Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Garden hoes and camp axes offered for sale

Due to a number of inquiries since posting them, I'm adding garden hoes and camp axes to my price guide.

A garden hoe, forged from a single piece of spring steel, hardened and tempered, is $65 for the head alone, $80 for the head with a handle fitted, shipping not included. The necks on these hoes will be beefier than the one I made for myself.

A camp ax of this approximate size is $150, shipping not included.

Camp ax

I completed this two nights ago. It's for myself to help clear brush, but it's a good camp ax size. It's forged from heavy duty pickup axle, cleaned up by grinding, and heat treated. The handle is kind of hastily done, shaped down from a cruiser ax handle.

I'm still going to play some with the grind of the bevel.

I think it has darn good-looking lines. Must be the sideburns on it. :) Had two folks already order one for themselves just from seeing it in my shop. Gotta get busy!

Purple heart on a knife for a Purple Heart Vietnam Vet

This knife was ordered by a Vietnam vet. He wanted a small utility neck knife with some self defense capability. He liked the knife I made for my girlfriend, so we went with a scaled-down version with a forge finish. When I saw his Purple Heart license plates, I suggested using purple heart wood for the handle. He liked the idea, and added that he'd like to incorporate some antler. He brought an antler in, we talked it over and settled on a design.

The blade is pretty small. It's forged from 5160, with a forge finished double guard. The sheath is made by knifemaker Luke Swenson since I don't work leather. As soon as Luke found out the customer was a Vietnam veteran, he dropped the price to half, and when he found out he was a Purple Heart, he said he'd make it for free. I was unable to financially be as generous, but I charged the minimum price. The customer was very pleased, and ended up giving each of us a small abstract painting from a series he had painted (he's an artist) in gratitude. Mine's orange, predominently. :) I like it!

The customer wanted a neck sheath. Luke built one that could be rigged with a neck thong or could be worn on a belt.

The customer was very happy with what we made for him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I have the make my own garden tools!

I currently live in an apartment not far from my shop. I don't have a garden, but there is a bit of a yard, and it grows a lot of grassburrs. If you aren't familiar with these, count yourself lucky. They are resilient plants and their seeds are little spheres covered with spikes that have microscopic barbs. These can easily drive deeply enough into unsuspecting flesh to draw blood and hurt like the devil to pull back out. The seeds grow in clusters, and when dry will scatter at the slightest disturbance, spreading themselves and attaching to anything mobile so they may come to soil further afield. These end up in my carpet, where they are suddenly encountered with my bare feet.

So I need to hoe the plants in my apartment's yard before they can produce seeds. I didn't have a hoe. The ones available for sale at Home Despot and similar stores are heavy, ugly, with blades at the wrong angle, likely as not made in Communist China, and generally unsatisfactory.

Good thing I have a power hammer.

This is what I forged out last week. It is forged from a single piece of scrap leaf spring that I had in my shop. I hardened and temepred it, and managed to find a handle to put it on (it was actually more difficult to find the handle than to make the head because stores expect you to buy a new tool rather than replace a handle, a sure sign of our degenerating civilization ;) ). It is held on by friction at the moment, but will be receiving a screw to help hold it on if it becomes loose.

It's lightweight, is at the correct angle for use, and is much more interesting and beautiful than what I could have found in a store. It's almost sculptural in form. And most importantly, it works well.

Forged stand for carved wooden element

I was put in contact with an interior decorator who had a carved piece of architectural woodwork for a client to display on her mantle and needed a stand for it. After consulting with the client a bit and looking at the wood, this is what I made for it. The steel is textured with tooling on the power hammer, and has been painted black.

Integral handled hunting sword

Finally finished this up. Added more red ink to the handle, gave it more layers of clear shellac, and put something of an edge on it. Not as sharp as I typically do; unlike most of my other work, this is more of an art piece, and I'd rather not have accidental cuts happen while it's on display.

A closeup showing that the handle is indeed an integral socket:

And showing the full length of the handle. That's a plug of pecan wood on the end, sealled with black shellac.

I gave it to my brother in appreciation for his help through the years. He seemed to really like it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Custom integral socket handle machete

This one is ready to be picked up by the customer. He's clearing a section of his property, which is heavily covered in cedar and briars. This will be seeing action in that regard.

The blade is around 16" long, with an unsharpened false edge. The steel is brand new 5160, multiple hardened in veggie oil prior to multiple tempering cycles. Handle is wrapped in hemp cord with cotton cord double Turk's head knots at the ends, all sealed with black shellac.

Since briars were a major reason for the commission of the machete, the design is pointed more toward slashing than the short, recurved machete with a scabbard I posted recently. It'll still chop like an ax, don't get me wrong!

A look at the socket prior to being wrapped:

It's built for a righty, with the seam toward the fingers.

A closer look at the end of the socket which is rolled over:

I always enjoy making a good using tool. There are subtleties in physics and biomechanics that have to accounted for that cannot be understood fully unless you use tools yourself. And using a good tool like that is an especial pleasure as well. They just kind of sing to you is the best way I know to put it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Custom machete with wooden scabbard

I haven't posted any new work for a while. Been busy during that time, though. Some of what I've been working on will be posted later.

This short custom machete is ready to ship to its owner now. It has a 13.5" blade forged from leaf spring and was hardened multiple times in veggie oil prior to multiple tempering cycles. It has an integral socket handle wrapped in hemp cord, with a cotton cord double Turk's head knot at the front, all sealed with amber shellac.

Here it is prior to heat treatment:

It ended up with a bit more recurve.

I tested it out on some dead hackberry, which is never easy to cut, prior to sharpening. Here's the video of that:

Then I built a scabbard for it out of padouk wood. The scabbard is ambidextrous and has multiple holes for a variety of carrying and accessory mounting options. The overall package is light, and the blade is very lively in the hand, although as you can see it will easily tackle big chores.

And now that it's actually sharp, let's see what it will do: