29 November 2010

Always an Original

 This past weekend we were able to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I always look forward to the time. Not only is there mountains of good food but I do love the family time.

Another reason I love to come for an extended visit is to see great minds at work. The menfolk in my husband's family are nothing short of brilliant. Seriously. Last year my father-in-law built me a battery charger and fixed my sewing machine all with a wink and a shake of his finger. This year I brought a broken mixer (Pops' hadn't had time to look at it yet) and a suggestion for Peter and Grandpa to work on a school project.

The project called to make a figurine to accompany a book report. Peter had chosen Robin Hood and I figured the two could whittle a bonny little guy ... or something like that. Turns out, that idea was for amateurs.

Out came the computer and plans were drawn to create an outline (based on a sketch Peter had made) in a draw program that would then be interpreted by a robot ... a ROBOT that Grandpa MADE ...  and then the robot would control a milling machine which would then cut out the image in copper. 'Cause you know, copper is cool and doesn't everyone have sheets of it lying around?

For reasons far too complicated for my little brain to understand, they decided not to cut the figure out completely, but just etch the outline on the copper with the robot. They then proceeded to sprinkle colored glass enamel powder on specified regions and shove the thing in and out of a little kiln Grandpa just happened to have. Peter told me later that "I've decided that 1600 degrees is very, very hot." Uh ... yeah.

The two boys worked happily side-by-side. Occasionally they would discuss the task at hand or perhaps the previous day's hike and rifle shooting (oy, vey). But for the most part, there was only chatting when need be (I'm told it's not necessary to talk as much as girls).

And when they were done, they were pleased. Pleased with the end result of both product and time spent. School project accomplished, new concepts learned, man-time together.

I have a feeling there will probably not be a duplicate robotically-etched and kiln-fired Robin Hood turned in at school. But then, there certainly isn't a duplicate of Grandpa, either.


  1. And when that particular school project finds it way home you must find a way to incorporate Robin Hood into your holiday decorations!

  2. Wow - what talent! I can't even begin to fathom the steps involved....

  3. Oh my... Not only do I love the whole event, the creativity, the tools, the skill, the craftmanship and respect for Peter's work, the obvious love and care shown between the men... Your re-telling is also a work of art, Anna.

  4. Oh my goodness! That Robin Hood figurine puts the paper dolls I used to make as a child to shame. I love it! What a good grandpa for a boy to have :)