It’s been a while

Posted: May 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

While I have been busy writing my new book and all the other stuff that goes with it. It always amazes me that whenever it says build a website in one hour it takes me all day or longer and then I have to edit everything for the next four days. Maybe they mean you can get signed on in an hour. Who knows, right? hahaha. New book is called –

— The Blacksmith Murders —

WP FP BM

Now for what has been going on in my shop — I personally haven’t done much, a small candle holder with a Lilly and Cattail for my wife’s Aunt’s 80th birthday. She has asked many times when I was going to make her something and so I got hot.

My apprentice FJ on the other hand has been busy making all kinds of stuff. Candle holders, bottle openers, torches and a sign for a friend of his that has a cafe. Here’s a few photos of his stuff.

I walk by the sign all the time and forget to take a picture of it. We didn’t paint it or install it, but it looks really good. I will try to remember to take a picture of it for next time.

I continue to kayak Lake Shkoder and will make it down Buna River to the Adriatic this season. That’s that plan anyway.

From Albania,

See ya at the Forge!!!!

Vince

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Putting the handle on his hammer today means that he can start to use, “his Hammer!” He did a fine job of making the tools to make it and making it. I am sure he will use it for years to come with pleasure. Nothing better than using something you made. Okay here’s a few photos:

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.

2015-12-23 16.06.31

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

2015-10-02 11.23.05

New Vise

2015-10-02 11.23.15

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