It seems as though my motivation to paint lately is non existent. Or rather, I have a desire to paint, but I can’t think of what I should paint.

You’d think this would be a great time to practice some drills, or experiment with new things I’ve never tried, maybe try abstracts, or *gasp* oils… but no… instead I have been sketching doodles while walking Winnie through her last days of kindergarten now that all kids are homeschooled. And today I made a blow poke.

Here’s a doodle I made. One of my guilty pleasures is watching YouTube videos of people making fun of flat Earthers. I started doodling, and it turned into a rocket ship. Then, I traced a lid to a pan, and this is what happened inside and around it. I then asked Winnie to color it in. She took less time to color it in than I took in creating it.

Today, I went to the hardware store, and found two brass tubes, one of which fit snugly inside the other. I then found a brass bushing that fit snugly in the larger tube, and brought them home.

With those three things, I could make a blow poke. I like to sit outside at the chimnea and read, and now that it’s almost warm enough to do that, I’mout there more often. So, I figured a blow poke could come in handy. (If you don’t know, you use it to blow on coals to start a fire without putting your face in the coals.)

Two tubes, the skinny one is on the left. Then I carved a face into an old dowel rod.

I used a chunk of wood to tap the bushing into the mouth of the fatter tube, and then used a screw to add four dimples. These will be covered up by the wooden handle, and make it so the skinny tube can’t slide completely inside the fat tube (in which case it would basically never come out, ever again.)

Then, I carved a wooden face into a dowel rod. The hardest part of this was drilling a hole through the center of the dowel rod. First, I drilled holes into a piece of scrap wood until I found a hole that the fat brass tubes would just barely slide into. I then used that drill bit to drill a hole in a piece of an old dowel rod. The first time, the hole I drilled was nowhere near center. When I tried the first one, the dowel rod was held in my vice, and in used a handheld drill to make the hole. The second time, I set the drill on the work bench, so the boot was parallel with the table. Then, I feed the dowel rod into the bit a little bit at a time. After feeding about an inch or so in, I would let go of the dowel rod, and let it spin with the bit. If it wobbled, I knew which way I needed to angle it in order to recent the drill bit. I did that until I was halfway through the dowel rod, and repeated this process, coming from the other side. As a result, I had a home that was probably not completely straight, but any divergence is hidden in the middle of the tube. If you look at the top and bottom of the dowel rod, it looks like a straight hole.

Then, I used my Dremel to start carving. It turned out that using the Dremel was more trouble than it was worth, so I switched to an exacto knife, and some needle files. This worked better, and probably faster than the Dremel. And it was a hell of a lot more relaxing.

When that was finished, I slid it into the fat tube.

Then the skinny tube was fed into the fat tube.

That’s it. A telescoping, hand-carved, wood-handled, brass blow poke that took less than a day to make, and cost $15.