Saturday, October 31, 2009

preparing wood for handles

The other day I prepared some wood for lock pick handles. Usually I buy the wood cut as "pen blanks." Pen blanks are small blocks of wood about 3/4" x 3/4" x 6" used for making pens. Of course you could buy a larger piece and cut it smaller, but pen blanks are cheap and convenient.

My only wood working experience was a job I had about 11 years ago sanding and staining Adirondack chairs. Since I don't know much about wood working I just treat the wood like metal and that's been working out ok for me.

I get 2 handles from each pen blank by cutting the wood down the middle with my band saw. After I cut the pen blanks down the middle I cut the sides parallel to each other with a fly cutter on my Sherline mill.


Next I use a slitting saw on the mill and cut the slot for the pick blade. The slitting saw is about the same thickness as the steel I use for the pick blades.


The wood is now ready for me to make into a handle.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

update and new picks

Lately this blog is looking more like some kind of random personal blog or travel blog than a blog about my metal work.

There's not a whole lot worth writing about lately. I haven't gotten in any exhibitions since Cheongju. I am not working on anything exciting. I have some unfinished pieces that I think will be good, but I haven't worked on them since before my trip. I'll go back to working on those after I finish up some other things.

Here are some lock picks I finished recently:

This one below is now my favorite handle style I have done in aluminum. But I think every time I do a new handle style it's my favorite till I make it a few times and get sick of it.


This one is sandalwood. This is another one of my current favorite handle styles. I like the one I did in snakewood better.


Ebony:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Korea/Japan part 3 - Tokyo

On Oct. 10th I went to Tokyo. I met an old friend from GIA who I haven't seen in 7 or 8 years, she's Korean and is in Tokyo studying Japanese language. I also met a Japanese friend from elementary school who now lives in Tokyo. I hadn't seen him in over 20 years.

I hung out with my friend from GIA three days and went to some places with her, like Ameyayokocho and Asakusa. When I wasn't with my friends I mostly just took the train (Yamanote line) to different parts of the city and walked around.

Ameyayokocho:


Outside Sensouji Temple in Asakusa (below). Not exactly my favorite temple.




Harajuku:


Outside Shibuya Station:


Same place at night:


Shibuya:


I just realized there's crowds of people in all the photos I am posting. The whole city wasn't like that, but all the interesting places I saw were.

I have been to Japan 4 times before this trip, but this is the first time I have been to Tokyo. It was interesting, but it is not my favorite place in Japan. It's too big. But I liked Seoul because it was so huge. Go figure.

I felt somewhat dissatisfied with Tokyo. Visiting Tokyo was fine, but afterward I wanted to go someplace else in Japan. I didn't really feel like I had visited Japan. I'm sure I'll go back to Tokyo someday for some reason, but I think I would prefer to spend most of my time someplace other than Tokyo.

The flight back to Chicago was the best flight ever. I had three seats all to myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Korea/Japan part 2 - Seoul, Busan, Pyeongtaek

On Thursday Oct. 1st, after the home stay in Cheongju was over I took a bus to Pyeongtaek where my friend lives. That weekend was Chuseok, (it's like Korean Thanksgiving), so my friend didn't work Friday. Since there's not a whole lot to do in Pyeongtaek, as soon as I got there we went to Seoul for the weekend.




We didn't eat here, but I liked the restaurant's sign in the photo below. I like how they did the character 鳥, it means bird or chicken, but one could probably tell what kind of food they serve even if one doesn't know any Chinese characters.


Bongwonsa Temple in Seoul:




Monday my friend had to go back to work, so I went to Busan. I liked Busan because of it's beaches. I spent most of my time there in Haeundae (below)


Korea/Japan part 1 - Cheongju

The first week I was in Korea I did a home stay with a family of six in Cheongju. I went to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale, which was good, but not as much fun as two years ago because I wasn't getting any award this time. I knew before I went there that my necklace only got Honorable Mention, which is what every piece gets that makes it to the second round of judging but does not win an award.

Cheongju really promotes the Biennale. Coming into the city by bus I saw these flags on all the street lights along the road:


The Biennale was at the same site as two years ago, except this year the Competition was at the same location as the rest of the Biennale.






Since I didn't tell the curator I would be there I didn't get my special ID badge. Because I didn't have the special ID I wasn't supposed to take any photos inside the exhibitions. My host mother and I talked to one of the people there about the badge, but she couldn't get it for me. I think she said it would be ok for me to take a photo of my necklace, but I wasn't sure cause her English wasn't very good. It didn't matter cause I was going to take a pic of my necklace whether they liked it or not, so I just waited till no one was looking to take this pic:


We also went to the Cheongju National Museum and saw a Korean metals exhibition.


While there I got to play with some clay in a hands-on workshop with three of the host family's children. It was the first time I have worked with clay in about 10 years. But since the workshop is for kids, not adults, I was too big to use the kick wheel.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm home

I got home from Japan Wednesday morning. The trip was good. Right now all of my photos are on my netbook, which doesn't have Photoshop, so I need to wait till I move my photos to my other computer so I can crop and resize them to post on this blog.