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K. Bryan Morgan

Long Cold Winter

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I was looking around on line today, catching up on my local news when I saw an intresting artcle.  This, for Central Alaska, is the coldest longest winter in the last 100 years. 

 

While I have been able to get out to the shop and get some small work done.  My quench tub, 5 gal bucket half full of water, is still frozen solid.  There was frost on my anvil.  I scrubbed it off with a wire brush.  I assembled a band saw and drill press and I've been getting propane, cleaning shop and generally getting ready for my summer smithing season. 

 

Those who know me, and any other smiths here in the Great Land, know that Alaska has some unique challenges when it comes to blacksmithing in general.  Cold tempratures, lack of equipment, huge expensive shipping charges and long shipping times for anything from the lower 48.  The list goes on and on.  Thats not to say these obstructions can't be over come.  They can and have been many many times.  But, at times it can be somewhat discouraging.  For the last couple of years I've been trying to get a wood stove in my shed to extend my smithing season.  Get my coal forge moved inside the shed so I can work longer into the colder parts of the year.  Or at least get the time I am unable to forge in winter to as short a time as possible.  There isn't any way I'm going to forge at -40f or below.  Sorry I love working at the anvil, but not quite that much.  Heck propane won't even go into a gas at -44f.  And none of this is in anyway stoping me in the long run.  One of the many obstacles for me personally is physical.  My locked knee.  Which will be all brand new soon.  I hope. 

 

So, I'm getting things set up.  Making things ready and will be smithing with relish soon.  Very soon.  Sometimes the delay just gets to me and I have to relearn a few things.  That does get old.  All that said.  I'm ready to go.

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This time of year being ready for a change is common subject of conversation, this year especially. I spent a couple hours in the shop today working on the new dies for my LG. It's finally warm enough to do some careful measuring and discovered I should've waited till it warmed up to dril ad tap my dovetails. There's a 1/16" bust in the measurements so now I'll have top dies and bottom dies that aren't goning to interchange with the other guy's hammer. <sigh> I guess I can dril oversize holes and plug weld them up to redrill, tap, etc.  Seriously, this is a jr. high shop class level task I screwed up.  <grrrrr>

 

Bryan's situation makes mine seem positively temperate, interior AK is hard core cold country, just sub arctic. Makes me feel like a wuss.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Greetings Bryan,

 

I'm lucky I built a winter shop in the city with limited equipment but I can forge and do the things I want...  I'm retired and have no schedules BUTTT. I still miss working in coal at my small studio at my farm.. Last month I got the itches and just had to do it... I know just hoe you feel....  Hurry summer....

Michigan has two seasons winter and July...

 

Enjoy..

 

Jim

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Wayne,

 

Yep next year I'm coming to Tennessee to be with you .... We can summer in Michigan  July that is...

 

Keep safe

Jim

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This time of year being ready for a change is common subject of conversation, this year especially. I spent a couple hours in the shop today working on the new dies for my LG. It's finally warm enough to do some careful measuring and discovered I should've waited till it warmed up to dril ad tap my dovetails. There's a 1/16" bust in the measurements so now I'll have top dies and bottom dies that aren't goning to interchange with the other guy's hammer. <sigh> I guess I can dril oversize holes and plug weld them up to redrill, tap, etc.  Seriously, this is a jr. high shop class level task I screwed up.  <grrrrr>

 

Bryan's situation makes mine seem positively temperate, interior AK is hard core cold country, just sub arctic. Makes me feel like a wuss.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Rats Frosty, sorry to hear that.  Another thing I've considered is how brittle steel gets at super cold temps.  I know a young man here who broke an axle two winters ago when it was getting down to -60.  I sure don't want to break an anvil, or chip it, or or or.  But its all gonna be ok soon.  It will be a cool summer though I think.  Some of the old timers up here told me last summer there was going to be a cooling trend over the next several years.  Some of these guys have been here 50+ years.  I believe them.

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Greetings Bryan,

 

I'm lucky I built a winter shop in the city with limited equipment but I can forge and do the things I want...  I'm retired and have no schedules BUTTT. I still miss working in coal at my small studio at my farm.. Last month I got the itches and just had to do it... I know just hoe you feel....  Hurry summer....

Michigan has two seasons winter and July...

 

Enjoy..

 

 

Nice winter shop.  Mine isn't that good looking.  Just an old shed with all sorts of vents under the eaves.  Its perfect for what I do.  12 X 16.  Not to big and not too small.  Seems sometimes we have one day of summer and the rest is winter.  All joking and grumping aside though, I do love it here.  Just need to get that heat and coal in the shop.

Jim

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