Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Some sort of tradeoff

Yesterday I was more tired than usual (I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold), so I went to bed at the remarkably early time of 8:20pm.  Usually "10pm" is early; my usual bedtime is more like 11pm.

So, I went to bed -- and woke up at about 1:30am.  Or rather, a kid woke me.  Fair enough -- except that I couldn't get properly back to sleep.  Whereas, usually I'm a fairly robust sleeper:  if interrupted, I roll over and immediately fall back asleep.

I drifted in and out -- and then at about 1:45am, I came up with a song idea (both melody and lyrics).  After lying there about five minutes, I figured that I ought to record it, rather than lose it -- so I went and got my cell phone, and sang into the voice recorder function.  Then I put my phone back, and went back to bed.

And then I came up with another line.  Got up; recorded it at 1:48am; back to bed.

Another line; 1:50am; back to bed.


Around this point I just took the phone with me.


1:51:40.  Also 1:51:57.


Doze.


2:09am.  Also 2:10am.

Long pause.

2:17am.


All of this was contributing to the same song.  So I think I have a complete song now.  In fact, I'll probably have to edit it down and drop the least-strong lyrics:  that's a strong position to be in.    


3:20am, a song concept, in the form of a single line.  I jotted it down in the "Notes" app; will develop it some other time.


Got up at 6:30am.  So, I got 5 + 3 = 8 hours of sleep.  That's enough.  I was a little groggy when I first got up, but I'm fine now.

And it's an acceptable trade-off:  interrupted sleep, in exchange for a full song plus an additional idea.


As an aside:  I'm pretty sure this is called "segmented sleep".  It's perfectly natural.  It happens to me when my sleep needs are "saturated":  when I go to bed late and only get six or seven hours of sleep, it doesn't happen:  I fall asleep almost immediately, and sleep straight through.


--GG

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Flea market finds

Visited a flea market today, and picked up two interesting tools -- although I'm not completely sure what they are.

One is some sort of pliers -- about the size of linesman pliers.  The other is some sort of tongs -- cylindrical wire.  Reminds me of blacksmith's tongs, but much smaller and lighter-weight.  AU$5 each (about US$4).


At the same table, I also picked up a Braille typewrite for AU$10 (US$8).  Obviously, I didn't need it -- but I was intrigued.

Actually, I didn't need the pliers, either.  But I collect interesting hand tools.  And more often than not, I end up using them.


--GG



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Monday, February 20, 2017

Some sharpening stones

Hey -- alliteration!  :)

I'm posting these photos as a small favor to a list member on a woodworking e-mail list I belong to.

I've posted them, as well as his descriptions.  As usual, click on the photo to enlarge them.


Image 0399: All Naturals including my Old Hard Black and the Belgian Coticules, shaped Hard Arkansas and India.


Image 0400: Shows the Black Arkansas close up along with the Yellow-Blue Coticule, and the Yellow bonded to what I presume to be slate.


Image 0402: Shows my boxed water stones (6000, a Natural water stone, 1500, 1000), razor hones, ceramics, a diamond, and a mix of boxed and mounted Carborundums and India’s.


Image 0403: 8000 water stone upper left, yet to be determined Natural Arkansas upper right, the rest are all shaped mostly manmade stones.
The three just below the Natural are taper slips, I believe the dark one to be an old really fine India, the white is most likely a Hard Arkansas, only one I‘ve ever run across.


BTW:  niiiice!   :)


--GG

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

An inexpensive and secret source of percussion instruments

A few weeks ago I figured out that metal scrapyards (or metal recyclers) are good sources of percussion:  they collect brass and bronze among the other types of metal -- and brass and bronze tend to sound pretty good when struck.

The other neat thing is that they just charge scrap-metal prices if you find anything of interest.  One of the guys there said that they sometimes get actual cymbals -- which they toss in with the rest of the brass and bronze.


Because I work during the week, I'm only able to stop by on Saturdays.

The first time I stopped by, the guy said they had just emptied the "brass and bronze" bin a few days ago -- so it was nearly empty.

I waited a week, and then stopped by the following weekend.  Gah!  Same deal.

So, I resolved to stop by every Saturday.


Thus, two weekends ago -- the first of my "regular visits" -- I scored some flat metal rings (future windchimes?), as well as two sturdy metal pipes with external threads (see video).  And yesterday, I picked up a thin-walled capped pipe, which sounds a bit like an agogo, but also like a cowbell (also in video).

The threaded pipes were about AU$7 each (about US$5.60), and the thing-walled one cost me AU$5 (about US$4).  I may keep 'em; I may mount them on wood to make them part of a drum kit, then sell them.




Anyhow, raiding metal recycling places is a new source of percussion instruments for me.  But:  be sure to wear old clothes; you might get a little greasy or dirty, rummaging around.

And bring a drumstick -- for testing purposes.


--GG

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Now have a lathe

I've wanted a woodworking lathe for about thirteen years -- but there was always something else that I wanted to do with the money.  And I was always busy with other projects -- and there wasn't a specific need.

But then.

I wanted to make some stools, and therefore wanted to make some cylindrical stool legs.  There are a variety of work-arounds, such as using a drawknife or spokeshave -- but having a lathe seemed like the most straightforward solution.

My wife's family, as well as my parents, gave me some money for Christmas -- so I decided that now was a good time to get a lathe.

I browsed the local online classifieds (Gumtree -- kind of like an Australian Craigslist), but nothing really jumped out at me.


Finally I found two contenders -- both at a reasonable price -- but both about an hour's drive away.  I considered doing the one that was an hour west -- but even thought it came with a few lathe tools, I was suspicious of the grungy nature of the lathe (rust?  or just "needed a good wipe-down"?).  Plus -- and this sounds silly -- I just didn't like the color.

The other one was an hour south.  This one didn't come with any tools -- but I liked the look of it better.  So I drove down this last Saturday.  I was careful to not make any commitment to buy:  I told the seller I wanted to come take a look.

Unfortunately, when I got there and took a look, I noticed that it was missing the drive spindle (?):  the piece that jams into the end of the wood being turned.  This absence wasn't clear in the ad's photo -- and I didn't think to ask.  (It's a little like buying a used car, and verifying that it has all four wheels:  kind of important; and you'd think that the seller would point this out up front.)

The seller said that it was a standard size, and that I could pick one up online. Uh -- no.  It would be a nuisance; it would be an extra cost; and I'm a newbie enough that I wasn't confident that I'd purchase the right type.

So, I left it.

But, I got to see a part of Queensland that I hadn't seen before:  a farming area; reminded me like the farming bits around where I'm from -- but with different trees.  So, just mostly a wasted trip.




I considered trying out the other item out west -- but by now I was turned off the idea of a possible second wasted trip.

So, I went back online.  As it turns out, someone else had, just that morning, posted an ad for a lathe.  And, it was good-looking; cheaper; and closer (about a half hour away).

I e-mailed the seller, and arranged to go take a look the next day.


So, Sunday afternoon (Feb 12th) I drove out.   I had a lovely chat with the seller (a retired mechanical engineer; used to work in the timber industry; an Australian, but had spent some time in Canada).  He was moving to a smaller place, so was downsizing:  fair enough.

I liked the lathe -- and the modifications he had done (more on this below) -- so I bought it.

I didn't get home until right around dark, so I didn't have a chance to use it.  So I had to wait a few days.


Here's a brief tour of the lathe:


I like that the previous owner personalized it.  The mods are consistent with what a mechanical engineer would do.  They also remind me of what my late paternal grandfather would've done.

For example, here's a closer look at the tool tray that's under the stand.  To the left is a red oilcan.  Then the wrench that loosens and locks down the nuts under the tailpiece and the tail handle; then some dividers and callipers, and a folding rule.


When he was using the lathe, he had noticed that there was a little "play" in the tailpiece when it was slid into position, which meant that the bracket was not necessarily perpendicular to the rails.  So he made a wooden jig -- again, very much like what my grandfather would've done -- to square it up before tightening the bolt.  (I added the black arrow.)


I also liked the lamp that he installed.  As it turned [pun!] out, I used this a lot, since I ended up using it after dark -- and my workspace doesn't have electricity running to it.  (When I need power, I just run an extension cord.  So far the lack of electricity hasn't hindered me in doing what I need to do -- partly because I tend to use hand tools, not power tools.)


And, here's an over-all view.  Note the yellow arrow that indicates the little hook where the wooden "alignment" jig is stored.


As with user-made toolboxes and such that I get from garage sales, I asked the seller to sign the back of the lathe -- which he did.  Just as a permanent record.


Anyhow:  I got home near dark, and I had other things I needed to do -- so I didn't get to use the lathe for a few days.


But, tonight (Thursday the 16th) I managed to get home earlier than usual.  So I had some fun -- including working past dark (thanks to the lamp!).

On the way home that afternoon, I salvaged a fallen branch from a mango tree, which I'd noticed for the last few days lying on a neighbor's front footpath.  Or rather:  I always keep a small handsaw in the trunk -- so I cut off the thicker end of two branches, rather than take the whole darn thing.


I was curious about how mango "worked" as a wood.  Plus, as someone from Seattle, using mango just seemed exotic and interesting.

So, the above is basically the "before" photo.


Here are the tools I used:  because I knew that someday I would buy a lathe, whenever I saw a lathe tool at a reasonable price, I'd pick it up.  The three long ones on the left are from a garage sale/estate sale nearby, about a year ago.  I don't remember where I got the three middle ones -- although I've logged the purchase, so I could go look it up if I wanted to.

The final item -- a round-nosed gouge? -- is from the guy who sold me the lathe.

When I did the turning (below), out of principle I used each tool for at least a little bit -- just so I could say "Yeah, I used it".


Here's two photos of the "in progress" portion.  As you can see, the lamp is demonstrating its usefulness.





In addition to a pile of wood chips on the ground -- my arm hairs collected a lot of wood shavings.  Pretty cool.


And: here's the "Getting there" photo:  I still have a way to go -- but you can see what I'm intending.  (The fork is in there just for scale.)  As is traditional, I thought it would be nice -- and somewhat symbolic -- for my first lathe project to be handles for lathe tools. 

There are three bug holes in the lower piece (the yellow circles).  Once I do some more roughing in, I'll make them a more uniform size, then plug them with dowels.  There's enough wood around the holes that it shouldn't affect the strength of the handles.

If you look closely at the handles, you can see that the wood surface is torn rather than smooth:  that's because I'm using the tools as scrapers, rather than as chisels; and because the tools are dull, and are thus tearing the fibers rather than cutting them cleanly.

Once I get closer to the final shape I'll sharpen everything.  But I was eager to have a go at lathe work, so I wanted to just get right into it, rather than spend the evening sharpening.


The last time I'd used a lathe was about twenty years ago, under the guidance of my late grandfather, who did a lot of woodturning.  So I knew that I could "do it", once I had a lathe:  I just needed a lathe.  ;)


Don't know when I'll get back to it:  I have a lot of competing projects.  But hopefully maybe this weekend. 


--GG

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Log art

I liked this.


On front porch near where I park my car every morning.


Log-and-branches art


--GG

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