Welcome to Dick Wightman's Home Page
Home of the Rainbear Skydive Corps
(parafauna, parachuting teddy bears, On30 model railroading, longbows, treadle sewing machines/quilting)
Featuring information about the Rainbear Skydive Teddy Bear Parachute Corps, the Ballard Southern Railroad (On30), shooting and building classic traditional D longbows, quilting on antique treadle sewing machines and other interests that may catch my fancy from time to time.
Welcome to my home page. I am a retired performer and am still commonly called Captain Dick, a name I and my ventriloquist figure friends performed under for many years. I still do an occasional show, but I spend most of my time now involved with kites and parachuting teddy bears, the collection and restoration of antique sewing machines, model railroading and traditional archery. I am the web master for Treadle On, the antique sewing machine collector and users site, which is huge and which is separate from this site. There is a link to Treadle On below. This site is devoted primarily to my other interests so that the 2000 members of Treadle On don't have to be burdened with them.
For antique sewing machine and quilting activities: www.treadleon.net
Rainbear Skydive Corps - I have had a deep interest in kites for many years. I was active in building kites in the 1990's, but allowed that activity to go dormant when I became interested in archery and bow building. Recently ( 2012) I have been picking up the kites again. My specialty has been power lifting kites and parachuting teddy bears. Back in the 90's I founded the Rainbear Skydive Corps and wrote the "Rainbear Skydive Corps Training Manual", a guide to making fluted sled kites, parachutes and all related paraphernalia. The Corps is active once again and the training manual is currently available in PDF format. A second, revised, edition is planned but does not have a target date yet.
The primary liftting kite for the Rainbear Skydive Corps is a not very well know design called the fluted sled. The Rainbear home page has a good bit of info, as of course does the book.
The Captain's Log - This is a "not really a blog" sort of blog, just a running record of comments on what I'm up to. Based on current activities, it will likely consist mostly of Rainbear Skydive Corps and kite material, with a healthy proportion of sewing/sewing machine comment, as well. Model railroad activity becomes more active in winter. Due to body limitations, archery activity is now pretty rare. The Log can be reached from this link, plus I'll add a link to my signature on my emails. I'm formatting the Log as a series of links, each of which will cover roughly a month, less or more depending on activity. How long it keeps going will depend on my energy and the amount of interest shown. If it becomes a healthy and intersting dialogue I'll investigate actual blog software.
Ballard Southern Railroad - Model railroading has been an inteterest of mine off and on since 1964. I have modeled in HOn3, HO, N, O, G and currently in On30. For the last 30 years I have been interested in a system of once abandoned, now active, trackage in the community of Ballard, WA, an area of Seattle. My railroads have reflected this interest. This link takes you to the current Ballard Southern pages, which include the construction of the current railroad, historical archives on the backstory of the Ballard Southern and a tour of the actual trackage of the Ballard Terminal Railroad, a busy three mile line that is an excellent "railroad you can model". Included are photo collections of a switching run and a walking tour of the entire line, with pictures of buildings and principal features that would be of interest to those modeling it.
Traditional Archery Activities - A few years ago, I became very active in traditional archery. Age and health problems dictate that I can now shoot only light draw weight bows. This led to my learning to build traditional longbows, specializing in bows of light weight, which has become a passion for me. I try to share all of my building experience through these archery pages and to promote the use of light bows to prolong the shooting life of archers. I continue to go to 3D shoots and on occasionally hunting adventures and share these as well. This link will take you an extensive set of pages covering all of my shooting and bow building activities. These pages are especially aimed at providing information of use to beginning bow builders.
Howard Hill Bows - I founded and maintained the Howard Hill Longbowmen group for a period of about six years. I had to give up this effort, but so much valuable information was collected and posted to the site in that time that there was a call to not let it disappear. These pages still need a lot of re-working, which I hope to get to over time, but I hope that by posting them here, those folks who want to refer to them can still do so.
My Quilts - I got interested in old sewing machines because someone persuaded me to try quilting as a traditional activity. I quickly learned that there are no sewing machines made today that even approach the quality of the old ones, pre-1959. I have restored and used many old machines in my quilting. My current favorite is an 1895 Singer Model 28 treadle. All of these quilts were made on treadle and hand crank sewing machines.
Bulletin Board - A convenient spot to post announcements and pictures that I want to share with interested parties. Subject to frequent change.
Here are a few pictures, if you're wondering what I look like:
... quilting on vintage treadle sewing machine.
Dick With Barney and Fred
(both made by me)
Performing circa 1990-1995
This was our borchure promo photo.
At the time I retired, I was one of only five people still making hand carved wood professional ventriloquist figures.
I used to be involved in the design of large power lifting kites. Here I'm flying a large fluted sled kite. In optimum conditions, this kite can lift you off the ground. I still make and use these kites to power the Rainbear Skydive Corps, a disorganized group of parachuting teddy bears.
... sailing on "Isle of Wight" circa 1980. We lived on and cruised this boat for ten years.
... with vintage York longbow.
... with Hill style longbow I built and a very good 50 yard plus shot on this moose target.
10527 12th Ave. NW
Seattle, WA 98117
Email to: email@example.com