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Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's the thought that counts

11/26 - I wondered why no one had commented on this one. I forgot to post it. I did it a few days ago. Here you go - I was sitting and talking with my wife and considering what to give folks for Christmas this year. I love to make things. (no really I do) I have made some stuff in the past, but it rarely comes out as I envisioned. I have also had things that did not come out at all. With six kids around the house in earlier years, sometimes NOTHING came out at all except destruction and aggravation. (love ya kids, mean it) I was thinking for the last few years that I wanted to make people wind chimes. Homemade and handmade wind chimes. I have been working with the design in my head now for at least two years. I thought this might be the year I would actually do them. So, I talked it over with my wife, who tactfully agreed. (knowing that disagreement would do nothing) I have done some research online at various places about wind chimes that are available and their costs. I have gotten some great ideas, and an idea of what I could get one commercially for. Now, I am a realist. I know that although sometimes handmade/homemade items can be cheaper than factory produced units; the real benefit is in the fact that someone made the item for you. I can get some outstanding wind chimes off the internet for $19 - $25 ea. There are some higher and some lower, but that seems to be the "sweet spot" of wind chime-dom. I started doing some more detailed planning on the actual production of the wind chimes. I had a basic idea and design, but I knew I needed a more specific one to get the tools, equipment, and materials I needed to get them into production. This brought up the first "issue" to address in the making of wind chimes (or other handmade items), tools. With the design I was going to use I would need a better, easier cutting device than a twenty year old rusted hacksaw with a missing blade. I first considered just buying a new blade (or blades) for the device, but it has definitely seen better days. I then considered the fact that if I was going to do the number of wind chimes I planned, I would be doing a LOT of cutting of tubing. So, some type of power cutting device would be nice. Cost - $50 - $100 (or more). Now, to use a power saw of any design, you need another device to hold what you are sawing. With a 2" x 4" you can use your free hand and a bit of body weight. With a length of copper pipe, one would need a clamping device of some sort. I was looking at a vise or table clamp. Cost - $25 - $50 (or more). I knew I would need to drill holes in the cut lengths of pipe. Now one of the few things I have accumulated over the years is a couple of good drills - cordless and plug-in. But, the drill bits I have left are weak and spartan to say the least. I never seem to have the right drill bit when I go to sink a hole in something. I usually use the next smaller and "route it out" a bit with the old circular motion on the drill. I can usually go up a size or two with this highly developed technique. For this much precision drilling, I knew I would need a drill bit or two. Might as well get a whole set - cost - $20 - $50 (or more). I took stock of the other items I would need - fishing line (don't fish, so none here), some sort of material to make the top hangy thing (I hate to go all wind chime technical on you, but you can tell I have done extensive research) that supports the whole contraption. Now, round this all up with at LEAST three to four shopping trips to multiple stores, because I NEVER, EVER get everything I need for any project I have done until at LEAST three trips have occurred; and the labor. I enjoy doing things with my hands. I am fairly proficient with my hands. Once I get the tools (or even if I don't have all the right tools - For my father who was in a wheelchair, I once built a twenty foot long ramp with a three foot drop with nothing but a hammer, cordless drill/screwdriver, level, tape measure, a skillsaw, and a small handsaw) I can usually do a job in a reasonable amount of time. However, reasonablity is measured relatively. It almost always takes me twice as long as I originally planned, some of which is eaten up by repeated trips to various stores and hours looking for the missing and misplaced tools (where is that level? I left it right here). I was looking at making seven or eight wind chimes. I did the math this morning and determined they would cost me about $75 - $100 each with labor figured in at a reasonable rate. Remember, it's the thought that counts........ Now, if I could only remember those websites with the coolest wind chimes.