Saturday, October 22, 2011


In 1973 I started working for a Portland engineering group called Timberman's Engineering, a company serving the wood products industry, sawmills and such. I started as a complete trainee. I not only knew nothing, I had no clue how much I didn't know. They trained me.  In two years they created  of my rough cloth a junior drafter who could stand alone.

 Ann and I moved to the Oregon Coast, to Newport in 1975 and while she began her social work career working for the state in child welfare, I found a job as a member of the engineering team at a paper mill eight miles inland in a town called Toledo. There I began to see what life was like in certain segments of corporate America and as well I learned to function without the support of a closely focused project team as a solo supplier of engineering. When I left that position three years later, I was no longer just a drafter. I had become a designer of machines, machine lines, processes and supporting structural features suited to heavy industry.
Everything shown here may also exist
as part of a set of plans drawn by some designer.
Georgia Pacific at Toledo Oregon
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Oregon

(Now I have named three cities in Oregon, Portland (Maine), Newport (Rhode Island), and Toledo (Ohio). Each of them are named the same as three other cities elsewhere much further east in the US of A as I have noted. Oregon is nothing if not a land of immigrants. There are certain remote locations where the immigrant trail of the 1800s was so heavily used that the ruts still exist.)
Oregon Trail Rut near Guernsey, Wyoming

Engineering as I am called to practice it as an actual machine designer is a discipline of applied geometry and trigonometry. I use these tools on a daily basis on the macro level all the way down to rather small and precise applications. I once had to design the shape of a cam to operate a switch. That switch worked as a push button that activated in a few thousandths of an inch and I had to translate motion on a much larger scale to that tiny motion. In another job I designed a belt conveyor over a hundred yards long, following changes in topography, starting and ending in precise locations.


I need to hold place,
a geometer, precise,
standing in your shapes
waiting, willing to
draw the new circle, bisect
your new line, create
the triangle we
will determine, hold closer
as we intersect
the wild parallels.

Written January 4, 2010 12:26 PM


  1. i wish i was an engineer....
    your job sounds so romantic.

  2. It would rapidly stop being romantic, but with the right temperament and capacity for patience it might stay as interesting for you as it has for me. There is, no question, a creative side to things and this remains no matter they try their best to get rid of it.

    The trouble with creativity is you can't predict it and you have to pay for it, neither feature being very welcome in business.

  3. it's a wonder with my lack of geometry that i can stand. it's a wonder with your deluge of geometry that you can flow.

    not really, i realize this. my feet work well enough and you are barely contained.



The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!