Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Golden Ratio Caliper

Sometime in the distant past of my school years I learned about the Greek mathematicians who obsessed over the golden ratio.  About 40 years later I crossed the path of that strange number again when I attended a blacksmith demonstration and was shown a proportional divider which was being used to scale a larger element in relationship to a smaller element.  This was another refutation of my childhood pronouncement that there wasn’t any point to learning math because it didn’t apply to anything in my life.

I long ago rejected that original proposition and now embrace the usefulness of math.  On the other hand, this is a tool which I have used a few times but never really discovered how to integrate much  of that into my design work.

The first Pair I made.

Two Larger Versions

Below is a collection of some links relating to this tool.  It seems to me the elegance of the tool itself sometimes exceeds the elegance of what the tool can do.

I didn’t invest much time in the three versions I made at different scales.  I include a measured drawing I found in the SketchUp library.  The ratio is only a rule-of-thumb type aid so exact measurements shouldn’t matter much.















Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Using TinEye


When I can’t find an image I’ve made myself I’ll go to the web and look for something appropriate.  Sometime I find I’ve captured something and can’t remember the source.  I don’t like to post an image without being able to give credit to the person who created it so I’ll try TinEye.

I’ve found this reverse search tool helpful quite a few times and it is easy to use.  I open the search window https://www.tineye.com  and click on the left hand up arrow beside the bar which says “Upload or enter image URL”


That opens the list of files on my desktop and I select the one to upload.  If a match is found it shows the source.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bullet Worms & Corkscrews

When I was thinking about the pig tail I recalled the tapered curl we are familiar with in the corkscrew but perhaps not a bullet worm or a gun worm.  I’ve done a fair amount of long gun shooting but never muzzleloading so I’ve never come across one first hand.



These were most commonly tapered helix devices attached to cleaning rods and were used to dislodge rifle and musket balls when a charge failed to fire.  I found a few images of a some that looked like what I call an easy out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screw_extractor

Here are some links for those who want to see more.  A lot of them are American Civil War relics.









Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Keen Kutter Tool Solution

Last night I received a phone call from The Amazing Scott Miller.  He had found the solution to most of my puzzle of 2/17/17.  After a lot of image searching he discovered the tool is a slide-hammer type of nail or staple puller.  I only have part of the tool.  Searching for Keen Kutter nail puller will lead to a number of images and there are similar tools made by other manufacturers.

Item 554 in this auction picture is one example.
And another:


That still leaves the swastika stamp undecided.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is a Pigtail?


Sometimes when I don’t have much to thin about I don’t think about much.  Here’s an example.

I was looking through some images and saw a tapering spiral finial labeled a pigtail.  That didn’t strike me as quite right.  I thought more about it and recalled that I’ve seen a number of curly things called pigtails that also didn’t s trike me as quite right.

I haven’t known many pigs - never owned one.  But as I recall their tail usually makes a simple loop-de-loop like a roller coaster.  

I found this example here.


Sometimes there are slight variations like this droopy one.


For anyone who doesn’t connect with Loop-de-loop - look at these examples:  http://www.clipartbest.com/roller-coaster-loop

So, I will stick with the simple loop-the-loop curl as the bona fide pigtail finial.





















This mental wandering has inspired me to write something soon about bullet worms (gun worms) and corkscrews.  There blacksmith meets gunsmith.

 On and On



Friday, February 17, 2017

Keen Kutter Mystery Tool


Twenty plus years ago I had a lot of fun stopping at antique stores and flea markets looking for blacksmithing tools and artifacts as we traveled.

Back then prices were very reasonable and the supply of interesting finds was plentiful.  In just a few years I found everything I needed to get started setting up my blacksmithing shop.

Most of the time I was well informed about what I was buying and could make wise choices.  Occasionally i would see something unfamiliar but intriguing.  A tool collector I knew had advised me to buy anything interesting which i had never seen before it it was in good condition and affordable.  That advise never failed me that I am aware of.

This may the the exception to the rule.  I don’t know that this object was supposed to do and it might not even be authentic.

Only recently did the memory of this item creep back into my consciousness.  Quite by accident while doing a Google image search for something I got off on the Keen Kutter path.  As I scrolled down through jillions of images I realized the only thing I owned with the logo was probably on my forge room wood bench and I could not recall handling it for a very long time.

I found it and inspected it closely for the first time and noted a previously unnoticed detail. I’ll get to that at the end.

A couple of times I’ve actually used the tool.  When I was gardening a lot I used it to slip over the top of a rebar stake and it helped make the driving easier.  At least once in the shop I experimented with using it to assist in upsetting the end of a bar.

Information I found on this site gives some information about the logo trademark.








So, let’s have some fun.  Who knows what this tool is called?  What is it supposed to do?  And finally - what is the deal with the Swastika?

Zen on - go find where the maps end.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dealing With Clients #1

I’ve been thinking about sharing some opinions formed from my experience working with blacksmithing project clients.  My experience is limited in several dimensions, so use my generalizations with caution.

I’ll plan to do this a little bit at a time as a thing occurs to me and tag them with a “dealing with clients” label so they can eventually be grouped by sorting if anyone desires.

This first installment is inspired by a current experience - a request for a handrail bid.  Unfortunately, I didn’t read the name carefully enough and thought it was a request for repeat work, as I had already made a handrail for the person I had in mind about ten years ago.  In actuality, it was coming from a relative of that client.  I did respond promptly but included some references to my earlier work which were irrelevant.  Great start.

Thankfully, the potential client graciously emailed with additional details and didn’t highlight my mistake.  So, I suppose, my first piece of advice - Rule One - is to pay careful attention and think.

My broader perspective relates to staying organized to prevent misunderstandings in correspondence.   My wife handles all the incoming email and passes on to me what is appropriate.  My strategy to handling the back and forth is to label each computer file with a number which keeps the correspondence files in chronological sequence.  I can review the entire sequence again and again to make sure I am comprehending all the serial changes in the plan.  Rule Two - find a method to archive all correspondence in entirety and in chronological sequence.


The subtitle of Dealing with Clients is My lectures to Myself.