Thursday, December 31, 2009

Steampunk Style at Work

One of the wonderful things about working in a 1920's era mill is all of the wonderful old machinery and equipment that has real style.......... steampunk style! I walk past this great stuff every day and thought I'd take a moment and share a few shots with you.......

Paper Machine #1

Pulp Cutter

There are great gears, knobs, wheels, cranks, gauges, etc. that are a great inspiration for steampunk designs.............. Paper Machine #1 dates to 1928 and is run by huge gears and steam. Steampunk style for real!

The shots above are from the back side of Paper Machine #1 and show the huge drive gears that run the drier drums. Everything is built on a HUGE scale here........ It's like you're is a little person in a giant machine!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Treasure Hunting on Hancock Street

This afternoon I dug out the metal detector that's been gathering dust in the upstairs closet for years now. I loaded it with new batteries, hauled it down the trail at the end of the street, and did a little treasure hunting. Under the big rope swing on the killer hill, I hit the jackpot! $1.30 in change and a bronze screw! I headed back home and gave the yard a try and scored an old nickle at about six inches deep. Treasure on Hancock Street! That's $1.35 total!

Here's the break down:

4 quarters
2 dimes
1 nickle
9 Lincoln pennies
1 Canadian penny
1 bronze screw

Not a fortune, and nothing older than about 1970, but pretty fun none the less!

Session at Sirens..... or "Up Late, Up Early"!

Tuesday night is session night at Sirens!

Great tunes, great company, good times.......oh yes, and "Up late. Up Early!".

Here's an action shot of everyone's favorite fiddle diva, Sweet Pea!

Campy for Christmas

Santa must know that he can never go wrong with vintage cycling stuff when he stops by our house on Christmas Eve.................. a new set of Campagnolo aero brake levers and a Campy seat post binder bolt from N8 and Santa left the the nifty vintage Molteni cycle cap. The cap is a repro-copy of Eddy Merckx's World Champion cap from the 70's. Thanks N8! Thanks Santa!

Now I've got the final missing pieces for the LOOK bike!

Christmas for old boats too!

Well it just isn't Christmas in Port Townsend unless there's "boat stuff" under the tree, and this year was no exception. We now have a wonderful painting of the Bernadine that was painted by Shasta! Preserved for posterity on canvas................ Thanks Shasta!

We also received a great triple set of custom embroidered watch caps with the Ed Monk Boat Club burgee embroidered on the front. These great watch caps go with the three ball caps that I received on my birthday.......... now we can outfit captain and crew in style! Thanks Dale and Debbie !!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mamod SE 1A Steam Engine

Well for all of you who have been wondering what I've been tinkering with these days, here it is...... a real, honest to goodness, live steam toy! The Mamod SE 1A steam engine. I always wanted one of these growing up, but they were always the ones behind glass in the hobby store displays with the price tag that was just out of my reach......... that is, until I found one at a yard sale a year or so ago for pennies on the original dollar!. How could I pass up the chance to fill in that missing brick in the childhood "I wanted it" wall? This unit was one of the last of the old production runs from about 1979 and is in near perfect shape, that is to say that it was probably only fired up a few times before I got a hold of it. Originally it was designed to use Esbit solid fuel tablets to fire the boiler, but I decided that I really wanted to fire it with the old style alcohol burner. After checking out pictures of the vintage slide-in alcohol burners on line, I noticed that they looked VERY similar in size and shape to the Altoids gum tins. DIY! That's exactly what I did and it worked out perfectly. My DIY burner is a nearly identical match to the old alcohol burners!

After a few experiments, I perfected the design and built up the final version of the burner. I will probably give it a new paint job at some point and build a better looking handle-frame at some point down the line, but for now I'm just using it as-is. The burner is filled with angel hair fiberglass, with a mat of woven fiberglass on top, and a stainless steel wire screen on top of that. A quick squirt of alcohol (methanol ..... HEET brand fuel treatment from the auto store), and it burns hot and odor free, running the engine for about 10 to 15 minutes. This baby doesn't slowly turn over, it screams along, at HIGH rpms, with the rod and flywheel in a blur, steam hissing and billowing.............. just like a real steam engine, which it is!

Origin8 Spy26 Cylco-Commuter Project

Now for a little cycling update.

As of last night, I am diving into a new bike-build project for Sweet Pea. After visiting our newest, and quite Hip, new bike shop down on Water Street, "The Broken Spoke"........... and after checking out a great Trek cyclocross bike gracing the showroom floor, we have decided to build our own "new" version of a cyclo-commuter bike! The build will be based on a wonderful and nearly brand new Origin8, Spy 26 frame. So far we've added a Ritchie adjustable stem, and On-One Mary alt-bars, and have ordered up a set of brand new Gator Brakes disc brakes for the front and rear. I refurbished an Alex wheel set and mounted a set of 26" cross tires on them. N8 is scouting out a 9 speed mountain bike drive train as we speak...................... We'll be saddle shopping for Sweet Pea's favorite saddle this next week................

Here's the first "sneak-peek" of Sweet Pea's new ride:

See ya' on the trail!

Steampunk Goggles

My "desert style" has been organic and has evolved along it's own lines, mostly keeping to the vintage-retro look. I live in my leather top hat, British pith helmet, vest, Carharts and Doc Martins when I'm out on the Playa....................... without planning it, and in a seemingly parrallel evolutionary path, I have developed my own signature version of the "Steampunk" fashion style. The steampunk style is a cross between Jules Verne, and the modern technologies.......... very simply put. It takes the great age of Victorian invention and adventure, and merges it with all the really cool technologies of today and when the mixing is done, we get this wonderful parallel world of wonder and style! One of the signature items that every Steampunker has to have, is a set of goggles............. be they simple or elaborate, gadgety or purely functional, they are a "required" component of every Steampunk outfit.
After searching the four corners of the globe and the known and unknown world, I finally found my perfect pair! After winning the eBay bid of .99 cents, these wonderful vintage goggles are now destined for adventure.

They most likely date to the pre-twenties and are in near perfect shape, minus the strap. The lenses are clear and perfect, the leather soft and supple, and the nickle plating still 100%. I've seen goggles like this go for upwards of $80.00............. I guess it pays to keep looking in the odd categories on eBay for the poorly and incorrectly listed items!

I can't wait to see these perched on my derby or top hat............... Steampunk style!!!!!!!!


After taking last year as a rest and rejuvination year off, we are getting geared up to make the pilgrimage to Black Rock City again this year! This will be year 6 for me and 5 for Sweet Pea! Tickets go on sale on sale on January 13th at 10 am. As usual, I'll be logged on and hoping for one of the first tier priced tickets. They go fast, so you've got to be ready to hit that enter key at one second past 10 am!
It seemed like a good idea to take a year off and come at things fresh and new for 2010, and now that I am getting ready to buy next year's tickets, I can realistically say that it was good to take that break (ends up being 2 years between dusty visits to Black Rock!) and to have the time to actually miss the burn and to reflect on why we go, what it means, and if it is still relevant in our lives............ I've reflected, the verdict is in, and the countdown to Burning Man 2010 has begun! I am already looking forward to the pilgrimage along the familiar routes and through the country that has become part of the warp and weave of who I am.

Eight months to go! Time to start planning and building all the new "camp upgrades" and pondering such wonderful things as "Do I build art for this year?", "Will we freelance it, or camp with Hushville again?"............. you know, the really important questions :)

Stay tuned ................

It's a NEW YEAR & I'm back!

After letting the blog lay idle for the past year or so, it's time to get back in and revive the old girl................ I'm Back! and I'll be making regular posts from here on out. I have totally restructured the the "tools of the trade": New mini-notebook computer, better web access, and a dedicated camera. So here's a tip of the old dusty cap to salute and welcome the coming new year. Stay tuned and check back for your fix of the good old Four-"B"s.

BIKES.......BOATS.... .BABES.......BURNING MAN!!!!!!!!!!

I've been exploring and playing fast and loose with our "central themes", so sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride!

Happy New Year!