Archive for September, 2011


Project 36: Wax and Wick

September 22, 2011


I had been so concerned about where I would find the wax for my candle project that I completely neglected to source rolls of wick.  So here I am with a decent collection of reclaimed wax, both paraffin and beeswax, and no idea where I’m going to find wick. All I’ve found locally is pre-cut wick for pillars. I had hoped to dip my candles, so that won’t work at all.

Today I’ll melt everything down and maybe filter the bits of old wick and sand out in the hope that I’ll find what I need before the end of the week.

Does anyone have a good source for rolls of wick?




Project 36: Candlemaking

September 19, 2011

Yankee Candle

Back in April I read about a couple of guys making candles in a beer can while on a ski trip. This article demystified candlemaking for me in a second. The time has now come to try it myself. We have a cache of old paraffin ready for reuse and I may also be able to get my hands on some beeswax. The process looks pretty easy. I’m excited to try it!

Photo by _rockinfree on Flickr




Project 35: Finished hook and lessons learned

September 16, 2011

Finished hooks

Here are our finished hooks! Mine is the extra curvy one on the left. The instructor’s hook is on the right. I kind of love them all. Can you believe we made these?

Maybe one day I can aspire to be like this guy:

Vladimir Putin, blacksmith

… or maybe not.

Lessons learned:
– Blacksmithing is fun!
– I have kind of wimpy arm muscles.

I really enjoyed this one. Now I need to figure what to do next week. See you Monday!


Project 35: The twist

September 15, 2011

When we last left the metal project it looked like this:

Step 5

The 90 degree bend I mentioned last week looked like this:


We put our hooks in the clamp and watch!


We twisted them!


How neat is that?


Tomorrow I’ll post our finished hooks and you can finally see the one I made.


Project 35: Making a drive hook

September 14, 2011

My blacksmithing class taught the basic safety and techniques needed to make a drive hook, or one of these:

Morrell MetalsmithsHere it is in a few steps.

Step 1: Draw out and taper the end

Step 1

Step 2: Make the little decorative curl

Step 2

Step 3: Curve the hook end

Step 3

Step 4: Insert the hardy tool and cut the drive hook from the rest of the bar stock

Step 4

Step 5: Draw out and taper the cut end

Step 5

Step 6: Make the 90 degree bend (sorry, no photo)

Come back tomorrow to see how we added our own decorative twist!


Project 35: The forge

September 13, 2011

The forge

Besides gumption there really isn’t too much equipment involved in blacksmithing. We had a hammer, a pair of tongs, an anvil, a hardy tool, and some bar stock. Perhaps the most important tool was the forge, shown above.

Here is a side view:


Does it look strangely familiar? It should. It’s an upside-down mailbox. Three things differentiate this mailbox from your standard roadside box: 1) it is filled with insulation, 2) it is connected to a propane tank, and 3) it can heat metal to about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. I just looked that number up on this fancy chart of metal colors, which may come in handy should you find yourself facing a glowing piece of steel.

You only get a couple of minutes to work the metal while it is still hot before it needs to go back into the forge, so this is a machine we used often.

Here is a blurry photo of the forge with our bar stock hanging out in it:

Heating bar stock

I apologize in advance for the photo quality in this week’s posts. It’s not easy to take photos while simultaneously trying to stay out of the way of glowing hot metal and staying available so as not to interrupt the workflow.

More tomorrow!


Project 35: Blacksmithing

September 12, 2011


See the photo above? That was me this weekend when I took a blacksmithing class. The sweat rolling down my nose and sizzling on the hot anvil. Flakes of iron scale flying as my hammer bent glowing iron to my will. My giant muscles rippling… well, you get the picture. I really did take a blacksmithing class and I really did bend iron to my will, but my experience was more filled with interjections about how I couldn’t hold the hammer anymore and ow my shoulders. But still! I made a thing!

Join me this week as I show you how I made an awesome iron thing.

Photo by hans s on Flickr


Project 34: Knitting resources

September 9, 2011

The internet is full of knitters and knitting resources so I will not attempt an exhaustive list. Here are a couple of my go to sites for knitting inspiration:

Ravelry, of course.

Knitty and their free patterns online.

Knithacker for fun (where I found the video below).

Cheryl at Knitting my American Dream for a kick in the pants.

and this guy:

How to knit like an Icelandic man from Iceland on Vimeo.

Happy knitting!


Project 34: Knitting

September 8, 2011

Knitting gauge

Hello Thursday! I bet you thought I forgot about my blog. I didn’t, but I sort of purposefully ignored it on Tuesday which happened to be my only day this week to get anything done. Instead I bought groceries, attended a class at my chiropractor’s office, and spent the rest of the day on the couch watching movies. I guess I wasn’t ready to come back from vacation yet.

So this week, since I have no time to start a new project, I’m going to introduce you to my husband’s scarf. Remember the scarf? I used it in the photo above as a prop for the knitting gauge project.

I started this scarf three years ago so my Southern husband would have something warm to wear when I brought him to New York with me for Thanksgiving. Since then I have ripped it out and started over twice. Now it is barely long enough to go around his neck, which isn’t really the kind of look he’s going for. He wants to wear it like this:

Man wearing scarf

I have a lot of work to do.

This project won’t be done by tomorrow, but posting it here will hopefully encourage me to pull it out and work on it from time to time. I need to get this one done!


Project 33: Stencils

September 2, 2011

Good news! Last night I was able to cut out all of my stencils for this project. It took my full 2 hour reservation to get all 16 done, but I did it.

The bad news is that I’m going to the beach for the long weekend and won’t get a chance to finish this project until Tuesday.

… wait, the beach sounds like good news, too.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!