Monday, 7 December 2015

It does grow on trees

It's been quite a while since I've had opportunity to mill any timber, in fact possibly more than a year. It basically just comes down to timing. That and being a sole operator means that sometimes you just can't arrange to fit everything into a working week, month or indeed the year. 

This is the smallest of the 4 Western Yellow Pines.

And so it's fantastic to bring the Timberking Sawmill up to Pineville and finally start to wade through the pile of logs I've had sitting here for far too long, including an enormous Western Yellow Pine ( in four sections ), a huge Stone Pine , a couple of good Californian Redwoods and a couple of little Ash and Oak logs.

The sawmill performed flawlessly, but as I've explained to a few people who come to have a look at it working, it does require a lot of concentration. Although it is entirely hydraulically controlled, there are no mechanisms in place to stop you from getting into serious trouble if you are not watching what you are doing. For instance if the log loading arms are not lowered after lifting a log onto the cutting deck, the saw head will plough straight into them. Similarly the blade will hit and damage the log supports if they are not lowering beneath the trajectory of the blade. 

The blade will hit those orange log stops on the left of the log if you're not paying attention

Thankfully none of the above occurred, but I have to admit a momentary lapse of concentration at one point made me come close.

On the subject of logs and sawn timber, I often find myself being asked about the value of a sawlog, whether standing or on the ground. It's understandable that the question arises, when you see the price of sawn specialty timber/lumber in a retail yard. Using 50mm ( 2" or 8/4 ) thick stock as a yardstick, some U.S. species such as Hard Maple and Black Walnut can be over $5000 per cubic metre ( or about $12 a board foot ) here in Melbourne. So often when people see a big old Oak tree standing in the paddock they suddenly think there's a $5000+ paycheque coming their way. Unfortunately for them, it's not the case.

If this is growing in your backyard please let me know……

Unless you have somehow managed to have a 2000 year old Huon Pine standing dead next to the backyard woodshed, or that annoying 40' tall Brazilian Rosewood that just has to be cut down as it's threatening to fall on the chook house, then I'm afraid if your asking me, I'll tell you there's no money going to be exchanged for your tree or log. It's just not feasible. In fact I would be far better off driving that hour and a half to the timber yard and paying that $5000+ per cube  than driving to that paddock to collect the log. It's all in the logistics. 

I salvaged these fallen Elms in Kyneton in 2011. A little large to just throw over your shoulder

For starters collecting a log can be difficult enough in the first place, especially a big one. Unless there's heavy machinery such as a backhoe or excavator handy, it usually means hiring expensive crane trucks. 


Once collected you then need a place to store it until it's ready to be milled, not always as easy as it sounds unless you are lucky enough to have easily accessible land. Then comes the milling. Portable Mills are realistically the only method of milling furniture type logs these days with the rapid demise of our logging industry and permanent sawmills. Portable mills do not come cheaply either and whether you have one at your disposal or you're hiring one with an operator, it is a costly exercise.

Without this front end loader ( or a crane ), moving logs like this would be impossible 

Then comes milling the log. Again some form of machinery is necessary to manoeuvre the log to the mill. After it has been sawn it's important that the sawn timber is brushed down and stacked as soon as possible. A dry wooden spacer, known as a 'sticker' in most camps, is placed about every 300mm ( 12" ) or closer along the length of the board and then the next board placed carefully on top. The 'stickers' themselves have to be all the same dimension and you'll need a large amount of them too, which is why I value the pile I have almost as much as the timber sitting on them.

Strap 'em up

Once the timber is all carefully stacked and stickered it should be strapped up tight or at least a heavy weight placed on top to help minimise any movement during drying. The stack then needs to be moved and stored in a cool, still and dry location. 

This Elm won't stay dead straight for long if its not stacked and stored right.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not just direct sunlight/heat or rain that can have an adverse effect on some timbers drying evenly. Howling wind can also be just as detrimental to freshly sawn timber, especially with timber notorious for twisting and wracking, such as English Elm. 

Then it's a case of hurry up and wait. Most dense hardwoods should be left to dry ( naturally as opposed to kiln ) for at least one year per 25mm ( 1" ). So those Lovely Elm boards above, sawn at 55mm, should be looking good around January......2018.

I'll just shove it under the mattress….

Storing large piles of sawn timber, undercover takes up a lot of real estate too. Saw 10 or so good sized logs like I just have and you'll see just how much.

And lastly the yield. A high production permanent sawmill of old will often yield only as little as 25% of the logs original volume. While portable bandsaw type mills can increase this recovery dramatically, it still means a hell of a lot of the log ends up as sawdust or waste from the outset.

So the upshot of the whole deal is that often if I'm asked whether I am interested in salvaging a log I will assess it with a pretty critical eye in the first place. With all of the above, you can understand that it has to be worthwhile. If it's worthwhile I then check that the person who has it is not looking for me to contribute to their hasty retirement fund. And lastly if it is indeed a substantial log or special old tree, I'll more often than not offer to make a small item from it, for them as a thank you. There are a few 3 legged milking stools around the countryside that are testimony to that.

Hello there Mr. Sequoia !

So as you can imagine that big old Oak tree isn't looking quite so desirable any more, but despite all of the above, I still get a bit of a buzz when I mill a great log. Flipping over a freshly sawn board and seeing stunning figured timber staring back at you, never gets old. Waiting patiently until 2018 sure does though....

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Race To The Finish.

I've heard it said more times than I care to remember ( and repeated it myself once or twice ) that it's the last 10% of the project that takes the longest time. With chairs or furniture, this usually equates to the glueing/fixing together and the finishing, be it oil, shellac or even paint. But there remains the question of when is it actually finished? Its a subjective question in my books. 

My workshop as seen from space. Thanks NASA.

Often during my chair making classes the hardest thing is keeping people away from sandpaper. In fact anyone who has taken a class with me will know that I have a decided dislike for the stuff except when it's absolutely necessary, which is rarely. But if I were to turn my back for a minute or care not, then I could usually guarantee that the workshop would be enveloped in cumulonimbus like cloud of sawdust quickly. But it doesn't end there. Sanding has the habit of going viral. Don't know if its the sound, the dust, the spluttered frantic blowing of dust off surfaces or all of the above, but once it gets loose, then everyone is doing it! Its Gangnam style all over again! Awful.

Scraped not sanded. 

In reality I don't mind how anyone in particular finishes a piece of furniture. What disappoints me a little though is when a student has gone to great lengths to achieve crisp lines and detail with edged tools and in their excited hurry to attack the piece with sand paper, they not only remove that detail but proceed to round all edges to unrecognisable blobs. In fact I now have a single line that I generally recite at the 11th hour of all my chair classes, when all is glued trimmed and finished. That is, "It's now in your hands, take it and do with it as you please. Well done."  It's become sort of a mantra which absolves me of the association to any chair that may become round and lava like after it leaves the workshop.

Seriously though, there is a lot to consider when finishing a piece. What's appropriate and what is overkill? Who is in a position to dictate?  I have seen chairs which have combinations of elaborate timbers, ridiculously intricate carving, or layer upon layer of thick super shiny poly gloss finish. They may be beautiful in design but the finish or desire to make the piece so over the top has made the entire piece a failure. They cease to be 'considered' and end up almost like a caricature of what they should be.

Ultimately it's left to us, the individual, to make those choices. How much is enough, or too little, or what level of sheen - flat, matt, satin, semi gloss, full gloss etc etc. That's when we truly need to understand who we are as the maker and what is important to us. What do we want to convey? What does the piece dictate? Who is it for? What has been commissioned? All pertinent questions. No completely right answer. 

Me? I make chairs for myself. The fact that some people also like them and choose to buy them from me is a bonus. Sure I make them to the clients specifications, but they're still for me and I find it disappointing when they leave the workshop. Perhaps that's why I write my name on them, so people will always know…..

See, it's mine. I wrote my name on it.

What level of finish do I personally prefer? It depends on the piece. 

My love of windsor chairs, as I've mentioned before was born from childhood memories of staying in cattleman's huts, in Victoria's High Country,  amongst furniture of necessity. You know, simple seats and furniture, made with adzes, axes and drawknives. In fact the dwellings themselves were built in the very same manner and with the same tools. 

This very Hut, as a matter of fact….

They had inherent beauty. Not because they were refined, polished...... dare I say sanded? No, they were necessary and made to do a job as effectively as possible, with little fuss. Windsors resonate with me for the same reasons. Good joinery, no nails, screws or overly fancy details for the most part. Comfortable and strong and a world away from your fancy Chippendale stuff and the like.

So recently when someone asked me why I had left a Fanback Rocking Chair 'rough' on the crest rail and not refined it before I applied the finish, I had to take a good look at it for a second or two before I could reply honestly. I looked at it, considered it's finish and saw the exact same crest rail that I had been satisfied with months earlier when I was finished with it. It's overall shape was symmetrical, it had the obvious marks of the drawknife and spokeshave just where I remembered passing them over the Oak. In fact it was just as I wanted that crest to look,  on 'that' chair. 

The little guy in question

A little rocking chair to sit on the verandah of my very old 1850's house. In fact I wanted that crest to look almost like I had riven or hewn it straight from the log, carved it swiftly and bent and manipulated it with sheer force onto the spindles and back posts which now held it to the chair. Indeed most of the traditional American style Windsor chairs I make will have defined tools marks in various places and or various parts. The saddle of the seat usually being the only exception and most often the only thing ever sanded. It's what I think those chairs call for. But that's me.

A Crested Rocker I made about 3 years ago.

However, when making a chair like the Crested Rocker I'm making at the moment, that's a different kettle of fish. It's a contemporary chair. Large, angular, full of crisp detail and interesting negative spaces. Its parts are defined and refined, scraped and sanded. It's what 'that chair' calls for and I think pays homage to the maker who designed it,  Peter Galbert, how he made the original and others like it and in this case, how he showed me to make it. But again that level of refinement is considered. It would be all to easy to go overboard and turn a bold, lithe chair into another rounded over mess. 

What I'm trying to say is that we have to take responsibility for the way we construct and finish the pieces we make. We also need to understand how they should be finished and strive to strike that balance of what's important to us as the maker but also what befits what we have made. 

Be confident in the level of finish and refinement of your workpiece, take the time to consider what the piece calls for. Every piece will probably be different or at least should well be.

Don't be in a hurry to force that last 10% or race to the finish line, but also know when enough is enough. Ultimately, make the piece for yourself, let it speak of who you are and why you made it that way, if you stick true to that, all the rest should fall neatly into place.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Tight fit.

After teaching a lot for the past month or so, it's been a true liberation to get back into the workshop and get a chance to make something myself. A chair of course.

The spindles should look like they have grown out of the seat.

The Crested Rocker from the previous post has been just the ticket too. A slightly more complex chair than the Fanbacks, Sackbacks and Continuous Arm Chairs I've been making of late. But this time around there has been a few factors that have made this a surprisingly quick build so far. 

One is that I've made a fair few of them now, so the joinery is more familiar. The second is that I have used air dried timber for the steam bends as opposed to the green or fresh Oak I would normally utilise.

This means that the bends set surprisingly quickly, have minimal spring back and virtually no shrinkage. It's a big time saver when a chair part doesn't have to spend days on end, drying in a heat box or kiln. Especially with parts the size of the stiles or back posts, which are 38mm ( 1 1/2 " ) octagons . That's a large part to dry when its green.

Lastly I used a little jig that I recently built a dozen of, for a Barstool class. Quite simply it locates an indicator pin in the correct plane to sight off for drilling stretcher mortises. The jig is usually attached to the leg, but in this case I used it to align the drilling angle of the stepped mortise into the stile from the arm post. I've always found drilling this mortise to be trickiest part of making the chair. This is due to the drilling angle being acute to the seat and on a curved chair part. But the angle jig made the process a no brainer. Every angle that needed to be known or referenced was right there on the little pin.

 The resulting joint was the best I've done on a chair of this kind, full stop.

So Friday I fitted the spindles to both the seat and crest, turned the stretchers, roughed out the rockers and carved the seat. I mentioned in the last post that I was careful to choose 1/4 sawn Elm for this chair. 

Rift or back sawn Elm, although visually stunning as a finished seat, can often be a real pain to carve. The porosity of the radial growth rings is the issue here. When shaved or scraped at the slight angles found at the front of most Windsor chair seats, the wide cross sections of porous growth rings can fracture and crumble, making final smoothing problematic. In difference, shaving those same ring porous growth rings on their edge results in a clean, firm surface without those issues.

 I think the photo above speaks for itself. The front edge of the seat was spokeshaved across its width and scraped briefly. A light sand with 240 paper and final scraping will reveal a beautiful finished seat, after the entire chair is assembled.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of Master Cooper George Smithwick's company in the workshop, to teach the Coopered Wooden Bucket Class. The four students kept up the tradition of travelling to the workshop from far and wide. Ray travelled from Thalloo in Central Gippsland, Rosemary, from Waubra, half way between Ballarat and Avoca, Nick from Melbourne and Drew from Bendigo. I'm very fortunate to have a workshop that people gravitate to, to take part in these classes. As the saying goes, love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life.

The day went as smooth as silk and thanks to George's great teaching skills and the great work of the students, we kept our 100% success rate of no leaking buckets too. Nice work. Our tradition of filling the new buckets with water and holding them over the makers head, may have contributed to their determination to make one that didn't leak….

I'm pretty happy to be planning out the remainder of the year. Aside from another 3 classes, I'm planning to bring the sawmill up to Pineville to mill an ever increasing pile of logs in the paddock. That should yield some spectacular Redwood, Yellow Pine, Hoop Pine and Blackwood. And if I'm lucky, perhaps an Osage Orange log to mill also..... stay tuned. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Where we left off…….

I wouldn't know where to begin if I tried to recap the last 10 months or so since my last post here. There's been another Lost Trades Fair, a bunch of classes, a few chairs here and there and lots of progression on the house. In fact for those who are unaware we have been living in Pineville since early March.

Verandah made a huge difference.

I'll be the first to admit that the infamous Instagram has been the reason for the non existent action here, but love it or hate it ( and to be honest I'm indifferent about it now ) it's an easy and relatively quick way to convey pictures. But there's a whole range of associated baggage that comes with it. A lot of that is beyond your control, it's not an option. And that I'm afraid is why I jumped ship. Sure I'll throw a pic or two on there some time in the future, but it does not allow me to convey the information I like and the reality is you end up devoting a lot more time to it than you first might think. 

So rather than a blow by blow account since January, I'll jump straight into what's happening in the workshop now. The other pieces should fall into place as we go. 

These guys ( and 20 of their mates ) visit every morning outside the kitchen window.

View from the deck outside the kitchen

With Spring almost fully sprung, the light in the morning at home and in the workshop, is casting a slightly different shadow. In a few days Summer will be upon us and no doubt just as I've longed for the weather to be a little warmer of late, I'll be pining for the cold before long too.

New cupboard and drawer carcasses behind one of the 3 new benches.

The workshop will look a little different than the last time it was shown here. We have slowly but surely been building new benches, shave horses and installing new cupboards too. So while the shell of the old place is just the same, it's certainly getting more user friendly inside. It all points towards the space being more effective for my use, but also being more versatile for the range of other classes we run there, such as the Coopered Wooden Bucket Class this Saturday.

The cupboard carcasses went in a few months ago. They were an essential part of the process of organising this space. A lot of stuff, tools included had been 'floor hung' prior to that and we were getting to the point of critical mass! But they won't look like this forever. In the coming months the intention is to make solid Blackwood panelled doors and drawer fronts for the lot. This should keep things dust free and also add a little character to the not so pretty white melamine.

On the bench at the moment I have a Crested Rocker in progress. I've put about 2 full days into it so far, milling, bending parts and doing the initial joinery. The upper and under carriage is Pin Oak 
( Quercus Palustrus ) and the seat locally grown English Elm ( Ulmus Procera ).
I have previously tried to use one piece Elm seats for these big rocking chairs, but this time I've book matched a stunning piece of quarter sawn Elm for the piece. 

The colour variation in this flitch was stunning as was the radial growth ring pattern. It will be a much more beautiful seat when carved than say a rift or back sawn single piece seat.

As with the majority of my rocking chair commissions, this one is heading to Melbourne for an expectant new mum. There's no doubt when making rocking chairs for new Mums ( or Dads ) that you know your chair will be fully appreciated and loved. Especially at 3am feeding times!

Cracked crest and missing spindle.

There's been a familiar presence in the workshop for some time too that will be heading back home next week. This old American balloon back Windsor was bought in for a repair about........ well lets just say a long time ago. But the owner did say she wasn't in any hurry! It was bought home from the States and during the trip was successfully crushed by the shipping company, smashing the crest rail in 3 places, destroying one of the spindles and splitting another. Now normally I run a mile from any chair repair, quite honestly because 99% were not made properly in the first place and..... well they aren't Windsor chairs. But this was and so I agreed to fix it. 

There were a few differences in this chair to the chairs I make. Mostly to do with the spindles. My chairs have riven spindles shaped by hand with drawknife and spokeshave at the shavehorse. They are fitted straight into a matching sized stopped mortise in the seat. Usually 12mm ( just under 1/2" ). This old girl has turned spindles with 'nodes' in two places. The spindles are also shouldered at the seat, with that shoulder being pared parallel to the seat. Interesting stuff and a level of joinery that I wouldn't necessarily say was common in chairs of this age. ( might be wrong? ) It had a whole lifetime and then some, of layers of paint all over it. For sure there was green, white and possibly even cream under the black. Not nice, thin layers of milk paint either. Heavy, thick and no doubt lead based stuff here and so thick that most the detail, such as the beading on the steam bent bow was almost invisible.

Got to love hide glue. New turned spindle wedged in place.

A new spindle was turned from dead straight and dry Beech with a stepped tenon at its base. It was a stretch ( literally ) to prize the crest open enough to slip the new spindle into the old mortise through the crest, but it seated beautifully and a wedge was driven in to finish the job. A trim and shave and three coats of Black milk paint made it look the part, but the finishing touch was a brush coat of button shellac, which matched the original muddy black of the spindles around it. 

All done

It will be sad to see it go as I've pondered the shape and geometry of that chair often, but I've also traced a few patterns off it too, so it may appear in another guise soon.

With another two chair orders literally coming in last night it promises to be a busy time leading to Xmas. We have a Perch, Fanback side chair and Shaker Oval Box Classes in there too. Then there's a bit of stuff around the house to talk about also. It's good to be back.

Monday, 19 January 2015

First things first

It's frustrating not getting much time in the workshop. Amplified when I look at Instagram on a daily basis and see dozens of people busily working away at every thing from making furniture to building boats. But, I have to keep reminding myself of some priorities. Number one is putting a decent roof over my families head. Not to say that we don't have one at the moment, but this shoebox at the back of our shop ( about 5 squares ) is starting to wear a little thin after more than two years. This house will mean a big difference to our quality of life I'm sure. Just as it would have to William 'Pepper' Wright when he built it.

Final details are taking shape. Building a built in wardrobe in the Master Bedroom. 

The old doors are originals from the house. Unfortunately damaged and multi coloured, they'll be restored and finished a little later down the track.

Importantly the cast iron hinges, original to the doors were in good order and only needed a bit of a clean up. They've been re-used and the phillips head screws will be replaced with steel slot screws when the doors are taken off to restore them. A K & Sons is Archibald Kendrick and Son who were a huge Ironmongery in West Bromich. Founded in the mid 1700's they finished casting hinges like these around the mid 1880's, moving to pressed steel. On the rear is '3in' for the length of the hinge. I figuring that perhaps 59 may be the abbreviated year of manufacture? If anyone knows any different, I'd be grateful to hear about it.

We've also been busy in the kitchen too, the spotted gum floor boards are polished, we've installed the custom black carcasses and I've made, painted and oiled the Belgian Oak bench tops too.

It all looks very black at present, but the cupboard doors should fix that.

They are made from the original internal wall clapboards, which used to have hessian and wallpaper fixed to them. Planed and thicknessed, I've made them in the same fashion that the original surviving kitchen cupboard doors were made. That is they have batons fixed to the back by means of cut nails, clinched over in the traditional manner.

I've also copied the only handle left, which had not been replaced ( probably during the 60's or 70's ) from the drawer. I hand turned them from Huon Pine, which will turn a rich honey colour after a few years.

Here they are fitted to the doors and ready for sanding and oiling and fitting to the carcasses. They are simple I know. But that's what I believe this house needs. It is a simple house now and it was when it was built. Sure there are rooms that show the house had impressive elements in it's day, but those elements were in the main part of the house, in the sitting rooms and bedrooms, where there are marbled fireplace mantels and hand painted wall papers.

Not so in the laundry and kitchen. These rooms have bare brickwork and simple painted wooden lining boards, just as utilitarian rooms did in those days. After all, these were the rooms for the hired help,  scullery maids and the like. And so that is the styling cue we have followed. I think it will come up well.

So I think we should be in the house in about 4-5 weeks, after that it's full steam ahead to the Lost Trades Fair, but that's secondary at the moment. Family comes first.

Friday, 2 January 2015

2015 - day 1

The new year kicked off in country style this year with our first visit to the annual Glenlyon Sports Day. For those a little further away, Glenlyon is one of many little satellite Goldfield era towns, about 20 minutes from us in Kyneton.

Good friend Pete Trott had told us about the day and I'm glad he did. The event card went something like this.

Midday events begin - Cross country horse race
                                  - Pony and pony and cart racing
                                  -wood chop , underhand, standing block and tree felling
                                  -World Mineral Water Drinking Championship
                                  -Bull-Boar sausage eating competition.

Suffice to say it was a bit of good country fun. In fact Pete's wife Jess entered the mineral water drinking championship and downed her pint of murky local mineral water in a healthy 5.10 seconds, holding the lead for a short time until a newcomer came along and took the lead with an unbelievable 4.89!

Jess on the left, deservedly accepting her 3rd prize!

The wood chop as is usually the case, was a great competition too. But on the day there was one fella who dominated the Underhand Comp. My feeble old mind has forgotten his name now, but in the video below you can see him second last in the line, in the Green singlet. 


He even had time for a breather, before the last bloke is finished! 21 seconds through a 1 foot round Mountain Ash block. Impressive.

Yesterday before the heat drove me out of the corrugated iron workshop again, I managed to get a start on the cupboard doors for the kitchen. There were 2 original cupboards in the Pineville kitchen when we bought it. Both frames had been destroyed by termites, but the old doors were still in tact.

They are a simple but very traditional door. Hand-beaded panels, held together by back braces or cleats which have been clinched together with cut nails. Although they sound very agricultural, and they may be, they are still as solid as a rock. Part of the secret why is due to the nails allowing wood movement, flexing where glue and or screws would not. They are also very light in comparison to a frame and panel door of the same size. 

Here's the detail of the clinched nails and the bead, cut with a moulding plane.

For my doors I'm going to use the hardwood internal clap-boards I managed to rescue from the internal walls of the main house. They were fixed tight up to shoulder level then spaced out to the ceiling and were a fixing platform for hessian, which then had the wallpaper applied to it. A lot were turned to dust by termites but we still managed to retrieve a good pile of them.

You can see them here in the Study. Rough sawn they are about 160mm x 12 (6'' 1/4 x 1/2" )

The first step was to remove the myriad of fixings buried in them over the past 160 odd years. There were cut nails, wire nails, brass pins, large flat head steel tacks for the hessian and lastly gal. clouts where plasterboard was nailed on. I then had to pick through most of them to find a good straight section over 750mm (29" 1/2 ) long. Given that I had to joint and thickness them, there couldn't be too much curve or wind in them, as I still wanted to finish with at least 9mm ( 3/8" ).

With the stock docked to rough length, jointed and thicknessed, I wanted to make up a sample door to try on the carcasses we've already fitted in the kitchen. So I wasn't wasting stock I've screwed together the prototype, so we can pull it apart and adjust it if need be.

So here's the cleat fixed with screws and screw caps. I only used the caps as I didn't have screws on hand that were short enough not to poke through both timbers. As you can see I also made up a very simple scratch stock to put a bead on the cleat. It worked fine but was a time consuming process in this very hard old timber. I've ordered a 1/4" beading plane from Caleb James to do the actual doors, which is winging its way across the Pacific as I type. It's a terrible burden to 'have' to get such lovely tools to make a kitchen…….. =)

The handles for the doors will be a very simple affair and the shape have already been determined by the single remaining draw pull on the original kitchen cupboard. They are about 36mm round, quite shallow in depth and I'll through mortise & tenon, glue and wedge them to the doors and drawers.

Today is a day of rest I'm afraid, as the town and most of country Victoria braces itself for the possibility of bushfire. It's 40 celsius + here today, with strong winds too. Far to hot to get into the workshop. 

We've already had the usual nutbag pyromaniacs running around the outskirts of town lighting grass fires. Lets hope common sense prevails and the day remains uneventful.