Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear January, you are almost over, and this year you have NOT stolen my Halloween mojo!

November really sunk my creative spirit. My grandfather, a truly great man, passed away at the age of 91... on Rememberance day no less. Then illness descended on our family just days after the funeral. Flu, bronchitis, colds, sinusitis, pink eye, you name it- one of us had it. I spent a solid three weeks unable to get out of bed.

No wonder I had a burning urge to get back to the studio after Christmas! The Monster Pit was overhauled for another year of projects. New shelving, lighting, extra electrical outlets (thanks, Honey Bun!!), and a full restock of materials really put the wind back in my haunting sails.

Because of all that lost time, I have been on the electronic computing machine much less these days (or rather, the ECM for us technology-ies), and productivity is ramping up. So, January, despite your arse-freezing -33C windchills of late, and the general malaise you usually bring, you have not won this year, oh no!!

Here's the first in a series I'm working on for the shop- yard haunt monster arms on stakes. His working name is Gruesome Grossman, and his belle, Ghoulia, is currently in progress. That reminds me, does anyone remember the Flintstones episode with the Gruesomes? Loved them! :D

Well, it's back to work! TTYL! :D

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Weld or Not To Weld

I was working for the boss in the Monster Pit (engineering dept.) and I had to repair a prop that was proudly labelled "Made in China".  That should say it all right there. But it is so sad to see products made so cheaply, by unskilled labour, for pennies, and at gunpoint...possibly...maybe.
The point is that a metal prop was held together by a dot...a miniscule dot of solder. Not even a spot weld. Poo poo caa caa. As a millwright I hear a certain saying a lot in the field. As a courtesy, I will be clean. But it goes like this - "You put crap in, you get crap out." You get the picture.

Getting back to the issue here, sometimes there are instances where a project or prop needs a sturdy frame. Or perhaps there may be a consideration of strength where twisting wire just will not do.
So consider welding that frame. Sure it can be intimidating. So was riding a bike, or trying that mystery meat casserole. But you lived! You don't have to be a millwright to be a home hobby welder.

Most home haunter's could easily get used to a small mig welder, which incidently is a wire spool feed. It doesn't take much to operate one and they are pretty forgiving. Unlike a stick or arc welder that really gets hot and can literally melt away steel and blow holes in your work.

The downside to migs up here in Canada is the cold. As I write this it is warming up to -4 degrees celsius or 24 fahrenheit, up from -19c (-2F). That unfortuantely makes the spool wire brittle inviting many wonderful opportunities to learn and use expletives in new languages.

But aside from the cold a welder can assist you in projects in a great many ways. Think of how much wood it has taken to build that frame. "This #%*!! thing is so heavy." What if you had made that frame out of tubular steel or aluminum? Totally tubular. Sorry had too.
It's stronger and lighter in some aspects.

Right now I have an AC only arc welder. Sure I wanted the AC/DC model but this one was on sale at Canadian Tire for 75% off.

I was like a cougar on a wounded chicken.
It has done wonders for me especially with a project that will be exhumed at a later date.
I have the flexibility to work with different thicknesses of steel, from thin sheets to heavier angle iron. I can also get a wide variety of welding rods to suit my task as required.

As in the picture I have the 1/8th standard rod on the left, the 3/32 rod in the middle and the 1/16th rod on the right. All are E6013 rods (easy weldablity) and each thickness is for a different application with different levels of heat. Think about it and the possiblities. Do you know someone with a welder (not me) who would be willing to show the basics just to fart around for an afternoon? To weld some scrap steel, chip some slag and get an awesome sunburn from the UV's. Great! Try it, consider it as a way to add on to your skills as a home haunter. Plus the neighbours think it's pretty cool watching the arc flash and realizing too late that their cornea's are fried and that their eyeballs are about to melt. 
Have fun, grab a stinger and strike an arc, but please, be careful, don't look at the arc flash without protection, don't weld near very flammable foam - POOF instant cyanide, and be aware of who is around you, kids are drawn to the arc. Good luck. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ever have non-buyer's remorse?

You know, that thing you should have jumped on, but you stalled like a lame-brain, and someone beat you to the punch and NOW IT'S GONE FOREVER?  *deep breath* Yeah, this one is mine:

Just imagine this phantom fam strolling in the moonlight over the misty moors. :D
These remarkable costumes are from Reveries of Solace on Etsy. The attention to detail, quality and authenticity make these my fave Victorian ghostie pics period. She even nailed the hair and makeup. And really now, could those kids be any cuter?!

It's worth mentioning that this lovely lady also has other fabulous costumes currently available in her shop- the Absinthe Fairy and Hecate designs are especially gorgeous.