Archive for August, 2010

Blacksmithing, knifemaking, and knife filework

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, Gear Making, Hammers, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making, Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 by Jim

It was a busy weekend.

I spent a lot of the weekend painting the house but somehow still managed to sneak in forging a new knife. I have made several stock reduction (grind away everything but a knife) knives. I wanted to try making one mostly in the forge.

This is the knife sitting on a piece of the spring that it was made of. In this picture, the knife is shaped but not yet hardened and tempered.

Here is the knife completed. I hardened and tempered it then blued the entire thing with gun blue. I wanted it to keep that blackish look it has right out of the quenching oil.

It’s not a fun project if it doesn’t require making a new tool…

I wanted the knife to look like the steel had been lying on an abandoned barn floor in Montana for 50 years. Unfortunately, the blank my friend roughed out from the spring was smooth and straight. A few minutes with a fifty cent garage sale hammer and a welder came up with this texturing hammer:

Here is a detail of the ‘rustic’ area of the knife…

Here is a closeup of the file work on the spine. I tried to stay pretty simple in accordance with the rustic style of the knife:

Knife Filework on spine

This was a great project and I learned a ton. My blacksmith friend is teaching me more bit by bit. I am trying hard to soak it all in.

I hope you had a great weekend.

Go make something,

Jim

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More hammered jewelry

Posted in Forging, jewelry, jewelry making, metalwork, Raising Copper on August 16, 2010 by Jim

Making jewelry is more fun than I want to admit

I am still fooling around with making small jewelry pieces. This really is more fun that I am letting on and less messy than making a coal fire in the forge.

A tale of two rings

I made the silver and copper ring in this photo by punching out a half inch hole in the center of a quarter. I rolled it into a ring on a mandrel. This style is called a ‘washer ring’. There is a great video about doing this with Mokume Gane (silver and copper layered like damascus steel) on youtube here. The second, and larger,  ring in this photo is formed from hammered copper wire. I soldered it with silver solder and it has a visible solder line. It also turns your finger a pretty shade of green…

Copper and nickel rings

If any of the folklore about copper is true, I will never have any arthritis pain.

I also made another set of earrings. This time I branched out and added some red stones to the center of the flowers. I am getting plenty of flack from the guys for all this by the way. I guess I will just have to buck up and take it.

Hammered copper earrings with flowers and red stones

I put the earrings up for sale on my newer Etsy site here.

Alright, enough reading, get up and go make some stuff!

Have a great week,

Jim

Robin Whirligig – it’s too hot to go birdwatching

Posted in Birds, Toy Making, Whirligigs, Woodworking with tags , on August 11, 2010 by Jim

Far too hot to be serious, I needed a little silly

It has been to hot to go to the lake to get in any birdwatching. Whirligigs make me happy. So, there you have it – it had to be a new whirligig for the yard. Seriously, I love things that move and spin and whirl. This weeks shop fun was a little robin whirligig:

Cedar Robin Whirlygig

He is cedar painted with latex house paint and held up on a brass spindle.

Happy Making,

Jim

Hammered Copper Earrings with copper flowers

Posted in Forging, jewelry, metalwork, Raising Copper on August 4, 2010 by Jim

Tiny hands would be very helpful if you were a jeweler!

My hands were not made for this tiny stuff but I was coerced.

A friend saw my hammered copper fishing lure from the post just before this one. She asked me to make her a pair of copper earrings. She has a look that says ‘You damned well better do this,’ and ‘pretty pretty please’ at the same time…

All that is left to do is drill the holes for the part that goes through your ear.

Roycroft style hammered copper earrings with hammered copper flowers

If there are any jewelers looking at this – give me a break. I am more of a ham-fist, better suited for blacksmithing and making fishing lures than jewelry. I am impressed with all you folks that can make tiny things.

Happy Making,

Jim

Hammered Copper and Stainless Steel Fishing Lure

Posted in Fishing Lures, Forging, jewelry, metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on August 2, 2010 by Jim

Is there such a thing as a Roycroft fishing lure?

I have been making lures like this one for a long time:

Hand carved Spinner Popper Frog fishing lure

It is really enjoyable making these. I can make cooler looking lures than I can buy and I can modify them to suit the places where I fish. My lures work great – they catch a ton of fish. It’s also a kick to open my tackle box around the guys knowing that they don’t have any of the lures that I have.

One thing that has always been annoying to me about lure-making is having to buy the metal hardware.

I usually hate buying something that I can make. Today I realized I could make make the metal parts of my lures. I could even make entire metal lures. I learned what I needed in the metalworking class I just took at the Lawrence Art Center. I guess I can be kind of slow on the uptake some days…

Anyway, here it is, for your perusing pleasure, the first ever, one of a kind, Roycroft style hammered copper fishing lure (click the image to see it larger):

Roycroft style hammered copper spoon lure

This spoon lure looks fantastic in the water. It darts and flashes like a drunk little bait fish on an underwater jet ski! I took it out in a sunny area where the water was murky and got a bite on the second cast. This is a great working lure.

I started all this, like I often do, in my buddy Dave’s steel scrap pile. He pulled out a railroad spike and I ground and polished it into a spoon shaped sheet metal forming stake:

Custom Handmade fishing lure

The copper was supple and simple to form and hammer mark. I cannot say the same about the stainless steel. I have not worked stainless before like this and it was not friendly. I will have to do some research on annealing stainless before I make the next lure. I riveted it all together with brass pins cut from 18ga wire.

All in all, this was a really happy afternoon’s work and it gave me an excuse to go fishing (you know, purely research purposes, so forth, etc…).

If you have any questions, or for goodness sakes, if you have advice about how to anneal stainless, I am all ears.

Happy Making,

Jim