Monday, December 2, 2013

Yes I'm still alive!

So it has been quite some time since my last blog. August  26 was my last post. WOW!

OK so what in the world have I been doing all of this time????

Mostly work has kept me busy. Shortly after my last post, I had quite a bit of work getting ready and keep stocked up for fall art shows. Business was great at the shows, and has been ever since.

I have made so much stuff over the past few months that it would be impossible to show pictures of everything, but I'll share a few little things that I tinkered with.

 Her are some horseshoe items I did for a lady.

This next piece is something I made for myself just for the fun of it. It is a little short-sword made from spring steel. I can bend over 45 degrees without staying bent, or breaking.

I have been manufacturing and selling more and more tools lately. Here are some blacksmith tools in the works, piled under the forge, waiting the next process.

Here is a "hold fast" that I made for a wood worker. I actually made several for him.

Back in September, I got together with my striker, Chase Saxton, and we made a run of hammers and went to the Quadstate SOFA blacksmith's conference in Troy Ohio. We had a great time up there selling tools, watching demos, buying stuff, and making new friends. Quadstate conference is one of the largest blacksmithing conferences in the country, and features the largest tool sales section of any conference. One of the highlights of the conference was the blacksmithing competition. There were a total of 32 people in the competition, and they were divided up into teams of two. Chase and I signed on as a team. The competition was to make as many nails as you could in 15 minutes. The nails had to be a minimum of 2-inches long, and were judged on quality and consistency. After the 15 minutes was up, each team got to pick their best five nails to submit. We made a total of 9 or 10 nails.
We were up against several really talented smiths, including my teacher, a guy that specializes in colonial work, and some others.
We came in first place and won the competition, which we were of course, thrilled about. My teacher came in second place, and the guy that does the colonial work came in third. It was a really fun time.

After the conference, my Chase and I parted ways. We've been friends for several years now, and have been making hammers to sell for about a year. However, we have some different views on work and some other things, and ultimately I decided it was the best move for my business to start doing hammers without him.

My dad and I now make the hammers that I sell.

 I have been invited to teach at a school in the north east called Peter's Valley school of craft. I will be teaching, Lord willing, a 5-day class there next August. That should be interesting.
In addition, I am in the process of planning a one-day workshop in Knoxville Tn. sometime in January or February. More updates on that as plans get more solid.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I made my grandad a knife that he'd asked for some time back. It is made from 5160 spring steel. The guard is stainless steel, the rivets are copper, and the handle is red cow bone. My brother made the sheath.
I don't normally do "abstract" art, but the other day I was inspired by a blacksmith in France, to do this piece. He did a similar one and I thought it looked pretty neat, so I made my own version. I can see making time to do more of this sort of thing in the future.This piece was actually made from a car axle.

To cap off the night, I figured I'd share a picture of something I didn't make. I never want to pass up an opportunity to brag on my sister, so here goes. My sister made this apple pie for Thanksgiving. Not only was it the worlds MOST BEAUTIFUL apple pie, but I think it was the best tasting one as well.
'Till next time! 

"For God and the soldier we adore,
In time of danger, not before,
The danger past and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted."
Rudyard Kipling