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Thread: Any word yet?

  1. #1
    Stoff's Avatar
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    Any word yet?

    Steve,

    Is there any word yet on when your book will be available for purchase? We have been looking forward to it.

    Thanks,
    Stoff

  2. #2
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    Stoff,

    I know that you are one of those who have wanted a copy of "The Hand-Crafted Contemporary Kilt" for a while. And I'm sorry. It is all but written.

    But due to the comments and reception that my concept of, and what I still believe is, the next evolution of the kilt, I don't think that my book would find a wide enough audience to cover the cost of printing.

    When the Utilitkilt came out it was all the rage. Over 100 small companies sprang up making anything from direct knock-offs to other very inventive, but similar items.
    Very few are left today.

    By the time I had the Contemporary style kilt fully fleshed out and proven, the kilt world had changed.

    21st Century is still successful because he caters to the wealthy and famous.

    One notable exception to the change in the kilt world is USA Kilts. Rocky is a consummate businessman.

    The other options with kilts are either staying with the high end, what is called traditional styling, or are out-sourcing their product, or have gone by the wayside.

    Only one other kilt shop has retained the essence of my development. And I trained them in my shop. But they wanted to go in uber-macho direction. Lower end, tactical styling, P/V, Box Pleats but with my pockets and my way of setting the waist height. But that shop is primarily relying on the sale of accessories to stay open.

    I closed my shop and retired at exactly the right time. One month before the first cases of Covid in N. America.
    Since then I have gone on to different things and different interests.

    I'm actually making more money manufacturing and selling the yarn winder that I developed for the hand cranked sock knitting machines, than I ever did making kilts.



    I am actually having a lot more fun making custom kilt hose that I did listening to the criticism from the traditional kilt makers. The week each year I would spend teaching Contemporary kiltmaking at Kilt Kamp and the atmosphere became more and more toxic. It was not any fun any more.



    So right now my book is sitting on a thumb drive. I have not worked on it at all during this period of Covid and I am finding that I have less and less interest in ever printing it.

    I wish I had a finished copy that I could just give you. If you wish to make a kilt I suggest buying Barb's book and making a real kilt.
    The posers like myself will just slink off into obscurity.

    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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    I'm sorry to see this, Steve. I've watched you work. Those are REAL kilts. No slinking please. You're still the Wizard.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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    My suggestion would be to finish it and make it available here in digital form. I would pay a few shekels for it. I already have barb's book. and would like to see how you make a contemporary kilt. I take classes as a hobby to learn new things and I would like to hear what you have to say about kiltmaking.
    tact is the ability to tell someone to go the hell in such a way they look forward to the trip Winston Churchill

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  7. #5
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    One of the ideas was to make my book available as a digital copy, or on a thumb drive, as both a word document and a pdf.

    A person pays for the book and I mail them the thumb drive if they prefer, or send a link to where it is stored on the web.

    The original idea was to print copies that were similarly spiral bound like Barb's book that lay flat.

    I had my 20 year old, Chinese lathe die on me and the part that failed would cost more to remake that the machine was worth. So I broke down and bought a new lathe/mill with DRO.
    I am having so much fun with this thing that I should be locked up.

    (yes, I'm in blue jeans. You don't play with spinning machinery in loose clothing.)



    I am having so much fun working to tolerances of up to .001".
    I've even bought a powder coating set-up and a laser engraver.



    I have a batch of winders that just must go out. They are all paid for and customers are waiting.

    Maybe I'll spend a few evenings on the book if I can keep awake.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 14th April 21 at 08:41 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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    You might consider putting it out in PDF form where you could send buyers the download information. I wrote a sailing book a while back which was published hard-cover, but I also have a PDF copy on my computer. The book has 265 pages and hundreds of full color illustrations, but the entire thing in PDF format is only about 28 megabytes, so it could be sent pretty easily and quickly. Image quality in PDF form is super clean and zoom-able if needed.

    The world needs more high quality and interesting construction manuals, even those for uncommon subjects. There is also a certain enjoyment in knowing that after you are gone and after all the products you built over the years have lived their useful lives and gone away, the book can still exist as instruction and inspiration for an entirely new audience.

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  11. #7
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    Steve,

    I am one of those who should be very interested in getting your book in digital format. In fact sometimes I prefer to get my non-fiction/technical type books in that format. That way I can print them out in letter format, frequently they are published in some size smaller than 8.5x11, by doing this i can have the book in a somewhat large typeface and I can bind them in such a way that they lie flat on the table or my lap. It also means that I do not have to worry about them getting damaged/ruined by some accidental spill. At that point all I have to do is print replacement pages or even the whole book if need be.

    Thanks,
    Stoff

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    A "Thou" is an awfully tight tolerance for a rig like that. Same set-up, different day and it will change by that much or a bit more.

    -Then again, you're not making gas turbine parts with it (one hopes).

    You are correct sir. I know the limitations of this machine. It does what I need for the job, in the space I have available, within my budget. And while I am able to do work to .001, (good teachers) this job does not require anywhere close to that amount of accuracy.

    I am working with standard 1018 cold rolled steel and 6061 aluminum. All I need is to be able to turn within .010" to fit standard ABAC 5 roller bearings and I use the DRO only to save the math time when milling to the center of .75" round stock.
    All the other tolerances are set by the properties of the Red Oak I am using.

    But it is nice to know that I can achieve and hold a .001" taper over 12" if I wanted to.

    I had to teach myself MIG and powdercoating. Luckily I was able to find a really nice second hand 220VAC welder and accessories for $50.00 and a 30" wall oven for $45.00 and wire it into a corner of my small basement shop.

    Honestly, the only reason I chose to do my own work, was it is fun to be able to put your name on something without out-sourcing the work. "I made this" still has meaning to me.

    The Engineers creed states -
    "If you can't make something that will do what it was designed to do, and can't make it beautiful at the same time, then why bother."

    (sorry - I hit edit instead of reply by mistake)
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 15th April 21 at 08:57 AM.
    Those ancient U Nialls from Donegal were a randy bunch.

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    Steve, I totally “get” how retirement can be enjoyable, however, I do think that you might be underestimating how many people are likely to want a copy of your book ( add my name to the list). I also agree that digital format ( such as on a flash drive/ thumb drive) would likely be the easiest format, both for you, and most customers. Don’t give up on the idea just yet.
    waulk softly and carry a big schtick

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  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninehostages View Post
    You are correct sir. I know the limitations of this machine. It does what I need for the job, in the space I have available, within my budget. And while I am able to do work to .001, (good teachers) this job does not require anywhere close to that amount of accuracy.

    I am working with standard 1018 cold rolled steel and 6061 aluminum. All I need is to be able to turn within .010" to fit standard ABAC 5 roller bearings and I use the DRO only to save the math time when milling to the center of .75" round stock.
    All the other tolerances are set by the properties of the Red Oak I am using.

    But it is nice to know that I can achieve and hold a .001" taper over 12" if I wanted to.

    I had to teach myself MIG and powdercoating. Luckily I was able to find a really nice second hand 220VAC welder and accessories for $50.00 and a 30" wall oven for $45.00 and wire it into a corner of my small basement shop.

    Honestly, the only reason I chose to do my own work, was it is fun to be able to put your name on something without out-sourcing the work. "I made this" still has meaning to me.

    The Engineers creed states -
    "If you can't make something that will do what it was designed to do, and can't make it beautiful at the same time, then why bother."

    (sorry - I hit edit instead of reply by mistake)
    I will never stop working materials with my hands for as long as I draw breath, too.
    I earned a very big part of my income designing extrusion profiles (mostly run in 6063). I'm retired now but dozens of my shapes are still being pushed, some of those shapes are unchanged for almost 30 years, so I guess that I got them right. I've walked through public buildings with my kids pointing to this and that and telling them "I designed that!" .. eyes roll ..."okay Dad"

    p.s. Most extrusions are run to within 3 thou unless it is VERY special.

    p.p.s. My welding is pathetic. I can still hear a Navy PO calling it "gorilla snot" a half century ago and it never got much better.
    Those ancient U Nialls from Donegal were a randy bunch.

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