A Rusty Flea Market Jack Plane

photo of a Stanley No. 5 Jack Plane

I enjoy flea markets, and there’s a great one near Fredrickburg, Texas — about an hour from our Hill Country home. We go almost every month. Last October we came home with vintage cast iron pots and skillets, a UT Longhorn-branded Crockpot and — best of all — an old Stanley No. 5 jack plane for just $8!

An Axe to Grind

photo of Camper's Axe with Rawhide Cover

With the new handle installed, it was time to sharpen. The steel was pitted from its time in the woods, but had plenty of metal and potential. With my new-found interest in woodworking, I’ve been working on my sharpening skills. I’ve tried several systems from wet/dry sandpaper on a glass plate to carborundum, whetstones and diamond plates.

DIY LED Lighting for Photography

Photo of LED photography light

I learned how to light for television about 40 years ago while working in the broadcast industry. It was an expensive and difficult affair, but the basics of lighting haven’t changed — the tools have just gotten better and cheaper. Lots of folks photos and video every day, but the addition of just a little lighting can make the difference between “snapshots” and professional-looking quality. I hear protests regarding the cost of buying lights, not to mention carrying a pile of gear around. But what if you could build small, dimmable, custom lighting to suit your individual needs for about $50?

Mirrorless Cameras and Legacy Lenses – Part III

Photo showing depth of field

In a previous post, I shared a brief history of the Jupiter lenses, a Soviet-made series that have become popular with mirrorless camera enthusiasts. There are several models, with some — notably the Jupiter 8 — often available very inexpensively on eBay. Intrigued by the possibility of expanding my lens arsenal with an inexpensive but useful lens, I did some shopping, and ended up with one of the 50 mm Jupiter 8’s for about $50, including shipping. Not bad.

Mirrorless Cameras and Legacy Lenses – Part II

Kiev 4a and lenses

In a previous post, I mentioned my purchase of an old, Soviet-made Jupiter-8 lens. It wasn’t very expensive, and would expand my mirrorless camera arsenal with a short telephoto prime lens. As I mentioned though, it didn’t focus properly through it’s entire range — more on that later — but had a great story. How did a pre-WWII Zeiss lens design come to be mass produced in the Soviet Union after the War?