Cavalry in a Box

Sometimes interests help each other. I love writing. I love machining.
But when interests collide…

Journeys of the Clayfoot

The thrill never grows old, and lessons never end. Some lessons are more memorable than others. This was one of ’em.

A short story accepted for publication. As I expect, the editor asks for a few reasonable changes, but one…I have no clue what she’s talking about.

“First page is too rainbowized.”

The story is science-fantasy and is not an LGBT tale. I’ve made no mention of Noah’s Ark. No leprechauns gambol around pots o’ gold at the rainbow’s end.

I read the first page. Then again. I look at her comment, re-read what I wrote, and I’m just as mystified as before. I fire off an email. “What do you mean by rainbowized?”

This is a teaching editor with saintly patience. She wants writers to learn for themselves how to write better, to figure out what to do with minimal guidance. She replies with a hint. “Too many colors…

View original post 460 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Peaks of the Citadel

As record rains reveal new leaks, I recall epic adventures in roofing…

Journeys of the Clayfoot

Overcast was the day and bold were our hearts as we ventured forth to climb the outer walls of the citadel to its lofty peaks.

Long it vexed my heart sore as to why I so rarely need water the spathiphyllum in the corner—the lily, though lovely, gave me no peace. Then came a night of torrential rain and a clue to this mystery with the resonant crash of sheetrock down from above.

Our quest, then, was to learn what fell reason there might be for rain to enter and despoil the attic and interior of the great hall. Dismayed we were to find foul rot and storm wrought damage on both shingle and sheath, and we vowed an oath to repair.

“Insurance?” I said, for hope was in my heart that we might contract a craftsman for the labor.

He shook his head. “Not so, for the deductible is…

View original post 839 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Kind of Bling

Bling–the pervasive “in” thing nowadays. Jewelry, clothing, even cars are described as having it, and it somehow relates to a shiny, attractive, sexy image of those displaying their bling.

Ubiquitous as mosquitos in a swamp.

Apparently, it started with imagining the sound a cut diamond makes when light scintillates (pretty word, isn’t it?) on the facets. The meaning broadened to other showy (and shallow) things.

I suppose that’s fine for those who like their butt jeans sparkly, watches flashy, purses gleaming, rings glittery…


Show me a diamond-tipped drill bit, a diamond-impregnated grinding wheel, or a tube of diamond polishing compound, and my heart soars.

But it need not be only industrial diamond tools. It need not be only the machines to use such tools. The old Lindsay Technical Books catalogs had the same effect. (Aside: I always loved the catalog’s disclaimer and safety caution that started with If you’re an idiot, go away!) Once Lindsay retired, Your Old Time Bookstore continued offering those wonderful reprints of metalworking books, industrial techniques from long ago.

No gift of a sparkly ring could match the thrill I had when the 6 books of “The Essential Steam Library” order arrived. The reprint of Paul Hasluck’s 1907 edition of Metalworking : Tools, Materials, and Processes out-blings any overpriced purse and holds a place of honor in our household.

Glitzy watches–pah! The little 1912 reprint of South Bend Watch Company and Ward L. Goodrich’s The Watchmaker’s Lathe offers infinite possibilities for creating unique timepieces of my own design.

So, thanks but no thanks to all the sparkly stuff, whether it’s extravagant genuine glitter only the wealthiest can afford or knockoffs for people who want to look like they can afford it. The bling I like comes from sparkling minds, shining creativity, gleaming possibilities. It comes from transforming a gleaming idea from a sketch on scrap paper or napkin to a reality.

There’s one other major version I love. For the record, I married bling–my April man is 185-pound diamond. Some may say he’s a diamond in the rough, but he shines for me.


For anyone wanting to check out old-time technical books, the link is


Posted in It, It's the Attitude, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Grease, Oil, Coolant, etc.

Shop smells — not everyone likes ’em. But there’s something satisfying about them. Maybe it’s the subtle whisper as the odor permeates shop rags and clothing that here with the humming machines, creativity enters reality. When you shut off the lathe or mill, what you’ve made doesn’t vanish into some ethereal world of data bytes. It’s tangible — you can put your hands on it. As you remove it from the chuck/collet and wipe it down, you can feel the metal’s heat, the texture of the finish, the weight and substance of what you’ve created. It’s a workpiece meant to do something physical.

Satisfying — because no matter how lofty, how mentally-oriented, how spiritually-minded we like to think we are, we are physical beings as well.

Time to rev the machine for the next project.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Under Construction

Under construction.

Sounds mechanical, doesn’t it? Brings to mind building materials, tools, and machines all coming together in an act of creation by human hands.

And this is what mechanikhan is about — creating physical items: designing, working out problems of turning raw materials into components, assembling those components into finished creations.

Whether the item is practical (such as a gate, stove, camping gear) or imaginative (think steampunk, diesel punk, industrial chic), this is the journey from process to completion.
So, don the safety goggles. Have a face shield, protective gloves, and dust mask nearby. Maybe a hard hat, too.

Under Construction.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment