Saturday, April 25, 2009


Yesterday was another meeting. This time at the home of the sofa client. I brought back the cushions to try for size. It was a morale boost to get a better mental picture of how the thing will turn out. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Panda juice

I spent a fairly happy morning at the hammer and chisel, then leveled up a bit with a sander and did a final run over with the trusty little chisel with a moderately long handle I use for putting the last marks on with. The afternoon went on sanding in the sides and undercuts for handles on either end. As usual the photo needs work, but we have a replacement for our lost item and it was put straight to service carrying our evening meal to the table. Before that I popped a drink bottle on it to indicate its purpose.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


One of the more practical wedding presents we recieved some 23 years ago was a serving tray. At the time we had hopes that it was wood and laquer, but closer inspection showed it to be some kind of bakolite type plastic. Anyway, it met its maker the other day as my daughter dropped it and the blow caused it to crack up too badly for repair. I embarked on making a little replacement today and also on a present for a retiree of our aquaintance. Here are the two birds and the little collection of tools I used on them today. 
The workbench is still occupied with the upper torso of the sofa. The leg gubbins helped me out today as a temporary tressle to work on. I used a plywood template with an oval type hole cut in it to guide the router with a collar stuck in the base plate. That gave me a groove around the circumference to the depth of the bottom of the tray. I then used portions of the plywood offcut from the middle to guide the three grooves across the middle and knocked out one set of turrets with the hammer and chisel. More progress tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chilly again

Back to a winter scene this morning as I lit the stove up to overcome the chill. New leaves filling out very quickly on the trees when only a few days ago we were still without them. The siskin groups were still about yesterday when I took the dog out, but their sip count was not as regular as before. I suppose they will gradually disperse and get on with nesting somewhere.
I went to get paid today. Driving down the road it seemed to take an awful long time to get to my turn off. I thought that perhaps I was being held up for a reason. The road wasn't crowded or anything, time just slowed for a moment. If you had been in the car you would have heard me muttering that it was taking bloody ages. I took my turning to the left towards the lake and a second later a motorbike zoomed out from a small road on the right without slowing down or checking for cars. I gave him a surly beep and he looked round like a marginalized animal in a zoo. Goodness knows where he learnt to drive, but he is heading for trouble if he does that too often. A moment earlier and I would have hit the bugger. I suppose in one of my less frequented universes I am having a miserable evening.  In this one, the stove is refreshed and keeping the chill off still.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Off duty

I mentioned the toads last week, so you will remember they have been making merry in the pond. Not a lot about this year, but enough to keep things going. Each year one male sticks around as a kind of guardian. I don't know how he gets elected, but I suppose there are years when a female turns up late and if noone is about she just has to sit there looking at her watch. So having this bloke stick around is a good idea. I happened to be looking out the window as this year's designated creche leader left today. I don't know why he chose to crawl among the spokes, but he did. The petals are from a big greengage tree, not the traditional cherry.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


There are great gurgling gaps in the blogosphere recently, but I suppose I can claim to be distracted. The change of the seasons is also gurgling away. Last years moths and butterflies are making the most of it after surviving the winter. The kitchen window attracts a lot of visitors in the evenings.
Today was the annual end of year meeting for the community, and there too we had gaps aplenty as people tackle the realities of declining population and poor reception for the digital TV broadcasts of the future.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


 The ladies from yesterday's excursion into stickery were from the basketry class my wife attends. One of them sent a mobile phone picture of her finished item. I think she said it took half a day to get the seat woven.  I hope the other ladies will get on and do theirs too. It makes all the difference when the woven bit goes on, as well as meaning that it can be sat on of course.
I had a pretty good day at the bench today, but still in the practical world of joinery.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Three ladies came to visit today and we worked on these little stool type stick structures. They are going to weave the seats when at home, which should be fun. I was glad to have got the objects to this stage in a day. If you have to leave things half way through it gives the sticks a chance to dry out and they are a lot more prone to snapping. The sculpture (lower right) has been living on a big plank outside the front of the house, but he had to make do on the floor for the day as we used that plank as our work bench. It was nice to have the toads for company as they were chirping about in the pond all day (just out of shot among the grasses on the left). One of the ladies asked if the toads were real, city folk aye.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Six sip siskin

My turn to walk the dog today. I was able to hang about a bit and approach one of the big flocks of birds moving through the valley. More siskins than I could think up names for. They had found a little patch of stream that they liked for drinking and I watched individual males among the constantly changing hoard come down and each take six sips before flitting off. Like all birds I have seen drinkng they do a graceful little scoop and then lift their heads to let it trickle down inside their gullet.

Monday, April 06, 2009


One of those thought provoking birthdays in terms of numerical significance. Armed with yesterday's visit to past haunts it was a lot less so. In fact, when I awoke in the early AM I was surprised to find when I recalled the date that I had forgotten all about it myself.
A few little presents and cards from the kids. In the evening, just as I was about to dive in the bath the woodworker who I had left the shell for yesterday called up to say thanks. That was a nice surprise as he has a very distinctive way of talking, which is a delight to hear. Apparently he is now a grandfather, so lots of news.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Meeting and not meeting

I had a meeting to attend in the morning, which went by very pleasantly. This was in the town where my son was born, down by the sea. I have a couple of aquaintances that live there, so I filled the afternoon traveling along a little tram like railway and dropping in on their homes. No one there, but the weather was lovely and it was not too crowded despite the cherry blossom season sunday atmosphere. I finished up the trip with a little stroll along the beach where I used to go for morning walks when we lived in the area. They had reinforced the sea wall that holds up the coast road with some kind of plastic stuff.  Somehow inspired this wonderful littlegroup of plant sprouting out of one of the drains did a very good job of balancing itself into an almost unaturally well designed arrangement. The beach lies to right and left, the sea with a mild scattering of surfers lies behind us.
One of the acquaintances I missed is a furniture maker, he had said a long time ago that he was interested in getting hold of some shells to do mother of pearl work with, so I left a shell outside his front door with a little message in simple script, which is the poor extent of my Japanese writing ability.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Weeks end

A very slovenly week when it came to blogging. I have been letting my geeky side take over the evenings again. My experiments are based around the arduino system of microcontroller and temperature sensors. I have very limited mathematical or electronic knowlege, so it is straining muscles I don't use. There are lots of helpful little sites and I am grateful to all the people that put time into making their knowledge available. 
The interesting thing is seeing the computer interact with something outside of itself that one can control and then leave to perform its functions independently.
Anyway, the content of each day has been fairly similar as my bench project has progressed during the interim and many joints are now done. Still yet more to do as I have it turned upside down to attach cross braces to the legs and then house them in the seat itself. 
We went on a brief shopping spree today for consumables lost in the recent outdoor work. The youngsters wanted to sell some of their old books and magazines, so we went to town to do that. On the way we noticed several shops and restaurants that had closed down. The economy suffering a little still.
Aside from many other little odds and ends we got.... Thin metal grinder disks. These are only 1.2mm thick, but because of that they seem to work much better than the usual 2mm items that take forever to get through.
Lenox Bi-metal shatter resistant reciprosaw blades. If you have ever used a reciprosaw, you will be familiar with the twang of normal metal blades snapping, these do not come cheep. The lenox blades live up to their name and I will not buy the others any more. They come at a premium, but they do not snap, they will bend instead and can then be straightened. The teath also hold a pretty good edge. 
The first toad stuggled into the pond today, wonderful texture and strangeness once a year as they flop about outside our front door looking for mates.