Friday, June 30, 2017

Books For The Blacksmith

Well 4 soggy days in a row now. I have been waiting to go pick up a big load of lumber and building supplies, Looks like Monday now. With time on my hands, showing off a few of my blacksmithing books might bring them to the attention of others seeking instruction literature.


The most notable book above is "Edge Of The Anvil" It has become a smithing classic. If you hammer iron you will want this on your bookshelf. The back 50 pages is a portfolio of Sam Yellin's work, one of the most outstanding smiths of the modern age. Here's a page from his portfolio.


Some of Sam Yellin's beautiful work. Its never been about just horseshoes and plowshares ha ha.

The postscript below is the last page of the book. Some insightful words their.


I have many other books on smithing and forging notable among others is the Alexander G. Weygers 3 book set "The Modern Blacksmith", "The Making Of Tools" and "The Recycling, Use, & Repair Of Tools". A must have , I have seen all three combined into one book recently, forgive me for not remembering who the publisher was.

I have a much larger collection on old forge and foundry work on disc. Much of it is available on the Internet Archive site. When I complete the "Stickley" series, I will upload some of the smaller files here.


In the mean time I have been printing off some of those files on disc and binding them as described in a earlier post. Above are four of my latest bindings. Very nice, a commercially bound paperback has nothing on these diy manuals.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Books For The Hobby Caster

Another day of rain and cool damp weather, stuck inside again. While organizing some of my book collections I pulled out a handful of casting books that some hobbyists might find interesting.

First I would be remiss if I didn't include Dave Gingery's 7 book series "Building Your Own Metal Shop From Scrap". His books contain all the information to get a novice started in this hobby. He then takes you through the construction of all the basic machines in a hobby machine shop. With the advent of cheap imports the small drill press and lathe are no longer really relevant but the shaper and mill design are rare and expensive when you do find them and are still a project I would like to tackle. The accessories book has nice plans for other wise expensive tooling. Of course if you are doing it to learn the processes and truly enjoy this hobby, then they are all relevant. One lathe builder claims this reason for building the lathe but every time he runs into a problem the solution  is to run out and buy an expensive industrial product, hard to learn anything that way and the lathe will be smaller, less accurate and twice the price of an import mini-lathe. Also unless you truly enjoy the hobby, the many hrs spent to scrape the many ways to acceptable accuracy produces no quick thrills.

Dave Gingery and his son Vince have written many other shop manuals, all are great information sumps, but the "Metal Shop From Scrap" series is what got Dave started and will forever be a classic for the home casting hobbyist.


C. W. Ammen is probably the most prolific modern writer of hobby casting information. He has published many books from the 70's to 2000 on this subject. He gets his knowledge from having done every job associated with casting and foundry work at sometime in his life in addition to running his own casting business for many years. His most recent book "Metalcasting" published in 2000 by McGraw-Hill covers much of the information in his previous books. It is a 434 page large format paperback, chock full of practical info.


I have a couple more shelves of volumes on this subject matter. Now one of my hobbies is collecting books so don't get scared off. The first Gingery book and Ammen's "Metalcasting" and his "Casting Aluminum" would provide good information to get started in this very satisfying hobby.



If you ever come across a copy of "Secrets Of Green-Sand Casting" snap it up, you will love it if only for the great wood print illustrations. It was reprinted for Lindsay Publication's "Lost Technology Series" from a 1906 ICS volume. Lindsay has retired and his business closed down but many were sold and it may come available on the used market.

Safe Happy Casting


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Popular Mechanics Shop Notes Highlights 1943 And 1944

As in the previous uploads these two years had a lot of training information on machinist based war work which I bypassed. Mixed in was a lot of metalworking projects for the home hobbyist. You will find lots of metal lathe tooling projects. Most are tooling to fit the popular South Bend lathes, but they can of course be made to fit any lathe. Mixed in is a variety of other plans and tips and tricks for around the shop. In 1943 you will find a very nice, two part plan, for a mostly wood built foot-powered scroll saw. I will be exploring that further at a later date.

Here's the link for 1943.

And here is the link for 1944.



Home Training In Cabinet Work # 22, 23 And 24

I should be outside working today but this rain just will not let up this year, oh well I got the whole summer.

So here is this weeks installment of Home Training in Cabinet Work . In #22 you will find a couple of vintage plans, a shaving stand, a washstand and a veranda easy chair. Here's the link.


# 23 has 4 craftsman style plans, a small bookcase, a child's desk, a tea server and a table bookcase. here's the link.


And lastly in # 24 Stickley goes back outside with plans for a rustic bench for the cabin, a rustic horse supported table and a rustic gun and rod cabinet. Here's the link.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Clamp Rack

So the workbench urethane finish is hard enough to load the clamp rack. Heres the leg vise side, loaded up.


With the outboard support slid to the other side, no interference.


Here is the moxon vise side. I have another 50 lb. box of 4 and 6 inch C and F clamps (somewhere, ha ha) which will load up the remaining 6' of clamping edge.


The bottom tray contains 26 F bar clamps from 1 1/2 ft. up to 2 1/2 ft. Of course I have a large number of larger F bar clamps and pipe clamps. These will be going into a rack in the garage/workshop, where they will be used the most, for larger projects. For larger frame glue-ups the bench end vises and dogs will do a good job of that. It sure is heavy, throwing my weight against the end, it was all I could do to slide it into place.

So that brings me up to date. For my next projects I am going to be outside for a couple of construction projects for the next two months. I don't plan on documenting them but I'll try to get some before and after pictures.

Little Update

Found that box of C clamps, installed on rack and I still got 2' left. I still have a dozen C clamps in various sizes in my welding area but this organizes all my clamps under 2 1/2 ft. with room to spare. Here's one more picture, the bench now weighs 600 lbs if it weighs an once, can,t lift one end , it feels like it is bolted to the floor.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Classic Workbench Revisited

Well after putting my workbench to work and being very happy with it's performance, I should get some finish coats on it now that it is well normalized to my shop conditions. When I assembled the bench I painted the underside of the top with a baby blue oil paint that I had left over from the planer rebuild. The last couple of days I finished the rest of the bench with 3 coats (4 on the top) of urethane, sanding lightly between coats.

My old bench, which I built on top of my former mobile radial arm saw stand was no longer needed, so I cut it in half and turned the mobile stand into another tool stand. I placed the new stand against my built in benches, and then placed the new workbench up against it. This creates a new work center. In my shop reorganization I also created two other work centers, a planer and jointer grouping and a table saw-router stand grouping. The rest of my machines and tool boxes are arranged around the wall perimeter. The result is lots of room to access machines and benches and all machines that require large in-feeds and out-feeds have at least 8 ft. of clearance.

A tip that some may not be aware of, when building tool stands and benches keep the height the same or slightly lower than your table saw. This will prevent interference for large work on the table saw and provide extra support for over size pieces.

Here is the new tool stand against the built in bench.


And here is the new workbench against the reworked tool stand.


The finished classic inspired workbench.


And here is the other half of the old bench. Its 1 3/4" thick laminated popular plywood and very solid. I decided to use it as a work surface for rough work and preserve that nice new bench top a little longer.


So here are a few pictures of some of the work holding abilities of this bench. First jointing a long white pine board with the leg vise and outboard support.


Next is the two end vises, in use here as a small capacity moxon vise. This is only a small example of what these two vises can do, working together or individually and in combination with the bench dogs, and hold fasts, there are many glue-up and work holding functions they can perform. For frame glue-ups they can eliminate  the need for clamps in a wide variety of sizes.


And here is the moxon vise, ideal for working the ends of panels. Turned the flash on, and the picture is darker,go figure. This moxon will clamp a 20" wide panel, solidly across its full width for dovetailing, moulding, planing, edge banding etc.


The bench is very large, solid and heavy. The clamp rack will be loaded with clamps as soon as the finish cures adding lots more weight to the bench and keeping my clamp collection very handy,close to where it will be used.

The full build document for this workbench is at this link:



Friday, June 23, 2017

Beating Back The jungle

So things managed to dry out early in the week and I finally managed to mow and clean up the property somewhat. Its hard to grow grass in sand but the repeated application of seed and fertilizer and lots of rain which we have had in the last month and a half, eventually start to take hold. There are still many sandy thin spots but another year or two of applications, it should all be well filled in. It beats many thousands of dollars in top soil to cover 8 acres. I took a walk around this morning and took some summer pictures.

The back yard looking west.


South west corner of back yard.


South side yard.


Looking east towards property entrance.


Looking south across the property towards the trail entrance.


And this is the entrance to my man cave ha ha , from the municipal road.


Here's the entrance to the walking trail.


Looking down the back trail from the old homestead site.


 A curve in the trail.


Looking back at the exit from the trail near the house.


Can't remember if I uploaded this picture before or not. The rock is the largest one I came across in my landscape diggings. It's got to be at least 10 tons, it originally sat 4 ft. higher than where it is now. It was far to heavy to lift with the tractor so all I could do was dig under it and then push it over, and thats where it sits. If you look at the face of the rock outcrop behind it you get an idea of my depth of excavation in this area, 12' in spots.


Hope you liked my little summer walk. The last coat of urethane is drying on my classic workbench as I write. I will post some pictures tonight or tomorrow.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Popular Mechanics Shop Notes Highlights 1941 And 1942

Popular Mechanics supported the war years with lots of instruction articles for the machinist in industrial environments  to produce war materials.Some of this information is useful for the hobbyist but most of it deals with heavy industrial size machines that most hobbyists do not have access to. I did not include most of these articles, but fortunately they did also publish lots of practical hobby size metalworking projects and you will find lots in these two highlights.

There is a well built, used oil, garage heater plan that I am going to have a closer look at as a back up to the wood heating I plan for my garage/workshop.

Here is the link to 1941


Home Training in Cabinet Work # 19, 20 And 21

In this weeks Home Training articles we go back indoors, # 19 is a hand full of nice child's room furniture. Their's a open bookcase/nightstand, a bed, settee and dresser. In the other two you will find a piano bench and a number of tables. For the card players there is a round table that in my mind would make a very nice card table.



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pipe Clamps Up-Date

Well this summer is starting to turn into jungle north, rained all day and humid as heck. So to update the "Making pipe clamps" post, now that I have my steel order I finished making up the 1/2" pipe clamps. Here's the pipe all threaded as described in the earlier post.Ready to install the clamp fittings.


And here are all my pipe clamps now, 4 each in 7, 6 and 5 foot lengths and 5 in 4 foot length. My F clamps start at 4 feet down to C clamp size. Unless I take up building Wendell Castle laminated designs in a big way, I should be good for clamps now (famous last words ☺).


Friday, June 16, 2017

Steel Order

As mentioned before I received my steel order this morning. Combined with the remainder of last years order I should have enough steel for a few years of projects. Hopefully that includes a little band sawmill, looking at next summer for that. Heres a couple of pictures of todays delivery.



Lots of shapes and sizes for projects and some smithing work. A little to hot and humid today, I'll do my 1/2" pipe clamps tomorrow.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RR Anvil Finished

So I got two coats of Tremclad high heat flat black enamel on the anvils yesterday and except for the stands they are finished. The RR anvil has a very nice clear ring to it, the built up sheet metal anvil is a little more muffled because of the hollow body. They both look great and should serve me well for the kind of light work I want to do. Of course a power hammer is another plan in addition to the forge that is making its way to the forefront. Here are the pictures.

The reworked sheet metal anvil and the new RR anvil.


All the different views of the RR anvil.








And these are the four anvils I now have. The blue one is a "Record" cast steel anvil, small but tough little guy. The straight piece is from a broken large vise I salvaged from the scrap yard, I trimmed it up and have been using it for many years for small jobs like straightening nails and cold working small metal shapes.


Hope someone got something from this build. As before the full build documentation is at this link.

Or click on the link in the page menu.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Popular Mechanics Shop Notes Highlights 1939 And 1940

Here's another two larger highlights, just too many neat projects, jigs and articles to pass up. Both have lots of metal lathe jigs and projects, metalworking plans and woodworking projects including a nice article on jointer knife sharpening. There is a great looking panel sanding machine in the 1939 issue, looks better than some versions I have seen in places like Fine Woodworking. Love to build this one some time.I have had the chance to buy a commercial unit at auction, but would rather build one for my needs. In the 1940 issue there is a nice article on home casting "From Pattern To Casting". You'll find the basics of getting started in this hobby here.Great stuff.

Here is the link to 1939.

And here's the link for 1940.


Home Training In Cabinet Work # 16, 17 And 18

This weeks three articles are all rustic furniture, some nice easy looking pieces are illustrated. A swing seat, a covered seat, some garden chairs, a lounge and a nice easy looking bed that would be at home in any rustic decor.

Here is the link for # 16.

And the link for # 17

And # 18