Sunday, August 30, 2015

Some Work on the Van and a Patti Update.


Patti update:

Patti is doing great; she is driving and shopping and puttering around the house. She is mostly pain free except after her PT visits and by the end of the day.

Work on the Van:

A couple of years ago the alternator went out in the van. At that time I removed the auxiliary battery because I thought that maybe it had shorted out and taken out the alternator. I wasn’t using the van for camping at that time so it didn’t need the aux. battery or the inverter.
I decided to to replace the battery with one of the “deep cycle” ones that I have been using at the cabin for the frig. When I hooked up the wire for the inverter, it sparked.
“That’s not right”!

As is turned out the DC to AC inverter had been the part that shorted out and took out everything else.

I went to Harbor Freight and bought a new 1000W inverter.

The new inverter is about half the size of the old one. The old one is on the left.


The wires that power the new inverter are much smaller than the old one; the lugs on the inverter are also smaller so I will have to rewire the system with smaller wires.


The new inverter will be installed on the front of the wheel well box covering the big square hole. There has been two inverters mounted here previously, that’s why there are all those holes.

I should be done with this by the end of today. I hope. :o)


Okay, It took me about an hour to finish the inverter installation.


The light comes on when I turn on the switch so I guess it is working.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Ride to the Cabin and the last Twist Handle.


Ride to the cabin:

Patti was getting really bored and had to get out of the house. We had to pick up some meds at Walmart, which is north of Santa Rosa. Since we were going north anyway we decided to continue north and have lunch at the cabin.
We stopped at the Boonville Market and bought a couple of sandwiches and headed up to the cabin where we found everything in good order. There was evidence of previous visitors but they left the place in good shape.

One thing that surprised me, was that the cabin spring was still ‘after all this drought’ producing water. The stream is small but not to much less that the last time we were up here.


It was a beautiful day at the cabin, as always.

The last twist handle:

This morning, I decided that it was time to finish the “basket twist” handle project.
On Saturday I arc welded the six 1/4” rods to the 1/2” rods.


This morning I heated about half of the construct, especially the area around the welds.
At a dull red I fluxed the area and put it back in the forge to try and bring it to a welding heat. I waited quite a while until the metal was a bright yellow and smoking when I pulled it out of the forge. I quickly hammered all around the joint flattening and merging the steel. The part went back in the forge a few times while I consolidated the weld by hammering. Since the rods were initially arc welded together all I really had to do was smooth everything out.

Once both ends were pounded out it was time to make the twist.
I heated the whole thing, pounded a square on one end of the rod, heated it again and put the round end in the vice and with a twisting tool on the square end, twisted the rods up tight; then backed the twist the opposite direction and pushed against it opening up the basket a little.

After the basket was made the piece was cooled so only the 1/2” rod was heated to a bright red heat in the forge just to where the rod met the basket.

Here is where the new bending fork comes in to play.


The way it works is; the “red hot” piece to be bent is put in between the forks. A length of pipe slipped over the end down close to the fork then you just pull the pipe in the direction you want the bend to go while holding the other end with tongs.
It worked great, got a nice 90° bend with out distorting the basket.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures while I was making the last handle but here is a picture of all the handles.


Okay, that’s it for now.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Work on another twist handle.


Patti update:

Patti is doing great. I know she is feeling better because she is getting very bored and is anxious to start driving again.

More twist handle work:

The second handle that I tried to make was a little different than the first one in that it is made in five parts. The first part was the Basket Twist grip. which you saw in the last post.

Next I made the “legs” for the handle.


These I made from 1/2” rod that I punched a square hole in one end of and then drew the metal down to a taper and put a twist in them.

In the below picture you can see how the handle fits to the legs.


Next, the two leaves for the base had to be made. First, I traced the leaf pattern on a piece of 1/8” flat stock and cut the leaves out on the ban saw. Once they were cut out I heated them up and peened the surface to give the metal that hand forged look. Next I had to drill the screw holes and the center hole to accept the legs. Fitting the whole thing together was pretty finicky and took me a long time. I was hopping that I could push the ends of the legs through the center hole in the leaf and peen the ends over like a rivet. I tried that but couldn’t get it tight enough and it left a large lump on the back of the leaf so it won’t sit flat. I ended up grinding the lump off and welding the leg to the leaf.

Here is how it turned out. In the picture it looks a little crooked but the handle isn’t welded to the legs it is just slipped through the square holes. Once it is screwed down it will straitened out.


The last handle:

I started the last handle. I decided to keep the first handle that I made and make another one like it.

A new tool for the job:

I made a bending fork so it will be easier to bend the legs without distorting the handle. The bottom end of the fork fits in the hardy hole in the anvil.


First, I made the leaves for the feet of the handle. Then I cut the 1/4” rods for the basket and welded them to the 1/2” rod for the legs.


The next thing I will have to do is heat the work and pound it into the shape I want,
then twist the basket, bend the legs and weld on the leaf shaped feet.

That’s it for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Patti update and some more smithing.


Patti update:

Patti is doing great! Yesterday we went to the out patient PT place and they said that she is doing much better than most patients at this stage.

More work at the forge:


The weather has been quite warm (high ninety’s) so I have only been working a couple of hours in the morning.

I twisted up another handle using the 1/4” rods you see in the below picture.
You can see the twisted part also in this picture.


I used four of the rods. First I wired the bundle together then I clamped the bundle in the vice and tack welded the ends together.


Once I had the ends stuck together I attempted to forge weld about an inch of the end.


The end on your left welded fine but I had some trouble with the right end so I had to arc weld it together, then pound it out so it looks forged. I have some work to do on this handle. I’m still trying to perfect the process.
The next thing I will have to do is make the legs for the the handle. I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do there only time will tell.

Making some more tools:

A square hot punch:

I found an old, small, rusty, ball peen hammer and decided to try and make a small square hot punch.
I cut the handle off and put the hammer head in the forge to heat it. Once it was hot I forged out the ball into a square punch. Once I had the punch end the way I wanted it I replaced the handle.

Here is the finished punch.


Some hold downs:

Many years ago I was watching a program called “The Wood Wright’s Shop” on PBS.
In this episode the wood wright made some steel hold downs. These are used to hold work to a work bench or anvil.

The hold downs are easy to make and use. You just hammer a flat on one end of a steel rod then bend it leaving the tail end a little longer.


Here is one on the anvil holding down a piece of square stock. The tail end is locked in the pritchel hole.


To lock the hold down you just tap it down with a hammer.


To release just tap the hold down on the back and it will pop up.


I use hold downs like this for all kinds of holding situations. All my bench tops have holes drilled in them for this purpose. Here is one holding a piece of wood on the bench top.


The hold downs hold strong enough that I even have had an arbor press held down to a bench with them. It started as a temporary setup but it has been this way for years.


I highly recommend making some of these for your shop they are very handy.

Okay that’s all for today. Talk to you later.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Patti update and a blower for the forge.


Patti’s update:

Patti is doing well although the last couple of days she has been a bit depressed. She was having a lot of nausea and constipation and has had no appetite lately. We decided to take her off all the narcotic pain killers on Tuesday. Today she says she is feeling a bit better but still has some nausea but I think her appetite is improving. She had a piece of toast and a peach for breakfast.

A blower for the forge:

Many years ago I built a small propane powered forge so I could make hand forged knives and other small items.


The burner is just a couple of small brass plugs that are drilled to the proper size for propane and screwed into the square tubing that goes across the top of the tubes that feed into the forge. The gas is connected to the square tubing and feeds through the jets.
Air is drawn in around the tubing and into the forge through venturi action. The fire in the forge draws air down the tube.

The problem:

The system works pretty well except when the forge gets very hot. When that happens, there isn’t enough air flowing into the tubes and the flame burns inside the pipe instead of in the forge. I have found that if I blow down the pipe the flame goes back into the forge for a short time. But after a bit the flame is pushed back up the pipe to the jet by the heat in the forge. If I leave the door on the forge open it works better but the forge runs cooler with the door open.

The solution:

For a long time I have thought about putting a blower on the forge but I stopped smithing a few years ago so never got around to doing it.

This week I decided that I needed to put a blower on the forge as I will need it to get hot enough to forge weld the basket twist handles for Dave’s wine barrel cooler. 

I decided to use plumbing parts to build an air manifold. I wanted to use Black iron pipe parts but couldn’t find enough black iron pipe in the size I needed so I compromised and used galvanized pipe in stead. The only reason I didn’t want to use galvanized parts is because it is hard to weld to as the steel is low quality and the zinc coating will give you a headache when it is burned off. When I weld on galvanized metal I always grind the zinc coating off first. I also make sure that I have a fan blowing the smoke away from me.

Okay here is the forge with the gas bar and the jets removed.


I had to weld some ears on the side of the 1-1/4” “T’s” to connect them to the venturi pipes.


As you can see in the above picture I used two 1-1/4 “T’s” instead of using one “T” and one elbow. The reason for this it that I didn’t know if the blower would be too strong and maybe blow the flame out so I wanted a way to depressurize the system when the blower is on. Also I was concerned that the forge would not have enough air to start with the blower off so I used a “T” with a damper type valve on it.


To make the damper, I drilled a 10-32 tap hole in the lip of the “T”.


Then I tapped the hole for a 10-32 screw.


Next I had to make the damper plate.

I cut out the shape that I wanted for the damper plate.IMGP5791

Here is how it looks on the manifold.


Mounting the blower and the plumbing:

I had to make a plate to connect the pipes from the blower to the manifold.
I cut a square piece of sheet metal the size of the blower output. Next I drilled four mounting holes in the sheet; after that I used a hole saw to make a hole in the center to attach a piece of pipe to.


Here is the pipe inserted into the hole prior to welding to the plate.


The pipe was cut off the gas cylinder lying on the table; It turned out to be the right size  to connect a piece of flex pipe to.

Here is the whole thing put together and working. I still need to clean up the wiring for the blower and clamp down the gas feed pipe.


Here you can see the blower mounted to the cart with the flex pipe connecting to an old “Direct TV” antenna mast and then to the manifold. I originally had a light dimmer control weird into the system but the motor wouldn’t start with the dimmer in the system.
I’m not sure why as it turned out the speed control isn’t necessary.

The damper doesn’t appear to have much effect on the system ether.

Time will tell if air injection will actually solve the back-burning problem.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A fairly productive day.


Patti update:

Yesterday was pretty productive; Patti took a walk about half way down the block with the PT lady.
Patti is getting stronger all the time and is doing great.

My brother Sonny stopped by. We had a nice visit.

Fixing the Jeep:

I finally found the squeak in the jeep.
It turned out that the left rear spring pack “U”blots were a little loose. One of the nuts took about two turns to tighten.
It is a good thing I found that, it could have become dangerous. I went over all the spring bolts with a long breaker bar and made sure there were no other loose ones.

Once that was taken care of, I put two new modified clamps on the tail pipe. I think this should keep the pipe in place for a while.

Okay that’s it, talk to you later.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Patti’s knee update.


Patti update:

On Thursday we took Patti to her first post-op visit with the doctors assistant to see how she was doing. They say she is doing great!
She is beginning to walk around the house without the walker.


The only problem is, the the pain medication is causing constipation. We are working on that.


I haven’t been doing a lot of work the last couple of days.

I did make some changes to the tire carrier on the jeep. I replaced the swivel that connected the carrier to the back door of the jeep with a piece of heavy rubber strap. I think this will work better. Only time will tell.

I have also been trying to find a squeak that only happens when I accelerate or decelerate.
I found a transmission mount that was a little loose and tightened that. I greased everything that I could find on the suspension. I took a little test ride and the squeak is still there. I guess I’ll have to go over the entire jeep with wrenches and tighten every bolt I can find. Bummer!

Okay that’s it for now. I’ll talk to you in a couple of days.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Patti’s update and a new project.


Patti’s update:

Patti’s is doing well.
At the moment the PT person is here to cause her some new pain.

When she left, the therapist said that Patti was; “doing great!”

A guillotine swage:

I have been looking for different ways to build a swage that I don’t have to hold in one hand while trying to shape the metal with the other hand.
“The spring swage” was my first and unsatisfactory attempt. I decided that I needed to do some research and see what others were using.

While watching some blacksmithing videos on youtube the other day I saw a couple of different approaches to the problem.
The one I liked the best was a guillotine swage.
It was made from a piece of rectangular tubing for the body and some pieces of flat bar for the dies.
It looked very easy to build.
Now I had to see if I had the materials do do it.
I scrounged round in my metal scrap and came up with a piece of 1” X 2” thick wall steel tubing, a short piece of 1/2 X 2” flat bar and a 3/4 x 3/4 bar.

Here you can see the flat par in the upper left, the tubing in the lower right and the
3/4 X 3/4 bar at the bottom. 


As things worked out the flat bar was to wide to fit in the tubing so I had to split the tubing and do some welding.

Here is how it went:

The first thing to do was to mark the tubing for the split and mark the cut out for the mouth of the tool.


The punch marks are for holes to turn the saw in, I ended up cutting it out on the ban saw.

After drilling the holes I welded on a short piece of 3/4” square to the side of the tube as seen below.


The 3/4” bare will fit in the hardy hole on the anvil to hold the tool upright.

Assembling the tool:

After splitting the tube, I clamped the flat bar and a hacksaw blade on edge as a spacer between the pieces of the tube and the flat bar.


I welded some flat pieces of 1/8” thick stock across the gaps.

Here is what it looks like cleaned up a little. You can see the hardy on the left side going into the anvil.


Making the dies:

The next project was to make the dies. I decided to try making a die that would form a 1/2” round and a 3/8” round.

Here is how I did it.

I took the flat bar, which was about 6” by 2” x 1/2” and cut 2” off the end, then I clamped the pieces back together and  center punched where I wanted the holes along the seam between the two parts.
Next I clamped the pieces together in the drill press and drilled one 3/8” and one 1/2” hole between the two pieces.

Here is the tool body and die laid out on the vice.


Here it is set up to use on the anvil.


Here is the tool in use; putting a 3/8” round end on a 1/2” square bar. You stick the end of the hot bar in the hole and hit the end of the die with a hammer. That’s the theory any way.


I found that the dies were a bit loose and it made it hard to get things to match up properly but I was still able to get a formed end on the rod. I tried adjusting it by laying  the tool body on the anvil and hammering middle of the back in to tighten it up that seamed to help.

Of course if one is careful about purchasing the material so that the parts fit together tighter, this project would be much easier and the result would likely be better. Even so It works and it is simple to make.

Here is the result of my first attempt to form a round end on a square rod.


Yah, I know, it looks a little rough but as I said It was my first attempt. I found that I had to do some of the reduction the traditional way on the anvil with a hammer but I finished it in the tool. I think I’ll have to make some more adjustments to the tool and work on my technique.
I’m going to make a couple more dies for the tool and see if I can get some use out of it.

Ok, that was a good project maybe it will help me later.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

An update on Patti.


Patti is doing well.

We have been concentrating on Patti’s rehabilitation; Pain, bowl control and exercise.

We removed the pain depressant pump on Friday. It was a rubber bulb filled with anesthetic under pressure with a long very thin catheter that was inserted under the skin to impinge on the nerve for the front of the knee. The anesthetic is injected automatically into the nerve, deadening it.
The removal was simple; remove the tape and pull out the tube.
That is one less thing that Patti has to deal with.

Patti has had a couple visits from the PT person and is doing good.

New recliners:

Yesterday our new recliners were delivered. Now Patti has a decent chair to sit on.


Every thing is going well so far.