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About VaughnT

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    Northwest SC
  • Interests
    Shooting, reading, woodworking, more reading, metal working, photography, etc.

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  1. VaughnT

    200 year old colonial tongs

    Just because someone says they were used by their great, great, great, great grandfather doesn't actually mean they were. He might honestly believe it, but memories are fickle things and those tongs might be confused with another set. Or, the guy added a couple "great" to the equation. No intent to defraud, but honest mistakes happen all the time. Personally, the tongs aren't anything special and I wouldn't try to repair them unless you're well versed in working wrought iron. They aren't especially well designed tongs since the boss area around the rivet is so very thin. I have a pair of tongs very similar and they're great for holding little things and moving them around in the forge. I don't use them for much more than pick-up tongs, though they do fairly well when I'm forging small stuff. New tongs aren't so expensive, and yours have a nice story. Use them as pick-up tongs for light/thin stuff and enjoy having them around.
  2. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Honestly, I haven't been able to figure that part out. Not having one in hand to examine, I wonder if it's for increased visibility as you're working the part. With the jaws out from the stem, you can see where you're working from all four sides. Then again, GS Tongs has a very unique perspective on things. He might have done it just to do it and set his gear apart from the herd much like he did with his tool designs.
  3. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    The guy from GS Tongs does one very similar and I always thought it was a pretty brilliant idea. Simple enough that anyone could do it, even if it meant riveting instead of welding. The lack of a "bottom" under the lower die really makes you smack your own noggin because you didn't think of it. One of those brilliant little ideas that makes a whole lot of sense. Why have a bottom plate when the anvil face is as good a bottom as anything you could whip together?!?! :O
  4. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    I make three varieties -- the dog tag style pictured, the Cornucopia and the Shield. All three were designed around the idea that they could be wearable and not look out of place. You can attach them to a necklace, or sport them on your knife sheath much like folks do with ferro rods. Of course, they don't have to have chased designs on them. I don't make the big strikers like a lot of folks do. While these are smaller and harder to handle, that's the trade-off you make for the convenience and appearance.
  5. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Thank you. And, yes, that is Texas flint. I keep some variety of stones on hand so I can test my flint strikers before they go out the door. So far, Texas flint does the best of any stone I've tried. Remarkable stuff, really.
  6. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Had a customer ask if I could cut a football into a pendant for a dear friend of hers that's a coach. Never tried it, had no idea if it'd work out, but I found a nice line-drawing on the internet and used that as my template. Since it's for a coach, I talked her into going with a 1095 high-carbon alloy that was hardened in the forge's fires for the pendant. I figure the coach would appreciate all the sports metaphors he could get out of that. She agreed.
  7. Layered steel will always be a bear to cut with a tap. It's kinda like using a handsaw to cut through plywood -- you can do it, but it's not the easiest thing to do and the large teeth make for a ragged cut and a lot of binding. Greenfield Tap and Die is one of the best brands. Here's a wonderful video on their taps and how you can best use them.... Super-fun to watch! Toolmex, out of Poland, is getting good reviews everywhere I see them mentioned. Guhring/Powertap, from Germany, isn't too shabby and has that German quality that you'd expect. Personally, I love searching for vintage/antique sets in the old wood boxes. Even if the taps are shot, rusted to bits and dull as a fritter, the die stock and tap wrench more than make up for it. If you can get a set with the nice color case hardening still intact.... you're a winner in life. Just look at this beautiful set. A light bit of wire brushing to remove the rust from the tap wrench handles and you'd have a real beauty on your hands! The taps and dies are meant to be replaced as they wear, but those handles are works of art that can't be bought new anymore. Or something like this where each die gets its own handle! Yea, it's an addiction! Even if I never use the blasted things, I'd rather they be in my shop than on the wall of some boutique hairdresser's place as part of a hipster-chic industrial design thing.
  8. VaughnT

    Carving Letters in Steel.

    Thanks Duck. Got to do some chasing on a dish the other day. Sadly, when I was stamping in the date, the #1 stamp flew off to parts unknown. Now I have to hunt down either a single stamp... or buy another set. I was thinking about going up to 3/16" numbers rather than the 1/8" that I currently use. Not sure if that'd be a good idea or not, but...
  9. That's a reamer, not a drill bit. The trick is that there's a keyway cut into the end. The key is good high-carbon steel with a nice sharp edge/corner just like you'd want on a lathe tool. To increase the cut after every pass, you place a shim of paper under the key to raise it up a hair. It takes a lot of oil and a lot of passes to get your bore sized right and smoothed out. Then it's on to the rifling!
  10. Looking around, I found a supplier of taps and dies out of Poland. Most of the stuff I'm finding for a decent price is from china and I really don't like buying from them any more than I have to. I need to get a 1/2-13 set just so I'll have them around if I need them. Almost bought another tap/die set until I saw that it also had the 1/2-12BSW in it. What I might do is buy the round dies that'll fit the stock I already have. Then I can make up a wood box to hold them all pretty like. I won't need many since I don't do a lot of threading. But it's something to feed the addiction!
  11. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Great job, MC. That post really does your ironwork proud! I just might have to borrow that notion!
  12. Amen, Anvil. Amen. I never have understood the preference for the latter when you seem to spend so much time sharpening them only to wear them down to a nub on the very next mark you make.
  13. Ain't that the truth. I always wondered why they called them "gun" taps, and now I know. That channel on YT has several nice tutorial movies on various things. The piece on the Verniers and Micrometer was very educational, but a Steel Rule is about as far as I ever need to go in measuring things. I use my steel rule and combination square all the time in the shop. No soapstone or silver pencil for me! How automatic threading heads work!
  14. VaughnT

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Very nice bit of work! And you're right, no reason to buy something when you can make something of such good quality! That's a hook he'll have for decades into the future, maybe buried in a box somewhere, but you can be sure he'll remember it fondly when he runs across it again! Good job on the plug-welding from the back. The crisp transition is exactly what it called for. The only thing I would have suggested different would have been to drill a 3/4" hole in the base plate and chisel through a few radial lines. Then you could have drifted the hole open larger, driving the "spikes" out much like you see when a rifle round punches through some sheet metal. Insert the tentacle, weld from the back, and then glue on some felt or leather to hide the joint. It would look like the tentacle was breaching through and you'd have a convenient way to hide the joint with a scratch-free surface. Love those suckers on the tentacles. Makes me wish I had a MIG gun instead of the ol' stick-burner! I've tried and tried, but I just can't make that happen with the arc welder.
  15. I absolutely love these old-school educational videos. I don't know who they got for narrating all these things, but that guy's voice takes me all the way back! He did a lot of work for a lot of movies back in the day! Greenfield Tap & Die So if you every wanted to know something about taps and dies for threading.... sit back and enjoy twenty-six minutes of glorious 1950's cinematography!