Category Archives: Uncategorized

Life is Interesting and Complex

We made our way north Wednesday PM. I had been to Hudson to do some desk work, and Jan was in school. I picked her up at 2:20PM, and we were on our way. The traffic was light, we stopped a couple times for fuel and a lunch break. The first rest stop was right around mid-state and it had rained. When we got out of the CRV the air temperature had dropped to 48 degrees! What a shocker. Then as we drove further north it kept getting warmer. We gained 12 degrees by the time we glided into Needles of the North.fred dotty

David had arrived the day before and got right at getting things ready for the summer. The lawn was mowed, screens were on, shower system activated, drain access covered, roof cleaned of needles, and a trip to Big Fork for supplies for the pantry garnered his dinner, a freshly made pastie from Kocian’s. He had tuned in the antenna for the TV in preparation for the Summer Olympics in August.  Our wireless system was up and running…What a guy… by the time we got unloaded and settled in it was about 7:30PM. Jan had overdone with her gardening and packing for our 5 day break. She felt ill and headed to bed in a state of discomfort.

Dave and I visited briefly and it was decided to take mom to the hospital in Bigfork to have her get checked over by the doctors at the clinic. I didn’t rest well being worried and still wound up from the drive.

Thursday we were at the clinic by 9:30AM. It takes the better part of 45 min. to make the drive.  By 12:30 noon she was out of there with a a couple of prescriptions to combat an infection, a warning to slow down a little bit, tired and hungry. We picked up the sulfa drugs, a pain killer and then made our way to Kocian’s for a sandwich and Cranberry juice and a potty stop. By the time we got to the Antler store she was ready for ice cream, minnows and her fishing license.  When we got to the cabin it was time for her to go to bed for a nap!

Dave was relieved to have us back. We had been texting all the time so he knew what was happening. After a rest he and I looked at his list of things to do and got started. We installed some roller shades in the garage, mom slept and then we heard the door shut at the cabin and sure enough there she was with her gardening hat on, working at planting flowers. It was my turn for a nap and it was a good one. I have lazy-boy recliner positioned in the basket house and slept for about an hour and a half.By the time I woke up David had put a Water seal coat on the decking for our lake dock.

Around 5PM he read and rested in his magnificent lakeside hammock. Jan and I sat on the cabin deck and visited about things in general and it was good. The meds were kicking in and she was feeling much better. Dave made the guys some typical summer “gin and tonics”, mom got tea, and I helped debone some steak for stir fry in prep for a late dinner. Everyone should know that with the three of us cutting, dicing, boiling and stirring we had the best stir fry over rice ever.

By the time the dishes were washed and stowed it was close to 7:30PM. Dave and I made our way back to the studio to complete the re-installation of the the outside shower curtain and adjustment of the water temperature.  Mom rested and read and by 9PM we’re packing off to bed and calling it a day.  Praise the Lord for all that he has bestowed and given us today…Amen.



Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

Some “non-pen” Thoughts

Frederick A. Kogler
Frederick A. Kogler

Some “non-pen” Thoughts

Greetings everyone may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through faith in Jesus Christ.

This is all straight talk, there’s no partial revelation, double talk, ambiguity or half truth here at all. When it comes to the presentation of the Good News the truth is all that is involved.  This is what I believe, teach and confess. This is the underlying philosophy for all that I do. What that means to me is that what the Bible says is really the way it is! John 17:17 (NIV): “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

Since everything in the Bible is true, every detail is important!

The words, the grammar, the context, the era, the implications, all of those details are to be taken seriously. Not to fear, however, since the Bible is a love story. It is the story of God’s love for sinful mankind. John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Not only does the Scripture reveal the absolute truth about God, it was given to us as it says:To thoroughly equip mankind for the Christian way of living. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV): “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When Jesus commissioned his disciples to evangelize the world not only was the scope of the project global, but the content of their teaching was to be complete, nothing more or nothing less. Matthew 28:18-20 makes this perfectly clear. Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV):18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Please note that there is no political correctness here, nor is there any higher critical evaluation, nor slicing and dicing according to the whims and fancies of those to whom the disciples where to go. When the Gospel message tells us that Christ died on the cross for the sins of all men that’s exactly what it means. Rom. 5:6 reminds us: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,Christ died for the ungodly.” And, again we are told:in Rom. 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Here we hear the words of God! Each one is important. Here we hear God speaking to us! Everything he says to us is what he intends for us to hear and to apply to our lives. So we hear in John 20:31: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” So it is that our hearts rejoice as we hear the words of the absolution: Matthew 9:2: ”And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Pay close attention to the details my dear friend, until next Time: God Bless!


Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

And then there’s the dentist!

Hi! In about an hour I plan to be in the dentist’s chair gaping up as the health care professionals do their thing with my teeth! Crown, root canal, deep cleaning…whatever! It all keeps me humble and grounded through pain and the reality of physical degeneration!

To prepare I’ve brushed, flossed, and taken a nap… I’ll bet most of you know all about this!  Well, I’ll let you know hows it goes! I wonder how offgridders deal with tooth decay and dental hygeine?

Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

Fulfilling an Order

boldt Act copperI like doing antler pens that represent the .30 cal. take down means. The reasons are many. In my part of the world white tail deer are abundant and if not harvested destroy lots of browse, cause property damage, and are a major contributor to auto accidents. What is more, many are harvested and the sportsmen donate the highly preferred meat to many who would not otherwise have such delicacies on their tables.

The antlers themselves are easily obtained as they fall off each year and it is common to come upon them on deer trails in the woods. I do not buy them by the pound or otherwise as I feel this might tempt poachers to violate the principles of sportsmanship for a few extra “bucks.” (for give the pun).

3 boldts antler
Gun metal,copper,and bronze finishes

This order was generated by partnering in a craft sale several months ago. At that time I had made several of the same which sold out. I then had a client contact me for a custom order for Christmas gifts. Time passed and then most recently another client came forward through an email requesting that I make a set of 3 similar but different “bolt action deer pens” as she called them. She hoped that my prices had not gone up ($45 ea.). They have not! So we reached an agreement and I went into production. The results are pictured here.

The only finish on these real antler bodies is renaissance wax applied with soft paper towel and polished at a very high speed. They look and feel great.  I’ll put them in presentation boxes as part of my standard practice and they should be ready to go.  Have a great day, stay safe, and “God Bless!”

Share this post on your Favorite Social Network
Trees of the Nativity

Easing into Summer!

“Please, oh, please, Don’t throw me in the briar Patch!”  Such was the plea of Bra’er Rabbit.  It was, however, just exactly what he hoped would happen.

There is no doubt in my mind that sometimes we get ourselves into situations that we wish we hadn’t . For me that may be completely different than for you, but I think that it must happen to everyone some time or another.

My most recent situation was in my wood shop as I was finishing up on a presentation bowl. I had shaped the outside, reversed the chucking and was well into the hollowing process. Actually, I got pretty much done with the inside, and then it happened! A corner of the chisel I was using caught the curve as I was blending the bottom with the side of the bowl. My chisel jumped in my hands, I heard a distinct crack and my heart sank. I turned off the lathe and sure enough there it was a major crack that would all but have rendered the piece worthless.

KwikKrystal 6 set
KwickKrystal CA 6 set

I was grumbling about my careless mishap when it occurred to me that I had just been thrown into the briar patch.  This crack would have been the worst place to be if it wasn’t for the fact that I had on my shelf some  KwickKrystal CA … just what the doctor ordered.

What to do? Well I had boasted to the club that my super glue was better than others, and now, I was going to see if I would have to eat my words or end up salvaging a wonderful piece of handy work.

The CA offered by me has the brand name : KwickKrystal CA because I had originally asked the chemist at the lab who mixes the formula to make the viscosity suitable for finishing wooden objects such as pens, bobbins, medallions, and small bowls. The finish achieved is glass like so the name Krystal.

At the same time it serves as a superb super glue. It bonds very quickly and permanently even without using an accelerator. If, however, one should want to use quick setting enhancer we have one formulated to be compatible with KwickKrystal CA. It is available in 2oz. pump spray containers and can be purchased as a part of the set pictured above or independently.  A debonder is also available as well as med, thick, and flex formulas. For those with special needs it comes in the colors brown, black, blue, and red colors. KwickKrystal is packaged in 1oz., 2oz., 8.5oz., and 16oz. bottles. For pricing and shipping costs please drop me a note and I’ll get back to you with a price quote.

Mini bowlBack to the briar patch. I was able to glue the cracked bowl as well as finish it with KwickKrystal CA thin.

Until next time stay safe and “God Bless!”


Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

The Nativity Trees

Forest of the Nativity 3
The Nativity Trees

Greetings everyone. I have been working in my shop to create small turnings that I call “Seasonal Trees.”  Included is a set I refer to as: “The Nativity Trees”. I have been working with various wood types and sizes in many colors that have been in my shop for some time. The trees you see here are part of a collection made this Fall and as a group called “The Nativity Trees.”

Some materials for the “forest” include pine, spalted birch, cocobolo, aromatic red cedar, oak, ash, and boxelder. In addition, I have used several different colors including “strata-board” variations that have been used to turn pens, bottle stoppers and engraved medallions.

Each tree that I turn is “custom”, that is, there are no exact copies. This is by design so that I may stay interested in the process, and, so those who might want to collect them will have, in each case, a signed, dated, and unique addition to their ‘forest’.

Patriot's Christmas Tree
Patriot’s Christmas Tree

Although basic turning is rather simple, a more challenging part in the process is to impart a high gloss permanent finish that will withstand the much handling that these trees invite.  I sand each tree with 14 different sandpaper grits, apply 9 coats of CA Kwick Krystal(TM) finish and finally use a very durable high gloss polish to complete the custom tree. Even though each tree is wood, the finished product looks and feels like polished glass.

Each tree is topped with either a Swarovski crystal, a glass or metal star, or an Hungarian furnishing. The tree sizes vary from 1.5″ – 4.5″ and come in a presentation box that is stamped with the “Needles of the North” logo.  These trees make excellent hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, or special occasion mementos.

First offered at a shop in Bigfork, Minnesota Timber Rose Floral and Gifts they have found a high acceptance level and there are individuals who have begun to collect them to be displayed all year round. If you are interested pleased send me an email or contact me through Facebook.Facebook .

Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

The Last Before the First

As these things go, its about time to reorganize my shop before I throw away lots of junk! For me the contemplation of how to rearrange my shop has been on my mind for quite some time. I spend too much time looking for things and/or moving from one end of the space to another. So I have looked at  the present layout and started to execute a plan. I’ll put up a short video of how it exists today to show you what I mean.

What I hope to do here is use my iPad for my video camera, upload to and then link from here to those files to give you a journalistic report. I’m not sure about that whole process. 

To get started I thought I’d make one more turned object with the present configuration and then when I have it all done do another one.  That’s the reason for

2015-09-11 11.06.02the title of today’s blog: The Last Before the First.  I randomly chose a piece of dried wood (Ash) that seemed about the right size and I made a box with a simple finial (Mahogany) on the the top. Its 6.25″ x 3.5″ and nicely figured. I used carbide tipped chisels exclusively and finished the piece inside and out with 3-in-1 friction polish that I mixed up for myself (1 part BLO; 1 part denatured alcohol; 1 part Clear shellac – Capt’n Eddie calls this O.B. shine juice.)

This piece will go in my office at church to be a constant reminder that I have an ongoing project waiting to be completed.



Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

New School Year Medallion

Its hard to believe that we have entered our 70th year of school!

Back to school medalion
Back to school medallion

To commemorate this I made this for my wife and have added it to her private collection. Its made from a piece of flooring that I had left over from a cutting board project. Its about 2 inches round and 1/4″ thick.

Even as I type these words I am planning further steps at making a segmented bowl. I have gathered the wood, and conceived the design, what remains is the actual production of the piece of art. Stay tuned.


Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

An update on the 4th

Greetings everyone. Without a doubt this 4th of July is one that has me thinking of things political. I have not journaled much of my feelings about what has been happening through the year since last year’s 4th, but let me assure you that I have had many problems understanding the reasons for the the president’s decisions, the actions of many political figures and the decisions rendered by the highest court of our land.

The other element of my life that gives me cause to reflect is the way that things are reported to me and the rest of us by the collected voices of the public media.   I’m no longer able to view things reported as fact! In fact, I’m sorry to report that in regard to daily news my prevailing attitude is to be very skeptical. Living on a day to day basis with such an attitude is not good for me or for those around me, wether it be in my family circle, friendship circle, or in casual or professional relationships.

It is for this reason that I want to give my energy mostly to the ministry of The Gospel, ministry and to wood turning.

I have learned much this past year in the area of woodturning. Not only have I spent time in a leadership role in our regional woodturners association, but I have had the opportunity to learn from the new friends that I have gained.  One of the areas of skill growth is the process of segmented turning. So, in addition to reporting and illustrating my pen turning activities, I’ll be showing you what’s going on as I learn more about segmented turning.

I have been teaching myself how to design segmented vessels using computer software, while at the same time practicing the delicate processes of cutting segments and preparing the rings that are to become a bowl or small box. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Share this post on your Favorite Social Network

Pens, Stoppers and medallions

2013-11-07 14.22.35Greetings and thank you. Its been quite a while since I have been able to get to the tasks of updating this site since I had to go through the recovery process from carotid artery surgery (6/13) Now, fully a year later I’m able to turn, write, preach and teach as I had been doing before the clip and snip process.

What you see is a medallion that I have turned using an offset faceplate and laminated pieces of Baltic birch. The colors are yellow and dark blue and the cord is black. I will be offering these and similar pieces in my catalog along with various other creations.

In addition I have been working at transitioning from traditional turning chisels to those that are carbide tipped. One of the objects that I have been learning on is the bottle stopper. Youy can see some examples here. I will offer these as a part of my catalog. The wood and kitchen grade of stainless steel makes these beautiful and functional beyond compare.



Share this post on your Favorite Social Network