Gator Finishing • Fairborn Ohio

Posted on

All good things come to an end.  A proverb of glorious filler to any article!  🙂  Dropped into conversation to make the speaker sound insightful and connected.  A bumper guard which comes out on auto-pilot while trying to think up something more cogent.

Today it refers to a hardware store up the street, nearly within wrist-rocket range.  A 5 minute uphill huff on bicycle.  Clyde’s Home Supplies is closing.  While Sam Clyde doesn’t look it, he is 72, and feels every year.  I’m gently informed He may not look as old as he is as you’re gotten older?   Hmmmmm  ..  ciphering that one out, I think she is saying I’m getting older.

With his Ace Hardware store now offering 60% off, we’re stocking up.  Lots of plumbing and electrical fittings, sheets of sand paper.  And there, on a high shelf, the last sharpening stone they have.  Gator Finishing.  The same brand as the black oxide sandpaper I use.  Calling me.  It’s finally time to learn how to put an edge on my knife.

With a few old blades handy for ruination, I cannot do too much damage with such a small stone.  What I think will happen?  I’ll correct the edge on a chisel a few times, then go speak with the old guy from southern Italy.  More properly, I’ll stand mute, and catch every other word of his barrage.  Then invest in a larger stone.  Big things have small beginnings.

Micro Mesh Abrasive Pads

Posted on

The ideal violin neck is subjective.  It changes as you grow, develop, and mature.  Perfect today is old hat tomorrow.  The neck itself moves, as does the fingerboard.  Not as quickly as our tastes but more like a painting of a slow tortoise.

The fingerboard is shaped with a radius across it’s width.  The other direction, parallel with the strings, looks flat.  But it is actually curved.  String height is so low on a violin that without longitudinal concavity – the fingerboard’s scoop – vibrating strings would buzz against the fingerboard.

When a favored fiddler’s favorite fingerboard appeared beyond flat, clearly convex along its length, it was time to learn the art of the scoop.  After chipping up a few natty practice fingerboards, I tried a good one.  It was easier.  Quality wood shaves more cleanly.  “Scraping” of the fingerboard was performed.  Seemingly random, together the strokes produced a concave surface to the fingerboard.  Nearly flat along the high E edge.  Visually pronounced along the low G.  Gradations in between.  Finally, comparison of the newly scooped violin fingerboard with my Products Engineering Corporation straight edge.  Convex no more.  Just the right amount of concavity. 

After the scraping comes the sanding.  Dusty thirsty work with multiple grits of scratch cloth.  220, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1,000.  The glossy finish I want?  The easy way is to dump sealer over it, a thick polymer coating.  But tradition prefers bare wood.  We scraped and sanded the old sealer off the fingerboard during the scooping.  The reshaped wood now prefers special attention.  The musician wants skin-smooth wood under their fingertips.  A natural shine is wanted.

Micro Mesh makes it easy.  With products developed for fine art restoration, our slat of century-old ebony is no challenge.  Working up through the colored grits, the wood begins gleaming at about 6,000 grit.  But do we stop?  No!  All the way to 12,000 grit, buffing like the best Park Avenue manicurist.  The wood shines!

We started using Micro Mesh Buffing Sticks a few years back, touching up a bit of mandolin here and there.  Then discovered an ebony violin nut can be made to shine.  After a few more fingerboard refurbishments, we’re sold on Micro Mesh.  Fingerboard sealers we’ll save for fretted instruments.  All of our fine stringed instrument fingerboards are going out the door bare wood shining.  Sparkling like Eve’s smile ≈≈≈

Health & Happiness

Posted on

A CAMPBELL’S SOUP ARTICLE planned this week had to be postponed.  The reference material was eaten before pictures could be taken.  We can report, in preview, sodium levels seem to be lower.  The tester was of the expired variety, not unknown in this house.  A bit tinny but warming with nighttime winds of -15˚ buffeting the windows.

The East Coast has been icebound for days.  We’re informed a heat wave is on its way.  Wind-chill temperatures are expected to soar into the balmy single digits by midday.  Commerce never ground to a complete halt, but was quieted for several revolutions.

Enforced lethargy is about to have its restrictive shell shattered.  After this last cup of java, it is time for severe weather gear.  A broken drain deep under a commercial kitchen floor is keeping Jerry from emptying his mop bucket.  Measure, estimate, sell.  With cast iron work on the horizon, we have another Charlotte article in the making.

Two national lotteries located winners this weekend.  Over a billion annuity dollars dispensed.  Yesterday’s Powerball drawing found a Merrimack NH winner.  Our first thought is of the Anheuser Busch brewery in Merrimack, now producing a delicious Bass Ale for domestic health and consumption.  Over the pond, our cousins report this effort to be passable. 

Two dollars get you balcony seating to dream of millions within a country-sized arena.  It doesn’t take much to feel a winner, though.  A roof, some clothes, a bit of vittles from time to time, someone who cares, and perhaps purpose for the ambitious.  And now, a kick out the door, please.  There’s money to be made.

Mars Spirit Rover

Posted on

Closing out 2017, you’d think we have a long-planned article filled with deep thinking and cute anecdotes.  Ha!  Barely able to keep up with dry winter skin and filling the constantly empty cat food bowl – where does he put it? – this week’s installment has taken Second Stage.

Following Andy Weir with a NASA Mars feature seemed appropriate.  Wow, that image from the Mars Spirit Rover (2004) reminds me of Northern Arizona.  How’d you like to drop your orbital vehicle keys out there?  Always something keeping us up from what is planned  ≈

Holiday cheer has slowed digestion, winter winds,  0˚F this very morning,  have stunted typing, and general life activities have crowded thinking.  A reoccurring theme, it is the little things which keep us from reaching our potential.  A drawerful of items rattling about,  a bucket of issues getting knocked over.  Likewise, the little things put us over our potential.  Matched socks.  A tidy refrigerator.  The sidewalk clear from snow.

As amazing as NASA landing a 180 kilogram (400 pound) ATV on the next planet over sounds, they dropped a bigger ride, five times heavier, less than a decade later.  ATB Prediction:  permanent inhabited Mars colony in 80 years.

Here’s to you, the special few,
We lift our mug of jasmine.
With steaming milk and honey too, 
A comfortable companion.

Naturally, we close out 2017 with some great music by Phish:   “Back On The Train” (2000)

When I jumped off, I had a bucket full of thoughts
When I first jumped off, I held that bucket in my hand
Ideas that would take me all around the world
I stood and watched the smoke behind the mountain curl
It took me a long time to get back on the train

Now I’m gone and I’ll never look back again
I’m gone and I’ll never look back at all
You know I’ll never look back again
I turn my face into the howlin’ wind
It took me a long time to get back on the train

See my face in the town that’s flashing by
See me standing at the station in the rain
See me running there beside the car
I left it all behind, again I’ll travel far
It took me a long time to get back on the train

When I jumped off, I had a bucket full of thoughts
When I first jumped off, I held that bucket in my hand
Ideas that would take me all around the world
I stood and watched the smoke behind the mountains curl
It took me a long time to get back on the train
It took me a long time to get back on the train
It took me a long time to get back on the train

The Martian ◊ andy weir

Posted on

‘Tis the season for thankfulness.  Everything speeds up, though.  We attend this, deliver than, check off our list, make the parties.  But the true spirit of the “holidays”?  Maybe it is to reflect . . . 

Last week a book on CD came into my possession.  I listen to these in my truck.  After the first few paragraphs, I anticipated travel time in the GMC like a dog hearing his leash.  The proverbial “old men” maneuvering their ancient Oldsmobiles at a trot pass me along the road as I carefully catch every traffic light.  The “travel” in “travel time” was never so enjoyable.

Yes, the writer is amazing.  Andy Weir hears this all the time so I need not repeat it.  I wonder if he imagined himself Mark Watney  ~  I’d bet Andy had to, but that will be another article.  Yeah, the upcoming interview, after his people and my people get our schedules in sync.  🙂

At first I did not realize – sorry Matt – this was the book made into a movie.  R. C. Bray NAILS narration so convincingly.  He becomes each of the characters and owns it so totally, you’d think he wrote it.  Our researchers memo’d me R.C.’s closest exposure to aeronautics is paper airplanes, so ghost writing rumors, begone!

Thinking I finally had something new to share with my nephew, I planned to introduce this fine novel to his young inquisitive mind.  Yes, the kid is brilliant, but I figure the book is mature enough that he’d have to read it by flashlight under the covers.  “Oh yeah, I read that a couple years ago.  Great book.  And we saw the movie too”.  Soccer ball deflated!  Where did this kid find the time to turn out so humble and pleasant?

Taking my nephew’s queue, I’ve secured the DVD.  I’ll repeat his experience.  I am not jealous of his youth or covet his upcoming opportunities, but do regret not noticing how quickly he has grown into a young man.  More reflection is in order.  After the movie.  Pass the popcorn, please.

Great movie!  Thanks Matt for your hard work!

The Winter Walk

Posted on

Our coffers are as bare as our drafts folder.  Not a farthing to be had for road trips, not a whiff of wit & wisdom nor waft of wistful words this week.  Perusing past articles, we remark again upon this comment from a reader:

Sometimes, amid the beautiful scenery and steady cadence of the horse’s steps and wagon wheels, we forget how the search began and discover pleasures unanticipated.

A budget trip in search of mid-December adventure, a tale of Americana, is undertaken.  We sample the afternoon stroll.  Take the pulse of The City.  Maybe some busking on the accordion.  Conduct a Smiles Count.  A lustrum back it was under 20%, so we have a baseline of sorts.  Well, it is a bit overcast.  Plus we’d have competition from the filming of Tuba Christmas.  Bah!

Onward through Rittenhouse Square in deep contemplation.  Winter brings greater enjoyment of Campbell’s Baked Beans.  We consider an article on this fine example of American entrepreneurship.  We could even do a tie-in with vegan, gluten-free … wait … the pork … oh, traces of wheat …  wow, look at that sodium!  But they sure are good, smothered in hot sauce!

Past the Square, a story continues to elude.  We’re late for Alma’s Christmas party.  Fresh-baked sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles.  Mmmmmmm.  Family and friends.  Happiness and love and forgiveness and compassion.  The “spirit of the holidays” has excellent characteristics which would work year around.  But not all of them, or my waistline would be *burp* light-years round.

Korky Flapper

Posted on

Winter weather brings winter water.  Reservoir water sitting out, like the porch cat’s water bowl.  Gets pert’ cold this time of year.  Freezes over, even.  What does that water do to plumbing system innards?  Not a whole lot, if you’ve got good materials.  One component you do not want failing?  The flapper inside your toilet tank.  The part that opens to let the toilet flush, and closes to let the tank refill.

In 1954 Korky invented the first toilet flapper.  This technology is still used today.  Their current reliability is so good, Korky warrants their premium product at 5 years.  Ten years for their double super premium ‘Ultra’ product line.

Last week my toilet flapper failed to drop over the flush valve.  It ‘stuck open’ and the tank tried to fill it self all night long.  After morning coffee, I didn’t hesitate.  Picking up a new radiator valve for Widow Baxter, I had Mike toss a couple of Korkys into the sack.  Replacement was fast and easy.  The old red Korky had an accumulation of minerals on it but the rubber was still pliable.  Yes, I probably could have cleaned and reinstalled it, but a few bucks for another lustrum or longer of reliability?  No brainer.

The Korky premium toilet tank flapper, made with chlorine resistant rubber.  This basic component of modern life has done as much to promote health, convenience, and conservation as refrigerated food.  Six Thumbs Up to Lavelle Industries of Burlington, Wisconsin!

Chlorazone® rubber is Lavelle’s proprietary family of elastomeric formulations that is specifically designed to withstand chemicals found naturally in water or added to it by municipal treatment facilities. Introduced in 1990, it was the first chlorine-resistant material made available for plumbing applications.  Lavelle