Peter Ross inspired compass…again

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Today I gave the Peter Ross inspired compasses another try. The first hour was an exercise in frustration with two unsuccessful attempts to get the welded side of the hinge right. Finally, on attempt number three everything seemed to come together. I spent some extra time on the fit of the hinge and was rewarded with a much smoother action than on the first pair. >


20140407-143952.jpg As you can see I tried my hand at filing in the facets on the head like Ross does in his video. >


20140407-144130.jpg I plan to demonstrate forging these compasses at the April meeting of the New River Forge Council. Thanks for looking…Bart


Whole-wheat sourdough with…ramps!

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The crew at work decided to bring in stuff for a “big salad” yesterday…lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, raisins, nuts, cheese…well, you get the picture. I volunteered to make bread. Thought I’d try something a little different so made it mostly whole-wheat and threw in some buckwheat, whole oats and grated cheddar for good measure. We had some fresh chives in the garden so those went in as well. And just to make things interesting, I threw in a couple ramps…yep, RAMPS! I took the oversized loaf to work and only told them that it was a little “pungent” because of the “fresh herbs” I put in the bread. I knew that because of ramps’ “stinky” reputation, some of our more finicky eaters would not even try it if they knew what was in it.
Well, I’m pleased to say that my ramp bread got rave reviews…even from the finicky…and I revealed my “secret ingredient” after everyone had tried it. They accused me of being sneaky…nah! Thanks for lookin…bart. .



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Our ramps are up! Noticed them today peeking through the leaves about 3-4 inches. Maybe we’ll have some ramp burgers soon! We don’t have many so we just use the tops so they’ll come back each year.



Tomatoes and peppers in cold-frame…

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Just two days in our little cold-frame/greenhouse has really made a difference! The peppers have doubled in size and almost all the tomatoes now have their third leaves. Hope they continue to do well…


Peter Ross inspired compass


Today I forged a small set of compasses. I was inspired to make these after watching Peter Ross, former master blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg, make a pair on the video “Forging a Compass”. While my compass is not nearly as elegant as those he forges, I was pleased with the results…for a first try…


20140401-163156.jpg. Here you can see that my forge weld did not completely “take”:


‘Maters started, March 22…

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Dad’s Pepper, Black Krim, West Virginia Hillbilly, Chocolate Cherry and Yellow Pear tomatoes. Originally planted February 23 and March 11. Lookin’ good so far…


Bottle openers…

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I’m trying to catch up with some of the items I have promised to forge for my friends and acquaintances. The only thing I tell someone that asks for a particular item is “Don’t nag me!” After all, blacksmithing is a hobby for me…not a job. Eventually, though, I get around to making what they have requested and their patience is rewarded with a one-of-a-kind hand forged item, warts and all! Case in point: a friend asked me to forge him a couple bottle openers. That was what…two years ago?! Well, this week it finally warmed up enough to get out in the shop so I decided to give the bottle openers a try:

20140320-202501.jpg The one on the left was forged from a piece of 1/2 x 1/4 inch mild steel shearing, while the one on the right was wrought from a length of 1/2 inch rebar. The business end of the one on the left looks thus:

20140320-203015.jpg …while the handle is forged as a stylized ram’s head:

20140320-203149.jpg The one forged from rebar has a more traditional opener end:

20140320-203317.jpg …and its handle is a knot of sorts, tied in steel:

These are the first bottle openers I have ever forged…I hope they work! Thanks for looking…bart

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