The Quill & Blade Gazette 4/5/2021

Practical News and Opinion

Short version: I joined a couple of made in USA groups on social media. It’s part of my political activism. The federal government is incompetent and disconnected with the people of this country. As time goes by, states will assert their own rights more, and we will need our own areas to be strengthened. I was in a few stores talking to them about made in USA products; when I realized that this was a perfect way for anyone to introduce themself. They know that I’m posting their store information online in a positive way, so it’s a great way to break the ice. Not only that, but it helps local businesses grow, and develops community cohesion.

So be a reporter, it’s easy! You don’t even need to have a website or be employed by a news agency. Just say that you’re a member of a group on a site, or a member of the site; and that you’re looking for products made in the USA, or products made locally. Then post it! See? You’re a reporter.

Longer version: I started this paper last year, with the intention of making a regular print edition. Since so many businesses are closed, it would hinder distribution of the paper copy, so I haven’t pursued it diligently.. However, recent events have made me realize the potential of an online version.

These events are in sequence, as follows: The stolen election and wretched deeds of the Federal government. An observation of states making important decisions that are distinct from other states. The realization that as the incompetence grows at the federal level, we will need to strengthen local communities. A desire to boycott goods made in China, and promote goods made in the U.S.

I joined a couple of Made In USA groups at different social media sites. While I was at a local paint store, I learned that they make their own paint as well as have their own stores.

Since 1905

A few days later, I needed to return to the same area, and thought I would stop by a store across the street to see if they had any made in USA products. They do, in fact it appeared the entire inventory is made in USA. They make and sell rustic furniture for cabins.

In Sevierville Tennessee

Last year, I made this video about finding news. I give examples, and they’re not all local or benign. News leads are around us, see the video for proof. News Lead Video.

So be a reporter, it’s easy! You don’t even need to have a website or be employed by a news agency. Just say that you’re a member of a group on a site, or a member of the site; and that you’re looking for products made in the USA, or products made locally. News and helpful information is all around us, and easy to find. Be a reporter, and post what you found!

The Point Where It Gets Amazing

A man nearby calls me when he has firewood he wants to get rid of. Usually, it’s smaller stuff, already cut to length. Last year, he called and said a tree fell down in his yard. I went and looked, it was a Poplar tree. What’s interesting in the first picture is that the tree fell over because it’s roots are on the bank of a small stream, so the ground was wet and soft. A strong wind pushed the heavy tree down, but after I cut much of the trunk apart, the bottom of the tree stood back up.

Very green, very heavy.

A friend had recently offered me the use of his sawmill. I decided to cut the tree into 8.5 foot long sections, and take it to the mill. For years, I’ve wanted a sawmill, so this was a special occasion. I cut part of the wood into different dimensions, and brought it home on a trailer.

Planks, beams, slab wood.

I carefully stacked the wood on RR ties in the yard, where I knew wood dried quickly. There are many small spacer pieces in the stack. I bought a moisture gauge from the hardware store.

Wanting a sawmill for so long, you’d think this was the most amazing part of the process. Maybe being careful about not damaging the machine was my primary concern. The logs were also very heavy, so the process was a lot of work.

Some of the boards are quite thin, which helped them dry faster. I waited till this year before pulling some out of the stack. THAT is when it felt amazing. rather than going to the hardware store, or wood specialty place, I was pulling them out of a stack in my own yard. There were a lot of them, and I could take as many as I needed. They’re very flat and of a superb quality. Very unusual to be pulling something like that out of my own front yard.

#sawmill #toolsintn #lumber #poplarwood

The Long Saw-Jointer

I have a couple jointer tools, but they’re not assembled. (A jointer makes the edges of a board very flat, so that it can be joined to the edge of another board, like a butcher block arrangement) I would need to get the right motor and pulley size, then install new knives. For the time being, I’ve been using a table saw with a very long fence to guide the wood.

Since the position of the saw blade isn’t adjustable, the fence had to be moved instead, in order to adjust the width of the material. This can be done in three steps, but being 20 feet long, it’s still time consuming.

One day I thought that I might be able to use the 1950’s radial Arm Saw I rebuilt to do this job. So I made an elevated walkway along the table in order to stand at a more comfortable height along that side of the long bench. Then I turned the saw so that the blade was parallel with the fence. I tried it on a board about 4 feet long and it worked very well.

Below is a diagram to show what the process does. The shape of the board is exaggerated. If I ran the board through with edge A against the fence, it would wobble as it made the cut, and the cut wouldn’t be straight. By running it through with edge B against the fence, it won’t wobble, and I make cut 1 first. Then I turn it around with the new edge 1 against the fence, and make cut 2. Both sides are straight and parallel.

Below is a picture showing the two edges trimmed off the test board. One is thick in the middle tapering out to thin on the ends. The other piece is the opposite.

#toolsintn #jointer #radialarmsaw

The Bird Feeder

We usually put sunflower seeds out for the birds to eat. The whole thing has been other peoples’ project. My daughter rebuilt the bird feeder, my oldest son buys the seed, and my youngest son fills the feeder.

n My oldest son has been very busy lately, and has overlooked buying the seed. So I bought a small bag the other day. It was labeled “Songbird Feed”. That part is true, it also attracts a variety of birds. The yard is quite busy and the sounds are great, while the feed lasts. I’ve been using a 20 ounce coffee cup as a measure, and that only lasts a few hours. I took these pictures of the feeder, there have also been a pair of doves, and a woodpecker landed on the tree nearby.

The small ones, probably sparrows.
A Bluejay?
A Cardinal?
Is this a Woodpecker?

Oil Leather Boots, the Easy Way

I’ve found that oiling boots is a chore that keeps getting put off, because people don’t want to go get the stuff needed to do the job, and most methods are time consuming. Well, this method is really fast and easy.

The trick is to use a brush instead of a cloth, and to keep the brush in a pan of oil all the time. The pan is a low cost, like less than $2 new, baking pan. The oil is Neatsfoot oil that I buy by the gallon. It’s a better price that by the quart. The brush is a cheap bristle brush that most people consider disposable. This one has lasted for months immersed in oil, with no sign of falling apart. The aluminum foil is a folded over double layer, this is to keep dust out.

This will extend your boot life, and is wa-a-a-ay easier than anything else I’ve done.

History Pages

I’ll be making pages about East Tn history. I should have done it sooner, because on some of them, they’re a record of a question I asked on social media, and the answers are better than the information I get from online searches. The first one is about Green’s Store, and Green’s Rolling store. I got some really neat replies.

The second page is about why tree trunks were painted white in times past. Some good answers there to, I’ll be looking up how to make lime paint.

The third page is about buildings in the East TN area. Only one picture so far.

I think it was a RR depot