I like the people I work with. Sometimes it’s appropriate to roll out my skills from my previous life. Meet Luke Cat 🤗. He loved it. Brought a little joy to a Friday for him after a hard week wrangling Webflow.
Now that I’d bought and cleaned a bunch of new vinyl 45s, I needed somewhere better to store them. So I thought I’d try my hand at making a nice box out of some spare plywood left over from my speaker builds and trying some new joinery techniques.
Once all glued together, after much umming and ahhing about trying different approaches I sanded and finished them in my favourite natural beeswax. I did try more coats and more sanding, which gave a smoother, glossier finish.
Nice. Could have made it a bit wider, but does the job and looks the part. Pretty happy with that.
There is an amazing record shop that has popped up in the home town that I grew up in called Uptown Vinyl Records.
It’s a proper old school dusty vinyl diggers paradise.
Dusty vinyl in the very real sense of the word. I’d been researching ways of cleaning vinyl records and tried a few things, including PVA wood glue?! (which did actually work). Most professional cleaning solutions cost hundreds (thousands…) of pounds. But when it comes right down to it, you just need slightly soapy water and a microfibre cloth, unless you are dealing with vinyl worth hundreds of pounds… which I am not.
Then I noticed my dad, who I visit when I come to look at the record shop… (no, wait…?! ;) had an old footspa and the cogs started turning in my brain. Maybe bubbling off grit and grime from within the grooves of the records would work? Only one way to find out…
I’ve made two new pieces of self indulgent psychedelia. These things usually start with a very basic premise, and take on their own life as they appear in front of my eyes.
In the first I wanted to do something with the page split loosely in to four. Yep. The premises are that vague.
The second I wanted to play with fractals so I built a Fibonacci spiral and swirled the swirly bits around it.
While I was making the second piece I commissioned the embarrassingly talented and all round lovely human Natasha Alexander ( go check out her work and workshops here: https://www.facebook.com/natashaalexanderart/ ) to create a mandala stone in the same vein as my psychedelic art.
She absolutely smashed it out of the park. I bloody LOVE this thing.
I saw a video pop up in my feed on youtube about making a DIY robot arm. I thought it would a nice thing to do with the kids, so I downloaded some basic templates someone posted online, bought some syringes, lollipop sticks, skewers and a hot melt glue gun… and gave it a go one Sunday.
It wasn’t the simplest thing in the world, but we followed a youtube video, and made up the rest.
It blimmin’ well worked! It was probably a bit too difficult for a kids project, but it was ace.
My favourite part about it was the smalls decorated it with chalk pens afterwards so it looks like it belongs in the hood…
Inspired by the last post about branding my mates (proper good…) band Polyhymns, it reminded me of the artwork I used to make for my old CDs.
I made a few mixes 20 years ago and cut together the CD artwork using photos I found from old issues of National Geographic that were kicking around the house.
The masters were lost in the great CD theft of 2002 but they still live on in digital format in my mixcloud along with a bunch of other live streams and mixes here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Cropmaster_Flex/
Famously described as ‘a nice mix‘ by Dan Boland, when he’d play it in the pub he was working at.
“The ink spots, really?” – Dan Boland, when he realised there was no turntablism in this mix.
No one really knew what to make of it. I think its some of my finest work. Proper out there eclectic mix of old an new.
(I’ll post links to more tunes and their social media once their new campaign goes live)
Sam sent me some early versions of tracks from his new band to see what I thought. I thought they were great, and volunteered to do some quick album art tests in case they ever got round to releasing an e.p. (I used to love making cover art for my own mixtapes back in the day).
He used them to help get his social media accounts online ( @polyhymns )
Then he asked the fateful question: “Do you fancy doing us a logo?”
Huh, I thought, as my previous life as a creative director flashed before my eyes. Sure, my brain thought, I’ll do you a full professional branding treatment including logos, logotypes, fonts and photography, with all assets rendered and optimised for web and print… and a photo-shoot on location in Sheffield and the Peak district – for the lulz.
So I did.
It was loads of fun to flex the old creative muscles again after all these years, and all the better doing it for a good cause. They’re a lovely bunch, and it was worth every ounce of graft.
I had a spare Visaton Ws-17e driver that arrived damaged, and the company replaced. I managed to fix it and kept it as a spare… but spare woofers = potential for more B.A.S.S.
Kinda. These drivers are not meant to be subwoofers – you need big Xmax (excursion) or/and cone size for B.A.S.S. But I played around in the transmission line software and came up with an enclosure design, that looked like it might work. I had a spare channel on one of my amps and could do with another sub to even out the wack acoustics in my attic, so I lashed out a build
The graph looked good. So I started planning out the transmission line enclosure design based on the measurements. Spoiler alert: The frequency range looked proper, but the output volume (amplitude in db) was really low. So, you could hear low bass, but as soon as you turn it up, the driver reaches past its excursion limits and distorts like crazy.
As soon as I worked out the measurements, I figured this was an experiment so I’d use MDF for the first time and try out the cutting service at the local B&Q. That was all good in the hood. It was cheap, and worked. But in the end, MDF is no way near as nice to work with as plywood
I smashed it out in no time. It was a nice little palette cleanser after the crazy, emotional slog that was the hifi transmission line build. It was always meant to be a quick and dirty, so I didn’t finish the box nicely like the other ones, just hooked it up and added it to the big system.
It doesn’t really add much unfortunately. but it helps get my head round what all these bonkers numbers that I don’t fully understand actually mean in real life.
I had planned to build more speakers after this, but I’ve run out of steam at the moment. Time will tell…