It’s been 5 months since our 2016-end-of-the-year trip to Tennessee in November. A whole winter of wishing, waiting, planning and anticipating the true beginning of spring . . . where a 2-day stretch of high temps and nice weather didn’t transform into another cold stint of winter. Undeniably, this winter has not been as dreadful as it was predicted to be . . . but the groundhog saw his shadow in February and declared 6 more weeks of winter!
The driving force for this weekend was epic for Alan and Carie – Alan’s niece plays basketball for Notre Dame who was in the NCAA Women’s tournament – sweet 16! Kentucky Horse Park campground was less than 20 minutes from the Friday night game, and if they won – Sunday afternoon’s game.
Tom and I had appointments and errands that kept us tied in Van Wert until 3:00 on Thursday, but even with that slow start we were eating ribs with Micah in Cincinnati by 6:00! Afterwards we rendezvoused with Alan at East Fork State Park in the Cincinnati area for our first night of spring camping.
Friday morning Alan commuted for a short work-day, and Tom and I made a trip to Jungle Jim’s smorgasbord grocery store, where we found $5 lobster tails (more about that later) and loaded up on a case of our favorite La Rosa’s pizza sauce. By 11:00 we met Alan for lunch and returned to East Fork to hook up the Airstreams for the 65 mile trip to Kentucky Horse Park -- Tom in the lead, and Alan following!
By 2:00 Friday we were all set up in the KHP campground and the weather had bloomed sunny and 74 degrees . . . with predictions for more of the same for Saturday. We had nothing to do for the evening but to enjoy the weather, the fact that we were camping, and cooking and eating outside! At this point Carie was not with us – she left work directly for the basketball game and didn’t meet up with us until that was over later that night.
For supper we had barbeque beef brisket, corn on the cob, a spring green salad, and a very funky-looking orangey piece of fruit from Jungle Jim’s, followed by a campfire.
During supper we noticed a family nearby with a hanging tepee camper. I went over to investigate and get pictures. When all three kids were inside, the bottom dropped perilously close to the ground.
The Notre Dame girls won Friday night, guaranteeing another game Sunday afternoon in downtown Lexington. Carie, Alan, Tom and I had all day Saturday to enjoy a shopping trip into old-town Lexington, a run over to the Horse Park gift shop, a campfire and snooze back at the campground, and another wonderful campfire dinner.
At the entrance to the Horse Park there was a mechanical horse in motion!
Dinner included steak on the grill and the $5 lobster tails from Jungle Jim's. . . not bad! The rest of the evening was spent taking down the Paha Que canopy and preparing for a quick take-off on Sunday morning. The good news is that we have plenty of camping trips planned in the upcoming weeks, and a whole summer of adventures ahead!
I was in the frame of mind for a computer design session, and Tom was in the mood for a scroll saw project . . . it led to a great addition to our Airstream trappings.
This sort of sign is different than the usual scroll saw cutouts where the letters are cut OUT – instead, all of the space around the letters is cut out. As I quickly discovered, this meant that the letters themselves and any sort of design would need to be firmly anchored when planning the drawing. The choice and shape of this font, along with the addition of the line above and below just fit the bill. The scrolls also had several touch-points that fit into the design to offer stability. Tom thought the drawing would be feasible, so he . . . set to work.
My final step was to print the sign in the size that I needed. Because the design was longer than a single sheet of paper, I had to print it on two pieces of paper and paste it together. Giving it to Tom, I was done . . . except for encouragement . . . and blog documentation!
Tom’s first step was to the cut the board the size needed for the project. He choose a ¼” board of Maple and used spray glue to adhere the paper design to the face. Then he used clear packaging tape to cover the whole front of the board. Believe it or not, the packaging tape helps to lubricate the saw blade!
The whole covered board disappeared to the basement where Tom drilled access holes for the saw blade in every piece of the design that was to be removed.
After that, it is just a lot of tedious, close-up, bending-over, detail work of following the pattern to cut away the unwanted wood. Tom mostly uses a skip-tooth blade for straight and circular cuts, but sometimes has to use a 360 degree blade that cuts in all directions for very small spaces. His scroll saw is set up in the garage where the light is good on a sunny day and the dust is easily swept away. However, during this project he learned that cold hands (temps in the 30’s and 40’s) could really slow him down . . . he had to keep coming in to warm them up! This meant that his progress was in lots of short attacks – not a continuous long siege. Here are some pictures of his progress.
At this point, SILVERMINE stands out in full relief, and Tom has only the areas around the scrolls to cut away. His worry was that it would be so thin and fragile, a piece might break off. He removed it from the saw, posed for a picture, and changed the blade, ready to start on the background cuts.
The final task was to cut away the wood around the details of the scrolls that anchored the letters to the frame. This was some of the most tedious cutting of the whole project. When done, Tom removed the project from the saw and gently pulled away his paper/tape guide. After a bit of gentle sanding, he posed for another picture.
At this point the sign is ready for several layers of clear-coat finish. Then, we will decide where to hang it inside the Silvermine. My biggest fear is that, now that I know what Tom can do. . . I will keep him busy with future scroll cut-out designs!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2018 25' Airstream Serenity with Salsa interior and front twin beds., and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown