I bought a couple good geologist hammers for myself and my younger son; I’ve also bought a bunch of beginner’s books – and some not-so-beginnerish – on geology and mineralogy, plus a simple collection of hardness specimens. I’ve even taken my sons out on a minor expedition to a beach half an hour south of where we live. The expedition was something of a fiasco; I was too ambitious about climbing the steep bluff back from the beach, and it was a surprisingly hot day for autumn (this was several months ago, back in July). My boys grumbled and whinged and generally complained, we ran out of water, and we really, really looked goofy wearing hardhats and lugging all our geology gear on the beach.
It was not just any beach, but a clothing-optional beach; I had known ahead of time it was there, but I wrongly thought the interesting mineral layers would be farther north. Imagine the consternation of my older son, a lanky 13-year-old, as it began to dawn on him that yonder southern beach There. Are. Naked. People. Walking.
“Uh, Abba … I don’t think, um,” he said, a faint edge of hysteria to his voice, “I mean, I’m not sure we’re allowed to be here …” Then his eyes fairly bugged out when he spied a fully developed Female Naked Person rise out of the surf like Aphrodite and saunter to her beach towel (and in our general direction). Number Two Son was nonplussed, but I could tell Number One Son’s thoughts were rapidly becoming disordered.
To save him further embarrassment, we turned left and climbed the bluff to an interesting band of purple and red about 80 metres up. We still haven’t identified the mineral (some more samples would be handy), but I doubt I can convince him to try again.
I am chagrined to see how long ago I set this goal. Well, it was as achieved as it’s ever going to get three or four years ago. In fact, we’ll probably have to move sometime in the middle of next year, so I’ll have to pack things back up.
I’m looking into what it would take to make a busker organ out of Meccano pieces (Erector set pieces, for you Muricans).
Sounds crazy, no? I mean, the whole point of Meccano is that it’s metal with all sorts of holes in it, not the first choice for making air-tight devices. Still, I have some ideas…
This one is about 25cm high and about that wide. It’s an alchemical retort and receiver flask done up as a soldered steel wire sculpture.
This one is steel and copper wire, about 30cm tall. I call it “Another Mouth to Feed”
I brought my old table saw from the states when we moved to Australia, but I didn’t have a 240v motor for it. A few months ago I finally got the thing put together and bolted on a new motor.
Ah, the sweet whine of wood being ripped to width…
Last week I bought a 1000mm x 400mm x 60mm slab of red gum timber to make the jaws of the Neolithic Workmate sculpture. One edge still has the rough bark line, and I plan to leave that as is. It will be on the fixed front jaw side.
This week I planed the slab smooth and ripped it into two 400mm wide planks on the table saw at school. I’ve also cut several fallen eucalyptus branches into the various parts of the two H-frames; these I am joining with mortise and tenon joints for strength.
The base will be a red gum frame with woven willow twigs in between forming the step platform. This is partly to reduce weight, but mainly because it should look cool.
Rather than break my expensive lump of flint up into lots of little, useless pieces, I’m trying out knapping with beer bottle glass—much cheaper.
It’s going to take time, but I’m beginning to get glimmerings of the idea.
I’m making an all-wood folding portable workbench as a sculpture; it will be a sort of Neolithic Black & Decker Workmate. I’ve just bought 3+ metres of 2×6 red gum plank to get a start on it.
I would love to used Mulga (a very hard, dense acacia wood found in arid areas, such as the Flinders), but I didn’t think to gather any while I was on walkabout at Iga Warta last week.
A1 Timber in Hahndorf (just 25km from my house) had some Mulga in stock, but it was quite expensive. I reckon it would have cost over $100AU for enough billets of Mulga to do the job.
Anyway, I also bought a 20-lb lump of flint to try my hand at flint knapping for yet another sculpting project. Maybe I can make a set of Neolithic chisels to go with the Workmate :)
I went to Iga Warta in the Flinders mountains (about 500km north-northwest of Adelaide), where I camped with my parents. Amazing place. I want to go again.
Matzah and maror—the matzah was good (as matzah goes), the maror wimpy. In fact, if it didn’t say horseradish on the jar, I wouldn’t have thought it was horseradish at all.
I sure hope there’s some real horseradish at the second night seder.
A gross of paper airplanes. This doesn’t look nearly as impressive in the photo as it does in person.
This was from February. It hasn’t been fired, yet, though it does seem thoroughly dry.
I want to build a small busker or barrel organ, the type that plays from punched cards or rolls.
It would be part of a hand-cranked automaton.
I’ve begun assembling the bits and pieces of my little Taig lathe. So far, I’ve the lathe itself lapped and assembled, and I’ve bugun making a mounting board for it.
The biggest short-term challenge is machining an adaptor to let me use one of the motors I bought to power it. It has a non-standard stub shaft with a slot in it, so I need to make the adaptor so I can put the Taig drive pulley on it, but I can’t machine the adaptor until I have the lathe working.
I intend to rig up a tempory drive motor with the pulley chucked up on my power drill, just long enough to make the needed part.
Bought another benchtop drill press, far superior to the $80AU piece of crap I bought last year. The old one vibrated so much I was afraid it would break drill bits (it did) or even vibrate itself right off the bench (it didn’t, but only because I clamped it down).
I got disgusted with it and bought a display model of a 13” machine, 3/4HP for just $265AU. I measured a runout of 0.004” on the Morse taper in the spindle, so it’s not a high-end machine by any means, but it’s a darn sight better than what I had.
I’ve decided I am not a wealthy enough man to buy cheap tools; if I really need the tool, I’ll buy the best I can afford.
... about a hundred twenty paper airplanes left to go
I’m making 200+ paper airplanes for my sculpture class. I’ll be making all sorts of variations, colors, sizes, and then I’ll pin them up like butterfly specimens in a museum.