Tag Archives: pens

The 4 “Rs”! Resolve, Renew, Reorganize, Restart.

Hobbled but a Resolve to Move

How can I resolve to move ahead? Do you know what the word “hobbled” means?  1.  walk in an awkward way, typically because of pain from an injury, (“he was hobbling around on crutches”).  2. or to tie or strap together (the legs of a horse or other animal) to prevent it from straying.

Since shortly after Christmas I have been slowed down considerably because of knee and hip pain. It’s caused by arthiritus and subsequent muscle entropy. Ouch! I had to take steps to resolve my circumstances.

In addition to professional medical diagnosis and treatment, I have been trying all kinds of home remedies. Self designed work arounds sometimes help, but test the patience of my life partner.

Pray, Praise and give thanks to Renew!

I would be remiss if I didn’t  mention how it is that I believe that I am able to maintain the activities of daily living. I resolve to do the various things I do to make good use of my skills, opportunities, and the time I have been alloted.

Without any preaching here, I am prompted to point out to all reading this that self examination is first. What is more, clearing the deck spiritually is  the beginning. I feel, too, exercising my Chrisitan faith and living accordingly is the beginning. I had to measure my committment and my resolve to act on what I believe.

Two Powerful Words: Get Organized.

Before having to slow down and pay attention more closely I lived differently.  My attutude was that of self sufficiency. For example, I kept track of everything in my mind, knowing my inentory,  the location of the things that I have right down to the smallest items. If you were to ask: “where are the 1/2″ wood screws I had left over from a project?” I’d answer: “They are in a box, on the 2nd shelf in my wood shop on the left hand side of the room. They are together with other wood screws in a beige colored shoe box.”

What I’ve come up with is encapsulated in the two words: ‘get organized’. So that’s what I ve been doing the months of January and February.  To save steps and climbing up and down the ladder or step stool I took the time to think through the accessibiity of items on the basis of frequency of use. The thins I use more often are eye level and below, whereas the other less frequently used are up high or down lower in shelf or storage position. It’s helped a lot and saved me many steps and enhanced my planning of projects from start to finish.

Read, Read, Read!

My process has been to read up on as many related articles, ideas, and examples of how others have undertaken the same phases of adjustment.  To make haste slowly I have decided to take things a little bit at a time. This is my resolve. To explain and to share what I’ve learned and or relearned I plan to write a few blog posts and hopefully somoone else might benefit.  As an example I keyed in the words: woodshop organization ideas and came up with about 586,000 responses.

As an example I have now put all the kits, bits, and bushings for a certain pen in an inexpensive plastic shoe box and labeled each so that when I have an order for a certain pen I have everything I need in one place.

I’ve done the same for blanks.

Another suggestion I came upon was to have a kit layout board for each pen I was working on.

It’s a simple piece of board with two “v” grooves inserted to hold the various parts of the kit. For me it has been a time saver.

 

 



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The World is Changing, Is That Change Real?

 

Frederick A. Kogler

To anyone aware, the question of our world changing looms big! Just pause for a moment and sense your surroundings. It has to be obvious that things are different today than ever before. What’s really happening? Change is everywhere around us. It’s more than political redirection. It’s more than provincialism being replaced by globalism. Yes, it’s more than ice melting and freezing. From the simplest of perspectives one will have to agree that there is nothing the same as it used to be.

Change is all around us.

You can pick almost any activity, place, or preceding era and see that change is real. The notion that history repeats itself is passe. The “tried and the true” may have served as some sort of axiomatic benchmark in the past.  In each case, however, the fluid circumstances for experimentation and the criteria assumed to render judgements were never static. The fantasies of such notions were tolerated only because of shorter life spans and the speed with which communication took place. That’s all changed.

As I write these words I’m using a computer. From what I understand it uses assigned combinations of X’s and O’s to convey the thoughts I have. Rheinhold in his book, Tools for Thought:The History and Future of Mind-expanding Technology, Simon & Schuster 1985, writes about this while explaining the impact of micro-computers on the future(his future is our here and now).

How does change impact my life?

To answer my thematic question I’ve pondered the tools I use in my public ministry and the hobby, the turning of pens.

A sportsman grouping of pens

Both my Mac and my favorite pens are used for the same reason, word-processing. One process is a calculated tapping on a keyboard. The other is the disciplined art of drawing letters and numbers clearly enough to convey a message.

Consider these changes

Dramatic changes in writing have happened in a short period of time. Who would have ever thought I would be able to speak the words of this blog and have them appear on the monitor in front of me? (check out ReadingMadeEZ for more details: http://www.mpextserver.com).

I try to discipline myself to keeping current in the areas of electronic communications, politics, and the matters of religion.  A side bar to these is the impact that they might have on the aging of our world. Statistically the dramatic changes in global aging http://www.helpage.org/resources/ageing-data/global-ageing-statistics/ give an insight to the importance of each of the above as they relate to seniors throughout the world.

My wife and I belong to the cohort of “Old old”. We have, in part, committed our time, talents, and resources  to keeping up with the changing world that spins around us.

There are three categories for older adults’ ages, “young old”, “old old” and “oldest old” (Papalia et al., 2009). Young old is suggested as the age from 65 to 74; old old is suggested as the age from 75 to 84 whereas oldest old is suggested as the age of 85 and the above. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/sociology/three-categories-to-aging.php.

This blog’s thread lays the groundwork for discussions of one of Thomas Friedman’s 3 exponential changes occurring today: IT and its impact on marketing or the sharing of ideas.  Our discussion will be on how to deal with those changes. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 



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Rainy Day Turning – Sorting, cleaning, divesting!

Weather or Whether not?

Reorganization and rainy day! Right now its raining “cats and dogs.”  Lightning and thunder punctuate my train of thought, and I don’t feel much like making anything.

As I continue to develop my wood turning library of

6 pens 5.11.16
Custom six – rainy day output

things to put into production, I have gathered lots of tools, kit parts, jigs and accessories. You might say I have a closet full of wardrobe pieces that have been crying out for organization and storage. this is the tedious process best suited for a rainy day in my part of the world!

 

Rainy Day, not! This is the “real” problem…

One of the things that has kept me from properly working at this process is the failure on my part to develop and implement a procedure to follow to make it easy enough to fit into my work ethic.  I commonly divide my week into segments in which I do certain things. Each day begins with prayer time and personal study time before breakfast.

Monday is usually church review day.

My video devotions are done on a weekly
basis every Tuesday morning.

Wednesday is class day when I teach several classes beginning at 9:00AM and wrapping it up with my last class ending around 7:15 PM.

3 bolt action antlers
Bolt action – antler bodies

Thursday is turning day, shop time, or general putz. Currently I’m making strides on fulfilling commissions and organizing my shop supplies.  Recently I completed an order for 27 spin tops and have one more order of 9 to complete. Here are a few things I’ve been working on. I will donate one of these to a non-profit fund raiser. I like to see the expressions of surprise and satisfaction on the faces of those who receive one of my pens as a gift.

Friday-Saturday are study days.

Currently I’m trying to locate a dye that will mix with stabilization and allow cedar oil stabilization while at the same time coloring the wood I want to turn. If anyone has a suggestion or can point me to some examples of how to dye woods while stabilizing it let me know.

The next few weeks I will be working in my north-woods shop designing and making a little table to place in the studio in Marcell, MN. I’ve studied a few Karl Larssen paintings and found one I think fits pretty well. I’ll post a photo of the finished product soon.

Time for supper… I can’t forget that!

 

 



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Cursive, Print, Pen or keyboard!

Boy did I stir up a bees’ nest! Actually, I came upon one that had already been disturbed. It stemmed from a report in our town about the school districts in our state laying aside teaching the artistic skill of writing in cursive. The big debate was over  whether to make the kids learn how to write in cursive or not. Keyboarding, printing, and when one doesn’t have a smartphone, iPad, or keyboard, maybe, if you have to ….print…but,  please, oh, please don’t make ’em master themselves and their urges and as primary grade  students learn how to write in cursive.  Why that’s tantamount to making a youth practice the piano after someone has thrown a football or baseball his or her way. Hey, maybe I stumbled on a great idea: Let’s add "cursive teachers" to piano teachers, "tap dance  and baton teachers"  and have writing recitals. What d’ya think? We could sell videos, give away smart phones or mini iPads….the possibilities are endless.

Now, I’ve taught youth in the preteen category for over 50 years and I know what it’s about when I say with regard to learning how to write, "There’s trouble in River City!" Yeah, Yeah, I know that some eager to "be on the curve" techie type is going to say: "old man, readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithm’tic when out with the hitching post." Really?, perhaps, (Why, just the other day, I saw an electric car tethered to a power outlet on a post, hmmm) just maybe, that’s part of the reason why we Americans have a hard time keeping the label, "Made in America" on the products we buy and use. Sure the kids are bright, and yes, they learn quicker that the speed of light, but, in my opinion, it seems that part of their brain is being short-circuited while they’re being under trained when tthey’re not required to learn how to write their names. Most of them can’t read the "hen scratching of their peers, much less the letters and gift cards that grandma or grandpa sends them. What happens in our family is close to "rip open the card, glance at the picture, and show me the money." It’s really simple, they act like that because they can’t read either the printed or written words that are placed before them.  "R U with me so far?"  It used to be that I would get requests to translate letters sent from Germany. It was because the recipients didn’t know the language or recognize the letters with their special markings, etc. What I’m writing about here is nothing like that. It’s far more problematic.

Let me tell you that something relative took place in a class I was teaching just yesterday. The need for translating came about because a fellow who had been ill missed class. His buddy had been kind enough to take notes for him while hie was gone.  Then it happened… the sick dude, as he was called, was given the unreadable notes for the class taken by his buddy. But the notes were worthless! Why? Because the note taker’s "printing" was so bad that the words  were unintelligible for his friend. What made it worse, and, I think proves my point, the guy who took the notes was asked to decipher his printing and he couldn’t!  He couldn’t read his own writing. Ouch!

So… I guess I’m aiding and abetting the youngsters in their misery by making a pen that has both a ballpoint with which to write on one end, and a interactive tip on the other end with which to swipe or stroke a screen. Sometimes you have to ride two horses at the same time. Which brings me to my shop project for today. I was experiencing a little problem in achieving true roundness on my pen blanks. This I determined had to do with the flex of the mandrel that they’re turned on. So, when I came upon the solution presented by one fellow turner, I thought I’d give it a try. Well sure enough it worked…in the picture you can see how I still used the mandrel, but turned only one section of the stylus pen I was making. The note taker in the story above will get the stylus/pen with which to learn and to practice learning how to write in cursive while stroking his iPad. LOL!



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Storage is at a Premium

 

Over the past few days I’ve stayed away from turning pens or making pen blanks. Why? Well, like so many other things in my life I didn’t think ahead far enough to consider what I was going to do with the blanks once I had made them! I was so excited that I was having success in getting different species of wood from various sources, and then, with the new blade on my table saw I was able to make blanks with such reckless abandon. With all that excited success I hadn’t figured out where and how I was going to store them and organize them according to the different woods.  I began to think that I couldn’t be the first person to have such a problem and wondered what others might have done and/or be doing with all the various pieces of wood 3/4 x 3/4 5.25" piling up in their shops. So I started to look  on the internet. You know the saying, "You can find anything on the internet."… well, that’s almost true.  I picked up a few ideas while surfing, but, it became clear that if I wanted something to suit my needs I’d have to design and make my own.

So, I took a deep breath, got out my 6" ruler, a sharp pencil, and some plain paper. Actually I use the back sides of old bulletin stock that I have saved for note taking, scratch paper, and shop drawings…..  I keep them all filed in my hanging file folder system. That way I do know where old ideas are, and  I can dig out unfinished projects and/or  completed projects or tool evaluations that I’ve kept for later reference.

 

First I put down in writing the goals: 1) Storage, 2) sized to be portable, 3) able to be mated to another unit through a hinge system, 4) suitable for table display for shows, fairs or association meetings, 5) low cost as a proto-type, 6) dovetail construction with dados for divider panels. With these criteria articulated I began the process:

I drew, measured,  and erased until I came up with the storage cabinet proto-type pictured. It’s c. 24" x 24" x 5.5" deep with 16 –  5.25" square cubbies. (that’s 400 pen blanks of 16 different varieties at my fingers’ tips. A similar unit hinged and on a travel dolly would allow me to handle 800 blanks.  However, I plan another set for kits for pens and bottle stopper kits and blanks. I have since had suggested that I might include finished pen and stopper space as well.) Each cubbie will be labeled accordingly.

I looked at my scrap materials for low cost purposes and found that I needed to buy some 3/4" poplar, the rest I had on hand. Total cost for the project $32.86.

Before I could do anything, however, I had to learn how to do dovetails! Anybody do dovetail joints lately?  I remember from wood shop some 57 years earlier using a saw, ruler and sharp pencil and lots of practice to make a simple box. Times have changed. A few years ago I had the good fortune of getting a Leigh Jig as a gift from a widow. There were bits, a wrench, a square screw driver, some extra fingers, a video tape, and one of the best written instruction books I’ve ever read. I have the routers, so I thought, "okay, let’s get crackin!" Well, I want you to know that I spent more time reading, watching, and making mistakes over the past week or so than I will admit to my spouse. Whenever she would ask: "What are you doing down there anyway?" I would come up with a different and more creative excuse. Bless her heart, she’s lived with me long enough to know when I’m being innocently evasive, she will go to her sewing and knitting room without pressing me further. Yay!

As you can see the joints aren’t perfect, "But for the first time wad’ya expect?"  One thing I’m satisfied with is the fact that it turned out square!  Once I got this far I could show the little lady my project. She responded with: "Well now why don’t you make the granddaughters some ‘hope chests’ with corners like that?’" (There are six of them!) Talk about a slippery slope.

Back to pen blanks for now!



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Pens for the interactive Screen in your life

The other day my oldest daughter stopped by for lunch. She does this quite often, and like her mother, she’s on the kick that has me on the perpetual diet. So I’ve been encouraged to journal my daily activities and calorie intake. So she says, "Okay Pops let’s add them all up and see how your doing."  So we carefully examined the online calorie counter for each food I was in the process of enjoying. Then, after we listed the calories we proceeded to add them up for a total lunch count. I’m on the Mac Air and she’s doing the numbers on her iPhone calculator. "Oh, Shoot!" I think I heard her exclaim. I asked what’s the problem? "Well I just had my nails done and it is really hard to hit the right numbers when I’m trying to keep up with you yelling them out to me like you are." I winced and slowed down.  After she went back to work, I thought there must be other folks having the same problem, not only with their nails, but because of the thickness of their fingers, and/or because they might have unsteady hands to begin with.

Then, this morning I received an email from my friend who’s an engineer type and he mentioned, totally unaware of my lunch "journaling"  incident, that he thought a dual purpose pen might really serve his purpose because he uses and iPad all day long and has found it a little inconvenient to have to pick up a pen to take notes on some paper pad or project note thing he’s working on at the same time. He said he was looking for something made of wood, with a little character instead of the usual plastic or metal ones he’s seen. His note was enough to get me thinking about this because I knew that there were two special people in my life that had a need, And I knew I could provide the solution. What you see here is the one I made for my daughter for today’s lunch "date."  Her comments: "It feels so good in my hand," and "It actually works!"

I’m thinking I’ve got to do a better job with the camera so you can see wood grain, color and matches better.  This is a piece of orange wood. The kit is a slim line gold with a black inlay on the pocket clip. As you can see it fits well in the feminine hand size. I have a version of the Wall Street II that will be perfect for the engineer and his bigger hand.

If you’re interested send me a note… send your wood preference and pen style…$29 gets you one … free shipping!

P.S.  The total lunch count for all food and beverages = 405! 



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