Dancing in the Dark – Cine Negro – Flash Mob Dancing is next !

Argentine Tango

Recently letter appeared in our local paper saying that a beautiful scene was witnessed late on a Friday night in Qualicum Beach , a sleepy town renown for its elderly population. A couple were seen dancing Argentine Tango in the street near the Fire Hall. A follow up letter was submitted the following week by one of the participants inviting others ho join them at 11 pm on Fridays during the Summer.

Another of my interests is making movies and this subject appealed to me. My wife Dian, and I were there this week with video camera. My camera in HD format but an inexpensive one and hence poor in low light capability so I hand no idea what I might be able to record. The lighting around the Fire Hall was better that expected and the near full moon was rising over the Town Hall. There were six of us gathered and some exercise mats laid down on the pavement and using iPhone with stereo wireless speakers dancing began  and continued until midnight much to the astonishment of a few folks driving by 🙂

I was fun and we enjoyed meeting other mildly eccentric owls!

The video captured was pretty grainy so I applied a B&W effect and added some suitable sound tracks the result is a quite pleasing Cine Negro !
You can watch the 6 minute version here :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fSnSd88TL

Maybe this will be the next Mob thing – Imagine Dancing breaking out after dark in the most unexpected places  around your community 🙂


Granddads Compass Plane -Reducing the throat

Grand Dad’s Compass Plane

I have a curved bottom plane probably made by my Grand Father Tom Thornton during his apprenticeship. I inherited from my Dad and tidy it up to put on show.  This type of plane was used often for rough work and create concave surfaces such as Chair seats or parts used in carriage making. It had not been used in my memory. I recently started a project of a curved top desk which also has curved legs

Having bandsawn the curves I needed to refine the convex surfaces. I tried to use the Compass plane but struggled with it because the throat was very wide = 5/8″. I looked at information on the web which suggested that a narrow throat enable fine shaving cuts to be made.

Although reluctant to modify the plane I decided to rout a recess in the sole to accept an insect to narrow the throat opening. I used the Shopsmith as router/mill and clamped the plane body to the worktable. using a 5/8dia bit cut a slot 1/4″ deep across the trailing edge of the the throat.

From a piece of selected very

Now it works to my satifaction 🙂

hard wood I made a key plug a jam fit so as to avoid glue and have it removable.

Easy & Stowable Saw Horses

Portable-Stowable Plywood Saw Horses

I was given the pattern for these by Ben our then landlord in 1980. I have used them regularly ever since and occasionally made copies as gifts for friends. I suspect it orginally appeared in Wood Working Mag.

Hints & Tips:
Don’t cut the slots in the the top rail until you have properly fitted the lower rail by adjusting the birdmouth profile for a snug fit. Then position tho slots at the apropriate ( Approx 15degree angle ) so have the legs sprung inward thus holding the top rail in place via tensegrity 🙂

I used rebated hardwood instead of plywood for the top face of the top rail & covered it with heavy canvas to protect surface finishes of my work.

Drill a large = 3/4″ hole through each part when nestled together – ( 4 legs near top) & ( 4 top and bottom rails tucked together alternately) to provide a convenient method the hang them up for storage.

Components from sheet stock


15 degree slope of legs = good rigidity

Drawings Here:

Click this link for Bird Mouth Profile .pdf :

Click this link for cutting diagram .pdf :

Wood Carving Gallery

I have not carved for a quite while over a year for sure. The happy couple next door came over to announce their wedding day – 28 th July – 5 weeks to make them a Welsh Love Spoon as a gift.
Steve owns a flooring manufacturing business using only locally grown native species . What better source of curly Western Maple 🙂

This afternoon while working on this project I though that I should put up a bragging gallery of my work over the past several years.

Click the link Below :



Small Gift Presentation Box – Easy to make :)

Having made a “Lovespoon ” as a wedding gift for my next door neighbour. I thought that I would try to make a “Presentation Gift Box” for the spoon. My friend “Feather George” makes beautiful presentation boxes for his carved feathers. http://www.heartstrong.ca/featherlight-creations.
Chat with George –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCeqiKL0hpQ&feature=youtu.be

I thought I might try a simpler style.

The spoon is carved from a piece of Western Curly Maple floorboard .Steve, the groom, owns a wood flooring manufacturing business using only native species grown on the Vancouver Island. For the box I chose another of his woods Red Alder two pieces 3/4″ thick  x 3 1/2″ wide 10 1/2″ long.

First I re-sawed a 3/16 thick slice off of each face of the first piece. These will become the bottom and top faces. I then traced the outline of the spoon centred on the 2nd piece and cut out the centre on my scroll saw. The outer will be later glued to the bottom to form the shaped recess for the spoon. The edges of both portions were then dressed and sanded smooth. The cut-out centre was now sliced to 3/16″. The slice will be attached to the top /lid to form a register.

As and added tough I decide that if I used coloured veneer at the joints I could better disguise the joint lines and add a sparkle to the project. Black for the bottom and red for the top which will also face to the inside of the registration piece.

The lid was to be secured by embedding magnets in the undurside of the lid with two opposing poles set in the base.  1/8″ dia x 1/8″ long rare earth magnets were placed by drilling the 1/8
‘dia holes from the underside of the base profile before attaching the veneered bottom and penetrating to only 1/10″ deep the lid. This method insured that the magnets would be aligned.
Hindsight 🙂 I would recomend a slightly larger magnet  -3/16 or perhaps 1/4″ for more secure lid attachment.

After gluing up, the box was trimmed down to a final 1/16″ side wall thickness to give in a more light and airy feel. Finished to 600 grit and several coats of Tung Oil applied.

A ” Feather George” Feather & Box
Components – lid -profiled mid section, base


Before glue-up


1/8″ rare earth Magnets =too small 🙁  Use 1/4″next time


RUST BULLET -Black Shell Painting a Utility Trailer



My Snow Bear utility trailer is over 10 years old and having sat out in all weathers was looking quite “Tatty” lots of surface rust. She who must be obeyed recommended that I clean it up as it was a disgrace to the neighbourhood sat on the front drive 🙂

Researching what was a good affordable and durable paint I found  Black Hard Shell by Rust Bullet which in Canada can be ordered from :

Pitted Rust exposed


The material comes in a can and it is advisable to also order a small amount of its solvent. As the paint is near impossible to remove from skin or other surfaces once splashed on without the proper solvent. The paint comes with a complex application data sheet and cautions prepared by their lawyers I think.

I prepaired the trailer by dismantling as much a practicle  and abrading the rusted surfaces with a wire wheel on my angle grinder. The manufacturer does not suggest thorough prep but just remove loose stuff.
The paint was then applied with a 2″ brush . It deos not go on like ordinary paint it is a lot thinner soaking into any porous area = Rust patches. It also dries really quickly ! So plan how you are going cover the larger areas without getting lap marks.

It is now several months on and the finish is standing up very well, looks nice a bright and shine to 🙂
The real test of course will be to see how it looks after a couple of West Coast Winters.

12 mths & a long wet winter later it looks terrific 🙂

A quart with solvent and shipping came to approx $100 and I still have some left over after painting a 4 x 8 Snowbear Trailer . –

TSR 2 -Supersonic Blast from my Past

TSR 2 Britains super fighter/bomber

Updated : Nov 16 2015

Newly released film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o53u0X0Ik0w

 The only TSR-2 to fly, XR219 in anti-flash white finish, at BAC’s Warton factory in 1966

Links : http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/tsr2/history.php

 In Flight  Film  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXdJxjvQZW4


During the early ’60’s I worked at the Plessey  Research facility near Romsey then named Roke Manor. I was a lead mechanical designer working on a ECM package for this aircraft. It was to replace a similar functioning unit used in the V series bombers. The size of that unit was approx equal to two garbage cans. The unit for TSR 2 was to be minute in comparison. The finished size was 10″ in dia x 10″ long being super cooled with glycol. The microwave section was 1/8 ceramic triplanes and a new range of  miniature microwave connectors was designed to facilitate connections of the interior circuitry. I have learned that the unit was never installed and probably handed over to RAE at Farnborough.

In 1965 Harold Wilson and the Labour government of 1965  cancelled the entire aircraft project. In doing so crippled the British Aero industry. I was so disillusioned by the The UK’s failure to place significant value on those brilliant designers and engineers that I made plans to leave the UK. 1967 I emigrated to BC Canada to begin working a a designer for at the then new Western Star Truck Plant in Kelowna BC.

This work was covered by the British Official Secrets Act for the Next 25 years = Secret

Micro Wave coupler 5x full size
Development Bench tool – X band Phase Shifter

I goes without saying it is a near identical scenario the surrounded the all weather fighter the Avro Arrow here in Canada at around the same time.

I am sure some of this ECM developed went on to be used on later aircraft for the RAF but the momentum was lost.

For anyone with a desire to learn more – Damien Burke has published a very good book ” TSR 2  -Britains Lost Bomber ”  Although very well researched it denies that an ECM package was under developement for TSR2 which I know to be false ! Daimien has a copy of a letter from a senior RAF commander stating that there was to NO ECM package . I suspect ARE had other ideas which they kept under wraps .

Document – Noise Jammers denied – Our unit was a complete ECM package.