Sunday, December 9, 2018

Fishy Doodle

 These are not Daily Drawings, I just found them when I was flipping through the last few pages of one of my sketchbooks.

Both of them are A5, rollerball ink pen and coloured pencils.

Daily Drawing 2018-12-09

My resolve to do a drawing a day lasted exactly one day. I forgot yesterday. Maybe I'll do another this evening.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Arty-Farty Resolution

I realised that it has been a considerable time since I drew or painted anything at all, and resolved to do at least one thing every day over the coming year, lest I lose all ability through sheer disuse.

I'll post each day's output here, no matter how awful it may be. Hopefully that will jog me along.

This is last night's effort, taken from a couple of old National Geographic photos. It's depressing how much one's skills deteriorate when one is slack and lazy about exercising them.

Monday, November 19, 2018


Some time ago I made a bunch of shallow pine boxes, with the intent of turning them into drawers to store some of my multitude of toys in. The other day I decided to follow through with that plan, and make a carcase to fit them in to.

What I had forgotten in the interim was that when I made the original batch of boxes, I made one test piece to try out my method. That one box was not the same size as all the others.

So, guess which box I took all the measurements for the carcase from. Mmm-hmmm....

Well anyway, I whipped up a couple more boxes to match the original test box, and turned them into drawers. Now I shall have to do it all over again for the boxes I originally meant it for, but that's not really a big deal since I never, ever have enough storage for all my bits and bobs.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Airbrush Stands

My Badger Patriot, complete with cap-keeper
turned from a little bit of ash.
I designed a bunch of stands for my various airbrushes for 3d printing a while ago, and put the files up on Thingiverse.

Originally, I had all the stands mounted together on a single piece of wood (sapele).

Multi-brush stand... old and busted

However, that proved not to be ideal, as the brushes were a bit too cramped together. I seldom use more than two at a time, so the whole stand took up more space than is necessary. And finally, when my Badger Sotar 20-20 finally turned up after ten months of waiting and increasingly strident complaining, and I designed a stand for it as well, I would have to re-make the wooden plaque to accommodate the extra stand.

So instead I've made individual bases for each stand, out of some kwila, which is dense and heavy, and which provides a good stable base that won't easily be knocked around. Now I can just get out the brushes I want for any given job.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Bench Seat (Part One) – in progress

Part one of the seating construction — eventually there will be a second one to the right of this one.
Having stripped the ivy away from the fence by our bricky place – let's call it a patio, just to be fancy – it's all looking a bit bleak and barren. Plus, our privacy has been compromised a bit, now that there's not a massive ivy hedge there to separate us from our neighbours.

So, with the onset of some fine, warm weather, I thought I'd make a start on expanding the usefulness of the area by putting a border bench seat along the edge of the bricks, and building up the dirt behind to make a raised bed for some sort of attractive plant growth.

Just in time for the weather to turn to shite. Ah well, hey ho.

The materials are nothing special, just treated pine. Once the concrete around the posts has cured properly in a couple of days, I'll put a 300 x 50 mm slab on top, and fill in the gap in front with some recycled bricks. For all that there's nothing much to it though, all the individual bits of nothing much start ringing up the dollars surprisingly fast. Building materials in New Zealand are stupidly expensive, and getting no cheaper.

I haven't decided yet what to plant in behind. I'd like to put a trellis run along the top of the fence, so probably some sort of climbing flowering thing – something not too invasive and enthusiastic, by preference. And maybe something pleasant-smelling and herby down the bottom. I know practically nothing about gardening, so it's all a bit up in the air as yet.

Next Day

Well, this is Part One basically complete, though I do need a few more bricks to fill in the gap in front. Next I'll do the whole thing all over again, but just to the right of it.

I bought a slab of 300x50mm treated radiata for the seat, and bloody hell, even cheap wood jumps up in price when you get much over 150mm wide. That seat alone cost me fifty bucks. Still, it will be a lot more comfortable to park our ever-spreading arses on than a pissant little 200mm piece, so there's that I guess.

Still Later

Right, so the bench itself is basically finished.

Although it may not look like it, the right-hand half is actually level to the planet; the left-hand side was levelled with the bricks, which droop away a bit to the left. Still, it's not bad enough to wail about too much, and it won't affect the sittingness of the bench. The clamps are just holding a piece of wood the end of the bench is resting on, to ensure that it's level with the other plank, for maximum butt-comfort.

Now, where to get some re-used bricks? I've finally run out of all the ones that fell out of our chimney and fireplace in the earthquakes.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Gift Cactus

People keep saying
it reminds them of something,
but when I ask what
they just kind of mumble a bit
and change the subject.
Our Gift Cactus has been sitting in the same tiny little pot (about a 100mm cube) ever since the cactus was thumb-sized. Now the cactus is about 300mm long, with a sadly constrained root-ball, and it finally rebelled and showed its displeasure with its imprisonment by getting blown over and smashing its hated Tiny Pot.

So, now I've transferred it into a much larger pot, along with a whole lot of tasty, tasty potting mix.

And that's what I've achieved today.

Monday, October 1, 2018


I downloaded the latest version of Krita ( and gave it a very quick outing, mainly to see how my graphics tablet would treat it. Since I just saw a Childish Gambino video on YouTube, this popped out. I was going to do more on it, but I liked the simplicity of the chalk enough to stop right there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Training Tanto

I fished this scrap of ash out of the rubbish and carved this training tanto out of it, because I like the way the grain goes.

All the swirls of tan and cream make it look like toffee, to me. Yum.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

New Monitor Stand

Yesterday I set out to tidy up my workshop a bit. I didn't do much of that, because I got distracted, and accidentally built myself a new monitor stand out of some old rimu shelving.

It's taller than my old one, which is good: hopefully having the monitor a bit higher will help me to avoid slouching in my Kneely-Chair. Now the centre of the display is exactly at my eye-line, instead of me looking down at it.

An added benefit is that now I have a shelf to store my graphics tablet on, instead of having to leave it leaning up against the side of the monitor.

Quite apart from its better ergonomics, it's nicer to look at than my old one, which was just slapped together out of some bits of MDF and a vinyl cover stapled on.

There's nothing much to it in terms of woodwork, just a few housing dados, some glue and some screws. I could probably have got away without the screws to be honest; it's not as if it's ever likely to be under enough physical stress to make them necessary.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Judging. Harshly.

It both irritates and amuses me when the news media gets hold of the fact that some country's military has an invasion plan for some other country, and then they go completely doolally over the fact, usually presenting it as clear evidence that Country A is plotting some kind of surprise attack on Country B.

It's the job of armies to come up with plans for the remotest of contingencies, both for attack and defence. If the contingency should actually come to pass, it's far too late to start planning then. An existing plan may not be completely relevant any more, but at least it gives one a springboard to work from.

It's for this reason that I have no sympathy for EQC's excuses for their woeful performance after the Christchurch quakes. They claimed that the scale of damage was unprecedented, and therefore couldn't possibly have been planned for. But for decades, a significant part of their job was supposed to be imagining exactly this sort of contingency, and planning for it. It would have been nice if such a contingency plan had not been needed, but it was needed, and it didn't exist because the people whose job it was to make those plans DIDN'T DO THAT FUCKING JOB.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jungle Bashing

Our back garden is a little bit overgrown.
I am waging a war with the ivy that I have let get completely out of control out in the back yard. It is proving to be bloody hard work.

Matters came to a head when one of our big trees, that had been strangled and killed by it, broke and fell into our neighbour's car-park. Fortunately the whole tree didn't come down, and there was nobody and nothing under the stuff that did, but it was a harbinger of things to come if I don't act.

I don't have the means to get right up to tree height to strip it off, so I'm cutting it back at ground level, and then will poison all the stumps and hopefully bring it under control that way. Judging by what I've already done on the fence on the opposite side of the property, it will take about five years of ceaseless vigilance and merciless brutality before I can start to relax again.

That patch of concrete wall at the back of the shot is the side of a carport next door. It's like uncovering the ruins of Angkor Wat, but with less sculpture.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Palaeolithic Barbie

Printed at 0.2mm layer height, eSun PLA+

I printed a dollie, Palaeolithic Barbie.

It's a piece that has become known as The Venus of Willendorf since its discovery in 1908; precisely what its function was, nobody really knows. Many guesses have been made.

I was originally planning to paint it all stoney, but now I'm tempted to just leave it in its shiny black plastic. The digital model has a pitted stone surface texture that doesn't show to best advantage when printed in relatively low resolution (0.2mm) as here, but as a Future Age representation of a Stone Age artefact, I'm not sure that's a really big deal.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Zig-Zag Hoops

Here's another pair of hoop earrings, a very simple geometric design this time.

These ones are designed to hang perpendicular to the ears, face on to the world.

They're available in bronze or silver at

Clockwork Hoop Earrings

I designed another pair of earrings to be 3d printed and cast by Shapeways.

The diameter of the main body of the earring is about 25mm.

They're available in raw or polished bronze or silver at

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Monogram Earrings

This is my first design for earrings in quite a while. I'm figuring out how build customized monogrammed pieces, within the printing, casting and polishing limitations of Shapeways' process.

It feels good to be back in the 3d-design mines again.

These ones are available at Shapeways at

Realistically, unless your initials, or those of you and your main squeeze are AF, they're probably not going to be quite the thing for you. I'm trying to figure out some method of making them user-configurable, but I suspect, considering the palaver involved in getting everything aligned and overlapped for printing, it will have to be done manually. Still, with two letters, there's less than a thousand possible combinations. How long could that take?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Spokeshave Modification

I bought myself a couple of spokeshaves  from China for very little money. They're not very good quality, but they do work OK with a little bit of fettling. The irons take a decent edge, though how long that edge will last is anyone's guess.

The reason I bought them was because I wanted to see if I could reshape one successfully into a bellied spokeshave for cutting an inside radius, and if it's feasible (and workable) then I'll risk doing it on a better quality tool. The spokeshave on the right has had its leading edge filed down and rounded off for that purpose.

It does work somewhat, but it needs a bit more shaping I think. The front curve needs to be taken right up to the edge of the mouth, and the back edge should be curved away as well, as far as it can be without interfering with the blade adjustment screws. The much reduced sole area in contact with the wood makes the tool a bit more difficult to control, but that's only to be expected.

Friday, June 1, 2018

(Slight) Buyer's Regret: Dowel-forming Dies

4-die set. The plate has screw holes
in case you want to anchor it permanently,
but it isn't really necessary.

The die in use (cutaway)
I bought a set of Veritas metric dowel formers from Lee Valley (for more money than I really wanted to spend, but it's done now).…

They're good quality, but for the money I think you'd be better getting a manufacturing engineer to drill and heat-treat a ¼" plate with a range of hole sizes.

The separate dies are all very well, but if you're hammering dowels you get much cleaner results if you can take the dowel down in 1 or 0.5mm increments, and with this system you have to swap out the die each time. Also, there are only 12, 10, 8 and 6mm dies in the set, and a 2mm step is too much between each step really. You can hammer the dowels through OK, but it has a tendency to tear the dowel surface instead of shaving it, especially in an open-grained timber like oak.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Bit by bit I'm sorting out places for all my hand-tools so that they're all in easy reach. Well, easyish reach, because I am something of a short-arse, and reaching over the workbench is sometimes a bit of a stretch. But all within reach anyway, easy or not.

This most recent spasm of organisation has been prompted by making a standing rack for all my most-used chisels (front right, by the battery drills). Up until now they've either been in a chisel roll, or more usually, just lying on a shelf or scattered about on my workbench waiting for an unguarded finger to pass by. This should keep them a bit more out of the way and accessible. All of my gouges — all the decent ones, at any rate — I keep in that box in front; they don't get as much use, so it's not such a problem having them all away in a box on a shelf.

That all seems like a lot of clutter, but I use everything here quite a lot. There are more tools out of shot as well — half a dozen more planes and various machines. Strictly speaking, you could probably do satisfactory woodworking with just a few well-selected tools. Personally, I like having choices.