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My criteria for choosing white wine

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  • My criteria for choosing white wine

    Another bit of fun and games with a serious technical side

    Very often in my line of work as an industrial ceramist it pays to be practical. Yesterday I suffered what posh folks would call a 'faux pas' but in my native Derbyshire UK tongue would be more commonly referred to as a 'cock up', and I had to use my practical 'nous' to dig my way out of the mess!

    I was carrying out some quality control tests in one of the factory departments where it's necessary to measure the density of a litre of clay materials in suspension in water. In the industry there are precisely calibrated lidded stainless steel vessels called pyknometers to do this job. Here in the factory someone in the past decided to forgo these vessels and replace them with very delicate laboratory glassware in the form of 1000 ml volumetric flasks.

    Now a litre of high density suspension of clay in water can weight almost a couple of kilos so you might guess what happens when the flask and contents slip out of the wet right hand fingers of yours truly and land on a small but sharp piece of quartz sand sitting on an otherwise flat solid surface. You got it! A sound like a dull explosion and shards of glass flying outwards followed by a rapidly expanding pool of clay suspension on the work surface, over the nearby electronic balance, flooding my calculator and finally spilling over onto the dept. manager's shirt which he'd left hanging on the back of a chair after changing into his work clothes! - plus of course me left clutching the stem of the flask and muttering expletives!.

    It's times like this when you wish you could turn invisible especially when sod's law ensures that everyone is watching you acting like a complete and utter novice on his first day of work!

    After cleaning up the mess I turned around to the departmental manager and asked 'who in their right mind decided to use such a fragile piece of equipment in a factory environment' - my not so skilful way of trying to cover up my accident! The answer was vague but accompanied by the question ' ...how else can we measure the weight?' Well, a trip to the supermarket on the way home gave the answer....

    One bottle of Chardonnay fizzy white wine chosen not for the quality of the grapes catching the early morning mist on the south side of the terraced valley vineyard but for the transparent glass and the shape of the bottle which looked a lot more stable and definitely a heck of a lot stronger than that **** stupid laboratory flask!

    And to make my standby equipment more precise than that volumetric flask, which relies on operator eyesight to fill to a marked line, I used my Dremel with a diamond point bit to drill a small overflow bore hole in the neck of the bottle to ensure the it always gets filled to the same level. The final touch was to engrave a conversion factor onto the bottle to convert the measured contents to a 1 liter equivalent density.

    So on this occasion there were no flies on this aging ceramist, despite my idiot's cock up, plus on the positive side I got to sample yet another type of wine last night, even if this time the Chardonnay wasn't to my taste - LOL!

    The icing on the cake?
    The purchasing department were pretty pleased about my solution. After regularly buying two or three replacement flasks a year at around 45 USD equivalent, a bottle of wine costing just over 4 USD was a nice alternative - and that includes the contents! I also found out later that news of my accident and the solution flew around the factory grapevine like lightening leaving me with favourable 'brownie' points from a couple of the more sceptical of the departmental managers. All in all a nice outcome!

    Saluti!

    Last edited by jim_mex; 09-23-2011, 12:16 PM.
    Jim in Mexico

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Nice recovery...
    "Still Montana Mike"

    "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
    Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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    • #3
      Well done Jim........and another well written narrative.
      Now for the most important question, were you wearing safety glasses at the time of the "mishap" ? Broken glass gives me shivers.
      Gloria ............... Two memorable things to say in life, "Hello" for the first time, and "Good-bye" for the last.

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      • #4
        How come you always come out smelling like a rose?
        Carole

        Follow me on my blog: www.scrollsawbowls.blogspot.com

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        • #5
          were you wearing safety glasses at the time of the "mishap" ?
          LOL! Gloria - I wasn't wearing safety glasses but I was wearing my reading glasses otherwise I wouldn't have stood a cat in hell's chance of seeing the line on the volumetric flask!!!

          How come you always come out smelling like a rose?
          Hehehe Carole - do you really believe that?
          Could it be that I just report the winners - nah! I think not! More probably is the fact that I've dropped so many clangers in the past that there aren't many situations I haven't learned from!
          Jim in Mexico

          Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
          - Albert Einstein

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          • #6
            So now they're going to be breaking wine bottles on purpose so they have to run out and buy more, drink the contents so they can use it!

            A stupid question but how is the clay supposed to fit in the bottle?
            Janette
            www.square-designs.com

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            • #7
              Very Cool. A way to use wine as a tax deduction. But now you have to see if red wine works just as well.
              Mark
              Proud new owner of an EX-21

              WWW.MGMWOODWORKS.COM

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              • #8
                A stupid question but how is the clay supposed to fit in the bottle?
                Ok Janette - you asked for this! Through the top of course!!!!

                Seriously, its in suspension in water - known in the industry as a 'clay slip'. Come to think of it that pretty much describes my accident - LOL!

                now you have to see if red wine works just as well.
                Hi Mark - I originally went for the white wine because the bottle is transparent and I intended to engrave a fill up to line on the neck so you could see the slip rising to the level but after deciding to bore the overflow hole in the neck instead the transparency would not be needed for filling purposes. However, transparent is actually much more practical because after using the bottle it has to be thoroughly washed out before being used again and if there is any residue left in the bottom you can see it.

                Btw - despite how smart I may seem with these tricks I always learn something from the folks in every factory I visit. For example, I couldn't help but notice how clean the insides of the measuring flasks were in the department and the mystery of how they were kept looking that way was solved today when I saw the manager finishing cleaning a flask out by putting a pinch of very coarse sand in it with water and swilling it around. The sand effectively moves all stubborn residue on rinsing it out. Neat trick!
                Jim in Mexico

                Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
                - Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  How come you always come out smelling like a rose? _
                  Carole
                  I think it is because he is usually up to his ankles in manure. Rofl! PC way of saying he is full of it....
                  "Still Montana Mike"

                  "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
                  Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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                  • #10
                    Reminds me of the Italian officer in 'allo 'allo. "What a mistake a to make a" The Engleesh man he make a da boo boo.
                    Well recovered Jim a perfect solution to the problem and a great use for fizzy Chardonnay too.
                    Mick
                    I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. Winston Churchill

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                    • #11
                      PC way of saying he is full of it....
                      Lol Mike - that sounds like fighting talk to me!
                      Choose your weapon pal - flying Lambrusco or Asti Spumanti corks at 5 paces. The first to lose an eye gets patched up fo free !
                      Jim in Mexico

                      Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
                      - Albert Einstein

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                      • #12
                        Oh noooo not the cork thing ...Again!
                        "Still Montana Mike"

                        "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
                        Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC

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                        • #13
                          I see you are back at it again Jim....any reason to uncork a bottle is a good one...
                          Hawaiilad
                          Larry

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                          • #14
                            I'm not brave enough for that dangerous drinkin'. I'd rather just park close enough to the keg for the hose to reach then I don't have to use a glass.
                            May the wind at you back .....
                            Not be from Lunch.

                            Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

                            Beauty is in the eye of the BEERHOLDER

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                            Oily's Gallery

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                            • #15
                              When I saw the title, I figured the way Jim picked his white wine was..



                              wait..it's coming...











                              It was liquid
                              Jim
                              When looking at the clock at work--the correct time is:
                              Too early to leave, too late to call in.

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