jumbojak

Skin safe scratcher

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Searching didn't turn anything up so I decided to post a question. I have an idea for a project, though I'm not sure how well it will work given the intended purpose. The Old Man has been aching for a decent backscratcher for years. You can buy the cheap wooden and plastic ones, but the edge is never well defined enough to be useful.

Nowadays all the corners in his house are worn from rubbing as he passes by. Some of the trim along doorframes is coming off completely. He needs something to scratch the itch and I know I can make something fit to purpose.

My question is about protecting the metal from rust without either defeating the point of the whole endeavor - wax would make the scratcher too slick to scratch - or potentially irritating his skin with a more durable treatment. 

Treating the finished scratcher with olive oil came to mind, as I have seen people use oil soaked rags on hot metal and I would think that olive oil wouldn't smell too strongly or irritate the skin if used in this way. 

I'm probably wrong on this front, but that was my first idea. Are there any better treatments or should I not worry too much about rust and just make the scratcher and see how he likes it?

As an aside, we got into an argument about "metal leaves" a few weeks ago. When I told him I was going to try to learn how to make them he couldn't understand what I was talking about. He thought I was planning on picking a leaf from a tree and somehow turining it into metal. 

When he grasped what I meant he was certain that metal leaf wasn't the right terminology for what I was referring to. Of course, he couldn't think of a better term but we're still stewing over the subject. Either way, no matter how ugly, asymetrical, unbalanced, and mishapen it is in the end, his scratcher WILL HAVE a leaf on the end!

Kill one bird with two stones. A girl I used to work with said that once and it finally makes sense.

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Hi jumbojak not sure if this will help but I made this about 16years ago one of the first things I forged and any one who has tried it says its great.Also it has not rusted.It was sprayed with a couple of coats of clear when it was first made.

cheers.

IMG_0347.JPG

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Sounds like you're over thinking this. You'll be fine with wax. 

Don't use an oil finish on anything that might see contact with clothing. 

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I was going to suggest a hand but that darned Stan beat me to it. Nice back scratcher Stan. Another coolish thought would be a forged stick with a fork at the end. Sticks make great back scratchers you know I've been using them all my life. Wouldn't be hard to fit a leaf into the piece you know. ;)

Wax, something simple and common say Johnson's paste wax. It's pretty non irritating seeing it's used on furniture and floors all around the world. I'd use Trewax but it might not be something your Dad would have on hand if his scratcher needed a touch up in a few years.

Next time you're talking about forging leaves be sure to tell him you're not making real leaves, you're forging them. It's art if you've ever watched Bob Ross you've heard him say he's "representing" trees, grass, mountains, clouds, etc. etc. All we have to do is get close and the viewer's mind will fill in the missing pieces and ignore the mistakes. It's only when you get folk who practice the given craft they start noticing the details like hammer marks, weird veins, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Heh heh, I made a fine back scratcher by accident trying to draw out a 10mm round bar that turned out to be wrought iron. It spread itself into strands. Looks ugly but it works. Not recommended though ... stay with your leaf!:D

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I made a manly-man's backscratcher by welding a section of leaf spring to a mid-carbon body (a 12" nail).  Like anything else I forge, I applied some Johnson's Paste Floor Wax while it was warm.  No worries about rust or not being "scratchy" enough!

It's my daily scratcher and gets a good workout every night before bed. 

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forge a handle then put a corn cob on the end.  not only does it work it gives a lot of what is that questions

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Forge it out of stainless and stop worrying about it.  (Or Titanium like in Robb Gunter's story!)

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Yeah stainless is a good idea and would look great after it was polished making for a special present. Hey Frosty I only made a left handed one there`s still a right one to make:)

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Left hands are all I make. There's enough right handed people out there as it is. 

I agree, when are they going a pair of scissors correctly.

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I agree, when are they going a pair of scissors correctly.

The good folks at Fiskars have furnished me with "wrong handed" scissors, for over 30 years.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Old Oven Racks and Commercial Refrigerator Racks, are a good source for useful sized Stainless round stock.

 

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Edited by SmoothBore

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Stan,  that almost looks like the one I made fort he neighbour next door.  never did take a picture of it though.  3/8" sq with a loop to hang it from, long skinny taper and a hand that could be the same.

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Yeah stainless is a good idea and would look great after it was polished making for a special present. Hey Frosty I only made a left handed one there`s still a right one to make:)

I was thinking of making a foot back scratcher, maybe a double, both left feet of course.

Frosty The Lucky.

Edited by Frosty

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Ha! I can post again. I was almost to the point of sending PMs to thank everybody.

Thanks for all the input folks. This one will be very simple, just a handle and a hook with a scratchy surface. Like the ones you can buy at the dollar store but in working order. I bought some wood paste and may give it a go as a finish for this, or leave it natural and see what happens.

My scrap pile is very much in the construction phase so stainless is out as a material though I will be scrounging for oven racks from here on out. I almost bought a piece of key stock yesterday but decided that the largest on the shelf was a bit too small. 

And thank you very much for the Bob Ross reference Frosty. Now I won't be able to swing a hammer without muttering to myself about "happy little bends" and "happy little twists" and whatnot! ;)

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Stan,  that almost looks like the one I made fort he neighbour next door.  never did take a picture of it though.  3/8" sq with a loop to hang it from, long skinny taper and a hand that could be the same.

Sounds like you where thinking like me in trying to make it functional but still light enough to be convenient , a more realistic hand would look great but would be too heavy, I do like Gary Huston`s wife poker though:)

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I made two a year ago, I always make two and keep one, for a Christmas exchange present at blacksmith get together. I never thought about it, but it is left handed also. I coated it with beeswax.  

 

Attachments_20151017.zip

Edited by duckcreekforge

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A good source for stainless is the local thrift store for kitchen utensils, a big serving spoon has lots of shapes in it. One of our kettle stirring spoons was one of my grandmother's favorite back scratchers.

Bob's "Happy Little Hand" brand back scratchers?

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Put a long arc on the shaft (say, with a radius the same as the length of your forearm), and you'll be able to reach your entire back without lifting your elbow.

Edited by JHCC

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