Saturday, January 28, 2012

Here are some you-tube videos that I loaded recently! The first is me making round tuits.
The second is Philip, my youngest brother, stomping all over me in a free-style sword fight.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

making round TUIT's

What's a tuit?

Round Tuit

A WHAT??? This is an actual hand-forged "Round Tuit." Owning one can be critical to your well-being and success in just about any endeavor. Purchase one and keep it in a safe place, because like most of us, you probably will make great use of it in your daily life. The greatest asset of the "Round Tuit" is its ability to enable you to do all those things you've always wanted to do.

For examble, you can no longer say: "I'll get that physical exam when I get a round to it" or "I'll read that report when I get a round to it."

Teacher's may want to have several handy for their problem students. Wives will find a few of the tuits handy for honey-do-chores such as garage cleaning, window washing, and snow shoveling. Business persons should have tuits ready for the next board or sales meeting.

In any event, for those of us who procrastinate, let's get a "round tuit"!!

Now that we have that established......

I had to make some today......uh one hundred to be exact.
First, these are the two stamps that are used for making TUIT's. Obviously, the first stamp is the tuit stamp.

The second stamp is my touchmark, or signature. FFF

The next step is to cut each tuit. A single tuit consists of a one-inch long piece of one-inch round stock. Each cut takes a minute and thirty two seconds to complete. Instead of just sitting there and cutting 100 of these, I worked on other projects and kept the band saw running to get all of them cut. Pretty much, the bandsaw ran all day today, and about a half day yesterday. I clamped a guide to the bandsaw so I wouldn't have to measure each piece.

Once I got enough cut to start......................

..................I threw a few in the fire. I work with three at a time.

The next step is to flatten the tuit creating a bulge in the sides. This is done under my new tire hammer which I recently got bolted down and perminately mounted. It is a great asset to my studio.

In the same heat, the tuit stamp is driven into the tuit, as well as the FFF touchmark.

The newly born tuit is then brushed off.

Once the steel has cooled off to a more reasonable temperature, they are quenched in WD-40 which helps give them a more finished look.

A finished tuit.

A box of 100 finished tuit's.

It took me a total of six or seven hours to get a "round tuit"......or uhhh a hundred round tuits!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

then sometimes you get burned

Things go good, things work out, things come together, and then sometimes you get burned.

Saturday morning I was working on a custom hat rack and doing some final adjusting on a pair of tongs I had forged on Friday night. My mind was on the hat rack; the time, and processes involved in completing it.
The tongs were a side note. I just needed two heats to do a tiny bend in the handles.

Shortly after I started work, I pulled the tongs from the fire. Both handles had been in the fire but only one was red hot. The other had been in the flame, and while not red hot, it was still between 800-1000 degrees.

I tried to hammer the red hot handle to create the desired bend, but the other handle was in the way. With my mind concentrated on the hat rack, I put the hammer down, and grabbed the other tong handle with my hammer hand, intending to move it out of the way. It was like grabbing butter. Really, really, REALLY, REALLY, HOT butter. Whenever you grab something hot, for the milliseconds that your hand is in contact with the hot material, it feels just as slippery as butter.

I imediately put the tongs back in the fire, quenched my hand in the ice-cold quench water, applied some natural burn help stuff that I keep in the studio, and then finished the immediate work on the hat rack and tongs. My hand was in terrible pain so I went up to the house and washed up, applied vitamin E oil and aloe-vera gel. Then mom gave me some of the left over pain medicine from when dad broke his leg.

Broken-bone pain killer for a burn.......maybe a bit of an overkill, yes.......but after a bit I didn't feel ANYTHING! I was dizzy and groggy as all get out, but that's better than wearing enamel off your teeth.
It put me out of work for the day as I couldn't hold my hammer, but I'm ready to go again tomorrow.

The burn on my second finger is the worst. 

The burn on my ring finger was nearly as bad.

It also burned my thumb just a bit but not too bad.
All part of the job!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Colonial rush lamp number two

This rush lamp is closer to my client's drawing than the last one, so here are some photos.

The original drawing for a 12-15 inch tall lamp. 

The first rush lamp. This turned out too bulky, too wide, too short. (12.75-inches)

I made a second lamp. This one turned out much better. It is taller (13.75-inches,) more slender, and all of the steel is lighter, giving the lamp an overall more elegant look.

A new piece and stuff

Title says it all. Here is a modification of an old piece I used to do.

I like this one! It's only about 6-inches tall.

Here is the finished hat rack that I was working on in my previous blog. The lines are a bit different than the first hat rack.

And finally here is the third candle holder. I changed up the chased lines on this one as well.

So that's what I've been doing the last couple of days.

Yesterday, I took a day off from smithing and helped dad cut down some trees. We cut two red-oak and two walnuts for the caskets he makes. We are planning on getting them sawn in a few days. We have to load them on our trailer which should be tons (literally) of fun!
Check back for pictures!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A whole day

I've done several posts previously, covering a day's work in the shop. I've not done one covering a whole day, start to finish. The following blog post covers a whole day, and this is a pretty typicall day here.  

So, my day starts around 6:00 A.M. during this time of the year. (During the summer months I like to get up around 5:00 A.M. as that is when it gets light out.) Anyway, I usually sleep in a bit longer on Mondays because Sunday nights usually run a bit later. So this morning, I got up at 6:20 A.M. The first thing we do in the morning is read our bibles, and drink coffee. I read 10-12 pages a day and that usually takes me about an hour. I read the bible through cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation. This morning I finished the book of Jeremiah the prophet and read through the book of Lamentations, also written by Jeremiah.
So here I am, this morning reading and drinking coffee. I drink my coffee without cream and with a shallow teaspoon of sugar per cup. Sometimes I use hot chocolate mix instead of sugar.

We read from the Authorized King James Bible. Despite what everyone says, the King James Bible of 1611 is written in fifth-grade english, is easy to read, and to understand. IT IS the perfect, inspired, WORD OF GOD!

After I finish reading in the morning, I usually get dressed, pour me another cup of coffee and do a little internet work. I am a member of the largest blacksmithing site in the world ( and I check what is being written on there. It has been a great source of education for me. I also check emails. This morning I had a grand total of ZERO emails. Then again, I only have two friends so there is only so much one can write. I wrote a family email as well as a couple of blacksmithing related emails.

After I had wrapped up various affairs on the computer, I poured me a bowl of cereal, grabbed a note book and pen, said a blessing, and started eating. No I didn't eat the note book and pen. I used those items to make a list of things that I needed to make today and some other things that needed to be done.

After breakfast, I brushed me pearly whites, managed to scrounge up a third cup of coffee in an insulated cup, and headed to work. By this time it was 9:00 A.M. Since I don't have a car, I have to walk to work......that's not too awful bad because work is just down the driveway. Yes, here I am on the porch and there is the bottom of the hill.

Oh wait.....put everything down Dave! I forgot to feed my dog. Yeah, she usually shows up when I come outside. She is a treeing walker coon dog and I named her Cookie. She's a good dog; comes when I tell her to. I still haven't broken the habit of carrying off shoes or eating eggs though.....she does that at night and I haven't caught her at it.

She decided she wasn't hungry though, and so she came on down to the shop. I had to get something from upstairs, so I tried calling her up ther stairs. She thought about it.

Then thought better of it.

After turning the compressor on, I headed into the studio and started getting things put away and prepared for the day's work. The first thing on the list was to texture the rivet heads on the hat rack pictured in my previous post. I wanted this done first thing, so I could go ahead and get the clear coat on the hat rack.

The jext job was even more taxing.

I did eventually get the fire started and began work on the day's projects. The "to do" list consisted of six medium S-hooks, six leaf hooks, two change dishes, and another hat rack.

The s-hooks won first place on the "to do" list. I use 1/4-inch square stock. The taper, finial scroll, and hook are all formed in one heat.
This first set of pictures is tapering.

These are of bending the hook.

Once the S-hooks were completed I moved onto the leaf hooks. They go a bit slower, but I use the mechanical hammer some on them, so that helps out. Here I am punch the mounting holes into the hook, using the mechanical hammer.

Just as I finished up the last leaf hook, I got the lunch call. I had a BBQ sandwhich and some left over chips.

After lunch I started by working on the two change dishes. They are made from 1/8-inch plate steel,  6-inches square. I begin by texturing the edges.

Then I cup the flat plate metal to make a bowl shape.

After the change dishes cooled they were hand-sanded and coated in a wax mixture. While they were cooling, I began work on the hat/coat rack. I got quite a bit of work done towards that, and then I went to the house for afternoon coffee and a much needed break. After a couple of cups of coffee, I headed back to the shop, and finished up the hat rack. Once the forging is done on the hat rack, I use a technique called chasing to put the decorative lines in it. Chasing is done cold, with well pollished tools.

I forged the hooks, drilled the holes, and riveted the hooks on....after the rack was handsanded and cleaned up. Once it was all assembled, it got a heavy clear coat for finish and protection.

Between coats, I raked the fire apart, cleaned things up, and took enventory of my products.

I've got quite a few pieces as it turns out. That's good because I have a business meeting in Berea Kentucky, this Wednesday. There is an art store there interested in carrying my products.
Once all of the clean up, put away, enventory taking, and clear coating were done, I headed up to the house. Supper time was near at hand. Kayla (my sister) made "Bang-Bang Shrimp" and fried shrimp and Mom made Salmon and creamed potatoes. It was all so very good. I asked Kayla to take the supper picture for this post. She said I was moving too much so I tried uhhhhh

.....didn't turn out as hoped.

So we'll have to live with a tad blurry.

After supper I cleaned up as much as is possible for a blacksmith.

Which leaves me, on the computer, posting this.

And now after eight and a half hours of swinging a hammer and 15 hours of being awake it's time to go to bed.
So I'll hit the post button and bid thee goodnight.