Monday, August 9, 2010

Racing Around....

Two things...

First, I'm going to be off to an unofficial class reunion that will include all four years I attended Interlochen Arts Academy, plus a couple years on either side. A number of the folks I knew as a student will be there and I haven't seen them in... well... ages! So, it should be an interesting experience. I couldn't attend the first one that was held last year, but they even jammed together and took over a local eating establishment as entertainment one of the nights. Very cool. So, that means Stampeaz will be closed for a few days, since there is no way I will ask the kind soul who is house sitting and taking care of my critters for me to try and figure out my order system! LOL!

Second, I am going to be participating in the inaugural Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in my area on September 19th. A friend and colleague at my day job is currently undergoing chemotherapy and recovering from a mastectomy and I wanted to put together a team to race for her life. I will also be celebrating my own 9th year cancer-free on October 4th, so I'm racing in gratitude for the gift of life I have been given and to find a cure so that others can have that same gift. If you would like to donate to my efforts, click here to get to my donation page. Thank you for considering a donation to fight breast cancer! This is the first time I have been on the fund-raising end of one of these events. I usually give to the other racers! I'm looking forward to it.

When I get back from Interlochen, I plan to pounce on the PZ Kut problem with renewed energy and give you an update about where that stands shortly thereafter. I keep thinking that things will settle down. I guess I need to simply accept that my life is mildly nuts.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kirbert's Tool Modifications....

Okay, I admit that I'm not a professional photographer - not even close, but I was trying to see if I could get a good photo that would show the differences between Kirbert's two very cool modifications of the Staedtler #1 V gouge in comparison to the original. So, here's my attempt.

The blade on the bottom is the standard #1 gouge from the factory. Notice how the front edge comes straight down to the cutting edge that is at the bottom of the V shape? Now, look at the middle tool.

The middle one is Kirbert's Reversed modification. He has taken that straight front edge and sloped it back from the cutting tip so that you can see exactly where you are cutting as you move the tool through your carving material. I find that this makes it easy to get really close to the lines I am trying to carve. The other great thing is that he has honed the edges, so that it cuts beautifully.

Okay, now for the top one. This is Kirbert's Miniaturized modification. He has ground down the whole blade so that the V is now shallower and then sharpened the cutting edge. I love this particular modification. It makes shallow, controlled cuts easy and the carving nerdles (you know, the shavings that you are cutting from the block?) seem to fall away from the carving tip more readily so that they don't block my view of - well - anything. The tiny tip makes tight curves a treat.

These are both fantastic improvements on an already marvelous tool. Other carvers who have had him modify their blades can chime in about how they would describe the qualities Kirbert has so masterfully given them.

And the extra good news? Kirbert got in touch with me, since so many people had been sending him tools to reshape, and offered to rework the tools for Stampeaz for a very reasonable fee plus postage both ways. I'm very excited about this, especially since he can take some of the not so excellent blades that slipped through the factory's quality control system and turn them into something superb.