For those of you who follow Metsami Creations, you may have found the website has not been updated regularly. Over the past 6 months I have been very busy with projects, and my website has been slow and buggy. I have switched my hosting to a friends company, Carlson Media LLC . The update has allowed for faster speeds and better reliability. I hope to keep my website updated regularly now, however, there are some update issues with the theme I am currently using. The conversion from my current outdated theme to the new seems rather tedious. Hopefully I can keep the site up in the meantime while I research the update process or find a technician to assist with the issue.
In the past six months I have completed several major projects. Those included the restoration of the M35A2, completion of a massive 5’x10′ timber frame dining set, my best stump table, old growth cedar picnic set, and a case to display my jewelry at shows.
Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival Artists in The Round
This Spring I was invited back to be an Artist in The Round vendor at the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette that takes place in mid July. Last year was the first time I attended the festival as a vendor. My pyrography and woodwork display won an honorable mention. This is impressive, as there are several dozen vendors and only two awards, first place, and honorable mention. For some vendors, it took several years of attendance before winning an award. Metsami Creations also won Best of Show for art at Mining the Arts festival in Republic during Memorial Day weekend 2014. Here is to a year of continued quality craftsmanship and impressive displays!
During 2015, I had spent a great deal of time restoring the M35A2, inside and out. Truck was repainted, cab redone, bed liner sprayed, bearings re packed, brakes adjusted, fluids changed, and filters changed. Although I had no prior experience in heavy truck mechanics and body work, I would say my efforts led to decent results. Yes there are some continued rust issues and paint adhesion problems, however, those can be fixed over time and overall the truck is in great mechanical shape.
Timber Frame Dining Set Complete!
On Christmas Eve, my dad and I delivered the 5’x10′ timber frame dining set I had been working on for most of 2015, just days after finishing it.
Pretty good job for a first attempt at a project of this magnitude.
Lumber was sourced locally. I helped cut it on a band mill, or milled the lumber directly with a chainsaw mill, hauled it, dried it in the kiln, machined mortises on a horizontal drill press, and cut the tenons for the table frame with a circular saw. I squared the joints up with a chisel. The chair tenons were cut with a 90 degree shoulder tenon cutter on a 3/4 inch drill. The 90 degree tenon shoulder hides the joint.
All parts of the table were sanded with a hand held belt sander. Benches were planed with an electric hand planer. A jointer was used to clean up some of the chair components and a chainsaw mill was used to resaw the twisted table tops to make them flat again.
This project took up most of the space in my shop and the garage for about a year. I hope to expand operations eventually to be able to manufacture pieces of this magnitude on a regular basis, but until then, I think this is the last big table for awhile.
Cedar Stump Table
This winter I have also completed my second stump table. This was a big one, 5′ long and 26′ wide. If was for a client buying through the Flying Moose. The client was impressed with the quality and a price of $1200, when most pieces of this magnitude retail for over $1500.
Top slabs are white pine, and the stump is northern white cedar. Table tops were cut on the chainsaw mill and dried in the kiln. White cedar stumps were dug out by hand with shovels, axes, and chainsaws. Stumps are pulled, skidded, loaded, and hauled with the m35a2. A 3000psi pressure washer with turbo nozel removes bark that can not be peeled by hand. Bottoms of stumps are cut flat freehand with chainsaw and 36 inch bar.
Old Growth White Cedar Dining Set with Glow in the Dark Epoxy Filler
Not Yet Complete!
Table top is cut from a beam taken out of the foundation of an old building in L’Anse MI from the early 20th century. Cedar tree itself is estimated to be around 110 years old. This thing was growing over 200 years ago!
Log legs and support cross beams are also made of cedar. Table is 100% northern white cedar! Bark was hand peeled while wet, so few draw knife marks.
Next step in the project is to fill in the cracks with epoxy mixed with blue GLOW IN THE DARK powder! After the filling is complete, an epoxy top coat will be applied. Legs and cross beams will be finished with Waterlox Tung Oil.
Lots of hours and coin sunk into this table and the finish has not even been started yet. Should look amazing when finished!
Table is made to come apart. Table tops unbolt from the bottom and both legs come off. Center beam between legs is not glued. Tiny guide holes have been drilled for addition of lag bolts if needed.
Over the past year my skills at pyrography on antler jewelry have improved significantly. Jewelry is made of polished white tail deer antler, most from Michigan, and some caribou from Alaska.
The wire wrapping has been done by my neighbor Great Lakes Gems . Check her page out for recycled bicycle, natural material, and jem stone wire wrapping!
This winter I have built a repurposed portable jewelry case, with double doors that open into legs. I am now working on adding battery powered LED light tape inside for night use. If the results are good, I hope to someday manufacture these cases for sale.
I don’t have youtube set up yet, but here is a link to the “mock up” test video of the LED lights on the Metsami Creations Facebook page. LED Light Test
Not much pyrography has been done on wood this winter, but I did do this custom project.
This Spring, Metsami Creations has been busy composting hundreds of pounds of kitchen waste, horse manure, leaf litter, and cardboard. Large orders of castings (worm manure) have been going out to several local farms, including Seeds and Spores Family Farm, Ravine River Homestead, and Virgin Earth Farm. Metsami Creations has also delivered worm castings from Partridge Creek Farm.
Over the past month, Metsami Creations also has acted as a consultant for the design and operation of a large scale compost and worm casting operation with Partridge Creek Farm. Thru the consulting process, I have gotten to know a great team of volunteers and professionals at PCF, who have big visions of promoting agriculture, education, and sustainability in the community!
We hope to eventually provide large scale biomass recycling services for the Marquette County area and supply the Upper Peninsula with compost and vermi compost products at competitive prices, meeting a growing soil building demand that must be supplied by manufacturers in Wisconsin.
Planning is currently in the works, albeit the beginning stages. The process includes getting permission from the city, permits, solving logistical issues, and meeting with other business professionals. Metsami Creations has been conducting research and the design of a business plan which will be finalized with the help of Northern Michigan University.
Metsami Creations Expansion
Over the past year I have been working with the owner of Virgin Earth Farm in Witch Lake MI, in southwestern Marquette County. Due to labor shortages and similar interests for future business ventures, plans are in the works for Metsami Creations to move from Ishpeming to the new location. The idea was brought to the table last Fall, and given that I had made plans to continue working at the home shop for a few years, this is a significant development and change of operating procedure.
The ultimate goal of a partnership between Metsami Creations and Virign Earth Farm will be:
- Continue providing quality natural produce to the northcentral U.P to feed a growing market for farm fresh produce.
- Forest products and services.
- Production of high end woodwork, art, jewelry, and duodji, hand made with locally obtained materials and inspired by our Nordic ancestors.
- Fostering pride, continuation, and education of Nordic and Indigenous Sami culture in the Upper Great Lakes.
- If the business proves to be efficient and profitable, a future dream will be to raise, breed, and exhibit reindeer.
Much planning and work will need to be done at the new location, such as improving the farm for maximum efficiency, cutting logs for construction, and the design and construction of a large wood, metal, machine, and truck shop. I also hope to build my own cabin, just like my ancestors. Keeping sustainability in mind, effort will be made to utilize recycled and locally obtained natural building materials. Structures will be designed for energy efficiency comfortable off grid living, with the purpose of saving energy, disaster preparedness, and back to nature conservative living.
Metsami Creations, The True Story
“I figure I will tell you the real story about how Metsami Creations came to be. With every interview or media appearance, I am asked “why do you do what you do? I tell them it is because I enjoy art, preserving culture, and making people happy. However, there is much more than that. Far too long of a story to fit in an interview, and far too sensitive for public press. The pivotal moments and situations below will hit close to home for my peers, family, mentors, and associates in the local area, and perhaps abroad.”
I hope to update the blog more often, however, I do caution that I had promised to update sooner on multiple occasions, and I ended up updating it many months later. That is why I have a half years worth of blog posts in one long post.
I do try to update the Metsami Creations facebook page more often with the latest adventures. I am also getting an Instagram page set up to increase audience.
Ending Thoughts on 2016 Weather
As for the weather, a major stratospheric warming event (north pole warmer than normal) has displaced the polar vortex south over northeastern Canada for most of April. The first week of April produced over 40 inches of snow for the northcentral U.P. However, with temperatures in the 60s, 70s, and even 80s in mid April, all but the largest snowbanks have melted.
For the rest of April, the effects of stratospheric warming are coming back. A significant blocking ridge of high pressure is developing again over Greenland, leading to a negative North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation. End result will be a return of cold over eastern North America, the heat over the northwest. Mean northern stream trough over the Great Lakes and a southern stream trough over the Rockies will lead to a strong baroclinic/temperature difference zone over the Plains and Midwest. Through the end of April, very heavy rain is likely over the Plains, with severe weather possible, especially over the Mississippi Valley. Snow is once again possible in Denver. The most likely outcome for the U.P will be to have rain showers, possibly mixing with snow at night, and temperatures averaging in the 40s. There is also a chance the storm storm system could track further north, resulting in thunderstorms and milder temperatures, or it could draw in enough cold air to lead to a surprise snowstorm, but this is very unlikely.
The current weather pattern is very similar to the past few years, with a weak El Nino type pattern going into Spring. El Ninos (warming of central and eastern) equatorial Pacific typically result in warmer and drier winters for the Great Lakes, but cooler and wetter Summers. Springs are drier, but typically lean towards the cooler side, especially in late Spring.
However, the El NIno is rapidly weakening ENSO neutral conditions, and a weak La Nina should develop by Summer.
Starting in May, the cold trough over northeastern north America should break down and be replaced with upper level ridging, as a more zonal jet stream flow takes over. Latest data and analog years suggests the end of Spring and the first half of Summer will be hot and dry over the Great Lakes. The developing La Nina later in the Summer combined with the Arctic finally cooling below normal, should result in an active late Summer severe weather season for the Upper Great Lakes as a strong zonal flow develops and troughing digs into the northern Plains. The upper air circulation pattern should also favor a greater chance of Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Continuing into Fall the Winter, temperatures will likely average below normal with well above normal precipitation and snowfall. The intensity of any arctic cold will depend on the amount of blocking.
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