Some Assembly Required

All the parts for three chairs are sanded and ready for assembly. I have been busy getting one chair put together so have been doing some quick posts on my other blog site for now (“Visual Montage” on the menu bar above).

Vintage Trunk

Last summer we bought a circa 1900 steamer trunk made by L. McBrine and Co. – rather unique having drawers. It was in pretty rough shape, especially the interior with torn and stained fabric.

Since I was repurposing it to use in our living room for my knick knacks I didn’t go for a full restore.  The first step was to strip off the exterior canvas to get down to the pine wood to refinish.

The material inside was attached with wallpaper paste. I soaked the material with water which helped with the removal. I then had to scrape the paste off the wood and then sand. I sealed everything with varathane and gave it all a wax.

I loaded up the drawers with all my goodies and put some of my favourites on display.



When I was an early teen our next door neighbour, a British Colonel in his last days, gave me his banjo. Apparently he had played classical music on the banjo – a little hard to imagine.  Unfortunately I never heard him play but it was a well used banjo. While I tried playing for a while my true love was guitar so the banjo went into storage. Last month I decided to pull it out and see if my preferences had changed at all. The banjo wasn’t in great shape so I did a little restoration work.

The first problem was the skin had split so I ordered a new goat skin to replace the old one.

A new life skill of soaking and stretching the goat skin, a bit of swearing, some spit and polish,
new strings and bridge and it was ready to go

The banjo was made by  J. E. Dallas in London, England between 1893 and 1914.


The restored banjo along with some of my other instruments. My Simon & Patrick acoustic, a 1928 National Triolian Resophonic guitar – the original National guitar, a mandolin c. 1930, a very old classic guitar that someone put steel strings on and needs restoring soon, a hunting horn and an old autoharp.

Salvaging a Photo Op

A couple of posts ago I published  “A Walk in the Fall.”  It was an unusual photo in that I usually try not to do much photo manipulation with my work other than what I would normally do in a darkroom. A bit of cropping, exposure corrections, colour balance, etc. With the “Walk in the Fall” photo I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture the the beautiful mist and sky even though I knew I had to remove a fairly major power line (shown in today’s photo).  Twenty minutes work with ON1 Photo Raw 2018 (I no longer use Photoshop) and I managed to get a pleasing result. Sometimes it pays not to put unnecessary restrictions on oneself.


With our cold, and rainy weather right now the workshop is the perfect place to be. The work in progress are a pair of sawhorses constructed with joinery – mortised, tenoned and wedged with no glue, nails or screws. I have spent my life telling myself I didn’t have the precision to do such work but when I recently reached the ripe age of 65 I figured what the heck. Lo and behold they are turning out okay. Just goes to show we are usually our own worst enemies.


Bird Bath (2 photos)

I thought I would try doing some photos using a long USB cable from my camera to my laptop. I had limited success. I think the USB is too long and transferring data from the camera to the laptop would sometimes crash the program. However I did manage to get some shy birds bathing and I can see the potential shooting remotely if I can work out the bugs.

Swainson's Thrush

Well camouflaged Swainson’s Thrush