This page is probably the hardest one for me to write on my whole site. As crazy,idiotic or boring this page might be please do not percieve it as boastfull. I would much rather write about my projects than me. If you know a little about my background, you will better understand my reasoning and thought precessing,and also where it stems from.

Growing up

Well there is not much to say about me ,I am the third of 4 siblings and I am just a plain african that sprout from a little gold mine town in South africa called Nigel . Population was probably 30,000 back then.Being right in gold heart of South africa the political dynamics was very interesting and very complicated (even back then).I will elaborate on this in "My phylosphies" page Resized JPEG graphic We played just like all boys are supposed to play,rough and wild.I think if my mother knew what we did as boys she would never have made her current age.
A quick story:
Being in a mine town the whole town was a playground for boys. We got into all sorts of trouble.I remember this one open abandoned mineshaft very vividly.It was a area fenced in probably about 100 jards in diameter.The rock gravel would slope down like a ants nest down to the hole wich was about 20 ft wide and probably miles deep.There was junk cars strewn all around the fence perimeter.We would break off the hoods of these junk cars and use them as sleds. We would jump the fence and and slide down the loose steep gravel slope on our hood-sleds.Probably about 70 jards down at 45 degrees. If your timing is right you jump of just before the hole.After that adrenalin rush you would lay there in silence and listen to your auto-sled clancking down the mineshaft. And then of course with great satisfaction,laughter and awesomeness you would get up and do it all over again. We did this for weeks on end until one time.......the time I almost did not make it. I got caught in a huge gravel slide .Even though I jumped of the hood ,the gravel just kept coming and coming .....non stop(I was already contemplating whether its better to go in head first or not)
Well...after minutes of swimming uphill in course gravel (like quicksand) for my survival, I finally made it to the top. And with no skin on my hands and knees, I swore to myself I will never ever do that again ...ever! So with one more very valuable lesson learned life moved on.

I did my elementary and high school there where after I did my architectural diploma at TECHNICON PRETORIA in Pretoria.

32 Battalion(Buffalo Soldiers)

Military training started in Kroonstad (Core of engineers) ,then to Pretoria for officer training in cartography . I served half of 1988 at 32battalion,wich was just a few years before the cubans troops withdrew from Angola and Namibia got their independance . Those 6 months stood out as a big learning tool in my life.I will never forget the 32 Battalion buffalo soldiers.. I learned so much from those soldiers.And that is the reason I am expanding on this point.They never got the credit they they deserved in South africa. When I started in 1988 ,most operations were done. My only contribution was mapmaking "Cartography" , updating operational maps at head quarters. I was very proud to wear the betallion insignia ,and a honor to serve the greatest soldiers in the world. They feared by all ,and were the most tenacious (white and black) warriors I ever saw. Os Terríveis . They stood out for their aggressive and tenacious instinct in battle, and the zeal for for their goal in operation.
In enemy contact, comraderie overides the color of skin, all becomes grey with one goal-Conquer your enemy. You know you can not win alone,so discipline overrides you natural "selfish" urges.Watching each others back is so critical. That is how good soldiers are forged.
Sadly 32 battalion was disbanded(more like discarded) on 26 March 1993.And the soldiers were relocated. To this day, I have a high honor and respect for them. They battled to death for the freedom they never got.


In 1989 I pursued my career in architecture, work for several Architectural firms and eventually started a computer graphics bureau "TJ Graphics" in Pretoria SOUTH AFRICA.I did work for several disciplines, civil,mechanichal,electrical and mainly Achitectural.I did documentation for various projects, from housing to high risers and and anything in between. I love the outdoors and lived quite close it too,fishing being my favorite.

I moved to the United States in 1994,literally the land of oppertunities.Just like a kid in a candy store, so many things so little time.

Jewelry and hobbies

Now I do Jewelry design ,electronics ,robotics and all the fun stuf to make a living. Resized JPEG graphic Like saying goes "If you do what you love you never have to work a day in your life". I Have always been interested in the technical fields too.I have no formal education in it, just my interest and research and learning experiences. I use electronics,Computer numerical control (CNC), robotics,woodwork,metalwork and machining a lot of my endeavors. I do not want buy to everything so I try to make most of my ownstuff.Its much more fun.And in the process I found that "Poverty is really the mother of invention" .

It keeps my little brain sharp and out of trouble. I like to tinker ,make/create anything,from airplanes to potato cannons.I also love to disassemble stuff, anything from dishwashers to pc hard drives. thats when my redneckonian colors really comes out. Sometimes I would have stuff strewn all over my garage,just to see how its made and put together. There is big lessons to learn from "reverse engineering",you can learn in 1 hour what took a whole team months to design and manufacture. Here is the the best thing, it is free and you have a bunch of parts left over for your next contraption!. You just have to re-arange them in a new fashion and whaalaah! have a riding dishwasher with a potato cannon on it. Resized JPEG graphic As you can see on this picture,Yours truly is disassembling a propane tank. Why! You might ask? ....Well there is a whole lot of insides you can use in a propane tank....gauges,relief and float valves, etc. And in this particular case I even used the tank itself for a bronze melting kiln.See my sand casting section

I think maby its my african upbringing,not that I blame it,I actually thrive on it.I remember building "draadkarre" Resized JPEG graphic wirecars as a kid on the farm,complete with steering systems 4ft steering arm and wire steering.(My favorite was the El-camino trucks)It took us probably 2 days work and a spanking or two for all the wire we stole from the fences. This picture is sort of what it looked like.(Snyman made the next trimlevel up "the XL Version wich had shoe-polish cans for wheels." Now do not think we had no modern plastic toys,I just liked to build these cars as a kid .

Developing neurons

Here is good story for you:
At the time I was about 9 jrs .So little Snyman decide to build a sled,... Yes!... a snow sled. Now, why a little african kid want to build a snow sled ,figure out that one!. So as soon as my dad left for work one day I got his welder, tools and materials. 1/2" Round bar ,1/4 X 2" Flat etc. The whole works of steel.This was gonna be the best sled ever built. After helping and watching my dad build stuff for 9 years I was confident I could do the same.

After cutting the materials (wich went real well,.. I only used up about 30 Hacksaw blades and a few files wich was discarded imediately after the job so dad would not find them) I was ready to weld.
The welding beads (that looked like a chicken had crapped all over it) went really well. Half way into my dilligent project this "dark visor hood thing" was really getting to be annoying. First of all the stupit thing did not fit my hollow head,and I could hardly see what I was doing. So little Snyman decide he could pretty much do without it til completion.

Well!!......I did finish the sled that day , but let me tell you...... That night I went to bed with toasted retinas called "arch eye" and agonizing "sand in eye" pain. After 2 weeks of padding,ointments and medicated eyeballs, I learned 10 very valuable life lessons from operation "sny sled",wich are these:

1-Your eye sight(and other sense) is priceless.(A good visor is $30 bucks)
2-Much more respect for dads projects.
3-Watch more closely and pay attention next time I help dad.
4-Plan any project thoroughly ,timewise and cost.
5-No more clandestine projects,....others input might save you money time money and agrevation.(and eyesight)
5-Your health and safety, effect you and your loved ones.
6-Use the right tool for the job but more importantly, know how to use the tool!.
7-If you can not do it, sub it out.(or let dad to it,until I am ready).
8-Fool me once, shame on you.......twice, shame on me!

9-welding is a lot harder than it seems And last but not least ...-10 You do not need a sled in Africa

So why am I telling this story?...Because of this:

I've had many people(myself included) saying the infamous words-"I can do that!-"
I have no doubt that you can.Just make sure ,very ,very sure that you can ,or go buy it.
As a kid I was fearless and took on any project,learned many lessons from it. I never got discouraged.(mostly stupidity)
If you don't take on the "unknown and new", you become stagnant and stagnancy leads to decay.
But most importantly if you don't learn from it don't do it,because next time you might not be able to recover and the yearning will be lost.
Some artist only get satisfaction on the final product standing in front them. For me it is the journey of the accomplishment,the learning,the failures, retries and success. The final product(if done well) is just a confirmation that all went well..

Now you know why I love to be creative.Painting ,fabrication,sculpting,architecture, casting ,welding(with a visor) no matter what, it all gives me great satisfaction.Eventually it all overlaps in technique,design, aesthetics and functionality.It all blends together.

Land of abundance and opportunities

After transfering to the U.S.A. in the mid nineties, I was strugling, and finally I somehow manage to get on my feet again. But believe me, it did not come easy ,perserverence and endurance was the key. I am very, very proud of America. Even with all the problems we have and a slow economy , this I still the land opportunities and abundance.In south africa I have seen poverty of the first degree. It just overwelms me sometimes me see the abundance here and the ungratefullness that goes along with it. We all should know and remember what a privilige it is to have running,clean, filtered drinkable water running through our faucets/taps.Even our showers have clean drinking water. Let alone all the other ammenities,AC,electricity etc. In africa women walk for dozens of miles sometimes ,on daily basis to get drinking water from local river and water sources. No refrigiration no electricity.They all sit around theit huts with laughter and joy with no sorrows in the world. They have BIG family reunions on a weekly basis.Their pusuit for laughter and happiness was not driven by money and luxury Their objective is simplicity.I will forever cherish that principle that they taught me.It is fun to have all the latest toys,gagets and money ,but once it starts to deprive us of our family bonds and joy it becomes the root af all evil.

So anyway, nuff said about me, That was just a quick window into my small neuron network and thats just who I am ,I do not care what anyone think about me, I love and live hard( and try to obey my important rule of "Everything in moderation". I rule my own life (subjected to God)and love and respect everyone and everything around me,and just love and adore my family.

Here is my all time and favorite poem about life. When my head grows and I read this poem and it shrinks to size of a pea:

          The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life 

Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow 1895-1954 

Personal conclusion

So all in all, in the great scheme of things,life has many choices but eternity has only two , What is yours?
And because this page is about me and probably the only page I can have for myself on my website.
(you can have all the other pages)
I can honestly say that, This is just MY opinion!
Love you all, and thanks for reading

Buy for now. TJ.

"To enjoy the flavor of life take big bites. ~ Robert Heinlein"

Last updated:11/12/2010