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Friday, December 31, 2010

Misc iron work

I've been pretty busy since we got back from Georgia this past Monday!

First though, I picked up a new blacksmithing sign while we were in Georgia! I got my good friend, Miss Nicole, to wood burn this 45-inch-long piece of poplar wood for my shop! As usual, she did a fantastic job!
Check out her website!
http://www.freewebs.com/goatwagonsutlers/
She is a first-rate woodburning artist! I asked her to do this sign free-handed instead of using stencils. I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.



My latest blacksmith endeavors include two more latches like I did a while back, and a tool for my anvil.
Pictures of the latches first!

This is the latch that I patterned mine from! It is at a historical museum. (Museum of Appalachia, Norris TN.)

These are the ones I made!

A hardy cut-off tool is a large stationary chisel that fits in the square hardy hole in the anvil. My big anvil has a 1 1/4" square hardy hole, so it takes a sizeable chunk of metal to make hardy tools for it.
Until yesterday, if I needed to cut hot metal, I just had to use my small anvil and its hardy. However, that has all changed, as yesterday I made the first hardy cut-off tool that I have ever made in five years of blacksmithing. The top half (i.e. the actual tool part) is made from a car axle which is hardenable metal. This is welded to a plate of mild steel (non-hardenable metal.) Under the plate is a 1 1/4" square shank that fits snugly in the hardy hole on the anvil.






If there are any blacksmiths that read my blog, then the hardening & tempering process goes like this.
For car axle: Heat to non-magnetic (critical temperature, dull cherry red,) and quench 1/2"-3/4" of the cutting edge in used motor oil. After this is cooled sufficiently, take it out of the oil and quickly grind the cutting edge to make it shiny. Then let the heat that remains in the thicker shaft part, move towards the cutting edge until a straw or bronze temper color reaches the edge. Then quench the entire piece in oil until cooled enough to hold. 

That is the latest in blacksmithing.

We've been doing some metal fabrication work as well. Dad is making a work-out rack for lifting weights, so I've been helping him on that. I'll get pictures of the completed project when it is uhhhh completed, but for now here we are working on it.

The pieces I was grinding on...

Dad welding!

Dad inspecting the weld!


A while back Titus and Philip (my two little brothers,) and myself dressed up westerny and had a little photo shoot! I was going to wait until I got some Indian pictures too, but I had my concerns about how many of you really wanted to see me with face paint, feathers, and a loin cloth! Plus, last time I checked, Wal-Mart didn't sell those in a men's small!
These photos are shot with real guns and live ammunition! 


A while back dad and I went through the gun closet and cleaned some of his guns. One of these is a lever action. It was in dire need of some oil, as it was very stiff. Dad was in favour of squirting oil into it, while I counseled that we take the gun completely apart. The younger and "wiser" counsel prevailed and we started taking screws out. After a sufficient number of screws were removed, springs started flying out of the gun's working mechanisms!
We oiled the gun and then put our brains together to try to figure out how to put "humpty dumpty" back together again. Surprisingly, though a modern firearm, the principle behind the working parts did not differ widely from my 1853 Enfield musket. (and people think technology has advanced....c'mon!)
So here we are....."fixing" the gun!



"Now where in the world does this part go?"
"Shoooot Idunno!" 


Hope it still works! :)

That's all folks!






Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pictures of a fireplace set

Here is a custom piece I delivered yesterday to a client in Louisville. The tools are 32 inches long and the entire piece is textured and shaped to the appearance of a branch. The leaves on the stand are all forge-welded on.














Upon the conclusion of this piece, which marked the conclusion of the work I was doing for this particular client, I cleaned shop. I've been working in my new shop for about three or four weeks, and the dust was starting to pile up. So I cleaned; swept dust, returned stock metal to the steel rack, swept dust, hung all the tools up, swept dust, put scrap metal in the scrap tub, and finished the day out by sweeping dust. All the fun stuff in blacksmith, of course! When the shop was clean, I decided it was time to start getting it dirty again!
During the winter is the time to revamp your set-up, and make new plans for the upcoming craft fair season. Lord willing, I am going to be making some changes such as building a different forge, selling the old demo trailer, and building an enclosed trailer for hauling our items. You know, just some "minor" tweaking!
Anyway, with a bit of spare time on my hands, I made a new anvil stand for my old faithful 86# Trenton anvil. I bought that anvil exactly 5 years ago, and it has served me well, mounted on a stump. However, if I am going to be putting it on a trailer and hauling it around a lot, I wanted something a little more practical. 











It is light, compact, but extremely stable and sturdy. I still have to add tool racks for hammers and tongs, and I'm going to put some wheels on one side. When I'm done it will get the customary red paint like my big anvil stand and my forge.

I'm also gearing up to build a power hammer! This started by getting over 700# of steel materials the other day. One piece was a 368 pound piece of 6 1/2 inch solid round stock, 35 1/2 inches long. No, that is not a misprint....it is 6 1/2 inch SOLID round stock. This monstrous hunk of metal will be what takes all the hammer blows of the power hammer. (Something like 50# blows running around 200 strikes per minute.)

The base that the hammer sits on also needs to be heavy. I got a piece of 5/8 inch thick plate metal, 45 inches square. It weighs nearly 400 pounds. I'll be sure to post pictures of the power hammer build when I start.







Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The trip to Georgia

http://www.custerfamilyfarm.com/

As some of my readers may remember, Kayla and I, along with Titus and Philip, took a trip to Georgia to visit a friend for her birthday. We went horseback riding and climbed Stone Mountain to see the sunset!
(my old blog)
Here is the photo run!

I had a blast on the trip down!

We gave the foosball table a real workout!

Then we visited the horse pastures! As true ladies usually are, these ladies were taken by this cat!

After visiting the horses for a while, lunch was served. When I finished my lunch, I rose from the table to check out the sweets. When I came back, Kayla (my sister, above right) and Miss Nicole (above left,) were saying something. As soon as they saw me, they stopped talking and started laughing. That is NEVER a good sign, so I sat down and demanded that they tell me what they were saying about me! I could have demanded until I was blue in the face for all they cared though. Anyway, they then left to fetch their dessert. When they came back and sat down, I stared at them both for a second and then said in a serious tone, "I talked about y'all while you were gone!" 
They were slighly amused! 

We went to ride horses....and we did!
A good shot of Kayla!

Miss Nicole and her horse!

A couple shots of me!

Day two with our friend was a planned visit to Stone Mountain. It was a toss-up as to which day we were going to ride and which day we were going to the mountain. The day we were going to the mountain awoke heavily overcast, with the weather man saying it was supposed to get more cloudy and possibly sprinkle later in the day! This was NOT good, as we couldn't climb in the rain and we were going to see the sun set, so it didn't need to be cloudy. Over lunch, Nicole's father asked the blessing and prayed that if the Lord willed, the clouds would go away.
About time we were pulling out of the driveway to head over to the mountain, the sun shone through the clouds and before we reached Stone Mountain the sky was nearly cloud free. Just enough clouds left for the sun to reflect off of with majesty! God is great!

We got there early, so we saw some of the sights there were to see, before starting our ascent!
Here we are at the grist mill!

Kayla and Miss Nicole on a bench 'neath a beautiful tree!

While we were riding around, Miss Nicole told us of a large piece of granite stone at the "rock quarry," that some of her friends had climbed. She told me about the youngest boy who had tried to climb it. "It was hard for him and he is about your size, so I want you to try," Miss Nicole commanded!
Well the rock didn't turn out as big as Miss Nicole described it.....I mean this thing was pebble-sized at a measly 66,000 pounds!
It was a couple feet taller than I, so I couldn't just grab the top and jump up, but there were two little places that afforded me a footing. The first was a very steep angle cut into the rock, that was probably at around a 70 degree angle to the ground, and then there was a little, one or two inch notch that gave me a hand hold higher up. I observed these small holds as I approached the stone. I shed my bag and jacket, gave them to Kayla, hit the rock at a jog, and in about two seconds was seated on the top. Whereupon, Miss Nicole claimed that the rock must have worn down smaller since the last time she was there. (Personally I think she just didn't want to admit that I am really that good! )
Seated comfortably upon my perch!

We reached the top of the mountain well in time to see the beautiful sunset the Lord had provided. Kayla had me guard her pocket book while she took pictures. With a large false grin in place, I whispered to Miss Nicole, "If she doesn't get this pink-strapped bag off of me I'm going to throw it over the mountain."
I did not carry out my threat which is why I am alive and typing this now!

This is Miss Nicole and me coming up from the fence on the edge of the mountain! It is sort of steep there, and we are both fond of hats!

Miss Nicole and me again!
We are walking off into the grim rock-strewn desert! Only one tree in sight!

"Whatch-u lookin at?" "No whatch-a lookin at?"

"Shoot! Y'all take the pictures, I'm takin' a break!"


"Heeeyyyyy what's down there???"

"One wrong step..." "One wrong step and what?"

The Lord's handiwork. It's funny, He just whisked away hundreds of miles of clouds in a few hours for three young people climbing Stone Mountain!
 "Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee, How great thou art, How great thou art!"

Kayla and me atop the mountain high! It was cold up there!

Kayla and Miss Nicole atop the mountain high! They don''t look cold....riiigghhhttt!!!


After visiting our friend for a couple of days, we went and saw our Grandad in the next town south. Kayla also wanted to go and play fiddle with her former teacher down there. When we got done at the fiddle teacher's place, I convinced Kayla that I needed to go to Joann's. Ehhhemm! Yes! I convinced Kayla that I needed to go! I was planning on looking at the wood to make another model sailboat like I did last year. I also thought about looking at wool and linen in case I wanted to get another coat made or something. Well, the wood was too much, but they had a sale on flannel and I LOVE flannel. So I got a shirt pattern and enough flannel to make about five shirts. 
This is my "don't catch me on camera shopping for fabric," pose!

Kayla liked the pink....I did not!  I so draw the line at sewing me a pink work shirt! Not happening!

Just wondering!

We wondered if I was the only guy in Starbucks that day that was wearing a middle class, mid-1800's patterned civilian sack coat, surplus German officer's boots from WW 2, and a set of throwing knives in my boot.

Driving Dave Custer!

  
During our visit with our Grandad, we shot guns some! When he shot, he put bullets through the same holes! I just followed the example of my elders!
  
Me! What do y'all think? I look much better as a shadow ehh!


Dave