Saturday, October 22, 2016


I came upon just the sort of back-saw I was looking for last weekend and did not find — this one was in an antique shop on Ferry Road, and cost me all of $38, a real bargain.

This saw is from an a Philadelphia maker I haven't heard of (Henry Disston & Sons, who turn out to be amazingly famous saw-makers and I am just ignorant) and will suit me very well. I don't know how old it is; it's a design that has been around for a very long time.

It sharpens up easily — I'll have to wait and see how well it keeps its edge. The brass (or maybe bronze?) spline is thick and heavy and straight. The blade is good and stiff, and the handle (beech, by the look of it) is worn smooth as smooth by use, and fits my rather small hand perfectly.

At some point the blade has been allowed to get rusty, and there's a bit of surface puckering that will need to be polished out. It looks like it's been chemically blued, probably by an antique dealer to disguise the rust damage. I don't care about that, and a lot of it will go when I grind and polish the surface smooth again.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Because I had nothing better to do, today I made us a new dish-drainer for cups and glasses, made of only the finest oak off-cuts, to replace the shitty crappy plastic one that didn't work that I bought to replace the old raggedy and busted plastic one that did work.

My dish-drainer is artisanal.

I was going to oil it to bring out the figure in the wood, but then I thought that might be a bit pretentious in such a workaday piece of equipment, so I didn't.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

'Twas in th' Nubbins o' '94....

Back in 1994, the University of Canterbury Science Fiction Club put on a convention called Ikon, with Terry Pratchett as the guest of honour.

Things did not go according to plan, and there were kerfuffles. Feelings were hurt.

However, I knew little of that except for the problems I had getting the poster for the convention printed, in the face of a crappy scanning bureau and a shitty, absent printer.

While I was looking through a box of old stuff, I came upon the large-format transparency I'd had made of the artwork, so I scanned it and here it is.

I got Terry's autograph on the little folder that the transparency is kept in.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I sawed something nasty in the wood shed.....

We have several spots where we stack firewood to get us through the winter. This is one of those spots.

This season just passed, I arranged a cunning set of tarpaulin awnings over and around here to keep the wood dry, since the carport roof doesn't actually extend right to the fenceline. I was quite pleased with my ingenuity until the time came to actually use the wood at the bottom of the pile, when I discovered that my cunning awnings had cunningly funneled all of the rainwater off the carport right on to the firewood, and, as is the nature of water, made it very, very wet.

So, now I'm engaging in sterner measures, and building something more permanent and weatherproof.

It's a simple construction job, but it has had its share of frustrations. Not the least being that the cladding is some treated shiplap palings I bought from Bunnings a while ago for another job, and had been sitting in storage since then. There wasn't enough to do the lot, but I thought I could just pop down to Bunnings for a few more..... oh, the naivety! Oh, the innocence! No, Bunnings had decided since then that they weren't going to stock that particular product any more.

Fortunately, some pretty elementary table-saw and plane work turn some regular palings into shiplap palings to match what I'd started with, so it was only a minor setback. However, I must say (as I have said before, more than once), that my table saw is a piece of shit.

Now I just have to wait for it to dry (because of course the palings are sold sodden wet) and paint it, and then slap on the polycarbonate roof. Which will, no doubt, be an adventure in itself.

Three days later....

Well, our wood shelter is finished and ready to receive wood.

Or buses.

I was originally going to paint it white, but it turned out that of all the colours of leftover paint at the back of my workshop, white was the sole colour absent. So it's grey, which serendipitously is better, I think.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Earrings — With Hooks! For the Ears!

Shapeways can now print and cast interlinked metal objects, which means that I can now add integral hooks to my earrings.

These are my first try at it, and they're available at — just in rose gold and rose gold plate at present; I'm trying to find out why the other metals I've selected have been tagged as unprintable, in spite of the model complying with all their printing guidelines.