Sunday, March 31, 2013

by a hair

I need to write this down: it's 10:33 PM on the last day of spring break.  The sun has set on this brief period of freedom from the machine.
Memory dump follows:

Biggest accomplishment this break: getting a normal sleep schedule.  Heading to upstate New York with Josh, Laura, and Dan for a few days must have allowed their excellent sleep habits to rub off on me.

The semifrozenness of bash-bish falls was beautiful- life size bonobo noses of ice abound!

After that, I spent three straight days at MITERS working on the yurt:
I ripped a few long pine boards (crufted) into strips using the EC table saw, then biked them over to MITERS. (Day 1)
After smoothing all of the edges, I drilled holes in each piece using a quick and dirty jig for alignment: (Days 2&3)

Roping the holes: (Day 4)
 This was quite tedious.  I soaked the nylon cord in water beforehand.  When it dries, it shrinks just a bit.  This means I don't need to be quite so deliberate in cinching the overhand knots right up on to the slats.
 Just like a huge baby gate, it came together
Thanks Nancy, Jordango, and Mars (Left to right) for helping with assembly!  You're more than welcome to wander the steppes of Cambridge with me.
I measured the actual dimensions to get an idea of how to sew the cover.  If I was more legitimate, I'd be using felted yak hair.  I have no excuse with all the yak shaving I manage to do!
In lieu of that, it'll be some bolts of crufted linen and perhaps a tarp for waterproofing.
Still need to varnish everything.

I welded up a bike trailer for hauling large cruft.  Halfway to completion, it inadvertently became a human-segway testing rig.  Who needs a stinkin' PID controller anyway?  Nancy was pretty darn good at segging.

Amwang and I are hard at work on our 2.00gokart vehicle.  It's gradually approaching completion with the recent addition of steering, padding, and now brakes!

Here's the controller we (?somehow?) managed to budget for. It's rated for 80A continuous at 24V  Compared in size to a mini kelly, it's huge!  Luckily it fits neatly under the seat. 

Here's an attempt at an aluminum shakuhachi I whipped up:
 The mouthpiece is simple, but I had to look at a few pictures of the real thing before I got it to work.  It's very fiddly to play.  Small changes of angle make the note fade in and out of existence.

I drilled the holes arbitrarily, and it's interesting to hear how they came apart.  They're approximately common intervals, and I can tune them (up) by expanding (reaming).
 Here's the 5 gallon water jug cello that's been sitting in my room for a while.  It's super crude, but it gets the job done.  The fiddle had a small scale length, so it required much higher precision to get a given note than this one does.  It's still capable of producing god awful noises, but the nicer ones are a bit easier to come by now.
 And of course, more spoons.  I found a small chunk of birch by the side of the road in Copake.  It's beautiful stuff.  It carves well, has a nice color, and is hard. (lower)  I've been using the other one (upper) to cook for a while now.  It's nice to see it age.  The rougher parts get smoothed out, and it gets a natural stain from whatever you're cooking with it.  Curry is particularly good at staining spoons.  Hot oil gives it a golden brown complexion.  I read on the website of a renowned spoonmaker that his most sought after spoons are the ones he uses as templates.  They're also the ones that he uses regularly to cook, so they're discolored also.  I have a theory that in the eyes of an onlooker, a well seasoned item is more likely to suggest experience and reliability than something fresh and untouched.