RicelandMeadows


Steel Away for the Weekend

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August 16, 2018

I had a great time last weekend at Tiller’s International in Scotts Michigan. I took their knife making class. Last year, I took two blacksmithing courses. This was just “continuing education” I guess. I learned a bunch of new stuff thanks to good instruction and hands on learning.

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This very simple “clamp” in the photo above, became a good friend as I sanded and rubbed on the steel knife. I forged the blade from 5160 steel, then learned to grind and sand the blade into a functional piece.

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We learned to fit a handle on the blade. I am pleased with my first attempt to make a knife, but I see imperfections that I will work on for the next one. This is a good blade… even if it did take me two full days to make it!

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I even ventured into file work. I free handed the “X’s” into the back of the blade for my thumb to rest on. Again, I learned things that I will do different, but am satisfied by my efforts. I need to work a bit more on the finish…but… “It will cut” as they say.

Tiller’s International is an institution that strives to bring old, early American methods in farming and homesteading to poor countries. They build small agricultural equipment out of materials found in those poor countries, like rebar, shipping containers, and bicycle parts. They make hand tools and oxen pulled pieces as well.

The international part of the Tiller’s mission, is made possible by training learned from preserving America’s past. I am glad they share. Classes in timber framing, tool making, coopering, tin smithing, commercial barrel making from white oak staves, oxen and draft horse driving basics and more. Check out their website for classes and events at http://www.tillersinternational.org  This non-profit organization can use your help, why not enrich your life while helping them out?  It worked good for me as I was able to “steel away for the weekend!”



Fire in the Forge
January 20, 2018, 9:00 pm
Filed under: January 2018 | Tags: , , , , , ,

fireinforge

January 20, 2018

The weather warmed up today. My uncle and I spent a few hours hammering around in the forge room. We had a fun few hours, laughed a lot and made a few memories. He brought me a bucket of treasure. It was filled with broken saw blades, chunks of steel cutoffs, a lawnmower blade even some lengths of stainless steel rod. I don’t have any idea what they may become, I only know it will be fun to sort it all out.

My uncle is my mother’s older brother. He has always been there for me. He is a busy guy with his own family to look after, but always found time to help me, encourage me and basically watch over me. His younger brother also keeps a close eye on me. I can never thank them enough for their gifts to me…the best gift of all…their time!

So, as we spent time today, it meant a lot to me. We talked about all sorts of stuff, including how much my mother would have enjoyed the hooks we were making. I’m sure she got a kick out of us being together…even today. I know that I sure did.

As I get better at this forging and fabricating stuff, I can see one day I may be able to make some money doing this. I feel as though an ancient Scotchman holds my fist, as I strike with the hammer. I am sure that in my bloodline from the Highlands of Scotland, a blacksmith reigns. This skill comes very easily to me. I can see the finished product in the white hot metal as it comes out of the forge. I am intrigued. I am amazed and I am blessed.