Thursday, April 23, 2009

I had to build a bed

I had to build a bed for my orienteering compass's. Yes, I have more than one. Five, that I cared enough about to make a bed. Two NTOA events back, I had a bit of trouble getting a good compass reading. In the photo above, the strange looking compass in the middle, with the green elastic strap, is now my main compass. It has been for a year now. It is a "thumb" compass. It actually fits on your thumb, my left one. I hold my map in that hand also. You orientate the map and compass and then use the compass clear pointer, to move along your map as you journey through the woods. The issue I had was that there was a route on the map that was right on the edge. I couldn't get the compass base plate to align on the paper. I had to sort of guesstimate my bearing. I tried a trick, which is to rotate the map 180 degrees and "shoot backward". That has worked for me in the past, you just have to remember that North is now South! You have to go 180 degrees opposite of your compass setting. It's not as hard as it sounds. As I was following my guesstimated heading, I realised that one of my older, full base plate compass's, would have been perfect! But I'd quit carrying those types of compass's last year. Mr. G was always in the habit of taking an extra compass. I decided to do so at the last orienteering meet, up at SID scout ranch. I got to SID and pulled out two Silva base plate compass's from my orienteering bag. They BOTH read 180 degrees off! They gotten too close to a magnetic car key holder that I'd tossed into the bag. They had reversed polarity! I had to take an older compass that hadn't switched.

On the drive back from SID, Mr. G mentioned that he's had a few Silva's do that also and there was a place to send them off to and get them replaced. I waited a week, wondering if I should really bother. It was my fault they switched polarity. One day I called the place up and fessed up. I was hoping they would tell me some way to switch them back. Nope. But they DID say send them back for FREE REPLACEMENT!
While on the phone, I asked about the best way to store multiple compass's and not have them screw each other up. They suggested a hard plastic box, which would keep them away from any magnetic source.

So I sent the two compasses off and one day stopped by The Container Store. I shopped around for 15 minutes and finally found the perfect hard, seal able plastic box for orienteering compass's.

When I got home, I tossed all my compass's into it. But then I realised that each compass was also effecting the other compasses in the box! Brainstorm time. I remembered that I had some sheets of neoprene rubber out in the shop. I got them from McMaster-Carr. So I went and cut out rubber blankets to go between each compass. It worked great! Compass, sheet of rubber, compass, sheet.... Each compass when it is placed into the plastic, sort of looses it's mind and quits pointing North! The next one, with the rubber sheet, keeps them from affecting each other.

The photo:
On the left is the box, lid, and compasses in it.

In the center with the green elastic band is my primary thumb compass.

Above it in a Zip-Lock baggie, is a magnifier that can be added to the thumb compass! Very handy on my old eyes. I usually just keep the magnifier in my pocket, as I don't use it all that much. Plus, the magnifier broke when I fell off a cliff one day! I fixed it also, but decided to not attach it again.

To the right is one of the base plate compasses laying on it's rubber sheet.

To the bottom, is a rubber sheet.

Good thing they don't have a bed wetting problem!

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