July so far so good!

Posted: July 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Hi Everyone!

    It has been a great two weeks here in Albania. I made a trip to the local steel supplier and picked up a few essentials to compliment the other 80 kilos of scrap rebar in various sizes I picked up when we last spoke. I have been working on my railing and have almost all the components done. On Tuesday I finished twisting the 2nd rope twist for the top of the railing and made the two floor plates to hold the newels. I have one more to make out of slightly smaller material for the wall where the railing (3 strand) will be connected to. The pickets’ bottom railing is the last really difficult thing to make. I have a couple of newel post caps to make and they will be where the railings and the newels get connected.  I am saying newels, one is a true newel and the other is a corner post. I simplified my typing, just for clarification. I did manage to do a couple of stick roses for a warm up the other day and a few leaf hooks the next. Not that I really need any hooks, but you can always give them away as gifts or just hang them on the wall and they seem to get used for something.

Twisting bracket in vise

Twisting bracket in vise

Heating the railing twist

Heating the railing twist

Newel set for twisting

Making the deck plates

Making the deck plates

Deck plates newel posts will be attached to

Deck plates newel posts will be attached to

The deck plates are about 12 cm in diameter and almost 19cm in length made from 12mm (about) bar. The Newels are 5 strands of the same and the railings are 3 strands. Of course the 3 strand was much easier to twist than the 5 strand. I twisted at least 110 cm long each piece. The total railing is only 93 cm long for both sections, it is a corner, and 95 cm tall. The pickets will be 75cm in length. It should look pretty nice when I get it all together.

      I had to replace the heavier of my helper bars for the forge. The newel twists were too heavy for it and it cracked the tube holding the bracket. Sniff, sniff, naw, I expected it to go, it was flimsy at best and it served its purpose to get things going. Most of what I have done will be repaired or at least beefed up at some point.. I used chains and turnbuckles to secure the anvil to the stump after making a couple of stubs for the forging holes. They are what the chains bite into to. It is pretty solid. Next I have to decide where I really want my anvil and stump to call home. I moved it to make the twists and I like its new location. But… if I am making smaller stuff it is what I would consider far from the forge, sort of.  I think it will stay in the new spot; I can always change it later on. I will have to make a trip to the hardware store to pick up some beefy bolts and anchors.

Anvil stub close up (2)

Anvil stub close up (2)

Anvil anchored in place (2)

Anvil anchored in place (2)

The larger vice took a beating and I will have to redo the bolts holding it down. Here again I knew they were a little small to begin with, I am surprised it has lasted this long. One of the jaw plates sheared off and I had to back out the remaining screws  out and replace them before continuing. The smaller vice isn’t set up for that sort of work and is too small for it.  I haven’t been able to make myself understood on this point; hardened bolts so I don’t know how long the new hex bolts I slotted will last. They are tighter than the original ones, we will see. This happened in the middle of a twist so I only repaired the one side and will now wait for the other side to fail before replacing the bolts there as well. Hmmm, I may not be so lucky getting the bolts out though, hmmm, now that all the twisting is done maybe I will change the screws on the other jaw before they break. That’s a good idea, I will do that. Thanks for talking me into that.

Handle for brass brush

Handle for brass brush

     My friend in VAB sent me a new brass brush. I told him to cut the handle off to save on shipping. I put a handle on it, nothing fancy,  and will try it out this weekend on a hook or rose.  I also have a new Initials touchmark stamps as I could not find the one I brought with me. Oh well.  I them purchased from Columbia Marking Tools (http://www.columbiamt.com ). Just my 3 initials VAN on one and my full last name on the other. I went wild with the later. It will last me my lifetime for sure as I don’t have plans to be making many projects large enough to warrant the larger stamp.

      I visited with an Albanian tin knocker and found that he has a hand cranked blower for charcoal and that is all he uses. Sorry no pictures, he wasn’t a photo hound, maybe the next time I visit.  He has a medium size roller and crimper for making flues and other tubes. That is the bulk of his business today. He also makes Raki (Sort of Wine) distillers. He is 70 and does this work to keep moving. It is good to keep moving he says.  At least it is someone to bounce an idea off of if I need to. He had done heavier iron work when he was a young man fabricating window grilles, gates, etc. during the communist regime.

     Of course I have had time to visit a few places. We went on a day trip to Cetinje, Montenegro and Podgorica, MNE. Both are very nice and worth another look to make sure we didn’t overlook some tourist nugget. hahaha.

Nice attempt at reproducing window grille of the Royal era Cetinje

Reproduction window grille of the Royal era Cetinje, MNE

Blacksmith I just missed in Cetinje - bummer

Blacksmith I just missed in Cetinje – bummer

     That’s all for now! See ya at the Forge!!

Vince

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