Sunday, July 12, 2020

Testing Assumptions

It is easy to get lost in your prejudices and assumptions. I like to test mine occasionally, while my tests are also objective and those same prejudices and assumptions can effect the outcomes I do try to limit the effect.

I've freehand sharpened for years. I believe it is faster, easier, and for the most part better than using a sharpening jig. Today I decided to A &B a pair of SwissMade chisels, one a 19mm and the other 16mm. It would have been better if both chisels were the same size but I do not have two of the same brand and size.

Both chisels I ground to a 25* bevel on the Tormek and sharpened using the same progression of Oil stones. A medium India, a Lilly White Washita, a Norton Hard White Arkansas, and a Hard (Surgical) Black Arkansas. Both edges were stropped on a hard leather strop with green stuff.

The guide used was an original Eclipse. I had forgotten how slow using a guide is. It is not just adjusting the chisel and guide, it is also the guide required more strokes on each stone to get to the same place. Another advantage of freehand is feedback, when free-handing you can feel when you have spent enough time on each stone. If I used a jig long enough I might develop that feel but I doubt it.

A plus for using a guide is a flat bevel, sometime freehand that is not the case.

The real test is metal to wood and here is where prejudice is hard to control. I will just say on the same piece of wood, side by side cuts, the freehand felt easier to push. When looking at the surface left with a 10X lupe the freehand surface was slightly smoother.

Of course YMMV.

I expect if for no other reason than speed and ease if the jig cutter had been the better of the two I would still sharpen freehand. The good news is there is little difference between the two as far as sharpness. Take your pick and use the method that blows your skirt.

Wear a mask and stay safe,


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tucson is Hotter than Hell

I'm an old desert rat, I've lived a good part of my life in one desert or another. Hot summers are just part of life and have not been a big deal. Here comes the but, over the last couple of summers the heat is getting to me. I'm not sure if it is age, past heat exposure, or if it is really getting that much hotter. Bottom line I just had to do a small job in the back garden and it is good that it was small otherwise I would not have finished.

While there has been no rain we are in Monsoon, the worst part with no cooling rain but high RH. With the high RH there is no cooling in the shade and the wind is like a blast furnace. The only answer is to do like the Bedouins and cover up. I wish I had some North African robes to wear this Summer.

Ok no more pitiful me, I left the shop in an unusable mess when we left for Oregon. In some ways that is good news because it means I have to clean and organize before I can do any work. That is in progress and in a couple more days I may start a project.

The three levels of curiosity:

Credit: Land of Cuteness.

What can I say other than I'm a sucker for puppies.

Levi has outgrown the chair and table I made several years ago, it is being passed down to Abby along with the last chair I made for him. It took so long to get to Houston he out grew it. I sent a "big boy" chair home with the kids when they passed thru Tucson so I expect the next project will be a school desk to go with the chair.

Take care, wear your mask, and remember heat can kill you,


Tuesday, July 07, 2020


As I headed up Ironwood Hills (1/2 mile from home) yesterday evening the last sliver of the Sun sank below the Tucson Mountains. It is good to be home even though MsBubba is still in Oregon and may stay through September. Sweet Maggie Dog and I are on our own for now.

Most of the time one of my great pleasures in life is strapping the motorhome (or just about anything with a motor that moves) to my ass and going somewhere. Not this time, a 1000 miles of beat up California Freeway, going thru LA, and high winds kicked my ass. With the rough road and high winds, it was all I could do to keep the motorhome between the bar ditches and not be run over or hit something for the full 1000 miles. Just south of Sacramento I hit a really bad rough patch of road that knocked the passenger side mirror out of its mount. I happened to be looking at it at the time to see if I could mover over a lane, to bad Charley it's gone. Try going thru LA blind on your right side.

Here is Mt. Shasta before the road and wind started kicking my ass:

Anyway enough kvetching, it is good to be home.

A couple of thoughts: Times have changed. In Oregon there are very few liqueur stores, in a small town maybe one or none. Cannabis stores on the other hand are on just about every other street corner.

We spent a couple of days parked in the Evergreen Air/Space Museum parking lot (they allow two days free parking). It reminded me of how visionary Dale Smith was. He could be and often was a complete asshole to work for, the standing joke at Evergreen was "you were fired the day you were hired, you just didn't know what day it was".

Dale was a pioneer in the commercial use of helicopters, hauling freight by airplane, and of course developing the 747 wild fire fighter. Working for Evergreen and flying Dale Smith around the world was by far the most interesting job I had in almost 50 years of flying for beans and tortillas. I will never run out of "there I waz" bar or hanger stories.

While there we drove around town looking for our old home (two blocks from the center of town) and were reminded how beautiful McMinnville is.  It is like a movie set of a small town or a picturesque European town with baskets of flowers on every corner,  Working retail shops and cafes with sidewalk tables. Everything is within walking distance and you want to do it. MsBubba asked why we ever left, I didn't have an answer.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Still On The Road

My best guess is another week before I head back to Tucson, maybe longer but we will see. Internet and cell phone coverage is spotty on the Oregon coast. In addition because of the trees satellite coverage is hit or miss as well. It is amazing how well you can survive without either.

See you guys on down the road,


Thursday, June 18, 2020


Time for my Juneteenth post. I just saw on MSNBC that a group of congress critters were going to introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday. It is about time, Juneteenth is the day we kinda started to live up to our talk, 160 odd years later we still are not walking the walk but there is hope. Tomorrow remember we can be better.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

On The Road

Two days of hard driving and one not as hard and I can say "I'm cold". We've made it to northern Oregon which is as far north as we plan on going this trip. While traveling in the motor home is much slower than by car or motorcycle it is the only way to go.  There are no public heads or hotels to deal with and a good meal, as an example one of our lunches was fried shrimp with rice and a salad, can be available at almost any wide spot in the road. When you are ready to shut it down for the day all you need is a Walmart or Indian casino's parking lot and no bag drag is needed.

I did not pack the workbench, just a shavehorse and some spoon making tools. I may end up regretting leaving the bench behind.

This trip is pretty open ended,  I expect it will be at least a month and a couple of different State Parks before I pat MsBubba on the butt and Sweet Maggie Dog and I head back to Tucson. MsBubba may stay until October before I drive back to pick her and the Fit up. Back in the day, I would do the shuttle with the motorcycle. 

See you guys on down the road,


Sunday, June 07, 2020

Bogger Eating Replies

I've tried two different browsers with the same result. Hit "publish" and the reply flashes on the screen and then disappears.  Sorry, some of the replies were just brilliant, damn I hate that when it happens.

Bob, I tried there times, of course each got shorter.