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About VaughnT

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 10/15/2010

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

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  1. Gorgeous. I'd love to have a fine vise like that. I've been thinking about cutting the leg on my vise so I can lower it down closer to the ground like yours is.
  2. Those are some awesome stands. If I had to guess, I'd say they were fixtures for milling and drilling big stuff in a big shop. Think gigantic carpenter's squares or a sort. You could bolt them to the table and then bolt whatever you were milling to the fixture so it stayed perpendicular. I'd give my eye teeth to find something like that. The little details, like a super sexy vise stand, really make a shop stand out!
  3. If I could marry into your family and have a chance at that beauty...... done deal. There's nothing better than having a Fisher anvil. Don't tell anyone I said that, though. I don't need anyone buying them all up!
  4. Honestly, that's a great anvil. You paid a fair price for it and I certainly wouldn't feel bad to pay eight bills for an anvil of that size and quality. You've got a Fisher that's in almost new condition and a perfect size for all the work you could want to do. Fisher anvils are, in my estimation, simply the best ever made. Call me biased all you want, but I'm sticking by that claim. Nice and quiet to work on without having to add magnets or wrap it in miles of chain -- and that's worth a fortune to me! It's an heirloom tool that will outlive you yet needs no annual maintenance other than a quick wipe down with an oily rag. As long as you take care of it, you can turn around and sell it in a few years for at least half what you paid. That basically means you got to use it all those days for just pennies a month. No matter how you cut it, you've got a great tool that's filled with history. Honor it by doing the best work that you can.
  5. I've always referred to those types of guys as fabricators. They don't normally forge any metal, preferring to weld up what they need. In the US, I can't think of a single name that would fit the description other than fabricator. Or, more precisely, 'metal fabricator'.
  6. I walk away all the time. It took some time to learn, and it still hurts a bit, but I found that I was accumulating more than I was using, and I wasn't using anything that was really hard to come across. How many coil springs do I realistically need? It's not like there won't be another dozen when I go to the salvage yard, so why stockpile some at the shop? Now, it if was a truly big spring, like you might find from a locomotive, that would be a rare thing and worth collecting. Right now, I'm in the hunt for an old fly press. Industrial salvage is impossible to find around here, so it'll be awhile before I find a press for the shop, but it's a fun search. If I find some big I-beams or the like, I just might go ahead and build a hydraulic press. But, yea, for the most part, I don't stockpile anything more than I have to. I dream about being able to stockpile and would love to have an acre or three dedicated to rusty iron goodness. The reality is that what I want most is scarce as hen's teeth, so I let someone else do the stockpiling and then I pay them to get a piece here and there.
  7. Beautiful work. Those anvil stands show you have a great eye for design as well as the function, and I'm sure that any customer who saw it would feel very comfortable having you do a job for them. If I could get my shop to look that neat and organized, I'd be in hog heaven!
  8. David, I don't think I could agree more with your thoughts on the smithy. I'm certainly not the epitome of cleanliness and organization, and I struggle with it every single day. But, the goal is as you've illustrated. I constantly preach that people need to build to the best of their ability, and be always willing to refine what they have. It aggravates me no end to see an anvil held down with some shiny chain and a few screws. I understand the necessity of getting something done so you can get started, but keeping it like that forevermore, never once updating it with something nicely forged..... drives me batty every time I see it. An organized workshop makes for a more enjoyable time in the shop. When you can look around, seeing that everything has a place and everything is in its place... that's happiness. I don't know if folks really understand how depressing and aggravating a sloppy shop can be until they spend time in someone else's organized shop. It's like you don't know what you don't know. Build to the best of your ability, and as you learn and grow, go back and update what you've done years ago and make it nicer. Showcase your ability. Surround yourself with the best that you can do, at that time, if for no other reason than it gives you something nice to look at while you're working. And if customers can see it, that "niceness" will pay dividends many times over. One of the best examples of what I try (and fail) to model myself after.... His entire property is filled with his own ironwork, a great way to introduce passersby to the presence of a smith, and when you get into his shop.... everything is just plain beautiful. He didn't have to sculpt the wooden backers that hold his chisels, but why not?!? A bit of extra work, or extra cost if he purchased them, but it shows an attention to detail and a willingness to take things to the next level. As you walk around, how could you not want him to do the job for you? The journey doesn't end and we are constantly reinventing ourselves. The neat little rack I built for my hammers and tongs worked great for a year or so, but it's become crowded and is needing replaced. So, it'll get a complete revamp and I get the chance to showcase what I can do. Maybe no customers will ever see it. Maybe they will. But making it nice, adding flourishes where I can, gives me the opportunity to try things and learn. It's a win-win situation that far too many people are blind to. Keeps preaching, brother. It's good to be reminded from time to time.
  9. I wouldn't finish them any different than any other ironwork you produce. I use paste floor wax because it's convenient and gets the job done. Long-term protection is up to the customers. You're pounding the stake into the soil any finish will be worn off quick. Then leaving it out in the weather.... or putting it near a fire.... again, lots of damage to any finish so any finish will need to be reapplied and such. If you put a cast iron skillet through those conditions, nobody in their right mind would expect the store-bought finish to withstand it. As long as you give it a decent finish to start with, leave the rest up to the end-user.
  10. Yesterday was spent welding.... and I was finally able to get the decorative washers and bolts installed. Finally, after all this time, the door project is nearing what I hope is the end.
  11. May those proud warriors rest in peace.
  12. Exactly why I say Fishers are the best. I've worked on just about every big name anvil and they all get the job done. Fishers do it just as well and do it quietly!
  13. Seems like people are always asking me to do things that are outside my bailiwick rather than just being happy with a simple hook. Recently, a good customer asked me if I could add an extension to the ramps on the trailer he uses to haul his semi-heavy equipment. It's a new trailer and he has to test it to see if the backhoe and other things will be okay as it is... but he's planning on it not being. So he wants to know if I can extend the ramps by 12" or 16" to make the slope more gradual. The frame of the ramp is heavy-wall channel with 2x2x3/16" angle iron cross members. My idea was to create the extension with the same type of channel and put gussets at that span the joint at least 6" on either side. Maybe it would only need one gusset on the inside of the channel? Honestly, the only part that worries me is the technical details about the weight rating and such. I can put the welds down with a reasonable sense of quality, but I just don't know about the math on weights, leverage, etc. If I think about it long, I get the idea that it's not a good idea. But, maybe, this kind of thing is done all the time and I'm just not aware of it. So.... can it be done? is it a good idea?
  14. Had one for years and years, and had just about every tool for it you could ask for. Overall, the Shopsmith is a good piece of kit, but you're not really saving space since you need to have room to store all of the various components. The space-saving component is nice, but it's offset by the aggravation of having to plan your work right so you can do all of your table-saw operations at one time, then do all your drilling at one time, then do all you're planing or routing or whatever else. The set-up and tear-down of the machine when you switch from one operation to the other is pretty quick, but it's still an aggravation and can add a lot of time to the equation. And if you screw it up and forget to make a cut or drill a hole..... ugh! The motor runs too fast for working most metals. You can't use the bandsaw "as is" for cutting steel, so you'll have to buy the gear reduction kit that adds another few hundred to the costs. I think I'm happier now that i have a lot of stand-alone tools that I can just walk up to, flip a switch and get to work. I don't regret having that Shopsmith experience, though, and I think it's something of a right of passage. It's a really neat piece of kit with a huge following. Do a search on Pinterest to see just how innovative Shopsmith owners have become! If you want a 2x72 grinder for making knives, there are a lot of plans for building one that fits on a Shopsmith. Overall, I'd say to use one if you have one and really embrace the whole culture. I guess it's like a Harley.... if I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand.
  15. Um..... no. If you're looking for "specifically sized steel", go to the Tractor Supply Co., Lowe's, Home Depot, or your local metal supply store. They sell steel in all the common sizes, and they have bunches of it. The best part is that it's a reliable source that you know will have what you want. By the time you find that "crossing on a backroad" and "make sure nobody is looking"..... you could just as easily have gone to the store and gotten several feet of new metal that's infinitely better than railroad spikes.