Duck stick!

2018 10 16 12.45.20

Or, ‘how I made a lovely custom mobile with crap someone else found in their back yard’.

My mom’s BFF Carolyn contacted me about a year ago to ask about the possibility of me making her a custom piece. She had a cool stick she’d found somewhere or other — you can see above how it does look vaguely like a duck — & a bunch of old-style keys, some of which she’d gotten from her mother, some of which she’d found at antique stores over the years. She’d always intended to make something out of them, but never got around to it, something with which I suspect we’re all familiar.

A bunch of old skeleton-style keys.

So she sent me some pictures & asked if I’d be interested in making her wind chimes. I said sure — it looked like fun. & then six months passed, during which I occasionally thought about the project, but mostly just sort of survived, what with one thing & another.

Round about March I finally sat down with the parts again. I had a pretty good idea of what I was after, & I found a perfect piece of broken windchime to go with everything else.

On a worktable, the stick, some keys, & a pretty silver tube chime from a windchime.

I hung the windchime bit from the chains & laid it out next to the duck stick to get a look. It looked pretty good.

The silver tube chime, now with a short length of fine chain attached to each end.

I tapped one of the keys against it, just to hear what sort of sound I’d get, & it went clunk.

… so that was a problem.

I dug around a bunch & found _another_ bit from _another_ windchime, which still sort of went clunk, but it was sort of a musical clunk, so it was, if not better, at least less bad. I got it hung from the duck stick, & that looked pretty good.

The duck stick is now hanging from a length of fine chain that's attached near each end; a different tube chime, this one not so pretty, hangs from the duck stick by two shorter lengths of chain.

I got the keys lined up & laid out next to the chain I wanted to hang them from, & got ready to make a bunch of jump rings.

The stick and chime are laying on the work table. A short length of chain extends between the two chains holding the chime, and a bunch of skeleton keys, arranged shortest to longest, are lined up just below it.

That … didn’t work out like I’d hoped.

The keys are attached to the chain now, & the whole thing is hanging up, but the chain droops so much that some of the keys are now hanging below the chime they're supposed to chime against.

So I found another stick, cut it to length, & hung the keys from that, instead. Feeling pretty good about the results, I took a couple pictures & sent them off to Carolyn, along with word that ‘slightly musical clunk’ was probably the best we were gonna get for sound.

Instead of a chain, the keys are now hanging from a thin wooden dowel, which runs between the two chains that hold up the tube chime. The whole thing is hung from a hook on the wall.
A closeup of the keys-and-dowel part. The keys are attached to the dowel with loops of copper wire.
A closeup of the hook holding the chain that the duck stick hangs from. It's looped copper wire, with another skeleton key hanging below it.

She loved it! & she was fine with the sound, declaring that perhaps ‘mobile’ was a better word than ‘windchime’. But, she asked, could we maybe tilt it a bit? So it looks like the duck is flying?

It's the whole duck stick and keys arrangement again, only this time angled so that the stick is at an angle, head pointing upwards, as if the duck is taking off. Ugh, I hope this makes ANY sense.


This was posted originally to my Patreon, a little over a week ago.

If you want to see these posts sooner, & not incidentally help support me & my cats in our travels & such, the way to do that is to sign up as one of my Patrons for as little as a buck a month.

I’d REALLY like that.

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