Archive for May, 2011

I (zeke) studied cartography (mapmaking) at Chico State in the ’90s, and pulled together a map show in Chico in 2008.  Here is a piece from that show called ‘The Ishi Nation’ – that I just reprinted on raw canvas. 
The original was 20×42 and drawn by hand over a digital shaded relief basemap.  The area is from Lassen Peak to Chico, and the darker lines show the watershed boundaries.  Shout out to Seamonster from the surreal shop-beauties in the background.  

This piece is for sale.  Let us know if you are interested in a custom printed map!

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The Ishi Nation 26″x57″ – Chico is in the bottom left, Deer Creek is in the center.

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Detail.  

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I (zeke) studied cartography (mapmaking) at Chico State in the ’90s, and pulled together a map show in Chico in 2008.  Here is a piece from that show called ‘The Ishi Nation’ – that I just reprinted on raw canvas. 
The original was 20×42 and drawn by hand over a digital shaded relief basemap.  The area is from Lassen Peak to Chico, and the darker lines show the watershed boundaries.  Shout out to Seamonster from the surreal shop-beauties in the background.  

This piece is for sale.  Let us know if you are interested in a custom printed map!

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The Ishi Nation 26″x57″ – Chico is in the bottom left, Deer Creek is in the center.

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Detail.  

We are always on the lookout for old tools that we can repair or repurpose.  We use our punch presses a lot, and I have been thinking that custom crafting tools like presses could be a good niche for us.

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I found these 3 presses on a local auction last week.  Two of them are for embossing paper, but I thought that the one on the right had potential to become a leather punching/rivet setting machine if I could make a new shaft to replace the paper punch that was in there.

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Here is the workhorse of our shop – a 1937 Delta 17″ drill press.  I found it laying in pieces at the salvage yard at the ‘Last Chance Mercantile’ in Monterey County and got it for $20.  It needed a chuck, motor, handles, and repair on the cast iron belt-guard, but I love the art deco ‘helmet’, and have been carting it around thru 3 moves.  There are a lot of great old tool resources online, especially vintagemachinery.org (formerly OldWoodWorkingMachines.com).  They have manuals for thousands of old tools, and some original parts are still available for these.

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I measured up the existing shaft in the press and it was a hair under 7/16″, so I got a 7/16″ bolt at the Restore, cut it to length, chucked it up in the drill press, and used a mill bastard file to turn it down to the correct diameter.  I tried to punch and center-drill it with the drill press, but it is really hard to center punch a starting point that is dead on, and the first try was off center and crooked.  I want a metal lathe…

 

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 Well, no metal lathe is in the foreseeable future, but Erika’s dad was a mechanical engineer, and we have some of his tools around.  The small drill chuck on the bottom was in his old toolbox, so I bolted it to a piece of angle iron that I can clamp into the drill press vice.  I  chucked up the 7/16″ bolt piece in the drill press, and put a sharp, broken bit in the bottomchuck.  By moving the spinning shaft across the broken bit, I was able to scribe a divot in the center of the shaft.  Then I chucked up my bit in the bottom, and spun the shaft in the drill press down onto it to drill it.  It worked!  Dead-center/straight hole.

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I want to be able to use replaceable hole punch tubes in this press, so I tapped the shaft to the same thread that the punch tubes have (5/16″ fine thread).

 

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 Here is the completed punch shaft with punch-tube in place – the hole on the side is for punched bits of leather to come out.

  

 

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 Here is the finished shaft assembly.  There is a flat platform on the old press shaft that the handle of the press pushes down onto, and it sits on top of the spring that pushes the whole assembly back up after you pull it down.  I folded a thin piece of flat stock over to get the thickness that I was after, and then brazed the tab onto the shaft.

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Here is the finished product.  The bottom anvil is another piece of 7/16″ bolt.  The press is pretty small – our main press (behind it) has a lot more leverage, but this one punches 2 layers of thick leather belt easily, and it will work great for punching and setting rivets.

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Because the punch shaft is threaded, you can replace the punch tube with a normal bolt, and use it to set rivets.  
Keep your eyes open for these old presses, and let us know if you see them around. 

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 Future projects – got a lot in the same auction simply titled ‘Heavy Stuff’ = including 2 3′ long wrenches, and these bad-ass old cast iron lockplate covers.  Total lot weight was #130.  Look for these in projects to come.

 

We have been wanting to do a collaboration with our friend Dragonboy56 for a long time, and finally have a chance.  We are printing his art onto canvas and then turning the printed fabric into bags. 

We acquired a large format printer when my last employer got out of the mapping business.  In the past it has been used to print maps and posters on paper, but it is a pretty flexible machine, and we got it because it uses dyes instead of pigmented inks.  We have been trying different media in it, with the goal of being able to print our own fabric.  After some trial and error, we are getting there.  We are now able to print onto uncoated raw canvas, and are working on building a steamer that we can use to fix the dyes after printing. 

Our next big creative push is for the 'Prepare for the Playa' Bazaar in San Francisco in July and August.  In the coming months, check back with us as we dive into Dragon-printed hip-belts, backpacks, and other desert survival gear.

Thanks, Dragon!

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April is a wild month in Chico.  A budding, blooming, creative explosion of lengthening light and lusty life.  We were lucky/taxed to have two deadlines fall at the end of it – RayRay’s ‘Bike=art’ show and Chikoko’s ‘Bizarre Bazaar’.  We overextended and are glad that they are over!  But we got to make a lot of new art – a spectrum from Bumblebee habitat boxes, psychedelic micro messenger bags, and rice harvester steel sunflowers to ‘Opium Den’ leather collage purses and fire hose totes.   Here are some photos from the two shows.
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Hillbilly yard art, firehose snakeskin samba belts, tough-mama firehose totes, and rake+ski pole garden diggers – our uncategorizable booth at Chikoko’s Bizarre Bazaar.

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Pulled together some new and old bags with a bike theme and decided to use my old chopper ‘Pinkie’ as a rack at the last minute.  Welded a stand, loaded up the goods into the hemp panniers and rode it to the show.   The bags on the handlebars are a new design that I am calling the MicroMessenger – they are big enough for a mini Kryptonite lock, cell phone and wallet; they have a loop to go on your belt, or we can add a traditional messenger strap and stabilizer. 

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Our hemp panniers and large and mini messenger bags – I added a new stabilizer strap to the messenger bags.  
Stopped at the newspaper recycling shed at 6th and Flume to get some paper to stuff the bags with and found a paper bag full of old maps!  Score!  RayRay decided to put us in the window – I like what they did with the maps – they are prolific and amazing.

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My folks were in town and pops took these photos – you can see him in the reflection, below. 

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Thanks RayRay and Chikoko.  The RayRay show is still up in downtown Chico – make sure to go out back and look at Katrina’s handmade longbike – she did a beautiful job on it.