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About bigfootnampa

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/12/1951

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  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, whitesmithing, woodworking, photography, fly fishing, faux painting, fine finishing.

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  • Location
    Saint Louis, MO
  • Interests
    Woodworking, metalsmithing, photography, fly fishing, carving
  1. I can see that. I mostly use buckskins and light to mid weight leathers. Even upholstery leather can be the devil to push a needle through... pre-punching is essential. This awl slices right in though. Each corner cuts like a knife blade. i used to have some trouble keeping the stitches neatly spaced... now my brain is wired... I can often hit an invisible hole from the backside, just by knowing where it ought to be. I mostly lace things together, but for zippers, I need glue and stitching. Also some fine details like the leaf grommet are a bit small for lace attachments.
  2. This tool is really SHARP! It takes little effort to push it through the leather by hand. If I can get a backer behind it I'll use a small plastic cutting board with sticky foam sheets built up to the right thickness to get just the right penetration. If I can only get fingers back there I am careful to feel for the point and align it to pass between my fingers. Best technique is to wiggle and twist it while pushing gently. Where I can get the backer in position I can just shove it through. The square corners cut as it penetrates. It is way easier to push through than a round awl! I can punch many more holes by hand than I could with a drill press because of far greater speed in alignment. Even punching through three layers of leather plus a zipper tape is no problem at all. So it really makes a tiny + shaped hole. The holes reclose so quickly that I sometimes have to repunch them to find them on the back side.
  3. Strictly speaking this project does not involve forging... though it could. I think it might be useful for smiths who also make scabbards or other leather projects though. I made this sewing awl to punch sewing holes for my needles on leather pieces where the throats of my punch pliers is not deep enough to reach. It was about a 15 minute job repurposing an old straight blade screwdriver with my belt grinder and another 20 minutes or so to make the little scabbard for it. I used a ceramic belt and was careful not to overheat the point... so that I could preserve the original temper of the tool. The four sided grind makes a sort of self healing hole that recloses pretty nicely around the thread. You might need to adjust the taper for different leather weights. Longer taper for thicker leather, of course. This works well for most of my work. You can see where I have used it in the detail of the attachment reinforcing grommet. Manual screw driving is rarely used now, in comparison with the old days. So, many nice screwdrivers are available at bargain prices in antique malls and flea markets. I rarely pay over $1.50 for one and get quite a few at around $.50! They also make nice small chisels, which I use to make slits for my lacing. BTW I have found this tool to be superior to any that I've seen offered by the leatherwork suppliers that I am familiar with! It is already a favorite!
  4. Pulling/lifting chains are usually hardened and tempered.
  5. The curve certainly does make for a weaker structure than a straight brace... but these are massively built. David's strength estimates seem conservative to me.
  6. It is a turners tool designed for drilling centered holes. It is supposed to self center as it drills and is commonly used for things like drilling lamp stands to create a hole for wiring. These are still being manufactured and I have one in my truck. These are sometimes called lamp augers. They are usually 3/8" diameter, which fits a standard threaded wire tube.
  7. Kids these days think they've got it bad! Why old Jim Bowie told me about just going out on a sandbar to WITNESS a duel. On the way back the opposing dueler's party got so nervous that they started shooting and stabbing Jim! He had to cut the whole bunch of em up! He said they "were fools to bring guns to a knife fight"! His reputation dogged him ever after, idjits trying to make themselves a name... they all got graves instead. Tough old cuss he was!
  8. Best field shot I ever saw was Fred Bear. He shot pure instinctive and even from various draw anchors... though with Fred "anchor point" is kind of a misleading term! He could hit his mark though! I don't think Fred was as good as Lars Andersen though. Check out some of his videos on YouTube. As a victim of "freezing" aka "target panic" and by several other names... I have greater respect for pure instinctive style than most. For all modern archers the story of Ishi is quite interesting and leads right into the development of modern western archery by Saxton Pope and Arthur Young.
  9. You could use a nail header type tool to forge shoulders. They look nice. IME they are not worth the effort though. I have made simple hidden tang chisels that work just fine even for pretty heavy hammering (which is an unusual way to work with gouges or chisels... excepting maybe mortise chisels).
  10. One of the problems that you are facing here is that most non ferrous metals will alloy with iron to create alloys with very low melting points. This makes what you are attempting a very difficult thing to achieve! You might try some tin instead of copper. Tinning steel is fairly easy to do. The look might be pretty cool too. Tin can easily coat more area than you desire. Controlled fluxing and a resist can help with that problem.
  11. Liver of sulfur is commonly used to blacken non ferrous metals. For the use that you depict I would say that the shoe polish advice is pretty practical though. Even pharmacies ought to be able to order liver of sulfur for you.
  12. Epoxy works well but hot fitting is the best way IMO. You need to predrill and use just enough heat to melt into place... charring is disastrous! Think of the resins in the wood as ferrule cement. I usually step drill or use a tapered bit to get close with my predrill. Softer woods can be predrilled to a tighter fit. Harder woods won't compress as much. A low black heat is usually enough.
  13. I like them! Did you hot fit the tangs?
  14. Patrick Hastings does some pretty exquisite work on tsubas and other furniture for Japanese style swords. He teaches a few classes. He also makes a few tools, mostly sold to his students. He uses a variety of techniques but chisel carving seems to be dominant in his work. You can find him on Facebook.
  15. Irwin is one of my favorite brands! Just high speed steel is fine for most work though. DEFINITELY a difference in quality will deliver in results! Industrial quality will deliver for you! Cobalt, titanium, etc. coatings are NOT indicative of quality! Good U. S. made bits are hard to beat but Korean, Taiwan, Chinese bits can be very good too... and much cheaper! Buy only from a supplier who can tell you the differences. Good suppliers will have good bits. They might have cheap ones too... but they know the difference!