Saturday, May 16, 2015

Constructing the new studio.

Julie and I have been talking about selling the place for the last two years.  All of our projects were centered around getting the house ready for market.  We wanted to move into Northfield, or move closer to my work in Arden Hills, or move closer to where my work will be in another year or so in Plymouth.

We finally decided that we would make another go at the place.  This was partly due to me getting a promotion at work, so there is a little more money coming in every month.  Another problem with moving was finding a place to put a studio.  Again.  Our current place has lots of room for a studio, so we finally decided to stop messing with moving, and playing with the hobby farm, and do what we have wanted to do for years, which is to focus on our artwork.

We had a room in the basement on the north side of the house that measured fifteen by thirty.  We never used it for much, and two puppies and two cats did a number on the carpeting.  I decided to partition the room in two, with a pocket door in between.  One will be for an in-house studio.  We'll keep the kilns out in the old garage, which is a separate building from the house, barn, and coop that we have run adequate power out to.  The room designated for the studio is already plumbed for a sink.

I have the partition wall framed, and almost all of the drywall up on the studio side.  I'll start mudding tomorrow, and maybe drywall the other side of the wall as well.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Missing Notebook

I misplaced one of my art notebooks three years ago.  My daughter Steph found it on one of her book shelves the other day. There was a diagram for a raygun that I had started back in New Jersey, but never finished.  I got inspired to head out to the barn workshop, and try again at the build.  I need to fabricate the handle, trigger guard, and trigger, but the body of the piece is complete.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thai Sauce

One of the local restaurants in Northfield had a Thai burger that was one of our favorites.  It was a burger on a pretzel bun with shredded cabbage and with a sweetened thai sauce.  The place is closed now, but Julie and I ran across the following recipe for the sauce:

one half cup sweetened chile sauce
one third cups soy sauce
two tablespoons cup honey
two teaspoons finely minced serranos
one half teaspoon red pepper flakes
one half teaspoon minced garlic
one half teaspoon cajun spices
Saute peppers and garlic in a little oil.
Lower heat.  Stir in honey, soy, and chili sauce.  
Remove from heat and mix in spices. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Studio Progress

Found a source of plastic fifty-five gallon barrels, Western Container in New Hope.  They have recycled blue barrels for twenty-five dollars a piece, and I was able to squeeze four of them into the minivan (one across the passenger seats, and three in the back.  We typically leave the last row of seats out of the van.)  I need to construct a base and frame that will hold the barrel four feet off of the floor, support about five hundred pounds of weight, and keep the barrel from falling off.  I also need a small base cabinet to put a double steel sink in.  Sometimes I can find the sinks and cabinets at garage sales.

For the slab roller, I cut and trimmed four pieces of square stock for the cable brackets.  The cable brackets are in the four corners of the table, with two steel pipes above and below the table that are the rollers that are supported by the cables.  As you turn a wooden wheel attached to the lower steel roller, it moves along the cables, and pulls the upper roller along.  I need to hit the home improvement store for the metal crimps that I need to re-bind the ends of the cable together once I install the new brackets.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Two Weeks Off

I was laid off from work on Thursday.  During the exit interview, I had a phone call from another company, offering me a new position.  The new job is a little farther away than the old one, but its with a good group of people.

I plan to take two weeks off to work on projects around the property, including getting a studio going in the ground floor of the barn.  The barn studio is supposed to be temporary, until we can get the old three car garage converted into the new studio.  That will probably include putting on a new roof.  That is a project for another time.

I'm looking for a plastic barrel to use as a water reservoir for the sink in the studio, since we don't have water out to the barn yet, and the barn is not heated in winter.  I want to use a raised barrel for the water supply, something that I can fill from a hose, and then plumb it to a double sink.  The water will drain through a flexible hose outside the back door.  Its a temporary solution.  I can re-use the barrel later as a rain barrel for the garden.

The other project that I am working on today is the rebuilding our slab roller.  I had built it back in New Jersey to help Julie with the pottery classes that she taught at a summer camp.  There are four pieces of angle iron, one on each corner of the slab roller where the cables attach that have bent over the years.  I am replacing them with square stock steel.  I also need to raise the height of the table by about four inches, and add some corner braces to strengthen the structure.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bubble Bubble

I have a former chicken stock can full of linseed oil and beeswax in a kettle of water on the stove.  I used a couple of spoons to keep the I'm making the finish that goes on the outside of the hive.  I just need to let it cook for another five minutes or so before bringing it out to the barn.

Yesterday, Julie and I went to a fabric store, and picked up some heavy pillow ticking to glue along the inside seams of the roof for the hive.  I also did some final trimming of the board that closes the base of the hive in winter, as well as the top of the hive legs so that the roof would sit a few inches lower.  Everything that is exposed to the elements needs to have the linseed oil and beeswax finish applied.


Sunday, March 07, 2010


Top bar hives have a long history in Africa.  The top bar hive that I am building is considered a Kenyan top bar hive, since it has sloping sides.  Vertical sides would make it a Tanzanian top bar hive.

Its essentially a long trough with a lid.  There are two boards called follower boards, that conform to the shape of the inside of the hive, and can be moved by the beekeeper to adjust the amount of space that the bees get to use.     There are narrow wooden bars, with a groove in the bottom filled with beeswax, that span the trough, and are where the bees will build their comb.

In winter, the unused portion of the hive outside of the follower boards will be filled with some natural insulation, to reduce heat loss from the hive.

Yesterday, I cut boards for the sides and end of the hive, along with rough cutting a section for the follower boards.  Since I'm using six inch boards, I started gluing them edge to edge last night, doing the section for the follower boards and the ends.  Today I'm gluing the long boards for the sides of the hive, and am heading out to the barn to cut the follower boards to shape.  When the follower boards are complete (they need a top bar glued to them), I'll use them as the base to form the rest of the hive.  

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