and future possibilities that will fill these pages.

and with this cake came icing in the form of a complementary pencil.
something so simple as thank you can mean as much as a handshake.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mac's first pen case

The oldest will have his 11th birthday this week and i have been working on his first pen case. he has a real passion for writing and drawing.
his drawing desk is already stock, so i kept to simple in a easy to carry mobile way.

being 11 i doubt it will be his edc but i am sure that he will make it his field and his trip carry.

spent the last month looking online and through the home for what would be best to start him off with. been balancing what he already prefers and something new i would like him to use.

in the acquisition of the clutch pencils from some ebay auctions had a fair amount of lead attached to them to the sales.
with patience i was able to get great deals on every single one of them and now enough lead to give him the needed variety for some time.

a good mix of leads and lead carriers. he will have some options for choosing

the hardest item to find was the perfect cigar case. that was the last item to get. didn't make it to the house until last week.

the ebony pencil will be a new tool for him. this has been a standard in my designs and will be looking forward to see if he takes to it. he had been using a 3b for making solid planes and bolding lines.

Mac's first pen case

a few items not easily identifiable: the click pen eraser, and the green extra fine tip pen (this is for the base lines when writing and the foundation lines for designs.
the crimson pencil is my influence on the importance of applying a real color differentiator for some parts in linear design.

i had a damn good time going through the process of picking these tools out and look forward as to how this first setup will change and evolve over time.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

11 hammers stripping

It is that kind of a party here.

the clear coat just hit the sweet zone between tacky and dry. 
now is the best time to remove the masking. 
if i were to wait any longer i would have to cut a line where the tape meets the finish.
this speeds up the work and sacrifices nothing for quality.

hammers with paint and clear coat waiting to be stripped. 
this is a good time as the final looks becomes apparent.
i should stress that it is good because my expectations are being met.
hammer's paper removed, next to go is the tape
 in 24-48 hours (more to the 48 hour side) i will start the long oil on the bare wood sections.
where the head visually meets the handle the oil from the eye wood soaking is still evident.
i am very pleased with the wood of the handles, after oiling i am hoping that others will agree.
hammer masking removed, next they need oiling

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Uncrate instructions

A shipping crate is about as utilitarian as an object gets
there is something about those old style wood crates with different types of identifiers adhered to, printed on or imprinted into the skin.
i have made an attempt to give an impression of the older "cratesque" look.

Each crate i make is made for the particular tool that is to be housed in it
the extreme croquet mallets, axes and hatchets have the same overall design (for now anyway).
crate opening instructions
with one side of the crate being hinged, the opening tabs only needed to be located on the opposite side.

there are two types of tabs to unlatch.
one tab is wood with a screw fastener
the second is a leather tab that fits over a small latch nail.
this side shows the two types of latch tabs. 
the first step is to remove the screw in this wood tab.

wood crate tab with the screw fastened

the other step is to lift the leather tab up and over the small latch nail.
there is a hole punched into the leather and it will come off easily when lifted and pulled out.
one does not want to remove the nail. the nail will allow you to re-latch the crate at any time. 

leather crate tab

Allen mallet in shipping crate

The final steps before heading off to the shippers.

mummified in the first layer of wrappings.
 by the time i am done with the packing this mallet will be able to withstand the most abusive of couriers.

mallet tomb,
no it is a 
mallet womb.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Preparing the shipping crates

Preparing 1 mallet crate for shipping to Brooklyn and 2 hatchet crates to put on ETSY.

 adhering the crate flash signifies the near completion of the tool's restoration process. 
at each step i do critique however their is an enjoyable weight to the end. one that finalizes the entire experience.
a final moment to review the new life of an established tool.

adhering the paper flash on the crates:
first is to attach the tool care instructions on the inner lid.
after a layer of adhesive i lay a small square of ply over the top for equal weight distribution, then some weight over the top of that. in this case i am using double bit axe heads.
after the photo i laid the top square and double bit over the peeking paper.
paper flash: glued, and sandwiched with weight.

weighted down until glue sets
 the next flash is the vertical name 
the crate opening instructions.

for weight on the hatchet crates i multitasked the actual hatchets that will soon be housed inside.
there are plenty of axe & hatchet heads around the house to use as weights in this house.

next step is to make some thought rockets and then either ship or photograph for posting.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tremors axe

Introduced the boys to "tremors"
we noticed the "axe" cameo.

fred ward without a gun grabs an axe.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Vinegar bath - sci fi horror still

Over a dozen rusty hammers later,
trying to sort out the title of the sci fi horror movie this vinegar bath came out of.

you just know that some creature bred in this primordial ooze is going to be all jacked up and try to take over humanity!

i dare you to stick your finger in that hole!
do it!!

Linseed oil the hammers eye and keep history exposed

A few thoughts racinating from the simple act of hammer restoration:

after time all wood will dry out and shrink, starting at the ends. for safety reasons alone it is so important to condition the eye wood in a soak in linseed oil so the head doesn't come loose.
(i paint the tail end to keep it sealed, but if you persuasion is for absolutely no flash then a soak at both ends does the job)

beyond safety, 
a properly cared for tool will act as a record to your value.

the absolute best tools are those that have helves worn smooth by use of the owners hand. 
conditioned wood worn from the hand is how the handle mirrors the patina from oil on the steel to show a complete description of how the tool was cared for and how much valued work was achieved. 
the longer the tool is cared for the more time is spent with the tool.

a simple glance at the tool will show your history.
and for all of those that "make" will be able to decide, right there, where in the ranks you stand.

not sure where to start with describing this cobble job but i will jump to the end
and say, "probably not safe"
(more than two wedges, cracks in different directions and chunks of wood missing)
The first step to the restoration process is to drill out the handle in the eye.
actually i cut of the handle (about 1/4" from the head) so i can drill from both sides of the eye.

when i first saw this, i couldn't help but to think damn, this is going to break a drill bit.
fortunately it did not.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Modified handles

I was removing a half a dozen handles to get ready for vinegar bath 
i had to take a photo of this vintage rip hammer handle before it is never to be seen again.

i actually respect the effort when others have a go at improving the grip of a handle.
to me it shows the owner's personal style and his/her individual desire to make the tool better.

this was a sort of drilled hole and countersink technique.
the painted red handle was actually striking and gave it a presence. the paint was wearing very nicely.
the tape on the end was there to protect it from when it was used as a mallet.
(a hammer handle should not be used as a club, 
however the reality of the work site can demand some dual usage of a rip hammer )

Cutting wedges for hanging hammers

The handles came in record time, just perfect for my day off.

when the handles come in the wax finish needs to be removed. also, there needs to be some shaping of the angles. after the shaping i will sand the hickory into a smoother state.

this is just the pre-hanging handle work. there will be more sanding before painting the flash.

in the process of hanging one of the chores is cutting wedges

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Arrow hammer rehung

Used my last 14 inch octagonal handle today whilst waiting for my order to arrive.
18 more 14"ers coming soon.

i never use epoxy, but i do use a wood glue on the soft wood wedge.
the not only does it give that extra bond but allows that wedge to be soft enough to get in all the nooks and crannies of the handle cut.

this makes a best fit.

i know when i have too many projects, life events and obscene work load when i thought i had already ordered the handles but in all reality had NOT.

Sencha cup

A serious need for dusting brought me to a red overglazed enameled sencha cup
i made in 1998.

i was given the opportunity to deviate from the formal designs and play with some ideas i wanted to see off paper.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

IMPORTANT information on hygene

I wasn't asked the other day, " noble! how is it that you smell so good all the time"

eating potpouri, and drinking lucky tiger aftershave.

 with a little wd-40 between my toes.

Bathroom flowers - relieve yourself peacefully

Nothing like spring cleaning spawned on by family visiting.

with lochlann's b-day during the week family will come into town for the PARTY today.
nothing says "Welcome" like flowers in the bathroom.