Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, How I go about getting wood ready for carving
Wood is ready for the pattern with the backer board attached in the 4 corner with counter sunk screws... I first roll out Scotch Brand packing tape to cover all the area.......There are lots of types of Scotch Brand packing tape. Storing, Packing and Shipping and maybe more but the shipping is thicker and doesn't tear apart as easy you are removing it off the wood. I then spray temporary glue on the tape then lay on pattern. Duck brand clear tape leaves too much stickum on the wood after it is removed to ever use it again. Scotch brand don't leave much sticky except where you sit there running the saw in the same place and the wood gets hot and melts a small amount of gu but not much. And that is the reason to use the clear packing tape to start with for if a person just sprays the wood and places the pattern on it then after the sawing it takes a long time to remove the sticky off the wood...Using lacquer thinner is about the fast way but hey the thinner is real expensive no a days...So go with scotch brand because I said to... And using just paint thinner takes all day to remove the pieces of pattern left after the sawing process.
The fastest way to make sure the holes I drill to attach all the loose pieces of wood to the backer board before I start running the scroll saw is take a very small drill bit like 1/16" or so and drill in through the pattern all the way through the back side then flip the board over and using a drill bit just a hair smaller width than the 3/4" long sheetrock screw threads and drill in through that small hole...The correct size bit to use if you hold the screw behind the drill bit you will only see just a small amount of the tip of the threads on each side of the drill bit.......This will keep the screw from busting the wood... A sheet rock screw is the same as a sheet metal screw as the threaded area is the same size from main holding area as it is all the way to the head.... Tapered threaded screws are too easy to get the wood busted as the screw goes
So now all the holes are drilled up through the backer board up in to the body to be carved. But first take a damp hand soap bar and rub some of the screw threads and this makes them go in better... now install all the screws then flip the board back over and start scroll sawing.
Going through the front of the pattern you see where the pieces will be left large enough to accept the screws without busting the wood.. Going this route you don't have to worry about the 4 screws in each corner.. Only saw out the outside pieces and leaving only the pieces what will be carved...
Next take the backer board off so you can start cutting away each piece to be carved..Separate the areas that needs to be cut down more than the adjoining area. And keep checking to ee if more screws needs to be installed as the inside pieces are sawn away.
The other way to make sure the screws are going in the correct location.. with the 4 screws holding the backer board in the 4 corners you can start sawing the wood away but leave the area of the body of the wood still attached to the 4 screws then once you get down around some of the clock that's jutting out, stop and counter sink a hole where there will be wood left after removing the waste area.
This way takes much more time as you will have to stop sawing when you get an area you know will accept a screw hole and go to the drill press and counter sink a hole from the back side of the clock and insert the screw....Then keep repeating sawing the outside until all areas have screws and the waste wood is sawn away...And each time you counter sink a new hole it needs to be hit with some sand paper to ensure smooth sliding on the scroll saw table..
I like to use a #5 precision ground Olson scroll saw blade for the outside sawing, they seem to last longer before they wear out and easier to guide making a straighter line. but don't know for sure then for all the inside cuts I switch to a flying Dutchman#3 blade which is thinner and don't make as wide of cut... The Flying Dutchman is better sawing curves.
The small screw holes left sticking out the front of the wood one can either fill them with something or like I do is add more holes in line or what ever and this is becoming my style as I like to raise each hole area like it was there on purpose..
This picture just shows how I take care of the sticky between the area where the pattern quits and the wood extends to...A person don't want to get stuck to the work area so after I spray the packing tape then install the pattern there is always an area left with sticky stuff left all the way around the pattern and trying to guide the wood while sawing is impossible so I just take some paper towels and cut strips and lay over the sticky.. Problem solved.
This picture also shows as I am fixin to drill small 1/16" holes through the pattern all the way through the wood so I can flip the wood over and counter sink the screw holes...the backer board does have to be installed before I drill the small holes through the front...!!!
Just sit and think how hard it would be to grind away certain areas if the pieces were left together...It will get clearer where the pieces should be sawn apart with each carving you make.
Don't know but I might be back with all kinds of corrections after I read this and it don't make sense, cents, or since.
Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, attaining a snowflake
To start one needs a program like Rapid resizer then go to Pinterest... maybe like a few thousand flakes to choose from..
Find one you like and click on it to make it the largest size on the screen before you click on to Save as and here I use Documents to store this type of pictures.
Now you need a printer. No big deal here for I use for this is a Canon # 2522. About two or three months ago it was on sale for less than 20 bucks.
Once the picture is stored in documents I go to Rapid resizer and bring up the picture after I search documents.
The picture shows it will be about 10" tall and 8.90" wide. Click on print and it will go to a screen and tell it how many copies and be sure the printer it on and push start. This size it will make two copies and you will have to cut down the line on the one you will attach it to the other side...
Daughter gave me some 12" squares of 1/4" BB and this is perfect for the flakes.
I want to make two snowflakes so I put clear Scotch brand shipping tape on one piece of wood spray stickum on attach the pattern. I usually print out a few copies for later use and store them where I can't find them later...A strange habit I have.
Okay, once the pattern is applied I find a number drill bit a couple of .oo2 smaller than the finish nails. I will cut 4 1/4" pieces of BB at once so I make sure the finish nails I use wil be a hair shorter then the stack of wood.. Go to the drill press and while a couple of black spring clamps are holding the wood straight I drill the holes for the nails. I like to leave the nails sticking up an 1/8" or so to have some for my fingers to push on while turning the wood.
This flake is about the simplest I could find but still has rounded points. Thirteen inside cuts ain't bad so that is quickly taken care of then one continual sawing without stopping..
Since this is going to be a compounded type you can see where the center of the other two pieces will be glued to I made a hair wider. Also see where the nails will be cut away.
Once the pattern is removed from the top piece I draw a straight line on two of the pieces and scroll saw the line.
I sure do like the All Pro sand paper 3M makes for I use it to knock the fuzzies off the bottoms of the pieces...Its very soft and flexible but for some strange reason Home Depot was the only place that stocked it then they quit selling it...The only time I use it is for knocking the fuzz off of the first coats of lacquer and the fuzzies on scroll saw projects and it last forever...
I didn't use epoxy on these for the long skinny line is easy to put the poxy where it ain't wanted so I used Aleene's brown bottle glue.. It dries clear and is strong when it sets up... The only reason why I use the products I do is because I test it all and don't especially do the norm.
Check out my not staying on the lines. A person does not have to be a good scroll sawer for this and its hard to see any flaws when finished with the project..I found a pattern, cut it out then glued it up in less than a day.
Only my thinking but a scroll saw snowflake is much more like the real thing than the table saw thingy! And a whole lot less steps in doing so. This one is 1/4" where the small ones are 1/8" BB.
Cal reacted to Gerald for a blog entry, What my current setup is
Thought it might be best to start off with what my current setup is or at least parts of it. My Dust collector is a Grizzly 1029 2 hp operating on 220v. It had a 5 micron bag top and bottom when purchased and was upgraded to a canister filter from Penn State. My collector is located in the attic of my shop in a insulated enclosure and a 12x24 filtered return to the shop. Power is controlled with a Long RAnger remote.
Ducting I used is 4 inch thinwall PVC. We will get into ducting and turning corners later. I have limited amounts of Flex hose in 4 and 6 inch. My bblast gates are a combination of homemade and manufactured plastic gates of two types. Since the Dc is located in the center of the shop ducting goes out in a spider like orientation. Ducting to machines is split in several places by use of wyes and boxes (made from Shop Notes plans).
I have a cyclone based on some plan I found somewhere and a control box on it based on Shop Notes plans expanded. I recently added a Dust Deputy cyclone and may do away with the wooden cyclone.
DC Room under construction on the left.
Chip collection box and ducts to DC in attic on right.
Another view of lower ducts and chip box.
Above is Dust deputy with connections turned on the lathe to adapt openings to 6 inch flex hose. Ducts attached to ceiling spread to machines from this point. Of note here it is best to keep Duct runs as short as possible and as straight as you can get them. Any turn should be gradual and not an immediate 90 degree. This can be done with purchased wide and ducts or put two 45 angles together with a short 4-6 inch piece of duct between them. More on this in the next entry about choosing and installing ducts and blast gates .
Cal reacted to Gerald for a blog entry, How I got this started
Where to start is to determine just what do you want to use the bench for. At the time for me it was flatwork and planing. I looked at many plans and decided on parts of several. Not sure where each part came from but the contributing plans were in Wood Magazine, Shop Notes and Popular Mechanics.
I started with the vices. Both are Lee Valley and maybe even paid full price. They are both front vices but one is mounted on the end. Next is to decide on the wood. I wanted White Oak and it is hard to find at the mill. Well, I did not want to pay 8 plus a foot for that so it took a couple years to find. I think I paid $2.50 a foot.
The design I put together has a three layer MDF (3/4) top plus 1/4 Masonite sacrificial layer. This is trimmed in 2 inch White Oak. Yes it took 2 people to move this into place. The legs are a three board glue up and have a center rail thru mortise connecting two end leg sets. The upper and lower rails are wrapped around a lower shelf of MDF and attached with bed bolts.
The drawer unit is designed to fit planes , chisels and other small woodworking tools. Full PIP with pictures will be next up just stay tuned.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, Part #4 The Glue-up and Turning
I found it easier to glue if I oriented the blank with the diagonal cut facing up. I use an old restaurant cutting board as a gluing work surface and pieces of the cutting board as culls and pads. In this picture, you can see the three strips to be glued into place. They measure 2” x 10 3/4” x 1/8”. Test fit the pieces first to make sure they will seat into the slot. (I now have a thick piece of Corian countertop for the gluing surface)
On my first attempt, I didn’t use enough clamps- using more clamps and culls assured that all of the joints were tight. I probably overdid it with the amount of glue. A liberal coat over all mating surfaces.
After the glue has dried and the clamps removed, the blank is ready for trimming. I used to use a special table saw jig for this but found it was easier and quicker to trim off the excess insert length on the bandsaw just free handing it.
Trim both ends and the side.
At this point it is a good idea to “sweeten up” the layout lines, if the trimming operation removed them.
Now it is just a matter of re-mounting the blank on the diagonal cutting jig and repeating the operations for making the second diagonal slot.
The diagonal slots, glue ups and trimming operations are the same for each of the remaining three sides.
On the lathe, ready to be turned.
The final dimensions on this rolling pin were: 20” long; diameter at the center: 1 9/16”; diameter at the ends : 1 1/4”. I have tried two types of tapers. One started at the center and continued to the ends. The other starts at the ends of the ellipses and continues to the ends. Personal preferences will determine the tapers.
After the blank is turned round, the layout lines for the taper can be drawn on the blank.
To aid in getting it symmetrical, I started with an arc template.
My turning skills leave a lot to be desired and there was too much variation from one pin to the next in diameter and symmetry. I considered purchasing a lathe duplicator but finances dictated this calls for another jig!
Most of the hardware is standard off the shelf stuff- ¼” x 20 threaded stock, wing nuts, T-nuts, deck screws. The only thing “special” was the ¼” tool steel- which I purchased from a local machinist for 25 cents and then ground a rounded tip. This shape worked better than a point because it left the wood with a smoother surface.
The base of the jig mounts onto the lathe bed. The back edge of the jig has the “reverse” arc of the rolling pin. The cutting portion of the jig sits on the MDF bottom and the bolt follows the arc to create the shape.
The long bolt can be adjusted to position the cutter depth.
Cal reacted to Gerald for a blog entry, Ducts and blast gates
Now this may be getting the cart before the horse but lets call it collecting supplies you will need to connect your DC to machines. Thin wall PVC will work just fine . For the best you can order metal ducts any size you want but you will also have to buy expensive connections .
A consideration many people talk about is grounding the dust collector and duct. To my knowledge and every forum I have been on and every article and book "there has never been a explosion in a home workshop due to dust collector" . Now , yes a dust collector will create static electricity which causes dust to adhere to outside of ducts. If you do want to ground you can use bare copper wire wrapped around the outside of the pipe and ground to machine and the DC.
Using thin wall PVC is easier to work with and connectors are readily available. When you put all these together you can use PVC cement but I guarantee you will rearrange the system and your shop so go with something reversible such as caulk. You can also use screws to hold the connections together but use as short a screw as will do the job to limit disruption inside duct. You do not have to seal these joints inside as you can do that on the outside of the pipe . This is not to keep the pipe together but to seal leaks. Every little air leak reduces the air flow you will get from your system and that includes all connections.
When using PVC try to keep the long runs as one solid piece of pipe, and after that the fewer joints the better. When I use 45 elbows to create a 90 I grind off that little shelf inside the fitting. Reason: you want the walls as smooth as possible because any bumps or restriction cause disruptions in airflow and reduce suction. This is why you want to reduce the use of flex hose to a minimum. Dust collectors work on a volume of air not the suction power. Dust is suspended in the air flow and disruptions can cause it to drop out and start a clog.
Now as to the size of duct " the bigger the better" is not a rule but it is better close to the DC to have larger and go to smaller closer to the machine. My Dc only starts at 5 inch so the 6 I used is overkill but not a killer as it is only 8 foot. Dust collectors do not work well on shop vac hose but that can work for small areas such as drill press or small sanders. Planners, bandsaws, tablesaws, and other large machines are bet to use 4 inch or larger connections.
Hanging the duct in the ceiling is simple and easy with several methods. Large plastic twist ties work well. Perforated metal strap will also do the job . I have made several of mine from galvanized wire. Or you can make nice hangers from wood.
I started out with what I would call a traditional blast gate made of plastic with short tapers on each end to connect flex. Note that 4 inch PVC connectors do fit 4 inch flex but take a piece with you when you buy. You can buy wire clamps made to seal the flex to connectors or buy a kit at Harbor Freight to make your own hose clamps. Recently I found a new blast gate with a spiral on one end and a shape on the other end which will fit PVC. There are many many designs of blast gate out there from plastic to metal and even some that automatically open when you turn on the machine. When you install the blast gate you will want in convenient and as close to the machine as you can get it. When you do branches off the main gates are a good way to shift the air down different runs. I have one at the top of a run and when open air goes to CMS and wide belt sander (each also with a gate) on the other side the gates at the lathes need to be closed.
More pictures next time and how to make your own gates ,
Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, Its been shown before but still questions
this is not the same box but is the way I start building one.
I have to print out 10 exact patterns. The tenth one is just solid with no holes for drawers.
All the pieces I cut out for the drawers are later glued together except for the front of the drawer and the back of the drawer.
I use dowels to line up everything . If I don't use the dowels when clamping two pieces together it could slip just a hair one way or the other and cause lots of extra sanding or cause for the trash can. Each set of holes has to be in a different place than the next side of the pieces. And you can't drill the next side until the first side is marked and drilled and glued.
Drawers are somewhere around 5 1/2 to 6" deep. The body being one solidly glued up mass with no cuts joining each drawer keeps it all from warping from season changes..
I use brasing or stainless steel rods for drawer pulls before I start spraying the clear lacquer so they will stay looking good and not tarnish.
I also put a wider drawer front on to cover up the possible gaps from sanding and creating a back looking mess. And here also the dowels help to line up the drawer fronts.
So far, all the sawing was with the scroll saw so the reason I call my boxes scroll saw jewelry boxes.
Now before I glue the front of the drawer on and the back of the drawer on I first mark where the cavity of the drawer will be and cut that area out with a band saw. Then using the dowel holes I first pt in the pieces I can now glue the on and they will have bee lined up before the cavities of the drawers were sawn in...
Its not a good idea to be drinking beer when all this is taking place for all these holes I drill has to have a stop set on the drill press or else...
There is way more preparation in one of these boxes and a few more weeks involved.. I cut the last 4 boxes I made out outside my motor home while sitting in an rv park in Colo.. I had all the wood glued together for each piece I needed and would only glue on one pattern one at a time as I started to scroll saw each piece out... Gluing a pattern on two or three days before the sawing takes place the pattern will shrink and stretch and some might ruin to not be usable. I always took two or three extra patterns and pieces of prepared wood just in case... I have also found two different printers will make different size patterns even though I use the same pattern in two different printers..Not good when I am having to make multiple patterns and needing some more away from the printer I first used.
When cutting out this many of the same thing and needing them as close to each other as I can get them, I find I have to start my scroll saw cutting from the same place and go in the same direction on all the pieces... Going two different directions on two different pieces a person has a tendency to lean or push the wood just enough to make differences and I get get bad line up problems and then add that many more pieces it gets too wild....Yes it ruined my very first wide box because of this...
Using the dowel system where at least 3 dowels and most of the time 4 dowels on each side of all the pieces I can get things more manageable when its time to sand it all smooth on the inside and the outside and all the drawers.. All these have to stay in line as to how they were sawn so lots of marking goes on and off. Don't even know if this is understandable or not??
And I can sure see the difference in my sawing from starting in the morning or just before I quit at night. Those lines can sure get wavy.
Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, If you have a printer
I ran across this picture and thought some who use patterns they buy with money, you just might save a few bucks. I noticed home printers are getting about the price of a big hamburger so that shouldn't slow too many away from one.. I don't know how much the Rapid Resizer cost to have on your computer but it is sure helpful when needing to enlarge or reduce a picture to be used as a pattern...
This is the pattern that got me to carving wood and the patterns or I should say one pattern I got off the internet so I was not out much money while in the learning to carve..
I noticed it took me a couple of apples to round up these three clocks I printed out from the one picture to give me three different projects. I noticed the one in the middle I used some of my old leather punching tools I picked up over the years at garage sales... Anything to help in changing the appearance of the wood stuff I can buy cheaper than new is what I keep on my wanted list while looking over ones junk.
I also used one pattern on these three items also.. This pattern happens to be out of wife's stained glass pattern book.
I don't worry too much anymore if I make a pattern really big and make the lines blurry and hard to follow with the scroll saw for I can hold the scroll saw steady enough to get decent pictures. The only problem with a big pattern like this 8 page pattern of the clock is taping all the pages together staight enough to end up with some that kinda looks professional... but hey the printers adds a small line especially to cut with a pair of scissors so all you got to do is hold two pages at a time together while you cover the lines with clear scotch tape....They take the hard stuff out of it so even an idiot can proceed with a good pattern to glue on to the wood....
Here is the mighty big problem with a mighty big pattern...Can't remember for sure but I think this pattern was 34 inches tall and my Dewalt 788 from blade to the back of the saw will only handle 20" actually a hair less if one needs to turn the wood around while sawing......I did use a jig saw but those blades will only turn so much without twisting the blade in to...
well I ended up with something that suited me so being bold and dumber I made the next clock even bigger..
Then I had to drill a few holes to install the flowers after it all got shot a few times with clear lacquer and now the pieces sticks out way out there where a cleaning rag will surly rip them off someday.... Not my problem!!!
I hope I'm never asked to reproduce this same looking finish ever....
If you have ever had to hold a large piece of maple this heavy while trying to saw it to pieces is almost what made me quit doing wood working. That thing weighted almost as much as I do. Once I got some of the length of the big slab cut down so the 788 could saw I then had the saw table to rest that hunk of wood on but by then I had turned blue..
Now the problem begins for I don't know anything about a Blog and this is where I am at...
Any questions, I hope I can find this blog again to help!
Cal reacted to Gerald for a blog entry, Bed from a (few) boards
Have to start with a glue up . Did not think I could find 6 x 6 dry pine so here we go with 3 pieces of 2 x 6. Tried to get the knots toward the surface outer edges as these would be turned off. Remember you can never have too many clamps
After squaring the blanks on table saw we will need a centered hole to assemble the two parts of the post as this lathe is not long enough to turn as one piece.
Having that hole creates a stabilization problem for turning which is solved by using a cone center in the tailstock.
The left picture is the fluting jig cutting the upper post . The right picture shows a closer look at the the jig cutting the post.
These are the finished post parts with fluting done on one. Right picture shows the connection for the parts of the post.
This round turning and finial go on top of the headboard and footboard.
This shows the incomplete mortise and tenon to join the posts to foot and head boards. The raised panels are installed and at this point are prestained.
The complete project. Not exact but a close similarity to a bed we lost when our house was flooded over 30 years ago.
Cal reacted to Joe Candrilli for a blog entry, The real day two
OK, so on to working the segments. As I said, my goal is to complete a can koozie using segmented rings. The best way I found was the 'wedgie sled' concept created by Jerry Bennett. It is basically a 3 part sled. I thought I could get away with just the adjustable arms and quickly figured out why the parts are there. It is really a simple concept. You adjust the 2 bars on the sled according to how many segments you want per ring. You can do math (360 degree circle divided by 18 segments per circle = 20 degree angle. Divide by 2 since each wedge has 2 sides making it a 20 degree total angle or 10 degrees from center on each side) or you can have a predetermined wedge to drop between the two adjustable bars (hence the wedgie sled name).
Each segment has 4 critical dimensions. We set the side angles in the first step. In this step we determine the outside diameter of the ring. The inside diameter was established earlier in prepping the wood. In this case I purchased 2 strips of dimensioned wood from Woodcraft (1/4" x 3/4" x 16" purpleheart and yellowheart). So in this case the 3/4" width will make a ring 3/4" wide. I wanted to set my outer diameter at 3.5". Now I will be totally honest here, I didn't do this math. I could have, and I did earlier when I made the original koozie. But why? I found an app, put in some numbers and it spit out a length of .619". You cannot see it in the photos, but there is a way to calibrate the stop, then using digital calipers I can set the exact length of each segment.
The third part of the jig is a simple 45 degree strip with magnets on the bottom to keep the cut of segments from riding the blade and getting flung across the shop. Didn't think it was necessary until one smacked my safety goggles (safety first kids).
You can see the segments below. It goes pretty quick. I made 36 segments in less than 5 minutes. Basically trim the square edge off the end, then move the wood to the stop and cut. Switch to the opposite bar, move to the stop, and cut. The way the sled is designed it eliminates any error in the angles by moving between bars vice trying to make multiple cuts on the same bar where errors are compounded. Each 16 inch strip of wood made 24 segments which is more than enough for two rings, seen below.
Some of you who are good at math probably see the error already. "Uh, Joe? If your outside diameter is 3 1/2", and each segment is 3/4" (x2 is 1 1/2") then that hole in the center is only 2" across. You making Red Bull Koozies?"...And you would be right. In my hurry to show off how the sled works I skipped a step. I should have ripped the 2 strips down to 1/2" wide before running them thru the sled. I went back and ripped some oak down to 1/2" x 1/2" and made the segments again. So now I simply glue and zip tie in a circle to dry. They fit around the can well. I will need to trim the center to round which will give me a little room around the can. I plan to use a cheap thin foam koozie to insulate the inside and that will make this a snug fit.
So for now it is simply cut and glue, cut and glue. If my math is good I should be able to get more than 6 koozies from a single 2"x6"x24" block of oak (2 BF). Assuming around $7 per BF for oak, it looks like I am in for $2.50 in wood per koozie plus glue and time. My initial temptation is to price these at around $10 except that there is likely a ton of man hours in this. $15 might be better, but not sure if that is pricing myself out of the market.
So I am already seeing a few issues that I will have to overcome. First, I was able to dimension down the large block of oak into 24"x1/2"x1 1/2" Strips. Using the band saw I ripped these into 1/2 inch strips, but they were not ripped in a straight line at all. So now I have a 24 inch x 1/2 inch x a wavy 1/2 inch strip. Not a big deal except the top of the rings once formed is not flat. Since the rings eventually have to be glued together, and need to be parallel to each other I have to figure a way to flatten the rings out. The strength of these segments comes from each ring supporting the other. The individual rings are end grain glued together and provide some structure but not a ton of strength. The strength comes from the edge to edge gluing between rings. So I guess I will sand the rings with my Ryobi combo belt and disc sander.
Thanks for reading, as always comments, questions, and recommendations are welcome.
Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, All building being built for wood shops should be built for 20 or 30 years down the road..
We left a very perfect size shop where we retired from. A 40x60 with a concrete floor.
So in thinking ahead with my lovely we won't need that much shop cause in our visions every road and highway is the U S was going to be our work shop.
Wild thinking but hey the very first 8 years of our last business we were open 7 days a week. Every day and even when it rained, we had many things to do.
From experience, so believe me when I say build a shop for 20 or 30 years down the road. It will eventually get to where every tool and piece of machinery known to man and a few gorillas will end up in your shop. And lots of those just got to have, I can't work another day with out those new inventions never gets touched again. They are there taking up room and yes you will smirk and brag to every one who enters your shop. I almost have to pay someone to come in my door anymore cause all the people I know has learned their lessons. Once I finally get someone inside the door they claim I lock it so every one who enters has to go through the long sermons everyone has learned word for word over the years...
Side tracked from my story already and not even talking bout the size of a shop. Men know size matters. In less than six months after I finished my shop I was tearing out the north end of the building fixing to add 12 more feet so now it would be 30x62. A motor home came into our life and I didn't want any part of it fading...when parked at home. But with all those highways, and some of them are even free to drive down but in a round about way still cost a bundle. Every trip we took a new map and a different color of Marks A Lot was used was to show every road we drove down... A new map and the marker thing was a results from the very first trip we went on right after we got married. This was before any kids showed up on our doors. We still argue how we got to Florida from Texas. Now every trip is recorded in color. I wounder if the markers fades like sales receipts?
Never having gone to any kind of construction or building classes, the library was my best friend. Having lived in the Lubbock area after I got out of high school another learning place was in the area where new homes was being built. I never talked to any carpenters on the jobs but would sit around and watch. I bet they all thought , that is the youngest inspector we ever saw. I might have been responsible for their doing better work when I came around..I did witness a few guys who had picked up hand full of nails for the other side of the house and had to put them on the ground and get some for the side they were working on....
After having put up the forms for more concrete for the extension and waiting for the concrete trucks to show up it dawned on me this adding to another existing building was going to be somewhat harder than building one out all by itself.. So this is where I will show wife how exact my style really is, bowling or horse shoes or building a building a person should be at his best for all the world to see.
I used oil field up set tubing for all the up rights and had welded flat 6x6 plate steel to the bottom and top of three foot long 2 7/8 tubing burried in the footing before the concrete was poured. So after the concrete set up I welded the steel studs on to the foundation.
The building structure is ridgid and will be there after a tornado comes through. They might be bent all the way to the ground but will still be there.
So how do I get the same exact roof slope and wall sides exactly in line so they will match up like it was all built at once. Quick and easy to say>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I think I ended up with thirty different string lines going all kinds of directions and the metal siding and metal roof panels were not hardly faded in the six months or so they were up so hey, it all looks like one unit..
When you work by your self you do things differently and make helpers using other methods. A really old fork lift that would only reach 8 foot high was my best helper. I built an addition that would allow me using a chain hoist to lift up the pipe trusses to more than 16 foot in the air so I could let them down on 9 foot tall 2 7/8 pipe uprights and rest there while I jumped down off the forklift and weld each truss every ten foot on the wall pipes. The old Perkins motor of the fork lift smoked like a mosquitoe sprayer but as long as I run it at an idle it worked great. Make the trusses stay sitting on top of a 2 7/8 " pipe I used 2 pair of Vise Grip chain wrench's locking two pieces of metal on to each side of the up right pipes. Thus making a saddle and the fork lift keeping them in the air, I could go in an get a cup of coffee while the trusses sat there..
The only help I got was one day after I had put most all the sheet metal up on the walls a brother in law drove up and said looks like you might need some help. Well I could have used some the three previous weeks but yes today finishing up I could use it.
The trusses I built one on top of the other laying down on the concrete. My reasoning, if one truss was crocked they all would match and would make the sheet iron all lay flat and pretty.
I knew after all this extra extending would not get the motor home a place to park inside for the motor home clearance is 12'4" and the shop has 9 foot walls. I would get the extra clearance by cutting out the inside of the pipe trusses but first I would have to drill holes in the concrete installing new pipes under the end of each truss I would have to cut out. This was I would still have each end of each truss welded in to the ground through the concrete.
This area was a trailer paint room last week.
Then after I got each pipe buried in the concrete and welded under each truss I could go ahead and using a cutting torch cut the inside of each truss that was in the way. The motor home just barely fits but I have walking room beside it and I still have working space on each side of the shop and still have a 30 x 20 insulated with heat and air plus the shop area for wifes stained glass 8x20 heated and air.
Oh and I was smart enough when putting up the concrete forms to lay pipe and drains for bathroom and sink which saves lots of walking.
I have more nonsense on shops but gotta wire my trailer right now thats it warm out.
Cal reacted to Steve Krumanaker for a blog entry, Making name tags using inkscape
I've mentioned that to take advantage of the potential of one of these little laser engravers there are some software programs to know. One of these is an open source program called "inkscape". To someone who has never used it, inkscape can be intimidating as there are so many menus, options, controls, etc. etc. With a little effort it all starts to make sense and a person begins to understand what is going on. This is a little step-by-step to create a name tag file that can be used with a cnc laser or cnc engraver. Once the main template is created it's a simple matter to change the name to rout or engrave several different tags.
The picture above is the main screen from inkscape. As you can see there are menus and tool bars all over the place. The only one that concerns us just now is the one on the right of that picture and the close up just to the right of this text. This dialogue defines the size of the document we're creating. One of nice things about inkscape is the ability to create a working page whatever size is needed. For a name tag that's about 3.5"X 2.4". The laser software is written in millimeters so the document will be created in millimeters. In this case, 90X58 millimeters. Inkscape will work in mm, inches, feet, or even pixels. The document page is outlined in the above picture.
After creating the page three items were added to it. First, a rectangle slightly smaller than the document. This defines the actual size of the name tag as the laser will engrave this box and provide a guide for cutting out the tag. These small lasers aren't powerful enough for actually cutting wood, not even thin veneer. By engraving the rectangle I don't have to measure to cut but can just follow the line inscribed by the laser.
Then, two decorative ovals were drawn. There are menu boxes to size, position, and manipulate the ovals or any other object. A person can even determine how thick the drawing line is. At this point the file is saved in inkscape as an SVG file. That is the inkscape default format. SVG stands for scale-able vector graphic. That type of graphic can be made larger or smaller without losing detail or resolution. This is now my master template, From now on the only design changes will be different names as required. When a name is added
it probably won't be exactly where you want it. For this example I'm going to center it on the page which is also the center point of the ovals. Incidentally, the rectangle and the ovals were centered on the page using the same method. Notice in the example the "name" is selected. It can be moved around, rotated, enlarged, or made smaller.
Centering an object on a page couldn't be easier with inkscape. Simply open the "alignment menu and choose what you want to do. Again, only because the program is so powerful there are many options. Looking at the menu to the right you can see I've chosen to align my name relative to the page. The two symbols I've pointed out represent vertical centering and horizontal centering. Simply clicking on those center the name perfectly on the page. A person can also choose to center items relative to each other or a dozen other options.
At this point it does get a little tricky. Its important to keep in mind a laser engraver is basically a plotter and not a printer. A printer moves the print head back and forth. As the paper advances the printer makes a dot in the right place, connect the dots and you get a picture or text. A plotter actually follows a path, much like writing in cursive. So, a path must be created that the plotter can follow. Two more steps and the file will be ready to send to the laser. First, all four objects, the rectangle, the two ovals, and the name must be selected.
You can see a selection box around all four objects and I've chosen the option "group" in the drop down menu. That will make all of the objects one entity as far as inkscape is concerned. If I enlarge one, they will all be enlarged the same amount. After grouping them the selection boxes morph into one box as there is now only one object.
At this point there is one more operation before the file can be saved and that is to add the object to the "path" After, the file is saved in "DXF" format which is a "desktop cutting plotter" file.
This may seem a lot of steps but in reality it takes about five minutes to do this start to finish. Once the master template is created the name can edited in about a minute. This is a very simple example of creating a file that a laser or cnc engraver can read. The next step is to open the laser software and load the dxf file for engraving.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, The Original Request
My sister's Pastor asked if I could make a communion table for their church. In the past, I've made a lectern/pulpit and a kitchen work table. This seemed like it should be an uncomplicated build.
The pastor supplied me with his original thoughts and an image-
He picked this particular image for it's size/proportions, however, the "arts and craft" style was not his first choice. That style didn't really fit with their church's other furnishings. He said he didn't really want a drawer. He wanted the materials to be maple, walnut and birch to coordinate with other pieces of furniture.
My furniture building/designing experience is limited. Some research on the Internet lead me to believe that most all communion table designs lean towards the more massive proportions. When I mentioned this to the Pastor, he agreed but said their church is small and they felt a "lighter" piece would fit into their space.
We worked back and forth thru Sketchup making design changes. His original image morphed into more simple, final design-
The base will be made from maple, the top from birch ply and the top trim created from walnut.
The top trim/banding will overlay the plywood slightly. The pastor supplied a profile of what he wanted-
I think I'll start with the trim piece first.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, Turned Kitchen Scoops
So I'm down to making gifts for the nurses at my doctor's office. I rarely visit the office for a "Sick Call" but I do take care of their computers. It's always an inconvenience for the nurses when I have to interrupt their routines, so I try and make up for it by making each of them a little something every year.
My sister gave me this idea a couple of years ago when she gifted me a turned scoop and I've been meaning to make some ever since. I had some walnut and maple boards left from previous projects so they got glued into turning blanks.
Some were all walnut and some were walnut and maple combinations. Mounted between lathe centers, I turned a chuck tenon on each blank.
Over the years, I got tired of measuring the calipers every time I turned a chuck tenon so I made this quick little helper jig to make the measurements. One side is for the tenon, the other side of the jig is for measuring for the outside of the chuck mounting.
Sizing the tenon
As I was making a bunch of these, I do each operation to all of the blanks before moving on to the next step.
Next, removed the drive center and replaced it with the chuck and prepared to drill out the bulk of the material for the scoops. The first hole was just under 2" in diameter (my largest Forstner bit)
this hole set the depth of the scoop. Because I wanted the "back" of the scoop to be more rounded, I needed to also set the depth limit of that portion as well. I used my shop made drilling gauge to finish out the settings.
The blanks were then remounted in the chuck in preparation for completing the insides. To assure the blanks get centered properly, I made a cone adapter that fits over the tail stock live center
Once securely chucked, The cone is pulled out and work can begin enlarging and shaping the inside. Each of the square blanks were slightly different dimensions, so every scoop was unique.
I did sand the inside of each blank as it was shaped using my shop made ball sander. The ball sander is from Mr. David Reed Smith. You can read the free instructions here- http://www.davidreedsmith.com/articles/foamballsander/foamballsander.htm.
Once the inside was sanded, the outside of the blank was rounded, using the cone for support. I have several of these cones- of different sizes- and they really come in handy.
To be able to shape the outside of the scoops, I needed to reference to depth of the rounded "back". A simple depth indicator does the trick.
(Notice the black indicator mark near the chuck end of the blank. I have gotten into the habit of marking my blanks with a reference mark that aligns with a reference mark on the chuck. This assures the blanks are always remounted in the same orientation in the chuck.)
The depth of the recess is transferred to the outside of the rounded blank.
The blanks are all marked and read for shaping.
Set the overall length, and shape the scoops
When I finished the shaping and sanding, I had 9 "bells" of which I forgot to take a picture.
Anyway, To convert the "bells" into scoops, I needed to cut each one on the bandsaw. Problem here was trying to safely hold each one and to be sure the cut was vertical across the scoop opening. To accomplish this I made a jig to hold the scoop. The following pictures describe the process-
This hole was drilled almost through the blank and then enlarged to match the average diameter of the scoops.
A piece of 1/4" plywood in tacked to one of the jaws of the wooden screw clamp and one half of the drilled block is also attached to that jaw. The opposite jaw with attached half block is free to move.
The jig and its' base made it easy to cut the curved profile on the scoop opening.
All cut and ready for finish sanding
With the hot bee's wax/mineral oil finish
I think the presents are done for this year. A few extra scoops in case we need a quick present- or I forgot some one! Thanks for following along!
Cal reacted to Steve Krumanaker for a blog entry, Getting to know what's possible
While it may not seem so at first glance, a laser engraver is much like a table saw, a lathe, or even a router. Now that you have it, what can you do with it? Not much as it's a "core" tool. With a table saw, an add on might be a dado set, or molding heads. A special sled or jig. A lathe is very dependent on other tools to prep stock. Different operations on a lathe require different accessories. A hollow vessel requires completely different tools than a spindle. Of course, a router or shaper must have bit's or cutters to be functional at all. Not to mention a fence or sled. A laser engraver? Well, it must have graphics and/or documents to do what it does.
That may seem a simple matter, after all, there are thousands of images just waiting to be downloaded. While this is true, many of them are copyrighted and water marked. What if a person can't find the "just right" image to download? What if someone has a special request, like a graphic of a specific scene or pet? How to add text to a picture? How to make the picture fit on what is to be engraved? What if only a part of the image is to be engraved?
Let's address image size and making it fit the project first. It's fairly easy to enlarge or shrink an image. Windows paint can do it as can any number of programs. The problem is, enlarging or shrinking an image often results in loss of detail and crispness.
This is an image called Odin's triangle, printed, or burned it will be about 3" tall and 3" wide. The lines that form the triangle are fairly crisp and sharp. This is what is called a "raster" image. That means it's made up of tiny dots of different color arranged in a pattern. What if I wanted the image to be bigger? Say, 3 times as big.
You can see, the enlarged image isn't nearly as sharp as the original. This will happen with any raster image, that includes image files like bmp, gif, jpg, to name a few different types of raster images. The answer is to convert the picture to a "vector" image. A vector image is drawn according to a mathematical formula. No matter how big or small the image is, the formula remains the same. What that means is, the image always remains sharp and crisp.
What if a person had a picture of a leaf they wanted to use?
Easy enough to do, but what if only an outline is needed? What about using more than one leaf? What about overlapping them? That way it would look like one leaf laying on top of the other. That would be great for wood burning, painting, carving, etc. etc. So, let's use the leaf picture at the right, copy it and paste it to look like one leaf is on top of the other.
It will look something like this.
Hmmm, not exactly what we had in mind, is it? Why didn't it work?
Well, because a bitmap, ie, jpeg, gif, bmp, can only have one layer and there has to be a back ground. Normally the background is white and on a white page you can't see it, it's still there and will make it's presence known at the worse times.
Wouldn't this look much better? This isn't the best job of editing as I still have a little back ground showing but that is easily addressed. The programs that manipulate images like this are the tools or accessories a wood burner or a laser engraver needs to be much more flexible than it would be otherwise. These programs are also very useful to a wood carver or pyrographer.
So, what are the programs that work this magic and how much do they cost? Probably the most well known is Adobe illustrator. To the best of my knowledge, illustrator can only be leased at this point. Licenses start at around $10.00 a month. Not a lot of money but for a now and then user not a good value either.
Fortunately, there are completely free alternatives. The two programs I use are "Gimp" and "Inkscape" Both are open source and completely free for downloading, although I recommend only downloading from their official websites.
These are two powerful, full featured programs for manipulating images. Because they are so powerful, there is a steep learning curve associated with either of them. This section of the blog is not meant to be a tutorial on using these programs, but rather just to introduce them to someone who may not be aware they are available. While there is a steep learning curve with either, there are also dozens and dozens of tutorial videos on youtube about them.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, Seam Rippers For My Sister And Mom
My Mom is 91 (this past Monday) and she still sews and makes clothes. I noticed she had an the same seam ripper for years so I thought I'd make her a new one for Christmas- but it turned out to be a birthday gift. However when making one it's just as easy to make two so the other one will be for my sister for Christmas.
I bought the kits from Craft Supplies because I needed some other stuff that I can only find at their site. Making the rippers is pretty straight forward, especially if you turn pens. I had some walnut pen blanks I found in a box of scraps. Drilled them with the proper sized bit using the lathe. One trick when drilling pen blanks is to not drill the hole completely thru the blank. Using a brad point bit will have the point punch thru before the bit actually exits the blank. This process keeps the blank from being blown out when the bit would exit.
Once the brass tube is glued into place, the end of the blank can be trimmed near the tube- I trimmed mine on the band saw. Then used the sanding center to bring the wooden blank flush with the brass tube on each end.
I planned on doing a CA finish on these. To keep the CA from gluing the bushings to the blank/tubing I apply a coating of bumble bee butter to the bushings.
Then mounted the blank and bushing to the pen mandrel.
Then the assembly on to the lathe
Rounded the blank with a roughing gouge
Shaped with the skew
Sanded the blank to 400 with Abranet mesh to 400 and finished off with Abralon pads to 4000. Applied some sanding sealer.
Then about 40 layers of thin CA-
Assembled the parts with my shop made pen press
One gold and one silver
I still have a bunch of wooden scoops to turn for the nurses at my doctor's office and a few other people.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, Kitchen Micro Plane For My Brother and Sister-In-Law
Since my brother and his wife retired, they are spending more time experimenting with various cuisines. I though I'd get them a micro-plane/grater for the kitchen. Rather than just buy the completed item, I ordered the planer/grater and made the handle. In the past, I sent them various kitchen/serving utensils so this handle would reflect the previous designs.
The biggest disappointment, with this particular grater, was that the handle was designed to be permanently attached to the grater using epoxy. In my opinion, handles should be detachable so that the metal portions can be adequately cleaned without damaging the handle. Fortunately, the threads on the grater were standard 3/8 x 16 so creating a better solution was pretty easy.
I started with a piece of maple, squared into a turning blank. Then drilled the end of the blank to accept a 3/8 x 16 brass threaded insert- this will allow the grater to removed and placed into the dish washer. The insert was installed on the drill press using a shop made bottle stopper mandrel. The insert can be seen in this photo-
The handle blank was then prepared to receive contrasting walnut inserts. The insert slots were cut on the table saw using a simple angle jig to hold the blank in the proper orientation.
The blank is cut four times, using a single pass thru the blade. The depth of the cut is arbitrary but between 1/4 and 1/3 the thickness of the blank produces a nice pattern.
The inserts are glued into the saw kerfs. the inserts are 1/8" thick and just long enough to extend past the end of the kerfs at either end.
Once the glue dries, the inserts are trimmed to be flush with the blank sides. I trimmed these on the band saw. They don't have to be perfect. Trimming just makes the turning process a little easier.
Now it's just a matter of turning the handle. I used the bottle stopper mandrel and a Jacobs chuck to mount the blank in the head stock.
The inserts create a "twist" pattern as the blank is rounded
Shaped the blank
Finished with a bunch of layers of wipe on poly
And the grater screwed into the handle
Now I need to make something for my Mom.
Cal reacted to Steve Krumanaker for a blog entry, Pulling the trigger
Thought hard about this segment and came up with all sorts of reasons and justifications for even wanting a laser engraver. The honest truth is, I've just always liked gadgets. Never mind I intend to use it for embellishing some of my turnings if and when I figure out how to use it.
There are some youtube videos with turners using small machines to make “signature disks” they let into the bottoms of their bowls or vessels. The machines cost about $90.00 and do a surprisingly good job. The down side is they will only do an area about 3” square and are limited in height. I thought if I ever got one I would like more capacity and flexibility so I spent a little more and bought a machine that will etch an area about 11”X14” There are several vendors that sell these machines, banggood.com, gearbest.com, aliexpress.com, to name a few. I suspect they are all made in the same factory. At any rate I bought this machine from banggood.com. One thing I will say, if, and when a person may decide to purchase one of these, be patient and watch for price fluctuations. The price will change almost daily and move as much as a hundred dollars one way or the other. So, what do you get for, in my case, about $200.00? Basically, a box of parts. I have to
to admit, the parts were packaged very nicely. Everything was organized and easy to get to. All of the necessary hardware and tool are included in a little plastic compartmentalized plastic case. One thing to note about these kits, they don't come with printed instructions. I imagine that's to save expense as they are shipped all over the world. There is a video of a machine being assembled on the banggood website and there are "assembly" pictures as well.
When you get right down to it, there really isn't a lot to one of these machines. The little box at the top right contains the power supply and the laser. Next to it is a pile of plexiglass parts that are machined to hold the motors and for the aluminum extrusions to fasten to. Four corner brackets to assemble the frame, a "gift" pack of small wood test pieces. 5 pieces of aluminum extrusion and the controller board next to that. And, of course, the little box of hardware and tools. The three stepper motors and various cables are not in this picture. That's about it.
So, I watched the video several times and looked at the assembly illustrations. For some reason Banggood.com has made the video and pictures so a person can't save them to a computer. Seems crazy to me, but whatever. My shop is about 90 feet from our house and surprisingly, I can access our home network in the shop, if, and only if, my computer is next to the wall closest to the house. My workbench is near the opposite end of the shop and trust me, it's no small feat to change that. So, I would go to one end of my shop, watch a little of the video and run back to my bench to assemble the part I could remember. Being in my 60's that wasn't a lot. Back and forth and back and forth.
The assembly starts with putting together the frame which is aluminum channel fastened together with corner brackets. I did that on my router table surface so everything would be nice and flat. The extrusions that make up the frame are two 1" X 1" and two 1" X 2" channels. I don't know if they are real 8020 or a knockoff but those aluminum channels have changed how we do so many things.
The next step is to assemble the motors and bearings to the machined plexiglass components. Fortunately, this is all pretty straightforward stuff as the online "instructions", if they can be called that are not the best. I knew that before hand though so I can't complain. The bearings ride in the groove in the aluminum channel and it's actually quite smooth.
I should probably note that this is not meant to be a "how-to" as far assembly goes. There are a few third party videos on youtube which are better than a series of pictures showing how it all goes together. Once a person gets into the project a little it all starts to make sense. After the motors and the bearings are attached the gantry supports are put on the channel and the feet are attached. I would guess by this point I'm about two or three hours into it. A good part of that time is watching video to make sure it's put together correctly.
As wood workers, we joke about our toys when we get a new tool for the shop. Most of us know that these "toys" can hurt a person. Something like this may seem a little less risky. The opposite is true. A person doesn't even have to be near one of these to suffer eye damage as just the reflected light from one of them can be harmful. The most important safety rule with one of these is;
"Don't look into the laser with your remaining eye."
After the feet are attached the laser is installed and the gantry assembly is mounted. After that, the wiring begins and its all plug in connectors so that's not a big deal.
After several hours of studying video, restudying video, hard work, and paying close attention to detail I'm done except for putting on some wire wraps to tidy everything up. Once I get the software loaded I'll be ready to do some laser engraving...........
on the ceiling, doh, mounted the laser upside down. Thankfully it's a simple of flipping the gantry channel over as it will mount either way. Now, on to loading the software and doing some world class etching!
Cal reacted to Steve Krumanaker for a blog entry, You just never know.
I can remember like it was yesterday. I was spending the night at my best friend's house, Ken and I did that just about every weekend, camping out or hunting, or whatever. For several years we did just about everything together. This particular evening we were in his bedroom, he was showing me the Ham Radio receiver he'd just made from a radio shack kit. I was looking at his Edmund Scientific catalog and he said something about a new invention called a laser. It had to be 1963 or four or maybe a couple years before?
Anyway, all we knew was, it used mirrors to make the light brighter and was right out of our science fiction books, the future was here! Ken, who was always smarter than me said no one had any idea everything they could be used for, weapons of course but who knew what else? Who indeed? Never did I imagine that one day a wood worker could purchase an affordable laser that was more powerful than anything anyone had imagined back then. Nor could anyone imagine it would be controlled by a computer to do intricate patterns and pictures. You see, CNC wasn't really to well known back then either.
Fast forward, and it has been fast, just 50 short years. I am the proud owner of a cheap CNC laser engraver. The machine I purchased has a working area of about 11X14", and uses a 2.5watt violet laser. That's the short story, there are several reasons why it's cheap and I don't know as yet if that equates to a good value as they are seldom the same thing. This is a blog about my journey getting to know, learn about, and use one of these marvels people couldn't even imagine not so long ago.
Cal reacted to lew for a blog entry, The Gun Case Final
The final installment of this project is just a little follow-up on the last details. My friend supplied the hardware and liner for me to install.
The latches snap securely and installed easily, as did the hinges. The only caveat was that the sides of the case were 1/2" thick and the screws were a little longer. The difference isn't noticeable due to the type of liner he chose. The short protruding nibs actually help keep the foam in place.
I had never worked with this material. There are a few videos on the Internet explaining how to cut and shape it to your needs. Because I was placing it inside a box and the fit needed to be perfect, I cut the foam to size on my table saw using a fine toothed blade from my circular saw. Worked Perfectly!!
I was able to get both the lid and bottom liner from a single sheet of 58mm material. The box bottom used the piece's full thickness. The lid, however, needed the material to be a little less than 1" thick. The plan was to simply separate the 58mm foam into a thinner sheet.
The foam is manufactured in layers. The concept is to cut out an outline of the item you want to store and then remove the foam layers to create a cavity. My thoughts were- "Hey, I'll use the same idea and just thin down the thick piece." Not so fast, pilgrim! Let's just say it sounded easier than it turned out. The surface where the material separated is extremely rough. Fortunately, that surface is not seen.
He still hasn't decided on a carrying handle. He is thinking of something like a woven becket-
My friend comes from a family of "finishers", so I think that part of the project will be handled by them.
Well, that's it! Thanks for reading along
Cal reacted to Smallpatch for a blog entry, Retirement
I had enough time working at the fire dept to draw a small pension when I turned 55. Being 41 at that time something kept telling me to go and do something else with the rest of my life...
My wife was an RN but not working so she could raise the kids so I knew she could go back to work if my ventures went bad.
I want to build a nice,big go-cart track. WHAT, say that again. There aren't any go-cart tracks around here, how do you know you could make any money was my kids questions and answers, except for my boy, it was OH BOY.
Working for the city fire dept was , back then, a very low paying job but because of the hours worked, 24 on and 24 off let one if he wanted to, have a part time job, which I had, so actually I wasn't going out in to the world cold turkey so to speak. My part time job was selling Mac Tools out of a step van...This was also a fun job for I knew my products and enjoyed being around people who used hand tools....
Pictures of the track I might not can find for back then pictures wasn't a concern. The track and buildings took three years to build. The only professionals I used was to pour the cement and smooth it on the track its self. I put up all the forms. I poured and smoothed all the sidewalks Building the buildings and everything on the property was a new experience to me so I would go to the library and check out all the books I could find for what was coming up in the next few days of work.... I put in the septic system, did all the plumbing, electrical and all the sidewalks but I did trade out wiring the overhead lights over the track on the tall poles which I put in, I traded go- cart tickets for two guys labor for the track lights. This was before I decided to get the know how books from the library. The land was almost 2 miles past the city limits so I needed no permits except for the septic system. I called the inspectors before I started and they said come get some instructions and go from there.
After I closed the track at 11 each night I would closed the gates and leave the lights on so I could go into the area where I was planning to put the golf course and using strings and 2x4's I would lay out some thoughts on the ground then the next few days think over why was that good or what problems I would have with each hole . Most all my holes were multi holes. The only time we worked on the golf course during the day was on Mondays when the track was closed. The first 8 years the track was open 7 days a week. And most all those years I was plotting a golf course..
I realized right quick having a bunch of high school boys working for you was not good without some supervision for they would let their buddies kill each other on the track if I would have let them.
I added lots of things a normal mini golf would not have. Like in this pond in the picture. You can see a green on the other side. You putt in to a hole and then the ball goes down in to a cave which was under the waterfall to finish putting in the cup under the falls then come out from under the waterfall on this side of the pond.. I had added a 4x4 foot hole so they could see the waterfall from the inside the cave. Something I didn't plan on. On windy days the wind would blow water through the hole onto the carpet and get it dirty. So I installed some plexiglas over the hole and that solved that, just a little extra work. Number 3 green you laid down your putter and picked up a chipping iron and had to chip over a river to get to the hole. I built rivers and waterfalls everywhere. People would tell me there were more trees and flowers on our four acres than all of Odessa combined. So I went and looked myself and sure nuff, There are four trees in Odessa. kinda.
My sweet wife drove the tool truck for a couple years while I was building the golf course. She was better at sales than I and especially she could make those guys pay their bills where I would let them slide for a while. She said some would go in to the bathroom to wait until she had gone to come out again. She would knock on the door and say I am not leaving until I get some money.
It took me 8 years to finish the golf course and about 6 years was changing my lay out of each nightly chore all the while doing lots of what if's. I had to replace a bunch of 2x4's making some of the greens cause they had rotted from ground contact. We had some remote control boats on a big pond with lots of shrubbery and women really bragged about the beauty we had created. Beauty yes but at a lot of extra labor. We finally got to putting name plates on most of the stuff because people could see things in the nursery and our stuff had grown larger with more flowers and things so it made our stuff more attractive, so they told us.
My thoughts were if I make mom and dad happy with our surroundings they would for sure bring the kids more often.
Running the go-carts while I was building the golf course I actually paid for everything as I built...No debt when finished
I also built a kiddy track for the small kids who were too young to ride the big go carts . It only had two coin operated animals that they had to drive by them selves on a 40 foot circle. I never saw either machine sitting idle.
My age limit to ride the carts was 9 years old but first they had to ride in front of mom or dad to show me and and the parents they were mentally old enough for them to handle the stopping and turning and this would make the parents feel more at ease....
You can't believe how many parents would lie and tell me the kid was nine just to get them to ride. Some dads thought their kids were smarter than a normal 9 year old. It took us a couple of years to come up with the age of 9. Most but not all could start to concentrate at that age, but not all. I would ask a kid how old he was before he got in the go-cart, nine was always the answer. Then as he was sitting there ready to go I would ask them what grade they were in. They had not learned to lie that good and would tell their actual grade which they would say 2nd or 3rd. If they were 9 years old and only in the 2nd or 3rd grade their minds was not ready for go-carts...
Maybe I can find this post so I can continue later. Sometimes all it takes is guts to do something different with your life.
I might can convince someone it isn't that bad even it you don't come out with a good ending, at least you were brave enough to try.