Archive for the metalwork Category

UHMW Plastic Hammer Head

Posted in metalwork, Raising Copper, Tool Making on July 2, 2010 by Jim

Hammers! Hammers! Hammers!

I cannot stop making hammers. This is a hammer head made of UHMW plastic. That is ‘Ultra High Molecular Weight’ plastic. It is incredibly abrasion resistant, and pretty cool to boot… The handle is cherry. It should be a good non-marring hammer for me to use in raising this copper vessel.

UHMW Plastic Hammer

Making a hammer is  the most primal amazing feat of tool making. Hammers are a magical thing. Once you have a hammer, you can make all the other tools. In the past, blacksmiths would break off a piece of their hammer and forge it into their sons first hammer when he began his apprenticeship. As for me, a tiny brass hammer that my grandfather made is one of my prize possessions – a rosebud if you will.

I made this hammer as a copy of one that my metals instructor, Bryan Park, had made.

Happy Making,

Jim

Raising Copper!

Posted in metalwork, Raising Copper on July 1, 2010 by Jim

I am taking a metalsmithing class at the Lawrence Art Center and it is a real eye opener for me! I should have done this years ago.

We have a great teacher, Bryan Park, a great facility, and all the students seem really glad to be there.

Raising A Copper Bowl

This week, I started raising my first  vessel from a flat sheet of copper. Here it is after two preliminary rounds of sinking (beating the copper into a depression to start the right shape).

Hand raised copper bowl

Copper, Brass, and Nickel Silver Toolbox Badge

Posted in Blacksmithing, jewelry, metalwork on June 25, 2010 by Jim

Every toolbox needs a badge!

I recently started a metalworking course. This required a new toolbox. Everything with me it seems, requires a new toolbox.

That aside, I needed a way to identify my plain black steel toolbox against the myriad of other plain black steel toolboxes in the world. With brass, copper, and nickel silver sheet at my disposal, this is what came out. You might call it toolbox jewelry.

I plan to set up a forge this summer and this may be my logo.

I am thinking ‘Holy Hammer Forge’ for the name. What do you think?

Making a hand forged spoon carving chisel

Posted in Blacksmithing, knifemaking, metalwork, Spoon Carving, Tool Making on May 30, 2010 by Jim

This all started with a rusty ring:

RingForChisel

I have been wanting to do some blacksmithing for a while now and I just got my excuse. My neighbor had a bucket full of these rings. They are end cut offs from larger springs. His company had thrown them out and they were just rusting away in has back yard. When he offered that I could have as many as I liked, I took him up on it. Spring steel is lovely high carbon stuff and I have had a need for a curved bladed carving chisel

Why buy it if you can make it?

I could certainly buy one of those beautiful new Flexcut brand scorps, but then I wouldn’t get to make one myself! There is magic in making things and double magic in making tools I’m sure.

We lit the forge up and after some instruction, I got the ring mostly straightened and the curve in the end roughed out.

RighAfterForging

This picture is just after the initial shaping. I took the the chisel out of the coals and dropped them into a bucket of ashes to cool. Letting it cool slowly like that left it soft (annealed) for finish shaping. I took the rough chisel to the grinder and got the blade edge ground down, close to done.

Once the blade was mostly shaped, it was back to the coals. I got the piece good and hot, almost translucent on a piece this thin, then dropped it into a vat of quenching oil.

AfterOilQuenching

This picture shows the chisel with blade shaped, holes drilled for rivets, and fresh out of the quench. (click on any of the pictures to see them larger)

Too hard to use

When the blade comes out of the quenching oil, it is too hard to use. It is really brittle like glass – you have to temper it. Tempering is a way to leave the blade hard enough to stay very sharp but not so brittle that it chips or breaks. I polished it up so I could watch the colors change and into the oven it went. When it got to a the right color for the temper I wanted (I went into bronze-ish), I cooled it again.

Here is the finished chisel:

I had this piece of walnut burl in the scrap bin and I used 1/8” brass rod for the rivet.

I am really happy with how it turned out. Now, we will have all the wooden spoons we can stand! I enjoyed this work so much that I may have to make some for other folks.

Happy Memorial Weekend,

Jim

had a need for a curved bladed carving chisel

Why I write Make Stuff With Your Hands

Posted in Blathering, Forging, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making, Woodworking on May 6, 2010 by Jim

An ulterior motive!

Could it be that I have a sneaky ulterior motive? Well of course. Sort of. Except, it is not sneaky, nor ulterior.

I love to teach, I really do. I want to teach classes on how to build things. I want to write books that help people learn how to build things. So many of the techniques that I use, I learned in books and I want to write one of those great books. I want to write something as amazing as The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking by James Krenov. I want to write something as useful as Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. I want to write something as beautiful and inspiring as Sam Maloof, Woodworker. This is why I am here. I practice my writing so I can put my thoughts in words and pictures for you – even as I practice my craft. This blog will help me write a book that will be easy to learn from and full of amazing projects that you will want to build!

Amazing Teachers

I surely did not figure all this out just with books. My dad is a maker and put tools in my hands straight away. I also had an amazing apprenticeship with a master carpenter. Besides being a carpenter, he had an art degree, and was a musician. He stood next to me every day for years and he taught me how to make things. When I asked him if I could be his apprentice, he told me that I could if I promised to pass it along. Passing along making is why I write Make Stuff With Your Kid. I apprenticed under a master furniture maker for a year and he and I inspired each other – then we made a ton of wooden hand planes and patted ourselves on the back a little too much. (but anyway…)

My Future

I am going to keep writing for you. I will share my projects, and if you ask, I will help you with yours. I am making teaching and craft a part of every day of my life. It brings me great joy and I and hope that I can help you like others helped me. (John, you said I had to promise, and here I am!)

Alright, enough jawing already and on to the Craft…

I promised you some draw-knives and here are some draw-knives:

Hand made draw knife

My dad made these little beauties out of an old hand saw blade. I hope to turn some handles for them this weekend. I could not wait for handles, so since I took this picture, I sharpened them and tried them out. The are as sweet as they look. I took a few pulls at a duck decoy I have in the works and they are lovely. I can already tell that these will be my go-to tools for roughing out a new carving.

Thanks for coming by,

-Jim

Praying Machine flies!

Posted in Automata, Carving, Gear Making, metalwork, Toy Making, Woodworking with tags on April 13, 2010 by Jim

The wings flap…

Our prayers are going to Heaven! I have not had a lot of time the last few weeks to work on the Praying machine but I did sneak in a few hours this weekend.

AutomataGears

I got the bit of the mechanism complete that raises and lowers the wings. Next will the be the gearing that spins the prayer box itself.

Hunting Knife Filework – Vine pattern

Posted in Forging, knifemaking, metalwork on March 27, 2010 by Jim

I do not seem to be able to tie this one down and get a handle on it but here is the vine file work I put on the spine of my latest knife.

Knife back with vine file work