When you grow up in a family where skills and hobbies are plentiful it just naturally wears off. Robin Faut, MSIT, CBET, Network +, CAHMS, is the kind of guy who doesn’t let grass grow under his feet and, just like other members of his family, he pursued skills beyond his vocation.
“My father – a Ph.D chemistry professor – did woodworking, gardening, remodeling, and played the clarinet. My mother was a seamstress, knitted, crocheted, did caning of chairs, watercolor painting and was a good cook. All four of us children were expected to help – we were kept very busy,” Faut says.
Faut is an HTM professional at Olathe Medical Center in Olathe, Kansas. His interests have taken him to the realm of knights and armor.
“My friends talked me into going to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, in costume. There, I found a book ‘Modern Chainmail in the Current Middle Ages’ and was introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA). At the end of the day I went home, quickly read the book, purchased drop ceiling hanging wire and a metal dowel rod, and starting making a chainmail shirt (a hauberk),” Faut remembers.
“About the time I finished the hauberk, about a month later, I found contacts to the local SCA chainmail group. I then went on to make a head cover (coif) and pants (chausses). This first suit was a footman’s suit. I then built a horseman’s suit. Each suit weighed about half my weight at the time I built it. The SCA taught me several differing styles of links in the chainmail and had me research the history of chainmail armor. (The SCA is a teaching organization per its charter),” Faut adds.
His participation in the Renaissance Festival also led to an interest in archery and bow construction.
“While in the SCA, I became active in archery. I have advanced that interest into building my own long bows,” Faut says.
“While I started making the chainmail after reading one book; with the bows I read four or five books and still was not sure how to get started. I ended up finding a couple weekend classes on bow making at the local WoodCraft store. The process is surprisingly simple. As I work with commercially harvested wood, it has to be backed to prevent splintering, so I glue a fairly thin piece of bamboo to the back of a two-inch by two-inch by six-foot piece of hickory,” Faut explains.
“I use hickory because it is an entangled grain. Some woods have very straight grains that do not take to bending well, while other woods have very entangled grain that can take bending, compression and stretching well,” he adds.
Faut has mastered the art of bow-making and pays careful attention to several factors that can effect performance and accuracy.
Making Beer, Computers and Pens
For many people, participating in renaissance festivals, constructing chainmail and building precision bows would be enough, but Faut comes from a family of doers and he finds mastering pastimes a challenge. In addition to his other pursuits, he also brews beer and builds computers.
“I started brewing because I tasted mead at the renaissance festival and liked it. I tend to like sweet white wines. Mead was completely unavailable at that time in liquor stores, so I found a brewing supply store that had books and I read. My first batch was very good and I continue to make mead,” Faut says. “My roommates at that time wanted me to make beer, so I made a simple beer that looked like an American beer (American beer is based on a German pilsner lager recipe) called pale ale.”
His roommates liked the results but said they wanted a dark beer.
“I found that I liked the dark ales I made. Each batch of beer or mead is five-gallons, which amounts to about two cases. The funny thing is that I do not drink much; these batches last me months to years, so I end up bringing my brewing to gatherings of friends to drink. It takes about two months to make a batch of beer and anywhere from four months to over a year for the mead, and despite the fact that it is cheaper to buy the beer and wine from the store, I still like making it,” Faut says.
Besides brewing beer, Faut has a hobby that is more closely related to his vocation. He says that building your own computer is simple and most biomeds know more about the electronics of computers than computer people with an associate’s degree. Faut earned an associate’s degree in biomed in his thirties.
He started building computers long before he got into biomed. He was in his early twenties and a roommate was working for a computer store at the time. He said some PC clones were just starting to become available.
He would use parts from dead computers and cobble a system together. He started building computers before consumers began using the Internet.
“Realize that this is the time of the 10MB hard drives and 64KB to 1MB RAM memory in the system; the days of DOS and command lines,” Faut says.
“Floppies were 180K single sided, single density and were five inches wide with the drive about three inches high. I would connect the old 20MB MFM or RLL hard drives and run media tests for a week before using the drive. The CPUs were eight to ten MHz 80286 Intel processors. The only competition with Intel was the WIS80 processor. There was no Internet; modems might be acoustically coupled to the phone and were between 300 baud (that is about 300 bits per second) to 2,400 baud. Hard drives were so unreliable that you had to do a weekly backup, and I often had to restore a drive,” he says.
Today, building a computer has evolved and become more plausible for the layperson.
“Nowadays, there are plenty of books and YouTube videos that show how to build your own computer. It is much easier than the ‘old days’ as you do not need to enter track and sector numbers,
IrQ numbers for each card and IO device or do jumpers for CPU and bus speeds; all these are now auto detected. The biggest reason not to is that it is more expensive to build your own than to buy one (almost by twice as much). You do, however, have full control to build the systems to what you like and want,” Faut says.
Faut has even tried his hand at hang gliding.
“I spent four days in the hang gliding school, three days in a ground school where we ‘launched’ off a hill on short flights,” he explains.
He took two 2,500 foot flights after being towed up to the height by an ultra light airplane and then let go.
Another of his hobbies is using a small lathe to make custom pens.
“Oddly enough, the easiest wood to turn for pens are fruit woods, I have used apple and pear from local trees,” Faut says. “Most of the pens I have given away, the latest give away was a lever action pen with purple hard wood that I gave away on Veteran’s Day to any vet that said that they had earned a purple heart. I also made several such pens, with other woods, that I gave to any service man I ran across.”
It seems like renaissance festivals are an appropriate place for Faut, because with all the things that keep him busy; this biomed is something of a renaissance man.
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