Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pitting on a Plumb double bit axe: an example of texture

All marks on an old tool up for restoring act as a visual record of its history.
for outdoor tools, pitting from rust is a common mark maker.
 sometimes these marks show abuse and sometimes they just show a tool's life lived to the fullest.

if too deep then rust can be a killer for tools
it is important to make sure that if a tool is structurally sound before using (a vinegar bath is the system i employ to remove all of the rust, but there are other methods out there. the removal of all rust and debris exposes the tool for a complete obstacle free inspection). 

here is an example of a double bit axe that had a fair amount of rusting 
none of the rust was shallow enough to make it an excellent candidate for restoration.
Plumb double bit axe showing strong texture from rust but is completely sound and will make an excellent striker.
this Plumb double bit will make an excellent striker: full of history, full of potential.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Leather knife sheath for lauri shop knife

Having a little fun with the design while making functional gear is a good way to keep the process more exciting. all for the sake of entertainment, i never expect my final object to be unique but damn if i don't have a fun time making it. 
for this shop knife, i had the challenge with the meatier shape of the handle pushing too close to the sheath. these bigger handles with more extreme gestures are easier on the hand and allow for more hand positions to be used, but are not very sheath friendly.
not wanting the sheath to be 8 layers thick i decided to try something different 
from the front the sheathed knife looks pretty straight forward
lauri shop knife sheath
from the side it can be seen that i had decided to use an oak wedge to distant the knife handle away from the back of the sheath a bit.
was also able to keep the belt look in line with the curvature of the handle.
i did treat the wedge with tung oil to make it more prepared for outside use.
having a little fun with a design for a lauri shop knife leather sheath
the sheath pivots at the bottom (riveted and sewn) and can come apart if i want to change out the wooden wedge.
i also made the wedge a bit narrow, so from 3/4 view it is still very hidden and will also show off the sewing of the sheath's base layer.
lauri shop knife leather sheath
now ready for use this sheath may not be anything amazing but i must say that i had a very entertaining time working through the challenge and coming up with this more unorthodox solution.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Making bullet pencil erasers

Bullet pencils are one of the best easy to carry writing tools out there: compact, pocket friendly, easy to adapt to your favorite pencil and a very smart design.

after time though a bit of maintenance will be needed and fortunately this is very easy to do.
in this particular post i am just going to describe one way to replace the eraser.

before i start though, i would like to say that bullet pencils are made to make notes on the spot and not the best design for prolonged writing sessions. with that said, i rarely use the eraser. for such "quick" note taking i usually just cross out the mistake and keep going 
every now and then the erasers will need to be replaced.
i use a simple extrusion method that involves a brass tube and an eraser block of your choosing.

1.  the brass tube can be purchased at any hardware store for just a few dollars. with a hand file just taper one end to a sharp edged circle.
2. just push the brass tube through the eraser block.

making a bullet pencil eraser: using the extrusion method

3. when the eraser plug is extruded it will come out as a slight hourglass shape. this shape will need to be controlled before inserting into the bullet pencils ferrule. first i cut a little bit off the end to decrease the severity of the hourglass shape, then use a rubbery tape to compress the end. electricians tape is great for this purpose because it can be pulled very tightly around the eraser plug. 
4.  at this time the eraser plug with the electrical tape compressed end will still be wider than the inner diameter of the bullet pencil's ferrule. this will allow for a very snug fit. this is important so it doesn't move around when actually using the eraser. the tape not only compresses the end but will also strengthen the eraser so it doesn't break when cramming it into the pencil. also, if you do decide to add a pin through the ferrule into the eraser the tape will help keep the integrity of the eraser. 
making a bullet pencil eraser: controlling the hourglass shape of the extruded eraser
erasers aren't just erasers anymore, there are options (and smart ones at that).
my 3 main erasers that i use it the Black Factis, the hi-polymer pentels, and the Pink Pearl. i will say though that the Black Factis is my favorite. the black color doesn't look as crappy after being used and fits better aesthetically to a bullet pencil. darker colors fit better with dirty jobs. bullet pencils are designed to be out in the field getting dirty, writing on dirty paper. 
making a bullet pencil eraser: black factis is my favorite, but the hi-polymer and pink pearls are excellent options too

5. my final step in the eraser is to slightly taper in the eraser into a truncated cone. this shape holds up to erasing the a straight cylinder. also goes in and out of the pocket easier. 
making a bullet pencil: a quick sanding so the eraser tapers into a truncated cone

while ignoring everything i have just said,
i do have a couple bullet pencils that i use pencil end erasers with. these are my shop or truck pencils. ones that i may need to use an eraser a bit more and i don't want to carry around a click eraser 
(actually a big fan of click erasers).

pencil end erasers also come in options, the two i have here are the easiest to get. the one on the left is the small variety that can be found at any general store. these tend to do an ok job erasing (just ok), but they do have a sleek profile. the one on the right can be purchased at an art store (we have a dick blick in town so that is where i got these). these are the pink pearls of pencil end erasers. they do a superior job of erasing and have thick walls (heavy duty, takes a beating).
making a bullet pencil eraser: using pencil end erasers
making the post for this only takes a few minutes. below is a well beat up one that i made some years ago. i start with a stock hardwood dowel and sand down until it very tightly fits the i.d. of the bullet pencil's ferrule. i make quick work of this by sanding with a 1" belt sander. the key to this is to frequently check the fit during sanding. when this fit is nice and tight no pins or epoxies will be needed.
one this fit is complete, cut off the dowel long enough to hold the pencil end eraser. from here it is back to the sander to decrease the diameter of the post so it can hold the eraser securely. the post can not be to thick here because it will stretch out the eraser and it will break more easily when being used.

making a bullet pencil eraser: showing off the wood plug that will accommodate the pencil end eraser 
at the end here, i would like to add that i am sure that there are many good ways to make a bullet pencil eraser.  i have found that these two ways work VERY WELL for me.
i hope they do for you too.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chronodex week 41 42 43 and 44

A work day just isn't complete without a chronodex.
even a fast one.

doane paper notebook
esterbrook 1555 nib ground to a stub
wine crate clipboard

doane paper notebook
esterbrook 1555 nib ground to a stub
ultraoptix ruler
rhodia pencil
maica hi-tec c .4 red pen
esterbrook cord clip

doane paper pocket notebook
tackco compass
esterbrook 1555 nib ground to a stub
eagle turquoise 10 drafting pencil
esterbrook no 20 clip

doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrook 1555 nib ground to a stub
rhodia pencil
eberhard faber mongol 868
handi-lens ultraoptics ruler

doane paper pocket notebook
pilot prera with calligraphy nib
rhodia pencil
kodak clip
hl human pelican clip attached to my leather pen holder

doane paper pocket notebook
pilot prera with calligraphy nib
koh-i-noor 5611 drafting pencil with mitsubishi red lead
derwent graphic 6b pencil
tombow mono zero eraser

doane paper pocket notebook
pinky eraser
pilot prera with calligraphy nib
derwent graphic 6b pencil
maica red
esterbrook no 20 clip

doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrook 1555 nib ground to a stub
stablio point 88 blue .4
rhodia pencil
esterbrook no 20 clip

doane paper pocket notebook
oxydol bullet pencil with generals pencil
twsbi mini with 1.1 nib
esterbrook no 20 clip
french curve

tackco compass
doane paper pocket notebook
kaweco skyline mint
tombow mono graph pencil
esterbrook cord clip

doane paper pocket notebook
kaweco skyline mint
fenix 01 flashlight on a hl human pelican clip
wine crate clipboard

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 deer season

Had a GREAT time out in western nebraska with this year's hunt.
because of my work schedule i am only able to take off friday through monday
that was enough to completely recharge myself.

friday starts with food, drink and a ton of carrom!
that combination right there will drop the blood pressure of the most stressed out person.
2014 deer season starting off with carrom
saturday had two very different weather patterns. we knew there was a front that would be coming in mid morning and was hoping for some good snow to put some contrast in the terrain. with some more white in the background it would be much easier to pick out the deer. we were seeing quite a bit of movement and were VERY hopeful for the afternoon. 

then the front came in. unfortunately, this had the opposite effect we were looking for. with the snow came bitter cold and wind gusts up to 30 mph. this pretty much forced the deer to bed down.
that afternoon there was basically no activity in the fields. 
snow to help pick out the deer in the field
sunday was the same as saturday afternoon, but even colder. started the morning in the negative degrees and the wind was gusting in the upper 20s. it took 3 hours to see our first deer (and even he was bedded down). with the weather as it was and because i only had one more day of hunting, i felt like i needed to take the shot. this little 3x3 mule was now going to be heading home with me. definitely no trophy but younger meat will taste better. there was also a good amount of fat on the deer.   

i was able to spend the afternoon and monday hunt relaxing and helping the guys i was with go after their deer. 
what this picture doesn't show is the less than comical scene that happened moments before. after field dressing we were flipping over the deer to drain when my boots (that didn't really have any tread) lost their traction and slipped right under the deer cavity as it dumped blood. boots still have that old blood smell to them.  needless to say the others thought that was pretty damn funny.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Restored ball peen hammer with rubberized handle coating

I am never short of hammers waiting to be restored in my house
when i decided to add a dedicated ball peen hammer to my leather making toolbox i merely had to extend my arm to grab one. 

i picked out a perfect size and went on to polishing the peen, cheeks and head. i did leave the necks unpolished. cleaned of debris and rust but natural. 

 i do really like a little bit of color on the strikers to help it stand out on a cluttered work bench. orange has always been my color of choice for this. 
grip is important so for my non-octagonal hammer handles, i do like to add some sort of a grip coating. 
in this case, i thought i would try something new. i used a easy to get undercoating rubberized spray. the same material used to deaden traveling vehicle sounds and to apply to wheel wells.

i was really quite surprised how well this felt in the hand. the surface is smooth yet there is a sort of tack to the feel. i do sand in a notch toward the bottom of the handle that my pinky finger fits into, but even with out that i think i would still have the same confident grip. 

another nice element to this coating is that it is flexible. this means when the material hits something else it doesn't just chip away. it moves with the dents. of coarse it does come off with wear and enough pressure will remove it but is more durable than straight paint.

sometimes my experiments don't pan out but i am pleased to say that this one did.

rivets beware. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bizen beer cup moment

A time to think,
a time to rest the body.

i have found that the more purposeful the break the more rejuvenated i am when i get back to work. 
i also am able to get to work faster. a sort of "power nap" when done right.

in this case, i brought out one of my favorite beer cups. 
an EXCELLENT Bizen beer cup (i purchased in Bizen in the fall of 1997). I have found a strong relevance with this Japanese regional pottery to my Great Plains aesthetic. Richly textured with warm colors and tactile variations, my mind gets lost in the cups qualities and my body just r-e-l-a-x-e-s. 

Bizen yaki valued in Nebraska
i was eagerly ready to get back to work before I was halfway finished with the beer .

for the record, stout and Bizen beer cups are a damn fine compliment.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wards jointer plane restore - clean up

I was privileged enough to be given a Wards jointer plane by a good friend to restore.

His father had passed away and this was discovered in one of the tool sheds.
what is always amazing is that what seems in so bad of shape can actually be an excellent tool just needing some repairing.

before i had even started the cleaning process i gave the plane a once over by looking for:
cracks, especially in the sole
dramatic twisting or cupping of the sole
and the degree of rust

below is a compare of what the tool looked like before any cleaning and then after cleaned and a new black finish was added.
wards jointer plane restore comparison: before and after cleaning and new finish

the difference is night and day however the work to get to this point was actually very little.
the restoration to this point went as follows:
1. dismantle (take photos if you need to remember how parts go back together)
2. just use a dense medium stiff wire brush to remove dirt and debris.
3. vinegar bath
4. remove any weak finish from the top of the plane (i swear by using old files that i cold grind into a chisel then use it to scrap the entire old finish. there is always a bit of tooth left in these old files so they work perfect as a scrapper or a grater).
5. stiff wire brush the rest, then wipe off
6. mask the sides then prime with an auto primer 
7. paint with your painting preference. there are many hard paints out there or just use spray on truck bed liner.

repurpose an old file to a scraping - grating restore tool
the next step in the restore was to fix and condition the wood parts, true the sole, and sharpen the blade.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A quality urinal

Crazing for well over 70 years and tall enough for a very large garden gnome to shower in!

I actually wanted to drink more, just so i could use this urinal!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chronodex week 39 and 40 - and when to set up a chronodex

Some times are better for organizing a chronodex than others

there are two variables to stress here:
1. i want to make a chronodex as close to the day of concern as possible 
2. i need a time and space that fosters thought while setting the chronodex

the night before or the early morning of are my two main times for planning my day's projects.

10.3.2014 chronodex
doane pocket notebook
twsbi mini 1.1 stub
shaeffer fine mechanical pencil
esterbrook no 20 clip

10.5.2014 chronodex
esterbrook 444 dip pen set
esterbrook 2968 nib
diamine oxblood
doane pocket notebook
wearever mechanical pencil
esterbrook no. 4 clip
 one of those late night chronodex making to where i used the date i was making it versus the date it was intended for. actually not an uncommon mistake.
10.6.2014 chronodex
esterbrook 444 dip pen set
diamine oxblood
uniball eye
redipoint mechanical pencil
doane pocket notebook
 just walking and picked up an acorn so therefore an acorn chronodex.
10.8.2014 acorn chronodex
doane pocket notebook
tackco compass
blackwing 602 pencil
esterbrook desk pen with 9668 nib
esterbrook no 20 clip

10.8.2014 acorn chronodex
doane pocket notebook
esterbrook no 20 clip
 reground a monteverde fountain pen right before making my chronodex.
had to test it out with a chronodex
10.10.2014 chronodex
doane pocket notebook
monteverde with a medium nib stubbed
hunt clip
packard mechanical pencil

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Petal slip and slide

When I saw this in the back yard i amused myself with a monte python cartoon moment:
the ready to fall seeds drop one by one, sliding down the wave of the petal like a floral slip and slide. 

the entire time saying, "whoa whoa whoa WHOAAAAAAA!"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chronodex week 35 36 37 and 38 an entire month disappeared

And then september suddenly disappeared:
days sometimes take forever, weeks can take a long time to pass
months and years go by way too fast.
knot chronodex 9.5.2014
pilot 78G B
pilot hi-tec C in a maica
kohinoor 5611
esterbrook no 20 clip
doane pocket notebook

chronodex 9.7.2014
TWSBI mini with a 1.1 stub
staedtler wopex hb
kohinoor 5611
doane paper notebook
esterbrook no 20 clip
diamine denim ink
esterbrook cord clip

jailed chronodex 9.8.2014
cigar pencil case
doane paper notebook
esterbrook no20 clip
fieldnotes calendar
 september and january are the two busiest times of the year for me.
ideal vs actual chronodex 9.15.2014
pilot 78G B
doane pocket notebook
esterbrook no20 clip
edison bulb
grid ruler

big grin chronodex 9.18.2014
uniball eye
doane pocket notebook
berol prismacolor 918
esterbrook no20 clip

9.25.2014 chronodex
esterbrook no20 clip
pilot 78G B
doane pocket notebook
hanging notetab made from beer carton and craft paper
berol prismacolor 903
prismacolor premier 902

rolling vine chronodex 9.26.2014
pilot 78G B
maica hi-tec c
stablilo .4 blue
esterbrook no20 clip
no2 xacto blade

9.28.2014 chronodex
doane pocket notebook
berol verithin 740 v2
pilot 78G B
eagle turquoise 10
esterbrook no20 clip
grid ruler

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hair of a bee

Almost gone:
It is that time of the year where the bees are frantic with their last attempts for gathering.
took advantage of getting nice and close to this fellow as he tries to finish off this sunflower.
starting to see more and more bees against the side of the house over the night time.
by morning they are increasingly falling.
really gets one thinking.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hatchet handle treatment before hanging

Before I start the hanging process i make sure that any handle shaping and sanding is finished.

without the head on I am able to maneuver the handle better while shaping and sanding. not having to worry about the blade also makes the process go a bit faster.

sanding and shaping perform three important functions:
first, removes the factory applied finish. (the handles i use are only covered with a wax).
second, a well shaped and sanded handle is easier on the hands when using the tool. better to grip and wont grate the hands as easily.
third, the sanding will make the naturally coarse texture/open grain smoother and therefore will leave crisper lines if any paint is to be applied.
shaping and sanding the handle before hanging the hatchet hands
now i can start the hanging process.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bee and the sunflower photo and the izzi orbit

About a month ago I won an ebay bid for an Izzi Orbit case for a sixth of its retail price
i have got to admit that i really really like this tool.

the lens quality is really quite good.
there are 4 options but really i am enjoying the macro lens the most.

photo taken from their website
I have found myself taking UP-close shots from the dog's nostrils to sawdust piles in the shop
to this bee in one of our sunflowers. 
using the izzi orbit to take take quality macro photos
have to get close to the subject matter so i was glad he was too busy with this sunflower to notice me.
I will say though that i almost always filter my images to better reflect my current disposition and with this particular bee photo i did add a bit more clarity with the camera +'s clarity function.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chronodex week 33 and 34 knots

More knot themed chronodex.
always amazed how a bit of sickness can interrupt productivity.
i am quite certain that it is the idleness that is more painful than the sickness itself.

knot 3 chronodex
Archadia mechanical pencil
kaweco sport with 1.1 stub
doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrook cord clip

knot 4 Chronodex
doane paper pocket notebook
kaweco sprot with 1.1 stub
goldfaber 1221 2B
xacto knife
esterbrook cord clip
knot 5 chronodex
esterbrook #2556 ground to a stub
doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrick clip
goldfaber 1221 2B
pink pearl eraser

knot 6 chronodex
doane paper pocket notebook
fieldnotes pencil
esterbrook #2556 ground to a stub
ratchetta pencil sharpener

knot 7 chronodex
doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrook #2556 ground to a stub
eagle turquoise drafting pencil
staedtler sharpener
esterbrook cord clips

knot 8chronodex
doane paper pocket notebook
pilot prera with calligraphy nib
esterbrook cord clip

knot 9 chronodex
doane paper pocket notebook
esterbrook desk pen #2968
tombow mono graph shaker .5
esterbrook cord clip