Monday, October 31, 2011

John C. Campbell Post #1

Hello folks.....I'm drinking coffee in the Keith House (main house on campus,) prior to breakfast.
We had quite the adventure on the way down here. It is normally about a 5 1/2 hour trip and after a stressful 9 hour haul, we finally made it.

We left the house in plenty of time, but as I mentioned in my last blog post, we are hauling 7700 pounds of metal behind the truck. The trailer I am hauling is rated for 8000 pounds max, so it was pretty heavily loaded and you could really tell it was there behind the truck. The hills had to be taken at between 25 and 35 MPH and even though the trailer had brakes, some of the longer downhill runs had to be taken very slow and in second gear to maintain adequate control of my transporatation device.

Anyway, that is not the whole reason for the longer trip. In fact, we would have made good time, but only two hours into the trip I blew a tire on the trailer. I was driving down a four lane, and noticed that I had scooted over a bit and was riding the center line on the left side of the truck.
Suddenly the ride got really bumpy. My first thought was that I was just hitting the reflectors along the line, but I then realized that it was too bumpy for that. I quickly checked my mirrors and saw a nice pillar of smoke coming rapidly from my right rear wheel well on the trailer.

I'm running out of time so I'll let pictures explain most of the rest.

A "slightly" disfunctional tire!

The trailer had to be disconected as a single tire on the starboard side would not have made it a mile down the road. WAY too much weight for a single tire. I had forgotten to get a lock, so the trailer was a "free-for-all" scrap metal dealer's dream. So basically I had to leave $5500 worth of material and trailer parked on the side of the road that I was/am personally responsable for. SCARY!

We found a walmart only three miles down the road (THANK THE LORD,)  and were able to get the tire fixed. (I won't say anything about the HORRIBLE management and how it took three grown men 45 minutes to FIND the tire.........just not even going to talk about that.)

  We got the tire fixed and so I jacked the trailer back up and put the new tire on.

Happy that the trailer was still on the side of the road.

Our room here at John C Campbell.

Me in the room.

Mom in the room!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Last of the drawing pictures

I have completed the last little bits of the drawing for the project I will be working on this next week, Lord willing.

Close ups!

Wish me luck folks.....I'm a gonna need it!

After the end of the week I am hauling 8000 pounds of metal six hours east of the Folk School I am going to. I am assisting as much as I am able, with a power hammer workshop that is being held in December in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
The power hammer requires a 6-inch solid or larger post to take all of the hammering force.
Click HERE to see a picture of the hammer we will be building. I volunteered to locate the large round piece of metal in the front of the hammer. We need 18 for the workshop. My steel supplier was able to supply the material at less than half the price other suppliers were offering the material at. So, that's why I'm hauling 8000 pounds of metal to Eastern North Carolina.

Here is a picture of some of the material.

It's a heavy load to haul 11 hours.

I am hoping to start a blog from the Folk School following the daily progress of my project.
Y'all send me a whole bunch of "luv letters" to the folk school.
Just address them to:
Dave Custer
John C. Campbell Folk School
1 Folk School Road
Brasstown, NC 28902


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Traditional joinery project

Lately I have been posting TEST PIECES for THIS PROJECT.

Test pieces had to be done to determine stock allowances and so that I could make a final drawing of the project. I worked on the final drawing today, and although it isn't done, it is close......very close! In fact all I need to do is put a couple of bulges in some spots on the drawing, and I'm good to go.

I bought so good grade sketch paper, and used my light table to transfer the original drawing to the sketch paper.

No this isn't a hammer or anvil, but these are tools of blacksmithing just as well. This is my collection of drawing supplies and they are essential to designing complex items. 

Working on drawing out the main pieces. The light table is a great asset to my shop for this sort of thing.

Working on the daffodils.

And as it stands currently....nearly finished!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

test pieces

I have spent the last several days working on test pieces for THIS PROJECT!

I will be working on the above project during a weeklong class with a Mr. Clay Spencer. Mr. Clay is a very good smith that does a lot of traditional joinery. The class I am taking is a traditional joinery class. I took the class last year, but there is simply too great a wealth of information there to be gleaned from just one week.

This project is my own design and it will be one a wood rack for our hearth. There will be two ends that are the same, they will be connected and the firewood will stack between them.

I am preparing notes via test pieces, prior to the class so that hopefully I can complete the project within the one week class.

Here are some pictures of the various pieces and tools I have made so far.

Slit and drift hole on left........tenon on right

Slit in a bar prior to drifting to the correct size

The purpose of the slit and drift piece and the tenon piece.....

Left to right:
slotted tenon, slit and drift hole (AKA "mortise",) and a wedge.

How the slotted tenon, mortise, and wedge work.

Here is a slight variation of the same joint, known as a "wedge joint." This variation has a round bar going through a square bar, and this is the variation I'll be using in the actual project.

This is called a square corner. I did not forge this into a right angle corner because in the project, this piece will not be a perfect right angle.

This is a lap joint. Things will be trimmed up in the actual project.

MESS UPS! I ended up messing up six of these slit and drift holes in a row!

After a couple days in the shop, things got a bit messy!

Two morning ago, I had to start the day out by putting tools up and cleaning the work stations. A lot of accidents have happened because of a disorganized shop.

Ready to work again!

Here I am working on a tenon!

Yesterday, I discovered that I needed a new tool! (SHOCKER!) Anyway, a really helpful and talented smith in England told me that a certain tool would help me on my tenons. He showed me some pictues of the tool and briefly explained how to make it. Yesterday I spent the day making the tools needed to make the actual tool for the tenons.

This one is a slitting chisel made from a bush hog blade.

I have several slitting chisels, but I needed this size tool in order to make the next tool.

This next tool is a curved butcher. It is pretty much like a chisel. I made this from a race car axle. (You know EVERYONE just has one of those laying around!) The slitting chisel pictured above was used to cut the hole for the wooden handle. I also had to make a "drift" to size the handle hole, but I forgot to get pictures of that.

All of these tools (slitter, drift [not pictured,] and curved butcher, were made so that I could make the tool I needed for the tenons.
The particular tool that I am making is another type of curved butcher. It is nearly finished and I'll try to get pictures of it and some other stuff a little later.

Dave Custer
Fiery Furnace Forge Blacksmith LLC
Check out our NEW WEBSITE!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

fireplace set, part 2


The fireplace set has come along quite well. I hit a bit of a road-block because I needed 100-inches of 1/8" round stock for wrapping. I only had 50-inches. We planned a run to the steel yard and I decided to go ahead and do a general restock as the shop was running low on several sizes of metal. One-eighth-inch round stock was the first thing on my list and SOMEHOW I managed to get everything but 1/8th-inch round. I was EXCEPTIONALLY angry, and it is a VERY good thing it wasn't an apprentice or shop helper that forgot it because I think I would have tore their head off. Anyway, dad was very accomidating and took me back across town the next day so I could get my one piece of stock. 

From there, progress was made and I am happy with the results of my labors.

I went with a simplistic design for the tool handles. The reason behind this is, the base of the stand follows a traditional and simplistic design while the top transforms into a more complex area featuring reverse scrolls, upsets, and wrapping. If I had gone with an overly fancy handle design the top would have been too busy in comparison to the base. 

Here is the poker handle.....each handle follows the same pattern.

the poker end

Here is the shovel.

shovel head.....I forge my own shovel heads

The hooks on the stand were wrapped using the 1/8" round stock.

The whole set! The broom handle is on the far side and will be shipped of in the next couple of days to get a custom broom head attached.

So done right? Uhhhhhh NO! The entire piece needs a finish applied. First, I hand sanded every piece to give the piece more depth and an amazing ability to reflect light in beautiful ways. Very close attention is paid to every spot. A beautiful piece of artwork can be ruined by a bad finish, and likewise rather poor metal work can be enhanced quite a bit by a quality finish. Here at the Fiery Furnace Forge Blacksmith LLC, I provide both beautiful metal artwork with a beautiful quality finish.

Time for the finishing clear coat. The little bit of gloss in the clear coat that I use, will give the entire piece a nice shine.

 The tools hung up for coating.

After the broom gets returned, I will set up the studio for a photo shoot. This particular set should be going to an art gallery in North Carolina in a couple of weeks.

Dave Custer
Fiery Furnace Forge Blacksmith LLC