Life sure has a wonderful way of twisting and turning its way doesn’t it? I find my life bringing me back around to the V1 fold once again and maybe, just maybe for a good long visit this time. I’ve been swinging my chainsaws around non stop, winter, spring, summer, fall and it’s taking a toll on me, prompting me to have another look at what I’m doing with my life (“what am I doing with my life???”) and what I’d LIKE to be doing with it. I may be dropping the sawdust from my life and focusing strictly on ice carving exploits year-round.
A big part of this decision comes thanks to the knowledge that the MPCNC (and/or the LR3) can play a critical role in the services I provide in the non winter festival type work I would do. Custom logos carved into the ice for indoor display etc. and more goodies - craft ice cubes for my scotch and bourbon “problem”.
I’ve just recently reworked/rearranged my shop adding what I can equate to an indoor deck at the front of the garage. It used to be when you came out the door from the house to the garage that you took three steps down to the floor level. I’ve extended a platform the entire width of the garage out about seven feet. Up on this platform we’ve got our household stuff like water toys, freezer, bike helmets etc on one side and on the other side my work desk and the drop table MPCNC. It’s been running the past couple of weeks cutting corian clips that I use to attach pvc mounted Christmas lights to my windows and doors and highlighting one problem I’ll have to tackle even if I rid my world of sawdust. And that’s CNC dust!
Chainsaw carving has taken me all over western Canada over the past six or so years and it’s proven to be a very financially rewarding adventure for me. However it’s taken a toll on my health. In 2018 I was introduced to a thing called “chemical pneumonia” after poisoning myself in the VOC flooded atmosphere of my shop while sealing a giant (and I mean GIANT) carved bench. Since then I’m finding myself hyper sensitive to not just the fumes from the sealer I use but any (presumably petroleum based) fumes. I get instant headaches and if it’s a real good exposure I’ll get diarrhea.
Not good and certainly less fun than pulling toenails for selling on the grey market. I don’t even touch the paint can opener now without my respirator in place.
But it’s not just the sealer. I live almost every day, spring through fall with inflamed nostrils. But not like “man, my nostrils don’t feel nice”…it’s a weird, acute inflammation just in this weird little pocket at the very front of my nostrils. A teeny tiny spot like a backwater eddy in my nose. And man does it hurt bad sometimes. I assure you, like the cartridge respirator and the sealer, the sawdust doesn’t fly unless I’m wearing an equally well fit cartridge dust mask. But that fine stuff still sneaks in.
And my eyes. Dry, crusty eyes after every job. And you think they’re all clean until you hop in the shower and get the real deep in the eyelash stuff dislodged and into the eyeball it goes. Ditto the above in terms of safety precautions. Gasketed eye protection always. But the stuff still gets in.
Finish the “Cons” side of the list with the sawdust that gets EVERYWHERE. My poor soon-to-be-retired Chevy Avalanche has more sawdust than rust. The garage, oh the garage…will I ever truly get it all cleaned out? And it tracks into the house, into the laundry machines, onto the dog and cats paws which then distributes it house-wide.
So I think it’s time for me to put down the wood saws. I’ve been diving back into CNC possible projects and think that’s where the wood side of my life will reside. But I’ll be refitting the machine(s) with good dust collection,
Potentially even enclosure.
One of my last visits here was just as the LR3 was being unleashed to the world. I fired up the printers but sadly had crap luck printing the TPE and, as happens, life happened at the same time taking away what time I might have had to fight the warping struggles I was having with it. And so the LR3 hasn’t been started yet. But it will. Soon perhaps.
Ice carving season is days away but November and December still leave room for such attempts. If it’s not printed by December 20th it’ll have to be a March 2024 project. Which is fine. March 2024 is also when I’ll have a much clearer idea whether I’ll financially be able to put down the wood saws for good or not.
If it turns out that I can walk away from wood carving, half of my garage will be converted into a walk in freezer for carving and storage. A $10,000 ice machine will find itself on the back of my new to me “next Avalanche” and follow me home from Colorado. And I’ll be going for it.
Rebuilding the MPCNC with the Primo parts that have been printed and waiting for over a year now, making the work area a little smaller, more specific to the type of work I’ll be limiting it to. And I’ll rebuild the current MPCNC to an even smaller work area specific to engraving craft ice cubes and prepare it to live in the subzero world of the freezer full time. The wood exploits will be handled by a multi purpose built LR3 - built to be portable and taken to ice carving festival sites in the winter and burning through wood in the summers.
So that’s that. Dust control critical in my MPCNC/LR3 second life. And size specific built machines working their hearts off for me in the cold. I honestly hope I can make the switch. As lucrative as the wood carving has been, it also comes with a crap load of stress. I joke with customers saying “if you don’t like it I’m happy to cut it down and take it home”. And we always laugh at that. But the reality is if I mess up there’s no do-over. That tree that they’ve just invested a bunch of money in is still stuck in the ground on their property. It’s not like I can just start over. I’m too old for that kind of stressing.
Happy to be back here with friends and V1-Family! Looks like a LOT of great stuff to catch up on here so I better get reading!