Thursday, March 19, 2015

3/4 Rabbet Plane with Rosewood Boxing and Spoons

First off, I listed two very large, very cherry spoons I carved from some fallen wood at school. They can be found on the Store page.

On to the real stuff.

Here's some progress on a 3/4 boxed rabbet, it's black birch, which I kind of love and has East Indian Rosewood boxing. I'm thinking about channeling E.W. Carpenter, a planemaker from nearby (spatially) Lancaster, PA who often make planes with contrasting wooden parts and putting an ebony or bubinga wedge or something. I'll probably wind up with maple or beech though. Though I may have a little piece of black birch around to cut a wedge from.

Here is a small toothing plane I've begun to think on. It measures four inches long, with probably a one inch wide iron. I have to machine some parts to cut the iron, tapered and with the grooves at 20ppi. I will be making several of these as well.

In other plane news, I've got a few really interesting basket cases coming my way to rehabilitate, some need irons, some need bodywork, and I've sourced irons for the Mathieson drawer planes so that can move forward as well.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mathieson Drawer Bottom Planes

 I borrowed one of these from Josh Clark about two years ago to take measurements to someday build these. The time has come. I did some rough CAD to figure out where I needed dimensions and what else I had to think about. I found a few spots that need tweaking, but for the most part it's all thought out.

The Mathieson planes have a dull rounded sort of chamfer on them you see on later made planes. I dislike it, the broad chamfers look better to me.

Beech bodies roughed out, three currently in the works maybe more to come if I don't decide to use my wide stock on something else. I'm trying to decide if I want to use brass or steel for the skate. Any thoughts?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomato Harvest

In the last few weeks I've been busy picking tomatoes, attending farm festivals, and working on ferments for a blog Sarah and I have started working on called Culture-Shock. It's been a very busy time.

Here is just a small quantity of the tomatoes we've pulled out of the garden. These are mostly Amana Orange which is a lovely bright orange, sweet, low acid tomato. We have made paste, soup, and pureed some up into fermented hot sauce. As well as given many away for friends and family. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

More Spoons for Sale

I've listed five new spoons and spreaders in the TWD Store section of the blog, made from some nice maple, beech and cherry. I'm currently working on some large ladles carved from cherry crooks.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Natural Sized Comb

 After reading Michael Bush's The Practical Beekeeper, and thinking about what working methods made sense to me, I really got into the idea of using foundationless frames, 8 frame medium supers for all hive parts, and committing to not treating. This was all pipe dream for the day I might run an apiary or keep more than two top bar hives. Maybe I'd work out deals and manage hives at an orchard or community garden.

Well all that is starting to come to a head, Sarah and I have worked out an agreement to locate hives at one, maybe two community gardens in the area. I'm keeping the details close for now, because I haven't explicitly asked if they are okay with it.

Now, what in the hell does this have to do with size of honeycomb cells? Sarah and I have slightly different opinions on a few things, she learned with foundation and is used to that. I'm a bit of a nut and don't (yet?) fully understand how poorly (or amazing!) the bees may choose to build in foundationless frames. By adding drawn frames from a nuc, I think they will be off to a great start, and I think the girls will be happier drawing their own wax. Plus I can ensure clean wax, and use it for cosmetic uses without the fear of chemical contaminants. I settles on sharing hives with foundation, if we could get small cell foundation. Mostly I want cute tiny bees, but there is also an ancillary benefit of smaller mite counts.

This led me to wonder, if the foundation we are installing has 4.9mm cells, how big are the cells on my self-drawn comb in the top bar hive? While they are larger bees from a package, they will build slightly smaller, as I understand it left to their own devices. Over time this will lead to fully regressed (in size) bees, provided the comb is removed so the slightly smaller bees can build even slightly smaller comb. 

Balancing act. I've got one end of the bar precariously balanced on the hive to free a hand to hold the ruler up to some cells. Out of the top bar hive I had 10 cells equaling 2 inches, .2 inches per cell converted to millimeters equals 5.08mm cells. Not bad, well within the 4.9-5.2 range that Bush quotes from beekeepers in the 19th century. But a bit away from the 4.9mm small cell foundation we'll start our other bees on.

 This is a piece of comb cut out of the attic of the hive that is housing the swarm we saved a few weeks ago. They are building at 5.3mm per cell.

 And here is a huge chunk of pollen comb from the same, I couldn't find a good average of ten similarly sized cells in a straight enough line to measure but here it is.

And here is a piece showing a bunch of uncapped and capped drone brood. Sorry little buggers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Checking on Brood and Swarm Removal

I like opening the little Top Bar Nuc (TBN) first, they were angrier the first two times I checked on them and it's easier for me to do the angry ones first (even though they are fine now). 

Second-to-most-recent bar of comb the girls have built. You can see a bunch of pollen and some nectar in the top 1/5th of the comb. The rest is filled mostly with unhatched eggs and recently hatched larvae.

This is a frame of almost completely worker brood, there is an odd cell of nectar in there, but I think the bees with use that up and the queen will go back and lay in empty frames when they emerge. Or maybe they will fill in the whole shebang with stores when the bees emerge.

This comb has a large quantity of capped drone brood and quite a bit of nectar. I haven't seen any capped honey yet, but I think they aren't far off.   

I think this is the same bar, but shows with a little more detail the emerged cells, capped drone cells, and open nectar.

Last one is an action shot of Sarah and I catching a swarm out in West Philly. Boy was that exciting. The very next thing I build is going to be a bee vacuum, which would have made this an hour long catch-drive-hive operation instead of the all evening, shake-sting-curse-drive-sting-curse-tarp-pray cluster (pun intended) it turned out to bee.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Top Bar Hive, Top Bar Nuc and Installing a Few Thousand Bees

This is what a new beekeeper picking up two packages of bees looks like, those two crates are the packages, 3 lbs or workers, a queen and some sugar in a box. What a party.

Here are the one and a half hives I've built, the one in the background is a four foot top bar hive, in the foreground a top bar nuc. It saved me from having to build a whole second top bar hive in the short period I had before the bees arrived. I've got to get the second done soon, or make another nuc for a split. 

Two starter bars to get them building comb straight, hopefully.

Spray bottle with very light honey syrup, and my first package. What an exciting thing, installing the bees.

Pulling out the staples for the lid and queen cage. This is so the can of syrup can be removed, then the queen cage. Then it's time to...

Shake and dump 3 pounds of bees into their new home and hang the queen from one of the bars.

After reading Michael Bush's The Practical Beekeeper I'd pretty much decided I didn't want to feed them sugar syrup of any kind, dry sugar if I had to. This is organic honey I've been collecting from residue inside buckets that get thrown away. The girls loved it. They are doing well, the queens are out and laying, and all the workers are busy building and collecting. Next post will have some shots of the bees and comb.