Monday, March 4, 2019

File Case

Made a quick file case from a piece of walnut I filleted in the apartment. I made a much more advanced pencil case too, details at

Friday, February 22, 2019

Website shift

Howdy friends!

I'm going to start posting on instead of this blog. It seems a shame to completely divide a blog this old into its own slice of time, so I will probably post odd bits here now and again.

It's a bit easier to blog with my own domain. It's up to me and the people I pay ( to store my content this way--it seems like a more sustainable arrangement.

The website was once part of plans to make a living as an artist, but circumstances have changed and I've been swinging a hammer instead of a pencil. I'll just stick to the roots of this blog, mostly just a way for my friends and family to see what I do when I'm off the clock. So far is just the drawings from a small slice of time, but with good luck it'll slowly and quietly expand like this blog has.

With that, I just posted some doodles there of arrows.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Odd Repairs

I worked in these shoes for two months, causing the mesh in the toes to fall apart. I sewed some leather patches on them. Looks a little funny but I can wear them for another year :)

Been messing with a 3D printer and fusion360. I made a vent fan with duct adaptor and wiring enclosure. I'm trying to focus on creating more elegant designs; this assembly was kind of crude. Functional though.

Good for making odd lofted surfaces, no doubt!

Didn't have a cord grip on hand, why not print it?

Fixed the clothes rack. This clothes rack is great for drying clothes and tripping my girlfriend when she gets ready for work. They just do not get along.

In the same spirit of things-made-quickly-with-hand-tools, here are some big file handles for 12" and 14" files. I ground a lathe tool to turn the ID of the copper tube, so that it would compress the fibers as it was pressed on.

Lastly, my friend hired me to fit some handle scales to knives he started. I machined the edges of the brass and micarta so they'd be tight. The slotted pins have shoulders, which meant all of the holes in the micarta had to be counterbored. Would almost have been worth making a piloted counterbore.

I'm working six days a week to build a shop space for my dad. It should eventually offer a space to store my welding equipment- maybe we'll delve into some genres new to this blog.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Failed Composite Molding Plug

 Applied chavant y2 klay:

Here's where I went wrong. If I understand correctly, I should have made some sheet metal tools to make a better surface on the clay, then applied layer(s) of fiberglass. After that I can use thickened epoxy filler and surface primer both followed by sanding to create a nice surface.

I didn't know any of this. I slopped on some epoxy filler and revisited my life decisions.

Better luck on second attempt!

Banjo Kit

Assembled a banjo kit for myself to play. For the cost of the kit and how easily it went together, I am really happy with it! I thought of building it from scratch, but I've got too much other work right now.

I really like how it sounds with the nylon strings, a bit like a lute. Better for playing in apartment and more suited to the kind of music I like.

The kit is pretty well made (especially for $300) but there was one flaw I found annoying. The neck is secured in its mortise by a single 10-24 screw, and with the placement of the screw hole, the entire force of the strings was placed as shear force on the screw. I moved the hole a few mm and turned a brass washer to fit the enlarged counterbore:

Also added a 5th string capo so I can change keys easily-

They included brass nails to use as string pegs. I wanted something fancier, so I turned some grooves in stainless taper pins and used them as the pegs:

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Pantograph Mill Tracer Pins

After I told a local knifemaker about the lathe I put together, he asked me to make him some tracer pins for his old pantograph mill. He asked how accurate my lathe was, I guessed I could do +/-.0002" diameter on a good day. If I was just a little wiser I'd have said something like .001". The X axis is graduated in .001" (radius), so .0002" diameter is a tenth of that. Nevertheless, I more or less managed to stay true to my word.

The difficulty was compounded by the required concentricity between shank and working end. I thought I might be able to turn the working end, advance the stock in the collet without rotating it, and then turn the shank. No matter how careful I was, this made at least .001" TIR which didn't feel right. So I just stuck the bar out the full length of the finished part, like a tree in a windstorm. T.T

I contemplated making a follow rest, or shimming the headstock to reduce taper. It would have been clever to get 3/8" bar stock to increase rigidity while turning the tip, that's probably how they would do it in a production setting. All of those options would have taken a few extra days- and made my time worth even less. So I just sharpened the heck out of the tool (m42 hss), and kept sharpening it after just about every pin-

The working ends don't have measurable taper, but the shanks have about .0004" over their length. The old router-style collet that holds it shouldn't complain, and the taper is in the favorable direction. Material is 30 RC 1144 steel.

I press-fit magnets into the back so the knifemaker can stick them onto that beautiful old chunk of iron.

Say, I've never posted a picture of my finished lathe because it's always dirty and with an ugly backdrop. So here's a candid shot-

Yes, I do manage to squeeze my ass in there.