The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 3 – Hexenturm

Hexenturm means “Witch tower” and according to this plaque it is the oldest building in Idstein.

Plaque Hexenturm

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The only way to approach the tower is through the gate. This is the view of the tower as one approaches it.

Hexenturm

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Hexenturm

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

And another angle, from the entrance to the castle. And the view of the pavement leading from the gate to the castle and the tower, which looked rather interesting in the evening light.

Hexenturm

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Tiles

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The name was given to the tower allegedly because there were incarcerated women accused of witchcraft, but according to German Wikipedia there is no evidence for his although the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Whatever the truth, nowadays the tower has a much better purpose – it is  a nesting site for kestrels Falco tinnunculus and jackdaws Corvus monedula. We have heard the birds but we did not see them and of course, even had we seen them I could not make pictures.

Hexenturm

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Poor Man’s Belt Grinder – Mark 2

As I was saying last time, I have given my belt grinder a complete overhaul.

Since now I knew that I can do it and it will work, I was not so stingy about spending money so I bought for about 50€ a few beech wood profiles 50×50 and 50×30 mm, some new ball bearings and a few other thing.

First thing I have done after that was to remove the belt support and compeltely dismantle the idler wheels. I have rebuild them. Instead of using threaded rods throughout I used about 100 mm length of a 10 mm rod on which I cut thread on the ends – on one side just about 1 cm each side . This has provided better fit with the inner opening of the ball bearings. I also shortened the inner spacer between the  ball bearings so that I can sink in the nuts inside so it and the rod are flush with the wheel edge.

This has allowed me to to fix the wheels on the future idler on only one side, so I fixed them perpendicular to 50×30 profile and after that I got distracted.

Latch

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The distraction was the spanning wheel, which I did not intend to rebuild. But changing belts was a bit awkward – I had to pull on the lever with left hand and change the belt with the right hand. And I got an idea on how to improve that. So I have built out of plywood a gravity latch that falls into position when the lever is pulled beyond certain point. That frees both hands to put on the belt comfortably and without hassle. When the belt is on I lift the latch, the spring spans the arm and after I let go the latch end lays on the top of the spanning arm without restraining it.

Idler

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With that done I returned to the idler. Whilst I did spend some money on good materials, I did not spend too much time with planning except in my head. So I was still working by mostly piling stuff on other stuff making it up as I go along. I did not bother with precision too much and relied heavily on epoxy to fill any gaps and I added dovels and sometimes screws for strength

The only thing that I actually have spent some time to make precise was the parallelity of the wheels.

On the idler I prepared two screws with wing nuts for fixing the platen, and on the other side are two screws for fixing the support table (not seen here, but the positions are the pale circles in the lower half).

With that done I have cut two platens out of an old U profile that was rusting in my garden for years. Here is the final setup with all threee options visible. Left is setting for 20 cm hardbelt, middle 12 cm hardbelt, 10 cm slackbelt and right is 24 cm slackbelt.

Belt support options

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After this was done and tested – which I have done by truing the platens by alternating them as support/workpiece against each other on the grinder – I gave the whole thing a new coat of paint. The machine blue and the detacheable idler arm pale grey.

Belt grinder

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Belt grinder

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

It is Amazing how a simple paint can improve the looks of things, isn’t it? I am glad to say that it all works as intended.

Next step is to make second detacheable arm with changeable wheels of different diameters, for hollow grind an fullers.

The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 2 – Rathaus

Rathaus has of course nothing to do with rats, unless you mean politicians. Which would be insulting to rats, I guess. Rathaus is from german words for a counsel (Rat) and  a house (Haus) and means town hall.

The building is nothing extraordinary in the context of the town, but to the right side of it is a beautiful gate to the castle. Unfortunately you can only imagine the gate, because it was being  repaired at the time of our visit so I could not take good pictures of it . And I did not have time to spend with the various plaques around the staircase either.

Idstein Town Hall

Idstein Town Hall

Idstein Town Hall

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Making a Rondel Dagger – Part 4 – Hardening

Today, after finishing with my bonsai trees for now, I got an hour or so to use and get a shot at hardening the blade.

I was so stressed from working almost non-stop the whole weekend and trying to manage to replant all my outdoor bonsai trees that I forgot to take pictures of the process and only could take pictures afterwards. So here is a picture of my setup. I was hardening two blades.

Blade hardening setup

Blade hardening setup.

Slight  contrast with Marcus’s fully equipped workshop I guess :-). On the right is gas mini-forge where a future kitchen knife was heated up most of the time, on the left is a charcoal fire between fireclay bricks for the dagger and in the middle is quenching oil. This is the main reason why I cannot harden blades in bad weather – I have to go outside to do it.

And here are the blades after hardening and before tempering, covered in burned oil and, in the case of the dagger, slag and scale.

Blades after quench.

Blades after quench.

I am not all together sure It was a complete success. I am sure it was a 50% success. I definitively successfully hardened the kitchen knife. Which is slightly strange, because the kitchen knife is made from N690 steel that is allegedly difficult to harden in impromptu settings, whereas the dagger is simple carbon steel that should have been easy-peasy. The kitchen knife is completely without deformation, the dagger got a very slight bend that I was able to correct after tempering the blades in kitchen oven at 150°C for an hour. In fact, it was maybe too easy to correct. File skids on the kitchen blade like on glass, but it is possible to make a shallow bite with it into the dagger.

The problem might be that I tried to coat the dagger with an experimental anti-scaling solution that unfortunately did not work as intended. Back to the drawing board there I guess. So it might be that the blade is hardened, but a few tenths of a mm on the surface have slightly lowered  carbon content due to decarburization. The N690 steel blade was not covered in the solution, but was covered with stainless steel foil that burned through towards the end.

I have no way to measure the hardness of the steel, and I am probably not going and try to re-harden the blade. I will proceed and we will see what comes out of it.

The Beautiful Town Idstein – Part 1 – Town Square.

I avoid business travel like the plague, but it is unavoidable sometimes. This week thursday I have spent in the beautiful town Idstein. Most of the day was of course spent with traveling to the location and then spending a few hours with the actual business, but we managed to finish at about 4 p.m. so we had still plenty of time to have a look around the town.

I knew I have to expect some splendid medieval architecture, but I did not take my camera with me because… reasons. So I had to do with my phone which luckily is up to the task of making passable pictures in good light. And the light was splendid. The spring did not come this year, winter morphed directly into summer. Only shadows were a little long because of the time of day, but I think you will all enjoy the architecture nevertheless.

For starters here is the town square near the hotel at which we resided.

Idstein Town Square

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Making a Rondel Dagger – Part 3

All of my garden has woken up, but none of the figs or pomegranates have shown even a budding leaf. I got so disheartened at this that I had to go and do something fun. So I went to work on the dagger to lift my spirits at least slightly.

I have decided to grind the bevel higher up to the spine, but not the same way along the whole blade – I ground less towards the tip so it remains strong. This has meant that the blade has a bit complex geometry which meant I could use hard belt most of the way, but I had to switch to slack belt for the tip. Luckily I have kept the option of half hard/half slack belt setup on my improved grinder.

I also ground the spine at approximately 45° angle to take off some weight. But again not all the way to the tip, so the tip is reinforced.

After I ground this basic shape It took me about an hour to get through four ceramics belts (60, 80, 100, 120) and the final was a zircon 120 grit where I stopped. This is actually a fairly difficult and delicate process and it is still possible (nay – easy) to mess up the lines and irreparably ruin the blade geometry, so easy does it. Because I am not too experienced with the belt grinder yet I had a few heart-stopping moments, but I managed to correct all the blunders in the end. From my previous works I know I have to be extremely careful up to approx 600 grit. After that messing up the lines in hand is not possible. But on my previous dagger I found out that on belt grinder that level moves up to 1000 grit, possibly 1200.

A lot of eyeballing was involved. After certain point I could no longer use the masking blue color and scribing tool, so to check whether my grind is symmetrical I used a folded piece of paper that I cut with shears to two aligning points. When I folded it around the blade  I could see whether the lines are in the same position by putting the point on one side of the blade  on the line and checking the point at the other side. After the final grind I scrubbed the blade lengthwise a bit with coarse abrasive pad to remove the quickly building rust and to scratch through the grind marks.

Ground blade shape.

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The future cutting edge is now approx 1 mm thick. Next step will be hardening the steel. For this I had to check whether this file was carbon steel throughout or case hardened. That I have done before polishing the whole shape by dabbing the spine and one side of the blade approx 5 cm from the tip with  ferric chloride because in this area is preserved steel that was near the surface of the original  file as well as steel that was deep inside. If the file was case hardened, the steel that was originally near surface should turn grey, while the steel that was deeper should be shinier. If the file is carbon steel throughout, it should all turn grey.

It has all turned monotone grey, so it is carbon steel throughout. That is good since it makes the hardening process easier. It is possible to make a cutting blade from case hardened file, but it requires to perform again case hardening, which takes more time and resources.

The Sleep Paralysis Of Nicolas Bruno.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

The matters of our psyche and our dreams, in particular, permeate the work of Nicolas Bruno not only as a phenomenon but moreover as the articulation of personal experience. The allusive, surreal and haunting works he creates are embodiments of the state in between waking and sleeping. They are an effect of the artist’s torment; the situation in which he is constrained to embrace the subconscious and its perils while being paralyzed in bed. Although the works of Nicolas Bruno are quite personal and might seem hush, bizarre and even violent, they are explicitly suggestive and are calling the observer to participate in the sense of enrolling their own associations or perhaps dealing with their own anxieties and fears.

 

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

Photography As Therapy.

Nicolas Bruno was born in 1993 in Northport, New York, a small harbor community located on Long Island. He studied at Purchase College and received his BFA in Photography in 2015. His studio is located in Northport, so practically all of the preparations for the shoots are taking place there, as well as postproduction. Since all of his practice is very much devoted to the symbolic of dreams, the artist keeps the dream journal and starts each new series by analyzing previous experiences. As a matter of fact, his creative process begins with in-depth planning, but the very shoot is far more spontaneous and open to experimentation.

 

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

The Sleep Paralysis of Nicolas Bruno.

The foundation of his photographic experimentation lays in Bruno’s struggle with the sleep paralysis, from which he has been suffering for almost ten years. It is a common phenomenon occurring in between wakefulness and sleep, in which the body becomes immobile and it often causes severe hallucinations. This state of inescapability forced Nicolas Bruno of finding some sort of solution and with the advice of a therapist he found it through creative expression. Therefore, he started working on surreal self-portraiture as a therapeutic translation of night tremors in order to cope with these fears and simultaneously share these familiar emotions of anxiety, suspense, uncertainty, and danger.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

© Nicolas Bruno, all rights reserved.

Nicolas Bruno’s works are haunting, evocative, and terribly poignant. They not only express the explicit fears brought to Mr. Bruno in his paralyzing sleep, they also express implicit fears and anxiety of people in general. Each photograph is a masterpiece of unspoken fear, and when viewing, you simply cannot help but to feel, in a very small way, what the night and sleep is like for Mr. Bruno. Sleep Paralysis is not common, and unfortunately, not well understood either. Many people do have an isolated incident of sleep paralysis. I had a period in my teens into my early twenties of sleep paralysis, and it’s terrifying, to say the very least. Nicolas Bruno has come up with a unique way of dealing with it, and I think he deserves a much wider audience for this amazing work.

You can read and see more of Mr. Bruno’s bio here, and his portfolio here. There’s also this all too brief video:

Indian Country Today Is Back!

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Indian Country Today is back! The NCAI has taken over, and this is grand news.

From September through February I have heard about the importance of saving Indian Country Today. So many people across Indian Country had the same idea:

What if … What if we all contribute?

What if I step up to make certain Indian Country has solid, accurate, fair reporting?

Is it worth it to save this voice? A national media platform for Indian concerns?  And how much will it take?

Yes. Yes. And the answer is a lot  — or perhaps a few tax-deductible dollars if we all contribute together.

We are building a new Indian Country Today on a public media model. We will have some advertising, but most of our resources will come from members, tribes, enterprises, and non-profits.

We need you.

We are launching a membership drive and an auction.

The membership drive will solicit help from our “members” as $100 Founding Members, $500 Sustaining Members, and $1,000 for Premier Members.

Unlike public media we don’t have nifty gifts as a thank you. No t-shirts. No coffee mugs. Just a better news report. We want to use the money to build our news operation, a multimedia reporting platform about what’s going on across Indian Country. We’ll stretch your dollars by partnering with other organizations, and amplify our reporting by letting others repurpose our editorial content.

We will serve.

This is great news, but to work, ICT needs help from people. If you can drop a few dollars into the fund, please do, and if you can’t do that, please, please, spread the word, get it out everywhere! You can read more by Mark Trahant at Indian Country today, or go straight to the membership drive. This is so very important, it’s vital for Indigenous peoples to have a voice.  Also, be sure to check out the new edition, there’s all manner of interesting reading!

ETA: I should point out that it’s possible to donate $5.00 to the membership drive, which is all I can manage right now, but I’ll be dropping more fives each week.

Making a Rondel Dagger – Part 2

Today I planted new cherry tree but there was not much that I could otherwise meaningfully do, so I have spent about 40 minutes testing my belt grinder. It has worked reasonably well, but the supporting table needs improvement.

I chose this particular file for this project because it is thick at the base – almost 6 mm – and it already had a distal taper. That means I do not need to grind of as much material, but it is actually more challenging to work with, and therefore better exercise.

Centerline for he edge.

Centerline for the edge.

First problem was scribing the center line for where the edge shall be. Due to the taper I could not use my scribing tool because it scribes line at a constant distance from an edge. Luckily the curvature is very mild, so I could do with a steel ruler for most of the way and steady(ish) hand for the rest. I am not fond of measuring, I prefer to eyball the work, but for blade symmetry is important. The more asymmetrical the roughed out blade, the more it warps in quench. Very slight warp can be ground off, but big warp not. And of course grinding off a warp on hardened blade is tougher on the abrasive belts, and those do not grow on trees.

 

 

Scribed bevel lines.

Scribed bevel lines.

After scribing the center line, I also scribed two lines for where the bevels shall go. This dagger will have only one cutting edge, and in order to make it more useful as an ordinary knife, the bevel should go almost all the way to the spine at first grind, and wander de-facto all the way to it during polishing. On the other hand shallower bevel is easier to make and makes for stiffer blade. At this point I have not decided on the way I will do it. I scribed two bevel lines and decided to grind to the first one and reconsider.

With these preparations done, which took only about five minutes, I have spanned a 60 grit belt on my grinder and started. First time I was grinding with the use of supporting table and it was a great help at first and slight hindrance later on. For me it might be good to use the table for first facing and then go back to free-hand. I am slowly finding my personal way of doing these things. After slightly over half an hour I ground both sides to the first bevel line and had to call it quits for the day. Now I am considering my next step. Grind or not to grind, that is the question.

Ground bevels

©Charly, all rights reserved.