Irreducible Simplicity

I probably didn’t coin the term, but it’s new to me. Micheal Behe, in his book “Darwin’s Black Box” used the term “irreducible complexity”. An important book and term; I highly recommend it.

Most of the time, my best solutions are the simplest ones. It can take try after retry to reduce an idea down to its essentials. It’s also good mental exercise. Yesterday, I once again needed a tool to help draw a border around a sign, using a pencil. I have one that’s broken, so I decided to make a better one.

My nearly final idea was what’s shown in the sketch below. It would use two flat carpenter’s pencils, so that the one drawing the line would stay on its edge, not fall to its broadside. The problem with this design was that I didn’t leave a wide enough lip . So I thought about it more, using only the same wood, leather strap, and flat pencil.

“Close, but no cigar”

I realized that the strap could be tied around the wood, as an immovable guide for the pencil; and that I could change the edge shape of the pencil, so that it could be held in a staedy way. So that’s what works. I hold the pencil against the strap, and draw a line around the sign. Once again, the free pair of metal shears I was given shows it’s practicality by doing a nice job of cutting the leather strap.

The first picture is the Eastern Red Cedar piece after sanding, but before shellac. The second picture is after shellac. The third picture shows the strap in position, and the flattened place on the edge of the pencil. The last picture shows the line I drew with the tool.

Like heaven to touch.
Brings out the beautiful color.

A Cover For The Torch

I use oxy-propane instead of oxy-acetylene for my cutting torch. My shop space is small, so I don’t store it inside. For a few years, I’ve had it under a new plastic trash can, but it looks bad. I finally made a cover for it, from scrounged metal a friend had left over from a job. The winds always blow north or south, so it only needs the side walls. It rained a few hours after I made it, so it’s already been tested.

The ‘pragmatic’ cover
The torch set itself.
Much better.

Big Job, Winter Scenes

I’m painting a large RR coach right now, and the paint booth that it’s in is only available for a limited time; so I have to concentrate on that job. There are still things going on with the Quill and Blade business.

I’ve been thinking about how to make a steam bender for wood. Initially, I planned on using a large section of round metal duct work; which is a dark grey color. I want the project to have an old time look. Then I saw a guy online who has one in his shop. It was a long box, not a round tube. His is made of wood, and I realized that metal would be too difficult to heat, and the square dimensions are smarter for putting in squared wood.

I also lubed my collection of manual jacks (not hydraulic) and made better handles for them. It’s the first time in months I’ve had the forge fired up. I’ll use these to lift my wood building up for transportation.

Here’s a few winter scenes from the recent snow fall. My blog posting will be sparse the next several days.

The canoe waits for the warm season, the bull tolerates the cold.