Family Icon II
South Bend Museum of Art

Well, being somewhat cranky, I've channeled my inner beast and done some housekeeping, mainly some overdue updates to my main site, here, and mainly in the art section, here. Some new images, and the Family Icons have some didactic material added, here, and here.

Cranky Pants

One of many "distressed" houses in one of the older neighborhoods of South Bend, though that seems a curiously optimistic piece of tagging.

I seem to be going through a period of "broken" communication; messages sent, phone calls made, voice mails left; even some small donations to blogs that I enjoy (the occasional tip jar sort of thing), resulting in zip, zero, nada, rien, niente, niets. Nothing, but silence. Annoying for the most part, until it involves money ... especially money owed me ... that makes me unhappy, very unhappy. Cranky pants, indeed.

I'm posting a repeat image, as I really like this image aside from what it depicts. Very much a luminist delight.

The H. L. Hunley by Conrad Wise Chapman

The Haversack Store
The Official Online Store of the Museum of the Confederacy



The H. L. Hunley by Conrad Wise Chapman

The Haversack Store
The Official Online Store of the Museum of the Confederacy

February 17th., 1864, at approximately 8:45 P.M., the CSS H. L. Hunley attacks the USS Housatonic, successfully sinking her. The first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship.

In 1913, The Armory Show opens in NYC, introducing to America, on a broad scale,  Modern Art. 

And in other news of no import,Violet, AKA Little Bit, and Big Fin, share a quiet moment.

P.S. Hopefully, I've turned off the overwrought word verification. 2-17 5:24 PM


Cutting, joining, splines and blind frames

 Ginger, fearless Snow Dog of the Frozen North, rests.

I tried to post this from my phone, but only the pic posted; probably a blogger thing.

Answering questions from the previous post.

I generally make my own moldings, though I have a custom molder I work with for really large orders and "specials". I use a heavy duty shaper, with power feed, mostly, supplemented with some planes, and a scratch stock. The latest frames I'm doing are all scratch stock, no shaper, it's broken. Waste removal with the table saw, and a half inch groover.

Moldings are cut on a table saw, using the miter guide at 90 degrees, with an angled jig, that can be flipped, clamped to it. I join using a miter vise, hide glue, and an air nailer. I generally nail from one side only, unless a frame is very big. (I'll discuss tondos, circular frames at another time.) Hide glue, as it really is reversible, and my frames warrant restoration if damaged. A frame nailed from one side only is easier to dismantle, should that be needed. Hide glue is both reversible, but can be reactivated after many years. I also do frames that are butt joined, but that is another post, as in tondos.

Next I will, in most cases, attach a blind frame, so called because it is not usually visible from the front, though, modern usage includes any extra frame element added as reinforcement. These are butt joined, overlapping the miters, and glued and nailed. I use hide glue in frame making 99.9% of the time. Alternatively, I will inlet splines, made from 1/8-1/4 inch plywood. These will be fitted, glued and nailed in place.

The smushed finger is better ... 

Inlet splines redux.

This is a redo of an earlier post about inlet splines. I reinforce the backs of my mitered frames with either blind frames or inlet splines.

Here, the inletting process, using a half inch groover, to remove approximately 1 inch of material, either an eighth or quarter inch, depending on the thickness of the plywood I'm using for the splines. The splines are 2 inches wide, thus 1 inch from each of the eight miters. The wood hand clamp is being used as a stop, so all of the inlets are the same.

Here, the fitting process to the joined frame. The block to the right, in the vise is for holding the splines as I use the small block plane to shave material to fit them. It's sized to just hold the spline, without clamping, so I can quickly flip, and or remove the spline.

Here, I'm marking the parts to be cut off, by laying a straight edge against one leg and over the spline. The splines will be trimmed using a band saw, cutting from the face so any tear out is on the back side.


Wood Shaper

My wood shaper.  No 1 is the broken lifting nut. (See previous posts) No 2 is the power feeder which pushes the stock past the cutters, and prevents the wood from being flung by the force of the cutters. When feeding stock by hand, the material is pushed into the cutter; this produces tearout; with the feeder I can climb cut; smoother cuts, and I'm never near the spinning cutter.

Facing the machine, with the cutter spinning counter clock wise, hand feed from the right; power feed from the left.

The machine is speckled because to the right is where I do most of my spraying and finishing. I use a "lazy susan" to revolve frames, and there is an explosion proof exhaust fan.

The clamps, left side of the machine are there for when the regular bolts for the fence won't work; then I use the clamps to hold the fence.

The motor on the feeder is a different color than the rest; it needed to be rewound, and it got painted in the process.


On This Day

Born on this day, Febuary 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln.
Also on this day in 1880, John L. Lewis, labor leader, specifically The United Mine Workers of America. A controversial figure, but revered by miners and their families. Four of my great uncles were lifelong miners.
The diptych references my great grandfather, who died in a mine accident. The bottom panel is a slag heap from an east central Illinois deep mine. The heaps are the non-coal residue of mining, and though some have been removed for the stone, they are a distinctive feature arising out of the flat cornfields.



Crows are in abundance this winter, on the ground until I get within a hundred yards distance, then they scatter to the trees. Maybe a dozen at a time, though there is a field in the south of town with hundreds, many hundeds. A real Congress, Muster, Cauldron, or Murder of Crows.


Addenda to previous post.

I'm trying posting using email from my phone, and the send button has a hair trigger.

The finger is improving rapidly, about 60-75% today.

And, anybody know where I can get a lifting nut for a Delta HD, 2 speed shaper? They're back ordered from the factory. ???

Some more comments.

A side effect of injuries, is that often the uninjured side begins to hurt. The uninjured side could have been stressed during the injury, unnoticed at the time. There is also the additional stress of compensating for the inability to fully use the injured appendage. And, of course, some of us get mad, and overcompensate completely, and stress everything.


Moping and other Vises

Vice or vise? Probably both, as real moping can be a bad habit and constrain us from being productive. I did a little of that, machine down, part on back order everywhere, left hand at about 25%; then another kind of moping, sometimes hard to tell which is which. But, as I'm thinking through a problem, I might be watching TV, or pacing about, cooking lunch ... anything but appearing productive. Sometimes, though, space, distance, and a little time is needed, and so a chunk of this afternoon was spent resolving my current quandary. I often combine the heavy shaper, power fed, and hand work with planes and scratch stocks. Now, I'm going to have to do more hand work, and use the table saw for wood wasting. It will take longer, but I can probably be done, molded, carved and finished by the time I could get custom or pre-made moldings shipped. I do have an old router table in the basement, but not the bits, and I frankly am scared of router tables. With the shaper, I can climb cut, power fed, and I'm never near the cutters.

Ways of working, and sometimes what appears aimless, is actually quite productive, resolving issues and providing direction,
On a personal note, the finger is still swollen, turning a softer shade of purple, but feeling better.


Injuries and minor catastrophes.

Flying Sea Rat

My large wood shaper broke this week, disabled by a relatively small part, a bronze lifting nut. In the process of dismantling the machine  to ensure that was the problem, I most capably caught my middle finger, left hand, between some cast iron and a hard place. Initially, I thought it was broken, and was contemplating an ER visit, and how much time and money that would cost. However, as I examined it more, I decided that it was the sort of injury that not much can be done about. That finger has a misshaped nail from an encounter with a saw. In fact, my left hand has had every finger injured, some multiple times, some bloody, though I still have all of the fingers. No stitches, as being shredded doesn't require stitching. Some minor numbness in the tip of my forefinger, and for a while, swelling, discoloration, and pain in the middle finger.

Left hand injuries can be explained by me being right handed, though ambidextrous when carving. My left leg, has had a lot of injuries; severe ankle sprains, a blown knee, and a lot of scars on the shin, as well as an over stressed plantar fascia. One injury to my right wrist, the only injury stitches I've had, from a deep gash. I've no idea why my left leg gets injured more.

Injuries seem a part of working with machines and very sharp tools; sometimes, even the most careful get caught, though my right wrist was from slipping on a ladder, and catching the wrist on the door of an electrical panel.

Occasionally, there are intimations of "problems", a feeling of "wrongness" in an operation. In reading and talking to others, this happens enough to be noted, though I have no desire to try and explain or deny this as a phenomenon, just that it exists. Probably worth listening too.

In other news, in 1238, those pesky Mongols burned the Russian city of Vladimir. Go Mongols! (Dad always said there were some Mongols in the wood pile).

1865, Delaware does not ratify the Thirteenth amendment, abolishing slavery, ; not ratified by Delaware until 1901. Delaware was considered a slave state. (I should have paid attention in geography class). The amendment was ratified in 1865, with some states ratifying it later; Texas, 1870, Delaware1901, Kentucky, 1976, and Mississippi, 1995.



Stupor Bowl

 Frosted Banana Peel

Well, now that the US Football Stupor Bowl is over, Eli can get a little respect ... nahhh!

Commercials, ... the best for me was the parody of the 1980 "Mean" Joe Greene, by of all companies, Downey Fabric Softener, done prior to kickoff. The Elton John, Pepsi, was funny just for the outfits, and the Dieting Dog, for VW was pretty good.

Clint Eastwood for Chrysler, a paean to The US and Detroit was, of course, uplifting.

Soon, back to our regular programming ...


More thoughts

 Another view of the Indy Civil War Memorial

Some of the other stage race champions have been noted for their intense competiveness; Bernard Hinault, "The Badger", for his famous belicosity. Eddy Merckx, "The Cannibal", for devouring his opponents. One of LA's nicknames is the ironic "Mellow Johnny", actually a take-off on Maillot Jaune, though "The Boss" is a better fit.

Super Bowl Sunday

 Civil War Memorial
City Center, Indianapolis, with Capitol Dome in background.

Some random thoughts for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. The American football championship is this evening, in Indianapolis, and features the brother, Eli, of Peyton Manning, star quarterback for the Indy Colts. Of what coverage of the event I have watched, Eli is usually referred to as the "kid brother"or "little brother" of Peyton. Why not just "brother"?

The Federal investigation into Lance Armstrong, 7 time Tour De France winner has been dropped after 2 years, with no charges filed. LA's detractors can't believe he won 7 Tours with out cheating. Greg LeMond, a 3 time winner, is quite vocal about it, claiming that he (Greg) could have won more but for everybody elses performance enhancement, and is convinced that LA cheated. A question for Greg, though, is why did his (Greg's) individual TT record stand for 15 years after the 1989 tour, if he was clean and everybody else was drugged, then and afterwards?

Greg famously weighed his equipment; LA weighed everything, including the food he ingested. LA is fiercely competitive, obsessive about every detail, and willing to work incredibly hard, including expecting the same from his team. LA also came from a triathlete background; I'm convinced that swimming is one of the best exercises for building the big "engine", the ability to use oxygen. Put all of that together, including a willingness to intimidate and dominate his competitors, and you have a very credible, multi-tour winner.

Dorothea Tanning, the last of the original group of Surrealists, died this week at 101 years old.