Making Kitchen Knives – Part 17 – Watching the Paint dry

This step was a real bugger this time. Forming the handle before it is assembled onto the tang has its downsides, but it also has its upsides. And they seem to prevail, in comparison to the approach I took this time. It took me a lot of time to get all the handles into shape. Part of the problem was also that I have used woods of different properties and thus I had to adjust my approach several times – something that entirely defeated the purpose of saving time by working in bulk. But I got eventually to the stage when I could impregnate the handles with boat lacquer.

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

For some of the woods on display here infusing them with drying oil or buffing with beeswax would be entirely sufficient. For some, it would be much, much better to stabilize them with resin beforehand. But the boat lacquer is the most durable and universally applicable finish I have right now, so I have used that. And to make the work more convenient, I have built myself a little stand to put the blades in to dry.

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

Unfortunately, I am not done yet so I do not know how much time I have lost in this step. I only have enough data right now to know for sure that I have lost a lot, maybe even an hour per blade. The reasons for this are several.

First, this step was evaluated as “high hanging fruit” because I knew upfront that saving time here will be difficult. Lacquering is the most labor-intensive wood finish imaginable in this context.

Second, some of the savings in my previous step were not really time savings, it was merely that I have changed the order of operations this time and that moved some of the work time from that step into this one.

Third, I messed up, bigly, several times. I repeated steps tat needed not repeating and in the end, I had to redo the coating for four blades. This is why I do not have full data yet – right now, only 8 knives out of 12 are truly finished. But the purpose of learning was achieved, and I have definitively saved some overall time.


TNET 39: Jelle’s Marble Runs

Previous thread.

I never was into sports of any kind, neither watching nor doing. But about two months ago I stumbled across this YouTube channel and I did watch quite a few videos of theirs. They are strangely captivating in their resemblance to real sports events, despite being decided solely by chance.

And yesterday I was reminded about its existence when watching John Oliver. He mentioned that if you are starved for sports events right now, then this might be something to satiate that hankering somewhat.

Open thread, talk whatever you want, just don’t be an asshole.

Tree Tuesday

We all know that trees dance, but have you ever thought about dancing with a tree? A ballerina from Vancouver thought about it, and went on to create Aeriosa, a vertical dance troupe that performs with trees.

Aeriosa is the only company in Canada specializing in vertical dance, in which performers spin and dance on cables from trees, buildings and mountains.

Julia Taffe is Aeriosa’s founder, artistic director and choreographer. Since 1998, she has choreographed more than 25 works for her company. She says dancing among the clouds is no big deal, adding that “fear is healthy.”

The key, Taffe adds, is to put safety first. Aeriosa works with a team of professional riggers. Before the Saxe Point show, the site will also be inspected by a “mountain safety specialist,” who will closely monitor the weather, rain or shine.

Taff has an interesting perspective and regards the trees as active partners whose needs must also be considered.

… she refers to it as an “interspecies” collaboration. Because trees are a living thing, Aeriosa takes care not to damage them — making sure not to snap branches or leave metal spikes.

“If we can’t do our work without damaging the environment, then we shouldn’t do it,” Taffe said. “Each tree is unique and you have to be able to respond to that with your choreography and your artistic vision.

I’ll pass on dangling from the top of a tree, but next time I’m in the forest I just might ask an appropriately sized tree for a waltz.

Story from The Times Colonist

I really wanted to see this performed, so I asked the YouTube and found this. It’s a beautiful form of dance.

Corona Crisis Crafting XII: Revenge of the Sewing Machine

Making all those masks required that I somewhat clean up my sewing area and it reminded me of how much I love sewing and embroidery,and also Lidl had plain clothing on sale. So here’s a few nice things that I now own.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

More masks. I wanted some that match my clothing. I also changes the pattern a bit. The original pattern was made by an Asian woman and while differences on average are small, nobody ever accused my nose of being average. It’s more like something you’d find on a Greek statue if such prominent features didn’t have the tendency to break off. It’s also bigger, which makes it a lot more comfortable to wear, as there’s more room in front of nose and mouth.

Cute T-shirts:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As you can see, my dear Marie Antoinette goes back to a time when there was a lot less fabric needed to cover my ass. Bright flowers on dark fabrics are just my thing.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As are unicorns. The pattern sits a bit low, but not quite as low as on Marie Antoinette, as my tits fill up some space.

And a dress. With pockets!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Please excuse the chaos in the background. I did not clean all of it… The next pic will show the difference between a dress sitting on a mannequin and a dress sitting on a fat lady. I tried to take a selfie, which is not that easy if you want to show your dress. You can also see one of my masks. It says “Wash your hands, no seriously”.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Oh, and I made another pest doctor mask:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This time a bit more sinister. I think it’s something I could wear to a ren fair, should we ever get one again.

And just for the fun of it: TARDIS keyrings

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The Art of Book Design: The Brown Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Brown Fairy Book, Illustrations by H.J. Ford. New York (etc.), Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910.

This week’s fairy book is brown and it’s filled with the wonderful illustrations of H. J. Ford. This book, along with the remainder of the series (which I’ll be posting), all have a few coloured full-page illustrations. There are a few things I’d like to note. One is the presence of nipples on a bare-chested woman in the drawing on page 111. In fact, I find most of the drawings more suggestive. The princess’s dresses are sheerer and nipples can be seen through them. These drawings are reflective of the societal changes that happened during the Edwardian Period. The drawings also include the usual lions, bears, mermaids and ogres, along with a wonderful cock.

I’d also like to note that thanks to a comment by Crip Dyke, I’ve linked the Andrew Lang Fairy Books. The links are at the bottom of the page near the links to the books online source.

[Read more…]

A Simple Knife Stand

The Covid-19 pandemic has prevented me from giving my brother the knife I made for his birthday, so I have used the time and I also made a simple stand for it. I have used black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) wood from my firewood treasure trove. The wood is poisonous to ingest, but it won’t rub off on the stainless blade enough to be a problem.

It took me a bit longer time than it would had I been working with good planks because the cuttings were not perfectly square or flat and I had to do some fitting and gluing up in order to get big enough chunk for the base.

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

After the glue-up when I started to square and polish the base I have realized that, quite coincidentally, I have glued it from two pieces that came from the same original plank, and that I have aligned the grain so that it makes a nice V-shape at the face.

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

I have also found out that I will have to use another glue next time, since the one I am currently using turns black when gluing woods with high tannin-content, a problem that I noticed also when gluing leather with it. Which is a bummer, because it is very good, strong, and water-resistant glue that is really easy to work with. But the thin black line looks much worse on the picture than in reality.

The stand is covered with the same boat lacquer as the knife handle, but it is deliberately not polished and it has fewer layers since it should not get exposed to nearly as much water as the handle.

I will probably make some more knife stands/racks in the future

Women Artisans on Youtube – Carpenter

3x3Custom – Tamar is a Youtube channel that I have found interesting enough to actually subscribe to. She is one of those people who likes to experiment and invent things, which is exactly what I like too. I have learned a lot from her and I cannot wait to put some of those things to use, even though my equipment is not as fancy and I will inevitably be forced to improvise a lot.

The video for today is one where she makes very cool patterned boxes for sick kids – out of scrap wood.


Jack’s Walk

Artwork by rq.

Oma was still laughing as we made our way slowly back to the car. She seemed content to ride on top of Jack and had no difficulty keeping her balance. She pointed out the dandelions and told us how her grandmother taught her to make a tonic from them.
“It’s good for all sorts of ailments. It helps with bloat and the tummy flutter. You can make a salve of it for nettle stings and pebble joints. My Gran is a Wise Fairy. She knows all sorts of remedies and potions. You can meet her when we get home.”
“That would be nice,” said Jack. ‘Here’s the car, Oma. Now Mummy is going to help us get inside. Have you ever been in a car before?” He asked.
I reached down and put one hand under Jack’s belly and the other in a hug around his bum and counted to three, and then together, we hopped him into the car, with Oma still holding tightly to Jack’s collar.
“Goodness, no,” she cried. Her laughter stopped, and I could see that she was frightened. Jack stepped into the back and lay down on his bed.
“It’s very safe, Oma,” I said. “I’m a careful driver, and we can get you home quickly. It’s not nearly as dangerous as surfing with a seal.”
“That’s right,” said Jack. “You can sit here with me and watch out the window. Maybe, you could tell me again about your home by the sea.”
That brought a smile back to her face, and Oma relaxed a bit.

“Why, it’s the prettiest place you’ll ever see. The beaches are surrounded by tall red cliffs covered with fields of green, and beyond them are the mountains. Some say they’re the oldest mountains in the world. They go on forever, one round bump rolling into another all covered with trees. That’s where we live, by a stream in the mountains. It’s easy to get lost because there are lots of streams, but our place overlooks a gigantic rock with a hole in it that sits in the ocean all by itself. My favourite human friend, Muriel, calls it the Perce Rock but my family calls it The Big Wink. It’s something to see. If it’s a beautiful day and we’re not too busy, Dad will take us down to the beach. I love it there. You can find all sorts of pebbles and stones and sometimes even polished coloured gems that make beautiful decorations. Some of our craftspeople make them into jewellery or suncatchers. I like to collect them to put in the garden among the flowers.” Oma had settled down into Jack’s neck ruff and was watching out the window when she suddenly started to laugh again and said,
“Wow, this is better than flying. What do you call this thing again.”
“It’s a car, Oma. Most humans use them to get around,” said Jack.
“Well, it’s a lot of fun. You look down on things as you pass by them, and it moves so fast! I like to go fast. Sheesh! What a day I’m having. I am on a grand adventure,” she giggled. “I hope Mum won’t be too mad at me. I got my stockings dirty, and I’ve lost my books.”                            I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that Oma’s eyes had misted up again, so I said to her, ” I know the Perce Rock, or as you call it ‘The Big Wink.’  My husband’s family lives in Perce. I love it there, too. It’s one of my favourite places. I didn’t know that fairies live there, though.”
“Fairies live almost everywhere, and our mountain by The Big Wink is full of little folk of every kind,” she said. “In my neighbourhood, we have Gnomes, Imps, Elves and Fairies. It’s great. Everyone works together, and we share lots of things, but mostly food and stories. I like talking to people over food, especially if there are stories. Mama likes the love stories best, and my sister Edna likes to gossip, but I like tall tales of adventure. The Imps tell great adventure stories that make you silly laugh. ‘Course, the mushrooms they serve can make you silly laugh before the stories even start. Mama says that Edna and I can only eat one or two, and only if she or Papa is with us. Mama makes a lot of rules, but she says it’s because she wants us to grow up to be good fairies.” Oma paused for a moment to scratch her back and said, “Gosh, my wings get itchy when they’re growing in.” She paused for a moment, staring out the window when suddenly a smile lit up her face.
“Hey! Big Brown Dog! Stop! This place looks familiar. We must be getting close to home. Stop, Human, stop!” Oma’s arms were flailing about as she tried to stand up, but couldn’t find her balance. I turned into the parking lot for the Trillium Trail and stopped the car. I turned in my seat and looked into the back of the car and said, “Alright, Oma. We’re here. This is the forest where you live. I want you to hold on tightly to Jack’s collar as he gets up. OK, Jack, let’s go.”

Jack stood up slowly, and he carefully made his way out through the back door. Once on the ground, he softly made his way onto the trail as I closed up the car and locked it. Jack had only taken a few steps when he was set upon by a large mixed group of faires, Gnomes and Imps, each of them calling Oma’s name and reaching out to her. Jack slowly laid down near a patch of trout lilies, and Oma slid off of him with her arms held out wide, calling out loudly ‘Wheeee!’ A blue fairy fluttered toward Jack and caught Oma as she hit the ground. She pulled Oma close and hugged her tightly, and Oma started to cry. Still holding on to each other, Oma said, “I forget your name, but I remember your smell. Do you know where my Mama is?” Oma pulled back with tears in her eyes and continued, ” She’s going to be upset with me. I’ve lost my books, and I’ve gotten dirty, and I’m really late. Oh, Dear. I don’t know what to do.” She began to cry.

I watched as a pale green fairy wended her way through the crowd. She was older, with dull grey hair and heavy lines around her face. As she got nearer to Jack, Oma saw her and cried out with a laugh, “Edna! I am so glad to see you. I was afraid I’d never get home.”
Edna took Oma’s hands and said, “I’m glad to see you, too. You must be hungry and tired. Let’s get you home.” She looked into Jack’s eyes and said, “Thank you,” then led Oma away by the hand into the forest. There was an outburst of ‘Thank yous’ from the rest of the crowd as they slowly followed behind the two older fairies, waving goodbye one moment and then slowly vanishing into the forest. As we watched them go, I saw Gnorman turn around and come toward Jack and me, so I knelt down on one knee and smiled at him as he approached. Without hesitation, he hopped onto my lap and took my hand in his and bestowed a kiss upon it.  Then looked up at me and said,
“Thank you, Lassie. And you, Sir Jack. I see that you have injuries to your nose and your toes. I wish you speedy healing. We will never forget what you have done today. You will always be welcome among all the little folk, and we will write tales and songs about your bravery. Same for you, Voyager,” he said as he hopped off my knee.
“Thank you, Gnorman. It is my pleasure to have been of service. One question, though. How did you know so quickly that we were here with Oma?”
“Hera Hawk followed you and flew back to let us know you’d found her and were on your way home,” Gnorman said, smiling. He turned toward the forest, and said over his shoulder, “When next we meet, I’ll be wanting to hear the story from you. Right now, I have a party to get to.” He brought up his hand to blow me a kiss, calling out ‘Thanks, again, to the two of you,” before disappearing into the trees. I put my hand on Jack’s back and told him, “You are very brave, Jack. And kind. I am the luckiest Mummy in the world because I get to be your Mummy.”
Jack smiled as he stood up and said, “Thanks, Mummy. Could we get ice cream on the way home?”
“You bet, Bubba. Today you’re the king of the forest. I think you’ll need a queen. Let’s make it a Dairy Queen.”

“Yay,” he said, happily wagging his tail as he trotted ahead of me.


I’d like to thank rq for the beautiful artwork. It’s a lovely piece, and it means a great deal to me.

My thanks also to all of you for allowing me to try my hand at story writing. It was a bit of fun.