Cat and I enjoyed several days in San Antonio visiting family and friends for Christmas. Rachel was so kind to offer to host us – and participated in most of our visits. Grandson Issac was a dear as were so many others. Our return trip up I-10 was an experience of wonder. Wondering how we survived seeing hundreds of bad crashes in the snow and ice, wondering how we did so well on that highway and still made it home before dark…. Getting home we faced digging snow away from the gates for an hour just to “plow” into our property. Then, digging our way to the back of the house as the front remains impassable….. Several feet of snow total with 80 mph winds created some interesting drifts. I’ll dig out in a few days a bit at a time, and then be able to pack a passel of orders all over everywhere including England. We love it here, the house is safe, and we’ll be back to normal next week perhaps. The new Corvette will not be leaving the garage till it dries out. That might be spring…..
I’ve released my new price list. There are no price changes, but a few more items have been eliminated. Several editorial changes were made to the introduction as well as item descriptions. New items include hand loom kits in the Tiny and Intermediate sizes! So many people have been asking for them. I’ll no longer be accepting sales at my home – so mail order, delivery when I can, or buy thru dealers will be the way. Dealers looking for a wholesale discount will need to send me a copy of their local sales tax permit or business license. Unfortunately a number of people have claimed to be dealers and just wanted a discount for personal purchases. Sales to businesses in New Mexico will need to process a sales tax exemption certificate prior to shipment as well.
My health continues to require attention and we’re focused on those issues. My production continues at the pace that I can handle with breaks to ride motorcycles and kick back just a bit. The little looms continue to be remarkably popular. I thank everyone for their support! For 8-dent looms the only source you can obtain one is still Rebecca Mezoff. She’s been so wonderful representing my work and am so very proud of her. Look for dealers in your area for my work – if they don’t carry any ask them to contact me. I may be moving towards wholesale only, but not for the time being.
Just yesterday I received shipment of yet another Powermatic 6″ x 48″ sander. These machines are the most efficient sander on earth and I sometimes run mine as much as 10 hours a day. One is coarse, one medium, and one fine – that way I can move from sander to sander without changing belts. I still do massive runs of tools at a time like 800 hand looms, 1200 beaters, and so on. The variety of exotic woods are always a thrill to machine, and the fine Bird’s Eye Maple from Boone Bell in the UP of Michigan is always fantastic. I built 6″ risers for the Powermatic sanders to make the working height perfect for me. A new 8′ x 8′ x 20′ steel shipping container is now in place, electrified, and shelving installed – it’ll be my finished goods storage and packing building. It’s called the “Fallout Shelter” due to the 50’s sign from a building in San Antonio! My bro-in-law, Scott, gave it to me a number of years. I do have bulk storage in two other buildings. The former home of the finished goods is now a real garage – it contains a new ’16 C-7.
Best wishes to all our friends, family, and customers this very wonderful year and into the future.
I’ve been busy. Duh. Here is a box of preforms for my Tiny Turned Beaters (TTB’s) – the handle has been turned on a lathe and they are ready for carving the business ends.
And, here is the group ready for weavers! There are many woods including African Olive, Pink Ivory, Cocobolo, Gabon Ebony, Verawood, Katalox, and many others. These are quite time consuming to produce, but great fun as well. Other recent creations include more than 1000 of the little looms, 200+ 8″ and 200 10″ stick shuttles, 125 of the 6″ and 90 of the 8″ belt shuttles. And, thousands of others. Today I worked on more than 400 of the “Bethe” tiny shed sticks. All but about 150 are ready to oil.
Cat and I have been riding a LOT. Trips to Belen for lunch at Fat Sats, lunch at Oso Grill in Capitan, breakfast at Datil, visiting friends in Alamogordo, lunch at Truth or Consequences, and others. Cat’s trike is doing perfectly – and both my bikes are so fun. Soon I’ll be taking the Big Dog to Rich at Crossroads Cycles in Rio Rancho for fabrication of a very custom backrest – Cat and I’ll design the holder and Rich the mounting. Not too often you see a backrest on a chopper, but my back needs it….. The Mustang seat and backrest on the Honda Fury make riding so comfortable! We both acquired Harley Davidson heated gloves that plug into the battery maintainer connection. I haven’t used the heat feature, but Cat has. She reports that the “high” setting is far too high….. When I wear those gloves my hands are so toasty already – and so comfortable. They are not too good when the weather is warm – but I love the comfort provided when it’s really cold.
Albuquerque Exotic Woods has changed their name to Would of Woods. Jake Jacobsen and his crew are doing such a remarkable job there – and I visit often. He’s milling a rather large plank of Afzelia for me – very dark and highly figured. While I could do it – he is so efficient – making boards out of the plank for me. I’ve added Kreg rip fences to my Jet 18″ and Powermatic 14″ band saws – the OEM ones are junk and failed miserably. Kreg makes a great product and work perfectly. I built a 5″ riser for the Powermatic 6×48 sander – it’s now the operating height that I prefer. Finally, I’ve replaced the world class junk sanders that Rikon makes – my least respected and preferred manufacturer of the WORLD. Their junk doesn’t even make good boat anchors….. Avoid anything Rikon at all expense. Worst customer service in history, including Comcast.
On a more challenging note, I’ve been undergoing treatment for the “wet” version of macular degeneration in my right eye. The treatment for me includes injections of a medication into the eye on a monthly basis for a few months. Progression of the condition has not gotten worse yet – and we have very high hopes that no farther permanent vision loss will occur. Great hope. Sooooo, my plans had included a new Corvette by now – that has been at least temporarily suspended…. I do have to be somewhat practical. A Corvette has been a dream of mine since 1953 when I saw the very first one. I’ve had some remarkable vehicles in my past – most noteworthy a 1968 Mustang California Special with a 390 & 4-speed right after returning from my first year in Vietnam with the USAF – photography. But, a “Vette” remains the ultimate driving dream of mine. Perhaps the Spring will give me a good status for the eye stuff and make the new car right.
No Kid ‘N Ewe this year – I’m no longer doing shows. I’ll miss the crowd and conversation, but not the work. I”m so thankful for all of the individual and commercial customers that find my work acceptable. Fact is, I’m doing so much better avoiding shows.
Have a superb November and all the days to come.
Chuck Zettner – the builder of my bike – passed away suddenly just yesterday. He listened so patiently to what was in my mind for a “ride” I wanted – and a year later it came to pass. I am greatly saddened by Chuck’s passing – and know that he and Amanda are together again now. I hope that you have endless wind in your face, Chuck…. I am very thankful for his vision, patience, and persistence.
Awhile back I mentioned that Rebecca Mezoff would be my only outlet for 8-dent looms. She still is and has the Regular size in stock with the Tiny and Intermediate sizes within a couple of weeks. Rebecca will be presenting workshops and classes using these looms. Should you want my looms in 8-dent, she’s the only place you can buy one. Rebecca is such a vibrant tapestry artist – look her up and see for yourself.
Here are a couple of recent photos of our only Grandchild – Issac. He’s about to turn 11, and we miss him so dearly, not having seen him since last November. His Dad took him to a book store and said he could have any book he wanted – his teacher had said he needed to read more. He picked out a book called “Walter the Farting Dog” – appropriate for a BOY his age! Well, his Dad and Grandpa likes it too. We hope to get to see him soon if we can visit San Antonio. I will not be doing Kid ‘N Ewe this year, nor any other year nor any other show, but seeing friends down there would be a great time. We love visiting the area!
I’m SO proud of my very bright Grandson Issac – especially for his math abilities!
Tomorrow back to hyper production in the shop. I”m doing a run of over 100 regular size hand looms in EIGHT-DENT – the only place you can buy them is from Rebecca Mezoff – famous tapestry weaver and teacher in Fort Collins, CO. Contact Rebecca if you want 8-dent looms. Today we visited Albuquerque – I bought some exotic woods at Jake Jocobsen’s Albuquerque Exotic Woods on Menaul – a remarkably neat shop and person. Jake is a retired APD officer. I’m so proud to be associated with him. He may end up with my Powermatic 4224 wood lathe….. He’s bringing in some world class Cocobolo and Ziricote for Hokett Would Work! I buy most of my exotics from Jake.
This photo is of the right side of the Dog’s gas tank. The African Vulture image is so interesting – Cat’s idea of the flames worked so perfectly! Danny Bally of Albuquerque is an exceptional artist – air brush and paint work. I am so incredibly proud of him and the excitement with my bike that he has brought to me.
The left side of the tank is very special too. The Turkey Vulture is such an important animal to our environment. I have always recognized the necessary job they do for us. The flowing feathers are another of Cat’s ideas – I’m so thankful for this marvelous person in my life. The spiderweb goes all across the tank and is a suggestion of Danny. So bright of him! I’ll likely be having my new helmet painted similarly to the tank.
The work that Crossroads Cycles in Rio Rancho, NM did on the Dog was so fantastic and timely. Rich and Derrick are SO capable, prompt, HONEST, and kind. Doing what they promise in the time they promise without requiring payment in advance makes for faithful customers. They corrected a number of items that had kept my bike so handicapped for the whole time I’ve had it. It is now safe, more reliable, and perfect that ever. A serious safety issue with the steering was corrected, as was the front wheel hop, electrical issues – all caused by less than quality work, and the rest. Crossroads Cycles is our permanent shop. If you have a motorcycle, it should be for you too!
Here are the Fury (foreground) and Big Dog together. We picked them up Friday and everything is good! Crossroads Cycles installed the new Mustang seats on the Fury, installed larger and much more comfortable grips, and did a 5000 mile service too. We’re taking a ride this morning and I’ll ride it with the new seat! Yesterday we rode to Pie Town for pie and Datil for lunch – me on the Big Dog. My bike performed remarkably – more secure, stable, and ride quality since I’ve owned it. Even at 75 it was smooth and almost no vibration at all. Looking into the mirrors was like I was still – so clear and no vibration at al!
The building in the background on the right is where we store these two bikes. I’ve considered calling it the “Buzzard Roost” in honor of my Big Dog – “The Old Buzzard”. However, that excludes Cat’s trike. So, perhaps something like the “Hog and Dog House”. We’ll figure it out. The building with the red door is a rather large storage building filled mostly with finished product of mine. It’s a very very busy place… Tomorrow we plan on my 69th Birthday Ride – Santa Fe or Artesia. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.
Life is good! Jim