Looking for a Presidential Candidate with a Heart

13:35 2 May, 2016

I have been following the campaign with interest and wondering where the candidates that have a heart are.
Bernie Sanders comes closest. He has a heart, as long as it is with someone else’s money.
If you are going to find Hillary Clinton’s heart, there will need to be an increase in funding for microscopy research.
And a Republican with a heart seems to be an oxymoron.

SR28 How-to Document

16:49 13 April, 2016

I recently revised my how-to-download-the-USDA Standard Reference Food and Nutrition database for SR28. You can find the SR24 still on the site but the front page link now points at the current version.

CHAIR-LOC info page

16:12 25 November, 2015

In my previous posts here and here I have referred to product called Chair-Loc. This is is labeled on my bottle as “rosin triethanolamide”. My bottle was made by The Chair-Loc Company of Lakehurst, NJ.

I have not been able to find Chair-Loc in local stores. I found that it might be available at Contantines Wood Center. Either a 2oz bottle alone ($4.25) or a 3oz bottle in a kit with syringe and tips to inject the joint ($11.95). Also at Western Wood Doctor with similar but different pricing.

Google search and Amazon provide a number of false leads and alternatives.

Wonderlokking Tite Chair glue is a cyanoacrylate glue which may work well at repairing chairs. The problem is that is really is a glue. If you have to disassemble the chair to repair the wood, covering, or as a result of refinishing, the glue will stick to the wood fibers and tear them apart. My theory is that if you want to repair furniture, you want to do it with glues that fill, swell, tighten, but do not stick. CA glue is sticky, particularly if you get it on your fingers.

Behlin Swel-Lock (scroll to page 16) may work, I have not tried it. The MSDS says that it is dipropylene glycol. I see information on the web that antifreeze (ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol) is a traditional fix for loose ax handles. I have not used it and cannot comment on how well it works or how long it lasts.

Briwax ChaiRX is a self-crosslinking vinyl acrylic polymer emulsion. While the MSDS states that the emulsion contains a large amount of water, if, on drying, the vinyl acrylic polymer remains in the wood fibers and joint, the joint should remain tight some time. This may be the best replacement available today for my favorite chair repair.

Briwax MTD, a wood sweller for mortice and tenon joints appears to be similar and may work as well.

When I get time, I will update the links to Chair-Loc in other posts to point to this info page.


10:31 20 November, 2015

Terrorists are in the news as is their wont. This has prompted a dither over what to do.

We need to keep doing what we have been doing and do it better. Since 9/11, our freedom continues to be eroded. This is just what the terrorists want.

My recommendation is that we continue to allow the NSA to monitor phone connections. And allow the encryption of phone content. A backdoor for the government is a backdoor for everyone as the government has demonstrated its lack of ability in keeping secrets.

We should continue the debate as to whether the NSA should share the data it collects with the FBI and others. I lean to “no sharing” of data without a court order. The NSA should be free to share findings of specific threats with other agencies.

Running for President

15:13 5 November, 2015

I have been watching with interest the Presidential race. Biden has other things to worry about and Senator Sanders has decided that he is not going to be critical of Mrs. Clinton. Or maybe he is starting today. We will see.

Mr. Trump seems to be leading, after a fashion, the pack of Republicans. And that is a complete description of that party’s current state. Dr. Carson is popular but seems remote.

As for my own presidential campaign, some things I think are needed to fix the schools.
1. Leave colleges alone. There are plenty of sources of information in the market for people to make the choice of which college to attend, whether it provides good value, etc. We need to decrease the taxpayer participation in paying for college and encourage private funding through true scholarships. Work hard and show you can do the work, get tuition reduction, books, etc.
2. Improve language instruction. All high school graduates should be able to read, write, and converse in (at least) two languages. Any two.
3. All young people in the middle school time frame should get some training in basic hand tools, wood and metal working, electrical fundamentals, auto fundamentals, clothing construction, fabric selection, sewing, and especially cooking a healthy meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner using a microwave, conventional oven, and stovetop.
4. Young people should get instruction in household operations including budgeting, maintenance, bill paying, and retirement planning.
5. The items in 4 should become part of the curriculum for the mathematics and language training. The items in 3 should be reinforced through the study of science, history and social studies coursework.

That would be the focus of my common core.

Missing Mr. Harry

15:41 3 November, 2015

Harry, a black cat, with pumpkin in background

Harry at Halloween 2015

Harry a young black cat

Harry in 2008

A little over a week ago, Harry began breathing hard. We took him in, the tech listened to his lungs. She did not think that he was suffering but that he should come back in the morning.
The doctor listened to him in the morning and said “I think that I will get a film”. The x-rays showed an enlarged heart and a little fluid. We brought him back in the evening and had held him while he was put to sleep.
Harry was my favorite.

Harry the cat on shelf on deck

Harry in 2009



Tabby cat among iris flowers.  Paint by Jeannette Calvin.

A painting of Tabby by Jeannette Calvin

In May, Tabby was doing fine on a Monday and went rapidly down hill. By Friday, we knew that the end was near.

Tabby was our best mole-catcher. She had the patience and the will. We will miss her.

Tabby as a younger cat

Tabby in happier days

Tabby as an older cat

Tabby near the end

Model: Optimist Pram

10:18 25 September, 2015

Optimist Pram model on model sawhorses.  Centerboard, rudder, and sail are in profile in this side view.

Side view of completed model of Optimist Pram.

I recently completed a model of an Optimist Pram in 1 inch=1 foot scale. It seems that as with many projects, the preparation takes longer than the project. I found plans. First I used the lumber inventory to rummage through my pre-cut wood. Not all of the required pieces were available so I cut the rest by hand. Next, the building frame.A view of the building frame with the transom, center bulkhead, and forward transom in place and connected at the edges by the chines and in the center by the 'keel' and bottom reinforcement pieces. Setting up the actual boat frames was complicated. If you were doing it full size, you could use a tape measure and level or plumb-bob. As it was getting the measurements set up in the middle-of-thin-air took some clever clamp-measure-move-reclamp action to get it just right over several days as I had to wait for the glue to dry to do the next frame. I think that the center bulkhead is 1/16″ off-square which would be 1/2″ in full size.
Once the frames were set up, the corners were notched and the chines and keels were set in. A little sanding to shape.
The side glued and clamped to the chine and rail on the building frame.  The clamps are small clothes pins.

The side glued and clamped to the chine and rail.

Next the sides were put on as rectangles then trimmed with a coping saw and sanded with 60-grit to fit. and finally the bottom.
The rudder and centerboard were next along with the mast, boom, and sprit. Finish is varnish.
The sail was laid out with a program named Sailcut. It neatly lays out panels perpendicular to the leech givin a very realistic appearance to the modeled sail. The “eyelets” are dots of gold sparkle-pen ink.
This view from slight to the rear and right side shoes the interior of the boat.  The actual boat is 7 and 1/2 feet long.  The model is about 7 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide.  The front is square, not pointed which is the pram shape.  The hull is slightly narrower in the front, bows out amidship and tapers slightly to the transom.

A view from slightly above with scale.

American Girl Doll: Leg Repair Revisited

11:44 10 September, 2015

Several years ago, I published a American Girl Doll: Leg Repair. I recently had the opportunity to do another repair and need to make a few revisions to my notes.

The dolls are now 17 years old. The doll in question is the oldest of the bunch. American Girl still provides a repair service and will re-attach arms and legs for a fee. They also return the doll with some “hospital visit” accessories such as a wrist band and a gown.  There are doll hospitals in most large cities and individuals in smaller towns that provide doll repair.  If you wish to attempt it yourself, here is one way to do it. Here is what I did this time.

Undress the doll. This will avoid soil and glue problems. When I examined the doll patient, I noted that the detached leg had a ball-joint that mated with a socket sewn into the cloth torso.  An elastic cord is retained in the ball and holds the two parts together.  The leg appears to be one piece with a hole molded in the hip-joint.  There is what could be a mold-parting-line but I theorized that it was glued or sonicly welded at assembly time. I marked a small index mark on the inside of the thigh at the line with a Sharpie and carefully cut off the top of the leg with and X-acto knife.  The socket in the torso does not require alignment. Just carefully cut the threads where the socket is stitched in.  Inside the leg there was a plastic cup loose and a piece of elastic with an eyelet squished onto it as a retainer. In the stuffing in the torso, was a similar cup and piece of elastic.  I believe that the cups are to make the elastic long enough so that it can be tensioned but still stretch far enough that the leg can be worked on. 

The leg has been cut near the parting line.  The segment removed is next to the right with the cup and broken elastic described in the text.  Next is the socket from the body and its cup and elastic.  The open doll body is in the background.

The leg (left) has been cut near the parting line. The segment removed is next right with the cup and broken elastic described in the text. Next is the socket from the body and its cup and elastic. The open doll body is in the background.

The original elastic is heavy-duty shock cord about 4mm (1/8 inch) diameter.  I did not have any like it but had some flat dress-makers elastic about 13 mm (1/2 inch) wide.  I used piece of elastic about 70 mm long (2 1/2 inches)  and slipped on an eyelet with the flange away from the bitter end, drew it close and squashed the eyelet with a pliers to make a “knot”.  I pushed the elastic through one of the cups so it came out the cup side.  The cup should face the other way.  The through the large hole in the severed leg-top.  Next through the large hole in the socket, through the other cup and out the bottom.  Last another eyelet is slipped on.  Using another leg, estimate the tension required and pull the elastic up until the ball-to-socket tension is similar to a good joint.  Mash the second eyelet to complete the assembly.

Place the socket in the torso with the alignment correct.  Use hemostats or other small nosed clamps to hold the edge of the cloth aligned with the edge of the socket.  The original socket was machine stitched but I used a glover’s needle and an overhand stitch to rejoin the socket and torso.  A pair of pliers may be required to force the needle through the existing holes and draw it out the other side.

The leg socket has been stitched into back in to the body.  Note the crimped elastic retaining the cup and top of the leg.

The leg socket has been stitched into back in to the body. Note the crimped eyelet retaining the cup and top of the leg.

Separate the top of the leg from the socket with a hemostat, clothespin, or a pair of pliers. Put a small amount of gel type cyanoacrylate glue (CA or super glue) on the leg top where it was cut. Carefully replace the leg top matching the index you marked before cutting.  Hold until set.  The glue I was using remained sticky where it had squeezed out after assembly.  A small amount of ammonia or a weak baking soda solution will cause this to set instantly.

Picture of tools used for this repair.

The tools used for this repair include a thread (you may prefer a matching color), glover’s needle (usually part of a set), scissors, hemostat clamp, x-acto knife, needle nose pliers, eyelets (3mm-5mm or 1/4-inch size will work), elastic.


Nikon Lithium Ion Battery Recovery

15:35 1 September, 2015

Occasionally I forget to turn off my Nikon SLR. This is especially true when I have connected it to download some pictures. The USB connection keeps the screen alive and the EN-EL9 battery pack is dead in less than hour. Usually it will recharge. But sometimes it will not stimulate the charger and will not charge, no blinky lights, nothing.
As I understand it, Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries have a circuit inside that limits the charge current and keeps them from overheating during charging. When the battery is completely dead, this circuit has no power and it cannot allow current in to charge the battery.
I have been able to get around this by putting the battery in the charger, unplugging the charger, wait a 10-count and then plug it back in. Repeat until it appears the charge cycle is working (flashing light on my Nikon MH-23 charger). Monitor the charger for a few minutes. If the light comes on solid too soon, slip the battery out of the charger and back in. Check for normal charging activity. I hope this saves you from buying a new battery.