Basic information about various hobby and craft topics.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pinewood Derby Catalog

Pinewood Derby Catalog Back to Pine Wood Derby

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Build A Train Layout

This column is the second in a series which will help you plan the steps of building a model railroad. Toy trains are fun, and building a layout can be rewarding and educational. A wide range of skills can be developed in the construction of a layout. Basic geology can be learned from landscape construction. Building architecture is studied as you decide the types of structures to be incorporated, and their use. Wiring the layout will instruct the hobbyist in the basics of electronics. History becomes important as you study the era you are modeling, and economics as you develop the industries served by the railroad. These and many other skills are involved as you develop and build the layout.

The first step will be to determine the scale of model train you want to work with. There are three commonly available scales, each offering distinct advantages and disadvantages. This step may be skipped if you have inherited a nice train from somewhere, and want to build a layout to run it on.

O gauge is the largest of the common indoor toy train scales, Lionel being the oldest and most popular of the trains available in this scale. Using Lionel creates a more toy-like train layout. The numerous operating accessories can make a fantasy-like setting. The layout and accessories take up more space than other scales, so if you don't have a lot of space, 027 may not be the best choice. An interesting collection of cars and accessories can be formed from creations by Lionel, K-Line and other manufacturers.

The most popular scale by far is called HO scale. More accessories are available for HO than for all other scales combined. It's about half the size of 027 and much more realistic. Cities, industries, and other features can be accurately modeled in HO scale. Sound systems can be incorporated to add to the fun. In HO, just about any type of plan is possible.

If space is limited, you can plan an N scale layout. The trains are about half the size of HO, so a nice railroad can be built in a relatively small space. N scale is the least popular of the major scales, but the advent of E-Z track has caused an explosion in sales of these neat little toy trains. The layouts are pretty cool, and can be tucked into odd corners of your home.

After you have chosen the scale you want to work in, then you must choose an era. Accessories, trains, rolling stock, buildings, etc., can be found for just about any historical era you choose to build. Old time layouts can have operating steam engines and other colorful accessories to add flavor to the layout. Research old photo, maps, etc. to accurately model the site of your choice. Modern layouts are more common, and are a little easier to research. Or you may just want to make something up.

Planning a model train layout is just the beginning of the fun. Toy trains are fascinating to work with through all phases of the layout construction.

Choosing a track plan iss covered in the next column - The Morning After - What To Do With Your New Train Set. Some really neat layouts can be found in layout books, or be creative - make one up! The key is to build what you like and have fun!

© 2012 Hobby Hobnob

A Look At the Modern Electric Toy Train

Friday, May 18, 2007

Homemade Candle Making

Homemade Candle Making

[caption id="attachment_557" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Homemade Candle Making"]Homemade Candle Making[/caption]

The candle maker was an essential part of village life for thousands of years, and the candle has played an important role in our society. In an age of electric lights, candles are no longer a fundamental need, but they still play a therapeutic role in our society. The candle provides light, fragrance, and a classic atmosphere to our homes, businesses, and places of worship.

Homemade Candle making is a fascinating hobby for those who choose to pursue it. The hobbyist can craft many types of candles right in the home. This article will cover some simple candle making tips and ideas for home candle making. There are simple candles which can be made in just a few minutes, suitable as a project for children. Modern materials have simplified the candle making process so that nice candles can be melted, wicked, and poured in under an hour. You will find many good books on the subject at your craft or hobby store.

The easiest candles for you to make are ‘wax crystal’ candles. Wax crystals are granulated wax which has color, hardener, luster, and mold release added to them. Because they have a consistency similar to sand, they can be poured easily. Use them as is to create ‘sand art’ type candles in clear glass containers. Use a center burning wick and the design is unaffected as the candle burns. Replace the wick and crystals periodically, and you can keep the candle burning indefinitely. These candles make great projects for kids because they involve no hot wax.

You can also make container or molded candles with the wax crystals. For container candles you can use any heat resistant container - candy tins, mugs, glasses, shells, or ceramic containers. You can scent theses candles with one of many fragrances.

If you use clear class containers for your candles, you can pour layers of different colors wax to create unique, color coordinated candles.

Free standing candles are made with molds, of which there are many different sizes and shapes. You will find pillar, globe, square, floater, and votive candle molds. Seasonal shapes are also available.

Molded candles may be decorated and scented in many different ways. They may be painted using stencils or free hand, using acrylic paint. Rub on decals or stickers can also be used to decorate the candle. Using the art of decoupage, candles may be decorated with cards, photos, beads, seeds, dried flowers, ribbon, or any other material which you can think of. This creates unlimited possibilities for candles as gifts, or to accent your home.

You can use a combination of methods to decorate the candle. You can use rub-on borders to edge the candle, decoupage a photo on the side, and use dried flowers, stickers, ribbon, or beads to accent the candle. The key is to have fun and do what you like.

These are just a few tips for making homemade candles. Hopefully there will be an idea or two here which you can use for making candles in your home.

Homemade Candle Making Ideas - Tips For The Home

A Brief History Of Candle Making

Instructions - Homemade Candle Making Craft

Candle Making Equipment

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Brief History Of Candle Making

A Brief History Of Candle Making

Flip a switch and turn on a light! If there is one thing about modern life we really take for granted, it is indoor electric lighting. Imagine, if you will, a home in the Middle Ages. It is night, and the day’s hard work is done. A single candle lights the interior of the room. This candle provides light for the family’s night time activities. It occupies a distinguished position in human history. The candle is one of mankind’s earliest inventions. The history of candle making is a long and interesting story.

The candle uses wax as fuel to produce light. Once the wick of a candle is lighted, heat from the flame burns the wax, which flows into the wick by capillary action. It’s a simple device, and it ruled the night for thousands of years.

Archeological digs have unearthed candlesticks in Egyptian and Cretan sites dating to about 3000 BC. Before this the Egyptians used a device called a rush light. A rush light was made from the pithy core of the rush plant, which was soaked in tallow and burned for light.

Tallow was the main ingredient of candles for thousands of years of our history. Tallow is processed from the fat of cattle and sheep. These candles emit a very disagreeable odor and a lot of smoke when burned. They were used to light homes, temples, and meeting places. Travelers used them to light their way.

It is the Romans who probably learned how to make candles from beeswax. Beeswax is superior to tallow because it burns much cleaner, and is odorless. But it was also very expensive, so its use was limited to the nobility and the Church.

American Colonial women discovered that a superior wax could be extracted from the bayberry. This wax was very clean burning and produced a sweet aroma. The difficulty in extracting the wax from the berry prevented it from replacing the more readily available tallow.

Whales have the bad fortune to have a substance called spermaceti in their enormous bodies. Spermaceti produces a very high quality wax which makes candles superior to both tallow and beeswax. Since it is harder than these other waxes, the candles don’t bend in hot weather, a common problem for tallow and beeswax candles. By the 1700’s the whaling industry was supplying this highly valued substance for use.

Candle making has a history of being a labor intensive business. Wax has to be melted and hand poured into molds. Taper candles, the earliest candles made, must be dipped many times to make a candle. Molded candle production became a lot easier in 1834 because of a gentleman by the name of Joseph Morgan. Mr. Morgan invented a candle molding machine. This machine consisted of a mold which had a movable cylinder for its bottom. Wax was poured into the mold and allowed to cool. The cylinder bottom was then moved up, forcing the hardened wax candles out of the top. Continuous production of candles was now possible.

The best material for making candles was developed near the end of the candles long reign. Automobiles were becoming popular in the late 1800’s, and the need for petroleum to fuel the new internal combustion engine became great. The leftover residues of petroleum production produced a substance called paraffin. It was ideal for the production of candles, as it was economical, clean burning, and odorless. It’s chief drawback was its low melting point, which would have caused problems in warm weather. The independent discovery of stearic acid solved this problem. Added to paraffin, it hardened the candle, and slowed its burn rate. Paraffin/stearine candles soon became standard, totally replacing the tallow candles place in history.

Thomas Edison’s creation of the light bulb in 1879 ended our dependency on the candle as a light source. The candle soon passed from necessity to ornamental. Candles are still used as ceremonial and decorative lights. Skilled crafts people still make candles to light and perfume our homes.

Candle making has been an essential craft in our history. Candles lit our ancestors homes and provided light for sacred ceremonies. Their manufacture contributed to the economy of the civilizations they illuminated. Today, candle making is a craft practiced by many artisans providing a link to our distant past.

The next article introduces some of the equipment needed for this fascinating craft.

Back to Homemade Candle Making

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pine Wood Derby Car Kits and Blocks

Building a pine wood derby car seems like a daunting task to the novice. But it can actually be a fun and easy project. When searching for a car to build you will find three basic types of pine cars to build - unfinished blocks, precut blocks, and deluxe kits. Rough cut unfinished blocks for those who want a bit more of a challenge building the pine wood derby car. The blocks must be cut, shaped, carved, sanded, painted and decaled. Most of the blocks have the wheel slots already cut in the botton of the block. You will find both rectangular blocks and wedge shaped ones. Precut pinewood derby body blocks make it easy to build a pine car! These pinewood derby body blocks are rough cut blocks for racers who lack the tools or skills to cut a block from a block of wood. Wheels, axles, other parts are not included. The block must be sanded before finishing. An assortment of styles are available, most need only light shaping with sand paper before finishing. Pine Car Deluxe Car Kits contain unfinished pinewood derby car designs, rub on decals, incremental weights, wheels & axels, cast metal custom parts such as headers, engines and pipes. Step by step illustrated instructions for assembly and finishing include complete derby race specifications. Simply sand and finish any of the six pinewood car shapes with minimum tools and supervision. Wheels and axels should all be similiar on all cars in a race. Official BSA wheels and axels will fit the cars. Back to Pine Wood Derby

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pinewood Derby Car - Great Group Kid's Project

Pinewood Derby Car - Great Group Kid's Project

All you need to know about the pine wood derby car

Building and racing pine wood derby cars is an event sponsored by many Cub Scout troops. But it is an interesting hobby which can be done by anyone who likes to carve wood and has an interest in cars. Racing the pine car can be a fun event for any youth group or a fun activity for the neighborhood kids. With the right planning, materials, and information, building the pinewood derby car can be a fun and rewarding experience.

The pine wood derby car is an excellent activity for cub scouts or other youth groups. It is an ideal father/son project as well.

Building The Pinewood Derby Car

Pinewood Derby Catalog

Pine Wood Derby Car Kits and Blocks

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