Thursday, August 13, 2009

A little story...

After much discussion about needles, wire knives and x-acto knives, I think this gouge-carver wants to give knife carving another try. Yeah, I started out carving with an x-acto (knife), but quickly decided gouging was the way to go. Once I got my Staedtlers I never looked back, only using my x-acto to cut the transferred imaged out of the slab of material and for trimming. However, I think I'm rather challenged by the thought of being proficient in both gouge and knife carving; it would seem that carvers would be either one or the other. To that end, I have been looking into acquiring both needles, sharper x-acto blades and a wire knife to play with a bit.

So, with needles you apparently need what is called a 'pin vise' or some other type of device to actually hold and secure the needle or wire for use. I have tried to carve with a needle by just holding onto the plastic that comes attached, but that was a miserable failure. Having it in my mind to search for said 'pin vise', Padawan and I found ourselves at Tacoma Screw - the place for every size of screw, nut, bolt, washer or other small, strange hardware item you can't find elsewhere.

Two women wandering the aisles of a specialized hardware store has the tendency to drawing attention, so we were soon asked if we were looking for something specific. Why yes, I said, and told the young man with a nice smile that we were looking for a pin vise. Looking puzzled, he asked what we were going to use it for. I explained that we were rubber stamp carvers and were looking for a pin vise to secure 'horse needles'. He seemed to take this in stride and said he thought that item was in the back of the store, so off he went in search of our pin vise.

As Lisa and I waited, wandering around sort of looking for interesting parts that could be used for other things (like Star Wars props), our nice friend returned and called us to the counter. Eager to see what a pin vise looked like, we hurried up to join him. He produced a small black pouch which contained four of the devices in graduated sizes. "How much does that cost?" I asked. "Pretty pricey," he answered, and tapped the computer keyboard to see the price. $89 was the answer. $89?? "Wow, that's too much!" I exclaimed, as Lisa and I laughed. I explained that we only needed the small one and he took it out for me to examine closer. Nice. Interesting, too, but not worth $20, much less the $89 for all four.

I told him thank you and we turned to go. "Well, I think I may have one of those in my workshop at home," the young man quickly said, causing us to turn back. "Would you be interested in it if I had it? I don't use it," he added. "If you give me your name and phone number, I'll look when I get home." This I did and we left the store. I really didn't expect to hear from him again.

We proceeded to another hardware-type store to continue our search, to no avail. After consoling ourselves with ink purchases at the nearby craftstore, we headed for home. What do you think was sitting on my craftroom desk when we arrived? Yep, you guessed it...a message from our nice young man from Tacoma Screw. Wow!

I called him back and he did, indeed, have the pin vise for sale, if we were interested. "How much?" I asked and we agreed on $10. A little much for an experiment, but OK. *shrug* We agreed to meet in a half an hour at a little bar where he was going to be hangin' out for a bit. No problem, and off we went, back to Tacoma.

So, as we get to our destination, we quickly realize that we have found ourselves in a rather unsavory part of town. Lisa, who was nervously looking at the interesting people milling around the various bars and street corners, asked if this was considered 'Hilltop', a rather infamous crime center of downtown Tacoma. "Nah," I said dismissively as we passed a sign that read "Hilltop Realty". Oh.

So, as the GPS announces that we have arrived at our destination, I was contemplating how we were going to proceed. There was no way that I was going to enter a bar in this neighborhood. Besides, I didn't see the place our friend had wanted us to come to, anyway. "Let's just circle the block and then we'll decide what we are doing," I said. So, we circled the block and approached a black-fronted unidentified bar, a hole in the wall really, with tables and chairs on the sidewalk. As I slowed down to get a better look, there sat our young friend. He waved, smiled and walked over to my now-stopped vehicle.

Lisa rolled down her window and he was happily taking the item out of his pocket. It was a small black pouch with four size-graduated pin vises, identical to what we had seen in the store. Hmmmm... I told him, again, that we only wanted the small one, and he quickly took it out, I handed him the $10, said thanks, and we drove away. "Well," I said laughingly to Lis, "that was quite the drug deal!" As we drove a bit, the reality of the situation started to sink in; we both totally believe that he stole that item from the store and sold us the pin vise for some pocket change!

I'm still kind of stunned - can you believe it?

So, I now own a piece of stolen property. *frown* But, I have a pin vise, and it works like a charm...well, it holds a needle, anyway. We'll see if it will accommodate the wire when I get it.

I'm guessin' my young friend with the nice smile won't keep his job long at Tacoma Screw...y'think?


Anonymous said...

I found a pin vice at a hobby store here in Manchester. They had them in stock for between 5 and 10 dollars. If you ever need another one, and you have a larger hobby store (one that model trains, cars, planes, baseball cards, etc....) you should be able to get one there :-)

Nitrocat said...

You can also buy pin vices from retailers that sell beading and wire jewelry supplies. But your way of obtaining one makes a much better story. ;)
Another interesting use for pin vices is twisting wire. Twist square wire for a neat effect or twist two different color together, then use the wire to make jewelry or ornaments, etc...

Ari C'rona said...

lol! That was quite an adventure, my dear Jedi master! :o)

Mama Cache said...

I would love to see you find pleasure using a new tool, especially knowing how much you enjoy your gouge. No question as to whether or not you will be proficient! ;-)

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