Sunday, 23 October 2016

More Pyrography!

I need something to keep me busy, I was informed on Friday that I will be having my first knee operation this Wednesday, that I would receive a call on Saturday (yesterday) with the time, and also another appointment for Monday or Tuesday to see the Anaesthetist, but no call, so I am on pins!

I saw this wall hanging in a local DIY Store a week or so ago.

Being all wood, I liked the idea, but instead of stencilling the words, I wanted to burn them on, OK it takes longer but I think it looks more finished.

I started by doing a bit of shopping, I already had the timber, but I needed acrylic paints, so the when I was next in the City I bought a selection.

Then it was time to prepare the wood, I cut the panels from 2x4, various thickness, lengths and widths, not being too particular, but from each section of 2x4 cut I obtained three  panels.

I then painted them, using a brush, thinning the paint out with water

but they were too vibrant, so I sanded them down, so the wood was showing through,

and made some backing/hanging boards from 3mm doorskin ply to keep the boards together and also provide a means of hanging them.

It was then onto the computer to come up with some Fonts, to create the words, which I printed out on a laserjet printer in mirror form, (so that they would be the right way around when applied to the wood). I ironed the homemade transfers onto the wood panels, after which I burned them permanently into the wood with my pyrography kit, this is what takes the time, but it is worth it.

I am happy with the process, but think one or two of the Fonts need changing, overall I think it is a success, not too difficult to do, and I can see a production line coming along, with variations on the same theme!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Some light work!

I had my MRI on  my knee, and unfortunately the right one is, to put it bluntly, knackered, so I have been put in for an operation, and I am just waiting for a date.

This week I went to see a Neurosurgeon regarding my spine problems, he has ruled out surgery for now, he states if they fuse the discs, the problem will just move further up my spine, there is nothing they can do about the damage, but he believes in time they can eliminate the pain, and I can't ask for more than that! Firstly he intends to do another Spinal Block, but in a different location.  Made it easier, understanding every word he said, he qualified in Canada and lived there for two years, so spoke fluent English.

So back to reality, I have been doing bits and pieces, nothing worth a post in itself, but I thought I would share a couple of them with you.

Firstly, more work for Marcela, she wanted a bill board to put outside the shop, easy enough you would think, but it had to be light enough for women to carry in and out, and yet big enough to be able to attach a plastic sign describing the services, and believe me, Marcela will not use a couple of words if twenty will do!!!

I decided on 100cm high by 50cm wide for the boards, these I cut from some 6mm plywood I had in stock, to make this rigid, I cut the legs into 2"x 2" sections from some 2x4, and then braced them top and bottom with a strip of 2x4. The board was then attached with brad nails and glue.

Here the two sides are just propped together to get an idea of what it was going to look like, having cut 22.5° angles on the feet.

I then painted the two sides white, which when dry, I joined with three strong hinges on the top, and electric stapled two lengths of rope between the two sides to keep the boards upright.

Marcela ordered her signs to go on either side, and now it is sat outside the shop!

That done, our neighbour has opened a Fast Food joint, next to our finca, I wasn't happy at first, but so far, no problems! and we have put our differences aside...for now. They have some good ideas, but not a lot of cash to implement them, they came up with a good idea for signs outside, cutting lengths of 6x1 1/2 pine and threading them on some hemp rope, but they spoiled it by writing the signs on paper and gluing it to the wood, so wanting to keep occupied, I offered to do some pyrography, saying I would do it for free, nothing else to say. Within an hour the board were down taken off the rope, and offered me in a pile.

Hard to see I know, but I drew around some cardboard stencils I had bought recently for another job,
and then out came my wood burning kit. I haven't used it for a while, and it was nice to get back into the swing of it.

I did a couple, and took them for the Daughter to see, as she is running the place, I didn't want to spend all day doing it, only for her to decide she didn't like them, but she was over the moon, so I kept going, and finished the last one off this morning.

Certainly looks a lot better than what was there before, and it looks as if I may get some paid work out of it, so not bad for one days work!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Oh Bother!

The title does not do this post justice, but if I wrote what I am actually thinking I would have to ban myself!

Health wise, I know a bit more, but I am no further forward towards a resolution, my Orthopaedic Surgeon, has now said he is going to operate on both knees, but due to my age, they wont do a replacement, because hopefully I would still be alive when they had worn out, so he is going to try and clean up the joints, and thinks that should last me a few years, I am having an MRI on my right knee on Tuesday, this is the latest part of my body to collapse, and probably more painful than the left one.

I had a bone gammagraphy to try and resolve the problem on my spinal column, but it doesn't reveal anything, now I am waiting to be referred for tests on my colon to see it that is putting pressure on the spine, but my family Doctor is away, and I can't see him until October 7th, I wont go to another Doc, because I know I will end up being sent elsewhere, so I will just have to grin and bear it for the time being.

The reason for this post!  Last week I cut back our Dame de la Noche shrub, as it appeared to be dying back, and it is just as well I did, because last night, I discovered subsidence under the pathway leading to the house, there is a problem with this further away from the house, but I put that down to the path having been laid on the grass without preparation, maybe I was wrong, this is definitely more serious. I started by poking a stick under the path, and there was only air!

As a result I dug out an access

It goes down nearly a meter and back at least the same again, I have dug the hole out from both side of the path (now the animals have a tunnel), makes it easier to assess the situation, and to fill with concrete!

Tomorrow it is down to the Deposito first thing, to order 20 sacks of sand/gravel mix and 4 sacks of cement to start with. I will have to have it delivered, if only to save my back for an hour or two.
This isn't going to be much fun, walking stick in one hand, shovel in the other...bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Hopefully they will be able to deliver in the morning, it depends on their regulars. Then I can guarantee the rest of the day will be spent flat on my back!
I just hope this is the only major problem, and nothing more serious is happening under the house, if it is, then I will have to rely on my insurance policy...Colombian Builders!

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


The Blog seems to be drying up, and to be honest, I can't see things getting better, any time soon, I was hoping that by now my health issues would be on the way to being sorted, but instead, things seem to be going from bad to worse, resulting in me being unable to spend any time out in the workshop.

I am not yet going to close the Blog, but it will be in hibernation until there is significant improvement in my health.

Thanks to those of you who have been dropping in, there may be an entry here from time to time, but for now, I wouldn't bank on it.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Trailer Maintenance

This is definitely not going as I had hoped, I had the intention of removing the sides in one piece, and restoring then, but after I had undone the nuts, I found, the trailer had not been built to be maintained!... sounds stupid, I know, but it's correct.  The sides have been bolted to the main frame, in such a way, that to try and remove the bolts would have split the boards, so after a struggle I re-applied the nuts, and sanded the side down in situ, just removing the wheel arch, and strap holders.

Once I had finished sanding the old finish off, I again used engine oil to cover the side. it looks a lot better, and should last a while. That's half the trailer done, I'll get the rest done as time allows.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Home Alone!

Marcela headed off Saturday morning, and won't return until tomorrow, she and her Mother have been getting the shop ready for opening on Tuesday, (Monday is a National Holiday!)

Earlier on she sent me these two photos, it looks as if she is nearly ready for business

Apparently she made her first sale today, a child called on them whilst they were working, that is certainly encouraging! The shop is near to a school, so we are hoping that will help, because here in Colombia, the schools provide nothing, everything has to be bought by the Parents, not ideal, but hopefully that will help Marcela. She also intends to liaise with the school regarding stocking text books, so all we can do now is keep our fingers crossed.

I am sure that I will be called upon to do odd jobs, but that is it all wrapped up for now.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Another Project bites the Dust!

It took me a couple of days longer than I thought, after working 12 hours on Saturday, I woke up on Sunday, and wanted to curl up and die, between the pain in my back and feeling ill, I was fit for nothing, so spent the day in bed, I said it was as a result of the heat, Marcela said it was because I didn't stop to eat!

Yesterday, I had a better day, mainly because I went to visit my Colombian Accountant, and as a result of the taxes I pay back in the UK, along with the expenses working on the house, I have again had a nil income tax return in Colombia, so I was happy to pay her fee, but I have been warned that, I am likely to have to pay something next year, as there is a big tax reform coming in later this year, and it is unlikely I will get away scott free again

This morning it was back to the shop, the work was more or less completed, I just had to add some trim, tidy up a bit of the work, put one of the glass display cabinets together, and install the alarm, I arrived at 7.30am and left at 11am...Job done!

Now it is all up to Marcela and her Mother to make it work, although from the interest shown whilst I was working there, I don't think they should have much trouble making a success, of what will be a Stationary store / Papelaria and Costume Jewellery / Bisuteria.