Thursday, March 21, 2019

Photos from last summer

Last summer before I left the US (August 2018) I photographed a lot of my picks. After taking photos I always need to remove dust and adjust things like highlights and shadows in Photoshop and Lightroom. I mostly forgot about those photos after I came here, but recently I have been finishing them. There are still a few left to process.

Micarta with silver inlay

Carved boxwood


Dymondwood (a type of resin impregnated wood laminate)


Tuesday, March 5, 2019


A few days before my trip to Japan and Korea I got a scooter. A 2018 Kymco Racing S 150 ABS.

It makes life here much better. I rarely drive to work, and I don't drive to Taipei, but I love it for other things like going to some stores that take a long time to get to on the train or bus. And having grown up always having a car, I just feel better having my own transportation.

Aside from the time I rented a scooter in Myanmar for a few days, this is the first time I have ridden one, so I am still getting used to it. After I am more comfortable on it I would like to take some trips around the island on it.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Still not ready

I got a small polishing motor last week. It is a bit under powered, and it doesn't have a dust collector, but I think it will be good enough.

I'm still not ready to complete any picks. Due to some delays in requesting the sanding belts be sent to me, I don't have them yet. And the other thing I don't have is some kind of wood finishing oil. I haven't been able to find what I want. I think I need to talk to a woodworker here about what to use.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Japan and Korea

During my winter break I went to Japan and Korea, January 27 to February 8th. I took a short trip to Japan in September, but I had not been to Korea in over 2 years. 

I went to Osaka and Kyoto in Japan. I just went sightseeing, mostly at places I have been before. February 3rd I went to Seoul. It felt weird to be back. All I did there was meet friends. I wish I had allowed a little more time to myself.

 Some pics from my phone:

Jonggak Station area, Seoul

Seoul Tower


Chion-in, Kyoto

Chion-in, Kyoto

Byodo-in, Uji

Thursday, January 17, 2019

waiting on tools

So far the most frustrating thing about working here is constantly getting to a point where I need a certain tool that I don't have and then having to wait to get it. I either have to ask my parents to send it, or buy it here. Of course, eventually that will stop happening as I slowly get everything I need, but right now I am stalled, waiting on sanding belts for my little NSK belt sander. After I get those I really think the only other things I will need to make picks are a polishing motor and buffs, and some kind of wood finishing oil.

This photo below shows where I stopped. I can cut more wood and grind/file more steel, but I can't finish anything. I will work on some jewelry while I wait for my sanding belts.

This is my outside work area where I do my grinding. This patio area is really the only thing I like about this apartment.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

making lock picks again

I got a bench grinder and belt sander last week. I now have almost everything I need to make picks again. I still need to buy a polishing motor and I need my hand files. My files are being shipped from the US right now, I should get them next week. I might have to wait till after my winter vacation to buy the polishing motor. With all the money I have spent on tools recently and with trip I am taking to Japan and Korea at the end of the month, I am not sure I can afford one right now.

I can't use the grinder and belt sander inside; it's too messy. So I bring them out on my patio to use them. 

This is the outside work area. Not very exciting compared to my workshop in the US, but it should be adequate. I now have to work during the day time (always worked at night in the US) and when it's not raining.

I'm stuck at this stage for now. I need to get my hand files to finish shaping the pick blade, and a polishing motor to polish it. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Getting ready to make lock picks again

I got a drill press today, and have a grinder and belt sander coming next week. I will start making lock picks again soon.