Friday, October 7, 2016

Norwegian Open-Hearth Farm House

Last night I came across this excellent film on YouTube from the Norwegian Folk Museum. The film documents the reconstruction of an open-hearth farmhouse in Norway from circa 1650.

Period correct tools are used throughout the construction and the craftsmanship is incredible! What I found particularly interesting was the manner in which the builders moved and placed the heavy logs. This video is definitely worth watching.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Forge Cart Made With Pipe Fittings

I recently purchased a gas forge and needed a cart to place it on. I couldn’t find anything locally or online that I liked so I decided to build the cart myself. Since I didn’t want to place the forge on a wooden stand I needed to come up with a way of making a stand out of metal that didn’t require welding. The easiest although not necessarily economical method was to build the cart out of ¾ inch pipe fittings.


The build was pretty straight forward and with the exception of drilling the holes through the 1/8th inch top was easy and only took about an hour. The nice thing about using pipe fittings is that it’s easy to level the cart legs by simply screwing the pipe with the wheels on it in or out.


Some people will probably wonder why I purchased a gas forge since I already have a coal forge. I will continue to use both. I got into to blacksmithing to make hardware for the tools and furniture I make. I have found that if I only need a few items like a bolt or nails the coal forge can be a pain because it takes a while to build up a good fire and short projects tend to waste coal (the nearest place I have to buy coal is about 2 hours away). With a gas forge all I have to do is turn a valve and I have fire. The gas forge also uses propane which I can buy in my town.  


Friday, September 2, 2016

Farmhouse Table

I haven’t posted anything in a long time so I thought I would show a picture of a country farmhouse table I made for a benefit for my kids school.

The table is 72” x 48” with 3.5” tapered legs. The table and benches are built from construction grade lumber. Since the wood found at my local box store is complete trash I only used wood purchased from there to build the aprons and legs of the table and benches. I laminated the legs to make them more stable and sturdy.  After giving up trying to find usable lumber at my local box store, I happened upon a small contractor supply business in my town that had great quality pine lumber. Lumber from there cost a bit more but I was able to get nice straight boards with no wane to construct the top of the table and benches.  

This was a fun project and I hope to make more tables to sell.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wooden Grindstone Frame

Finally finished my grindstone setup for my blacksmithing demonstrations. I loosely copied the design from the one built by the Dominy’s (see attached picture).

The frame is white oak with drawbore mortice and tenon joinery. The frame is really solid and I’m surprised how easily the wheel rotates on the wooden bearings. The weight of the stone creates quite a bit of centrifugal force so once the stone is turning very little effort is needed to keep it going.

The handle is detachable and like the Dominy’s it is held on with a wooden thumb screw. The only part left to make is the water trough. I had a lot of overly complicated ideas for this, but I think I will keep it simple and just hollow out a log.       



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Timber Frame Workshop Build on Youtube

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a great channel on YouTube called Mr. Chickadee. Mr. Chickadee is chronicling the building of a timber frame work shop using period hand tools. This guy is a great craftsman and I recommend watching his videos. You won’t be disappointed!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rope Bed

Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile, but life has kept me quite busy. My latest project is a rope bed for the Dederman Cabin in Norfolk, Nebraska. The cabin already had a rope bed, but this bed will be used to let visitors experience what it’s like to lie down in one.

I wanted to make a bed that was similar to what an early settler could have made with materials available on the frontier. I was going to copy the bed from the attached 1888 Solomon Butcher photo, but I settled on a slightly updated design using mortice and tenons instead of nails to hold it together. I also used only the bare basic tool
that any pioneering family would have had. I used a crosscut saw, brace and bit, axe, foreplane, some chisels, and some basic layout tools like a square and some marking gauges. I did use a mortice chisel, I doubt most people would have had one, but I did so I used it.


The bed came out real nice and is plenty sturdy. It has to be to stand up to the use it will get from kids plopping in and out of it. My wife liked it a little too much and placed a quilt on it that she had made. Now she wants one for in the house. 



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shrink Pots and Birch Bark Containers

Some random projects of this summer.

The shrink pot is made out of Chinese Elm and to my surprise is water tight. The spoon is carved out of apple wood.

Of course all of this had to be approved by
my dog who is in charge of all snacks containing meats and gravies as well as anything photographed in her yard. She also loves to have her picture taken.