Hello, glad you’re still here, have some pictures

We looked up and realized that the world here is the same, while the world internationally (Russia, Ukraine) has gone insane. We’ve not pulled pictures from the phones for … months. And we’ve generally stopped blogging here.

In the spirit of at least saying “hello,” here are a handful of photos of a chime set going through the process. The final row is the finished chimes, held in different light.

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We hope you’re well. I hope to write more frequently, but … well, we’ll see.

-D

The World Has Stalled

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Life has been basically the same for several years now. Yesterday I pulled pictures off of the phones & had to decide if I wanted those year-old pictures of flowers, etc.

And then this holiday, where I basically stopped work at Thanksgiving & haven’t really resumed yet: before the year-end, corporate budgets either run out or don’t have time for services; beginning of the year, they may not have finalized budgets for the new year. So, I did a bunch of singing, some working on chimes, and that’s about it, really. Ordinary things: walks, going to eyeglasses appointments. Oh – and learning how to program in Unity, which doesn’t really feel like programming.

We keep saying we’re going to take off for Scotland & The Netherlands, or maybe Spain. We keep saying that, but then I guess it’s about risk & Covid & planes. It’s not about cost, really. I mean, if we go for a month, this is at most what we’re looking at:

Flights: $1,500
Max Accommodation: $4,000
Food: (cheaper than in the US)
Entertainment: $1,000
Total $6,500

It’s not a huge expense (and is inflated), but … I think that we just don’t feel safe, and are unwilling to risk. I think we need to get over that, though, because this is the new normal: hide, mask, test.

May you all find a way to add some passing of time to your lives. Some awareness that the world outside is indeed moving, that you’re part of that movement.

-D

More Chimes

So, back at you with more windchime things. These ones are about figuring out what to do with the anodizer vs with torch. It’s about figuring out when to use Rubylith vs polishing the oxide layer away vs grinding it away with a heavier grit.

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The image above has some pretty bare chimes. I got the gradient by running from about 85V up to 125V, spinning the dial as fast as I could & simultaneously withdrawing the chimes from the bath. I figure that gives me a gradient of probably 90V through 120V. It’s kind of … well, hit or miss.

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After I’ve played with them for a bit, they’re quite a bit different. I think this is maybe 6 different voltages added after the higher voltage dip, each one progressively lower voltage. Basically, the recipe for these was to give them a good, high-voltage dip, and then to come back and polish away rings & repeatedly put the chimes into a lower and lower voltage bath. So, a sequence would look like this:

  1. Degrease with acetone
  2. Wash in deionized water
  3. Etch using Multi-Etch (doesn’t contain hydrofluoric acid, yay!)
  4. Wash in deionized water
  5. Connect everything up
  6. Place in electrolytic solution (soapy water)
  7. Power up
  8. Dial in your voltage until you’re happy
  9. Power down
  10. Wash
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Another example above. I’m trying to figure out a more reliable method of polishing away the oxide, to make the rings. Not sure, but am trying out rotary tool sanding disks at the moment.

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One here, playing with a diagonal with the lithography masking tape. I think I like this, but the tape tends to drift – you end up with a progressively tighter spiral, or a looser, etc. Also, burnishing the edges of the tape is a lot harder, as when it’s in a circle you can easily run your fingernail over the edge of the tape.

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And above is a wee video, including some slow motion. I like it anyway.

I’d love to say I’ll post more … but it’s a bit of a hard thing. Once the engagement stops, there it went.

-D

Singing and Playing With Metal

I’ve been working on titanium, mostly in windchimes. Here’s a video of me talking (slowly, for some reason) about an experimental piece where I’m playing with flame anodization, electric anodization, sanding belt textures, etc.https://youtu.be/qdLQZWlx5tg

https://vimeo.com/628398537 has me doing a couple solos, a few weeks back. 5:20 and 27:00 are my pieces (the rest is a church service).

I just uploaded a recital from this past weekend https://youtu.be/VAiQViaru-k . I’m the first 3 pieces and the last piece (25:38). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAiQViaru-k&t=25m38s is a link to that last piece.

-D

Entertainment During Corona

It has been a very long time since I’ve written here. Some of that’s getting out of the habit. A larger part of that is that … well, there’s just nothing happening. I’ve been singing and working on windchimes, pretty much. But I realize that I’m not even sharing about the windchimes. So, here’s a story about windchimes and how I make them.

I’ve had a windchime calculator for quite some time, but just never really got to it. I found impetus to move to titanium from brass because of this video. His chopsticks look beautiful, and onlinemetals.com would ship me some titanium… and so we began. General process:

  1. Find yourself a decent chord at https://www.onemotion.com/chord-player/
  2. Look up the lengths (chime length & length of the hang point)
  3. Cut chimes to lengths
  4. Drill them
  5. Polish the bejeezus out of them
  6. Spin them up on a high-speed drill, while heating them with a torch
  7. Use a polishing belt to strategically remove stripes (yes, while everything’s still running)
  8. Hang them up (after they’ve cooled)

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Above is what one looks like while in progress. That silver titanium will quickly oxidize to a “gold straw” color, because the metal’s already hot.

The least fun in this hobby is the sheer number of drill bits I’ve broken. I bought a drill press, which should help a little bit at least, just by keeping the drill bit straight. We’ll see. It’s definitely the bottleneck in the process.

Next up as not fun is that I really ought to get a band saw. I’ve got a jigsaw (pro tip: a “fine metal” blade on the end-grain wood setting is what you want, for titanium – just chomps the metal out beautifully). It works well enough, actually. The band saw would be a luxury upgrade, when I still haven’t solved the drill issue.

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It’s the blowtorch stuff that’s the most fun, of course. Developing new techniques, seeing what works and doesn’t. Using a large torch to get a base color = a consistent heat platform to build on, whereas just hitting it with the small torch will give much more variation in color.

Making little decorations to go along with the chimes (I’ll work with brass when I’m frustrated with titanium – brass is like butter, in comparison) is also quite peaceful.

At some point I’m going to buy an SMT Micro Anodizer (have a look at some of the examples there), so I can lay down straight-lined patterns, one-color patterns, or can hook it to a paintbrush and paint with electrolyte.

That’s kinda what things have been like around here. Finish work, sing a while if it’s hot, make some chimes if it’s cool. Rinse and repeat.

-D

Is this thing on?

It has been an eternity since I’ve blogged anything. Life just seems to roll on, no real change, and here we are with me not having even bothered to pull any pictures from the phones. And did I use a real camera during this time? Nope. Life is kind of narrow right now.

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Here’s what work looks like for me these days. Every client wants me to use their laptop, rather than giving me access through my own system. So, I’ve got a stack of laptops sitting here, which I shuffle around as needed. I’ve just purchased a keyboard/video/monitor switch, so once I go through the setup, I’ll at least have laptops with decent keyboard and monitor!

Do have a look at the latest batch of photos, on www.flickr.com/photos/wishiwerebaking . I’ve taken up a bit of metalworking, primarily making windchimes out of titanium, and there are a few chime photos up there. If you’re interested in something other than the most recent photos, www.flickr.com/photos/wishiwerebaking/collections organizes all of the albums into collections, so it’s possible to navigate. For example:

  • Europe
    • Netherlands (10 albums)
    • Castles (16 albums)
    • England (2 albums)
    • Italy (7 albums)
    • Scotland (2 collections)
      • Around and About (48 albums)
      • Glasgow (47 albums)
    • Traveling About

And on it goes from there, fairly organized. 39,153 photos.

I can’t tell you that I’ll be blogging more, especially now that email subscriptions are being disabled by FeedBurner. We’ll see how it goes.

-D

Calendula Gone Mad

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Well, friends. The calendula never died & we’ve had a huge culling of the most intrusive ones. The silver bushes are taking off, as are a few other things which languished all last year. Lack of gophers is surprisingly good for gardening. T has planted tomatoes and a wee herb garden. Spring has sprung?

-D

Hybrid Calendula

We bought a couple of different varieties of calendula, which apparently decided they were a great match, and have self-sown. The hybrids are just wild, with a range of colors, shapes, and sizes. We shared a bunch with some friends & transplanted as many as we could to other parts of the yard. There are still dozens to dig out and encourage, and it’s worth the effort!

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Nothing much to share. We’ve been isolating, of course, and even stopped visiting the farmer’s market about a month ago. Grocery delivery means we’re only leaving the house to walk through the neighborhood. I’m considering getting a trickle charger for the car, simply because the only time it goes anywhere is if we need to visit a doctor; we’re being very good about brushing our teeth, as that’s on hold for a while as well.

I hope you have some flowers in your life. If not, they’re cheap, and a real joy – just don’t get sidetracked by the gophers (new plants are cheaper than traps, in more ways than one).

-D

Emo Statuary

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Dramatic Man Is Dramatic No, really – Dra-Ma-Tique.

I continue to go through our photos, weeding out the cruft. There are now only 101 photos in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens set, having removed 59 which were … well, crummy, or redundant, or blurry, etc. I’m finding about 1/4 to 1/3 of them are simply not all that great. I have a period I call my Orange Period, as I didn’t know about white balance & every bloody thing in Scotland is lit by mercury vapor lamps. I have a period where I really must have had my monitor set to insane brightness, as those photos are pretty uniformly dark (and not awesome, so no point in reviving them from raw).

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And then there’s the man and his monkey. Monkey

I’ve just bought a gimbal for the camera, as I’m tasked with taking some video of the choir, outside. Hopefully this will mean some improvement in still pictures, as well. I’m not sure it’s going to be better than the optical stabilization in the lenses, but I’m pretty sure they’ll complement each other nicely.

Enjoy the weekend!

-D