Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bladesmith flies, fails to stick landing!

OK, this is only tangentially about the craft and biz of knifemaking. About a month ago, I decided to take the scooter down to town to get some things for dinner. Since it was a nice day (and we haven’t had all that many, this year), I took the long route. I was headed down the Cherry Valley road, about a half mile from the intersection with highway 203 (since you are not from around here, all of this means nothing. You’ll just have to trust me, it’s a pretty ride). Something happened. I’d tell you what, but I have no memory of the event. I remember thinking about the stop sign at 203, and the next thing I know, I’m looking up at an EMT, and my shoulder hurts.

Now you should know that when I say scooter, I mean a Chinese Chiang Jiang BMW clone with a sidecar. If you know about such things, you know that sidecar bikes behave quite differently than 2 wheelers. One of the differences is that, at times, you can unload the wheel on the chair, turning the bike from an asymmetrical 3 wheeler, to a badly balanced 2 wheeler. This often causes the driver to veer into the oncoming lane. To compensate for this, the driver moves his body toward the car in right handers (if he is well trained). I know that I was doing this before the place of the crash, so I assume that I did it there as well, but as you know, SOMETHING happened. The driver behind me (another rider and an off duty EMT) told the police that I was in control and not going fast, and then I was fighting for control and crashed. It’s possible that something on the bike failed, from the damage I’m guessing the wheel on the chair is the culprit. It hardly matters right now.

The bike went across the road, over a curb, sheared off a stop sign, and I slid 15 or 20 feet. The helmet and jacket soaked up much of the damage, I got some road rash on my hands (which is not as bad as I have done on my belt grinder, BTW), hit my toe and my head (accounting for the memory loss) and broke my collar bone.

I can’t say enough about the EMT’s and Duvall police. They were great. They treated me and Marianne with respect and great care. You couldn’t ask for better.

OK, all of that is bad, though much less so than it could have been. I do feel the need to say that riding a motorcycle is dangerous and I knew that. However, riding a bike is perhaps more dangerous, driving a car has it’s risks, and even walking down the sidewalk is risky. We all have to weigh the risks and decide which ones we are willing to accept in whatever we do. Afterall, I work with 2500 rpm grinders in close proximity to my hands, 2000 degree steel in my hands, mills, lathes, powerhammers, and hydraulic presses. I take care and do my best not to get myself or my friends killed. I will likely ride again, and I like sidecars. BTW, if you know of a sidecar bike for sale, or an HD Servi-car, I’m interested. If you don’t what a Servi-car is, well, you have to do that research yourself .

So right now I’m a bit beat up, but not beat down. I have a few pieces for sale in the gallery, and for a while, that is pretty much what there is.


Here is the big news, however. I have decided to stand for my ABS Mastersmith stamp. My target date is 2012 (subject to change). That means that I won’t have very much time in my schedule, once I am able to swing a hammer again, for new pieces for sale. So if you want one of my pieces, you need to move soon. The closer I get to the deadline, the more crazed I will be. I even hope to blog the process as I go, for everyone’s amusement. Right now, rehab is my job.

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