Sunday, December 25, 2016

Joyeux Noel Merry Christmas

Around the world and peace on earth.... wouldn't that be nice for a change...

It started like promising to have a white Christmas, but then we got out of the Polar Vortex, temperature raised and melted all our snow...

I used that break in the temperature to set up more Christmas lights outside.

First I put on my strings of Bluetooth icicles, then added rotating spots over the garage and a bigger one for the other side of the house.


Then, I thought, hummm missing something so I added two more spots, a red and a green


Which left the midle looking a bit bare, So I replaced the front porch lite by a rotating blue spot bulb,


then added a laser projector. There that's more like it and  I did not had to drag the ladder out again, bonus :-)


Being close to an airport thee are of course limitations to the uses of such a laser projector, it is after all a Class 3R device, it cannot be aimed up say under a tree for example, must ensure that the beams are not shooting up toward the sky. Would be distracting and potentially dangerous for pilots on final approach.
Yes, such usage is falling under Transport Canada rules for aviation, similarly the use of small drones is verboten in a 10 Kms radius of the airport.

I also put up my Christmas village this year, it did not made an appearance last year. This time I split it up in two parts since it is getting a tad too big to fit all in one space :-)











The other part of the village has the Santa train and the skating rink.
I put in some Sponge Bob characters in there mostly for the young kids :-)
It is always fun to watch them discover all the little hidden touches in it ..











My youngest son is home for the holidays and brought his two cats with him. Somehow Catzilla can walk in the villages without knocking anything over.
My friend's youngsters, two little girls aged 4 and 9, only have to look at the village for a few seconds and somehow the pieces moved around, without being touched... :-)

Christmas is all about the kids, so I tried to put myself in the spirit for them, hence the light show outside and the villages. This being my first Christmas without Heather in about 35 years, I am having some difficulties, read crying at times, but watching the little ones faces lite up is very therapeutic and helps a lots. Ruddy kisses helps too :-)

The scene this Christmas morning at my friend daughter and her little ones.






Yes Christmas is a bit hard this year, but between my sons, Rudy, friends and the  little ones, it helps a lot.

 Bob, glad for the support...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Recent happenings

No I have not disappeared  from the face of the earth..... Just been busy as heck.

I said prior that I needed to keep busy to help me deal with Heather's loss, well sport fans I have succeed beyond all my expectations.

I am a member of my local Royal Canadian Legion, branch 98 
and at friends request I have now joined the Rotary International organization 

Between all kinds of auctions and food drives that keep me occupy for sure, then once a month I go to Halifax to attend the 1st Halifax African Violets Society meetings, it was Heather favourite AVs club so I stayed on as secretary, I am still the secretary of my local Air Force wing Wood Hobby shop, where I will soon gives a few courses on hand tool woodworking.

Meanwhile Rudy and I have traveled together close to 20,000 Kms (you are going to have to ask Ken for the distance in miles :-) going to visit family and friends from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario...
Rudy has made many friends along the way, both of the 2 legs and 4 legs variety :-)

Meanwhile my life is slowly becoming normal, as if there was such a thing in my life???

Between all these events I have been putting off a small thing I long ago promised to a friend...
Well, I finally did it!

My local Post Office in downtown Kingston NS

Package being prepared for shipment...
On its way to Namibia, Africa

Yes for you sharp eye readers, the box it is being shipped in is a USPO box, I recycled it from a recent tool shipment from the States :-)

Merry Christmas Gerhard! hope it gets there in time...

Besides all that, I did some minor woodworking... well minor is right...
In anticipation of her final days at home we had replaced our bed in the bedroom with two single electric beds. What I did not knew was that it was not good enough, she still required a proper hospital bed...
Such proper bed was delivered to us by my legion, after she was gone our bedroom was kind of depressing... one small bed under a large queen size headboard I made for a previous house.
At times I did not want to sleep there it was too ... sad, I slept in the spare rooms.

Finally did something about it and bought myself a bed and new mattress set.
Yes I know, I am a woodworker and I could have build my own...
But at the rate I am going it would have meant sleeping on the floor for a while...so... One day I will replace it by my own creation.

The original beds, there are two electric adjustable beds side by side
in this set up under a leather upholstered queen size head board.
Imagine the scene with only one... :-(

Removed head board and fixed the wall

New bed being installed. There are only three planks under...

New bed and bedding in place. 
Is it just me or they really make new mattress set so bloody high 
that you almost need a ladder to climb in bed...?
Yes Rudy need a small step stool to get in :-)

Sure enough, these three small boards did not took long to cry Uncle, so I had to strip the bed to solidify it under. I suppose if you were just to lay still and fall asleep it would be ok but.... :-)
Made two more boards and legs to put under all 5 boards. I will probably replace that by something more substantial later, still not trusting it much to last.

Between all these trips and events our headstone got delivered and installed, I am very pleased how it turned out.

I had asked the engravers to leave my final date blank, 
I wanted it to be a surprise... :-)

The picture I choose for the porcelain cartouche.
That is how I wanted us to be remembered...

Then after a few false starts, due to inclement weather, Finally got to find the perfect spot to scattered some of her ashes with my son and a few friends.
I looked long and hard to find the perfect spot, it had to overlooked her favourite view. Everytime we came back from the city (Halifax), the first view of the valley overlooking cape Blomindon is what she wanted. When she saw that view she always said, we are home...

Her special place coming into view on the Highway 101 West.
The red arrow point to the spot I found thanks to a friend. 

I did not wanted to do it on the side of the highway, I wanted something more dignified and private and thanks to Jeanie I found it! It is truly the perfect place.
And it belongs to me... and other veterans :-)

It is called Veterans Memorial view park.
How appropriate, thank you citizen of Nova Scotia.

It is a small park with the view she so loved 



and I can visit anytime
 and sit on the bench to talk to her...

I scattered her ashes in the small plant garden and toward the view.
Note to oneself: when scattering ashes, it would be wise to check wind directions ...before proceeding... just saying :-)

Scattering ashes toward the view... 

Scattering ashes in the plant bedding

Due to the wind shifting directions on me, I got my fair share of her ashes on me, oh well I am sure she had a good laugh looking at me from above. For all I know it could have been her own doing, she was mischievous :-)

Well that is all folks, I will be returning to regular woodworking projects soon and I have a growing pile of tools awaiting research and documentation, cleaning and etc.

In the mean time, rest in peace Heather I missed you and love you



Saturday, November 12, 2016

The seldom seen Goodell-Pratt No 83 Universal ratchet handle

I have been looking for a small corner brace for a while and finally got this early Stanley No 994 during my recent trip to the Tools Of The Trades Show (TOTTS)
That show and sale is twice a year; I went to the recent 2 Oct one.
Next one is in Spring 17

The Stanley No 994 Joist or corner brace

One portion of the top pad is cutaway, 
allowing it to be positioned closer to a wall. 
Notice the usual brace ratchet mechanism?


The chucks on these is a giveaway of their vintage period, since it followed the brace's chuck development.

This more recent one sport a much rectilinear chuck.
Mine, above, has a bulbous Barber chuck.
Pic from EBay

It is essentially a truncated version of their regular brace, same mechanism and chucks.
Main features: The cut away top pad and the ratchet mechanism allowed it to be operated close to a corner, say inside a joist bay

Sure make you think of another uses doesn't it? If you said the common mechanic's ratchet, you would be right!

The biggest difference between the joist brace and the mechanic's ratchet is that to be used as a brace to bore holes, you need provision to apply pressure on top.
The ratchet on the other hand only expect pressure from the side handle, not from the top

In my recent travels, in a Moncton NB indoor Sunday flea market, I came across this little guy: Part Rachet, part joist brace.

Goodell-Pratt calls it their Model No 83 Universal Ratchet Handle. Meaning it is designed to be able to play both part...

The Goodell-Pratt No 83.

My example came with an attached wood boring bit

It is a twisted stamped metal pilot bore/countersink drill bit.
Inexpensive to produce, how does it cut? Have not tried yet...

The bit holder squarish hole is tapered to accept regular tapered brace bits. 
The bit being simply held by a 1/4 in nut screw on the side

The biggest shanked bit it would accept is 3/8

The ratchet shifter knob is on the Right Hand Side.

To change the ratchet direction, you simply pull on a knob
and rotate it 180 degrees.. 

Typical mechanism of other Goodell-Pratt, then later Millers-Falls, products such as handrills.
The Goodell-Pratt No 5-1/2 two speed, hand drill.
Notice the pull button to select speed?

People are often confused by that mechanism to change speeds or directions. Simple, you just don't just pull, you have to rotate it a full 180 degrees before re-meshing it down.



They also produced the similar looking No 84 and 85 which sport different chucks.

The No 84 went thru a similar progression in its chuck such as the Stanley 994 above, the first ones sporting a bulbous Barber chuck, the later, a more rectilinear one. The No 84 has a regular brace 2 jaws chuck and hold taper bits better whereas the No 85 has a 3 jaws chuck able to hold smooth shanks drill bits

The similar Goodell-Pratt No 84

and its sibling, the similar Goodell-Pratt No 85

Goodell-Pratt produced rugged tools which still perform as good today as the day they were made (may require some cleaning and de-gunking). The were reputed to make solid tools, had a proud unionized work force, but did not survived the market crash of 1929 and in 1931 they were merged into Millers-Falls which continued to make many of their tools designs.

For an history of Goodell-Pratt see Randy excellent MF everything site

Bob, slowly going thru is new stash of tools with Rudy's help (??)