Backbone Radiation  

Post Vice

Post ViceVideo Maker

I bought this post vice years ago from an old blacksmith in Massachusetts and tragically it has sat in my dad’s garage ever since. On recent trip to visit my folks, I finally decided to ship all the heavy tooling that I amassed in my college days to myself in Oakland. I built a big crate and packed it with my anvil, this vice and an assortment of hand tools that were too big to bring with me when I drove across the country 12 years ago.

Now the crate has arrived and I can finally use the tools I was so excited to get when I was first learning the fundamentals of metalwork.

Post vices are meant to stand upright and provide excellent support for anything that needs to simultaneously held firmly and struck. They need to be anchored to something however and so I built this frame to secure it to the floor.

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Another Backbone Table

Another Backbone TableVideo Maker

The work that I do is uncommon, exciting and rewarding, not to mention lots of fun. Metalwork however, is not without its downsides, which include the very dirty messes created from it.

Frustrated with this, my shop mates have requested that I take the most obnoxious parts of my work outside to be done in our small courtyard.

Fair is fair, but the courtyard does not have any usable surfaces to work on. Luckily, the previous tenants had left a large rack of various materials and I was able to find enough stuff on it to scab this table together. Now I have a solid work surface, plenty of ventilation and my shop mates are happy.

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Interminable – In Progress

In progress

Here is a progress shot of my latest piece, “Interminable”.  I found this large spiral years ago while mining a local scrap yard for materials to build the set for an “industrially” themed theatrical performance. I think the spiral was some kind of large earth drill bit, something that one might find on an excavator. In any case, I had to anneal the hell out of it before I could do anything because it was harder than the blades I tried to use to cut it.

Now it sits in this little pod and spins slowly, tediously and endlessly. Come and see the completed piece in the new Lost & Foundry Gallery. It will be up for another couple of weeks.

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Vice Extension

IMG_20140331_183523               IMG_20140406_213749

I built this vice extension in preparation for a large camp knife that I will begin making soon. The knife will be mostly hand-made, including lots of filing, which requires a lot of close visual inspection. This is difficult to do while mounted in a vice that is too low.

My primary vices are mounted at waist height, which is good for general work but uncomfortable when something has to be closely and frequently inspected. The extension brings this small vice closer to my eyes making the work much easier.

I took this vice from my grandfather’s garage after he passed away. For my entire childhood it was mounted to the corner of his dirty, oil-soaked work bench. I had always thought the vice was brown, but once I began to refurbish it, I found its original color. I think its a lovely shade.

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Zeppelin Fins


Cardboard templates for the Zeppelin Fins.

I swear I’m going to finish this project this week!

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Cone Die

Cone die

This is a cone die. It’s two lengths of 1.5″ solid round bar @ 24″ long. The bars rest on pieces of angle iron that are raised 2″ up from the base.  The die allows me to hammer sheet metal down into the center space. The slanted configuration of the bars cause the sheet to roll upwards into a volumetric cone form.

I built this several years ago after attending a sheet metal forming workshop at Haystack.

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Salvaged. Think It Will Work?

Salvaged. Think it will work?

The Lost & Foundry is the name of the space where my work shop is located. It gets its name from its previous function as an iron foundry. Over the years, the foundry had accumulated a wide collection of industrial parts, materials and debris left over from the various jobs done in the space. When the foundry shut down, much of this was left behind. Now it all sits in a small, outdoor space behind the shop.

The beauty of this for a scrounger like me is the likelihood of finding something that I need when I need it. It is also nice because as L&F residents search for things in the junk pile, we tend to uncover other hidden treasures.

Last week I found this kiln under a shredded tarp. It needs some love, but if it works, it will be perfect for a range of things that I haven’t been able to do since having access to a proper heat source like this.

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Oxy-Acetylene Cutting

More cutting

Cutting parts for a new sculpture that will be at the upcoming Lost & Foundry open house:

March 15th

4-8 pm

305 Center st



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11,000 rpm Frag. Guess Where It Hit Me.

11,000 rpm frag. Guess where it hit me.

Angle grinders are an essential work horse in any shop, but they are not without their dangers. This particular attachment failed at high speed, sending chunks of hard rubber all over the shop. That’s right kids. Wear proper protective clothing and equipment when you do dangerous work. I’m just going to sit down for a minute now.

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New Grinder


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