01 August 2009

New Hobby ... Chainmail

I needed a new hobby like I needed a hole in my head. [My Dad used this saying a lot, but it never made sense to be because we already have holes in our heads.] But summer without air conditioning is too hot to knit, my woodworking takes up space we don't have until the remodel is done, and if I don't do something with my hands I go stir-crazy.

A friend was working on chainmail at some cons we both attended, and I was impressed at how cool it was. Finally, in April I took the plunge and ordered some pre-cut rings and pliers from The Ring Lord. They arrived a couple of weeks later (slow shipping from the wilds of Saskatchewan). I started linking the rings together, and I was hooked!

There's a lot more to chainmail (also called maille) than armor and exotic underwear. Using the same methods, one can make some incredible jewelry chains. Working with the rings is like solving a topology puzzle: can this size rings make that chain? How do I fit that ring in there? How can I hold it with the pliers to close the ring? I'm finding it good work for my brain as well as my hands.

I have another order of rings due to arrive soon. And I have a project list:
- a bronze vest, tailored style, for me
- chains to loop around Ocelot's black pants
- backpack zipper pulls in many colors (anodized aluminium) to sell at Climber's school's holiday marketplace

And some other rings to make some jewelry from. Who knows, maybe I'll go into business selling chainmail creations!

Remodeling Catch Up

It's been a while since I wrote about our big remodeling project — or about anything. In this post I'll do a catch up on the house.

When we last left the project, The Merry Men were beginning demolition. They finished that in short order, and began framing the new walls for the new space. At that point, the project came to a crashing halt.

Our architect had applied for the building permit, and we anticipated it would take about a week to go through town hall, gathering the required signatures along the way. Well, it took over a month! The Merry MEn had done everything they could do without a permit, so we were in Limbo (not for the last time).

Eventually the permit came through, and we were back in building mode. In about a week, we had the hole for the new foundation dug, the footings poured, the forms for the foundation set, and the foundation poured. The forms were stripped, the outside of the foundation waterproofed, and we were waiting for the building inspector to sign off on the foundation.

And waiting ... we were out of town, Tom Framer came out several times to check for the inspector's signature on the permit ... nothing. Finally, on Monday he called the town hall — the inspector had come by and approved the foundation, but forgot to sign the permit!

From there, the work proceeded quickly again. At least a lot went on during each work day — but there was so much rain that some days, more time was spent taking down tarps in the morning then replacing them when the mid-afternoon storms rolled in. Eventually, by mid-July, the framing was completed, with Tyvek on the walls and ice shield on the roof. It's a fantastic space, I've been taking a chair out there and reading, enjoying the view.

After putting on lots of bug spray ... we have huge holes where the windows and doors will be. Our architect took his time ordering the windows, and they are slow in arriving. We've been told "they'll be here by the end of the week 3 times now.

So here we sit, waiting for windows. Theoretically, we could begin the rough plumbing, but the plumber is on another job. This is a true-life example of the famous triangle principle: in building, you have 3 elements driving the process: (low) money, (high) quality, and (fast) time, and you may have any two, never all three. We don't have the money, so we decided to sacrifice time ...