The Last Entry

Hello, world.  Speaking of it, the one-and-only Russ Morin departed from it on September 17, 2015.  Cancer.  Russ spent the last of his 52 years living the exact life that he wanted, creatively, and–in some very specific ways–inspiring others to equal courage and integrity. He will always be missed.  It is a unique comfort to know that his instruments will remain long after even those of us who carry his memory are gone away, too.  Love you always, Russ Morin!

Published in: on May 14, 2016 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Little Koa Soprano

I didn’t want to say much about this instrument until it was actually done. This is a soprano ukulele with a koa body, sycamore neck and dogwood fretboard.




BRU koa 021Here it is with no tuners or strings or finish – ‘in the white’.

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BRU koa 015Here it is with one coat of TruOil.


koaUke3spalted dogwood fretboard



I’m pleased with the sycamore neck – I don’t think I’ve used this wood for a neck before.koaUke4

koaUke1I will spend the rest of the week applying finish to this guy. I hope to have have it finished up soon so I can take it to Michael King’s pad and give it an audition.

Published in: on May 20, 2015 at 4:12 pm  Comments (4)  

Turtle Deck

20150516_110928I got my pilot mostly finished and fixed into the cockpit. That allowed me to finally get the ‘turtle deck’ glued on. That’s the curved top of the fuselage. I think it helps flesh out the shape of the plane.




Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 4:04 pm  Comments (3)  

Our Pilot has a Head

This is one of my first efforts at clay sculpture (not counting Play-Doh).

fokker3 017

He kinda looks like a Zombie Pilot but I think a little paint will help things.

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I was going to use the whole body but I’m not sure he’s gonna fit. He’s just a torso for now – arms will come later but probably no legs.


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fokker3 021This is kinda cool – I needed some instruments for the instrument panel. I used a pipe cutter to slice up a .38 Special casing.

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fokkerGaugesan upside-down cockpit….

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Published in: on May 8, 2015 at 12:16 am  Comments (1)  


I am currently building and detailing the cockpit. I added the headless pilot figure and am very pleased with the overall fit.

pilotdummy1Top View


Published in: on May 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fokker DVIII


I made some progress this morning.

fokkerBuild2aI am ready to make the curved upper deck. I hope to get that done tomorrow.

fokkerBuild2I also wanted to show you this little tool I made. I needed something that would cut the fins in the engine cylinders.

fokkerBuild 014

I used an old sawsall blade and sharpened it like a parting tool. I added the handle and rough shaped it on the lathe. A necessity tool – not a beauty queen.


parting tool2

parting tool

This is exactly what makes this hobby fun.

Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 8:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Airgun Target

I’m not sure how many people know this, but I am a gun geek. I know, I know, it’s the wrong thing to say. I’ve killed plenty of conversations by dropping that bomb. But, dag-nabit, it’s true!
I adore old, mechanical things and old guns are splendidly old and mechanical. You can also shoot a projectile out of one and make a can at the end of the alley jump about. Unfortunately, I don’t live out in the country so I don’t often get a chance to shoot. Our good friend Mike McMillan treated me to an hour of range time just recently and we had a delightful time. Gun ranges can be really swank or horribly stank. Mike and I went to Sharpshooters on Rutherford Road and it was totally swank! Very classy operation. But I am wandering….

DianaAndBeemanDiana model 6G .177 cal. (top) and Beeman P1 .20 cal.

Since I much prefer to shoot outdoors, I have recently restored my interest in airguns. They are beautiful mechanical machines that can be safely and responsibly shot in the city. I’ve been having a some very satisfying and relaxing afternoons sitting in the back yard plinking at rocks and tin cans. Great fun but I want to build some interesting and challenging airgun targets. I made a few in the past and really enjoyed myself.

So let’s try to make a target box with swinging knives.

I saw this online and it looked solid, easy and cheap. Those are soup spoons with bent handles.


It is a homemade copy of this:


I went to the thrift store and all they had were knives and forks – no spoons. “Hmmm, seems to me that these knife handles would take a beating just fine. All I need to do is bend the blades.” This is what I came up with:

targetMaking1I heated the blades until they were cherry red.

targetMaking2I then wrapped the heated end around a steel rod.

targetMaking3I used some scrap lumber to build a  box around the knives and cut some conduit for spacers to go in between the knives. I will add a slanted back in the future to catch the pellets.


It actually works well! The knife handles are heavy enough that the knives don’t spin all the way around.

knifeTarget3I found this old target of mine.



I was using this Tau-7 Standard .177 CO2 pistol.


Published in: on May 2, 2015 at 8:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Building an Oberursel Engine

Time to build an engine. Everybody ready?

007I wish I had the ability to build a detailed model engine out of scratch like the one above. For my purposes, though, I only need to roughly simulate the look of a radial engine. I used this photo . . .


to make this drawing . . .

fokkerBuild 026to turn the parts on the lathe.

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Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? I’m pretty pleased. Once it’s painted, it should resemble the real thing.

Please don’t look at this next photograph if you are squeamish.

fokkerBuild 037The ol’ gal looks like a cow that’s been caught, roped and subdued. It was all necessary to get one of her ‘bulges’ glued on. I promise I won’t use such distressing images any more.



Published in: on May 1, 2015 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fokker D8 wing

I am turning my attention back to my Fokker D8 model. I am building two ukuleles and airgun targets right now but I need something that my chemo’ed brain can handle. So I started this wing.

ssp250 003Even though the plywood ribs weigh over triple the weight of cardboard ribs, I decided that since this is a static model (not meant to fly) I would go with the sturdiness of the plywood.

fokkerd81I actually thought ahead and reinforced the area of the wing where the wing struts attach.

fokkerD8 (2)While the glue on the wing is drying, I have moved back to the fuselage. It is rounded towards the front of the plane. I will add the bulges using these formers.

TVAL-Fokker-DVIII-16You can really see the ‘bulge’ here. It’s right underneath the cockpit and it stays bulged straight to the engine cowling.

fokkerD8Cowling1I turned the cowling on the lathe out of a cedar chunk of wood that Michael Condon gave me.

TVAL-Fokker-DVIII-25I will need to do some fancy crafting to make this engine look right.

fokkerD8CowlingI’m not sure what’s next. I’ll let you know.


Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 10:27 pm  Comments (2)  

Scramble, Scramble, Scramble!

Now that we are all safely in our cockpits it appears that we are missing a pilot. I happen to know where he is.

fokD8Pilot2He looks a little drunk, doesn’t he. Well, he is and he’s our new pilot. He lacks hands and a head but he’s coming right along. He will become Leutnant Theo Osterkamp, a highly decorated WW1 Luftwaffe ace with 32 victories. He was quite the badass and went on later to destroy 6 enemy aircraft during WW2. Very few pilots could claim victories in both world wars.


I am building his mount as well: the Fokker DVIII (or D8). I made templates this time so it can be reproduced more easily in the future.



fokker1 006

fokker1 009I only got this far when I started on the pilot. I want to detail the cockpit a little more this time.

Published in: on April 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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