Friday, January 27, 2012

New Profile Pic From Savannah Visit

I finally got tired of my profile photo. It's been so long they've painted the pub yellow and removed that bench. The current photo, which is posted in this post so after I change it again folks will know what I'm talking about, was taken in May 2011 when we stopped in Savannah on our way to McGee Marsh in Ohio for the spring warbler migration. I'm playing one of my Bb whistles.

This is what has to say about this monument:

Historical Marker

Savannah's Irish and Robert Emmet Park

Once known as the Strand and later as Irish Green because of its proximity to the Irish residents of Savannah's Old Fort neighborhood, this park was renamed in 1902 for the Irish patriot Robert Emmet (1778-1803) to commemorate the centennial of his death. Emmet, who led an unsuccessful Dublin uprising for Irish independence and was executed for treason, was a hero to Savannah's Irish community. Emmet is best known for the speech in which he asked that his epitaph not be written until "my country takes her place among the nations of the earth.” Emmet Park remains an important center of ceremonial congregation for Savannahians of Irish descent.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society and the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee.

You can click the image to view it larger, when you can read 

To Americans of Irish descent 
Past - Present - Future
Erin Go Bragh

Here's what the whole monument looks like:

There was a lot more Irish going on in Savannah than I expected. Their St Patrick's Day Committee has a permanent brick-and-mortar office with a really cool sign.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Well, it's been another period of no posts. I seem to go in spurts like that, sharing what's going on and then focusing on actually doing things, and not communicating about it. But I'm like that I suppose. My wife says when I get interested in something I focus on it. 

I have not made any real progress on the black whistles because while the mandrel approach does work, it is somewhat unpredictable. Maybe it's lack of practice on my part, but sometimes I get a nice looking mouthpiece and sometimes I wrinkle it as I'm trying to get it to slip over the mandrel. I think it's due in part to the mandrel not being heated and cooling the part before it's fully expanded, causing it to bind. I may try making a mandrel with passages for the hot air so I can keep the mandrel warm from the inside and possibly improve the repeatability of the forming. 

But, then how to get the parts off and allow them to cool? The seem to do best when allowed to cool on the mandrel, but this will mean each mouthpiece will take a LONG time to make compared to turning and parting on the lathe. The temperature of the shop compared to the temperature of the mandrel causes varying amounts of shrinking while the part cools off the mandrel. 

So this is the main technical hurdle at the moment. The other reason for a lack of progress on the black whistles is the need to make white whistles for customer and dealer orders for the holidays. At one point I had a backlog of over 100 whistles, not counting multiple bodies for most of those. I'm not complaining! But I believe existing orders come before R&D, so not much R&D has been done. 

But with the holidays past I'm about to catch up - in fact I hope to ship all outstanding orders today, or at least have them ready to ship tomorrow. And then I'll get back on the black whistle project, and hopefully let you know how it's going from time to time. Maybe I'll set a reminder in my things to do to prompt me to post....