Forging into the New Year
December 31, 2017, 1:12 pm
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December 31, 2017

What a year 2017 has been for all of us here at the farm and around the country as well. I, of course, have been outfitted with two new knees. The farm has three new building additions. The feedlot was expanded. The female animal numbers have been increased for future breeding prospects with the sheep and cattle…and Abby the Percheron too I guess. The forge shop is all set up for useful future projects and a little fun too. These things make me happy, but one of the most wonderful things that happened in 2017, was having all of our family present at one time, to break bread and make memories! It was awesome and will be repeated at least annually from now on.

We got the forge shop all set up last week. I warmed the chimney and built the first fire in the forge. My sessions are very short, but positive none-the-less. Yesterday, I played around and made a tiny cowboy hat paperweight.


It was fun to make this little trinket. I have much to learn, but I had a good time. I even felt a little productive!

2018, will be here in a few hours. I wish for all of my readers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year! I pray that you can fill it with family and friends. The older that I get, the more I realize that family and friends are what truly matters in life…everything else is fluff. Sure, we need jobs and we have to make a living…but don’t get so caught up in making a living that we forget to make a life!            Happy New Year Everyone!

Making Old, New Again
September 19, 2017, 2:45 pm
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September 19, 2017

It is a wonderful feeling to take something old and make it new again. In the photo above an old Leg Vice is pictured. I bought this thing years ago for $75.00. It was buried in dirt and covered in rust and cobwebs. My wife was pretty sure that I was crazy, but I could see what could be. I just needed time to make it new again. Just as my “new” knee replaced my worn out old one, I knew I could make this old blacksmith vice usable again.

I enlisted the help of my friend Ron to do some welding. I bought the scrap round plate from my friend Dave in Michigan. We assembled the vice so that it can be rolled out when needed and stored against the shop wall, out of the way, the rest of the time. I think it turned out very well. I need to forge a new spring to replace the one that is missing, but that will be a fun future project.

I spent almost three days disassembling and cleaning the old vice ( probably should have taken only half a day). I move real slow at the moment. Lifting is a challenge and speed is a memory, but the progress is wonderful. I am thinking very soon I will be using the old vice to make ornamental hooks, latches, candle holders and all sorts of stuff. I am getting excited or perhaps it’s just because all this downtime is making me stir crazy?! Oh well, These little projects are keeping me busy and helping me to do useful things as well! That for sure is making something old new again!

Forging Ahead
September 17, 2017, 10:19 pm
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September 17, 2017

I continue to heal and am starting to get around a little. I sit a lot and move slow, but mostly in a forward direction! Progress is slow but steady. I have been working in my old shop. I am slowly turning it into a forge room. I want to do blacksmithing in my retirement years. It is a hobby that I have embraced for years but have not had the time to devote to it.

I have been acquiring tools and equipment for the last 30 years. These last few days, I have been wire brushing tools, hanging up stuff and restoring order. I had to move a bunch of junk (also known as treasure :o)  Some of the stuff my wife has been helping me sort and move. The heavy stuff, I have been relying on friends and family to move as I direct. I am very sure EVERYONE will be happy when my knee replacement is finally healed!

I am pretty impressed with my use of wood. An oak log made good anvil stands. One stump is almost thirty years old. A pair of horses of mine dragged it out of the woods in 1991. My small anvil has sat on it since. I painted it down with boiled linseed oil again today. I think it made it look almost new again.

The cone mandrel ( the dunce looking thing) is actually one that goes in a hardy hole in an anvil. I took a log, shaved it down with my chainsaw and placed the mandrel on top. I’m sure it will work fine to make an occasional ring when needed. I can roll it around the shop as needed when needed. I have less than $80.00 invested, A real one made for the purpose of forming rings costs well over a thousand dollars if you can find one.

I’m pretty happy with my efforts so far. Last week this stuff was covered in rust and dust. I used a bunch of rags, lots of WD-40 and a wire wheel on a drill. I wore out a pair of pants from sitting so long. I messed up an apron, trying to keep some of the grime off me. I’m not sure it worked, because it took almost half a bar of lava soap to clean my face and arms. Oh well, I’m keeping busy and forging ahead.