Thursday, January 31, 2008


I am still devoting most of my brain capacity to fiddling with wood. Yesterday I got my daughter to send the rain bead picture to my PC and she sent this one of a trip she took into Tokyo as well. I thought I might make it a regular feature to try and include some other view point than my own. Neither of my kids are keen to appear in photo form, but perhaps pictures they have taken or drawn might be an acceptable alternative.
There were many sizes of rabbit in the vicinity of Asakusa on this day, all laying down, all pink and some of them very large.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beadlet blessing

The rain we were promised on Monday night actually fell as tiny little pearls of ice that decided they would form a microcosm of decorative festoons on the windscreen of the car. I am not quite sure how they managed this, that long standing chain on the left looks particularly challenging. However, having duly admired their efforts I was left with no choice but to flick the switch and sweep them aside to ensure proper visibility for the drive to the station as demanded by the highway code.
Perhaps it was the positive karma we gained by photographing them that helped the ipod nano to survive its ordeal when abandoned on the tarmac.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Saved the day

Yesterday started out as one of those days, but today ended as one. My daughter is world famous for her ability to loose stuff. Today she was helping her friend pack up her apartment ready to go on a study trip to England. Thus she was already miserable at being deprived of the company of a like minded human. The final straw was getting home to find that her little comfort box of music had left her company somewhere between the local station building and home. We did the usual crisis mode searching with sniffer dogs, but it was not anywhere to be found, so we drove back to the station. I parked the car and my spirits were slightly lifted when I saw the young lady go scrabbling down under a parked truck like our own. The driver waiting patiently to give some loved one a lift home must have thought she was loopy. Meanwhile nursing the little fellow in the cup of her hand with those tender movements of the scrolly thumb that are now familiar in the world of technology my daughter had produced a wee glow from the chap and he was undamaged except for a slightly wet nappy. I imagine the tyres must have got very close to squishing the minty wafer of his soul during the twenty minutes or so that he lay on the floor of a busy station drop off point.
Lessons are hard learnt, I hope this one has been and that I will see her make some kind of device that defeats her weakness. Like the strings that keep kids mittens from getting lost.
The whole thing has left me exhausted.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chair bits

We are being promised rain again tomorrow, so I went out to cover all these bits and bobs up with the blue plastic sheet.
There is a tradition of eating pulped up rice at new year in Japan, a big wooden hammer is used to beat the steamed rice in a wooden vessel like the one laid on its side in the foreground. This one had washed up at the dam site and it is past usefulness as the bottom has rotted right through. I was experimenting in my mind with using segments of that sawn out to make parts for chairs. I sawed out the two placed on top here and had a little play around with them, bandsawing the one further back. I am still only toying with ideas and sketches, some of them may appear in here shortly as the ideas develop. Meanwhile moving forward with preparing materials and shaping up small pieces to be turned into boxes and whatnot.
I will aim to make several blank sets of lids and bodies as I tidy up the wood pile and then shape them all up together, something systematic that I never usually do, but as that same friend said, if you don't use them up quickly they crack up or get mouldy and they end up as firewood. There is always a temptation to keep wood that is highly figured for something special, but something else always turns up, so I must make a habit of using it up to make room for more. Now is the ideal time for making decisions about wood as the rejects can go straight in the fire.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Robax astronomy

I have changed my mind about the stove. It really is like we have a little piece of our nearest star in it. I am amazed by how keen the carbon is to get back together with oxygen, and it is the energy from the sun that fixed the carbon into chunks for us to chop up and feed in to the tub.
The friend who visited yesterday was envious as he also makes things with wood, but he relies on oil stoves for heat. The plate of steel I used for the top of the stove was one of a pair that we picked up when dismantling a grilled meat restaurant that went belly up and he has the other one still waiting to be given a new life. At his home they do however use firewood to heat the bath.
The glass in the stove here is called Robax, it is the only part of the machine that I had to buy. Several people I know have made their own stoves, but they all used versions of pyrex for the windows and they all suffered regular breakages. I think this is the third season for this stove and the glass is still doing fine, so the dramatic picture on the web page you get to by clicking on the name really is true and I can honestly recommend the stuff if you are interested in having a stove window that will last for years.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Another in the dog based series. I guess a mat territory is essential for dogs and this stuffed shirt is home base for our puppy. A distracted day of visits from friends and skype conversations. The day ended with a mail from a friend telling of the death of a friend of his falling from a building, now by coincidence my family are discussing the suicide of Yukio Mishima. I think I may emulate the puppy and turn to sleep in the hope of a bright tomorrow while counting my blessings.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Morning sunshine

The view from our southern windows as the sun gets above the trees and finds the increasingly rare patches of snow to shine off of. The stream below the house does a couple of dog legs here and then has to hop over a kind of breakwater dam further down. I was preoccupied with translation in the morning and then on the chainsaw in the afternoon gathering wood with my daughter. The days do seem to be getting a little longer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clifton seat

I am not sure if this will be a part of one of the chairs I am embarked on making, but at least it is the seat for a chair. I did not feel any negative effects from my minor snow shifting effort yesterday, I expect my shoulder is now regretting not having complained as I trusted it to handle a bit of feedback from a dose of elbow grease applied via the curved Clifton spokeshave I own. So far I am still in working order, so I shall keep increasing the workload. I am pretty sure I will have to get back to the wood yard for firewood tomorrow or else I will be worried about running out. The snow did not ice up over night, by tomorrow I expect it will have melted over most of the locality. As long as I pick fairly solid stuff that has not soaked up the melt waters it should burn nicely. One of our neighbors also has some branches that she wants to get rid of, so I will get those at the weekend if we don't relapse into bad weather again.
I had an unusually high number of visitors yesterday, only 40 odd, but high for me, thanks for popping in. If you come back again, thanks even more. My daughter tells me that this looks more like my brother than me, so it may be that he is feeling the effects of all the work in my stead. Perhaps it is one of those reversed Dorian Gray type scenarios that we hear so much about in the news.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The snow came back in force today, so my last job was shoveling away a path up to the road just in case it freezes up overnight. Morning on translation work, out to shop at Costco the shopping flame to which expats flock in the orient, a jolly drive in the snow with my daughter. More translation in the afternoon and so to the sofa for bloging and on to bed. Winter days do go by so quick.
There do seem to be a spate of youngish actors fading fast in to oblivion. Very sad for Mr Ledger and all he leaves behind, I do wish they would all try and hold on to the concept of life without the pressure of fame or whatever it is that makes the journey into the light so attractive as an alternative to one more of even the shortest of winter days with us here in paradise.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This year the kids have taken to drinking Yuzucha, which is basically marmalade with hot water as far as I can see. The citrus fruit used is like that from the snowy Artrage sketch earlier in the week. Very sour with lots of pips. Not much fruit to it, but the zest from the peel is very nice. Many folk put the fruit in the bath to give the room a nice scent. In hard times the monkeys strip the trees of their remaining fruit, but they don't get much joy from fighting the vicious thorns. The kids have also bought neck warmers for each other, so all set for winter warming by the stove.
In the end the snow didn't amount to anything last night, so hopefully we will be free of it for a while and I can get my woodwork moving again, the drawing muscle is still sprained, apparently.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Birthday do

Messed up again.
This morning I had a very revealing experience with regard to my character. Perhaps an unbirthday present on the occasion of Sammy's 19th and Martin Luther King Jr day.
I was perusing the BBC news front page as is my wont and spotted the headline about "Metal detector plan for schools". My mind immediately associated metal detectors with archeology and I wondered why the government should be sponsoring some kind of national treasure hunt for the youth of the nation. Perhaps in the vain hope of finding some of the things that they have lost recently.
It was a video news story, so I didn't click on the link as I was listening to the Brother's Faversham on BBC7 and didn't want to lose the thing down the drain of bandwidth. Some ten minutes later I saw the link again and this time I realized what it really meant. Technology has to take the place of mutual human respect in order to ascertain whether weapons are being concealed on entry into the ghetto. I was pleased to be given such delightful proof that I have such a broadly moronic area of innocence left within me. One of those psychology tests where you say the first thing that comes into your mind. Metal detector equals archeology.
The bubbly is for the celebratory pop at mealtime. The cash on the table is laid out in readiness for a mail order present that unfortunately did not make it in time for the day of birth, perhaps tomorrow. The young celebrant is doing some kind of study in the blurry beyond.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Floor guard

I missed the boat this evening again and my drawing energy has been lost. We are promised snow this evening, so I used up the hours before dark to set the chainsaw on that big lump of wood I couldn't decide on the other day. I didn't think I would have the mental wherewithal to tackle the sawing with snow on the ground. The lump is now a set of small planks and blocks with quite attractive grain and the big plank that it was parked on top of is now free to be worked on again on its way to becoming a piece of furniture.
The puppy mentioned earlier in the week has a schedule for the day (mainly involving mastering the art of meditative sleep), but it can always be set aside if someone is working in the kitchen. He sits and dribbles for a while, but when nothing is to be had he enters carpet mode and defends the entrance to the room. He will not enter the room himself unless bidden to do so and even then he always does it most reluctantly. The bedroom cum living room, which has tatami mats on the floor is also out of bounds for him. The latter taboo is a result of training the former some kind of self imposed rule or a result of reading my wife's mind. He has only entered the tatami room once, during a particularly violent thunderstorm in search of comfort from proximity to his adopted pack. We are not cruel in our discipline, so we kicked him out, but I sat with him in the other room while the storm passed over.
On our walks up the mountain I never bother with a leash. I was pleased to find that he walked to heal and sat properly today when called, even though we were accosted by a roaming pointer set loose by a couple of hunters who had no control at all over their animal.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The shy and retiring Skype partner about to sign off for the day. This is pretty much the scene for my regular Saturday Parlay. On a whim I captured the screen while my Dad was searching for the "end call" button. I suppose it is a breach of etiquette to pop this in, but these moments do go unrecorded and we each have only so many.
I think Skype really is a bit of a boon for us geographically challenged families.
The Lady we have staying with us at present has one daughter on a modeling job in Tokyo and another studying in London. I haven't spoken with the Tokyo branch for a few years, but yesterday we had a chat to the young lady in London. Despite the distances being so different, London somehow feels closer than Tokyo. I suppose proximity to a computer is what determines ones relative isolation when it comes to chatting about nothing in particular and there is more than a couple of walls or a dinner table between the parties concerned.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stainless not flawless

I am having to resort to a photo today. I managed to have a go on the piano and have a go at the boxing bag, but drawing was too much to retain in the schedule with a friend of my wife's staying for a day or two. I connected my "towel holder" as mentioned yesterday and as seen behind the stove here. Today there are vague signs of circulation with a cold pipe at the bottom and a warmish one on top, but I see that I have made an error in the pipe connections. I will spend an hour on mending that tomorrow, but then I must get back to woodwork. The stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat, but I will weave some aluminium wire around the pipes to try and up the conductivity.
More firewood added to the store today and one lump of Zelkova from the dam site that looked like it might be useful. Other work for the day only translation related. It was not very cold at the yard, but no midges, so perhaps they have got used to me or succumbed to the frost and snow flurries.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Just getting the paper out of the mail box at the top of the steps down to the house. There are some strange things about the Japanese climate. Palm trees and citrus fruits (Shuro and Yuzu respectively) with snow on are somehow mismatched. We just had a few flurries this morning, nothing to make a fuss about, but I gave Sammy a lift to the station for a change as he didn't want to ride the bike in the snow.
I was on the water lark again today, good test with no leaks, but no circulation in the system, probably air bubbles causing a problem.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Walking the pup. He always has such an untroubled and diligent air about him while in meditative mode, his expression as he glances toward me says, "Excuse me just a moment longer while I figure this out".
The difference between ourselves and animals is supposed to be the human ability to comprehend our own mortality.
A subject I have been known to ponder.
Today, as I idly fingered a twig of bamboo and waited patiently for chappy to finish his meditation, it struck me that complete enlightenment must obviously involve a simultaneous and absolute grasp of both states, utter ignorance of mortality and the reverse.
Before my eyes started to bubble thinking on how to achieve that, I began to chuckle as I realized that our combined souls must be getting pretty close to it in these moments where we diverge in our paths so completely.
Having achieved these pinnacles of contemplation it is a mercy that the pup is very good about choosing his spot, so out on the mountain roads I am saved the need to "tidy up", as it were.
We just move on together in our innocent quest for enlightenment, or at least understanding.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Back on gas welding for a few minutes before closing up shop. Making up a better poker than the simple length of concrete reinforcing bar I have been using. I made up a couple of little parts and then stuck half a fire brick on top of the little anvil to proceed with welding. Most of the day went to computer work. Anyway, I am trying to stick with drawing and avoid photos even if the results are somewhat variable. The big thing in a lot of work procedures is to be able to see what is to be done next as that allows one to make good decisions about what is happening moment by moment. I don't really have that with these drawings when I am scrabbling to find a theme.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Overalls, or romper suit, take your pick. These kind of clothes are called Tsunagi in Japan and I bought a new set back at Christmas time. Unfortunately they stink of driftwood at present, so the dog is keen to lay on them whenever he gets the chance. Sammy had a good session on the wood chopping while I got back to the stainless steel welding for the morning. There were just a few big lumps that Sammy had wisely left with several branch forks, so I did those with the chainsaw before I went down for another welding session after lunch. It looked like he must have hit the handle up near the head of the axe quite a bit and I will be having to make a new one again soon. So much for teak packing cases as material for an axe handle, I shall go back to the traditional oak variety next time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Dinner out went fine and Granny was well, but two years up on my estimate, turning 77 on Monday. Distracted with no real physical work memory for the day.
Objects on the mantle behind the stove in the picture here. I am not quite sure how to interpret this two legged pot bellied bit of wood, so perhaps that is why it never made it into the hatch of no return. It reminds me of some primitive sculptures I have seen and maybe they are the way they are because they are based on pieces of wood, stone or bone like this one.
It is fascinating to look at some of the clay work that can be dug up here and there in Japan. Sometimes you find slightly blurred finger prints in the Jomon work from people moulding clay nearly ten thousand years ago, which gives a little tingle.
It is a while since I have been to the city and it holds certain novelty value to see so many people moving about together. On the street signs above the heads of the crowds there were occasionally jungle crows croaking out some kind of territorial claims that echoed back at a distance from other birds. As I passed under a particularly vocal individual I gave a gurgly croak like the sounds I have heard young birds make to get food and for an instant I was suddenly recognized within the crowd of ignored entities. It quickly returned to its bellowing, but I could see that glint in the eye piercing through the barrier of our marginalized relationship, I wasn't just another one in the herd, then I rejoined the blurry masses.
It is good to have things that make one see what is around one in a different way every now and then, I suppose if one crow in the flock said "Hi" to me I would do a bit of a double take.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


We are off to the city tomorrow to meet with family and celebrate birthdays. I had another go at the stainless steel scraps to make this for Granny today, I think she is hitting 75 on Monday. It is similar to the blue one back on Christmas day. Lots of rain, so I felt even more hearty with the firewood gathered in. I am hoping for some fine weather tomorrow so that I can persuade Sammy out on to the chopping before we leave for our trip to the metropolops. As usual Skyping on Saturday has left me scrabbling instead of scribbling, never mind.

Friday, January 11, 2008


The day was a hard one. I am feeling most righteous just to have put something down on paper.
The geometry of scooping up rubbish after two trips to the wood yard. The square dust pan forming a triangle of trash into a round bucket. I spend a lot of my day with my elbow on my knee holding various implements. I suppose I should be in some kind of manly stance, but the elbow on the knee helps form triangles in my structure and keeps me working for the day. I shall be needing a stretch before bedtime.
The most rewarding part of the day was seeing it cloud up and look like rain. Snug in the knowledge that I have wood for a week or two. Mrs P even made me a cup of tea, so I must have done well.
The first trip was in the cold of the morning, the ground frozen and safe to drive on. The afternoon sun had brought out a bunch of midges that were keen to find points of entry to my private supplies of electrolytes and whatnot. I don't suffer too much with bug bites thankfully or I would have been in danger of doing myself a mischief with the chainsaw. The trip out of the yard is always a bit whacky races, even with four wheel drive there are some little swamps that need avoiding and even the safe path has patches that need some skeedadle to get through. With the truck loaded I would not want to get stuck.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hard cuts

Another in the hopefully continuing, but frustrational series of hemidrawings clutched from the day's doings. I listen to podcasts of late and the folk on one of them were talking about the egotistical nature of blogs, etc. With everyone self obsessing over their daily doings assuming that because they are interested everyone else will be. One can only apologize in all humility for ones contribution to the problem. However, the imposing reality of eventual death and the essential fact that we are all different while sharing that same mortality does rather compel one to "Have a go anyway". And there is always the age old TV argument that these things all come with a handy little off switch or back button.
As to my daily egotisticals, the last of my sips at outdoor activities for the day was to winch out a big lump of Zelkova for some speculative nibbling with the chainsaw.
I got so far with it and then could not make a decision on how to proceed with irrevocable cuts, so much for my ego. There are many sections of complex grain pattern that might be suitable for small pieces, but when one has a big lump of attractive wood it is hard to steel oneself to the logical decision that it would be a waste to carve it as it is. Of all the tons of driftwood chipped up by the city, this is one of the few to avoid that fate, having adopted it for my own, I want to do the best I can for it. That means making a decision before it rots away of its own accord.
So, the saw in the left hand, ready for action, but not following through the imaginary cuts made by the right hand. I am sure they both know what they are doing and the right time will come.
Perhaps tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Silver sod

Still no great shakes at silver soldering. But as with most things, the more one does, the better it gets.
Morning on computer, afternoon flitting between practical projects, sorting wood and soldering pipe. Given the choice between hating myself for the constant changing of focus and untidiness, or rejoicing in that quality, I follow my nature and flit relentlessly between the two schools of thought. What a bath of irony to soak in.
Never a dull moment for we of the butterfly mentality.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I got called away to the bath yesterday and deemed this unworthy of inclusion where I left it, but today I have dropped my standards.
I am not a spic and span fanatic, but I do clean one window every morning in the season and that is the round one on the stove. I have had several sprayers to assist me in my task, but I always forget to move them away from the stove and they get deformed with the heat. Now I just keep a rag along side a drop of water in one of those perfectly manufactured aluminium juice bottles that are designed to be thrown away and melted down. I do like to be able to see the fire.
My first memories of noticing the odd balance of this posture are from watching my dad looking in the window of a tool shop in a rather fancy roofed over shopping area called the arcade. Through the window the walls were covered with implements and there were terraces of novelties at eye level for the hunkering adult as well as stuff hanging down from above. It is somehow a mark of the times that there were hardly any tool shops to invoke any degree of fascination when I last went to the city, perhaps things are different further north.
The obsession with tools continues to this day, and I suppose it will until I am no longer able to potter.

Monday, January 07, 2008


No good beating myself with a stick over drawing, I spent most of the day on gathering food for this chap. It is positively toasty in the home now. It came on to rain just as I was finishing up. Today was the first time I tried the cheapo chainsaw on normal work and he was a treat to use, so if I don't find too many other little design issues with it I shall be well pleased. I invested in a bigger gas tank as the thing does guzzle a bit due to the larger cubic capacity. I think the rain and cloud have warmed things up outside, which is why we are so toasty. I shut down the air vents once I had finished filling the stove after taking this. We don't actually have a piece of the sun in there, which is what it looks like here.
The frogs were out again, so I popped down with the torch to have a look. They have a very pointy head structure, the purpose of which was immediately made clear as the only chap I got a good look at did an amazing disappearing act diving into the mud between stalks of water plants. I was being a little impolite sticking my camera up his nose, and he was obviously not keen to surface again with me about, so I left him to it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I thought I had better start weaning myself back on to making marks on paper and away from quarks and the rest of wonder world. Sammy was just checking something out on the Internet, while sporting some kind of woolly garment with a hood on and asked me how to spell something. So I had an immediate subject on hand. I guess it is colder in his room than I had thought. We must see to getting some of the stove warmth in there. The last of the hols for him today, so back to the daily commute tomorrow.
I must get down to the wood yard as we have all but completely used up the stock of firewood he and I got in before the new year came in.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Today's tiny progress, cutting out drilling, threading and countersinking two aluminium plates to sandwich the Peltier modules. Soldering them up in series and getting ready to check their productivity.
I was chatting on Skype again today, all kinds of topics. Then on to the piano for a short go and at the boxing bag, then just before bathtime the straggly insect presence on the table prompted the kids and I to start up on sustainable energy and the Stan Meyer phenomenon again.
I mentioned Quantum mechanics and the tiny understanding I have of it. I was surprised to find that I was talking to people with no knowledge at all, so we had to go to wikipedia, we got this as a starter.
In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is an indivisible entity of energy.
This led on to a discussion of what an entity is and we got this.
An entity is something that has a distinct, separate existence, though it need not be a material existence.
The second one is particularly indicative of the state of things today, I particularly like the last bit "though it need not be a material existence". I guess that is the wave or particle argument solved for light, it doesn't matter, a photon is an entity.
The thing is that there are all kinds of entities and nonentities in the world around us and when you start to apply rules of vocabulary with questions like "Is fire, clay, Sammy, water or a frequency an entity" the answers are interesting.
We got started on this because the phenomena of obtaining more energy out of a process than one puts in as hinted at in the S Meyer case is flatly stated to be an impossibility. But in the world of quanta, previous impossibilities have now been found to be impossible only to ourselves as fairly lumpy entities, not to these other highly diverse quantum entities with the cute names and flavors. They can be in two places at once or somehow behave identically to a twin separated by vast distances at the same instant.
Interesting stuff for a living room chat.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hammering home

Not doing very well with the drawing regimen. A little tribute to the ailing shoulder here. I missed a day on the boxing ball and did a bit of digging to accommodate some of the build up in cess tank and the little chap has started up complaining again. I suppose I have had a fair bit of use out of the limb over the years as exemplified here with a picture my wife found when she was doing some new year tidying up today. About 12 years ago I think. Having the keys in there kind of sums up the work regimen recently, half keyboard and half this kind of malarkey.
This was the first bit of roof framing I ever did on a large scale, linking up with an older section, I made a couple of mistakes along the way, but it turned out OK in the end. The main mistake was a complete bungle with measuring out joint depths, but I realized I had messed it up before we started assembly and remade the whole piece. The other was a trivial thing with one of the posts needing to be cut shorter by an inch or so.

This style of construction isn't used that much anymore. The planks running through the pillars are called Nuki and they hold the pillars plumb by being wedged tight in the mortices. A big earthquake will shake the wedges loose and the posts can sway about a little, but the Nuki will bite in the holes when the building sways too far and so when the shocks are all over you can set about heaving the thing back up plumb again and then repair damaged walls and you are right as rain for the next one.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Stubbornly continue to write despite having nothing to say.
I like the visual sensation of the two pools of molten metal merging together to form one bead when welding. I saw a lot of it in the two hours between 9am to 11am while I welded up tubes as stated yesterday. This pooling is especially fine with stainless steel. I did need to make a bit of rod to feed the weld at the start. I cut some thin strips off of the edges of a scrap of thin sheet. Once the weld is started it is easy to draw in metal from the two pieces and keep it going. The vague color rainbow around the weld shows how little the heat travels. I only managed to get the bottom row done as we had arranged to go out in the afternoon. I just ran a fine wire brush over the welds to make any pits that might be holes more obvious.
The first two welds of the day were a bit snotty, but the rest look more like this one. I did have a humbling moment when I had to scrabble to get that iron tube out. I forgot to take it out after tacking up, so the welds were a bit more substantial and it had to be twisted and pulled for a minute or two before it would leave its burrow.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Working from the other end today. I picked up a mangled section from the roller bar of some buggy or other at the dam yard about five years ago. I always seem to end up sticking to stainless steel if it crosses my path. Following that trend I also stuck to some tube that came from a big antenna structure. The fat and thin pipes here are those respectively. The towel rack type layout here for a radiator to go behind the stove is about 55x55cm square. I figured that if I put the vertical pipes any closer I would have trouble getting the welder in between the gaps. Actually this is not really a radiator, it is a heat collector, and that seemed to be the first thing to figure out in the water heating plan. The two threaded stubs right at the corner of the bench will be welded onto the ends of the fat pipes to accept a union from something yet to be found, I had fun with the pipe threader making them. The other ends of the top and bottom pipes will be stopped. I need to make some kind of reservoir on top to fill up occasionally. The two J shaped wall like objects on the bench behind are the tubes with fins I mentioned yesterday. One will be fed with a trickle of cold water from the spring next to the house and kept cold, the other will be connected to the stainless tubular towel rack type thing via tubes. The sandwich of Peltier modules will be housed between the two sets of pipes. I am hoping that the Brownian motion developed in the stainless pipes will be sufficient to make some kind of cycle develop in the system, if not I will have to find a hot water pump that runs on a low voltage.
The 3/4 inch iron pipe tuck through the nearer of the fat stainless tubes is there to keep the insertion of the smaller pipes at an even depth so that I can tack weld them in place tomorrow morning with the TIG welder. The good thing about TIG is its ability to do welds on items of different thickness and the fact that it does not heat up the surrounding metal too much. With gas welding the metal is heated over a wider area and it expands, then you end up with cracked welds when the metal contracts again as it cools.
That is the theory, we will see how we do after breakfast tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


25 quid's worth of loopyness. Ever since I first heard about these things I have wanted to see what they can actually do. They are called peltier modules and they are each two slices of white ceramic material with about 256 tiny layer cakes of different metals lined up inside. The ceramic is what you can see and that is 4cm square in these units.
If you feed them electricity one side becomes hot and the other cold. If you heat one side and cool the other they make electricity. The former function has made them popular in the cooling of overworked CPUs in computers and other portable refrigeration, but the later function is what I am interested in. I bought them from an auction site in Japan, the seller chucked in one extra, so I played with that a bit by the stove when they arrived, it was fun to see the needle on the tester slide over the dial. I want to utilize the heat from the stove to make electricity. Either to power a fan to circulate hot air around our living space or to power a water pump to cycle hot water to the bath at the other end of the home. I know it is loopy, but these little fancies have to be attended to sometimes. I picked up the coils of copper shrouded in aluminium fins from a dumped air conditioner unit with the aim of making separate coils of hot water and cold so that I could sandwich these units in between. Today I began work on chopping that up into parts so that I may be able to put the plan into action. I shall have to work on my silver soldering or brazing skills. These units are only suitable for use up to 80 degrees centigrade, so I am not aiming to make steam or anything, I just want a sort of open system that will need topping up with water every now and then. With any luck I should be able to feed them a temperature difference near to their maximum of 68 degrees. The Stan Meyer concept of fracturing water is still appealing, after all, water is so much denser than oil, it makes sense that it must retain more energy. However all the science involved in that is a way off in the distance for me while fire wood and copper pipe is fairly comprehensible.
All in all a suitably crazy way to start off the new year.