Hardwick Housewares Leather Store Now Open!

After more than two years, the Etsy store is open again!

Please check out www.hardwickleathergoods.etsy.com.

Inventory will be limited for some time. Thanks for your patience.

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Leather Update

I finally have the leather workshop close to completion. I formed a few jacks the other day. While not as masterful in execution as I would have liked, it was good to be back in the saddle.


More to come. Stay tuned.

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August 2012 Update!

We have finally found a new location for home and shop. With any luck we will be moving in next week. It is likely to be another few months before we are back in the swing. However there is finally a glimer of light at the end of the tunnel.

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Bar-top lamps for a new gastropub

I recently had the honor and priveledge of creating 14 custom fixtures for a new restaurant in Wisconsin. It looks like they are in good company among the amazing chandeliers and sconces chosen for the project.

The design is based on my original Captain’s Cabin Lamp with customizations to facilitate installation in a commercial setting. Not the least of which, they had to be made robust enough to withstand the curious meddling of the recently inebriated.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by the The Rumpus Room, in Milwaukie, WI. Sample the imported beer selection, and check out the lighting.

Rumpus Room photos are courtesy of Front Room Photography.

Posted in Home, Steampunk | 3 Comments

Michele’s Blog has Spun Off

I’ve created a new blog specifically for my metalwork and copper. Chris’ blog will remain here for his leatherwork and steampunk lamps. You can view my blog at www.hardwickhousewares.com/mblog.

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About them lamps…

I’ve recently received some rather venemous feedback on the Steampunk lamps. It seems that there has been an assumption about the source of the lamp parts.

To set the record straight, I too appreciate the craftsmanship and historical significance of antique goods. I would sooner eat a fine Bradley and Hubbard center-draft lamp than destroy it for art. However, in the case of beat-up junk, the left-overs that have already been scavanged for useable parts, the dented, leaking bases that have already been “electrified” I consider it a service to the world to keep these items out of the waste stream and give them new life as functional art. In a way they even perform some of the same function as originally intended.

Thank you for your feedback.

That is all I intend to say on the subject.

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Second Sun-thickened Oil Project

Sun-thickened linseed oil has been one of the staples used in traditional varnish making for a millennium or more. It takes patience and vigilance, and normally up to three months depending a latitude.  At my latitude the process can effectively only be performed in the dryer summer months.

As part of my ongoing period varnish experimentation, I’ve taken a couple of stabs at producing sun-thickened oil. The first experiment was limited to a funny-looking recycled glass jar, placed on a non-south facing window sill. The result wasn’t bad, all things considered. In about a year’s time the oil thickened to the consistency of warm honey. When heated for a test varnish mixture it darkened and polymerized much more quickly than I expected. This is a very good result, although the varnish was a little over-cooked in the end.

Lessons learned:

The oil needs to be in a wide, shallow tray for air and sun exposure. The oil must absorb oxygen with direct UV exposure from sunlight as a catalyst to partially polymerize. To that end it must also be stirred daily to prevent the formation of a skin.  Also, the most important lesson of all, most glass is opaque to ultraviolet radiation. All of these issues together make it ‘clear’ why it took a year.

This year’s experiment corrects the above issues and includes a truly Medieval period experiment. While most of the batches are in glass trays, to be covered with sheet glass only during inclement weather, one is in a lead try which will not be covered, will be allowed to form a thick crust and suffer all that nature subjects it to. This is the method described in a Medieval text on varnishes and artist’s materials. Hot filtering at the end of the season will be used to remove impurities. I expect I will have to filter out all manner of flora and fauna this fall. It’ll be like my own little tar pit.

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Steampunk Lamps #8 and #9

Airship lamp number #8 is the Crew’s Cabin Lamp.

#9 is the Airship Control Console Lamp.

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Floor Lamp

I’m calling it finished at this point. Though I will likely tinker with it for some time.

Steamy-Ladies and Gentle-Punks, I give you the Steam Powered Floor Lamp!

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Work In Progress – Steam Powered iPod Dock

Yes, good people, you read it correctly. Replace that old phonograph with the latest invention of Dr. Emiele Kozlowski. When asked “Pray tell sir, does it bump?” the reply is “Why, have a listen and judge for yourself! I am quite confident you will find that the bump excedes your expectations.”

The starting point for this project is a 1934 Philco radio cabinet, with electronics removed, and refinished. Vibratory reproduction is provided by a Klipsch 3-channel PC speaker set. It fits perfectly in the radio cabinet and sounds fantastic.

The brass semi-circle holds the iPod and mounts on top of the cabinet.

Long, long way to go on this…

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