Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose
Photo: Journey Worker Productions, CC SA 3.0 (C)

Monday, 26 June 2017

Electrolysis / Restoring old hand tools

I picked up some new tools when over in Perth for Christmas, including a very old and rusted corner plane. <picture to follow>, and a very old wooden plane, and some very good chisels - not a set but someone's old working box of chisels, all sorts of odds and sod chisels, but all in very good condition. Those should be fun to try out <pictures to follow!>. I'd been putting off buying chisels until Feb, but found them at a bookshop I go to any buy everything in Perth whenever Im there. Ive been getting stuff there since about 1992!  Off the planes, one is a stanley corner plane, the other a small oddly horned wooden plane (in size, the wooden one is roughly the equiv of a number 3 or a 4).

This lead me to think about how to go about restoring the tongues on the wooden one and the body and mechanisms and tongue and blade on the corner plane. I am going to try electrolysis once I get back to Melbourne. Here were some sites that gave me ideas. My father had done electrolysis back in the 60s (he's an industrial chemist and tinkerer), which encouraged me. Most sites recommend the use of battery chargers still plugged into the wall. Im suspicious about this recommendation, and think that Ill try a battery instead (a lamp battery perhaps?; something lowish volt but with a high store of power). Too much can go wrong with something plugged into the mains for a first try, and I really dont want to short it. He also endorsed the details advanced in the last (comprehensive) blog here, which notes the possibility of using salt instead of sodium carbonate solutions as an electrolytic solution. Much easier than buying crystals to use salt! He also noted the salt will help the reaction, and iodine in salt is not a problem, and gave me some lowdown on electrolyte solutions.

Handy guide to doing electrolysis on handtools:

quick, but a bit boganny/rednecky and not technical:

comprehensive (UK):

Convenient guide to kinds of rust - helpful to work backwards and figure out what a metal is (esp.for stainless steel vs iron).

This one, oriented around restoring coins, has a nice picture of re-using an old mobile phone charger, and a visual test for + vs - charge:

Citrus mulch update

I noted earlier that Id experimented with using citrus as a mulch, and found from 2015-2016 that it did successfully rot away.

So in mid 2016 I devoted a pot to being the "citrus dump" which has grown numerous leeks, a complete corn plant, two small broad beans, and is now growing some kale, among a few other things. (Even parsely has started to grow, it is so fertile).

Here's what the pot looked like in August 2016 -

Start of a citrus pot dump - August 2016

It was successful, so in about March 2017, I started another pot of citrus-only mulch.

I will take a pic and update this post on what the result looks like after a year. Short answer: surprisingly fertile, and all sorts of plants are happy to grow in citrus, contrary to the myth of acidity that one hears. Indeed, once one has about 1 inch of rotted citrus in the pot, the earthworms turn up and start eating away as normal. One just has to let the fungus arrive and make the citrus edible by breaking it down.

OK, more later....

Random pictures of the last year...

Saw this caterpillar cocoon in the garden so I took the leaf for a few days in a jar and it turned into a very ugly moth:

Parrots in the garden! (or lorrikeets, not sure)

Around May 2017 I took to walking to work (about half way) to try to fend off winter misery.

Here's a few shots of things encountered in my travels.

Some lovely cherry apples:

A haul after a walk in - a passionfruit, some cherry tomatoes, some acorns, a semi-dried-chilli off the plant...

This time, having a street forage, came across who? in the back lane - about 4 of them, one visible - zoom in and look!

These potatoes were the modest result of harvesting in late spring. With some cheese, delicious!

Fishing in autumn at the bay got this result:

Ham bacon and nettle soup from August 2016 -

Ham bacon and nettle soup - another attempt (this one better)

Here are a few depressing pictures  -

Artificial plant maintenance ....

and....Artificial human maintenance...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Nice youtube on replacing shovel heads

Mine has rotted out after 6 years, so I have to replace the handle (or re-set the handle...)

Friday, 1 April 2016

Update - cucurbits!

I went to visit the family for the Easter break, and got some sun, and some very fine liturgy at the Parish of Saint Ninian and Chad, associated with the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, in Maylands, WA.

You can read about the Australian Ordinariate - the division of Roman Catholicism for ex-Anglicans running with Anglican patrimony and a version of their liturgy here:

Lovely ¨Who sitteth at the right hand of the Father¨ and ¨thou mayest...¨, ¨Thou Art...¨ etc. Marvellous. No guitars.

And jars of delicious old-style homemade jams and pickles for sale at the back of the church! Where else do you get that in the contemporary Church? Real Oxford-cut marmalade rather than marmalade-labelled orange-coloured sugary-water in the supermarkets...

And this was the beach on a late afternoon day...

And after grumbling about the failure of the cucurbits here, what was in the garden when I returned?

Nothing but this! -

An unidentified cucurbit -  approximately fist-sized, ...
with seeding fat hen on the right-middle side (the lighter plant, with mature fat hen leaves making a curious background pattern)

So I have had a modest success for the season.

My hand pollination skills are still worth something.