custom-made-tools

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!

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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 | Leave a comment

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

ATV 2″ front receiver, and plow mount.

Wanted to modify my snow plow from my ridding mower to fit the Prairie 360. The plow mount got partly crushed in storage in the yard a few winters ago, so it hadn’t been used, and couldn’t be used anyway… No loss to cut up what was left of the mounting. 

But I wanted an easy, fat quick disconnect from the ATV, that also didn’t reduce my ground clearance like most factory mounts do.

  Good time to build the front receiver hitch that I’d thought would be handy anyway!
5 evenings work, 4 or 5 hours each, and two designs later; 

Bought a couple more U bolts than what I had (and the 2 U bolts were all I had to buy, the rest was already on hand!) And mounted;

The plate is welded at an angle to the receiver  tube, and sits flat on the frame tubes, which the u bolts go around. The tube is also butted against a frame cross bar at its rear, with a tab at the top sitting on the frame cross bar.  The front also bolts through a cross bar of the bumper.

Thus inward push is directly on the frame in two areas, and it’s protected from twisting up and down, and side to side.  It’s terribly over built, 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick plates and tube… Heavier than most truck hitch mounts. 

And, recessed in the stock front skid plate;

The plow mount uses a inner receiver piece, welded to the mount plate for the plow, which then bolts as it did with the tractor, to the plow pivot plate, which the plow angle bracket, and plow itself pins to.   Before, the plate and pivot would stay on the tractor,  and you understand pin it at the vertical joint. 

I have it so that stays pinned, and the  rear half of the mount will just pull from the 2″ receiver.  

One bonus I gain on this setup, is the plow mount plate receiver piece, is bolted to the plow plate… I can make anything I want to mount to that plate, just match the bolt pattern. Gives a send level of interchangeable mounts if I need it. 

I still need to add a vertical “tower” just in front of the vertical pivot, run up higher than the winch, with a pulley for the cable, to be the angle of lift force correct, and minimize winch strain.  

But it works pretty good!  It’s a little light on the plow, I’ll be adding a heavier cutting edge for durability and added weight (4′ of 1/8″x4″ steel plate). 

The power angle system I’m building for it will also add some weight, should dig in nice with that on it. (More details on that later! ☺) 


As a side note, since it does look like a light setup, especially for our winters; I don’t figure to so all my plowing with it. 

I have a 3/4 ton truck and two heavy duty plows for my yard, driveway, and our road if needed.   But I also have areas around the yard, garage, etc that the truck doesn’t fit into, or where I can’t get it at an angle to push away from the buildings etc.   The ATV on the other hand will maneuver these areas.  

I plan to do those hard areas with the ATV, then in between big snowfalls where I’ll use the truck, I can maintain the walkways, and parking areas etc with the ATV. It’ll be easier for the light 3″ or 4″ max. snowfalls.  😎

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Fabrication, Improviser, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, tool mods, Vehicles, weather and seasons, Welding, Winter, Wrenching

Re hafted my cruiser!

Last night’s other project was hafting this plumb brand cruisers axe.

It was previously hung(by me) several years ago, very poorly on a 36″ handle with the eye area cut down to fit the head.  Looked terrible, worked fair…
(The top one)

image

Last night I re cut and totally re profiled the handle down to cruiser size. All handwork, saw, rasp, and carving hawk . Mostly the big rasp though.

image

It’s not hung perfect, has some gaps, but it’s on solid and works. Didn’t lose anything but time, if it ever loosens/moves, I’ll rehaft again with a new handle.

Cut the handle off at 24″ overall length (including head). Swings great, and is short enough to back pack- but it’s intended use, is to be kept on my ATV for trail work.

Categories: Axes, carving, Custom, custom-made-tools, Modifications, old tools, tool mods, Woods tools, Woodwork

Finished the carving hawk.

Got the edge profile and bevels on the hawk set and sharpened the other night. Little rough in these pictures,  I polished it after that. Sucker is laser sharp, carves fantastic! (As you can see one post back, a lot of the outside if the kuksa was done with it)

image

Still need to clean up a little under the blade against the head, but essentially it’s done!

Categories: carving, Custom, custom-made-tools, hatchets, Modifications, old tools, tomahawks, tool mods, Woods tools, Woodwork

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