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Spider roundabout

 

Artistic brief

There was an old spider who lived in quite a stew.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
So she span a nice roundabout from silken thread;
And whizzed them all around until she put them to bed.

Mum spider was worried about the kids just hanging about and wondered what she could do to keep them busy.

Then she saw this bare tree and thought this will do nicely.

With a little bit of work, there’ll be room for everyone.

The technical brief

The mechanism to turn the roundabout should be as simple as possible and should also drive a small music box mechanism which plays “Die Berliner Luft” – a tune that every Berliner knows about Berlin’s fantastic air. Spiders can have phenomenally large families, but I decided to go for a token number of nine baby spiders. What was good enough for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is good enough for me. They had four boys and five girls, I will leave it to the viewer to decide on the sex of the various members of my little family. Brass rods will be strong enough to make the web and wood will do for the rest.

Making the family

The parts to make a baby spider

Baby spiders are uncomplicated creatures made of a small drilled wooden ball for the body, two wooden hemispheres for big appealing eyes and eight pieces of bent brass rod for the legs. For the strand of web for them to dangle from, I used a cotton thread glued into the predrilled hole which I then filled with a piece of 3 mm dowel.

Finished baby spider waiting for its colour

Fashion-conscious mum spider

Mum spider is larger of course, has a more stylish hairdo and shoes and a 3 mm hole in her underside to attach her to the top of the tree.

The web

Spider mum and her freshly spun web

As there are nine spider children, the web has to have 9 segments. Mum spider needed a bit of help to make the web so I used slim brass rods, bent carefully to shape which I then soldered together, arranging for a slight “umbrella” shape. The web is mounted into a wooden ball which just rests on top of the tree, with a 3 mm dowel through the middle to hold mum spider, glued safely in position. As the ball is not glued, it is turned by friction. This allows mum to jig around and issue instructions to her brood and also allows the web to coast gracefully to a stop when the tree stops turning.

The base mechanism

The bare mechanism

On a circular base, I mounted the small music box mechanism which I bought for a few euros. After cutting its bent metal handle off, I could push on a wooden cog which I cut using my bow saw. An identical cog drives it, when the handle is turned. Fortunately the music mechanism doesn’t mind if you turn it the wrong way, it just goes click, click instead of playing its merry tune. Turning the handle also rotates the drive wheel which is in frictional contact with the larger wheel glued to the vertical “tree”. I added a wooden bearing at the base of the tree which, together with the hole in the upper part of the base, keeps the tree nicely vertical.

The assembled roundabout, ready for testing

The upper part of the base rests on three fairly chunky pieces of dowel. Careful alignment is required to ensure free rotation of the tree before gluing things together.

The video

Link to the video https://youtu.be/RCSqZP25s30

Images to download

https://www.wordwise.de/Spider_roundabout_images.zip

Corona Sunday 3 May

It’s Sunday so let’s wind the clocks up!

And watch the Andrew Marr show on the telly.

Look who’s on the show today!

Check how the flowers on the balcony are doing.

And it’s time to cook lunch.

Yum, yum, yum!

Delicious strawberries from the farmer.

His and hers expresso.

Need to fill up the sugar bowl.

Time for a stroll around the block.

This way?

Or that way…

Cheerful tree stump.

Young man, can you bend down far enough to do my loose shoelace up?

What time is it?

Do you think we could tow this behind a tandem?

A musical pond (Gustav Mahler Platz).

Busy mushrooms eating what’s left of this tree.

I’ve already got that but in a nicer colour.

Kim is flagging.

Nearly home again.

Who said strawberries are just for eating?

Now wash your hands.

And read a good book.

Kim can only manage one with pictures.

Cheers

Episode 30 of Hope@home (https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/RC-019356/hope-home/) – particularly liked the Schnittke music.

Gardening for the impatient

The creative brief

Summer is a cumin in Berlin and my wife is busy planting the balcony so that we can enjoy our evening cocktails in a fragrant, colourful environment. Young plants grown in Dutch greenhouses do give you a really quick start but much patience is still required. As an impatient man, I thought about what I could conjure up that gives instant satisfaction for friends of the floral.

The technical brief

The mechanism was to be as simple as possible. A handle rotates a cam which friction drives a wheel perpendicular to it, so that the wheel and its shaft are both lifted up and down and rotated a little. Petals are attached to the other end of the shaft and as the shaft is lifted, the petals should open up to reveal an egg-shaped centre.

Petals & hinge

To get the shape of a petal I used a piece of plastercine pushed against a wooden egg. From this I made two templates in card, to mark up my lime wood for cutting on a bowsaw.

Plastercine petal and two card templates

First cut for petals

Second cut and carving for petals

Instead of trying to hinge each petal separately, I bent a piece of brass rod into a ring and cut two holders to grab the ring in a sandwich.

A hinge for 6 petals

And when this is all assembled it looks like this

6 petals hinged on a centre piece

The base mechanism

The base has four chunky dowel legs. Two of the legs have holes to take the 8mm dowel axle with its cam and its disc-shaped crank

Parts for the base mechanism

The assembled base mechanism

There is a short video showing the effect of turning the crank.

Youtube link “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQMXmhIrygE”

The flower and its “cage”

Adding a wooden egg into the centre of the petals completes the flower

The open flower

To push the petals up when the flower is closed, a wooden ring is required at just the right height. A certain amount of experimentation shows the correct height and some trimming of the outside of the petals gets them all to move synchronously.

A ring/cage at just the right height

Lessons learned

The flower jammed when open and didn’t want to close again. A lead washer fixed that.

Lead washer to increase downward force

It was caused by the vertical activating rod tilting due to the off-centre upward pressure from the cam. It’s a delicate balance between the diameter of the dowel and the diameter of the hole in which it moves. I used a 10 mm dowel in an 11 mm hole and that was too loose. Maybe a 10.5 mm hole would have been better, maybe I should have used a much slimmer dowel to reduce the surface area subject to friction? I will just have to try it and see in future.

What did the critics say?

My severest 4 year old critic asked “are those rabbit’s ears?

Rabbit’s ears?

It only has 6 arms so it can’t be an octopus

Octopus?

Something from outer space?

Alien?

This finished piece has a very short narrative. Each turn of the crank opens & then closes the flower. That is not much of a story. Nevertheless my official tester played with it happily for quite a while. I think it is more something to entertain kids and is of less interest for adults. I had fun making it and learned a bit, so I am content.

The video

Video link “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwzTALIhS_c”

Download the images

https://www.wordwise.de/Gardening%20for%20the%20impatient.zip

Teatime

Teatime

What was the creative brief?

As an Englishman in Berlin I am naturally a staunch defender of English culture, so I aim to sell the benefits of teatime to the pagan Germans who much prefer coffee! When two chatty friends get together, the benefit of having to drink tea is that while one is drinking their delicious tea, the other can chat and vice versa. The more vivacious the chat the better, so waggling head & hair and dangling earrings are a must.

Dangly earrings are a must

What’s the technical brief?
I like the idea of cams controlling things, but as I live in a small flat I see a drawback in the size of the base needed to accommodate cams which turn around a horizontal axis. I wondered whether arranging cams to turn around a vertical axis is feasible and whether the resulting base would be more compact.

This simple illustration shows the 2 options. At first sight the vertical bearing option looks distinctly flatter.

  • With a horizontal bearing, as the cam turns, the cam follower is pressed onto it by gravity. As the edge of the cam moves up or down, the follower moves with it, or follows it.
  • With a vertical bearing, gravity stubbornly remains a vertical force, so some other force X is needed to keep the follower in contact with the cam. It does however mean that several followers could share the same cam with a “phase” difference depending upon how far apart they are, angularly speaking.

Force X could be a spring, or we could use a piece of suitable routed string attached to a weight to pull the follower against the cam, thus bending gravity to the required angle. The angle of rotation of the handle should also be left to the user, so the cams should be “bidirectional”. The base should be as open as possible, so that you can see “the works”.

Additional ideas which came while making

The bearing for the cams became the leg for a table.

As the cam is in the centre of the base and the two figures are at the rear, the empty space at the front begged for something to fill it, so each of the friends has space for their dog which, as we know, always looks startlingly similar to its owner.

Small dog which is strikingly similar to its owner

The table rotating seemed to make no contribution to the narrative of the piece, so I almost stopped it from turning, but then I thought that it would make a splendid carousel for someone small enough to enjoy it, so that’s what it became, a tiny subplot within the bigger story.

A tiny subplot within the bigger story

Gears

The cams will turn in the horizontal plane, around a vertical axis, but the crank for users to turn will rotate in a vertical plane, around a horizontal axis. Pin gears seem like a good idea, a small one with 8 pins for the crank and a large one with 36 pins to drive the cams.

The two pinwheel gears

The pinwheel gears engaging

For a smoother motion, (after I took this photo) I folded a piece of sandpaper into a V-shape and chamfered the tops of two of the pins at a time in the large wheel. This is not needed for the small wheel.

Cams

Each figure has two moving parts – the mouth and the arm which lifts the tea cup. As good friends they take turns to speak and while they are not speaking, that’s the opportunity to have a slurp of tea. I decided to just use two cams. Each figure is driven by the same two cams but with a 180 degree offset. While one figure is chatting the other one is slurping and vice versa.

Two cams

In the above picture the left sort of egg-shaped cam is responsible for lifting the arms, the right cam for opening the mouths. When not chatting (the wavy bit) the mouth is held open to await a slurp of tea. Note that there are no abrupt steps in the shape of the cams here to make sure that it will work in both directions.

Followers

There are 4 followers mounted on levers which are pivoted at the front of the base, two for the lower cam and two for the upper cam. In the photo you can see the pivot at the left, the follower in the middle with a plastic ring to cut down friction, and at the right the part which drives the mechanism mounted on the rear wall.

Two follower levers

In this photo of the base you can see two followers with small springs to keep them in contact with the cams.

Base with two follower levers & springs

The rear wall mechanism

Changing the direction of motion

As the lever to which the follower is attached moves, it in turn moves this small mechanism, which has the effect of changing a horizontal motion into a vertical one. As the lever moves out it turns the triangularish piece of wood around its axis at the bottom. The row of small holes in the side are to take the vertical brass rod which moves the model. Unsure as to how much movement was needed, I could thus choose a hole and shorten or lengthen the movement by trial and error. This mechanism is repeated four times for four followers.

The tea drinkers

Half of a 40 mm wooden ball serves nicely as hips.

The figures are assembled along a piece of 8 mm dowel which is fixed into the seat. This means that they are adjustable. I left the knee hinged on a piece of 3 mm dowel until I was happy with the pose, only then gluing it. Half of a 40 mm wooden ball serves nicely as hips.

A whole wooden ball makes a good torso

One of the arms is hinged on the body to lift the cup of tea. The other arm is fixed to carefully hold the saucer.

A few wooden eggs & balls serve as the head and hairdo

The jaw is fixed to the 8 mm dowel and the head is then hinged onto the jaw. This means that the whole head moves when the figure is speaking/drinking tea, causing the earrings to swing about most satisfactorily. The eyes and nose are removeable to make painting easier before gluing them in place.

The head is hinged onto the fixed jaw for maximum waggle

Hands and teacup

Carefully hinged woodwedge teacups

The hands are carved from lime wood with the smallest finger slightly lifted. When the arm lifts, the protruding pinkie then makes that elegant gesture so typical of polished tea drinkers. Of course the teacup must stay horizontal to make sure that nothing gets spilled so it is hinged on a bit of brass rod.

The brass rods in place

Lessons learned

I ended up with quite a compact base so it was worthwhile turning the cams sideways. Precision seems to be more important like this however, so I had to take great pains to keep the two cams parallel to one another as well as to the box. The spacing between the two pin wheels also had to be just right for smooth operation. Fortunately, I could adjust that a bit via the thickness of the washer underneath the cam assembly. When I was almost done, I decided to use what I had intended to be a collar as a waist instead. Happily, that just meant changing the order of the bits on the 8 mm dowel. The figures look much more stylish like that. When testing the movement, I decided that the mouth was chattering too quickly, so I made a new cam from 3 mm plywood to slow things down a bit. I tried to resist gluing parts together for as long as possible to keep my options open. That is a delicate balancing act. While things are not fixed the precision wobbles and occasionally pieces tumble all over the place and have to be carefully collected. Once glued it can be hard to take things to pieces again to change this and that.

Youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COTnQGcVq34

17 pictures in a ZIP file

Friday 21 Feb

 

Drive from Cassano to Bastia airport (Googlemaps link) takes at least 1 hour 50 minutes.

14:15 Bastia AF4460 to Paris (Orly), arrive 15:50
20:40 Paris (CDG) to Berlin (Tegel), arrive 22:25

Thursday 20 Feb – Notre Dame de la Serra



Walk to the cemetery and back. Andy photographing us photographing him.

Corsican curiosity.

Notre dame de la Serra

Picnic under the church.

As the sun sets on our last full day on Corsica…

Wednesday 19 Feb – La Revellata




Tuesday 18 Feb – Cassano Monte Zingu



Kite flying into the sun to confuse the mice.

Almond blossom

The Asphodel

People used them to make crosses in order to protect the harvest and with the dry leaves they filled mattresses. Its popular names is fiori di morti – “flower of the dead”. The official name of the variety found in Corsica is in fact Asphodelus ramosus.

When heated its bulbs explode like fireworks, on the feast day for Saint John the Baptist children hold them in the fire built in the village square and then knock them against stones to make them bang.

For centuries it was planted near tombs to nourish the dead. It also fed the living.
The asphodel is edible: its bulb can be made into a kind of bread. It lost its importance as food after the introduction of the potato in the 18th century. The asphodel became known as “the bread of the poor”. It continued to be appreciated for its medicinal properties in treating ailments such as indigestion, coughs, inflammations, ulcers, toothache, as well as tuberculosis…

Source: https://www.terracorsa.info/aspho.html

Monday 17 Feb – l’île rousse




Kim tangled with a Triffid.

This pair really sock it to them.

Have you heard the one about …

Look at the wild asparagus which Fiona & Andy collected – yum!

Played Keith Haring cards in the evening – Black Lady aka Hearts

Sunday 16 Feb – Vallée du Fango




Another beautiful day.

Fango river

Having a little rest.

The world famous zebra stone.

Concert of Corsican songs

Saturday 15 Feb – Plage de l’Arinella




The living room in the morning

The view from the balcony

Coffee at Spar

Swinging time on the beach

Biggles on the beach

Corsican February

Friday 14 Feb – Montemaggiore


Cassano

Beautiful walk to Montemaggiore on Valentine’s day.

Eglise de Montegrosso

What is Fiona photographing?

Thursday 13 Feb – Corte





Walk 20 with a picnic today and a nice blue February sky.

Peekaboo

Kim‘s Corsican Cone hat

That‘s Corte castle down there.

Stony steps keep you on your toes.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Wednesday 12 Feb – Corte




Quick look at Ajaccio (pronounced Adjgaksio) after discovering that Napo-Rama is closed for the winter.

Window in Ajaccio.

Drive to Corte 1h 25 m

Well-aged entrance to the apartment.

Corte apartment https://www.booking.com

First impressions can be deceptive. Great apartment! Check out the wash-basin.

On the way up through the village.

View from the belvedere up to the old castle.

From one mountain goat to the next.

Small, free contemporary art museum in Corte https://www.frac.corsica

Gerhild shows solidarity with the Corsican women.

Kim is trying to understand the Corsican man.

The motto over our fireplace –

Friends are silent angels who put us back on our feet when our wings no longer know how to fly.


Corte tourisme walks

Tuesday 11 Feb – Ajaccio, pointe de la parata



Walk 27 – Sentier des Douaniers

There was so much to enjoy on this walk, we only did half of it.

Shadow selfie

Our picnic spot

Monday 10 Feb – Ajaccio




Last look around Piana

The house where we stayed.

Bits of the village not yet done up.


Drive to Ajaccio 1.5 h

Ajaccio apartment https://www.booking.com €500 cash deposit required.

Evening walk along new EU-sponsored footpath (narrowing the road!).

Sunday 9 Feb – Piana




Walk 13 – 7 km 3 h

The walk goes to the tower on the hill at the end.

The link for the guys with a drone Youtube channel


Picnic looking down into Cala di Palu.


Corsican colours


Friar‘s Cowl


Corsican steps


Kim thinking lofty thoughts


The view from our balcony – Residence de la Tour Piana

Saturday 8 Feb – Piana


The sun rose over the mountains at quarter past eight.

Calvi beach

Stock up at Spar Supermarket – Route de Calenzana, 20260 Calvi

Drive to Piana 2 h

Look who we bumped into on top of a hill!


This fellow wasn‘t very talkative.

Les calanches de Piana porto korsika unesco

Résidence de la Tour, Piana https://www.booking.com

Friday 7 Feb – Calvi




06:25 Berlin (Tegel) AF 1135 to Paris (CDG) arrive 08:15
The bus to Orly takes about 90 minutes.
15:55 Paris (Orly – Terminal 3) AF4468 to Calvi, arrive 16:25

Hotel Calvi Marina https://www.hotel-mariana.com/en/ Hôtel Mariana, Avenue Santa Maria, 20260 CALVI


 

First impressions – Calvi airport is enjoyably tiny. Starlings deafening in the palm trees by the seafront. Fish & chips / salad in one of the few open restaurants for an expensive €70 (with 500 ml of Sicilian red). Snow on the mountain tops.

Hamburg 2020

Die Elbphilharmonie

Schanzenviertel

Schönes Stickup

Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe

SAGMEISTER & WALSH- BEAUTY

Advertising the exhibition

What is beauty

André’s 3D Kunst

Meßberghofeingang

Berlindes

https://kimskabarett.home.blog/

Kisso Fisch

KaDeWe Champagner

Die Weltbummler

Wer ist dieser Typ?

Three proper Charlies

Fluoreszenz Frisuren

Auf die Größe kommt es an

Cedric und das geschlagene Ei!

Hilfe! Wir sind zu viel.

Ein richtig schräger Typ.

Mama Mia!

Was gibt’s heute zum Abendbrot?

Der Würfelmeister

Wer ist jetzt dran?

Spiegelspaß in der Odenwaldstrasse

SPD Kunst

Der Profi bei der Arbeit.

Die Familie kommt mir irgendwie bekannt vor…

Die Leute sind größer hier im Norden.

Three boys in Berlin

The people’s parliament.

Wo ist bloß das Bahnticket?

Yolanda the Wooden Yoga Queen

 

 

 

Fitness is a big deal in Berlin with fitness centres popping up everywhere like mushrooms. However, you don’t have to become a member of one of these joints to stay fit as Yolanda the Yoga Queen can show us.

Yolanda is a moving example of the ancient art of wooden Yoga. Yolanda’s wooden Yoga skills are so advanced that she has mastered the technically very demanding eyebrow twitch, even accomplishing the plait swing with simultaneous neck stretch first recorded aeons ago in the darkest depths of the forests surrounding Berlin.

As a master of her craft, she is entitled to wear the Navy blue initiate’s frock, with its matching conical headpiece.

Inspiration

A friend gave me an A4 card with a figure to be cut out called “Gymnastics with Sister Adelheid”. You can see it halfway down the page http://www.edition8x8.info/bastelbogen/bastelbogen.html  I had a lot of fun making this and when you lift Adelheid’s substantial body up and down, her arms wave down and up in a most fetching manner!

Adelheid was created by Martin Graf who is a brilliant artist with a great sense of humour. His web site is in German, but the images and animated GIFs speak for themselves, so it’s a great source of inspiration.

So what’s the brief?

The nurse who looked after me as a 10 year old was called Yolanda and I loved her dearly. She also rhymes nicely with Yoga, so that was that. I also decided to change the movement so that when Yolanda’s body is pressed down, her arms go up. Trendy girls in Berlin favour long hair at the moment, so I thought that long plaits would be nice for her and maybe they could move up and down too. While considering how to do this I thought well let’s move her eyebrows as well.

The body, arms & legs

I used three sheets of 6 mm plywood sandwiched together for the body in an almost triangular shape. For the arms I used 2 mm plywood with carved limewood hands and shoes. The legs are 6 mm beech dowel with 1.6 mm metal rod to move the arms. In the middle piece of the 3-layer sandwich there are slots in the plywood to accommodate the legs and the springs which push them down. This middle piece has an angled top on which the arms rest. Three small polyamide washers help the arms to move freely and I cut grooves in the outer pieces of the sandwich to provide space for the bent metal rods to move up and down.

To move the arms

This arrangement means that when you push down on the body, the leg springs compress and the metal rods move up into the body thus lifting the arms. As each leg has its own spring, you can choose to place one foot onto a raised platform leaving the other foot floating free in the air. If you then push down on the body only one arm will be lifted. As the ruff is fixed to the body, you can also push down on the ruff.

The head

I cut a beechwood egg into two halves as the basis for Yolanda’s head, I chose a smaller egg for her nose, two hemispheres for her eyes and a cone for her hat. I used 2 mm plywood for her plaits and carved a limewood ruff to hold her 6 mm dowel neck.

From left to right. Front of head with holes for eye axes. back of head, 2 pieces of padding and 2 plaits. 2 eyes at bottom on different length rods.

To understand how things move, here is a partial assembly, showing just one plait which is pivoted on the metal rod on which Yolanda’s right eye (and eyebrow) is fixed on the outside.

As the metal rod from the neck moves up and down it moves the plait up and down. The plait is fixed with epoxy resin adhesive to its axis rod, so this rod turns as the plait is moved. The eye on the outside is also fixed to the axis rod, so it also turns as the plait is moved. Here’s a short video showing the movements https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pejNGatJAyQ

The plaits overlap so I added padding on each half of the egg to keep the plaits properly offset and to fill what would otherwise be an ugly gap. This padding means that one eye needs a metal axis rod which is longer by the thickness of the padding. A plastic washer beneath each plait keeps it moving freely.

To move the plaits & eyebrows

The ruff is glued to the top of the body and the neck is glued to the ruff. The neck can move within the head thus moving the brass rod up and down. I chose not to use a spring here so that friction can hold the head on the neck in any position that you choose. To lift Yolanda’s plaits you have to pull her head upwards, “stretching” her neck. To lower the plaits you press her head down. Her hat is a good place to hold because your fingers are then clear of her eyebrows. As each plait lift its metal rod turns, rotating Yolanda’s eyes.

Her eyebrows are glued to the tops of her eyes and move with them. As her plaits lift her eyebrows tilt and Yolanda seems to frown. As her plaits go down, her eyebrows relax and Yolanda appears calmer. You don’t really notice that her eyes are rotating, her eyebrows grab your attention and give her this variable expression. Once you have set her expression you can then use the ruff to press the body down and lift her arms, without changing her expression. If you choose, you can press down using her hat, in which case her expression will first relax and then she will lift her arms.

If that’s all a bit complicated to understand, there is a video of Yolanda in action here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b1OuLkBtCY which should help.

As a well brought up young lady Yolanda takes care to use white cotton ribbons to keep her plaits tidy, which of course match her snow white ruff and socks.

Sometimes Yolanda gets a bit cross. Well it’s only human isn’t it?

 

 

Das Geheimnis der Fische

In 7th Heaven

The idea

What does it take to make us happy? How do we get to seventh heaven or even up onto cloud nine?

It’s really the small things in life which count and seeing my wife enjoying a swing in the garden outside a mountain restaurant in the Alps I thought that  would be a great start. Originally, I planned to put the swing in a bird cage but then I thought “who’s happy being caged in?” So I decided to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar, trala and use clouds to swing on instead. There was recently an exhibition in Berlin about hippies and psychedelia, so I decided that a strange bird will sit on my swing, with a psychedelic Mohican haircut, a strange bird who really knows how to enjoy life. To keep him company, I added some heavenly birds who might even be storks just back from delivering their latest load of babies.

Pure happiness

The basic mechanism

I decided to use a crank to turn a small wheel, which then causes a larger wheel to first turn one way and then back the other way.

The basic mechanism. The small central wheel is turned by the crank on the outside of the partition. This causes the big wheel at the left to rock back and forth. Note the black plastic strips in the slot to reduce the friction. These are cut down tie-wraps.

There is a video showing the mechanism working https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYGhfcFeSac

For an extravagant visual impression, I chose a golden (brass) chain to provide the drive to the top axle. This is screwed to the big wheel beneath the base to transmit the motion to the top of the swing, where it is also screwed in place.

The wheel to make the swing rock back & forth and to pull the strings which operate the birds.

The same wheel at the top which makes the swing rock also pulls the four strings to make the four birds rise up. Strategically placed screw eyes guide the four strings to the four birds.

A string threaded through an eyelet pulls the brass rod up which lifts the bird’s body, the lead weight pulls it down again.

The swinging man

The swinging man has to really enjoy his swing as he is in 7th heaven, so moving forwards he leans back and pulls his legs up with his mouth open laughing. Right at the back, ready for his next swing, he sits up straight with his mouth closed and his legs hanging down.

Like a puppet, he has strings on his legs and a string on his chest. These strings are permanently tied to the framework. As the swing moves forward the strings tighten to pull his legs up, As the swing moves back the string tightens to pull his upper body erect on the seat. Gravity closes and opens his mouth.

His hands are permanently glued to the rods and his thighs are glued to the seat so that his body and lower legs can move freely.

 

 

The separate parts of the head and the carved ruff for our fashion-conscious swinger

The head assembled onto the body. Cutting a curved smile into a beechwood egg requires the egg to be held very firmly in a clamp.

One limewood leg, hinged at the knee on a 3 mm dowel.

The arms hinged with screws and plastic washers and the hands which hold the rods of the swing.

The birds

There is a video which shows how the birds move https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuCOqCZR1_k

The wings are hinged to the body using screw eyelets and a piece of bent brass rod. The neck is a piece of white cord which flexes nicely as the body moves relative to the head. My harshest critic, a four year old neighbour asked me why the birds don’t move around in a circle although they are flapping their wings. She is quite right of course and a slightly more complex mechanism would have made that possible. I will tie a knot in my hankie to have a go at revolving birds at some future time.

The heavenly supporting frame

The framework is reminiscent of a Roman temple. The fluted columns are pieces of dowel with round chiselled grooves.

Everything is of course floating on clouds and I chose columns as in an ancient Roman temple to support an ethereally round top. Giant golden hands firmly grasp the ends of the axle for the swing. It is all made of wood, but a lick of gold paint gives things that certain sheen which we would expect in our Seventh Heaven.

The driving wheel was cut with a bowsaw and the groove in its edge was simply chiselled out. Drilling round cutouts supports the impression of a metal wheel when the gold paint is added. The hands could move at first, until trial and error revealed the best position for them to be glued.

The hands were first modelled in plastercine. The hole for the dowel was drilled first and only then was the final shape carved.

Lessons learned

It was fun making this but, as always, I was much wiser at the end than I was at the beginning. Initially I was very casual about the dimensioning of the moving parts and had to beef things up a lot when I noticed my mistake. After some strengthening, the mechanism works, although turning the crank requires a very uneven amount of force depending upon its angle of rotation. The finished item is quite large and the birds are easier to see than the “main” figure on the swing. Of course the columns and round roof are required to support the top axle but they do obscure our psychedelic hero enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures, which is a pity. Maybe a simpler inverted V-shape frame would have been better, without our feathered friends fluttering away up above. I still like it anyway!

Here is a video showing the finished item – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AEWpeBCgO0

Kim’s koffee table

 

Corsica – plan

See everything on one long page here, or choose a day.


29 September Travel

 

 

 

 

 

260 km 3h 5 m von Kabishof nach München

Bahnfahrt

28 September – Teddy comes for a walk

 

 

 

 

 
For our 2 favourite girls in Berlin.

Music for this walk

Hey Teddy, do you want to come for a walk?

 
Which way, which way?

 
Wow, what’s that?

 
Apples! Just lying on the grass!

 
Found me, found me.

 
Where is Teddy?

 
Just my size and I love the colour.

 
Hey! I‘m hungry too.

 
Mmmm. Cheese roll.

 
What‘s that?

 
It’s very pretty.

 
Gerhild found me a necklace under a mushroom. Maybe it’s magic?

 
Peek a boo.

 
Bet you can‘t see me!

 
Huh. There‘s nothing under this mushroom.

 
This way home.

 

27 September – Early start in Teis

 

 

 

 

 

 
Breakfast with some Kamut rolls.

 
Ancient Tyrolean fence-making craft.

 

 

 
What is Gerhild taking a picture of?

 
Vilnößtal, what else.

26 September – Dusler Alm

 

 

 

 

 

 
On the way to Dusler Alm.

 
Just cast in bronze and sell for a fortune!

 
Why do we climb mountains?

 


 
A rare find – Boris Johnsonus Idioticus.