Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New photo of an old pick

While I was in the US I photographed this pick I made in 2018. It is paper micarta with orange G10 inlay. The silver pins are capped with 14k gold.

Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks

Monday, August 19, 2019

My first year in Taiwan and my trip to the US

I've been in Taiwan for a year now. It was mostly good, but kind of boring. I wasn't nearly as social or active as I was while I was living in Korea. I mostly studied, did some CAD designs, and some jewelry/lock pick work. But I don't feel like I accomplished much.

The school I work at had a jewelry class for students and teachers once a week in the evening. I made a couple pieces, and the class was good to motivate me to set up my own bench at home.

A cast ring I made in the class. Sterling and hessonite garnet.

A fabricated sterling pendant.
I was accumulating tools all year, and got a work bench in November . I had my parents send a lot of my stuff from the US, I also bought a lot here. Since I have a fairly big rooftop patio, I'm able to make lock picks here, which I wasn't expecting to be able to do. It's too messy to do in an apartment. I got all the tools and equipment to be able to complete picks around February, but I only finished 3 picks before I visited the US in July.

Two of the picks I made in Taiwan.
Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks
I spent a lot of time working on pick handle designs in ZBrush that I was planning to 3D print. I had two designs printed in a few different plastics, but I was disappointed in everything I got. I had them printed by Shapeways, but everything has too rough of a texture. It's just not something I want to put my name on. I will give it another try if I find a company that can print in plastic with better detail.

First pick handle design in ZBrush
Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks

First pick handle design in ZBrush
Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks
I studied Chinese all year, but I don't feel I made much progress. Mainly cause I don't use it much. I do feel I made a lot of progress in reading ability. Reading and writing have always been my favorite things to study, while speaking and listening have always been my least favorite.

I made two trips to Japan and Korea. Japan in September and January/February, and Korea in February and April. I don't really feel like visiting any other countries. Just Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the US.

July 9th - August 5th I was in the US. While I was there I took a road trip from Chicago to Southern California. I saw some friends on the way, and also stopped at Rio Grande in Albuquerque, had a tour of their facilities, and looked at some equipment.

Rio Grande

Point Loma, San Diego
I also prepared a lot of wood to make picks while in the US. I use my milling machine to mill the wood flat and cut the slot for the tang of the pick, which I cannot do in Taiwan. I prepared about 55 pieces of wood while I was there, which is way more than I will be able to make in the next year. It feels good having so much wood available to use.

The wood I prepared in the US

My bench with my microscope I brought from the US this summer.
I will be staying at the same school another year. Right now I have no plans for how long I will be staying in Taiwan.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

More picks from last year

Another photo I never posted...

These two are snakewood, with pink ivory (a type of wood) and silver inlay. They both went to Australia last summer.  
Snakewood with pink ivory and silver inlay

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