Monday, October 31, 2011

Late July, er.. August, no wait October 2011- Ends of Eras

Late August 2011- Ends of Eras

The end of the one child era:

When I started this post more than three months ago, the imminent arrival of our newest daughter Penelope, stress levels in the design studio had increased. This meant that I was stressed out at the time, because the studio is all in my head. Not that I am any less busy now, but stress levels seem to have decreased somewhat.

Little Penny arrived on July 25, 5 days early, satisfying both Erica, who wanted it to be a little early, and me, because I didn’t get the call while I was at work.

She's grown a bit since July :)

I made quite a bit of pen progress prior to her arrival, and a little afterward, and Erica has taken pictures of them now, so they are in my ballpark again to write up descriptions for them for posting at the store (

I’ve now made slimline, slimline pro, Designer NT, Polaris, .30 cal bullet, and big cigar rollerball/ballpoint pens, some fountain pens (several styles), two sketch pencils, several light pulls, a salt grinder, a bottle stopper, and a ice cream scoop. I'm probably missing some at this point. Wood turning is fun!

I tried to make a few more than I have, and made a few mistakes. I tried several times to make an Ancient Kauri pen, with a variety of problems. I did manage a AK light pull though. Hopefully by the time I finish this post I will have been successful. I've broken a couple of click pens, not sure why they aren't working right - so far only one success on those.

Friend Bill, who will be off to Art School in London in a couple of weeks, enlisted my aid in making a special pen for a friend, and whipped up a nice simple maple slimline for himself. Bills gone for a year and we miss him, but the pen got finished and a similar one for a friend of the friend as a result!

Friends Pen

Friend of Friends Pen

I just wrapped up a pair of knives, both for family, a nice hunter and a santoku style kitchen knife. Still have 8-9 in the moderately close phase, but not there yet. The most recent of all was an interesting hunter/fighter knife that I made for friend Rocketpants' trip to Australia. I finished it in time, and it went off and returned with him.

The end of the charcoal forge era:

In addition to being a proud father of a new child, I am also the proud owner of a NEW FORGE!!! Finally, I’ve moved from my interesting but inconsistent charcoal forge to a gas NC Tool Whisper Forge. Hopefully this will give me a little more flexibility, a more rapid heat up, a higher temp, etc…

Sadly, I haven't had the time or mental energy lately to work much on it, but it is a lot faster to get going..

This brings me to the experimental phase:

Mokume gane – I’ve stacked about 24 layers of brass, copper and nickel-silver sandwiched in steel, heated and hammered. Results...Not so good, some bits worked, other bits didn't. Probably the wrong kind of flux. Better luck next time.

Wire Damascus – Using some nasty rusty wire from some flood barriers, I’ve heated, fluxed and hammered. I’m not happy with it at this point, so I will probably do it again, or fold and repeat. I think the rust may have interfered with a good weld. Definitely need to work on my forge welding skills - all of my welding skills are pretty much non-existent though.

I think I'll leave it at that.

Happy Halloween Everyone!