Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shoes and Nibs

What is it with mothers? I mean, perhaps it a mother/daughter thing and most of the readership is spared this horror, but mothers are, well, annoying. Not that I don't love my mother (at the risk of turning into the cliched bar room drunk, I love my mum, I really, really - hic - do) but she suddenly got a bee in her bonnet about my shoes. What?! Apparently the bog-standard choice of footwear I've always relied upon on all occasions is simply not good enough for The Wedding. Eh? It's a wedding, not the second coming. But she whittles away at me until I feel compelled to at least look.

And against all the odds I suddenly manage to turn the fortunes of this week right around by finding not only some mother-acceptable shoes, but they also turned out to be half price. That, my friends, is a miracle. Couldn't quite bring off a double miracle in getting her to accept the more comfortable shirt over the one she said I have to wear, but we'll call it a score draw.

Seriously, I'm too old to be this bossed around by my mother. It's like a really bad comedy film. The sort that only makes you laugh in a thank-goodness-that's-not-me sort of way. Rather like one views clowns. Joy; I'm a clown. Ack, I may have to resort to getting through the rest of this week in a haze of alcohol as the only way.

Still here? More fool you; I'd get out of here if I was you. I would, if I could. Okay, in woodworking news you can pop over to the Old Tools Archive and see the galoots getting all snipe-y and irritable with each other over saw nibs. This one's particularly lovely. Yeah, I did keep out of it, but only 'cos I know the answer. No, I can't tell you, but it has something to do with cutting tails first...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quatorze Juillet

This blog is at serious risk of turning into an obituary column this year, for which I apologise. If I'd seen how ruddy awful 2008 was going to be, I'd have been less keen to see the back of 2007. Anyway, Polly is no more. A pretty ghastly weekend really; good deal of time spent almost literally holding her paw at odd hours of the night and such. At least she was able to be out in what sun we had on Saturday, which was nice. Always one for some sunshine.

Funny to think she's the last of a whole family we've had over the years, back to her grandmother. We also had her aunt, my brother had her uncle and half-brother and so forth. So something of an end of an era.

It's going to be one of those weeks I fear. Today was supposed to be a Haircut Day (urgh) but the hairdresser is on crutches so we'll remain unshorn. Not too disastrous as I've already been nagged into letting my hair grow longer for The Wedding (why? I dunno) so can manage a passable impression of a shaggy dog as it is. Tuesday, guess what? Vic the plumber is coming again. Did I tell you about the new taps? Probably not. But one started to leak (of course) so he's coming to sort it out. Wednesday we slope off up country for said Wedding on Thursday. Great. It's not like I was exactly in the mood before, but now... On the bright side I may still be internet-enabled; on the minus side we all know how unreliable 'puters are... Oh, and this weekend was the Southwest Forest Woodfair, which, naturally, I missed. Even if I was in the right frame of mind for it, which I wasn't. And another Popular Woodworking mag has come, to join the pile of the great unread.

So on the Happy Bunny Scale I'm registering somewhere around the Mouldy Lettuce Leaf mark.

But hey, it could be worse. At least I don't own a Bastille...

Friday, July 11, 2008


'pologies. In addition to everything else, the weather has decided to launch monsoon conditions upon the holidaymakers in Cornwall - and thus also on the poor heads of those of us stuck down here all year round. And what does heavy rain mean? Unreliable internet connection. Grrr. 

Thanks for the kind thoughts on and off line about Poll. She's still hanging on in there, which shouldn't come as a surprise given her rocky start to life and the determination she showed then. Between you and me, I think she knows the world exists purely for her benefit and is loathe to see it end abruptly when she goes, leaving us all in limbo. Of course she's right, but don't tell her I said so... ;-)

Anyway, yes, 'tis the hanging sheep of I & H Sorby that I had in mind. A bijou example ici:
Thanks to Peter for pointing out that you can search the PDF - I am, of course, a div. It's happening an awful lot just recently. Mind you, it shouldn't come as a surprise; one brain cell is easy to lose... And also a thank you to Gary for the excellent laugh I had from the quip that "I Sorby" was a Roman emperor. "I came, I Sorby, I made tools" perhaps?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


My, weren't you folks on the ball? Yep, the 'roo is Mr Robert Sorby's (Kangaroo Works, of course). Mr Punch the trademark introduced around 1870 for I(saac) Sorby, long since taken over by one of many subsequent firms even then. Here's a nice clear I Sorby example from an earlier post:

Extra bonus marks for naming another Sorby firm and its animal trademark...?

And the Elephant without parallel is indeed, Tyzack, Sons & Turner. Of which I have a few examples, but strangely no handy piccy. Heigh ho.

Apologies for the tardy update; another animal is causing concern chez Alf and it slipped my mind. Doesn't look too good for our cat, Polly. Her seventeen years appear to be catching up with her... :-(

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Somewhere on my extensive list of Things To Do, hidden amongst such recurring things as "do a blog entry" and "tackle the ironing", are numerous items I fear are just Castles in the Air. These days going into the workshop at all would probably qualify, but that's by-the-by... Anyway, one of aforementioned Castles is to assemble a web page (or pages) of the main British toolmakers with basic location and dates. But most importantly, with their trademarks. So imagine my happy dance when I stumbled across this page and downloaded the PDF of "Trademarks on Base-Metal Tableware. (It's about 9.7MB)

Tableware? I hear you query. Yep. An awful lot of toolmakers made cutlery too, so it's applicable.

The trouble is it has the same drawbacks as a book - you can't do a quick finder search of the text, which is why I dream of a website. Will it ever happen? You never know. Just don't hold your breath 'cos you'll only go blue in the face...

The drawback to finding this is I'll now see just how many more animal-related trademarks there are out there to find. Did I mention my little predilection for tools with animals on them? No? Well it's there. Mainly dormant, and I can obviously stop any time I like, but I do like them. In the words of a well-known character in old tool circles; I sorta collect them. Although I'm not a collector. Nosiree. Just a user. Yep.

Does that work when I haven't been using them? Oh let's not go there... To distract you from that train of thought, how about a quick quiz? Anyone want to identify these marks? 

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I seem to recall I caught some stick from our brethren in the Great White North last year in marking the Fourth of July but failing to wishing Canada a happy birthday on the First. So how I managed to fail again, I cannot explain. Sorry, sorry. It's only 'cos I feel that Canada, at a sprightly 100-and-something year old, should have got over its rebellious teenage years by now and be ready to come back home to the Empire... But can you imagine it? "Canada, tidy your room!" "Don't wanna. Going to the hockey game"

And yes, my tongue's so firmly in my cheek I have to eek ike is.

Oh, and I had a woodworking thought. I know, steady on. Worry not, it won't last. I had cause to look at the FWW blog page and spotted an entry by Garrett Hack about the class he recently took over here in Blighty. Now such is my non-woodworking attuned brain these days, I actually skipped 95% of it, but one thing caught my eye. 

"Since the humidity in England is consistently high, the wood we were working had a moisture content of I would guess 12 percent or so. Interestingly, it took the glue far longer to grab, which made for some revisions in how we worked."

Now I know we have a lot of differences twixt British woodworking and that in 'Murrica (mainly that it's more expensive over here) but I'd never given much thought to how it might effect some techniques that wouldn't obviously be an issue at first consideration. It madeth me to think; primarily that I now have a new excuse - I live on the wrong continent. No, please, don't disabuse me of this lovely thought with reasoned argument. I like the idea I can blame my failures on geography. Never did like the stuff.

It also keeps up a pretty remarkable record; I've yet to read an article by Mr Hack that hasn't taught me something. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Don't talk to me about spur cutters. Honestly, I managed to totally fail to engage my brain cell when it came to same on the Godot Brother and will have to take a re-sit. I could blame the lack of revision notes - and believe me, I do that too - but truth to tell usually I'd have spotted the obvious myself and I failed to. I dunno, I had a feeling it was all a bit pear-shaped but there we are. I'm really not at all on the woodworking ball at the moment and should probably be put out to pasture. Or humanely put out of my misery with a nail gun to the temple.

To add to my woes, er, joys I mean; my esteemed and much-loved mother - sometimes known as The Patient - found this blog the other day. So now I type with that additional viewer over the shoulder. That's good, isn't it...? However I don't expect her to be a regular visitor, and she hasn't grasped how to read beyond the last four entries, so fingers crossed we may yet get away with it...

Now I did warn you about the decline in my mood as The Wedding approached, didn't I? Yes, I did. See? I wasn't kidding.