With Every Dream, a Desire. With Every Desire, a Beginning...


Large steam engine running at London's Science Museum. Humans included to show scale.
Where to begin... as far back as I can remember, I've always had a fascination with steam trains... these big iron goliaths, their awesome power and mystique, how they helped tame the West and revolutionize transportation worldwide. Steam engines of all sorts interest me. I can spend a whole day at a museum like London's Science Museum. It should be no surprise that my favourite toy as a child was a Jensen Model 65 steam engine which I still have today.

In my early teen years, I used to volunteer at the Montgomery County Fair's antique farm machinery exhibit (a.k.a. the Old Timer's Section) which spawned my interest in Hit and Miss farm engines, one of the earliest commercial applications of the Otto cycle.

In late teen years and early adulthood I learned the mastery of woodworking. I am almost entirely self-taught as there were no vocational schools offering the techniques I needed. Trial-and-error was a big part of my learning process but thankfully, I still have all my fingers. I enjoy working both domestic and exotic woods, my favourites being black walnut, maple, zebrawood and purpleheart.

I produced hundreds of musical instruments under the label of "Griffin Music." Though I became an accomplished woodworker, metal remained an intriguing mystery, waiting to be discovered. It wasn't until very recently (2003) that I took the plunge head (and wallet) first, buying a metal lathe and MIG welder.


My first gears... bevel gears nonetheless! Details on projects page.
My approach to metalworking has been more aggressive and with a higher budget than previous vocational interests. My process of learning and collecting have been supplemented with videos, books, eBay auctions and a unique system of "playing cards" I developed to acquire everything I needed. See the "Workshop" link to get details on the playing cards. As I am just starting this venture at the time of writing this page, you will realise my skill is as yet unrefined. Since it has been so much fun going through this learning process, I wanted to write these pages to share my experiences.

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©2004 R.Alexander Griffin. All Rights Reserved.