My first Commission – Part 1 – An Offer.

I am still in a prolonged battle with my garden and my workshop, but it seems I am ever so slowly reaching a level of order that allows an actual work to be performed again. The whole workshop, the garden shed and essentially the whole garden were a huge mess whose cleaning took me the better part of my free time for, by now, a whole month. And I need to clean it up because I need to get to making knives pronto. I got my first commission.

I have sent the potential customer pictures of my past work and they chose a design, with a few requests for changes. It is, in fact, the sixth knife I have ever made and one that I am using personally until today – you can see it in the article “Knifesharpenophobia”. I think it is a good design for an all-purpose camping knife but also exactly because of that long time of me using this knife personally, I thought that the blade geometry can be improved, so I did exactly that – the blade is a tiny bit slimmer and the point is more centered and pointy than in the original.

I have drawn a sketch in photoshop, with two different wood variants. Then I made a pretty pdf and sent it to the potential customer to look at and, of course, a price list for the variants portrayed.

They chose and ordered a knife with stainless steel handguard and pommel, peened, full tang and a simple leather sheath. The grip from cherry wood, leather colored accordingly.

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

I hope to do it justice. This blade has somewhat complex geometry and it was not exactly easy to make it back when hand tools were all I had. Making it on a belt-grinder should be faster, but it also allows for easy mess-up. So I will probably start making two blades and if two knives come out of it, good. I need at least one top-notch blade. And if I get two blades out of it, the second one will be fitted differently and sold in an auction for the Richard Carrier defense fund.

As a result, of course, I do not expect to meet the manufacturing time that I used for price calculation – I have used the expected time after I get some more experience under my belt, and the offer alone took several hours to draft because I had no templates for calculating the prices or drawing the designs. But right now it is not about making enough money to live by, right now it is about getting more experience, getting better acquainted with my tools, optimizing my manufacturing processes and getting some satisfied customers. We’ll see what comes out of it.

Full Fish Ahead: Part 5

Spring is the season for babies and Avalus has lots of new little cuties in his tank. Let’s go see.

Part 5 – Babies


Hey There! ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Not much going on in the new tank. I cut some of the faster growing plants, next week the platies will go back to the main tank and there will come new fishes (neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) and mosquito rasboras (Boraras brigittae)). Both are tiny colourful fishes, the neons are blue with a bit of red and the rasboras purple with a copper or golden tint.

But on to the titular babies. [Read more…]

YouTube Video: Did people have bad teeth in medieval times?

Through the magic of recommendations, I have discovered another interesting youtube channel about medievalism. I have watched this one video so far though, because reasons. But I intend to watch more when the opportunity arises.

I have often wondered how dental hygiene was done in medieval times. It is not a topic that is routinely taught at schools, not even good ones.

Full Fish Ahead: Part 4

It’s time to check in with Avalus to see what’s up in the new aquarium.

Part 4 – Technically Challenged

You could see it in the last part of Full Fish ahead: I modified the filter inlet tubing. Today I want to talk about what I did and why.

A word of warning: When playing around with water, make sure you have no non-water safe electrical McGuffins running in the splash zone and test, extensively, if your seals are really waterproof (for example overnight in a box).

As you can see, I have a darker background. It is an old towel and will be replaced later on by paper. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

A darker background helps to calm shyer fish and lets their colours stand out. I also cut some of the plants in the middle (Didiplis diandra) to give the other plants between space and light (Hygrophilia Araguaia and cryptocoryne wenditii).

The filter comes with 16 mm hose and an inlet piece that fits the hose. The Problem with this is threefold. One, the Inlet has few large openings, small fish and especially shrimp will get sucked in the filter. It also congests really quickly. Then, just behind the inlet, the water flow is choked and because of the small diameter there is much resistance from the walls, resulting in higher strain in the pump. Also the hose really quickly plugs up from particles sticking to the walls and bacterial mats that will grow. [Read more…]

Full Fish Ahead: Part 3

The new aquarium is full of life and it’s all adorable. Let’s check in with Avalus.

Part 3 – Cuties and Questions

The tank on Tuesday 28th of March. Bought a filter, forgot blue paper. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

The new filter arrived and now the Daphnia’s reign over the tank is due. They can swim but they cannot fight any stronger currents. So I fished as many as I could out, thanked them for their service … and fed them to the inhabitants of my main tank. Ah, the circle of life. I will try to get access to a microscope and try my hand at video editing and then do a post about them. You need to see them move and you need to see them up closer than I can do with my Magnificator (notr). So today there will be some random photos with blurbs. [Read more…]

Full Fish Ahead: Part 2

Things are happening in Avalus’ new aquarium. Let’s join him to see what’s up today.  (Note: The last photo in this post was omitted in error when first published. It has now been reinserted with my apologies to Avalus.)

Part 2 – Life in the Shell

The water in the new tank slowly clears up, the next plants and the filter are underway to my vendor and so it’s time to find a nice leaf lay down and relax.

Corydoras Panda enjoying the safety of a walnut leaf in my other tank. Yes, I have quite some green filament algae. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

In the new tank, we can see algae growing on the wood and producing oxygen. But their reign is short, they will soon be overgrown by sessile filament algae.

[Read more…]

Full Fish Ahead: Part 1

Welcome to a brand new series here at Affinity penned by Avalus who’s going to take us through the process of setting up a new aquarium and talk fishkeeping in general.

Let’s begin with the start. I found this big piece of gnarly wood in a shop in early December 2018 when I helped a friend shopping for (and carry) cat-equipment. It just had beautiful depth to it so I just bought it, as I had an idea for a new fishtank and remembered having an old tank in my parents’ attic. In January I picked up the tank from my parents, where it sat for 3 years or so. [Read more…]