bookmark_borderFarewell Canon (and BestBuy)

After (I’m going to say) decades of joy with Canon cameras, scanners, and printers, I am bidding them farewell.

Back in October, I decided to get a new camera before we went to Japan. I bought a new Canon Elph point-n-shoot because the previous two had been real workhorses and high quality equipment. I am thoroughly disappointed in this new one. Its image quality is probably worse than the previous version, its software is sub-par and not nearly as configurable as the previous version, and the camera itself is both larger and less solid. Why switch to a plastic case when metal cases are the main reason the older cameras are so durable?

I know I’m a little behind the curve on leaving separate cameras behind, but there it is. Another loyal customer disappointed and never returning.

Back in November, I broke (physically broke a vital part of the paper path on) my printer/scanner. It was my fault, accidentally feeding a thick items through the printer. I bought a replacement printer/scanner at BestBuy, and it sucked. The build quality was awful and even though the manual said you could feed Legal size paper, though the document scanner, this option was not present in the driver. I exchanged that for more expensive Canon, and even though the scanner driver was better, it was unable to properly print a document. It would get part of the way through a page, then spit out the paper. No error, no nothing, just failure. Scanning would quit part of the way through also.

Best Buy refused the return on the second printer, because I did not buy the extended service plan. So, farewell both Canon and BestBuy. I know I’m a little behind the curve on leaving BestBuy, but there it is. Another loyal customer who stuck with them even as they slid further and further into decline has left, never to return.

Farewell to you both. May you fall into the sea.

bookmark_borderArimoto Bannister

I spent some time yesterday and today helping Mr. Arimoto install a bannister and railing that he’d made for a client.

Lowest end of the bannister

Tadao cut and shaped the pieces from walnut, and finished them with Osmo Polyx oil finish. We spent about ten hours total getting everything cut to fit, installed, and touched up.

He didn’t make the metal balustrade, so we had to adjust everything to fit somebody’s else’s work. It was a good exercise in the difference between theory and practice, or between design and execution.

bookmark_borderAnother Kingdom Braid

Set up the marudai with another 16-tama braid in red and white. This one looks similar to the last one, and it’s braided similarly in alternating colors, but it’s based on a round braid instead of a square braid.

Braid 2020.01.09 01
Creative Kumihimo 16T

So yeah, 6 plies of lace-weight silk yarn per tama, using braiding pattern 16T from Jacqui Carey’s Creative Kumihimo.

bookmark_borderTest Cutting

I spent a bunch of time today buying a new band saw blade and setting up machines so I could make some test cuts on scrap wood to prototype some interesting joinery for a new folding stool design.

mortise and tenon
New Shogi Joinery

How do you join a 1.25″ wide board perpendicular to a 1.25″ dowel? It takes a forstner bit, a band saw, and a mortising machine. I’m pretty excited to see how this works out on an actual project.

bookmark_borderArmrest Coaster

Some months ago, we got a new sofa and comfy chair for the den. These pieces are very rectangular, and go nicely with the Mid-Century Modern look of the den, but it’s very tempting to rest your drink on the armrest while you’re sitting in them, which would be unwise since that drink is likely to sweat or spill onto the upholstery. I’ve seen little table-like structures that sit on the arm of a couch, and I figured, “I am a woodworker, and I don’t need to pay those prices for somebody else to make this for me.” Behold!

Coaster, armrest-type, from walnut
Walnut Armrest Coaster

I had a walnut board in the garage, left over from some project long ago. The corners are miter-cut, and I managed to keep track of the pieces well enough that you can see the grain flow around the bend. The corner joinery is reinforced with splines, also from walnut). You can see that I had a difficult time getting all this glued up, because of the blotches in the linseed oil finish.

This was a pretty-good fast project, only taking a few hours over the weekend. I may wind up making a couple more of these.

bookmark_borderAshiuchidai v1.1

An ashiuchidai is a piece of braiding equipment used when braiding long loop braids. If the material is too long, it’s impossible to pull the “stitches” tight by spreading your hands apart. The ashiuchidai provides a fixed point to hold the braid up where you can work it easily, and a beater bar that can be activated by tugging on a string. The string can be tied to your toe so that moving your foot taps the stitches into place while your hands braid.

I made this ashiuchidai back in June of last year, but I recently added some features to it to improve its performance. There are two stabilizers that keep the beater bar centered and straight on the axle (only one is visible in the photo), and five brass pins added to the beater (visible as the dark dots on the back ot the blade just below the tip) as counterweight. Despite my best efforts, the beater could still get stuck in the “up and in the way” position, and this counter-weighting makes it much more likely that the beater will fall back out of the way.

Ashiuchidai version 1.1
Ashiuchidai v1.1

I still have to try it out! I haven’t made the “helping-hands” that allow you to put down the loops while you’re loop braiding, so trying out the ashiuchidai means devoting a block of time to completing a braid that is pretty long.

bookmark_borderFirst Braid of the Year

I’ve made a resolution to start doing more 16-tama braids. I have been braiding for more than 10 years, and even though 8-tama braids are still fun to do, I should show some discipline and exert some real effort. This one is a good start because this pattern (Creative Kumihimo 16D) only has four steps, and you only move eight of the tama during each iteration. This gives the braid a nice twill structure and (if you set up the colors just right) this nice alternating zig-zag ring appearance. It may look round, but the shape of the braid is actually more octagonal.

16-tama braid in red and white silk
16-tama braid in red and white silk

Anyway, this braid is in Æthelmearc colors and has medallion-cord fittings. It will go to the Kingdom at some point.