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.

Irvington 914

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.

Irvington 915

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
Irvington 926

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.

Irvington 922

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.

VID-20210126-WA0001

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)

Metalworking 29

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.

Metalworking 31

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

Desperately Seeking Springtime

Serena Says Launch 02

How are you, friends?

It’s been a minute…

So, 2021. So much has changed, but on a personal level, aside from losses of friends and acquaintances to aging and the robbery of this pandemic, change has largely been confined to the pictures on the calendar. The most surreal aspect of the last eleven months “Living La Vida Covid” has been the effect of days turning to amber, and we, like prehistoric insects, hang in suspended animation. What would we be doing, if we weren’t here? That question goes round and round. We certainly would resume plans for our trip to Europe, we’d certainly meet our friends in Victoria for that lovely Canadian getaway we were anticipating last March, we’d certainly go leaf-peeping, flower-appreciating, and to the beach, finding our way away from the crowds. As it stands, we’re really supposed to stay home, and barring that, only do “essential travel” within a hundred and twenty miles of our home address. It is been, for people who used to simply fill a picnic basket and get into the car for a good wander up the coat, a bit difficult. People talk about hitting a “Covid wall.” Yep, we’ve been close a couple of times…

T’s latest book in November was chosen to be a book club selection for Parnassus Books in Tennessee, a prominent independent bookstore which occasionally makes book presentations on Good Morning America, and PBS NewsHour. (After her book was discussed on NewsHour, T is much more fond of Tennessee now, despite never having been there.) Social distancing hasn’t stopped the juggernaut of publishing, however, so she signed a couple hundred book plates, affixed them to a couple hundred books, and turned right around to sign another contract. In December T was pleased to finally get an appointment with the ophthalmologist, and receive her contact lenses! She’d only been waiting since March…

Titanium Chimes 06

Himself has continued to work for an expanding and contracting list of clients, who do fun things like requiring separate laptops (3 so far) so he can work on an HR approved machine for each company, and putting meetings on his calendar five minutes before they start, but unlike others, he’s still working, so despite the annoyance factor, we call it another win. T&D have continued a loose relationship with our chamber group, doing a tiny concert to be released on Valentine’s Day, but have mostly shifted to other hobbies which don’t require Zoom. D has continued to do more with metal work, and has machined himself a few metal working tools to use on his small lathe. With a new drill and sander, he is turning out beautifully anodized wind chimes, just for fun, and the garage is full of sawdust as he begins experimenting with wood. T, meanwhile, is missing the feel of physical books from the public library, but is grateful for used bookstore sales, the Little Free Library down the block, and reading for yet more awards so she can share yet more books.

As usual, California has received insufficient rain, and we regret the brevity of the chilly season, even as we are astounded over the bird bath freezing and the myriad freezing mornings. Cold makes cycling and walking something of a chore, and it’s too easy to get lazy during these times and take up baking like it’s an Olympic sport. As much as we dread another year of fires and horrible heat waves, we’re more than ready to battle allergies (already there, actually), gophers and weeds to get back into the garden. T’s favorite gift of the season remains the beginning of her seed and the seed companies have very helpfully sent along the usual enticing full-color catalogs. The annual Going Over Of The Expenses occurs right around tax time, and as the day approaches, T is very reluctant to look at how much she actually spent on plants and flowers this past eleven months, especially considering how many of them the gopher outright ate… no matter if one faithfully grows one’s own carrots, greens, onions and tomatoes, gardening is never going to be one of those things which is actually cost effective, sadly, but it does make us happy, even as we are screeching at the weird beetles and things that eat the lettuce. (Also note: we found what appear to be EARTHWORMS in the fountain. Since most worms DROWN in the lawn in the rain, we’re pretty sure they’re not earthworms, but how bizarre is that!? You learn something new every season, apparently.)

Fremont 381

So, according to the Lunar Cycle, it’s the Year of the Ox… for whatever it’s worth. It’s never a bad time to celebrate stolid placidity, we suppose, especially not during a global pandemic when it takes stolid, placid stubbornness to carry on, so here’s to that – and here’s to you.

Emo Statuary

Glasgow Botanic Gardens 005 Glasgow Botanic Gardens 006
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).

Glasgow Botanic Gardens 003 Glasgow Botanic Gardens 002
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

Fiberglass Cows

Fiberglass cows. This one’s decorating the sign outside the race car track.

Sonoma County 02

They’re not as glamor-seeking as the Sonoma County, maybe. Or perhaps it’s just that this one was in Edinburgh and it tends to be a bit less cattle-friendly?

Edinburgh 160

The Netherlands, of course. There’s also a porcelain cow in the pictures of Delft, but … we’re sticking with the fiberglass ones. At least there’s some connection, with this one being in front of a cheese shop.

Netherlands 2018 41

This one … was simply in the awkward space down the central well of a building.

Netherlands 2018 9

-David

Heidelberg from the Castle

Looking through photos reminded me of what a different world we’re in, compared to just twenty years ago. In 1999 we went to the Netherlands, Germany, and France. We took a train from Amsterdam to Kaiserslautern but got turned around and missed a connection. So we found a payphone and called our friend, who was at home waiting to hear from us, and on we went. It was normal, before cell phones, to be completely at the mercy of whomever decides where payphones go and upon your friend being home, waiting.

Heidelberg

It was also normal to take maybe a hundred pictures on a week’s vacation. We may have taken perhaps 250, but would have been cautious, because every one cost money to develop. And so we have pictures like this one, where I dearly wish I had a few hundred more from which to choose. As photos go, meh. As a memory….

– D

Crannog Centre

When we returned to Scotland in 2015, we tried to return to the Crannog Centre (we first visited in 2007). It was raining horribly, the road was literally flooded out, and we gave it up. Next time, though, and we will have more than a film camera, shooting with expired film! (it was an artistic choice)

Crannog 08

I will perhaps give the pole lathe another try. I don’t remember it very well, looking back 13 years. I don’t believe I will require a new wallet next time, though.

Crannog 10

-D