Saturday, March 29, 2008


Cornstarch and Water make a non-Newtonian fluid, generally called "Oobleck".

Henry and Max mix it up.

Just a little messy.

Max really gets into it.

Ok, it's insanely messy...
Max also enjoyed watching "Sh! The Octopus" last night on TCM. I wish it was available on Netflix as it was possibly one of the most insane movies I've ever seen.
I started another blog, that will be only about my airgun obsession, so as to not further horrify people here with too many airgun posts:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Scotch Brite Hand Pad Comparison

I use Scotch Brite abrasives to put a brushed finish on some of the jewelry I make.
Recently I decided to be a bit more scientific, and bought 4 types, with different degrees of fineness.

A copper sheet was used for the test. Sterling would have been better, but I can't afford to sacrifice that much to science.

6444 Medium

7447 Very Fine

7448 Ultra Fine

7445 Super Fine

I use the 7448 Ultra Fine for most work, and the 7447 Very Fine for some basic scratch removal beforehand, should the work need it. I don't see a big difference between the 7447 and the 6444 Medium in terms of scratch pattern. I have used the 7445 Ultra Fine before polishing to good effect once or twice. Anyway, I mostly documented this so I could remember which pad is which, as the Very Fine and Medium pads look a lot alike (one is maroon, the other brown), and there are no intelligible markings on the pads themselves.

You can even use them to clean your pots and pans!

Here is the color of each pad in order from coarse to fine:
6444 Brown Medium
7447 Maroon Very Fine
7448 Light Grey Ultra Fine
7445 White Super Fine

A Day at the Coast

We got over to Newport the week before last, it started as a sunny warm day and turned into a rather cold bleak one, but we had fun. We went with our friends Josh, Kathy and Colin.

Max petted sea anemones for at least an hour. He would have stayed forever if we had let him.

At the beach a stranger gave us two kites that were surplus to his needs. I love Oregon. Max held that kite all day.

We remembered to bring beach toys, so Henry dug in the sand.

Apparently the runoff onto the beach is contaminated. We washed the kids thoroughly when we left.

Josh is an engineer, so he dug a canal.

This is probably an Auk.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Harbor Freight Dapping Punch and Die Set

I have not needed a dapping punch and die set but I've always wanted one to play with when coming up with jewelry designs. A Dapping set is a tool that allows you to hammer metal into hemispherical and generally concave shapes, such as a hollow bead. A good quality set isn't terribly expensive and I have made my own single purpose punches and dies when the need arose but I never bought a set. Anyway, Harbor Freight has a set, made in India, for the extremely low price of $29.99, on perpetual sale. So I bought one.

The box looks nice!

A wood stand, the block and the punches.

The punches are covered in what is likely a highly toxic red oil.

I slit the bag open and grabbed each punch in a paper towel, wiping off the excess oil.

At first glance the block looks well polished...

But, as with most cheap tools, what you get is what you paid for, so there are numerous scratches, dings, blemishes and such in the hollows of the block. These can be polished out, so in essence you are trading your time perfecting the tool for the money you would have spent on a better set.

The punches are similarly imperfect, with flat spots, scratches, etc.
Some time spent sanding those out on the lathe is likely in my future.

So, not a great tool, but one that allows you to do basic doming without breaking the bank.