Tinkering School

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Day Three - Everyone Stole My Chair

2012 Session 2 - Seniorsgever2 Comments

This is how the whole thing turned existential; Gilon walked back into the dining room after making himself a quesadilla for lunch, looked around the table and declared, "Everyone stole my chair." That was how it started, and before the day was over, we talked about the elusive tangibility of existence, the difficulties of really "knowing" anything for sure, and the slippery slope of infinite possibilities. BEGIN FLASHBACK IMG 0295 Last night, the Bananagrams began. Our evenings will never be the same again. END FLASHBACK

IMG 0298 Witness the galvanization of a habit into a tradition; every time the truck has to move between the buildings at Elkus Ranch, it accretes tinkerers like barnacles on a slow-moving whale. We're off to the barn!IMG 0301 The Kablooies drill the axle mounts on their finished frame. Sam on the big honkin' drill.

IMG 0305 Rhody jigs up a special brace for the Nooi railboat.

IMG 0308 Sam is setting up a factory for producing Nooi wheel units.

IMG 0310 Anita joins Rhody to help finish the brace. It's a critical structural element in their deisgn.

IMG 0315 g Sam needs a lot of identical chunks of wood for his wheel unit factory.

IMG 0329 Mica and Julianna make light work of their adjustable wheel unit construction projects.

IMG 0331 Mica was here. Drawing her name in sawdust. On the table. In person.

IMG 0333 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Sam making precise marks.

IMG 0335 Julianna and Mica's efforts see the wheel units coming to fruition.

IMG 0338 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Rhody has focus.

IMG 0340 At the testbed, Juliana takes a wheel unit for a testdrive.

IMG 0342 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Declan explains how the pieces fit together.

IMG 0344 We are using all of the clamps today. Anita and Serena fit, clamp, and screw.

IMG 0347 The long bolts that were purchased to mount skate and rollerblade wheels on are galvanized - which means that they don't fit the plain bolts we got very well, which means that Juliana (along with Gever and Hanna) try grinding the bolt shafts down with a file. It seems like it could work, but after more filing than we collectively care to admit, we dispatch Gever to the hardware store to get proper bolts.

IMG 0351 Luigi is an unstoppable force in the barn this morning.

IMG 0358 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Mica tightening the bolt on a wheel unit.

IMG 0361 Can you see it? The mast rising above the railboat, the sail stretched tight, the lines singing in the wind? The Kablooi mast and boom are almost in place.

IMG 0363 But first, they have to finish mounting the wheels. Unlike the Piki and the Nooi, the Kablooi have decided to use the big wagon wheels. To reduce the rolling resistance they have pumped them up to 40psi, rendering them nearly as hard as the urethane skate wheels.

IMG 0374 Declan makes friends with a goat.

IMG 0385 Serena makes friends with donkey.

IMG 0405 What a friendly place! Gilon makes friends with donkey.

IMG 0417 On a tour of the upper barn with Leslie the ranch manager, the tinkerers meet the herd of sheep, horses, cows, and bigger goats.

IMG 0438 Julianna reports that it is both thrilling and a little bit scary to hand-feed an eager sheep.

IMG 0452 We live in a world filled with enormous and mysterious creatures.

IMG 0466 Serena and Rhody of the Nooi ask Gever a seemingly simple question; "What kind of sail should we make?"

IMG 0468 And true to form, Gever whips up a diagram as he explains the basic principles and designs.

IMG 0471 To make sails, we have a collection of donated paragliders in various states of disrepair.

IMG 0480 Watch out for the giant glider monster!

IMG 0484 The Nooi spend some time getting to know the shape and properties of the paraglider.

IMG 0492 Your moment of Zen.

IMG 0493 The barn sustains a continuous hive of activity throughout the day as railboats come together.

IMG 0499 Mica helps shape the Piki boat prow.

IMG 0500 Nickey and Gilon work out a complicated relationship between the load-bearing wagon wheel and the guide wheel.

IMG 0504 Sam's factory has produced four identical and very carefully assembled wheel units.

IMG 0519 g Declan is happy cutting a new boom, but Gever has some serious misgivings regarding his sewing technique.

IMG 0531 Juliana and Mackenzie work on the new deck for their railboat.

IMG 0533 Mica takes a turn at the scroll-saw.

IMG 0543 Bits of scrap wood are assembled into a mock rail.

IMG 0546 Box of nuts. At rest.

IMG 0554 Piki drop their new deck into place.

IMG 0561 Which must be immediately sat upon "for testing purposes."

IMG 0573 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Luigi gives us the look.

IMG 0588 Before the paragliders can be used as sails, Juliana and Luigi must remove the lines.

IMG 0593 A sudden nap-attack takes Mica and Juliana out of the game for half an hour.

IMG 0597 But then they are back at work and going like gang-busters.

IMG 0600 Hoping to leverage the lifting qualities of the wing, Serena cuts holes in the ribs of the paraglider to slot the Nooi mast into, thus preserving the aerodynamic shape (hopefully!).

IMG 0615 The mast gets slotted in, and Rhody ties it off at the top.

IMG 0622 It's working (we imagine, because there is almost no wind)!

IMG 0624 Droopy sails cry out for battens, so we dash down to our favorite eucalyptus grove for thin, flexible branches.

IMG 0631 Which results in a very bushy load.

IMG 0660 A bit more work and then it's time for dinner. Tonight is pasta with leftovers. Mackenzie puts marinated chicken on hers.

IMG 0662 And here's a simple vegetarian version.

IMG 0665 Guten appetit, everyone!

IMG 0667 Then it's back up to the barn for a few more hours of building. Everyone wants to be ready to test their vehicles tomorrow.

IMG 0674 "I'm testing my starfish pose!" claims Declan.

IMG 0678 His audience does not seem impressed...

IMG 0684 ...because they are too busy working. Serena is trimming and cutting battens to bias her sail into the proper curve and shape.

IMG 0689 Some new ways of attaching masts to decks are invented.

IMG 0699 It is a rare evening at Elkus when we catch a glimpse of the sunset, so almost everyone goes outside to work on the sails in the golden-hour light.

IMG 0700 Barn One - our workshop, playspace, and home base.

IMG 0705 Work is good for conversation.

IMG 0723 The Piki sail goes up for a test hang.

IMG 0727 It was a long, and very productive day at Tinkering School. The last of the tinkerers left the barn at 10pm, pleading for just a few more minutes.

We can't all help but wonder if the railboats will work on the test run tomorrow.

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