Monday, January 30, 2006

The View from the Cabin

Took this shot from the cabin building site, just to give you an idea of the view we have and the concrete piers that have been poured so far. Several of those piers were paid for by funds raised by my crochet hook whittling business.
The view extends south across our little meadow and up through the foothills of Hoodoo Mountain.
When I arrived there Thursday afternoon, I heard coyotes calling. It was the first time in years I've heard coyotes up there. Eerie but musical sounds when there is no other noise but the faint rustle of the crick in the distance and the occasional pat of snow dropping from the trees.
It gets so quiet up there that once when I was out standing and gazing around, a raven flew over and I could hear the wing beats as it flew by.
Thursday I spent gathering wood for more crochet hooks, and carving as many as I could, including the traveling hook I posted below. I did this work inside our trailer. Worked at it in earnest because I knew I'd be going to my new job at Woodcraft on Monday (today) and I had orders to fill.
Friday I made 5 more and did some exploring in the beautiful sunlight after a fresh snowfall.
Here is what the parent of the traveling hook looks like in winter... and yes those are my tracks in the snow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gone to the Crick.. back Sunday

here's one of my grandson Clinton (named after my dad) skidding some hook fodder with his tractor. In a couple years he might become the next Deadman Crick hookmaker (he already owns a pretty cool little pocket knife)
So, the incredible duo, Elizabeth and Kari have posted the start of the Traveling Hook adventure. How incredible it will be having a little piece of the old apple tree traveling all around the world. Plus its a great cause because the participants will be making squares for a wall hanging that will be auctioned off to benefit Crochetville!
And so i'll be heading up to the crick tomorrow morning (Thursday) to make that hook and a bunch of others so i'll hopefully catch up on orders and maybe even get a few for an inventory.
I'm so thrilled that Elizabeth and Kari would take this project on. I had no idea about how technical it would be (geez they even have a separate email address for the thing! We'll see how it goes.
Since i'll be up on the crick, i'll be away from the computer and won't be posting anything more till probably Sunday night. But please wander around and leave a comment if you've a notion, and i'll get back to you asap.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Traveling hook idea

ahhhh so peacefull

Ok back to reality, or at least as close is i get to there.. I'm about 8 hooks behind and here i sit, writing in my blog. See what a monster you created, Threekari? Plus i have some contract patent stuff to do too. Oh man, life's so tough (thats a joke, son, life's good.....

Ok to the point... here's an idea i've been tossing around in my twisted head. A traveling hook. I'd make a hook and send it to someone who would make a square, send the square to me and send the hook on to someone else who would make a square, send it to me, and so on. And the hook would end up back with someone in charge of the tip bucket in C'ville to be auctioned off, and i could send the squares to someone who could join them in an awsome wall hanging to be auctioned off as well. Seems like a fun thing to do, doesn't it?

Monday, January 23, 2006

back to basics

Here's a shot of an approximate H hook of totally rustic proportions, but i think it will work just fine. Its made from a branch off the old apple tree on the ranch. That old tree fed us when we lived up there, and since has fed deer, bear, and likely some occasional hunter. I spotted a bear under the old tree a year ago, so i know they still hang out for snacks. In fact the trunk has the claw marks to prove it.

This is how i started making hooks... totally rustic.
I'm happy to make more if anyone wants some, however this little beauty is for a Birthday present.
$15 each for the building fund.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Q's and bigger hooks

Just read in C'ville about large hook issues with rubbing and wrist pain. I'd like some input here, and i'll post there too, about what folks think might help.
The picture is of a large birch hook i made for a friend who was going to do some rug work. My thought was that the job would be made easier by leaving a bit of a surface to engage the forefinger for the pulling motion. Also see the angle of the hook shank to the handle. Now i'm thinking that configuration might not work so well with folks who use a "Pencil" type grip.
Please leave comments about your own issues with large hooks, as i'd really like to use that kind of feedback to design some really big higher end hooks to add onto my vast product line (yeah right).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Its not ALL about hooks

Because i played hook hookie today (very bad because i'm 8 hooks behind... sorry, Kind Buyers), I don't have any really new hooks to show you. But i wanted to enter SOMETHING (publish or die, they say).. so i'll show you some other stuff i've made and some i can make for sale to help the building fund along.

This first shot is some buttons i made a while back, from a chunk of maple. The dark part is the bark. I call them Primal Buttons. Sold a few, but as is goes with me i can't efficiently make them so they will have to go for $3.00 each.

The next is of a towel rack bracket i did for the downstairs bathroom. I like the little carved lock pin, and screw hole cover dowels (made from sticks)

Here we have what i like to call a jimbo wall hanging. It makes use of simple sticks i picked up, and a sawn cross section of a branch for the moon. This and a few other pieces were on an exhibit in my hometown a couple years back.
I like to make these but they're almost too fragile to ship, i'm thinking.

Here, is a detail of a hanger i made to display a quilt in our living room. Don't know if you can see, but the quilt hangs from between a pair of re-sawn slats that clamp the quilt via some decorative rosette fasteners. Ends of the slats poke through square mortises i cut in the wall mounted brackets. The top forms a small shelf. This one's made of fir.

And, at the risk of boring you too much, i'll end with my little forest. I bet i've made several hundred of these little accent pieces. I call them "Who" forests cause they remind me of Dr. Seuss trees. Each set is one-off cause i don't follow a pattern. Haven't thought about selling these over the net, on accounta they're pretty difficult to pack, but if you just HAVE to have some, let me know and I'll give it a try.. they're typically about 14" high x 18" long and about 2" thick. Price? What do you think they're worth?

Ok, that's it for tonight... its late. I'll try to add more tomorrow, but then it'll be probably till Thursday before you see another entry. I'm going to the crick to check up on things and catch up on my hook orders! No phone or net access there, but i'll take my camera and hopefully be able to show you some shots of the area when i return.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Oh, I LIKE this one

This is my very latest hook, with a slightly different twist. Its an L hook in fir, but where i normally sand the begeebers out of the hook to smooth all surfaces, this one didn't need it. I did sand the hook head, throat, shank, and butt end, but the rest i left with the knife marks exposed.. and (now this it sooooo cool) its JUST as smooth as the sanded part! Shows what a sharp knife will do eh (and maybe why i cut myself so much)? Personally, i like to see the knife marks on carvings.. its kind of like seeing the brush strokes on paintings; lends a bit of insight into the carver and the technique used.
Ok... i'm off to the shop to try and catch up a bit.

A Little Jimbo Hook History

These are about the very first hooks i made. I made them from branch pieces, formed the hook, sanded them smooth, at least at the hook part, and gave them a good rub down with treewax. I'm thinking that the likes of these might have been made and used by pioneers who didn't have access or couldn't afford fancy storebought baleen, ivory, or nice hardwood lathe turned hooks. Of course, this is speculation, but it stands to reason that if you're out in the sticks, and you have no other access to tools, you make your own, right?
Anyway, if you've a notion to go way back and give some totally primal hooks a try, i can do those too. Sizes are little, bigger and big... from roughly an H (little) to a Q+.
It might well be that the earlier hook carvers did more than i have in an attempt to remove bark and such, but i've always liked to leave a little bit of the character of the donor tree in the hooks i make... its a team.
These i think will sell for the same as the other hooks ($15 each) but if you want, i'll fudge a bit and rub them down with poly oil for a little bit harder finish.
The little forked birch hook at the top of the photo is still available if someone wants to buy it. Its about a 4.75mm according to my "Bates"tm size gauge.
Thanks again for following along.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ergonomic Handle Hook

I've been trying to make my hooks and especially my metal/wood hooks as ergonomic as possible. It works pretty well, and most who've bought my wood hooks will say they fit well.
Here is my latest handle design with ergonomics in mind. This hook fits my hand very well, with the gentle swell in the middle just fitting the contour of my thumb. Works best with the underhand toothbrush kind of grip, but i'm finding that the swell also fits the curve of my index finger and thumb in the pencil grip style too.
I'm anxious for the buyer to try it out, and excited that this shape might be just the ticket for folks with hand problems.

The hook is a Boye H. I can now truly empathize with the wimmen who took their own picture for the "post a picture of your grip style" in C'ville.

Comments on the shape? Think it'll work?

You can buy this style (well ANY of my hooks) starting at $15.00.

more later...

Uncle Jimbo's Cabin Project

Here are some shots of the crick and the cabin site, where Jimbo crochet hooks come from and where all the funds raised from hook sales are spent. Come visit and check up on your investment!

This is the area that'll be the backyard from the cabin. It'll look like that when you visit... no plans to put in grass or fru fru stuff like that. That pile of wood? Hook fodder. Actually, alot of it gets burned. That beauty of a picnic table in the lower left was built by my nephew Bobby, a better woodworker than me. The rest of the stuff you see, including the bench Bert's sitting on, i built from timbers and such from one of the fallen down cabins on the place. Bert's my oldest sister, and she grew up on the crick.. even taught school in the little one room school house down the road.

This is the trailer (look hard, its there) we have up on the ranch till the cabin's built.. lotsa snow eh? This picture was taken last winter, but would look about the same today. The cabin site is just to the left and behind the trailer.

Here's a shot of the crick and the little foot bridge we built. The property extends about 300 yards up to the cabin site on the far side of the crick and about 200 yards behind the camera and up the hill (lotsa good huckleberries up there)

Here's a shot of some fellas on the construction crew, three doods and a cement mixer (actually we get lots of friends and relatives up there to help out, but these guys are a there a lot). These are a couple of the best buddies a guy could ask for, Jim (Left) and Russ (rt) are incredible about coming up to help. Russ was best man at our wedding and is the husband of Beatr (her username in C'ville). Jim's a fantastic woodworker, and excellent gourmet cook. And that handsomely rugged dood in the middle? My father. no? Actually i'm much better looking in person. And the real worker of the bunch, the best cement mixer in the world, inhereted from and named after a cherished family member, Vern, who used that same mixer way back in the 40's and who taught me alot about the outdoors and woodworking stuff. Vern's an 8hp Wisconson gas powered beauty and works like a dream. Love that mixer!!
Ok.. i'll quit here but there's lots more cabin stuff to show, and i will. Soon. Plus more hooks i have in the making. Thanks for following along.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wood/metal handle, and Hair Sticks

Here is another example of a wood handle for a metal hook. I made this one for "Pink" in C'ville but can make others for those who'd want one or more. Still working on the idea of a removable handle. I'll post something if the idea jells right.
The other photo is by request, of hair sticks i've done. I can do these too, but at $30/pair... they take about the same amount of time as the hooks. These are made from a burned cedar stump up on the crick, above where our house was, and right next to where the new place is going to be. Nice figured wood.

Care and Feeding

It occurs to me that the hooks i've made and sent out so far haven't been accompanied by any instructions. I should do that. But for those of you reading this who have one of my hooks, or you're considering buying one, please consider that these hooks is totally unique. Theres no other hook anywhere nor will there ever be another one like it in the future. Not that i'm in the business of making hook "snowflakes", its just that each piece of wood is different, has different grain character, and is made by hands that couldn't make a duplicate if there was a gun to the maker's head. Every time i make a hook i realize that what i'm making has not been touched by any other human hands, and it's made with YOU in mind and goes to you that way, just you, me and the tree. Intimate, huh. Well, there's a bit of poly oil finish there, between the tree and thee, but the thinking of that would sort of wreck the moment, eh?

Also, because the hooks are not lathe turned, the size might be a smidge off, though i make a serious effort to form them just right. They're like me... i'm a smidge off too.

Now, what all my hooks do have in common is that they're made of materials that are fragile, like a "delickate flar" as we say up on the crick... some more delickate than others. The fir hooks are to me the most fun to make because i love the honey color and the figure of the wood, and the way it comes off my knife; but i try only to do those in larger sizes because the wood is soft. And even hardwood hooks are susceptable to damage. Please keep this in mind when you use and store your hooks. Even though its coated with a pretty durable poly type surface, dents and scrapes can happen. Fingernails, storage touching other hooks, moisture, ball peen hammers, use as paint can openers, and abrasive yarns can cause premature wear or damage.
And by the above, i'm suggesting repair or correction of problems that affect the comfort or utility of the hook. Natural wear and discoloration from use i consider as patina, and should be left alone. If your hook becomes an heirloom and is handed down to another generation, that slight wear and discoloration will add unbelievable1 value to your heir. My most treasured things have patina, created by years of use by loved ones.
That said, if you see signs of wear, you might consider taking your hook to the hook spa, for a little rub down with a bit of "Minwax" brand polyoil to bring them back to life. Just hold the hook in one hand, put a dab of oil on a clean cloth and rub it on the hook with the other hand, gently at first, then hard, and harder, working to a frenzy of wild primal passion (woops.. this isn't a bodice ripper here) Just rub hard till you can feel the hook getting warm, hot even. Notice i mention holding the hook while you're rubbing.. if you set it down on a table or such, you'll likely do more harm than good. After the invigorating rub down, set the hook down and let it dry. Go have a glass of wine or cup of tea (you've earned it)contemplate the tree that donated your hook, swaying gently in the pristeen air up on the ranch, relax, ahhhhh. Ok, wake up, its time for the next step... when the surface feels dry to the touch pick'er up and wipe it hard again with a dry spot of the cloth. When its oh so smooth and glistening, you're done. Another glass of wine..cup of tea...contemplation.... ahhhhh.
Oh (i just woke up) if you start to feel a snag developing, a little sanding might be in order (not quite so romantic, sorry). You might want to use a bit of wet-dry 400 - 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, especially on those hooks where a bit of bark has been left on for esthetics... bark has the unnerving tendency to separate from the wood on occasion, but the beauty of it and the character of the tree it came from is worth the extra care in my view. After any sanding, repeat the spa treatment above. Wine or tea, contemplation... ahhhhhh zzzzzzzzzz

Always, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact me.
Ok... enough this time.. i'll try to think up something not quite so dull for my next entry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Crochet Hooks that I make and sell

This is what I do with sticks I collect from the ranch.. specially from the tamarack and fir trees that abound there, and some from the ancient apple tree where i made the first hooks ever and sent them to my Sis Sandy in Calleyfornia..(no idea what that lavender smear is under the second to last hook)
These and all the hooks I make are one off originals, hand made to order according to the buyer's grip style. I try hard to match the handle with the user's grip, and to make the hook as close to the desired size as possible. I also do wood handles for metal hooks in the same fashion.
If you like what you see and want to order one... please leave me your email address, or email me. I prefer to make hooks J and larger; metal/wood hooks can be any size.
I hope to have pay pal running in a day or so.

I'm Blogging!! I'm actually Blogging!!

Wah dam Hoo!! I have a BLOG !! Now i'm big time (although i hardly know what to do here, but i'm sure going to give it try).
ThreeOlive and Kari from did this for me as a surprize and holey cow was it! Now i can post my pictures and sell my hooks with wild reckless abandon, wax poetic.. show other stuff.... just wow!
Lemme see.... maybe i can even post a picture! Ok... here you go, my very first Blog picture. I suppose it should be a doozie eh? Ok i'll show you one of my favorite pictures in the world... a shot i took up on the ranch. Oops, it showed up at the top of this post... oh well, you still get the picture. I'll do more in a bit after i get a little more aclimated.
wow is this cool!!

Surprise Jimbo!

Welcome to your new blog!