Collapsible travel firestaffs

Posted by jerry on February 26th, 2008 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

So you spin firestaffs and your transport is a motorbike eh? Bit long for the backpack? Ok here is the solution – firestaffs with removable ends. At least that was the design brief I was given. The key thing was to have matching firestaffs each of 900mm length but able to break down to a maximum of 600mm length. In rough terms in the old measurements that is two firestaffs of three-foot length, but breaking down to 2 feet maximum length.


The key tool here was a plumbers flaring tool and a hammer. I bought a couple of lengths of aluminium tube and one length of a slightly oversize aluminium tube – the one able to slide freely over the other.

The thinner tube I cut to 600mm (24 inches), the thicker tube I cut four pieces 200mm (8 inches). I then cut four short pieces of the thinner tube – about 100mm (4 inches) and used the flaring tool to expand ONE end so they would not slide all the way down the wider tube. I filled these with dowel shaved to fit. Then I inserted the shortest tubes into each of the wider and longer short tubes and drilled them for the wick.

Using 300mm of wick on each (one foot) I attached the wick wound tightly to the short ends. Once all four wicks were screwed tight with screws and washers, I slid these over the long tubes. There was a bit of slack so I wound a little tape around teh top of the long tubes so the fit would be snug.


Then I drilled two holes at rght angles through the short and long tube so they would match and bolted them together with 25mm 3/16″ bolts. This secures them so they won’t wobble even if the packing tape is worn away.

I also marked each end cap with the correct end by punching tiny dents on both the long staff and the short caps. That way the bolt holes will line up easily even if you haven’t drilled them perfectly evenly.


And that’s that – two matching collapsible fire staffs – Enjoy them safely.

Why five ways to enhance your blog titles?

Posted by jerry on February 20th, 2008 — Posted in Travel, Writing

Think of a newspaper and look at the headlines – perhaps you have very little time in your day – a well-crafted headline can peke your curiosity and make you read further. It’s the same with blog titles. If you are writing a travel blog, you are less likely to read a post that declares : “My trip to Singapore”. But if instead your title was “Five top shops in Singapore” – wouldn’t you just quickly check out the list? People love lists. There are whole books of them.

Or what about a question? “Why are Tokyo’s drain covers so pretty?” Again you’d be reading that post pretty quickly – if only to disagree with the answer.

Lists and questions are just two of the techniques listed in – check it out!


Blogshanks – great travel blog

Posted by jerry on February 19th, 2008 — Posted in Journal

This is a great travel blog – instead of photos and brochure clips, this one is hand drawn – and with both a great sense of humour as well as some canny observations – You should see the trip to Singapore and Malaysia!

Blogshanks is one to remember!


Treecycle – the amazing wooden bike

Posted by jerry on February 12th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Technology, Woodwork

While most teenagers are content to kick a footy, 16 year old Marco Facciola was in the woodshop fabricating a bicycle entirely from wood – no metal or rubber parts – just wood, good joinery and a bit of glue. Even the chain is made from hundreds of wooden components and it all works – even down to the free-wheeling ratchet so he wouldn’t have to pedal down hills. As part of his International Baccalaureate studies he had to complete a non-academic project. In this case he recalled stories his grandfather told him of how during the Second World War, rubber was short, so kids made wooden wheels fo rtheir bikes. Marco took this a stage (or two) further and built the entire bike.

Wooden bike

It may not be the first (although the one pictured in Leonardo daVinci’s Notebooks appears to have been a forgery) but it is more sophisticated than most others in having a working wooden chain and freewheeling ratchet.

You can read more about this amazing bike in Lea Valley Tools as well as Gizmodo

and in newspapers, like the Montreal Gazette


Jimmy Carter’s Workshop

Posted by jerry on February 10th, 2008 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

Former US President Jimmy Carter has been known for his Presidency and his international diplomacy since leaving office. But not many people know that he is also a very skilled woodworker.

Each year he produces a special piece to auction for charity – Since his first auction in 1983 he has raised over US$10m.

I a short video he gives a rare glimpse into his workshop next to his house in Plains, Georgia, USA. It’s worth a look 🙂