All the work now is done with build up rod, which is sort of an intermediary hardness: 85 or 90, I think. It’s not good for anything structural because it doesn’t really have the penetration properties needed for joining two separate pieces. It will go right over a minimum amount of old hardfacing, which saves a bunch of time in wiping the old hardfacing off with an air arc. Although tedious, I don’t really mind this sort of slow, repetitive stuff. My mind gets to wander and nobody bugs me. (Again, some explanatory captions on the individual photos.)

The first couple of pictures here, I started building the lip of the butterfly with MIG, because it’s much faster and at this point I just need volume. It is, however, much hotter than using stick electrodes, so I put a small tattletale weld between the lip and the barrel. Even though I have bracing welded on the inside of the barrel (to control, or at least minimize warping), I wanted the tattletale there to indicate when pressures started. (When you hear the sharp little “spang” of that small weld snapping, it’s time to stop and let things cool a bit.) That’s a good time to lay this bucket on it’s side and get the rest done with stick electrodes. Yes, it’s tedious and a lot slower, but the heat is gentler and minimizes distortion. (I captioned these photos individually if you wanted more detail. just click on the pictures.)

Now we know. Happy Easter.

….I broke a nail.


We’ve been patient all week. It’s finally Friday!!

Never in a bazillion years would either of my malamutes allow anything edible to rest on their noses. They both subscribe to the notion that biscuits should be eaten and not seen.

Tooth shanks are on. I still think they’re too big to tear much…. not enough space in between them to disrupt the material very well. If the outer teeth look crooked to you, you’re right. They are placed that way to cut clearance for the sides of the tool. If you don’t do this, the bucket will 1) bind in the hole and 2) wear the sides of the barrel to the thickness of tin foil in no time by abrasion with the excavated material. I was interrupted a couple of times by “Can you fix this for me real quick?”, so tomorrow I will replace the lost metal along the edges of both the butterfly and the barrel.

This photograph by Asher Svidensky is from an article at BBC online. You can read the whole thing here.  This young woman just knocked my socks off.

…More wreckage. This tool was run for quite some time with no outer tooth on either edge of the butterfly. The field guys said the tooth “just wouldn’t stay on the shank”. I’m not convinced they were using the proper keeper pins, but what do i know? Anyway, they were so disgusted (!) and the tool was so destroyed, that they said that they wanted new shanks and bigger teeth.  Hokey Dokey… here we go…. off to the races: a few 1/2 inch  copperclad will pretty much wipe off anything in very short order. Tomorrow I’ll put on six new shanks and teeth that in my humble opinion are too big for this bucket. I don’t believe they will cut as well since they will act more like scoops than cutting teeth, and I also think the odds of the butterfly door getting warped from too much torque and drag are pretty high. ‘Sokay… I’ll fix it again later.


Got questions? ask ‘em Getting ready for episode #2!

Bummer… every hope I’ve ever had of time in a smithy has been DASHED UPON THE ROCKS of terminal beardlessness. 

Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I’d like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough.

But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today—a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.

Don’t take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

— Anna Quindlen, from her commencement speech at Mount Holyoke College in 1999 (via waxenneat)



I have no idea what SATANITE is (I’ll google it), but I’m pretty sure I just need a jar to set on my bench.  I think I’d cast a fistful at the feet of the next jackass who asks me if I’m “done welding that yet”.


"Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined." -Johnny Carson #blacksmith #feedmenow (at

I really do love my work. I might grumble some days when the alarm goes off, but I’m always completely glad to shove the bay doors open wide and commence work. I love the sounds, the smells, the silly unexpected stuff, the ABSURD shit they bring in and want fixed, and I love going home tired to my man and dogs. 


One of the best :) I’d be quite lonely without my boy.

(Source: twitchyvag-eater)