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.

Country Living

A neighbor raises cattle, one of his calves got stuck in mud, and its mother abandoned it. My kids pulled it out and brought it home. It’s winter, and we don’t know how long it was left there. The first picture shows my daughter trying to give it warm fresh milk from our own Jersey cow, while it’s still in the box we brought it home in. The calf didn’t drink much, and couldn’t stand up. It was determined that it probably wouldn’t make it.

But it was given a warm bath, which changed it’s condition very much. It’s now drinking milk, and standing.

I came out one recent morning, and the moon was still bright, but just about to go down behind the trees.

My First Cherry Wood Pipe

I got a lot further along on my Cheery wood pipe today; it’s pretty much finished save for a little fitting between the stem and bowl. This first picture shows the large hole being bored. The stem is in two pieces, one is a piece of pine that I think is from the 1870’s. That piece has walnut stain on it, but no clear yet. The shroud for the stem is Cholla wood from Texas that my daughter sent. When I got it, there was a dark grey outer layer on all the surfaces. I took a small pocket knife blade, and scraped all that off. It was a bit time consuming to get at all the contours, but worth it. Then I put a coat of amber colored shellac on it; because it already had an unusual yellow color.

Step by step

In the next picture, it’s assembled and ready to test. As I said, it still needs some more fitting. You can see the threaded brass piece I used to attach the stem to the bowl, which would be hidden had the fitting been better. The bowl is Cherry wood, with one coat of clear shellac. these days people use fast drying lacquer as a seal coat, which works really well, in terms of production time. Shellac is traditional, which I like, and they say it brings out the color of wood better.

Not completely ready, but good enough for a test run.

The next picture was obviously hand held in low light conditions, but there it is, smoke from the first bowl full. In case you’re seeing this pipe project for the first time, I’ll reiterate: Pipes aren’t smoked the same way cigarettes are. they’re not inhaled, which makes a huge difference in terms of health hazard. Yes, there are warnings about oral cancer, but I don’t have one of these in my mouth all day, so I’m not terribly worried.

This pipe is actually huge in overall size compared to the average tobacco pipe. I’ve been researching the Indian smoking blend called KinnikKinnick; and have mixed up a bit of it. That’s what I thought I’d use this pipe for, but I decided to break it in with a Cavendish Tobacco blend, because frankly, the two part Indian blend I made up smells like a cross between Autumn leaves and cardboard when burned. Maybe the addition of Red Willow bark will help. Not a big deal, as I wanted it for the novelty and variety. I think I’ll do a separate post about the Kinni-Kinnick, because it’s worth it.

Important Parental Notification, and More

The notification is to do what I call “Grab a Kid”. It’s when you’re doing a task where they could learn something, be involved, accomplish something, and have fun, so you take them along to help with the project.

I finished the mini Quansit hut, with help from one of my younger sons. Here he is tightening the lag screws that hold the corner braces on the hut, after he predrilled the pilot holes.

Another corner brace

Below is one of those “what’s wrong with this picture” pictures. It’s not how crooked the post is, or that the metal door is open on the band saw. It’s hard to tell from this side; but the problem is that the long 2 X 8 horizontal brace is mounted at the same height as the table of the band saw. Band saws need room around them because the material tuns quite a bit. This board got lowered.

After the braces were on, I felt safe enough to get partially on the roof, and screw the 3 metal roof pieces together. The I decided to try the lathe again. I’m making a tobacco pipe from several pieces of unusual wood I have. As a side note, most pipe and cigar smokers don’t inhale the smoke the way a cigarette smoker does, so they’re not as dangerous as the latter.

Here’s a piece of pine wood that I think is from 1870. It was part of the walkboard that was replaced on the Mississippi locomotive. There’s a long drill bit on top of it.

My daughter sent some wood from Texas. I think it’s part of a cactus that grows down there. I wrapped wire around it while I was working on it, to keep it from breaking.

I like the way this stuff looks!

One of my funnest places to visit is Jeffrie’s Woodworks, in South Knoxville. On my last visit, I got these two small pieces of wood. The one is Cherry wood, the other is American Chestnut.

I cut a piece from the cherry, and shaped it for the bowl of the pipe I’m making. Here are the pieces laid together in the approximate way that it will be when finished. the cactus wood is gray when I get it, but is an unusual light yellow when scraped.

Inventory & Neat Pictures 12/30/2018

Rainy days and weekends are the time when I can get a lot done for Q & B. It’s Sunday evening, I finished bracing the supports and securing the roof of the shed I’ve been making. I’m testing the tools in it, and starting to make inventory. There’s a lot going on.

Over the years, I’ve written down a lot of ideas; it’s time to start selling them. Initially, I’ll make test inventory. rather than deciding whether I should commit to making hundreds of each item, I’ll make less, and see what’s in demand.

I have a video that I need to edit, so I’ll share details of our progress tomorrow. For now enjoy these neat pictures. I’ve shared some of these pictures on the internet before, but not here. The first is a car driving past a tree on a misty morning.

When you get a picture of yourself with a snake, it’s called a sssss-selfie.

He was released under the wood pile.
Moon, trees, clouds.

Below is a picture of fat pine burning. Most wood won’t burn apart from other wood in a fire, but this has so much flammable pine resin that it burns like a candle. If you find an old rotten pine tree, often the knots that are the bases of branches have a lot of resin in them. They’re the last thing to rot, and will work like this.

Random Pictures & Activities

I’ve found that most vehicles have a good angle to be seen from. I moved the 1951 Chevrolet 2 ton truck. When I walked by later, I noticed that it was looking very nice from this rear angle, so I got a picture. With the room addition to the house, this project got put on hold. But that’s done, so I can work on other things, including this. It runs, but needs a charging system, paint and body, and brakes to be road ready. I’m thinking seriously about making it into a rolling store.

Here’s a picture of two of our youths working on off road motorcycles. I think I see 6 in the picture. One could think that it would be better for them to pursue engineering or accounting studies in their spare time, but this is quite beneficial. In these times, being able to do your own mechanical work can be the difference between financial survival or not. Even if you hire the work done, it’s good to know if the mechanic is being honest with you.

Even if it were band or football, they would still be learning important lessons about attention to detail, working with others, and determination.

The mechanic gal, what a catch.

Lastly, here’s a picture of a rail road track. Why is there sand on it? For traction. This deposit is a bit heavy, my guess is that they had the sanders opened enough for road use, while they were doing some switching. Nearly all locomotives use sand for traction. When I was young, I read a book that said it started when a cloud of locusts descended on a track, and the train couldn’t move. So the engineer filled a box with sand, made a small hole in the bottom, and set it on the front of the locomotive. From there it trickled sand down on the rail, and the train went on its way. A quick internet search didn’t show that story, but I know I read it.

Have grit, will travel.