Finishing My Pipe

by Woodsbum

Actually, this is my son’s pipe that I made.

In woodworking, I have always had problems with finishing the project. For some reason, I can bend metal or carve very intricate things without issue. Getting it to look all nice and shiny after I am done has always been an issue. The folks over at Woodcraft actually steered me in the right direction this time.

The product and method that the Woodcraft guys suggested was similar to the method that people turning pens use. Doctor’s Woodshop Pens Plus polish and finish is what they suggested. Here is what they had me do:

  1. Load up a polishing wheel on my bench polisher.
  2. Polish up the pipe using several loads to the polishing pad.
  3. Coat the pipe, let it dry, and then buff it back out.

I still have to do the final polish/buff on the pipe and apply a couple more coats. It did turn out really nice, however. The final wood color was only a shade or two darker than when the wood was wet.

Mostly finished pipe

Mostly finished pipe

The color and the way that the grain was made to just pop is really exciting. Both of the other blanks I did had a much lighter colored wood. With the etching that Jerry is doing I am thinking a dark stain to the etched area and then use this polish for the rest will be perfect.

Due to my son’s inability to wait to test the pipe out I still have another coat and some polishing to do on this build. He said that the draw was actually quite nice and the tobacco stayed lit longer than his other pipes. This made me feel pretty good about the time and energy I spent building this thing.

Here is a good picture to the polish/finish that I used:

Polish/finish

Polish/finish

Again, just load your pad and go to buffing. It will polish and apply the finish all through the use of the buffing wheel.

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Carving Pipe Blanks

by Woodsbum

Well, the wife has another reason to be completely annoyed with me. I discovered that there is ANOTHER way for me to waste time and money. The pipe store has drilled briar wood pipe blanks. That is correct….  PIPE BLANKS!!!!

Now I not only have the opportunity to sit and smoke my pipe, drink beer, and hang out with my dog. I have the opportunity to make it look like I am doing something OTHER than smoking my pipe, drinking beer and hanging out with my dog. By finding these little gems I now look like I am working on some sort of project.

The pipe blanks are actually pretty simple. The stem is already set as are all the drilled holes. All that is required is some elbow grease to form the bowl. Here are some pictures of where I started and the progression until almost completed. It is not done yet because I have to get my friend to etch in a Navy Chief’s Anchor onto it and then polish.

Briar Block

Briar Block

After some sanding, filing and carving, I got to this point.

Pipe in progress

Pipe in progress

Here is another angle after some more carving, filing and sanding.

Pipe in progress

Pipe in progress

Although I have got it to the point where I am ready to do final sanding and polishing, I want to wait until I get it actually done in case I have to go back and fix something.

These pipe builds are actually pretty sweet. Thus far I have got 3 to the point where I just need to polish them. The shape for all 3 has been the same, but I will soon be doing some creative work on one or two. Although I am not fond of straight stem pipes, I will probably grab one because that is all the local store has left in stock. I can do a shorty, rounded bowl straight pipe that won’t look too bad.

Once I get the polishing done I will post some more pictures.

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Coal Forge Continued

by Woodsbum

My forge is home and safely stored until I can get my covered work area set up. It really is everything I had hoped and more. To start, I will tell a bit about the man that used to own this and all the tools.

The previous owner was a farrier that specialized in hot shoeing. He made all his own shoes from stock and did a lot of corrective foot work with various veterinarians around the area. For over 40 years this man put shoes on horses and made all sorts of hand forged items. One day he just sat down his hammer and had to quit. His tools and forge just sat there for years until and after he passed away. This little time capsule was like a window into this man’s life. After time went by, this man’s son and mother wanted to pass everything along to someone who would use and appreciate what was there. My brother is a farrier and run across this beauty, then IMMEDIATELY called me to see if I was interested. Of course I was and drove 450 miles to go pick this up.

Time Capsule

Time Capsule

I didn’t take the water or soda, but I did get all the tools you see. Some things are a bit rusted out, but everything is able to be cleaned up to make serviceable again. There are hardies, tongs, hammers, chisels, punches…..  The list goes on and on. I am truly blessed and honored that this family passed these treasures along to me.

Here is another picture of this time capsule from a different angle.

Coal forge

Coal forge

If you look at the bottom of the picture, there is an unfinished draw knife. Finishing that up will actually be one of my first projects, after I build a covered area to set everything up in.

Of course many thanks go out to the wonderful family that passed this along to me, but I also have to give my wife SO much credit. She puts up with all my weird projects, strange hobbies and crazy gear/equipment that I drag home. Although she complains about the clutter and calls me a hoarder, she understands and supports my need to have creative outlets such as this. She truly is amazing and I can’t wait to make some really nice things for her.

As I get this set up and start pushing out finished products, I will post them here.

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Coal Forge

by Woodsbum

This week I have spent every available moment working on my Truck. Last fall, I ended up losing the engine and mistakenly picked up a long block that was built by S&J Motors out of Spokane, WA. From the beginning there was trouble. The first time I turned it over, there was a really bad tappet sound like the valves needed adjusting. The problem with adjusting the valves is that the lifters are hydraulic. There is no adjustment for them. Days, weeks and months of fighting with this motor and S&J finally led me to where I am today. I had to do the following:

  • Replace the flex plate
  • Replace the lifters
  • Replace the timing chain tensioners
  • Disassemble the engine back to long block or there about several times
  • Change out coil packs
  • Remove rockers to check valves and springs
  • The list goes on and on…….

I now have the timing chain tensioners installed, but after the last time I ran the truck and drove it around the block to see if the noise was associated with some hydraulic lifter/tensioner I now have what seems like a cylinder misfire or burned valve.

S&J has been 100% useless in this entire process and have basically just thrown out things for me to look at. They are doing everything that they can to somehow blame me for this engine that didn’t even have the timing chain tensioners adjusted correctly when they shipped it to me.

How does all this issue with my truck even remotely have anything to do with a coal forge? Well, I am glad that you asked – Without my truck, I have been unable to go pick up the coal forge and tools that someone is going to give me if I drop by to pick it up.

Since I have no truck, I am going to have to drive the 500 miles round trip and haul this entire setup back in our Subaru Outback. Hopefully, this forge breaks down to a point where I can make it fit in the back of the car.

If all goes well and I get this forge back to my place, I will be starting to make things the minute my current projects are caught up. This means that it will probably be some time this fall at best. There are 2 motorcycles, a truck, flooring in the house, 35 feet of fencing, painting the eaves of the house, a retaining wall and transporting 3 trailer loads of yard debris and trash to the dump before I can even think about starting a new project. “If I want to keep from getting throat punched by my wife, I will have to get those other projects completed first,” is what I should have said.

Keep your fingers crossed for me because if I can get the forge, I will start to make some things and sell them on my website at seriously discounted prices.

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Dehydrating Vegetables

by Woodsbum

The time has come again where I bust out my dehydrator. This week I found a great deal on frozen peas, carrots, and green beans. Somehow I wandered into an almost 40% off deal on store brand bags, so I picked up something like 20 bags of my “soup 3” as I call them. I also ran into a deal on carne asada so I grabbed a package to test it out. In a few weeks our plums should be ready to pick, dehydrate and store.

The reason that I like frozen vegetables for dehydrating is that they are already blanched. It completely skips a tedious step in the process of food preparation. Before you dehydrate fresh vegetables, they need to be blanched first. This involves dipping them in boiling water and then putting them in ice water. Some people say that this is unnecessary, but I have found that they rehydrate better when blanched without turning into veggie flour.

When I dehydrate vegetables, I use my Excalibur unit on 125 degrees for about 12-14 hours. For some reason it seems to take longer to get food dehydrated or jerked here due to humidity. My jerky for example takes about 18-22 hours with all 5 trays full. The carne asada that I use for soups is kind of greasy, but doesn’t have to be cut or prepared before turning into jerky. You can just put it on the trays right after marinating for 24 hours. No cutting, no carving, no fuss involved in the process.

Once I get done dehydrating, I use my Foodsaver vacuum sealer for long term storage. The fruits seem to last a couple years if I completely dehydrate them and seal them in this manner. I end up using my vegetables and jerky before the year is out so I don’t have a good handle on how long they will keep. My sealed packages are kept in a food safe bucket and lid. You can also put them in Mylar bags to keep them longer, but the buckets seem to work well.

I also keep barley and bouillon on hand to make my soups. I start by boiling up some water and then add barley, bouillon, and jerky. After cooking about 30 minutes, I add my vegetables and finish cooking. It should take another 30-45 minutes to finish cooking, depending on altitude.

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