Most recently I’ve been doing little tool improvements here and there. Early this week I spent and evening with a stick of Bacote and some of my files that didn’t have handles.
These were hand turned on the mini-lathe and then heat fit onto the tangs of the files. Quick easy and beautiful little project.
One of my early obsessions has been antique things and really steampunky looking things. Which I’ve found a deep love and appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into a hand made smoking pipe.
So I set out to figure out how to make my own!
So I tooled up. Its actually the reason I bought my lathe.
I originally was going to use it for acrylic stems only.
Then I got some briar wood, which is a dense beautiful burl/shrubbery that grows in Europe. Its not terribly expensive, but can add up quickly.
Cut my rough shape on the band saw and then went to town with a hand file and some sand paper.
Last step was to dye and polish the pipe up and finish the stem shape.
The pickaxe was shape was one that I didn’t have and had wanted for some time.
My second pipe was a lot more of a production piece.
Once I had found the fight angle of attack I cut the shape like the first one.
Next was shaping and dying.
Then to the buffing and polish point
This is where the stem started to really get worked on.
And the finished pipe
That wasn’t the last step though. Next we built the display box
Turned out to be a nice little gift set for a friend of mine. I’ve got several more in the “pipeline” to get going on!
Last year I went to Ireland, one of the trendy things over there was slate for serving trays and plates. Well why would I have spend something like 18 euros for something as simple as a piece of slate and some wood epoxied on?
The final product has turned into several gifts.
One of my most recent loves in the shop has been turning brass spinning tops. They are great. Its the perfect display of talent and precision.
So I’ve made a few.
Yeah, that looks like a few…
Its a fun process to turn though.
I just go at them basically freehand and see what I can make. I like to see if I can push the machine to work better or do it differently and its a lot of fun.
Recently I’ve gotten a cheap India bump knurling tool. Supposedly my lathe isn’t supposed to be able to knurl. I didn’t let that stop me.
These things are really fun. I have gotten it to the point where I can spin one on a glass concave surface for about 9 minutes. I’d love to beat that though. In time…
This was a hard project.
Its the first project that I’ve done that combines everything I know about machining.
This was a combination of brass and steel that was oil hardened and blued.
This project has both milling and lathing required. It also has boring and tapping too. It was a lot to wrap my head around…
My father has been really into making display boxes for the last few years. Which is great, its gotten him to slow down on buying new things and make nice boxes for the things he already has. But one challenge of this is to get the hinges drilled in the center of the pre-fabbed hole. So I worked with him to develop a simple little brass tool to center a bit and pass a #90 drill bit for a pilot hole in the direct center.
I’ve always been interested in metal working. For a very long time. So I’ve slowly built a shop around it as I can. (which is probably a lot faster than people with even less access to a shop than I…)
First purchase was a good micro lathe. I bought a Taig. US built rock solid and lots of fun to learn. Key word is learn. I knew nothing about machine work when I bought it. I still know very little…
It has been a great tool for learning and getting the basics down.
But it also required that I get something to deal with the large stock. So I bought a Milwaukee Porta-Band. Amazing tool. Then I mounted it on a Swag Off-Road table.
Along the way I’ve had to make some new and interesting combination tools, turning things down and re-threading them for other purposes. Its been a good deal of fun coming up with those new tools.
This is a new shank for a sanding tool that mounts on a two speed 3/4 horse motor.
Tools are always fun.
A local knife maker decided he needed some local sheaths made for his work and contacted me to do the work.
Its provided a nice challenge and a fun way to make a little on the side.
The first knife I worked on was a small drop point skinning knife that would sit deep in a hip sheath. a little bit of tooling and a it turned out really nice.
Next was a larger dagger, which needed a three piece construction that sit a little lower on the belt. More of a sword hanger height.
After those two I went to work on a slightly larger dagger. Again similar design but it was requested to be a loop through.
Most recently he had contracted me to work on a large survival knife. Not the sort of thing I would normally carry, but he wanted it to be full utility.
So that guy is pretty multipurpose. It mounts either horizontally on the belt in the small of the back or vertically on the hip. It was a ton of work to figure out how to do that too.
They all turned out well and now I just have a large skinning knife with a gut hook to work on.
For my mother last year on mother’s day I decided to make her a gardening kit. Well, ok, it was more just a garden shovel kit. I ran out of time. But I drew some inspiration for it from her college sorority days. She is a Kappa Alpha Theta and their flower is the pansy. So I carved a pansy for her.
That was actually the first flower I ever carved into leather. Turned out nice and held its for well.
Another quick little build for you — I use my Gerber multipliers a lot. Its a must on the jobsites that I work, you never know when you need a screwdriver or a plier for some hot light or a tripod or anything.
So what better way to carry one then on your belt?
The first version I made was very pretty and held a standard Gerber multiplier. It holds amazingly well, but its a bit too high. being a heavier set guy it jabs me when I bend over. Not the most comfortable sadly.
The second version is made for a Gerber Flik Multi-Plier. In my opinion one of the best out there. Locking blades, Wire stripping needle nose pliers, and the tools are accessible from a closed tool. Its the ultimate in one handed use. Well I made slightly deeper carry pocket for this guy. and man it just disappears on you.