Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Off to a Good Start

Well, this year is starting out much better than last year. Not only have I avoided diverticulitis, but last year's hospital stay will - in a weird way - help us out at tax time. And I have been far more productive in the shop than all of last year combined.  It started off with finishing a couple of stained glass transoms for a couple in town.

Which was fun, because I've never done a piece as big as the one above their front door.

Then I dove in headfirst into making a go of the Bluefeather business, and ordered a slew of knife parts, bow parts and other stuff. For a few days it was like Christmas around here for me. Boxes arriving from afar filled with fun things for me to build in the shop.

I cranked out my first knife of the year...

A nice 440C steel blade with mammoth tooth scales and brass bolsters.

And I built a test bow out of hickory...

The reason it is a test bow is
1. I've never built anything out of hickory, and different species of wood have different working qualities.

2. I was using a build method that I got from an e-book from the good folks at Rudderbows, and wanted to make sure I could do the process from start to finish for when I go down to Mom and Dads in March. I'm going to be teaching Dad and my nephew Harrison, and maybe his mom and dad, how to build bows of various styles.

3. I've never built a reflex/deflex bow before and tillering them is a little different from tillering a straight bow.

As for the testing...
1. Hickory is pretty amazing stuff. It is very dense and makes a fine bow. I was able to make the limbs of the bow thinner than I thought and still make the bow pull at 45 lbs. at 28 inches, which is over what you'd need to hunt with, if you do that sort of thing. The hickory grain comes off in little strings almost, that can develop into big chunks of wood, so fine sanding is a must. Overall I would use this again for bows. It is good stuff!

2. The bow form in the e-book worked great. As did their instructions. Though the book is on how to make a bamboo backed ipe bow, I figured the theory was the same. It was, and I am confident that my next few bows will be even better using that method.

3. The tiller could have come out a little bit better, as the top limb bends a little less than the bottom, and usually you want that the other way around. I could have corrected it, but the weight would have dropped and it seems to shoot just fine anyway.

I used bloodwood for trim and tips, and oak for the top of the riser (handle). Next time, I'll replace that with hickory.

All told, it is a very powerful bow, and I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm going to take it up to the Footed Shaft next week some time and let them shoot it to tell me what they think, and to recommend what arrows to shoot off of it.  Should be fun.

So.  I've got a pretty good start on 2012. I'm going to continue to attack these days and fill them with as much as I can. I've still got projects for a few people to get done, and until I puzzle out how to do some of them, I'll keep making knives and bows. I've got parts for five more knives and six or seven bows. That'll keep me busy!

More Later

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Greetings 2012

The year is new once more. Anyone who reads this blog, and that might be just me, will notice that December is devoid of posts. It's not that nothing noteworthy happened in the last month of 2011, but rather that 2011 was not such a fun year, and I was ignoring it for all I was worth until it was over.

I was also planning how to attack this new year of 2012. With the help and support of my beautiful Wife, I am taking this year to chase after my dreams and goals like never before. In fact, I'll be focusing on just one thing this year...

Finding a balance in my passions. Shop time, triathlon time, and most importantly, family time.

In the shop, I'll be spending January finishing up Bluefeather projects I didn't finish last year. Clearing the books, you might say. Then I'll be gearing up to create things. The primary focus will be on my knives and on archery bows. But I'll still do some glass and other projects if they come up. My goal is to at least match my income from being a medic (using last year as the baseline.) it will be lots of fun, hard work. But I believe I can do it.

In the area of triathlons, I am going to create and maintain a workout schedule that allows me to train for at least two triathlons and an open water swim. I'm registered for the Pigman Sprint Tri in June, and as soon as I post this I'm heading back to their website to register for the first Pigman Olympic distance Tri. That is in August, and is essentially twice the distance of a sprint, except the swim part that is three times a sprint swim. The only part that worries me about this plan is the 6.2 mile run that finishes the race. I'm not yet much of a runner. It will be lots of fun, hard work. But I believe I can do it.

As for my family, I will continue to try and be a better husband, father, son and sibling to all those I love. I would be nothing without their support, encouragement and love. We are starting a new program for the Boyo in place of Cub Scouts this year. Our scout troop is sort of a disorganized mess, and rather than try to jump in and fix it, the Wife thought of a plan whereby our family of four takes a couple of days each month to do some adventuring. Trips to the Science Museum in the Cities, or to the zoo, planetarium, and other places to learn and explore will replace the pack meetings. And den meetings will be replaced with a day of doing something fun and cool at or near home. Science projects, gardening projects, shop projects, camping, canoeing, and basically adventuring! It will be lots of fun, hard work. But I believe we can do it.

And if at the end of this year I have found a way to balance this three legged stool, you will find a supremely happy and content me sitting there with my goofy grin.

To start things off, I will change my perspective on the year 2011, right before your eyes. While it is true that we came close to losing both of my parents, and I had my first hospital stay, as did my little Sweet Pea, and there were some issues in other parts of my life that were extremely stressful, in all it could have been worse. Mom and/or Dad could have died. I could have needed surgery for my diverticulitis instead of just heavy antibiotics. And I shudder to think what could have been with Sweet Pea ingesting Grammy's Meds at a time when so much was so dark anyway. Yes, the year sucked. But I was extremely blessed that things turned out the way they did. It made the celebrations at the end of the year that much more special.

So, bring on the challenges, failures and triumphs of 2012. I think I am actually, finally ready for them. This is my year to go big or go home. It will be lots of fun, hard work. But I believe.

I believe.

More later