tool mods

When you buy the wrong nails; A.I.O. #467

And you don’t have time to get more before you have to deliver a product, you improvise.

When i got nails for my brad nailer, I needed 5/8″ and at least about 1.25″. The 2″ was cheaper, and the length wouldn’t hurt the project, so thats what I got.

Forgot to check if thd long ones would fit the nailer.

Whoops!

But these fit;

Wondered if i could score a line on a stick, and snap them off shorter with the stick intact… Couldn’t hurt to try!

And voila! Shorter nails that fit!

They work flawlessly too, the now one sided bevel on the tip doesn’t seem to effect a thing.

A.I.O. Simple. 🙂

(Adapt, Improvise, Overcome)

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Categories: A.I.O., Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Materials, Modifications, tool mods, Woodshop, Woodwork | 1 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! 😀


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

Gum tin improved.

The Camel snus tin I’ve been using for my gum has been working great. With the seal in it, it’s water tight, at least keeping out sweat or any other moisture I get in my pockets. 

And it’s durable, even though its dented some from being pressed in the pocjet, the gum isn’t crushed or mangled. 

My only problem was the snus advertisement that it was.  

I don’t particularly care what other people do, and I try not to care what people think of what I do. But, I don’t want to be seen as possibly using snus. Or just seen as doing something that I don’t do, regardless of what… 

 So I dug out a can of paint. Was going to use basic black, but found this small can of Krylon that I had. It was an almost exact match to the blue my truck used to be. 

Truck hasn’t been that color for 5.5 years, didn’t need to keep it anymore, so might as well, right? 🙂 

Voila;

Categories: Custom, EDC, Life-Philosophy, Modifications, Pocket-Tin-Kit, Theory/Thoughts, tool mods

The saga might be ending.

My regular readers, those who have been reading for a while now, will remember my progression of preferences on pocket knives. And my search, in futility, for one with such features.  

Those features being; traditional in look and materials, slip joint in function, 3.5″ to 3.75″ in length closed, two blades opening from opposite ends, one a full frame length clip blade, the other a 1/3 to 1/2 frame length sheepsfoot. USA made preferably.

Unfortunately something that hasn’t ever been made in spades, and not at all,  in approx. the last 40 years, if not longer. Except one special limited factory order, the 2015 Blade forums traditional forum knife of the year… 

Expensive at the time,  and (unfortunately predating my preferences by 3 or 4 months) like getting adamantium hens teeth now.. (Canal Street Cutlery, the maker has since gone out of business,  making a limited rare knife even more collectible).

A long time ago, October-ish in 2015, I decided to just get as close as possible, and re-grind one blade to a sheep’s foot. 

That means picking the right sized knife, with a modifiable blade. Not as easy as it sounds! 

At that time I got a Case humpback half whittler, 3.625″, clip and long spear blade. Perfect. 

Problem is, I really got to like that long spear blade,  and after a few days couldn’t bring myself to grind the end off!

For several months that knife was almost all I used. 

But I still miss the straight edged sheepsfoot at times. 

This set of specs came about a lot from the knife I carried for most of 2015, a 3.25″ Queen stockman, the EDCForums special forum knife. The sheepsfoot and clip blades were great, the spey blade rarely being used. And the handle being just a bit too short at times. Thus the specs.  (Wanting blade pivots at oposite ends is mainly for asthetics, simply how I like a multi blade knife built. Also it seems that of knives with that arrangement, a lot seem to have the blades set lower in the frame-more comfortable to grip in use).

That led me back to carrying and using a few different stockmans for a while in mid to late 2016.  A 47 frame Case at 3.875″, great to grip, a touch big in the pocket. 

Then I found that the Case Muskrat- two identical clip blades at opposite ends- is made on the 47 frame. And the clip blades being arranges perfectly to convert eithet to a sheepsfoot (long straight edge, and the nail notch back far enough to not be removed with the tip). Even better than the humpbacks spear blade was. 

I decided the extra 1/8″ to 1/4″ in the pocket wasn’t that big of a deal, since the 47 stockman all but disappeared in carry.

So, in November of 2016, I got a nice Navy blue bone stainless bladed Muskrat. 

And yet again, like the humpback before it, found I like it in stock form. Heh. 

Although, not as much; This one I only carried about a month. While not what I wanted to carry a lot, I liked it enough to not want to grind into it.

And around we go again. Back to stockmans.

 A Schrade 8OT, 1/8″ shorter than the 47 frame, almost perfect. 

But still, as with the Case before, one more un-needed blade, the spey. 

I did find a production knife that almost fits the bill about a month ago. Some Buck brand improved Muskrats(the model 372) have a half frame length sheep’s foot in them as a second blade. Almost Perfect at 3.875″. 

(Side note; An “Improved”, or sometimes called “Hawbaker” Muskrat is a the same frame, a serpentine rounded bolster stockman frame, with one clip blade and a full length wharncliffe blade instead of a series on clip blade.) 

And not all of the 372s are what I’d want… seems a few snuck through with a mid length sheepsfoot or short wharncliffe blade. Most of them have a full frame wharncliffe in them. 

The catch? (You knew there was one, right?) They’re made in China imports. 

Now, I do have a lot of modern locking knives that are made in China,  and it never bothers me. 

Heck, some of the best built traditional folders I’ve had are Rough Riders, a Chinese import brand. 

I’m far from being a patriot in a lot of ways, and generally don’t give a damn where anything is made… In fact, in a lot of things I refuse to pay for things made in the USA, because all you get is 3 times the cost for 1/2 the quality of the import, and USA stamped on it. No thanks. 

But lately I’ve had a hesitation when it comes to imports in traditional folders. No idea why, just a feeling. I’ve even had a reservation about European imports lately. Again, no idea why. 

Im sure ill end up eith one eventually, but for now, the Buck is out. 

I also re-discovred the Case mini Muskrat, the same as the regular, but on a 3.625″ frame. 

And discontinued,  hard to find, and a bit spendy. 

[(I should add in here what some will mention; the Victorinox Swiss Army knife, the Apprentice model in Alox(aluminum ) scales. It’s a slim sturdy 3.5″ frame, a short sheep’s foot blade pivoted opposite a London spear point blade. The nicest imported knives yoy will ever get, and quite possibly the best production steel in use… I actually have an Apprentice, along with several others from the Alox line. 

Two minus points; the spear blade, although it’s probably close enough, only losing a touch of fine tip from my preferred clip blades. But mainly the Alox scales. They work great, and look great. But they’re still not jigger bone and bolsters, my preference. )]

And around we go again. Back to the stockman. Again. Recently, a Schrade 34OT, a bit short at 3.375″, but serviceable. 

But still, as with the Case, the 8OT, and back to the Queen before them, one more un-needed, usually un-used blade, the spey. 

ALL of this brings us to this week, where I was looking at getting a Case medium stockman, or another 34OT, basically a medium stock knife, and taking it apart, rearranging the blades, removing one, and reassembling it.

 A LOT of work, to get what I want. 

Then I realized I’ve not carried the Muskrat for a couple months. 

Hmm.

Less work, and I’d know for sure how I like the blade setup,  even if the frame is longer than I(think I) want. And I don’t have to spend a dang thing (funds being short right now). 

So, it spent about 5 minutes in the shop with me. Notched the edge and spine deep on the sander, scored the faces with a deep line both sides, and snapped it off in the vice. 

Ground spine to profile at the sander, smoothed it at the steel wire wheel, and hit it with the buffer. Simple. 

Now we shall see how much I really do(or don’t) like the arrangement I’ve wanted for so long. 

Before;

And after;

How it compares to the 47 stockman blade;

I ended with a finer tip than intended, more a wharncliffe than a sheepsfoot. I’ll see how it works,  might blunted it up later. 

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Custom, EDC, Fabrication, knives, Modifications, New Gear, Pocket knives, SAKs, Theory/Thoughts, tool mods

A square Zippo 

​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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