custom-made-tools

Rolling tool box re-purpose, part 2.

The second half of my useless tool box conversion, the bottom half.

I had decided to try to maje a rolling yard cart, after seeing how close it was to perfectly fitting a milk crate.

Honestly, I only had one use in mind for this; A battery mover. Car and truck batteries aren’t very heavy. Unless tgeyre thr ones without handles, and yoh havr to carry it 50 yards. Then they’re heavy! Even with a carry handle, going very far is a pain.

It occurred to me that some left over CPVC pipe and fittings I had would assemble to a nice handle.

So, thats what I did.

The original door on this slid up and down in cfanels in the lower front wall. For whstever reason, they madr that lower wall in a separate piece from the rest of the box, it just snapped in. So I snapped it out;

Then it was simply setting the crate, and building filler/mount blocks around it. And also some plywood stiffeners for the back wall, to take the torque of the handle.

And then assembling and mounting the handle.

Along the way, I decided that a cord holder on the handle would be nice, like the setups on the back of vacuum cleaners. Was easy to add with cross bars and elbows.

Then I decided I wanted to paint the handle. Been using up some ancient cans of spray paint, so I chose one and went at the handle. 3 colors later I found a can that worked(most of this paint has frozen at least once, and is several years old… Thus my trying to use it up.).

Intended to only do the handle. Got carried away. 😉 At least, if nothing else, I won’t lose it in the yard!

Might go back and paint the crate and wheels black for some contrast. It’s just a bit bright for my taste!

But anyway, there it is. Didn’t buy a thing, all of it was scrap or hardware I had on hand.

Now to see if I ever actually use it. 😉

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Categories: Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Modifications, Re-purpose, Recycle, Repurpose, Scrounging, Tool Boxes, tool mods, Wrenching | 2 Comments

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw Part 3

The entire build, in order, more or less; 🙂

I could go through everything I did here in long descriptions, and pictures, but it’s not really necessary, and probably not that interesting either. But here is a general run through. 🙂

  • Pick out a piece of 1″x8″ x 5′ oak
  • cut out the pattern
  • trace it on the wood
  • Jig saw one upright
  • Sand the contour
  • Trace #1 to get #2 the same
  • Cut, sand #2
  • Measure and mark for the mortises
  • Round the edges with a router
  • Cut pilot groove on blade end to guide cutting the blade slots
  • Locate blade mount holes, drill
  • Cut blade slots
  • Cut the mortise on #1
  • Rip the cross bar from the board
  • Square and measure it all for proper cross bar length vs blade length mounted (crucial for proper end angles when blade under tension, and good looks)
  • Cut and fit the tenon on #1 end
  • Cut #2 mortise and tenon
  • Test assemble
  • Find cord for windlass(I was out of 550! Finally found some heavy clothes line cord..)
  • Trim scrap to use as temporary windlass bar
  • Tighten it all up and do a test cut(worked!)
  • Cut thinning profile on cross bar
  • Sand cross bar, and route edges
  • Re-assemble
  • Discover binding in tenon joints, trim
  • Re-trim/fine tune joints
  • Assemble and do a test cut again
  • Find that I over trimmed the joints, it will now start to slip from a H to a parallelogram-ed H under tension. (Rounded the wrong corners too much; you need the Top corners of the bar end and tenon tips rounded for slip, but the bottom corners left square for rigid support, so the can only pivot in at the top, but not out at the top!)
  • Discover that if it slips, the windlass slips down the bars, loses tension and it falls apart.
  • Discover, by clamping the cord in place under tension, that, thankfully, If the windlass doesn’t slip down when it flexes out of H shape, it doesn’t collapse!
  • Locate for windlass cord supports
  • Cut pins from 1/4″ copper rod,
  • Drill and press fit copper as cord supports.
  • Re-assemble, tighten, test cut 7″ birch log.
  • Success! (With one about 1/8″ of flex at the joints out of square- good enough)
  • Decide the scrap your using as a windlass bar works great, no use to make another one
  • Trim, round, sand the windlass bar.
  • Disassemble, wood burn the saws name, and my product line name on the side.(not selling it, but figured, meh, why not? )
  • Also burn in witness marks to identify/match mortise and tenon joints in their matched pairs for proper future assembly.
  • 2 day break to get stain and oil finish.
  • Counterbore for recessed T nuts
  • Install T nuts, pin in place with tiny Brad nails
  • Install keeper ring on windlass bar
  • Turn down bolt heads, and threads to fit in wingnuts, making wing bolts.
  • Test the stain, find it won’t penetrate the oak dark enough, skip using it.

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Part 4 coming soo. 🙂

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Backcountry, custom-made-tools, Field gear, New Gear, Outdoors, Saws, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork

An Axe Man’s Bucksaw part 2

I’m proud of two big things on this project;

One being design and execution. The basic mechanics of the saws are really, well, basic. Two uprights, a center cross bar, blade at the bottom, and a Spanish windlass at the top.

And the cross bar being mortise and tenon jointed to the uprights, to provide up/down pivot so that the windlass can tension the blade, but have no twist of pivot in any other plane or axis.

Simple.
I looked around the Web for ideas, since there are a LOT of these out there, for sale, and home built designs.

But I basically still had to design, engineer and build it from scratch.

Lots of time with measuring, squaring, offseting, re-squaring, and making sure both ends matched.. Etc.

The other thing I’m really proud of, is the fact that I’d Never, Ever cut a mortise and tenon joint before. I did one test mortise on scrap(which sucked!) before I cut on the first saw bar I’d just spent 3 hours making. Yeah, fun. 😉

Cut by hand, chisel and saw. Turned out exceptionally well, if I do say so myself!

The second one even press fit at first cuttings, no trimming needed!! (The first one took 10 minutes of fit/test/shave/test/carve/test/whittle, to get to work, then it was a touch loose…)

Now I know why my Dad hated doing them, and always wanted a power tool for it! I was never taught to cut these, not that I remember. He never got the tool till late in life– he just avoided the joint style.

I actually got him one that attaches to a drill press a couple years before he passed away. It didn’t exactly fit his drill, and he never got to use it before he went. I have them both here, but ironically, I preferred to learn to hand cut them. I’ll get the tool setup at some point soon, but so far, I like doing them by hand!

I Was a bit ambitious in part of my joint design; I copied ones I saw a guy on YouTube do, where the end of the bar is rounded, and the face of the mortise is curved to match. So that when it tensions, and the end bars angle, it simply rotates the two curves on each other. A cleaner look than with straight bars, where the angling would leave gaps.

THAT was fun to figure out the geometry on, and then cut in… Oi.

I didn’t get them perfect, but they’re pretty dang good, if I do say so myself.

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Axes, Backcountry, Camping gear, custom-made-tools, Field gear, GetOutdoors, New Gear, Outdoors, Saws, wood processing, Woods tools, Woodshop, Woodwork

Shelf Track Bench Dogs

“Shelf what??” Your saying, right? 😉 

Bench dogs are pins, or flat jaws, that slip into dog holes– holes in the top of a work bench, for holding thing on the bench top. 

You clamp the work piece between the dog and the vice at the edge of the bench, or a bar clamp/C clamp or two. With a large grid of holes, you can hold just about anything in any position. 

I like the concept but hate the idea of having all the holes in the bench. Seems a great way to ruin a layout surface,  and a place to lose hardware. 

Then I saw this trick/tip that a fellow sent in to this month’s issue of Woodsmith magazine;

It uses cabinet shelf support rails and clip brackets as simple in line dogs for the vise; GENIUS! 

After pricing the track and clips, $3 for 6′ of track, and about $3 for 12 clips… Yeah, no brainer dude! 😉 

15 minutes with my router, and I have bench dogs!   Was a little fiddly to do, only have a 1/2″ straight cut bit, but the tracks are 5/8″ so I had to cut each channel twice for width. Track is 3/16″ thick, wanted it at least flush, I cut about 7/32″ deep to garantee it can’t catch on anything when not in use. 



Clips in place;


Then I just made the old front jaw front the vise into the cammed over jaw insert needed. Great to use that vise to make things for the vise! (Really have no idea how I survived so long without that vise!)

It works!

A few strategically placed screws makes a storage spot for the vice jaw under the end of the bench. 

And the left over ~11″ of track made a clip storage rack. 


Can’t beat simple, cheap and easy, especially if it works! 

Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Modifications, Repurpose, Shop Tools, Woodshop, Woodwork

Pipe clamp bench vise 1.0

Needed a good easy place to clamp some large pieces of wood to the bench to work them for an upcoming project.   Reminded me I’d wanted to build a traditional woodworkers bench side vise.. 

While digging around online, I found this concept on youtube. Not as traditional or elegant as the all wood single screw style I had in mind, but it’s easier, faster and would cost me nothing; perfect! 

Few feet of 2″x4″, some 1″x8″, some screws, and a set of pipe clamps I wasn’t using, and about 2 hours;

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After a few days on there, the front jaw board warped on me.  In its defense I ripped it down from a 12″ width, so it was used to haveing more support… 

Others building these are laminating up to about 2″ or 3″ thick, but I  figure I don’t need that stability, nor want to take the time for it now.  Now it seems I might have to just to stiffen it up. 

I then put a new face of oak on it. Should be more stable and warp less. Later I’ll laminate it up to 2 or 3 thicknesses if I need to. 

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I honestly don’t know how I ever got anything done before,  it’s so wonderfully handy to have!

Categories: carving, custom-made-tools, Fabrication, Shop Tools, Uncategorized, Woodshop, Woodwork

Carving Hawk 2.0

 A couple years ago, I made this nice little tomahawk style carving hatched from an old lathing hatchet. 

I never did finish it though, it had some sharp edges from the cutting process left under the blade. I couldn’t get at them with the grinder, with the handle it was on. And didn’t want to take it off the handle.


But that handle, while nice, was a bit small and short. Another project I have going, is re-hafting a bigger hatchet I have, since it’s handle had become loose(and was epoxy set so I couldn’t tighten it).

Once I had the handle off the hatchet, I realized that what was left, with a little trimming, would be perfect for the little hawk! 

Not perfect, couldn’t go deep enough to take the whole cut out, didn’t want it any thinner.

Grinding is a little rough to look at, but is smooth to the touch. Was going more for function that visual form. 

Again, not perfect,  the shim stock I used as a wedge was a little soft, and flaked off the front edge. But it’ll work.  It’s on there like it’s set in concrete! 😀


Except two small saw cuts, about 1.5″ each, one with the band saw, one hand sawn, all shaping was done with my laminated Mora 106 carver. Then some light smoothing with sandpaper–one spot, the wedged end of the eye was on the belt sander, you can see where it scorched. Otherwise sanded by hand. I’m really enjoying work with hand tools where possible lately.

Categories: Axes, Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, hatchets, Modifications, tomahawks, tool mods, Woods tools, Woodwork

ATV plow, first use. 

Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver…

The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter

Milk crate traction.

Amazingly, these things wee originally used as a milk bottle carrier… I doubt most people know that.  I didn’t for years…just figured it was an odd name, if I ever gave it any thought.   To most of us, they are simply The greatest portable step/stepstool in existence. 

Especially the older metal ones!  

If you can find them. We always had 3 of them, one that I adopted and carried in my truck for forever, one that’s had a broken top as long as I can remember, and one with a Christmas tree stand permanently wired to the top (raises the tree for clearance under lower branches for packages and watering the tree).

About 3 years ago, I lost mine.   Had to climb into a dumpster to dig for something of sentimental that was accidentally thrown away… when I found it and headed home, I forgot the crate by the dumpster. Oops. Couple hours later when realized, it was already gone.  Someone here picked up a great find, a metal crate at the dump that night. Lol. 

So, I’ve been carrying one of the modern plastic ones in the truck for a while. Nothing wrong with them really, they work fine. I just miss my old metal one.

So. I had this chunk of steel diamond plate I scrounged last summer. And some time to kill. And my welder already setup. 😆😇😆

The plate was too wide one way, too narrow the other. Cut it down to fit. Turned out to be tough tempered plate, should wear great for eons..  The 1/2″ or so on the other axis doesn’t bother me.. Still sturdy enough, and won’t hurt anything.

I really, Really,  REALLY need to practice my “out of position” welding (technical term for any welding not on a flat, level surface in front of you…)  Turns out it’s a bear to weld the inner lower corners/edges of a box! Whether laying down, or stood vertical.  

Inner welds look like crap, but will hold more than enough. 

Outer edge welds were a lot better, right up until I ran out of welder wire. Ha! Will have to finish it later (if it ever seems to need it) 

1/2 can of Rustoleum gloss black later, and I have a fancy, rugged, heavy, should last a lifetime step! 😎

With a younger sibling 

Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, Fabrication, Modifications, old tools, Sentimental, truck, Welding

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