Santa’s Elf

Posted: December 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

HoHoHo,

Santa needed a hand with a few last minute Christmas items. 🙂  I thought I was out of the Crucifix business, but had another to make for a friend this year, I wish I had made the eye punch for it now. I didn’t have the time now, as usual and will have to put it on my list of tools to make after New Years as well as a curved rib fuller and a fuller to define the stomach from the ribs better. Just in case. 🙂

Then my wife asked me to make a candle holder for a couple of friends. I decided to make a Dogwood branch and use a wooden base. I did’t have a piece of steel wide enough to mount it to and have candle pots. Wood is good!

The flowers are riveted on to the stems, but, dare I say it, I can hear the shoe dropping already, welded them to the branch.  I still have heat problems and will get around to addressing them after the new year. The students want to see real forge welding so I am forced to finally do something about it.
I decided to just use a nail for the candle stem. The wood is a piece of Chestnut somewhere between 150 to 350 years old. I am not sure which section of the house this came from. I have to get candles tomorrow.
I am almost done, I still have one more if I can get it done tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

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I will post a few photos of the hammer my students made when FJ finishes his handle. Until then….

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Vince & Bianca!

Students

Posted: November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi Guys!

I have been busy in my shop giving a couple of Peace Corps volunteers here some lessons over the last few weeks. They have been doing very well. Ezra and FJ are of course more interested in actually making stuff and my shop isn’t ideal for training two at the same time, but we are making due. We are all having a good time. So much so that Ezra brought his friend Alisa to check out the action today. She didn’t understand what all the hubbub was as she made a candle stick in 15 minutes just like the youtube videos show. Hahaha. Below I posted a few photos from the past few weeks starting with today working back.

New Vise for my Vice

Posted: October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi Guys,
Long time again – no excuses, no promises –

I picked up a new bench vise that I mounted and will use as my main vise. My homemade one has a very slight twist to it that without redoing the entire vise won’t go away. Sooo this will fit most of my needs and I moved the old one to the other side of the forge for grinding and banging other work. If it turns out that I don’t use it I can always repurpose the metal from it in a couple of years. 🙂

The new vise has a open frame that allows me to hang my tongs and hammers. It is close enough to use with both the gas and charcoal forge. The anvil can be moved to make it easier to work depending on what I am doing.

Stand and frame

Stand and frame

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New Vise

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Old vise new location, one vise on each side of forge now.

So the shop is still evolving. My next project is well underway and is another chess set. Smaller and I think less complicated than the last one, but we will see, sometimes those simple designs are more difficult than you think.

So the shop is still evolving, for now….

See ya at the Forge!!!!

Vince

Lake Trials and Maiden Voyage

Posted: August 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Lake Trials were a success, there were no leaks!!! Yeah!!! I have a Kayak! My friend Evis called and wanted to go out Saturday August 8th. He also had a new to him kayak that he wanted to try out. The sky was clear and the temperature was about 92 F or 33 C, but there was a heavy breeze blowing, about 7 mph with gusts to 9. I think it worked out perfectly as it gave me a feel for how she rides.  She drafts about an 1 inch more in the rear than I planned, but it doesn’t seem to effect me much. The bow rides spot on.

Mine and Evis's kayaks getting ready to go.

Mine and Evis’s kayaks getting ready to go.

I discovered that the foot rest wasn’t going to work as installed, my back needs some sort of pad and I now see how tight it is in this kayak. I have to admit that the painted canvas here is going to be a lot of maintenance. There is nothing but rocks on the shores, in the water and at the beaches, so the skin will be getting scrapped regularly. BUT it is so light! I will have to let you know in a couple of months or next year maybe just how much maintenance it is. I am not happy with the adhesion with this paint at all and will definitely use something else. Oh well, next time.

Lake Trials 8-8-15

Lake Trials 8-8-15

I fixed the footrest. I added a second adjusting or release cord and made it wider. It worked and felt really good today. I had a 3 hour run today from Shiroke to the Montenegrin border. It took me about 1 hour 10 minutes to the border, about 6.3 km and that is a reduction of almost 30 minutes in Beastie my 1st kayak.

Me sailing into the sunset

Me sailing into the sunset

There was enough wind to create a nice rolling wave action with a head wind of about 6-7 mph today on the way to the Montenegrin border. I got to see the bow have water wash over it and see that it sheds the water just like I thought it would. I didn’t get any further than where the handle is located at about 12” off the tip. Lighter and faster! Of course there is something to say about all the room of Beastie, it was like riding in a Caddy. Hahaha.

Montenegrin Border

Montenegrin Border

So all in all I am very happy with my new kayak! Thanks to everyone who helped me, there were a lot of you.

See ya at the Forge!!!

On Fisherman's launch next to Shiroke Restaurant

On Fisherman’s launch next to Shiroke Restaurant

Hi Guys!

I  finished skinning the kayak. I have to admit pulling and squeezing the canvas was a good workout for my fingers. 🙂 Of course I made one mistake when sewing the bow and that made sewing the stern more difficult than it should have been. I wound up with two wrinkles on the top that I just couldn’t stretch out. I had a good laugh at myself and I think I worked around it rather nicely. I will say this, I wish I had made a cockpit frame for sewing that section. I now realize that doing so would have made it easier to get and keep the wrinkles out, even with the square opening. I chose to staple the cockpit, mixing the techniques worked, but I think I would have been better off using just one.  Time will tell.

Alternative uses for an anvil and forge. Hahaha,

Alternative uses for an anvil and forge. Hahaha,

Since I used my forge and anvil to skin my kayak does that mean the kayak was forged? 🙂
I forgot to take a picture of the frame after I applied the waterproofer, it has a greenish tint in case you were wondering.
I wet down the skin and let it dry in the sun, since it was about 97 – f or 36/37 – C it would dry faster than I could blow dry it, s on top of my car in the sun. It was bone dry in about an hour. I didn’t see any noticeable shrinkage. Maybe the fabric is already pre-shrunk. Anyway. Next step is to paint it. The only place that I am concerned about is the stern as the seam went a little lower than I would have liked and worry that it will not get fully penetrated with paint and that will cause it to act as a wick. I know, I know people have been doing these for years. The first of anything is always the most fun, I have built two others but not with this type of skin, Soooo…. It is my first, exciting. 🙂
Here’s few pictures of the skinning process. When I am done I will post it and the maiden voyage. You don’t have a kayak until it floats in the water!
Thanks for stopping by!   Vince

The bow running stitch

The bow running stitch

The bow finished

The bow finished

This is how much the canvas stretched about 1-1/4 inches / about 4 cm - towards the stern.

This is how much the canvas stretched about 1-1/4 inches /  4 cm – towards the stern.

Stretching and stitching the stern

Stretching and stitching the stern

Rolling and stitching the stern seam.

Rolling and stitching the stern seam.

Stern with some of the cockpit

Stern with some of the cockpit

Kayak Frame Work

Posted: July 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Okay, I know I have been away again for a while and still not doing any blacksmithing! Currently I am working on my new kayak. I have it all framed out and have to go pick up the skin material tomorrow or the next day.

This time around I wanted to try to go about as light as I can and still stay afloat. The frame is 11 ft long x 26 inches wide at its widest point. The cockpit is about 19.5 inches x 36 inches. I didn’t both making what seems to be the conventional oval opening, again. The square is easier for me to get in and out of. Once I get her all tested and trimmed out I will make a cover for the opening and use Velcro to keep it in place. This makes the only thing that gets wet in the cooler months is my feet and legs, but a towel takes care of that once in the kayak. 🙂 I decided to tie the frame together this time. I am using what the locals use to repair or make fishing nets out of. To me it is sort of a mason line. The store had carried a braided flat line, but he said he couldn’t get that anymore. bummer, it was very nice and laid very flat. Oh well.

Frames laid on keel.

Frames laid on keel.

Bow attached to keel

Bow attached to keel

I asked my local supplier for cedar, but all I was able to get after a week of haggling was pine. Okay, it is a bit heavier, but it will work. I cut the keel and stringers out of it. I picked two boards with the least amount of knots and imperfections that he had. I reinforced the few short grain and knot areas will a backer of plywood or this casing board I had left over from another project. Both are fairly strong.

Stern attached and stringers prepped

Stern attached and stringers prepped

The plywood for this kayak has me concerned. I used something like 12mm luan, which had no voids and has held up very nicely on the other two. This plywood was about 5/8 or 16mm(?) thick, when I ordered it, it was supposed to be for exterior work. I do not believe this is exterior grade, okay I know it isn’t. I looked it over and it looked nice along the edges, no voids, not splintered off or delaminating. I took it. After cutting it I found that in the middle it has tons of voids and the saw peeling off the top ply. The board wasn’t particularly expensive, but I decided to go ahead and use it anyway for many reasons that in the end don’t matter. What does is that I reinforced and filled the edges of the plywood with glue and sawdust mixes and then clear coated it with what the can from Greece clearly says is a varnish for boats. It has a picture and everything with English instructions. Time will tell if I made a mistake. If so, well it will be back to the shop and a few more lessons learned.

Stern tied and stringers trimmed

Stern tied and stringers trimmed

Bow stringers not trimmed

Bow stringers not trimmed

Frame ready to fit for seat position

Frame ready to fit for seat position

Cockpit framed in and seat set

Cockpit framed in and seat set

Foot rest

Foot rest

I decided to go on a center rail with foot rest. It is simple and adjustable, though I doubt I will need to adjust it much once I set it for me, but you never know

This is my basic frame work. I will do another post of the completed frame coated and the skinning of it. I have no idea why these pictures keep turning on wordpress. I have loaded and reloaded, resaved them to get rid of a any coding on my computer and they are still being turned. I apologize and will work on this problem. Anyone have a solution please let me know.

Thanks for stopping by!

See ya at the Forge!!!

Vince

In a time before man became civilized some battles were too costly. Civility had begun to make its way into the minds of the leaders of the clans. In the darkness of a cave resides the old wizard, mystic, master of fire and shaper of iron. He has developed a new tool to develop the strategic thinking. Here one is made,  reminiscent of days of old and yet somehow a reminder that all that was still is.

Hi Guys!
I made this for my friend. The idea came to me, and probably had seen one before, when I was looking at some Medieval stuff for a book that I was, might still do later on. Since my friend lives in Germany it just clicked in my mind. There are some leaps to connect these dots for sure. Hahaha.

DSCN2216

I like to make things with a minimum of tools and this was no different. I don’t have a lot of tools in my shop at this point anyway so sometimes it makes me be work differently than I am still inclined to do so. Ah if only I had a machine…. 🙂

Parts

Miniatures are a bit of a PIA to make. I deviated a little in design and they all fit on a 3.5cm square. The Pawns are 2 different style anvils, one an English style, the other European style. The European style fit on the diagonal as they kept coming out slightly longer. I think I was having too much fun making them and the size was small enough, but easy enough to make, so I just kept making them. Yes I could have filed them down to size and I did clean all the pieces up in a few spots, but I wanted them to be off the anvil as much as possible. Why? It is what I wanted.

Waiting for Rook Bodies to heat up
The Kings are about 12 cm tall, Queens about 11.5 cm, Bishops 11 cm, Knights 10.5, Rooks 8 and the Pawns about 5 cm tall. Pretty much straight forging. I started with the Pawns (anvils), then the King and Queens (hammers) and moved down the line. The Bishops are Tongs as we all know the Francis Whitaker’s quote, “If you cannot hold it, you cannot work it” and so rightly belong in the hierarchy of tools. The knights (files) were originally going to have a punch and chisel with them, but that was a lot to fit on that base so I set the punch and chisel aside. The Rooks were a challenge, what could represent them. Ahh, ha! A Swage Block upon an obelisk would do the trick.

2015-04-15 16.27.36     To dress things up a bit I had originally thought of using copper and steel wire to wrap the King and Queen handles in, but discovered all the solid wire was too large. I had copper wire, what I would call a #12 and even that was a bit large. 14 or 16 gage was what I had in mind, so I did away with the wrap down the handles and used it just around the heads and 3-4 turns under them. I had plenty of steel wire to use, but matched the copper wrapping for some balance between the pieces. I did drill the hole for the Tong Rivet and the Hammer handles. I allowed myself this luxury. Some guy’s voice in the back of my head kept telling me to make it easy on myself. Hahaha. He knows who he is. 🙂

20150425_13310720150425_133313    The box was an afterthought that my wife put there. I was going to have a wooden one made, but she reminded me I could just make one out of wood or metal myself. Yeah, but…. And the next day I looked around, I had some galvanized sheet that I am never going to use, so… a bend here and there later, Viola! I had a small piece of copper sheet and a brass dial holder from a long ago project still in my repousse tool kit that is what is on the top. The belts are new and I just cut and tipped them with the same galv. sheet. It has been a long time since I made a sheet metal box and I made several mistakes, but managed to make is all work. Finish is just wire wheeled and clear coated. I did use a regular rivet gun and then flattened them with a hammer. The metal guys didn’t have any smaller stock and I didn’t feel like making (50) 1/8” rivets out of my ½ round or square bar. Call me lazy. 🙂

There you have it. Oh the best is my friend loved the set, so it is a success. 🙂

DSCN2239Historical Note: No one really knows who invented Chess, but surely it could have been a Blacksmith! 🙂