Baby Ravens are Adorable

We’ve gotten some wonderful pictures of baby ravens from Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. Her daughter Emily Davis took the photos and Anne has been kind enough to share them with us.

…they run from the first time she spotted the nest through their fledging.  They were still being fed by the parents at that point, even though they were almost adult-sized.

These are your basic Common Raven (Corvus corax), also known as the Northern Raven.  The nest was in La Jolla, on the UC San Diego campus in Southern California

May 16/19, ©Emily Davis, all rights reserved

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The Art of Book Design: The Miroir

This week I’ll be featuring books with art that Caine would enjoy. This first book is in homage to Caine’s mastery and love of needlework.

The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul, copied in her own hand by Princess Elizabeth when just 11 years old (1544) and Presented to her stepmother Katherine Parr. Featured in English Embroidered Book-bindings (1899) – source

 

via:The Public Domain Review

My first Commission – Part 5 – Hell is Forever

Shiny already, but still not even remotely enough. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Wheef. Making a commission when I still have to spend forty hours a week at my daily job is not something I would recommend. I could find this weekend seven more hours for grinding and polishing, and I am currently at Trizact A65 (the equivalent of grit P320), but not finished.

The right blade in the picture is finished on this side with this grit, on the left blade the false edge and the flat are finished, but the bevel is still only at P240. And to make my life easier when picking up the blades next weekend (or perhaps some evening during the week, but most probably not – it is not a good idea to try polishing when tired and sleepy), I have marked each surface that is not finished yet.

Chasing scratches is a nightmare. Partly it is my (lack of) skill. Partly it is the tool – I had to repair and improve some parts of my belt-grinder because the belts were not tracking properly and wobbled from side-to-side. That means I have welded on a threaded nut for the screw that adjusts the tracking wheel and I have given a little twist to the spring that provides tension to the belt. The twist helps to keep the arm with the tracking wheel steady, it tended to bend and thus was not stable.

Also, the whole machine vibrated too much – I had to remove the clamps that were holding it to the table, because they got in the way, but now it has wandered around. I put a few bricks in it for weight and that seems to have helped a bit, but possibly not enough. I suspect I will have to bolt it down, something that I do not like to do in case I will make changes to the workshop.

But as they say, it is not about the tools, it is about the hands.

And regarding my hands, things do not look so good in the long term. For the last eight weeks, I had persistent pain in the first joint of my both index fingers, so I finally went to an orthopedist. On an X-ray he found nothing, which is good – I probably just strained the ligaments in the spring and those take a long time to heal. I do not have arthritis. Yet. But he also has told me that because my mother was heavily hit by arthritis in her fifties, to the point that she had to get two artificial joints in her thumbs, the odds are that I will get the same. And there is nothing I can do about it, except making it worse. Works he particularly discouraged me from doing were works including hammering and working in a wet environment with vibrating machinery. Hand-forging is probably out of the question for me completely and for grinding I will have to develop and put to use quite a few helping jigs to reduce the strain put on my fingers.

The Art of Book Design: Korean Fairy Tales

William Elliot Griffis. Korean Fairy Tales. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York, 1922.

It’s Fairy Tale Saturday and this week our book tells tales from the country of Korea. The author, William Griffis, lived and taught in Japan for many years and wrote many serious books on Japan and Japanese Culture. Mr. Griffis was brought to Japan in 1870 to assist in the modernization of Japanese Schools. He became a respected educator and author within Japan and was twice honored with the Order of the Rising Sun – in 1907 with the Gold Rays with Rosette and in 1926 with the higher honor of Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

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The Art of Book Design: Bound by a Spell

Hon. Mrs. Greene (Louisa Lelias Plunket). Bound by a Spell; or, The Hunted Witch of the Forest. London, Paris, New York & Melbourne: Cassell & Company, Limited, 1885. Illustrations by Gordon Browne. First edition.

I chose today’s book cover mostly because of the snow. I thought it would be nice on a hot day. Brrr…

 

Photo via: L.W. Currey, Inc.

The book is available to read at The Internet Archive

YouTube Video: If Jewelry Commercials Were Honest

It says it all, really. Why use diamond if glass can be made such that an amateur canot distinguish it at all and a professional needs a microscope? Why pay exorbitant prices for rocks laboriously extracted from ground when they can be synthesised at a fracture of those costs?

It also sums up my feelings about using rare and exotic tropical hardwoods for woodwork.

Bricks and Mortar and Water – Part 1

It’s been a while since I put up some pictures of Macedonia – I did promise the aqueduct, and I’d hoped to pull myself together before my final trip to Skopje in June, but alas! It is July and here is the aqueduct.

First, a short background:

The Aqueduct is located in the village of Vizbegovo in the northwestern part of Skopje, about 2.5 km to the right of the Skopje-Kachanik road. It is a part of a water-supply system with a length of about 10.0-10.5km from the piping at the Lavovac spring, between the villages Gluovo and Brazda, all the way to the Upper Town of Skopje Fortress-Kale.The Skopje Aqueduct is the only aqueduct in Macedonia, and one of three largest and well preserved in the former Yugoslavia along with Diocletianus Aqueduct near Split, Croatia and Bar Aqueduct in Montenegro.

What’s interesting is that nobody seems entirely sure on when it was constructed:

Considering the period of its construction there are several hypotheses:

-during the reign of Rome (1st century), according to this theory Aqueduct has led the water to Legionary settlement Scupi

-during the reign of Byzantine Empire (reign of Emperor Justinian I), according to this theory, Aqueduct shipping water to new settlement Justiniana Prima.

-during the reign of Ottoman Empire, according to this theory Aqueduct is built in 16th century for a large number of Turkish public hamams.

Wikipedia concurs (for what it’s worth), while other sites push the Roman angle.

In numbers, we get:

The Aqueduct has 2 access ramparts, 53 pillars, 54 base vaults and 42 smaller vaults on the closed and open discharging openings above the pillars. The overall length of the Aqueduct is 387.98m, at an elevation of 279.46m of the southern rampart and 280.48m of the northern rampart, or a delevelling of 1,025m.

… which all sounds impressive enough, and the minimum of info was enough to get me interested (also considering it is reasonably close to Skopje itself, and my Lithuanian colleague and I were up for the walk – 5km in early March is quite nice).

Well, it was an interesting walk, as the straightest route goes through a military facility and thus was closed to members of the interested public, and the circuitous route has… no sidewalks along heavily trafficked roads.

This is actually on the way back, we took a slightly different route, but looking across the river Vardar, you can see the road along which we walked – up top is the militarized territory, and yeah, that road has no sidewalks. It looks quite a bit more daunting from here.
© rq, all rights reserved.

Towards the end of the walk, we got some traffic relief, as there was an older parallel road for a few hundred metres.
© rq, all rights reserved.

The aqueduct curves to the left, the gated road is the exit we would have taken had we walked straight through the militarized territory. At this point of the walk, I was quite angry with Google Maps, though I can only blame myself for searching “shortest route”.
© rq, all rights reserved.

The final piece of our route took us through one of the poorer areas in or near Skopje. Afterwards the locals told us this is not an area foreigners should walk through, but besides some rather suspicious stares and wondering faces, I didn’t feel too bothered.
© rq, all rights reserved.

And there it is in the distance, the first real glimpse of the aqueduct!
© rq, all rights reserved.

I’m going to stop there for now, because the rest is the actual bricks and mortar (very little water) and I still have to decide if the number of photos I took counts as over-abundant or not. The risk of going somewhere interesting, I suppose. :)