Getting out of your comfort zone keeps you young

Women should all learn how to use power tools.

Getting out of my comfort zone keeps me young. This week I gained a new appreciation for people who fabricate things out of metal. My husband and I have been working on the parts for my expanded etching press.  We purchased new steel rods, about 1-1/2in in diameter, and I learned how to use a lathe to reduce the diameter to about 1-1/4in. Using the lathe is pretty meditative, as you slowly turn a small wheel to guide the point of the lathe along the rod. You know you are doing the best job when the small metal curlicues it removes are very long. But boy they are hot when they hit your arm.

 We had already cut the recycled pipes (for the press rollers) down to 36 inches so our next step was to cut out circles that will hold our newly lathed rods in the center of the rollers.

Two small circles await their rollers.

In a previous post, I showed a picture of the man at the salvage yard using a torch to cut a 1/2 in plate of steel. It took him ten minutes to cut a three-foot long piece for us. Using a band saw, it took me 45 minutes to carefully cut out each of these circles. You must provide constant yet careful pressure to keep the straight blade making the gentle curve of the circle. A quick bath in a sand blaster made the surface more presentable. I only finished two circles that day, so we have two more to go.

So the expanded press is proceeding slowly.

This weekend I will not be cutting metal, but will be at Bloomington, Indiana’s Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts. There will be 120 local, regional and national artists and it is always an exceptional art event. So if you are in the area, please come enjoy the art and say hello.

Whatever you do this Labor Day (for the U.S. folks) make sure to do something that challenges you and keeps you young!

3 Replies to “Getting out of your comfort zone keeps you young”

  1. What an amazing and inspiring friend you are! I love reading/hearing about the places your sometimes vexing family motto "How hard can it be?" has led you. See you on Fourth Street! MKP

  2. Great work Elizabeth. All the power to you (no pun intended)!

    I'm always thrilled to hear about women who aren't afraid to grab tools and build stuff. My mother was a huge influence on me that way because she never let anything stop her from doing what she wanted. Her motto was "if someone else can do this, why can't I". She wasn't an architect but she designed two houses and, together with my dad, built them both from the ground up.

    I haven't quite lived up to that standard but have designed and built some things I'm pretty proud of…

    I'm looking forward to your progress on the new press.


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