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    Electrical trouble from multi-headed terminal bolts

    Biggundoctor, I've actually performed those thermal scanning services for our clients. Although I don't do anything hydraulic, I've heard that thermal cameras are very good at spotting problems for all the same reasons.

    New Logo, feedback and help wanted

    I like the vertical format one the best. There are some knife makers who add red to parts of their touch marks and it always manages to catch my eye without looking overdone. I think Steamboat hit that balancing point perfectly.

    They redefined the kilogram

    Marc, I had a physics professor who touched on this concept. A kilogram is a measure of mass, not weight. Weight is the force of gravity on a mass. A dual pan mass comparator is commonly called a "balance". The balance would work equally well in situations with more or less gravity. A scale, is calibrated to convert the gravitational force of an object into a mass reading. A load cell in the bathroom scale might give a lighter reading if you were atop K2, than if you were in the Mariannas trench because the force of gravity about earth is proportional to the distance from the center of the earths mass.

    Craft vs. Art

    George, I think your debate about emotion is compelling. I read a very interesting article about Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe and other modern architects that suggested that post traumatic stress as well as Autism played a large role in their aesthetic. I really want to stress that this wasn't about picking on people who like modernism. The article suggested that people unconsciously "identify" with things that resemble faces. for example, symmetrical windows on either side of a doorway suggest eyes and a nose. For people with Autism, the "faces" create anxiety because they overstimulate them. His designs were "cleaned" of extra stimulus. To this day, a "clean" design means roughly the same thing. Mies Van der Rohe suffered heavily from PTSD. He designed sight-lines in his homes like military "pill boxes" to minimize his exposure from outside while still permitting overwatch. The interesting thing to me, is how the motivations of the architects/artists are so different from their acolytes. If Van der Rohes designs were Art trying to protect him from the world, then the Brutalism that followed was Art trying to control the people. Craft versus art isn't a semantic argument when it ends in the picking of winners and losers. Personally, I'm ready for marketing types to move on from the pretentious "craft" nonsense. Nobody cares how hard it is to become a journeyman, so why are we impressed with meaningless titles like "artisan"?

    Craft vs. Art

    Marc1, It works in other poli-sci directions as well. "Shabby Chic" and "Vintage" are very popular in certain groups. Every finish has a fabricated/calibrated level of "distress", and only certain fairly bland items are aesthetically allowed. It's particularly popular at local antique markets where the difference between old, and faux-old is pretty stark. There's one asking $25 for a harbor freight hand saw that was spray-painted a rusty brown! Generally speaking, the "Shabby Chic" people are pretty hostile to actual antiques. Somehow a "Farm house table" is a treasured collectible, but the Victorian hutch isn't acceptable until the glass panes are replaced with chicken wire and the original finish is slathered with milk paint.

    Craft vs. Art

    Recently I've been involved with a lot of projects that design professionals referred to as "modern", "industrial", or "clean". By "modern" they're facetiously referring to cherry-picked stuff that was new in the 1900's. "Industrial" is often a disingenuous term because the aesthetic shares little with actual industrial facilities. "Clean" just means rectilinear without ornamentation, symmetry, or anything suggestive of a human face. My point is that words have an entirely different meaning to the people who feel they're at the leading edge of a trend. They're not looking for something with a traditional meaning, they're looking to apply traditional terms of prestige to an anachronism. It's important to understand that many of these people, have a real hostility towards history and tradition. For these people, it's only a valuable "craft" in the context of an anachronistic and/or counter-culture device. Effective marketing has to shoot the gap just right.

    Interesting 2x drive unit

    The gear reduction would increase the effective torque of that motor. I agree with Jim that a drill press would be the most likely application.

    What do we know about Taps and Dies?

    Vaughn, Peter Ross was a guest on Roy Underhills PBS show for an episode where they dealt with those tapered taps and swage threaders. The two piece "dies" are actually swages because the tool doesn't cut, it swage-forms the threads. This was particularly significant with wrought iron. The tapered taps were used on a wrought iron nut that had the hole punched. They ran the tap in until it basically jammed itself, then went in from the other side. If I recall correctly, the tapered "tap" isn't cutting so much as it's swaging the threads in. The wedging action pushes the form into the ID of the hole. Peter Ross made a point of saying that these tools avoided severing the fibers on the wrought iron as that would weaken the joint. So long as the thread pitch on the swage set and the tapered tap match, they would generate mating fasteners so long as round stock was a close fit in the hole. I surmise that the tapered tap creates an hourglass shaped thread pattern in the nut. The very middle of which is a good match to the swaged threads on the bolt. I suspect (but can not prove) that a tapered tap was faster than cutting full depth threads through the stock. They also seem a bit tougher to break than a straight tap. It seems like the slag inclusions of wrought iron would be a real bear on cutting tools. As for the why they might prefer these in a time when drills were in common use, I suspect that a wrought iron hole was stronger when punched/drifted than if it had been drilled. I have a guess about the 1/32" mark. What if that is the gap measurement at the dies adjustment? Shim stock or feeler gauges could provide a way to know if the dies are set properly for a standardized thread.

    Who keeps the plans?

    George, Thank you for your answer. One of the bigger challenges of "pay when paid" is that the generals don't feel any obligation to disclose when they're getting paid, or how much.

    Kind of disappointed with this one.

    I think it's nice work. Your comment about the lacewood texture has me thinking that maybe a single coat of linseed oil isn't revealing the true potential here. I've used tru-oil "gunstock finish" on a hardwood cane with impressive results but it took the better part of twenty applications to get there. After a dozen or so applications, it'd only take a drop or two on a clean cloth to coat the whole cane. When it was done, the finish gave the wood figure a depth that wasn't really visible at lower coat counts. On the other hand, that finish was pretty slick and shiny which might not suit a working knife.

    Knife to cut a wedding cake

    For their first anniversary you could forge a fork to go with it.

    Two Knives

    Quenching in old peanut oil from the fryer does carry the risk that someone nearby will come around expecting to steal a french fry.

    New smithing club

    People don't pay colleges to teach, they pay them to grant certifications. If a student earns straight A's for three years of a four year program, they won't be offered 75% of the wage of a graduate. They'll likely see offers running 50% or less. Now consider how many programs will graduate a student with a C average. Is learning 75% of what was taught a better indicator for a good worker compared to someone who learned 100% of everything they were exposed to? For most employers, the answer is yes because they figure "finishing something" is more important than doing a good job. In my experience, practical application was outright discouraged in disciplines ranging from art to science at most of the institutions I attended.

    Forge welding problems

    Beavers, Getting a lot of scale is pretty clear indicator that your stock is too low in the fire. Smaller fires have smaller zones for oxidizing, neutral, and carbonizing. Fire management is more than fishing out clinkers, and adding fuel. If the burning fuel isn't consolidated, the air supply can and will blow past the fuel. Depending on your situation it can give you a few telltale problems. The most common is a fire that won't heat the stock no matter how hard you're blowing. If the volume of oxygen isn't getting used for combustion, it'll actually blow a cold spot in the fire. Another fairly common problem at the opposite end of the spectrum is to have a situation where the oxygen flow is so localized that it acts like a cutting torch. That one is super frustrating because the rest of the fire isn't hot enough to efficiently get the metal up to temperature. Since flux, clinker, and ash generally collect over a forging session, this tends to happen after you've had a chance to get tired. So there you are, checking the stock periodically and it's just taking a long time to get hot. One minute the steel is barely glowing, the next, you're pulling a sparking stump out of the fire. It felt like any time I got 95% of the way done with my project, the "good bit" would get burned off on that last heat. Unless you're going for an igloo fire, the solution is to tap the top of your fire down a bit with something fairly broad like a paddle or a shovel. Listen to the fire under airflow. If it's muffled or whistling, the airflow might be choked off. I slide a straight poker along the edge of the fire and gently lift as I'm supplying air. Charcoal doesn't form clinker so you should be able to hear when the fire takes off. The heart of the fire grows much faster. 1/4" stock is pretty small stuff. It should get white hot in a few minutes when the fire is working like it should. Again, if your fire is deep enough, you can get stock in the neutral zone to white hot without it scaling in the fire. Finally, I use a side blast forge with a sand box. I dig a 1" deep x 3" wide hole just in front of the tuyere before building the fire. As the coked coal burns, the ash and clinker collect in that hole. It takes a few hours before I have to pry up the fire to increase airflow. If you set your tuyere pipe a little off the bottom, you might achieve the same result.

    Forge welding problems

    Beavers, I'm by no means a forge welding expert, I've watched the same videos that you mentioned. One thing that leaps out at me here is that 1/4" round doesn't have a lot of mass to retain heat. I have a friend who took a 1" thick x 4" x 4" steel block and ground grooves of varying thickness on one side. He welded a handle onto the 1" thickness at a right angle to the grooves so he could preheat the whole thing in his forge. When he's trying to weld smaller stock, he puts the heated block on his anvil such that the grooves cross the anvil face, and the handle is out of the way. The grooves constrain the smaller stock from moving apart while welding which is particularly important with round materials. Being pre-heated, the block also gives him a bit more time to set the weld. I would also suggest that the depth of your fire might be insufficient to get a large enough neutral zone. I don't use charcoal so I really don't know what would be ideal. I will say that the Dennis Frechette stresses the importance of a large mounded fire. Rowan Taylor has some great videos on it as well, he also builds what he calls a "mole hill" fire. Both of them appear to be burning coal. It's hard to say just how deep it really is, but Dennis is using a bottom blast with a fire pot and two courses of fire bricks to make it deeper. That's probably pushing 6" deep at stock level with lit fuel perhaps an inch above that. Rowan Taylor is using a bottom blast, but the "mole hill" looks to be approximately that high as well. They're not heating it like a rotisserie, they're surrounding the stock in a neutral fire. You might accomplish this by adding one more course of bricks to your "pot" depth then making a flat surface to mound the fuel over the pot. Any heated stock that's not covered by the neutral zone is likely to scale faster. A lot of videos are edited for time. Getting that much fuel cleanly burning isn't a short process, although I suppose charcoal would be less time consuming than coking coal would be. As for judging temperature, I met a farrier who offered a handy tip about forge welding outside. He said that the steel is the right temperature when it "matches" the fire. That's proven to be fairly accurate whether I was working in direct sunlight or in the shadows. However, there's one significant caveat. If you stop airflow for a moment and the stock immediately has a shadow, you're not quite to temperature in the core.