1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lemonade

Sometimes something comes along and, against my better thinking I go along with it as a learning experience.
Case in point: Pipe tomahawk.
This is the first one I made. It was smokable (or bubble blow-able if that's your preference) and "useable" as well.
The use I intended for it was the random chop; likely taken at a tree, table, TV screen whatever; when someone, possibly having "blown some bubbles" goes: "Whoa! That is seriously badass.
I wasn't really badass. It could stand up to the tentative, experimental chop but it was really more of a novelty.
About four years ago, a fellow in Portland contacted me and wanted a pipe-hawk that you could smoke through that could also be used for work.
He'd had the idea that tomahawks were tools rather than weapons and a tool is what he was after.
I thought it sounded like fun so I gave it a shot.
He sent it back a few weeks later, broken.
I tried something else. Same story.
After we'd sent the thing up and down the I-5 corridor four times, he eventually decided that he wanted a big Bowie instead. End of story, kind of.
Of course the thing came home to me where I promptly stuck it away without opening it for two years or so. I'd had no ill feelings toward the other participant in the whole deal. I'd agreed to everything. I just didn't want to think about it.
Then I unwrapped it, looked at it, then stuck it away for another year.
I was finally ready to deal with it - and I had to deal with it. I hate waste. It's a sickness with me.
I burned off the last of my earlier efforts and confronted the whole thing again.
I bought 3' of 1/2 X 1/2 X 1/8" angle iron, cut it in half and welded the two pieces together
lengthwise.
I welded them up oriented as shown to the left which gave me a hollow rectangle 5/8 X 1/2" and 18" long.
I welded that into the head and added a little curved strut at the bottom.
Pictured above: all the fiddly bits.
At the top is the middle of the sandwich that the handle is eventually going to be. It's hickory, 1/2" thick.
While I made the long cut into the length of it, I'd left six inches or so of extra length so it wouldn't split across the grain. After all was said and done, I cut off the extra, then broke it. Hence the clamp.
The bottom two bits are of course "the bread". They're pacific yew and are two halves of the same stick, 3/8" thick each.
Next: Two thirds of the sandwich glued together making a coffin for the box/handle.
I dealt with the open eye - and the need an opening there to facilitate cleaning - by pouring it full of brass.
First I'd plugged all the little crevices with bits of wood. Lots of little bits of wood.
I poured the thing full and the brass sat there. Down below, all those wooden bits were becoming a bit restive what with the 1800 degree bath they found themselves suddenly undergoing.
The brass topped-up the eye and sat there for a second, simmering.
Then most of the pour jumped straight up four inches or so, then globbed itself back down all over the rest of the head.
Fearlessly I kept pouring and eventually it settled down.
Ah, good times. I feared the worst but it was all good.
I ground the brass flush, then drilled and tapped a hole through it. I made the plug by soldering a brass stud to a nickel. Well, we're ready for a sandwich. I should add that the unit had been extensively stress-tested while in the steel-only configuration. Uncomfortable as hell but it chopped fine.
Twenty-four hours and much epoxy paste later (Good stuff that)...
It's a giant, pangit mess with gray goop oozing everywhere. Whatever would I do?
Never fear. Hemp cord along with a coat of good old Elmer's.
I gave it to my twenty-five year-old for his birthday so I'll know if it fucks up.
I doubt it will. I got it right this time.
Maybe

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