Saturday, May 31, 2014

Forging Ahead-Lessons From a Teenage Son

A while back my son Logan came home from a bike ride with a friend of his and a bucket of railroad spikes. My only thought was "don't tell your mother you were walking around the railroad tracks". Who hasn't done that as a kid. Anyway, Logan had this big idea of making knives out of them. His drive was his friend and probably you-tube. He mentioned it several times but I did not take him serious until I saw my pole barn. Logan set it all up as a forge. He even blocked in my lawn mower so I new what we were doing today. I really was impressed with how efficient he set it up. I particularly like the gas forge on blocks. I hooked up the propane and we were ready.

 Now everything I have read about RR spikes is that they don't have enough carbon to hold an edge. But this is an exercise for Logan to do something that has been on his mind for a long time and I think he will learn a lot.
 The spike goes in and I think we were both giddy with excitement not really knowing what may occur.
 As Logan begins to pound the metal I could see how much he enjoyed seeing it begin to take shape.
 Many trips back to the heat before finally quenching in water. We were having a good time and I was so glad to have Logan away from the video games for a change.
 Bam! We have a knife. No reason to heat treat since the lack of carbon in the RR spike would not  make any difference. We semi sharpened and polished her up. Logan has taught me a lot today....what next?
 All this fun got me thinking about the O1 tool steel that I had. Naturally I had to try and make a drawknife no matter how crude it might be.
 Bam! We now have a drawknife. This thing actually took an incredible edge and cuts great. Might even be worth fashioning some handles. The drawsharp worked great getting her sharp in short order. I may have to do this again but make a scorp next..............
 Logan decided to attach the hammers to the stump, way cool Logan. He is really getting into this.
 Well as we say here in Music City "the proof is in the pickin" and the new chair makers bench has been broken in carving the first seat. I could not be happier. The only problem was where to place it in the shop.
 I decided perpendicular to the other bench. Plenty of room to work around each bench and still close to the tool cabinet. Tomorrow I'll take the day off then Monday hit the ground running hard getting some chairs out the door.


  1. Could there be a blacksmith in the making???

  2. That' fantastic that he's taking an interest in smithing at such a young age; and that he has access to everything he needs. Blacksmithing and woodworking are a great combination. I foresee holdfast, metal bench hooks, hand forged nails, hinges, etc. :-)

    Your chair makers bench looks great also and I never get tired of seeing pictures of that beautiful shop of yours.