Monday, September 16, 2013

Keeping Busy, Mostly

The cartridge pouch is done, except for two things. The first is punching the hole in the tab which holds it closed, a 2-minute job, max. The other is slightly more complex. The pattern calls for the side pieces being double layered, but when I cut it out, I only cut out one of each side piece, and assembled it that way. All the photos of originals show doubled side pieces, so the plan is to cut new ones, trim as necessary to get a good fit, and glue them in. 

After my previous post I did more searching, and found another source for reproduction black buckles. And, it turns out, they specify their 7/8" buckles as for cartridge pouches. So my gut was right that 3/4" buckles looked small. Waiting for those to come in.

At MuseCon I was working on some very small reproduction (cap) pouches, which I thought I'd misplaced, along with the parts for a smaller belt-only pistol cartridge pouch. Saturday I found them, on the sewing machine table, trying to hide behind a box flap. I feel so S-M-R-T smart.

I decided to order more tails for Maneki Neko Con, including some less expensive ones (fox and raccoon). Those should be delivered today. They probably won't arrive until about the time we get home anyway, but I warned Robin so that he can keep the box out of easy dog access range, on the chance it arrives earlier than expected.

Saturday I tagged all the other tails and the potion bottles, and have notes to update inventory. Pippin was very good, only sniffing a lot, but that doesn't mean I trust him. 

Saturday morning Ron, Robin, and Marmaduke re-packed the trailer, with all the new gridwall and accessories, as well as everything that usually lives in Thing2, which had been in the basement since we used Thing2 at MuseCon.

Tagging bottles and tails Saturday was by way of taking a break from working on the computer - Friday night was the main content deadline for the Windycon program book, and I was trying to get a good chunk of it done this weekend. I didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped to, but probably as much as I is/was reasonable to expect. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Progress, but Not Quite Planned

I had been sorta-kinda planning on working on more potion vial (test tube) carriers and/or a bandolier this weekend, as well as a way to put the little cobalt blue bottles on a belt.  

Didn't quite happen.  The grommets and grommet sets I ordered hadn't arrived (not entirely surprisingly), so I didn't get as far as poking at the bandolier.  I was going to pick up drill bits Friday evening for the bottle project, but on-line shopping meant that I Ron picked them up for me, and for various reasons we didn't get to doing anything with them Saturday morning. 

Saturday afternoon we went to a friend's, where she and Ron worked on the MuseCon website, and I worked on a cartridge pouch.Sunday I worked on the cartridge pouch some more, and Ron had fun with stained glass. 

Yesterday Ron had picked up the rest of the narrow gridwall we'd ordered, which had come in to the supplier much earlier than I expected (not that I'm complaining, I thought they wouldn't be in until after Maneki Neko Con). Now we have a recycling wheelie bin full of tall cardboard boxes, and front entry full of of tables and gridwall.

And yesterday the self-centering punches I ordered (and ordered and ordered) last week had arrived. The small set starts at 1/4" and goes up to 1" in diameter. The set with the big red handle goes from 1-1/8" up to 1-1/2". 

The small set is in a plastic case with nubs to hold things in place. The big set is in foam in a cardboard box. A larger-than-expected box, but the handle is bigger than expected, too. I need to find a case of some kind for it, hopefully a little smaller than the box it came in. Or the same size would be ok, if I could also work in the small set. We'll see.

Worked on the cartridge pouch yesterday, at this point there's one side of one side piece to sew on (which you can't really see here), and the tab to hold the outer flap shut.

I hadn't quite realized how much work there is in one of these, as Ron had done all the marking, stitching holes, and assembly on the ones we'd made previously. That would be why we charge $90 for them. 

I tried to order more of the black buckles (which hold the shoulder strap) that you can kind of see on the bottom of the cartridge pouch yesterday. They're replicas of ones from the Civil War, an are nice, but the supplier is out of them either again or still.

The pattern calls for 3/4" buckles, and the ones I used on this pouch were 7/8", as I'd decided the 1/8" was Plenty Close Enough, Thanks. I can get non-replica black roller buckles in 1" from one of my more usual suppliers, and I suspect the only significant difference is the weight of the tongue. I was looking at pictures yesterday, and I think I can
justify, at least to myself, going to 1" buckles. In fact, 3/4" looks like it would be on the small side. I just haven't quite convinced myself to do it. Maybe I'll exercise my Google-Fu one more time before I decide.

If nothing else, it would distract me from the fact that I've been fasting since 8:30-ish this morning, until after an ultrasound at 4:15 this afternoon. Yes, I know, that's not really a very long time, but OTOH, low blood sugar makes me cranky. And I have a Windycon meeting tonight. Yes, Ron is making sure I get fed between the ultrasound and the meeting. He doesn't want me arrested for murder . . .

Friday, September 6, 2013

Potion Vials

I have made another new thing - a prototype holder for potion vials (aka test tubes):

Unlike the potion bottles, this prototype has/had some issues.

It started out with just the upper strap, and the bottom shelf was supposed to be a pocket. Unfortunately, I made the pocket too shallow, and it flops open. Also, if the back flexes at all, the tubes can go right on past the shelf, and they have no lip to catch on the upper loop.

The last loop on the left of the lower strap is not in line with the rest of that strap. Not sure what happened there. 

The loops are snug enough that the whole lower pocket/shelf idea is probably unnecessary, and I'll probably just go with two sets of loops. I like the look of the wider upper one, I'll probably go with that.  And the corners will probably end up rounded off. Not sure if I want to stick with rivets for the belt loops, or go with sewing. 

Crunching the numbers, a piece like this for holding 5 vials would probably be $15. The test tubes, with nice black rubber stoppers, would be $1 each, either for the colored ones or for clear ones. Smaller tubes (not shown) would be $0.75, again with stoppers.

I used the slightly frosted translucent tubes for test-fitting, as they were kind of an "oops" purchase - I meant to get the transparent ones, but they weren't worth the cost/bother of sending back. Debating if I want to knock some off the price for those, which would come with the plastic stoppers shown for the larger sizes. I'm thinking $0.80 for the larger size, and $0.60 for the smaller, which I don't have stoppers for.

The next new project is a holder for small potion bottles - I have some very pretty small cobalt blue glass bottles with screw caps (root root root . . . yes, I do have a picture): 

These are 2-ounce bottles, about an inch and a half in diameter. (The larger clear glass square bottles I did over the weekend are 7 ounce and the spherical and cylindrical ones are 8.5 ounce). 

I think for the little cobalt blue bottles will have one strap, a bottom socket, and either a belt loop or a belt clip - I'm inclined toward the belt clip just for something different. 

Robin and I have been consulting on how to do a bottom socket, probably stopping at a woodworking store on the way home tonight as part of that project. Ron also offered input.

Getting out the test tubes stimulated Robin's creativity, he was coming up with a design for a pouch to hold his share of the test tube stash. I think I understand what he's planning, but this morning I asked him to cut the parts out of paper. Not that his drawings aren't clear, but I'd just be more comfortable seeing a mock-up. Contra-wise, he'd probably have similar issues visualizing from one of my drawings: your own drawings are always easier to understand that someone else's. 

Yesterday I tried for the third time to order a large set of self-centering punches, as the place I ordered from Wednesday night does not actually have them in stock, and I wouldn't get them for 4-6 weeks. I'm not entirely confident in this place, as I still don't have an e-mail confirmation/tracking number, over 24 hours after my phone order. I'll be calling them this afternoon to see what's up.  If this place fails I'll probably suck it up and pay more than I want to/what the punches were going for a few months ago.

OTOH, I do have the invoice for the grommets and grommet sets I ordered yesterday from one of my usual suppliers. Those are for possible use in a bandolier project. More natter about that later, I think I've gone on long enough at this point.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More Bottles

I made another seven potion bottles yesterday: All three shapes in golden brown, and spheres and cylinders in red brown and chocolate brown.  I've got three more bottles, one of each shape left, I'm thinking of doing them with embossed straps around the bodies.

This set of bottles went fairly quickly, even though laying out the parts is a little fussy. If they sell well I need to make templates for the various parts, which would speed up layout.  

The bottles don't stand up nicely, because of the lump created where all the straps come together on the bottom. I may switch to attaching each strap separately to a bottom piece, so they'll sit better on a table. This set I'll probably display hanging, so their slightly drunken-looking leaning doesn't detract, since they are made to wear on a belt. 

Interestingly, although the square bottle is the shortest of the lot, that fourth side/strap means that its also the most expensive. Looks like prices will be $15 for the spherical bottle, $16 for the cylinder, and $17 for the square.

Did some shopping today: replacing a couple of undersized end punches that I've been grumbling about for several years, blades for my rotary cutter (rusted after Saturday night's shower), self-centering punches so I can make backing discs for conchos, a new on-off switch for the sewing machine, and some other odds and ends. 

I've been mulling over how to do cartridge loops or whatever for test tubes, but haven't decided on anything yet. They don't have an upper lip, so whatever I do has to have a provision to keep them from falling/being pushed all the way through.  I've also had ideas for a cartridge box type arrangement, which would be a larger/more expensive option.  Machine-sewing would be nice, or rivets.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Things Made!

Saturday morning, with much help from Robin, I got the dining room cleaned! In the process, I made a bigger mess out of it, which spilled out into the kitchen. Mid-way through the process I had to get moral support from Ron, who pointed out that making a bigger mess is normal for cleaning up in here. 

Sunday morning I put a bunch of tools and hardware away that I'd piled up while cleaning. That wasn't too big a job, and didn't take too long.

Then I started rooting through the big bag of straps. First I pulled some that are the right width for belt loops, and too short for binding for belt satchels, etc. Those are set aside for use next time I need to make a batch of belt loops. 

Then I pulled out straps to make "Potion Bottles". Sorting, measuring, note-taking, measuring, note-taking, measuring, note-taking, splitting leather down, going out to Menard's to replace my square, measuring, cutting, measuring, later, I had the first one made. At first I thought I'd gotten the spacing on one thing wrong, but once I finished it, we decided I'd gotten it right. Then I made two more:

I did them with black leather because, as Ron pointed out, black sells. 

I did get the length of one piece wrong - the collars that go around the neck of the bottle. The length I originally meant to cut it would have been too short to sew it up easily, but on the first bottle I mis-cut it long, and went with it from there on. I also meant to have the seam on the collar on the spherical bottle back by the belt loop like the others, but that's minor. 

The new-ish press makes setting rivets very easy (not that it was difficult before), and much quieter. 

Next up, doing some more bottles. I'm going to do a set in one or more shades of brown, then I'm thinking of having Ron emboss and dye/antique the straps for another pass. Not sure about doing the collars. I'll probably do the belt loops, too, as that just means doing a bit more of a long strap. 

Slightly surprised that my missing square hasn't shown up yet. The new one was less than $5, so I wouldn't have bothered taking it back even if the old one had greeted us at the door. Maybe its waiting to see if the new one rusts after being poured on last night - I forgot to shut the dining room window when I was done working for the night, and the storm last night was blowing right in. OTOH, the new square is painted, so so I don't expect it to be an issue (and I dried it off).