Saturday, October 23, 2010

When the Mrs doesn't mind me leaving the house, camera in tow to go get some pics I am usually pretty pumped up. This goes double when this happens during the autumn. The pictures usually just stack up, one to the next, and I always feel like I am missing so much.... but not this year.

The Late Bloomer

Ohio is as muted as is gets for colors this year... at least in the central part of the state.

I dig the thistles

I took the car and drove down to deer creek because there is so much water I figured something had to have some zap going.... not so much.

Dunno what it is but the color is pretty
Not to say there weren't some good views and pics to be had because there were... It was just not like the last few years. That's OK I guess just not what I expected.

Mr Very Large Maple

Still though, it was a chance to be out of the house and near something not entirely man made for a while. To be honest I have a thing for the earthy tones all over the place and I like them very much... they just don't make for good pics. (They're my pics of this sort of stuff and I get tired of looking at them so I know others do... :o)

Playing with focus....
Deer Creek
A fairly new stand of Poplar...
So I was out for a few hours today anyway. I spent almost as much time driving as walking and shooting pics. Still, in a house full of sick kids and crap to do, it was a nice break before I had to start cleaning up the garage...
Counting the days until the one and only official over-nighter I will get this year... repacking gear again tonight. :o)
-JP

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Walk by faith, not by sight

“Cursed be the ground for our sake. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for us. For out of the ground we were taken, for the dust we are… and to the dust we shall return”
Genesis 3:17-19, King James Bible


I'm not a real movie reviewer sort of guy. I don't mind writing about books and trying to be objective but movies... they are just this whole other level of thing that I prefer to simply enjoy. I had the good fortune the other night to see The Book of Eli and was moved. So here, int he paragraphs that follow are my thoughts and why I say see it if you haven't.

Imagine a world where mankind unwittingly turns down its own volume and produces, in the process, a barley livable wasteland from the world of remarkable luxury we enjoy today. What would happen?
While things spin out of control and the world balances the population with the sustainable resources that are left, men who are evil and strong will rise and men who can may very well hear the voice of God and do its bidding. The Book of Eli explores this idea and the results are remarkable.
Most everyone knows the words to the 23rd Psalm. For the first time, those words rang off the screen in stark contrast to the world and surroundings in which they were presented. The beauty of the idea and verse became obvious and offset starkly the burned out and decaying world in which they were spoken.
It's in that moment that you may begin to realize, as I did, that the Bible is not written to be relevant to modern living. Seeking the truth of the non-fat late lifestyle in its pages may be a perversion of a powerful thing. When life becomes as bad as you can imagine it, when you are holding on to nothing with everything you have and the reward is your beating heart, the words of the bible are there. It is a staggering moment when you realize we are all prosperous, not because God has made it so, but because we revel in the distance is places between us and our creator.
The Book of Eli is an excellent movie and I would recommend it to all. There is more than enough blood and violence to keep it interesting and, as I think I have expressed here, the spiritual points it raises, possibly unintentionally, are pretty solid as well. You should see it.
-JP

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My New Knife


One of my favorite things to do, in all of the world, is to make a good knife. I have pretty well stopped now since we have two kids under 10 and my job appears that it may actually turn into a career and the wife was carrying way too much of the load... I had to stop for a while. Guys just have to keep priority where it belongs and on the work bench, making knives for customers at cost to gain experience, is not where things need to be.




One perk to finally having quite a few knife projects under my belt is that for the simple ones, the three piecers and full tang jobbies, I have really begun to be able to produce something I would pay for. Take this guy up above here. For as long as I have been really interested in making I have admired the work of Lance Ockenden. His bird and trout model has inspired me on multiple occasions and I have made one other effort to copy it. That was a good one but not exactly what I wanted so... I traded it for a logo or two and moved on. I spent a month with a pad drawing and redrawing the lines trying to get something that really worked for me from all the angles and came up with this guy.

Now, it's not done. There are some finish sanding things to do and the lanyard hole needs a bevel and so on but I can say, for the first time in a long time, this one stays with me. It's what I was after.

The steel is 1/8" A2, hardened to 59 HRC. The scales are black locust burl with couple of 1/8" brass pins and a 1/4" brass lanyard tube. The spacers you can't see here are 1/16" G10 in a dark cedar green. I think the combo of the wood and spacer is just wonderful. The bevel is a slightly convex Scandi grind that I cut 100% by hand. The jig it's sitting on there is what I use to shape the initial bevel before HT. After it returns, I use some 200 grit sand paper and a mouse pad and shape things down to a sharp edge. (by my count this one too 34 sheets of 200 grit to shape...) Once the shaping is completed, I advance up the grits to 400 and then 600 and then 800 and so on, finishing up the edge with some flitz metal polisher. I am anxious to see how sharp it gets when I am done.

In concept, I find that while I enjoy just beating the tar out of a knife battoning or whatever, in the end I usually use my axe and Mora craftline more than anything else. I wanted something personal that was a bit more rugged but still elegant in form. I think we have it here. I'll post more when I finish up. Thanks for looking.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Messin with Fatwood

One of my favorite October exercises is working in the garage, trying to get it ready for winter. You'd be amazed at the crap that collects... Anyhow, part of this for this year was finally getting to clean up my workbench. There was dust under the grinder from two months before my son was born (April since he came in June) and I had not had a chance to really get out there into it. When the food pantry shelving collapsed on Monday, I decided it was time work... so I did.

In the process of cleaning out, I found three or four chunks of wood I had cut from a pine at my folks place back in early, early spring because I thought they were fat wood and I wanted to try them out... I wanted to know if I knew how to spot it. So today when I found them and the bench was cleaned off I decided it was time to have a little fun.

I grabbed trusty my Mora and shaved and scraped a little and then, I grabbed my uber-firesteel and hit the pile with some sparks.
Imagine my thrill when it took off. It ain't a figure four or a lean to or even an excellent bit of scenery but I'll tell you, that little puff of smoke and the tiny flame that sent it were just the ticket. I remember the bush a little more now and it feels less far away this weekend. This is a good thing since we'll be spending most of Sunday with the work gang, doing our quarterly upgrade stuff tonight and tomorrow. Of course, it's that kind of work that let's my buy nice knives and packs so I can't bitch too loud. :)
-JP