Monday, January 30, 2017

Motivation and Progress

-Note- I wrote these a while back, almost a year ago in some cases, planning to add pictures.  Because I never got around to adding the pictures I didn't post them.  I'm going to post them now anyway, and maybe someday make a new post that has a bunch of pictures.   Or maybe I'll never get around to the pictures.

Motivation comes in fits and starts. Sometimes just starting something can get you going. Other times, not so much. For me there are days that I try to start a craft project and I realize that if I keep going I will either 1. Break it, or 2. Hurt myself, or 3. Both.  Those are good days to stop.

Since last August/September, when I did the USN show in Vegas, I haven’t posted.  It was a frustrating experience, and I know that it wasn’t my market.  I sold a knife, and it was to a friend of mine.  I sold way more of my pens, and all of that activity was in the last day. It made me think about shifting gears to folding knives, but I’m not sure that I have the precision to do that.  As a result, I didn’t do ANYTHING in my shop for a good long while. 

Have I ever talked about my shop?  Most people would call it the backyard.  I actually have 3 shops though, and only one is the backyard.  My forge, anvil, and most big tools live in a small shed in the back yard with my collection of wood, scraps and leftovers from the previous homeowners.  I do work in there, but only to forge.

 My second shop is in the house, it holds my drill press, hand tools and smaller stuff, and my archery equipment, some of my books, leather working equipment, more wood, stone and some other supplies; not to mention wrapping paper, motorcycle gear, and a variety of other clutter. 

My third shop is the backyard on a concrete slab with a beat-up work bench.  This is where most of the work happens. It goes something like this…

Great I have some time, let’s set up the shop:  drag the extension cord out from the house to the bench; haul the belt sander, the table saw and the lathe out of the shed and distribute so that they are either out of the way, or ready for use; bring out whatever projects I am working on. Get started.  Obviously, weather and light affect this.  It is not pleasant to work in sub-zero temperatures (unless I am working the forge – which heats things up nicely).  It is also not pleasant in 100+ heat (especially in the forge, but then it feels cool outside, which is a little odd).  High winds are sometimes helpful, but can be frustrating, depending on what I am working on. After dark it is not safe to work (since I can’t see what I am doing). Did I mention that I commute 45 minutes to work, and generally work more than 8 hours a day, and help with Roller Derby?  Not a lot of time left after that.

So, I get the shop set up and…it starts to rain, or the wind blows away my sandpaper, or the kids need some food, or I need some food.  The distractions add up to not quite so much time as I might like to play at my crafting hobbies.  I think I do pretty well considering the things fighting against me.

But enough about the shop.  What have I been working on?  Since last labor day:

More bowls – some more successful than others – I tried some Australian Myrtle bowl, that had really weird holes in it, and tried to fill those with epoxy and turquoise and a variety of other materials, and I have pretty much decided that it was a failure, and that I don’t really like working with Myrtle – it tears too easily on the lathe.

Broken bowls

Alligator Juniper on the other hand is fun to work with – smells nice, is soft but turns well, and is pretty.

Maple is one of my favorites now – and I re-handled (again) the Kershaw Antelope II that I found and modified.

Bottle Brush wood

And some others

Two Leather Bracelets

A mess of pens

A quiver for the arrows that a second degree friend made for me

A pouch to match the quiver

A pen case

A few shaving sets, and extra brush handles. Manzanita with turquoise and copper accents, Myrtlewood, and Juniper.

And I’ve roughed out a few knives.

I broke a few too – I don’t know if I got the metal too hot, or the anvil was too cold, but I broke two with two blows of the hammer. I’m going to reclaim 4 knives out of the two larger ones if I can.

I also broke my favorite hammer handle (birdseye maple) and replaced it with Hickory.

I’ve been dreaming about making another laminated longbow, and have put together a couple of potential risers, and trying one more time with a salt cedar self-bow.  I don’t think I am going to back it this time, we’ll see what happens.

And since I have been working with a retired judge on and off, I am working on a gavel.

That looks like a lot of stuff – and here I thought I was slacking off?

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