Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Very Cool

I had to go to DC today for a business meeting. I took and early flight and arrived in DC around 9:00. My meeting got postponed, so I spent a few hours visiting a few museums at the Mall.

I first decided to visit the capital building. However, today was the day of the State of the Union address, so the whole capital was off limits. Bummer. I decided to revisit the American Indian museum. My wife and I had visited it a few years ago when it first opened. It was very crowded and we didn't get a chance to really spend time exploring. I got there around 10:00. Being a weekday, it was not crowded.

I came across an exhibit of sculpture by an artist named Brian Jungen. He is from British Columbia. His work was very interesting. I really liked a set of totem poles he created. Can you guess what they are made from (answer below)?

I was really interested in these as we are going to Alaska in June and might get a chance to see some totems. Brian Jungen's work uses everyday objects to build his sculptures.

Okay - the answer is golf bags! He made these totems from golf bags.

Very cool!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Long Overdue

It's been a while since I was in the blogosphere. I have been working on a few projects in the workshop, but the cold weather has kept me away from my unheated workshop longer than I would like. My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter also came to visit, so I spent my freetime with them (it was a real treat!).

I have started carving a bowl from a piece of wood from my mother-in-law's home. If it looks like it will turn into something nice, I'll post some photos.

I received a few tools as gifts from my daughter and son-in-law. They found a Shelton #14 jack plane. It is in very nice condition and works like a champ. They also bought me a hand brace. Both look to be mid-20th century pieces. I only had to put a few drops of oil on the brace to free up its action. I put a 3/4" wood bit in it and ripped right through a rough piece of wood.

Shelton #14 Jack Plane

Mid-Century Brace

I also got around to making a new frog for a wooden block plane my daughter and son-in-law gave me a few months ago. The old frog was broken on the end and would not hold the iron in tightly.

I ripped a piece of oak down to the correct width, then beveled one side on the table saw. I then traced out the upper curved part, and cut its bevel out on the band saw. The new frog holds the iron in nicely. Now I have to sharpen the iron (it will take a little work).

New Frog for Block Plane

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Brrrr ! ! !

Let's see. It's 10 degF (-12 degC) at 3:30 PM. About the warmest it will get today.

I worked out and then went to the workshop. It was very cold in the workshop. I lit the kerosene heater, but knew there was no way it would really warm the workshop up.

I bought bandsaw recently and had some more setup to do on it. I had to adjust the thrust bearings and blade tension. I also squared the table. I then tried out some hardwood dowels I recently bought on the pole lathe. They worked great. I now know that I can turn some hardwood for projects (I can't get greenwood real easily).

After being in the workshop about 45 minutes, I found myself running over to the heater to warm up. I looked at the thermometer - it was only 24 degF in the workshop. It was too cold to keep working. Time to go in.

We had some more snow, so I has to plow the driveway again. Brrrr ! ! !

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year!

We awoke to a few inches of new snow. Didn't stop us from going to an antique action in a nearby town. It is a big auction house. They had ~ 1200 lots for sale. They run 2 auctions simultaneously. The outdoor auction is mostly 'project' furniture, old tools, farm-related items, and sporting goods. The inside auction is the better furniture, toys, china, rugs, pictures, and other collectibles.

I had my eye of a cast iron bistro table and 2 chairs. The chairs were in good shape, though the table was a little wobbly. I went as high as $30. It sold for $50. I also bid on a box of planes. There were six in the lot. One was missing it's iron, one had a busted handle, 2 were regular metal planes. I went as high as $30, but they ultimately went for $60. We saw some large crocks. They had a plain 5 gallon one that no one bid on. The minimum bid was $10. The wife is kicking herself for not jumping on it. There were a few with blue decorations on them. We did bid on them, but would not go as high as the final price (around $50).

We did see a 5-piece outdoor metal table and chair set. I had my eye on the bistro set which came up later. The 5-piece set went for $20. What a bargain.

I did walk away with a box of assorted stuff (as I always say, 'One man's trash is another man's garbage!). It had 3 ice tongs, a hacksaw, a pump head and a couple of C-clamps. I wanted the pump head to put on top of the new well head (it won't we a working pump, but it will look better than a hunk or iron pipe sticking out of the ground!). I got them for $15.

We decided to leave after a few hours. The inside auction had a long way to go. We put a absentee bid on a large (~ 20 inch) wooden bowl. I am sure we won't get it (we bid $75, but I think it will fetch a lot more than that). If we get it I'll post a picture of it.

We've gone to this auction house before (it is where I picked up by scythe). We'll have to pay more attention to this auction house as it is local and they post teaser pictures on the web. It was a fun way to spend a few hours.