January 2015, What a Winter

Happy New Year!  We’ve had a “traditional” Maine winter so far this year.  Over 27″ of blowing snow last week, 8″ more on Friday and temperatures as low as -18° F (-28°C for those in the rest of the world).  And windy!   The roof over the two-story part of the house was bare, and all the snow collected on the leeward side, the single story roof over the showroom.  I had to climb up with a snow scoop and get that 7′ drift removed before the next onslaught, next week.snowThis is what it looked like after I got done.  You can actually see the upstairs window again.  What you don’t see is the picnic table to the left of the maple tree, this side of the woodshed.  Completely covered.

However, work in the shop continued, despite the cold and the time-outs for shoveling.  The monster 5′ x 10′ table finally got put into storage, awaiting the completion of the next piece, a modified Enfield cabinet.  Because of the size of the table, I only got a shot of the top, since there wasn’t enough room to move and flip the table over.  That in itself was a chore.

tableLast fall the Maine Woodworkers Association  had a meeting at the New England School of Metalwork.  A few of us were so enthralled we asked Dereck Glaser for a special beginning blacksmithing evening class for 8 of us.  Every Tuesday and Thursday for 4 weeks we drove up to Auburn and for three hours, fired up the forges and pounded metal into submission.  Here are my efforts:

metalI made a handful of hooks, the simplest project, followed by a basic leaf, a leaf pin, a bottle opener, a few handmade nails, door handle, a marking knife, which had to be heat treated and tempered, and two hatchet heads.  They were the most difficult.  The center of the blank had to be thinned to 1/8″ with two distinct shoulders on either side, then bent to form the eye, and forge welded and widened to shape.  Then a piece of tool steel (a section of file) was pounded and forge welded to the tip, shaped,  heat treated, tempered and sharpened.  It was a great way to spend cold winter evenings.

C. H. Becksvoort © 2015

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