custom-made-tools

Shelf Track Bench Dogs

“Shelf what??” Your saying, right? πŸ˜‰ 

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! πŸ˜‰ 

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! 

Advertisements
Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, Customized, Fabrication, Modifications, Repurpose, Shop Tools, Woodshop, Woodwork | 1 Comment

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;

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 | Leave a comment

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! πŸ˜€


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 | 1 Comment

ATV plow, first use.Β 

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. πŸ˜†πŸ˜‡πŸ˜†

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

Copper teaser.

Just a tease of what’s to come. This angle iron is solid copper.  And for scale, the board it’s next to in the pic is a standard 2×4.  About 1/4″ stock. 

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, copper, Custom, custom-made-tools, Fabrication

Spring time catch up.

Been a while. It’s either been a lot going on with no time to post, or I’ve been sick as hell(flu, twice through, laid out for 3 weeks, then almost gone, got too cold working, relapsed, and now running into 6 weeks total) and literally Nothing going on to post about. 

Anyway, here is a random slew of pics from the last couple months.

Moon and Venus.


My first day out snowshoeing.



Recent knives used and the books I was reading that week.(for a forum thread)


Dads stainless handle Sabre jack knife that lives in the den, which is currently the reloading room.


Case hobo and an Alaskan cookbook

225 grain LWN (long wide nose) hard cast .41 caliber bullets I ordered from GTBullets.  100 lubed and sized for $13, even with $6 shipping, it’s almost cheaper than I could cast my own.. And is considering I can’t afford the mould right now! πŸ˜‰  


Cleaning up an old Schrade USA stockman, a 8OT , that a friend gave me last summer.



Knives and guns, notable pairs, (for a forum thread )

My Beretta. 45, that I’ve now amazingly had for 10.5 years! And the custom Andy Sharpe coffin fighter that it’s come to live with. I rarely ever carry one without the other.


My Mom’s Liberty Mustang .22 and Dad’s Case peanut.


Most sentimental pairing; my Ruger Security Six 357 mag. Which has belonged to both my older brothers,  and my Dad before me. With Dad’s Western brand hunting knife. 

New stuff, second week of March, my takes from the EDCC (edccommunity.com) passaround box.


Old style finned bomb shaped beads are a fad right now, had some shop time so I tried one. LOTS of work to get the rounded nose, and fins. Had to freehand the cutters on the curve, and lots of file work off the lathe. Too time intensive to make many of them, but I might still..


A slew of pocket dumps, in mostly cronological order, late Jan. to now. 



On my knees in a sniw bank digging out firewood at 0F or 10F. Something like that. Proof that I wear my guns working, they’re not babied. (Much.. πŸ˜‰ )




Simple day last week, hour or two after dark working on firewood. Headlamp and the bluetooth speaker did constant duty… I zip the speaker into a mid layer pocket, hit Google Play, usually Springsteen,  and have music wherever I am while working. 

Yesterday’s carry, 3-15-17, an outside day. been cooped up sick, wanted to get out and work for a while, puttered around with a few projects (most of which involved shoveling snow!). 


Cousins. Both old used and worn, but great Schrade USA stockmans. Large 8OT, and medium 34OT. 


My Titanium Eng1nerd Prangler  (mash up of key dangler and pry bar) is getting some great coppery brass colored wear stripes in its anodizing. The things that swing and rub on it are brass and it sort of burnished onto the area as it rubs. 

And, more of 3-15-17… got the sled out for a bit.And found out how out of practice I am… Was stuck a total of three times! Oi.  Thankfully all within ~100 yards max from the house! God is good to me!


Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, Beads, Clothes, Custom, custom-made-tools, Daily-cary-log, EDC, Field Notes, Flashlights, Guns, Hanks, key-chains, knives, Leather, Modifications, Multitools, New Gear, No-pain-no-gain, old tools, Outdoors, Pocket knives, Reloading, Sentimental, Theory/Thoughts, titanium, truck, Vehicles, weather and seasons, Winter, wood processing, Woods tools

A square ZippoΒ 

​Ever seen one of these?

 Regular, standard Zippo on the left (vintage steel cased from 1952 actually) 

Slim zippo center (vintage from 1985) 

And, a custom cut down I did several years ago.  These kept popping up online at the time, supposedly something that was “theatre art”; items made by deployed soldiers. From the vietnam war era, done to make them smaller to carry.. I call BS on that one! No way a soldier in the field ever did this mod, unless he was on a base with a machine shop handy! 

 I simply liked the square,  balanced look, so I had to make one.  Shortening the case is pretty easy. Shortening the insert is interesting…The real pain is re mounting the hinge, and getting the lid to body fit gapless and snug, without binding. 

Categories: Custom, custom-made-tools, EDC, Fabrication, Lighters, Modifications, tool mods

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: