Sunday, November 25, 2012

A tale of an accident!

This is basically a repeat of a post from about 3 years ago.  The reason for the repeat is that on our drive two weeks ago, Dad and I went through the intersection where the accident happened.  So - read on and learn why that bad fender behind my great grandfather Herman Babcock is really an improvement over the car's condition after the icy slide of 1944?

That's me on the left! I figure that this picture was taken sometime the winter of 1946/47 - maybe Thanksgiving '46? That's my Mom, Violet, holding me. Next to Mom is her mom - my grandmother - Florence Babcock Drake. Next to her is Herman Babcock - her father, my mom's grandfather, and my great grandfather! At that time, Herman was living with Glenn Babcock - Florence's brother - and his wife Katie. The picture was taken by my Dad outside their home. The car in the background is a 1938 Plymouth Coupe.

Note the damaged fender on the car. Dad had been in an accident at an icy intersection, and the right front fender was destroyed, but the collision shop could not get a fender - it was war time, and metal stuff was in short supply. He tried driving the car without a fender, but so much mud and stuff was thrown up on the windshield that he could not see to drive. He went around to junk yards till he found the right fender - not in good shape though! Still, it would catch the flying mud! The junk yard guy told Dad he could have it for free if he wanted to take if off the wreck himself. Dad went to work, and got the fender -- or at least most of a fender! Not pretty, but no more mud on the windshield!

Thanks to Anne for finding the picture in some of my brother's old stuff. Thanks again to Anne for knowing I would want that picture! Thanks to Dad for taking that picture 65 years ago, and thanks to Dad for another of his classic stories! And thanks to Herman, Florence, and Violet for passing on the heritage!

What Dad's 1938 Plymouth looked like before?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Uses for my Worksman Bike!

Well, some research reveals that what I have is a Worksman 2620 Stretch Industrial Mover! Worksman means it is made by Worksman They have been making a  wide variety of bicycles and tricycles mainly for industrial use since 1898.   They even currently operate in a solar powered factory!  If you've ever been in New York City, and seen those delivery people with the bicycles with the huge delivery box built in, it was probably made by these folks!  2620 means that the front wheel, with a built in drum brake ( none of those wimpy caliper brakes will do on this thing) is 26" in diameter, and the real wheels are 20".  Stretch means it is very long - I haven't measured the overall length yet, but that rear platform is 38" long x 26" wide.  My "basket" is 23" x 23" by 16" deep - plenty of space for a three year old with all his stuffed animals, etc.... and even room for his 5 year old sister - see below!  Industrial Mover needs no explanation - they are rated at 500 pounds capacity, so 70 pounds of grandchildren is no problem!  Even with grandpa included there is room for over 250 more pounds!   Price new is $1200.  I paid considerably less, and the little rubber string thingys from the molding process are still on the wheels, so it is not very old. Despite the "leaf spring" mounting of that rear platform, CJ declared the ride "bouncy" and we added a foam pad, and his blanket in the bottom for today's ride. I've put over 25 miles on it so far, and while I plan my rides to avoid "big" hills, it has very hill friendly gearing!
Besides possible use for craft/art show display, I'm fantasizing about  building a neighborhood Ice Cream vending thing, or possible other ventures..... maybe I could even deliver pizzas for our neighborhood pizza place or add a nice love seat on that platform, and start a pedicab business?  For now, carrying grandchildren is a great option that they seem to greatly enjoy.  Too bad the snow will fall soon --- :-(     I'm  even thinking that riding in the snow might not be too bad because with the wide stance of the rear wheels, skidding or sliding over into traffic seems less likely than on a regular bike!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wonderful day with Dad!

3810 Ridge Road, Ransomville, NY   Near Lockport, NY.  Dad's second job was here, as a farm hand at the age of 17 if I've got the numbers right?  He had been working on a farm near Utica, NY starting at the age of 16.  Had to drop out of school and work to help support his family.  Good stories!  He lived in the above house with the owner's family at first until he and my Mom moved to a tiny place just down the road when they married in 1945.  I arrived not long after, so Dad was working here when I was born!
 The place seems pretty run down now, but was a prosperous dairy farm in the day!  Dad has told lots of stories about his days here, including watching some of the very first top secret experimental jet airplanes flying over from a nearby air base.  This was the middle of WWII!
One of Dad's stories involved him driving a tractor through the wall of the shed/barn shown in the picture below, not long after it had been expanded using very hard to obtain lumber.  Again - during WWII and resources had to be allocated to the war effort first, and even though the owner of the farm also owned a lumber mill, he had to go through considerable paperwork to get permission to use his own lumber on his farm!  Another story to follow about a car accident Dad had just down the road a bit.  Is there a trend here?  But please remember that he was between the ages of 17 and 19 while working here!
Below --- Recent aerial view of the farm (photographed from my computer screen) Map/aerial view link I tried didn't work?  Later edit - I think this link will work.  Link works, plus you can click on the little guy and see a street view of the place.... this interwebs thingy is GREAT! 
As a farm worker during WWII, Dad got a deferment from the draft as an essential worker.  Food for the troops and for the folks at home was important!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beginning of my new display system!

For scale, this industrial strength human powered tricycle is about 7 feet from front to back..... the rear cargo platform is about 26" wide by about 36" long!  Before finalizing the purchase, I inflated  the tires, and took it for a test drive.  It rode a lot easier than I had imagined.... the gearing seems most well arranged.  It is a one speed system, but did not seem to be that hard to peddle - even up a slight incline!  The main odd thing is the weird sensation one gets riding a tricycle.  After years of bike riding, it feels very strange to not be able to lean into turns, or to shift your body subtly to adjust when riding on an angled surface!  It has both a coaster brake, and a front drum brake.  I'll want to raise the seat a bit when I pick it up tomorrow and ride it home.  I figure I can design quite a good sized cabinet, shelf, and wall system mounted on that large rear platform - even probably going out over the back a bit, and out over the wheels too?  Probably also add a front basket for additional capacity.  I'm even hoping  I can create something that will let customers sit on the bike and peddle to operate a moving sculpture! A couple of options on easier riding include possibly adding an electric motor boost system, or it appears that the manufacturer has a three speed hub or a seven speed hub available that might be retrofitted.  First step after adjusting the seat height will be to remove the plastic tulips on the rear basket!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dreidel Balancing Act

I'm very excited about my first three dimensional Balancing Act!  Previous designs, while layered, were still basically flat designs in the plane of  the rocking motion.  This one features a full three dimensional dreidel on top that rocks back and forth very smoothly and pleasantly!  I find the motion interesting additionally because while a dreidel is supposed to spin, this one moves but does not actually spin, which my brain finds pleasantly confusing?  See the video below.  Cheryl will have the first three of these at the upcoming show this weekend in Marlborough ( clicking on the link will enable you to print out a $2 discount coupon for admission!)  - stop by to see them if you are in the area. For the remainder of the year this design will be $40.  They are about 9" tall.  I'll post them on our Shopify on-line store sometime over the weekend.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laser cut paper ladies

I love the patterns created by our cut lasered parts -- peel away the left over paper (or wood), and the above happens!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This year's special custom tops for CJ's Birthday!

 Each year I design a special top for my grand children's birthdays.  The theme this year for CJ's birthday was John Deere.  (Those people have their marketing down!)  I can't believe that this makes the 8th special design for Maya and CJ.  I also created a larger version of the design as a wall piece for his room - about 15" across - see picture below.  Also in view is the 2012 Casey (Dad) created birthday (cake) - actually a large cookie because CJ does not like cake????????????? and the basket of tops - everybody at these parties gets a gift!

I'm getting pretty good at this, so if you would like some special tops created for your birthday, wedding, or other special  event, contact me!  I'm actually in the process of creating a separate division of our enterprise that will focus specifically on Don's mechanical and other moving things --- look for Moving Wood Studio coming soon to an event or store near you?  An actual moving sign for  the enterprise is taking form in my head, and I'm thinking through an actual moving craft show booth.  An industrial strength human powered tricycle with a fairly large built in cargo platform has been found, and my brain is running around the idea of selling off the back of the this tricycle, including moving sculptures that will be peddle operated!  And I've reserved the web site - - not active yet, but soon!