Friday, September 28, 2012

Primed (WIP Part 7)

I went to Home Depot the other day to look at paint. I ended up grabbing a can of Rustoleum Paint & Primer in "metallic dark steel". When I got back I started looking at the paint and decided that I really don't like the metallic fleck in the paint. I've never seen a sword blade with metallic fleck in it so considering I'm trying to make this look realistic I don't think I really want it on mine. In the meantime, and at the suggestion of my wife, I checked the basement and found a can of Rustoleum primer and a can of Rustoleum clear coat sealer! Yay! So now I have the sword primed and I just have to find some time to get back to Home Depot to exchange the paint I got for some other color. And since I found the primer and I don't want the metallic fleck it should be less expensive than the paint I originally got, so that's cool.

The primer that I found is some sort of maroon-ish color. It might make the end result appear darker, but I think it will still work. It better work. I guess I could have tested it on another piece of wood but I got excited.

So just a reminder of where I stand  on all of the items on the "To-Do List":
1. Thin out the blade and do basic shaping.
2. Add detail (carve the crossguard and pommel detail, and minor blade details).
3. Finish detail on blade and draw-file the bevelled edge.
4. Sand
5. Attach all three parts using the threaded rod and some adhesive.
6. Paint and Seal
7. Attach leather grip.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DC Trip

We had quite an exciting weekend.

Saturday was exciting enough. We started it by going to see my wife's brothers run a 5k, which they won! Well, one of them came in first and the other in second. Then we went to the farmer's market. Then we went to a birthday party. Then we came home to celebrate one of my wife's brothers birthday.

On Sunday we went to DC. It has been forever since I've been. My wife and I have never gone together and it was the first time I've driven up there. To add to the fun of the trip, and detract from the possible stress, we drove up to Alexandria and took the Metro into DC.

The boy entertaining the rest of the passengers with his hammering skills

Once we got there we headed over to the Spy Museum.

Upon entrance tickets had to be eaten. No one could know who you were.

The beginning of the museum is set up like spy training. You're supposed to remember a cover so you can fool the guards (there are tests on various computer kiosks if you want to participate). My cover identity was Gary Wozniak; a 25 year old teacher living in Canada. Originally from Waipu New Zealand and on his way to Singapore for a three month long business trip. Yes, I still remember that. No, I did not cheat and write it down. There was a lot of cool stuff there, including duct work that you could climb through. It measured the sound you made and let you know if the guards could hear you or not. It had lots of other cool stuff, from very real spy equipment to real historical accounts to Bond gadgets. Our boy's favorite parts were the giant mirror that you were supposed to use to practice quick and easy ways to make yourself look different and the duct work you could climb through.

For lunch we split a sandwich and fries from the Spy Museum cafe and ate it sitting outside of the American Art museum.

After lunch we went inside to see the Art of Video Games exhibit.

A couple guys thought they had just discovered that Halo was actually an old game.

Clearly they didn't read the card.

I would have to say that I was pretty underwhelmed by the exhibit as a whole, but I think it's more me and less the exhibit. For instance, I'm not an outsider to video games. Someone who is new to gaming would probably find it informative. Also, they wouldn't look at what was there and see everything that was missing. Such as Pong, which I saw no mention of. I think one of the other things was that I love concept art and design. When I think of "the art of video games" I think of the art involved in making video games. I get that video games are an art, but when it comes to the actual art involved in making them there wasn't a lot there. The only video game art displayed was the art in the picture above and one panel of concept art that looked like it was from the new Diablo game.

After the Video Game Exhibit we set out for the Museum of Natural History. we hadn't planned on stopping there because we weren't sure how much we could cram into the day but we ended up having a lot of extra time. We had so much time in fact that on the way over there we stopped at the sculpture garden.

The garden cafe with a giant silver tree in the background.

Sculpture Garden Fountain
 On the other side of the sculpture garden there was some sort of even going on so we decided to check it out. It turned out that there was some sort of book fair going on, but after walking around for a while we still didn't really know what was going on so we left.

We finally went to the Museum of Natural History and wondered around looking at all of the dead animals.

Our boy was quite excited about this whale.

Before the preservation process this giant squid was 44 feet long.

Me no likey.

I want one of these.

And I want this awesome cat and this ring-tailed thing.

And I want this tiger, which is perfect because I think it wants me.

Meredith teaching our boy how to roar.

Our jungle boy

Did you know there is only one floor to the Museum of Natural History? There is when you have a one and a half year old. It's funny what children do and don't appreciate. For instance, he couldn't care less about a 44 foot long squid, but OH MY GOODNESS A BUTTON! It doesn't even matter what that button does, though if it lights up that's a plus. It's hard when you want to spend time looking at things that you appreciate, but I think that's part of having kids; re-learning to appreciate things we've forgotten about.

China Town!

After the museum we headed over to China Town to find something to eat. This is as close as we got. We were hungry and realized we weren't in the mood for sitting down in a nice Chinese restaurant so we just stepped into a little place called California Tortilla. It wasn't anything to write home about, but it was filling. After that we headed back to the metro.

Waiting for the Metro.
 All in all it was a wonderfully full and enjoyable day. Now we'll have to start planning where to go next...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Progress Report (WIP Part 6)

And it's a sword!

Seriously. Check it out.

Everything is shaped correctly (or at least correctly enough for me). It's sanded. The crossguard, blade, and handle are all screwed together and glued in place. Everything fits together properly.

The remaining to-do list consists of painting it and wrapping the handle in leather. The Leather shouldn't be too hard. I see that going fairly well considering that I've worked with leather before and the handle is pretty simple and straightforward. The painting is the part that makes me nervous. I've never done anything like this before. I want to paint it so that it looks like metal and I'm not sure if that just means picking up some metallic silver paint or if there's more to it. I've heard some people seal it in some way so that the wood grain doesn't show through when they paint it but I'm not sure if that's some special process or just primer. I also want to highlight the detail work in the crossguard and pommel in black, but I don't want it to look like I just painted it black.

Anybody done anything like this before? Any advice on techniques? Paint types? Sealers?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! (Now With Pictures!)

I will participating in this.

I will post pictures later.


Success! We walked away with three dozen doughnuts. More than we needed but that's how many they handed us so we didn't question. Two of them were for us, and one of them was for my wife's brother who came with us. I brought a dozen in to work today to try to get rid of some of them... though I think I've eaten more than anyone else.

Sorry for the cellphone pictures.

The Intrepid Adventurers

The Loot

The First Mate and The Wench

The Captain and The Cabin Boy
 I get to be the captain because I had the captain hat, and because I drove.

Also, don't tell my wife I called her the wench. Sshh

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tree Fort of Awesome

This past week my father-in-law was home (he works out of state) and he spent a lot of time working on a pretty cool project. He built a tree fort years ago and he decided to upgrade it so that it's useful to both their grandson (our son) and their sons. The fort is built onto two trees which have both been long dead, though they are remarkably sturdy. To make sure it was safe he added posts on each corner which he sunk into concrete. He also cut the tops of the trees off to prevent the possibility of dead limbs falling and maiming people. Yay! the tree house was safe once more!

Did he stop there? Of course not. Being a man means you never stop there.

My wife's youngest brother recently became interested in the show American Ninja Warrior and is interested in trying some of the things they do on the show, so now the tree fort is no longer just a fort but also doubles as a work out area. On one side there is a salmon ladder. On another side is a climbing rope, which is actually a battling rope so you can take it down and use it for that. Along the bottom edge of the fort he made climbing hand holds. There are stairs instead of a ladder which allow you to climb up the back similar to the devil's steps. He also grabbed some used tires for various other exercises, though they aren't attached to the tree fort.

At this point that's it, but he's already talked about the possibility of hanging his punching bag from the underside of the fort. There's also the possibility of a climbing net or some other climbing stuff, as well as monkey bars or something similar to hang on the underside. I'm excited of course because if I want to I can use it too, and that could be fun. Now I too can be a ninja! An American ninja at least. Okay I wouldn't be a ninja, just slightly stronger and more agile than most regular guys.

Saturday was his last day here. That morning we went to the Farmer's market (me, my wife, and son) and got corn on the cob, squash, and zucchini for grilling. We also picked up a loaf of cheese bread (it is so good) and then got some turkey burger from Trader Joe's. Everything was grilled perfectly and instead of a bun I had my Turkey burger on some of the cheese bread from the market. It was delicious.

On Sunday we got the most awesome Chewbacca backpack for the boy. I'll have to post a picture of it. It's sweet. We also tried, unsuccessfully, to watch Snow White and the Huntsman. After about two hours of trying to get our player to read the blu-ray, updating the firmware, and trying to watch it through digital snow we decided that clearly our player remembered Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and wanted nothing more to do with Kristen Stewart. I still want to watch it so I think we might try again with a DVD, because we never have trouble with those.

That's our weekend, how about yours?

Friday, September 14, 2012

So Close... (WIP Part 5)

Well, I thought I would get it together today. I failed.

I realized it had been a while since I had looked at my reference pictures so I decided to check them out again and make sure I was on the right track. Aside from the fact that mine looks a bit clunkier than the real thing I realized my blade was all wrong. I was thinking it had a flat blade with a bevel just along the edge, but it actually had a bevel that went all the way to the middle. Also the base of the blade is beveled as well instead of flat like I thought.

For instance this is the way I had it.

Flat across the top and on the sides

This is how I've changed it.

The edge is more beveled now
 It's far from perfect, but it's the best I could do without starting all over, and considering that the blade was the most frustrating part I was not about to start it all over again. So, because I had to change the blade I couldn't finish the sanding, and because I couldn't finish the sanding I couldn't attach everything together. Next day of work will be spent sanding. Then I'll glue it all together. Then I'll paint it.

So to sum the new list up:
1. Sand
2. Fasten everything together.
3. Paint.
4. Attach leather grip.

The end is in sight!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just So You Know...

I feel like I'm having trouble keeping up with the blog recently. We're entering our busy season at work so I don't really have as much time to post. Not only that but our warehouse person is going to be out for surgery soon, so my work load will probably increase for a time. This is not to say that I won't be blogging, but more to explain that if the quality or frequency of my posts seems to be dropping, there's a reason.

I'm still working on my sword. I will be posting more pictures of the desk we painted. I will be revamping the look of the blog slightly. It will probably take longer than I have previously said that it would. I will be posting new projects and hopefully sharing more of what's going on with my little family and what we do to keep ourselves busy. I will continue to post every week, though maybe only once a week until things slow down.

Hopefully this will not go on for long. I will be back to a more energetic posting schedule, but bear with me until I can get there. Thanks for hanging in with me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What's up?

I've had a busy day and don't really have time to give a full post today. Instead I'll leave you all with a picture and a promise to fill you in soon.

Friday, September 7, 2012

It Looks Like a Sword! (WIP Part 4)

After my recent progress I am so psyched about this sword! I went to town on the "blade" with my planer and my borrowed electric sander. After what seemed like very little progress with it the previously I was surprised at how quickly I was able to thin it down.

Here you can actually see the grade that I've put on the wood. This was when I had only done one side. That part on the base I've left thick for some detail work.

Here I've started to define another section that will be detailed later.

Had to put that all important stabby bit on the end.

Drew the detail back on so I would have something to go by.

Cut out the tab that will insert into the crossguard.

Filing down the excess wood around the detail.

Filed down the inside of that triangle bit (one side at least).

And because I'm super excited about yesterday and today's progress I put it together (it's not actually attached). You can see how the detail on the blade lines up with the detail on the crossguard.

Updated To-Do List:
1. Finish detail on blade and draw-file the bevelled edge. (shouldn't take that long)
2. Carve detail into crossguard and pommel. (could go quickly, but will probably have to go slow so I don't mess up)
3. Fasten everything together.
4. Paint.
5. Attach leather grip.

It's pretty much the same list as before, but this time the hardest part of step one is over. I'm hoping to be done the actual construction part by next Friday. I have until then to figure out the paint I need to get and to see if I have the leather I need or if I need to go get some. My hope is to be completely done by the 21st (crosses fingers).

I'm so excited!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Project Started!

Wow, I don't know about you guys but I had a great weekend. Saturday we were very busy helping my brother and sister-in-law move and put their complex ikea furniture back together. Afterward we went out for pizza with the family.

This Sunday was the first Sunday of the month and our church always does a big pot-luck style lunch. We took gingerbread and everyone said it was delicious. I was happy about that since it was my first time making it. I'm not sure why I made it instead of my wife who has made it numerous times before, but apparently I followed the recipe really well because we got lots of comments! I always think that's slightly funny considering I didn't create the recipe I'm just following the directions, but I still enjoy the compliments.

Do you ever have that feeling of something being really enjoyable but you can't specifically nail down why? The rest of the weekend was like that. Maybe it was the fact that it was a four day holiday weekend (Sweet!) and so I got to spend more time with my wife and less time at work. Maybe it was the fact that we spent time down in the basement cleaning and organizing and that was a lot of fun. Maybe it was all of the ice cream, frozen yogurt, pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, mac & cheese, etc. that I ate. Maybe it was the fact that my wife and I finally started on one of our furniture repainting projects.

That's right, we started to repaint a desk! We were doing a lot of this while the boy was sleeping so we were trying to be really quiet and get it done before he woke up. The lighting in the bedroom isn't very good so I couldn't really get any good pictures. I just snapped a couple with my phone anyway just so I could share some of the progress.

The dresser unpainted

The drawers painted
The chair half-painted

We actually started with the chair in the basement while the boy was awake and running around. We finished painting the chair and the drawers but the desk needs another coat before it's done and then I have to reattach the panels under the drawers. They had been knocked off at some point before we started on this. We're planning on re-covering the seat on the chair as well. Right now it's an off-white vinyl but we have several options from our scrap fabric bin (all of which are better than off-white vinyl). I'll keep everyone updated on our progress and post some better pictures of the finished product.