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Doug Ayen

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Last week's activities [May. 29th, 2004|02:18 pm]
Doug Ayen
We've been getting ready for an office move this week, so I've been working pretty long hours. Working today, in fact, as well as tomorrow. Still, got in a bit of time during the week in the workshop.

Decided to hammer out some metal for a sword, using the power hammer. did OK for the first 2 feet plus, call it about 26", then lost control and dinged the spine pretty well. Since the power hammer is like a 50 lb sledge hammer, it took the 1/4" stock thickness down to about 3/16", so I think I'll just make this a short sword.

In between heats, I worked on the axes, sanding the now-stabilized and dried handles. One of the handles still managed to split, which is impressive considering it had aged for a year before I started working on it, then did the vacuum stabilization thing on it. My guess is that the wood had split before I put it in the chamber, and the stresses of the stabilization just forced it open. I"ve glued it shut, but there'll be a glue line visible in the final piece unless I stain it or put some other dark finish on it. I was hoping to do a amonia and linseed oil finish, I might just go with a spar varnish now.

A fried just inherited some knives that his mother collected in SE Asia during the 50s, some interesting pieces. One of them needs a new handle, so I"m going to go though some of my books and see if I can figure out what kind of handle it would have had and make a replacement. Fortunately I have a number of woods in stock from the area, including persimmon, camphor, and lacewood.

Haven't had much time otherwise. I did have to spend time mowing the lawn, as I finally got the lawnmower all fixed up. I do believe I have now replaced every belt on that thing this year. Next year, assuming the belts last that long, I'll start the year off by putting new belts on -- it's worth it just to avoid the frustration of belts breaking halfway though mowing a yard.

The power hammer is all up and running again, ditto the coal and propane forges. Propane was getting scarce last week in preparation for Memorial day -- I could only find one full tank at three stores. I usually get two at a time so that it takes longer to run out. The forge is efficient enough that a full 20 lb tank will last several hours at low pressure, but at the higher pressures they do tend to both run out fast and, more annoyingly, cool down until they stop giving off gas -- all the LP wants to remain liquid. Dunking the container into the quench tank will warm it up, but runs the risk of ending up with a propane tank covered in an inch or more of ice.

I should have Monday off, or at least so I hope, so I'll hopefully be in the shop again. It's definitely time to finish off some projects.