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Archive - 2017 February

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2017 February 26

No updates this past week, because among other things I've been working on a project related to the blacksmithing forge.  One of the biggest challenges with homemade kit is to keep the rain off it.  You've got this log, maybe, where your anvil sits, and that log is going to soak up rain into the end grain.  And from there, it's going to deteriorate.  The log I'm using is not in such good shape anyway, but it's solid enough that I'd like it to last some more.

More important than the log is the blacksmith forge, because it stays hot for a while and you can't just throw a tarp over that.

There are a number of things you can do to keep rain off your stuff, and my one idea is not finished yet.  Also, I've realized that I'm probably going to have to weld up a blacksmith forge on steel angle-iron legs.  If and when I do that, the other consideration might become a moot point;  you just wheel that puppy out of your garage and use it on a sunny day. 

Woodworking, Metal, and Film

Rough Sawn Timbers

CVS 400 film (35mm)

There is much be said for the old ways, and "old" doesn't mean obsolete.  They are timeless.  They are the antidote to our throwaway society.  They are technologies and methods that don't need to improve, because they are nearly perfect the way they are.  Now, the stuff I make is far from perfect, but skills are one thing that can improve. 

Like a good film stock, a good set of raw materials is something I appreciate for what it can become, as well as the process of making it into that.  This didn't used to happen (grammar, anyone?);  a stack of wood was just something that was in the way, but now I see it differently.

Big ol' pile of rough-sawn timbers:  somewhere in there is the ultimate work table, just waiting to be constructed.  I'm working on a couple new work-table articles, and I have this idea for mega-strong sawhorses too.  During the recent project my plastic sawhorses finally broke from too much UV (they lived outside for many years), so it's time for some new wooden ones.  I want them to be strong enough that I could set an anvil on 'em and work metal with a 4-pound hammer.  (Well not on the sawhorses directly, but on planks set across them.)

2017 February 19

New Article:  7 Radio Listening Tips.  Get better reception for your AM radio... basic ideas also work for HF (shortwave) and FM. 

2017 February 10

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B
3rd roll from a liter (60% strength, dev time = 1.67x normal)
9 minutes at 70 F
Fixing time 8 minutes

There was light rain here, but that happens sometimes when you're working outside on a Sawhorse Work Table.


A reader has a turntable with a 3.5mm output, and wants to connect it to a Sonos Play:5.  She wants to know if it's just as simple as plugging a 3.5-to-3.5mm cable to the Sonos.

The answer is "Yes", because the turntable she's using was designed to plug into a "Line In" jack.  In other words it doesn't need a separate Phono stage.  So, what you have is "Line Out" from the turntable, going to "Line In" or "Aux" on the other device. (I don't know what generation Sonos Play:5 is now, so that could change).

Would it degrade the output by not using RCA?  On that one I'm going to say "probably not", but I don't have any testing to back that up.  I can't think of any reason why a 3.5mm connector would be worse than RCA, except for the possibility of fine wire connections getting flaky, perhaps having signal leakage from one conductor to the other.  But it shouldn't drastically alter the sound quality.

If you have a turntable that appears to have 3.5mm output only, double-check to make sure it hasn't actually been fitted with an adapter cable that converted it from RCA to 3.5.  The cable leading out the back of an Audio Technica AT-LP60 should have RCA connectors on it.  However, that reader says her turntable does not have this RCA cable at all, but instead has a 3.5mm jack in the record player chassis.

Radio Reception

Another reader says he's having some difficulty tuning a local city AM station.  I was going to recommend this antenna;  whether it will work in that situation I don't know for certain.  Sometimes local tuning is a matter of signal separation, where you have a more powerful station transmitting on the same or similar frequency.  I also don't know if the Sangean WR-11 will respond well to the Eton or the Terk antennas;  when I tried a homemade external antenna, it didn't have a whole lot of success with that radio.  It seems to have some kind of digital booster circuitry that tries to maintain signal strength and attenuate it if it gets louder.  Try it, and if it doesn't work you could always use the AM antenna with some other AM radio.

See also the new article (Feb. 19th)

2017 February 6


One article I'd been wanting to do for a long time... navy bean soup.  I have this very simple bean-and-kale-soup recipe that is so simple, it appears I never bothered to write it down.  So before I can make the article, I have to make the soup again and remember the ingredients!  (Not necessarily in that order...)  Somewhere I have 35mm photos that were intended for the article, so it'll get done one of these days.

Film Developing

Update:  Developing Film With Ilfotec DD-X 1+9.  Just a couple things made more clear.  Nope, I haven't added Celsius temperatures yet... that's on the To Do list. 

I also updated the Site Map with a link to the article.

One reason why I'm not using a whole bunch of different developers:  HC-110 and DD-X do just about everything I'd want.  Your requirements may vary, but I was not interested in a developer unless it could push 400 film to at least 3200.   (Almost any developer can push Tri-X 400 to 800, and most of them can do 1600 without difficulty.)  The other requirement is that it has to work at high dilution. 

No matter which developer you use, whether it be HC-110, Microphen, Acufine, D-76 or some other one, it's always a good idea to try it under various conditions.  Then you can really work up a process that works for you.  I've found that sometimes a small variation can really affect grain.

2017 February 2

Work Tables & Workbenches

New Article:  Sawhorse Work Table.  At some point I wanted to define the beginning, the start of the whole progression of workspaces.  That is, what's the simplest work table you can make?  Well, there it is.  

Film notes:  The picture was actually taken with color negative film and developed on 22 August 2016.  It is also the 22nd roll from that same batch of C-41 chems that I had mixed a full five months earlier, on 3/21/16.  Develop time was 8 minutes at 102 Fahrenheit;  Blix time 14 minutes, also at 102 F.

Some of you guys remember the five-month milestone for this batch of Unicolor, but I keep being amazed by this.  This photo shouldn't have any red-orange-yellow hues whatsoever with the chems this depleted.

To be sure, I had to use more color-correction than usual.  By the time the blix solution is that far gone... 5 months and 22 rolls of film from one batch!...  I still wonder, how did this picture manage to have any color at all?

So anyway, here's a quick article on sawhorse worktables.


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