Monday, July 25, 2011

The Car Talk Boys

These pieces are hardly new, in fact they date back to early 2005.  In looking back at these I guess that I actually have improved some over the past 6 years.

Saturday evening a very nice young woman was looking at these pieces in the curio cabinet and she said that she thought that I should add the Car Talk Gang to my blog.  Since I currently have several pieces under construction but nothing complete that I can talk about, I am going to do just she suggested.

If you are not familiar with the NPR program “Car Talk” that airs at 10 AM on Saturdays (at least in Pittsburgh), you really need to “squander a perfectly good hour” -- their words, not mine -- and tune in at least once.

Car Talk is, ostensibly, a car problem call-in show.  But the hosts, Ray and Tommy, manage to make what might otherwise be a very dry, boring discussion into 60 minutes of jokes, puns, snide comments and say nothing of good advice and information.  Their infectious laughter always puts a smile on my face.

Ray and Tommy

 Ray is the one holding the card and Tommy is sitting back enjoying his coffee.  I think that NPR really needs to get them a better table.  That jack stand looks a little wobbly to me.

But for me, an official, card-carrying punster, the funniest thing on the show is their closing credits where they read part of their list of official staff members. For example:

      Lois Steam - the Car Talk Assertiveness Training Coach        
      Bud Tuggli - Chief Makeup Artist                           
      Marge Innovera - Chief Statistician                   

I was so taken by the clever names that at one point, I chose to carve a bunch of characters to match these wacky names.  Check out these guys in the Picasa Gallery:

1.       Picov Andropov, the Russian Chauffer.  He seems to have some past experience with the KGB as well as Vodka.

2.       Joaquin Matilda, the Australian Tour Guide

3.       Moe DeLawn, Head of Buildings and Grounds The poor boy is obviously, not the sharpest pencil in the box.

4.       Yessir Itsaflat, the Chief of Tire Technology

5.       Euripides Imendes, Proprietor of the Car Talk Clothing Store 

'Til Next time...keep makin' chips

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yet Another Lovespoon…well, no…I guess it isn’t.

The Luther Rose
I guess this is actually a whole new “thing”, not really a Lovespoon and yet not really a “non-Lovespoon” either.  It resides in the netherworld in between. 

Some friends of ours were over a month or so ago looking at Lovespoons.  Their son and brand new daughter-in-law were the recipients of ‘the “R” and “X” Lovespoon’ that I posted recently.  “K” said that she admired the dark wood spoon that I did about a year ago. “S” said that he liked the heart with the inset cross of another spoon that he saw.  Being a Pastor, he said that it was like the “Luther Rose”, an icon of the Lutheran Church.

I put their comments -- along with the idea of inlaying one color of wood into/onto another in a Lovespoon that I had just seen someplace online -- into the mental blender and a day or so later this idea emerged.  

I carved the rose from Basswood.  As simple as the rose looks, it still took two tries.  It has a lot of very subtle curves and undercutting.  It also ended up being a bit larger than I had originally intended.  So I had to increase the overall size of the Celtic knot and the width of the handle to keep the slightly larger rose from overpowering the piece.  Originally, it was also going to have a “framing” disk behind it but that would have made it look even larger and there was an upper limit to just how big I was willing to go :-)

Both the handle of this piece and the aforementioned spoon were carved from cherry and stained dark.  I power-carved the previous spoon but this time I used a coping saw to cut out the openings and then I hand-carved it.  After it was all said and done, it turned out to require about the same amount of effort.  Sure, power carving is much quicker and easier, but this one required much less sanding because the blade-fashioned surface was not left “chewed up” by the rapidly rotating burr.

A secondary benefit of the hand-carved finish was that there were far fewer of those raw "mechanically" ripped open fibers to suck up excess stain.  That greatly minimized the dreadful blotching that I experienced the first time.

Not much else to say except that I hope you like it.

One from the Bench:

If you don't like how things are, change them!  You're not a tree. - Jim Rohn

‘Til next time…Keep makin’ chips!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wow! Number 2000!

I just looked at the hit counter and saw that the blog has now been looked at 2000 times.  Wow!.  It took 2 years and 2 months to accumulate the first 1000 but only a little over 5 months to pick up the second 1000.

I guess people are starting to find my blog.  So my question to all of you is what have you liked?  What do you wish I had left out?  What would you like to see more of?  Less of?

Let me know.  And thanks for your interest.

'Til next time...keep makin' chips!

Monday, July 11, 2011

In Honor of National Sports Cliché Week

Here are my particular favorites...

Baseball is won between the lines. – Yeah, on the field as opposed to in the parking lot.
He's pitching lights out. – I wasn’t aware that some pitchers pitched with their lights on.
You can't steal first base. – Any other rules you want to read to us?
Three up, three down. – You mean like the inning is now over?
That ball should be playable. – I thought that they were all supposed to be.
The tying run is 90 feet away. – Do you mean like “there is a runner on third base”?
He has to wait for his pitch. – Don’t batters always have to wait?
He's seeing the ball well. – I would hope that most batters do.
He hit that ball squarely. – Ok, so just how squarely can you hit a round ball with a round bat?
He hit that one right on the screws. – I’m confused.  Are the screws in the ball or the bat?
He hit a towering line drive. – If a line drive flies parallel to the ground, how can it be towering?
In any other ballpark, that's a homerun. – That may be true, but sort of irrelevant, don’t you think?
He tatooed that one. – That is just plain dumb!
They're making a lot of un-forced errors. – As opposed to the errors they might be forced to make.
They have a tough road to hoe. -- Correctly stated, the original cliche is “They have a tough row to hoe”...a farming reference.  OK, Mr. Color Commentator, just how does one “hoe a road” anyway?
They have to circle the wagons. – I thought they were playing baseball.
They don't have their heads in the game. – Probably not their hands, arms, backs and legs either.
It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. – Just who is this fat lady they keep talking about?  I have yet to hear her sing.  And believe me, I have been waiting and waiting and waiting!
He's going to have to get on his horse to catch that one. – I’ll be the grounds keeper would have something to say about that!
He uncorked a wild pitch. – As opposed to uncorking a bottle of Jack Daniels.
They're not playing to win, they're playing not to lose. – Is there really a difference?
They have to manufacture some runs. – Again, isn’t that the point?

I guess right after “the last nail was placed in the coffin”, “the roof just caved in”, causing them to “run into a buzz saw” so that “their wheels just fell off” so “a lot of the faithful are heading for the exits” where “They got an old-fashioned woodshed whooppin' ”.  So “This could get ugly” say nothing of stupid!

'Til next time...keep makin' Chips!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Empire State Express…the Painting and Assembly Begins

Pieces and parts

I’m starting to pull a few pieces together and to make some decisions on how things are going to look on the Empire State Express.  After looking at the pictures of the actual train that I found online, I have decided to deviate from the original paint job to something a little more…well… interesting.

The way I see it, the original manufacturers just didn’t bother to take into consideration what my opinions were of how their locomotive should look.  They probably thought only in terms of manufacturability, maintainability and ruggedness and gave very little thought to my thoughts of style:-)

The original locomotive appears to be made primarily of cast iron and steel.  So it is black with just a few decorative touches of  white.  Now, I don’t plan to make my locomotive look “Gaudy” but I do think that a touch of brass makes it more appealing.  So I am adding it to my locomotive. 

Although I once gave my VW bug two coats of the best brush-on Rustoleum paint that money could buy, I do not continue in that vein.  Carved items that are supposed to be metal really need to be first covered with sanding sealer, sanded and then spray-painted to give that smooth, “metal” finish.  No brushing!  You can see in the photo how the steam and sand domes and how the bands around the boiler are brass-colored. 

Now, before you ask me why the back end of the boiler is painted to look like brass, I’ll tell you.  The majority of the boiler will be black with just the domes and the bands in brass.  I set off over the weekend to laboriously mask off the boiler so that only the bands and the domes would be exposed to the flying paint.  It was only when I was almost done with applying the tape that I finally realized that…DAH!…I could just sprayed the whole thing and then painted the black over the brass where I needed to.  I didn’t need to mask anything.  You can see from the photo just when that realization finally hit me:-)

You can see that I sprayed the edges drive wheels with aluminum paint.  I’ll pull off the tape and paint the insides of the wheels -- probably red -- with a dirty brown/black between the spokes to make it seem like you are looking through them to the boiler beyond.  The small wheels for the front truck are loaded up on a small dowel rod for a trip to the “paint shop”.  The edges will be aluminum and the centers will be whatever color I decide to paint the drive wheels.

Right there in the center of the shot you can also just make out the bell.  I have yet to photograph the bell in its “frame” but I’ll be sure to do that for the next installment.

Well, that’s it for today.

One for the Bench:

We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.

‘Til next time…Keep makin’ chips!