Thursday, December 29, 2011

Concrete pad for the new power hammer

The new power hammer needs a solid base to sit on. My other power hammer is bolted to a 4-foot by 4-foot steel plate that is 5/8 of an inch thick and weighs something like 400 pounds. This keeps the hammer from pounding itself down into the ground.

A plate like that is expensive; costs about $100. Plus, it has to have holes drilled through it so that the hammer can be bolted down to it. Drilling a 3/4-inch hole through a 5/8-inch plate is NOT an easy task.

I decided, for this hammer, to pour a concrete pad as a base. The pad I decided to pour is 4-foot x 3-foot. It took about 12, 80-pound bags of concrete so it weighs about 960 pounds. In order to strengthen the concrete and keep it from moving anywhere, I used a steel support system.

First I drove nine pieces of steel into the ground about 2-feet, letting the rods stick up from the ground about four inches. Then I made a criss-cross grid of steel rods, so that the rods would be in the center of the pad. (The pad is six inches thick and the rods are about 3-inches off the ground.) This will greatly strengthen the concrete. I used scrap plywood as my concrete form.

With the form leveled and squared up, and the steel supports in place, it was time to pour concrete.
So step one:

This is my new CD/Tape player that my grandma got me for Christmas.

Next step:
Get the concrete!

Next step:
Get some water!

Next step:
Get the hoe for mixing.

Next step:
Get the wheel barrel.

Next step:
Mix the concrete and pour it in.

Next step:
 Position the concrete where needed and smooth.

And finally!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tire hammer

Over the last several months I have prepared for a trip to North Carolina to participate in a power hammer workshop. The plan was to build 19 power hammers in three days. I helped obtain material for the build as well as helping pre-fab one of the parts.

The workshop was this past weekend and went very well. No one got hurt and all 19 hammers were completed. The designer of the hammer was present to oversee the workshop. We all had a great time.

Dad and I made the trip together. I had wanted to document the trip closely, but I forgot the camera. In consequence I have just a few pictures of the build and then a couple of the hammer in my shop.

A guy I had met before, and I worked on drilling and tapping holes for the first day and a half. Our job consisted of hoisting the aproximately 800 pound frame pieces into position, marking the location for the holes, drilling through 1.5-inches of steel with a 1/4-inch diameter drill bit, then drilling with a 27/64-inch bit, then tapping with a 1/2x13 thread tap. Once this was complete, the hammer frame was shifted a couple of inches and the entire process was repeated. The hammer frame was then hoisted off of the drill machine and moved into line for assembly.

Here the hammer frames are in line and ready for the rest of the assembly process.

Here are the hammers after quite a bit more assembly. A couple other guys and I mounted all of the motors on the hammers.

The shop owner's wife hosted everyone's lunch!

And we'll skip ahead! Here is my hammer in the back of the truck.

From the back of the truck to the shop floor was an interesting trip. We have no rig for picking up a 1200 pound piece of equipment, out of the back of the truck. So, we hooked up our flatbed trailer and took it up to the steel yard. They took one of their forklifts (capable of lifting 8000 pounds,) and transfered the hammer from the back of the truck to the trailer. We came back home then. From there, we used our animal hoist, that fits in the truck hitch, to lift the hammer off of the trailer and onto some rollers set up across our shop floor.  Then it was just a matter of rolling the hammer across to my side of the shop. Sounds easy huh? It is just sitting in the shop until I can get a pad poured for it and get it mounted.

I made all of the hammer treadles which is the piece that my foot is on in this next picture. The piece I delivered down there is the large round piece. I took over 19 pieces and each one weighs between 400 and 500 pounds.

Once I get it set up and running I'll post a video of it in operation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a little time off!

Here lately, especially the last year or so, it seems I have become ovewhelmed by work. I'm 19! My duty at this age is to work to establish some sort of profession or trade. Over time, this will become a source of income capable of supporting a family. Some people would go and apply for a job under a boss, choosing a trade of their own that best suites them. Some people would go to college for speciality training in a certain field.

So anyway, as many of you know, blacksmithing is my profession and trade. Custom metal working and artistic iron work. There are a couple of ways that I can pursue this as a profession. I could work for someone else, I could go for a bachelor degree in fine arts, or I could start my own business and build it from the ground up. Well, I chose the latter. I work constantly either making items in the studio, working on the studio to improve it, taking classes to improve my ability, researching new shows that might prove a better outlet for my work, finding stores through which to sell my work, designing and building custom work for clients....etc, etc. everything down to printing cards a lables.

I often get a bit tense especially when I have deadlines to meet or I am having difficulty with a certain technique or project. Well anyway, I decided to take some time out the other day and help my two little brothers make some new wooden swords with steel hand gaurds.

Around here, martial exercise and activity is a great favorite. Five or six years ago, when my dad pastored, we had about ten or twelve young boys in the church. There was an empty apartment building around back and we made some wooden swords and shields. The apartment building was our fortress, and we fought many brave battles there. Since then, I have always enjoyed swords and sword fighting. My two brothers, Titus and Philip, have caught onto this interest.

So anyway, I took some time off from working, and spent yesterday afternoon helping my two brothers make some new swords. This afternoon we got to try them out. We did a little freestyle fighting for a bit, then switched to choreographed fighting. We didn't have much time, so we just did a short choreographed fight. However short, it was still much fun.

I have a little bit of armour that we have made over the past couple of years. Titus got to wear my black leather dublet, and I wore chain-mail shoulder/chest armour, along with leather vembraces, (large cuffs.)  Philip chose to go without armour.

Here are a few pictures of us practicing our choreographed sword fight!

Planning it all out!

Oh the action!

The weary warriors!

And finally here is the short little fight we came up with!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

new sort of leaf

Here is a new sort of leaf I am doing. I am currently working on a branch made out of these leaves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New welding table


I fooled around with my bandsaw and after shearing a brand new blade in half lengthways, breaking a whole roller guide assembly, busting nuckles, and nearly pulling out the last hair, I finally got it cutting straight. A bandsaw that isn't cutting straight is a PAIN IN THE NECK! I know! I've used one for the past three years. On the flip side of that miserable coin, a bandsaw that IS cutting straight is WONDERFUL!

So, since my bandsaw now cuts straight, while I was working on some items for an upcoming show, I had the bandsaw running working on cutting the parts for my new welding table. Multi-tasking!

I sold my old 4-foot square welding table sometime ago, and using the money from that, purchased a new and larger table top. Nearly twice as large to be precise! I have a piece of 4-foot by 7-foot, 1/4-inch thick plate steel table top that weighs 362 pounds. I six hefty steel tube legs for the table and used some bracing pieces that I already had. The entire assembly weighs about 450 pounds. To a non blacksmith or non metal worker, the first thought may be "who cares if the table is twice as big and weighs a ton?" However, blacksmithing and general metal working this can make a WORLD of difference.

I will be adding tool and hardware holders around the table, as well as a shelf underneath for other supplies.

In addition to various orders I'm working on, and pieces I'm making for the upcoming show, I am building 18 treadles for the power hammer build I am helping with. Here are the first five treadles.

That's from the shop today.

Dave Custer
Fiery Furnace Forge Blacksmith LLC

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

pictures from travel to/from John C. Campbell

After my last John C Campbell class, I headed East instead of West. I had to deliver nearly 8000 pounds of steel parts to Chapel Hill North Carolina.....six hours east of John C Campbell Folk School. The trip was made without incident, although it was quite foggy on the curvy mountain roads during the first 1 hour of the trip. There was some very beautiful scenery though a camera doesn't capture it.

First, here is our cabin just before we left John C Campbell. Notice the density of the fog.

On the road!

Once we got to Chapel Hill, we had to unload the metal. 16 pieces of 6 1/2-7 1/2-inch solid round steel cut 36-inches long. Each of these weighs from 400-500 pounds. 6 pieces of 2x6-inch flat bar also 36-inches long.
Loading on the tractor forks! 

Moving them to the drop-off pile.

Dropping them off!

We stayed over night and then headed back. The return trip, though a full 11 hours, was rather straight forward. It was 10 minutes to I-40, we got on I-40 West, and took that to Cookville Tennessee, two hours South of our place.
There was a tunnel on the way home.

We went through it.

And then I wanted a picture of the "light at the end of the tunnel." It turned out more like the "atomic explosion at the end of the tunnel." This was taken just before our vehicle was enveloped in the flame rush!

Very pretty drive between Ashville NC and Knoxville Tn.

I drove all the way through.

Somewhere in the mountains, there was an exit with nothing more than a gas station, two resturants, and two rafting companies. We stopped here to eat at "The Bean Tree Cafe." We ate on a porch overlooking the river.

I'm a hamburger guy. They had some sort of awesome crazy hamburger that had a beef pattie, fried egg, ham, bacon, lettuce, onion, onion ring, and avacodo. Talk about a BURGER!

The rafting company was closed for the season, but as I hoped, their swinging bridge was open.

The rafting company apparently also does zip-lines. Here is the zip-line tower!

Here is some other sort of configuration of terror!

Gotta love the guy that invented self-timer on cameras huh!

The creepy viaduct under the road!

Some sort of air poluting tower.....but it looked neat reflecting on the water.

Finally......NEVER drive west at sunset!