Glowing Helper

I so deeply appreciate the very active assistance of my wife, Cat, in my shop all of every morning, sometimes extending to the late afternoon. She is such a wonderful partner – her very important help is making it possible for me to make gains on the monumental stack of tools I so need to produce. Her efforts are wonderful! Here is a photo of her on a recent very cold snowy morning sanding needlesticks on one of the Powermatic sanders. Her touch is so gentle and the results are as good as I do. Yes, that’s saying something. Jericho continues to give such marvelous effort doing virtually all of the finishing and dived right into the sanding to help produce the tools that I offer. My old damaged hands cut and touch every tool that comes out of my shop. But, without the very capable help of these two ladies I’d honestly just close shop.
Today Cat started something new that she’s never done before. I”m in the process of making a large run of my mini-squirrel cage winders. One of the most important and time consuming tasks in that effort is cutting the threads on the 1/4″ brass rod to secure and support the cages. She listened to me describe all of the steps and “volunteered” to try to do the threading. Late morning today we set up everything, I demonstrated, and she learned so quickly and did so well! There is no measure in my shop of who does something quickest – the best measure is simply “is it right”. She does it right! I’m so proud of her for so many things – especially her willingness to attempt such daunting tasks and her support of my efforts. We each would do anything for the other.
I’ve ordered the Danish plywood to make the cages – I have the dowels, and will pick up the DOMESTIC woods to make the stand at World of Wood in Albuquerque – Jake Jacobsen and his staff are such marvelous “woodies”.
Working on a new price list – and there will be a number of prices raising. I’ll apologize in advance, but there is not a way I can avoid this. When it’s produced I’ll announce right here – and it will be prospective, or effective at least a couple of weeks after. I’ll honor current prices for orders received before the effective date of the new list.
Tomorrow I’ll be cutting much exotics to length for 6-dent original looms, and both 7″ and 12″ tiny shed sticks. Well, will surely cut them to dimension as well. I have a large cache of pieces at dimension waiting for machining and sanding. Works for me. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so well for so long…..
Jim

Dreams Lost

My dreams of catching seem to be gone forever – business has been completely overwhelming – and the end is not in sight. Cat’s been helping all morning every day – she’s getting so good on the band saw, router tables, and sanders (both the 6×48’s and 4×36’s). Next will be the scroll saw – she’s determined! Like on the router table, it took her a bit to make friends with it – she said she would NOT be defeated by a machine… I’m so proud of her! Jericho is now doing all of my finishing and working on LOTS of sanding. Other tasks may develop – several times in the past few days all 3 of us were working on different sanders!
So many things are in-progress – tiny stick shuttles, needlesticks, tiny beaters, tiny turned beaters, lucets, custom range of tools for a commercial shop, #6 original looms in exotics, boat shuttles, EOW’s, and so much more. Today I had a box go out with 30 #2 fringe twisters, and another with the last 6 of my mini-squirrel cage winders. I’m OUT of several items and replacements are in the plans. For the moment, I’m just keeping my nose above the water line, but not sure for how long….

 

I will be reissuing my price list very soon – with regret some items will be raising. I’ll do it prospectively – and will announce the effective date soon publishing the price list a couple of weeks or so before it’s effective. I’ll honor existing prices for orders received before the new price list becomes effective. I’m so sorry to raise prices any amount, but business dictates I do so.
I have an outstanding stock of exotics – today unloaded the truck with another very large stash. So, all of these tools in-progress and planned are supported with ready exotic and domestic stock.
SNOW a few times in the past week or so – not much, just a couple of inches, but simple precipitation is so appreciated. The freezing temperatures and exceptional winds can take a hike, though.

Another dream lost seems to be my son moving up and taking my business.  I can only presume he had just rather continue whatever he’s doing in San Antonio.  I will miss that forever.  Quite sadly, too………………….
Later, Jim

Beaters & Price List

dscn2567My son James has returned to San Antonio – and we hope that he and his family will be able to move up this summer. He is a remarkable woodworker! While here he fabricated a new beater – the Dippy Doo – so named by using scrap from making the little looms. They are mostly BEM, but some others. Many more will come eventually. You can see them on my new price list.
The new price list will be released tomorrow – don’t you just love it? There are no price changes – most of the changes are editorial and expanding some explanations. I’ve returned Lucets to the list – far too many requests not to do so. And, the hand loom stands are now in the list as well. I have a note about drop spindles – I’ve made and sold thousands and thousands in the past. If there’s enough interest I’ll return them as well to inventory. So, if you would like to see my spindles again, let me know. I remain profoundly busy but with hope that James will return permanently, it’s time to consider adding a few things. James helped me to stock an extremely good stock of just about everything, especially the hand looms!
Still too messy to ride, though did start the bikes a couple of days ago and let them run for awhile. We drove the Corvette to Artesia Friday for lunch at La Fonda – our favorite Mexican food restaurant on earth! It was Cat’s birthday – and her choice to go to La Fonda. It’s snowing today, so no rides today either.
Doctor visits in Albuquerque are looming for both of us – maintenance on people older than dirt is high sometimes. It should be October – the Fall – for I have been falling a lot lately. Guess it is the weight of the world resting on my shoulders with motivation to work so hard on the tools I so love to produce.  My old friend, Larry from Alamogordo, brought me a trunk load of old bowling balls that I’ll use soon to make many more of the large spiders with metal legs.  So many people have asked for one or more, so it’s time to get cracking.  It’s great fun to create the little monsters!  I also have the material to make a bunch of smaller spiders – the bodies about 4-6″ in diameter.  That size is great to place in the house on a table or shelf….. Surprises abound!
Just think about John Lennon’s “Imagine” at this time of the world.  That message is needed so much more than ever before.
Jim

The Last Christmas Cookie

dscn2566snowmanOur daughter Ann lives in Florida and works in Alabama. Ann is a remarkable person in so many respects – and one specialty is baking. She has baked the most astounding Christmas Cookies since she was a little girl. I admired her creativity when she was a child, and more so now. Ann bakes the most wonderful cookies at Christmas time – the decorations and artwork on them are breathtaking. Pictured here is the Last Christmas Cookie for 2016. We saved it until today to relish the fantastic taste. The colors are slightly runny form storage in plastic wrap, but the impact on our memory at how wonderful and warm and Loving they are…. Thanks, Ann, for making our Christmas 2016 most very special!

Love, Da Da & Momma Cat

Appropriate Greeting, New Energy, and a Blue Christmas

img_0001Well, I am surprised all of the time. Many times customers send me a card with their payment for looms and tools. Today Jessica Ostrow – Weaving Rainbow – in Sunset, Texas sent me one of her personal creations. Just look at this card! Such thought and design is so appropriate for the looms she purchased from me! I hope that she’s smiling now to see her card in my blog…….  Don’t you agree with me that Jessica’s card is neat, or what!
New Energy in my shop complex. James and I are producing at a rather blistering pace. He is such an efficient worker and as creative as myself. We are not “ahead” quite yet, but getting there. Today we moved several pieces of equipment into the new addition. James spent quite some time cleaning the main shop – and now I can walk thru and around inside and not have to step over anything… More improvements will be made including some rearrangement. Removal of equipment helped a lot, now little things like moving the Powermatic band saw and large sander will make it much more production oriented. James’ ideas are really good and I appreciate his efforts more every day. He actually designed most of the equipment placement in the addition, too. Yesterday we built a rack to store and use my very old component stereo system. I’ll mount the Very Large speakers high in that room – then just listen to the 200 watt amplifier send ZZ Top with vigor……. I can hardly wait…. James moved and stacked two pallets of wood pellets this morning – in 25 minutes! He is such a powerful and efficient worker. And, his touch with a mini lathe is delicate, too…
Christmas approaches, Cat and I will enjoy the day with a dear friend, Ruth, in Albuquerque. We just don’t do a big thing on this special day unless we have friends or family with us. I wish every person reading this the most enjoyable Christmas and holiday ever…. Who knows what we all will really face next year. I hope we all survive.  This is “my year” for our tree.  One year it’s all the colors of decorations.  The next year it’s blue lights and most decorations are blue.  It’s a Blue Christmas….

Merry and Happy Everything!
Jim

The First One!

first-oneLorainne, a customer of mine, sent me this photo of her very first attempt at weaving! I’m not a weaver, but it seems that this is quite an accomplishment – the technique and style are not especially representative of most first-timers. I hope that she continues her craft and finds great enjoyment with my little looms, perhaps even growing into a large floor loom!
Jim

My Tongue was on the Ground – the Cavalry Comes!

I contracted to enclose the covered pad in front of my shop. Conclusion will greatly expand the work space in my wood shop – and I will no longer be so crowded. This is the first time here that I’ve not done construction that I could have done. I’m too busy, and just did not feel quite as physically capable now. All that remains is installation of the custom garage doors. In order to save time, I left yesterday morning before 5 to pick up the doors at Home Depot in Los Lunas as my builder is finishing an addition in Pie Town. The previous evening I had hooked up my 10′ trailer.
As I entered I-25 from Socorro headed North towards Los Lunas approaching 75 mph I felt sudden jerks and bumps unfamiliar to me. I looked in the mirror and saw the trailer moving in an unfamiliar manner. It seemed that perhaps I had lost a tandem wheel so I slowed, preparing for a stop as I should do in such a situation. The action continued. After stopping I went to the rear and horrified to discover that the trailer had disconnected from the hitch and was stuck under the hitch on the truck! The tongue of the trailer was on the ground! I had obviously neglected to secure the coupler lock onto the trailer hitch ball on the truck, and when I went over a rough bridge joint, the trailer jumped off of the hitch. Thank goodness that I very securely connected the extra heavy duty safety chains. I had changed what came on the trailer for even more heavy duty chains after purchasing the trailer.

I attempted to gain the attention of passing drivers for assistance to release the trailer from the truck hitch and reattach to the ball, but no one seemed to even look or slow. So, I worked and worked and finally got it to release. Then, how to lift the tongue of the rather heavy tongue and maneuver it forward to the hitch, lift it high enough, and over the ball. I had to pull it about 24″ and over about 18″, dealing with tandem wheels on a 10′ trailer. It was severely challenging with both my shoulders still recovering from major rotator cuff surgical repairs. I had not exerted myself to that level in decades, but felt that I had no other choice. I strained muscles in my left arm and left leg. I’ll recover, and the discomfort in especially my back will eventually fade. The loss of layers of skin on my right ankle will grow back in time. But the injury to my pride will leave scars. I’m smarter than this. Or, so I thought. I will not make this mistake again. One “helper” that will always travel with me in this truck, trailer attached or not, will be an aluminum jack I had purchased to carry in the enclosed show trailer I had when I did shows……..
I did get the doors that will be installed Saturday by Simon. Pat will do the electrical and lighting Tuesday. I begin to move in Wednesday.
After Thanksgiving the Cavalry comes! My son James comes for a two month “Trial”. I KNOW that he’ll return permanently. He is ten times the woodworker that I am. Just wait and see what happens to Hokett Would Work! Among dozens of things, who’d like to see the return of Hokett Drop Spindles????????????????? YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jim is a Very Happy man!