Archive for November, 2014|Monthly archive page

Completed Hammer

In design, mjolinar, thor's hammer, tool making on November 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I promised you a finished photo of my Thor’s Hammer project.  Here it is:


The head of the hammer is about 3.5 inches long.  I was given a piece of bar stock to use so those measurements are what drove the overall size of the piece.  My initial inspirations for this project where stylized pendants of the hammer.  Instead of the pommel weight they had a face looking down the shaft and the chain for a necklace would run through the head for the pendant to hang on.  Most of the other artwork for Mjolinar does not have a pommel weight on it.  They are usually just the hammer head and the handle.  I liked the sense of balance that adding the face/weight on the handle added.  I don’t have the skill to engrave the face.  I might be able to sculpt one but I don’t have the resources to cast it out of metal afterwards.  This meant that the pommel weight would be much simpler in overall design.  I decided to just mirror the head at about 1/4 scale.  The final size was determined by the end of the hammer handle.  I wanted the proportion of the weight to the width of the handle to be similar to the head and the top of the handle.  Initially I planned on a more dramatic flaring out of the the top of the handle and narrowing down of the bottom.  When it came time to actually make it, I could only make the bottom of the handle so small and still have enough structure left to assemble everything.  The flare was just too much on such a short handle so the design was simplified once again.  The handle was going to be leather wrapped.  I even cut some leather strips and started experimenting with different wrapping styles before I ran across a bit of copper scrap that had been left in my garage by a previous tenant.   I decided on the lightning bolt motif for the inlay and cut it out.  I don’t have any chisels so I used the engraving bit on my dremel.  It isn’t as nice looking as if I had used chisels but it worked well enough.  Despite having to make some allowances for reality and some design changes driven by found material I am very happy with the end result.   I’ll probably do some things a little differently if I make anymore, but those are mostly dealing with construction techniques not the final look of the hammer.


Tool Making

In anvil, blacksmithing, education, thor's hammer, tools on November 6, 2014 at 3:17 am

My favorite class so far is tool making.  It is equal parts welding, machining, and blacksmithing.  My first project is making an anvil out of a chunk of railroad track.  It is essentially done at this point.  There are some extra things I can do to clean it up a bit if I have time after finishing my other required projects. Here are a couple of photos of that process:

the first cuts are complete!

the first cuts are complete!



My next project was to make a chipping hammer out of a railroad spike.  That was quick and easy.  I won’t bore you with a photo of that.  I already have a good chipping hammer so this one was pretty much just finished for a grade.  It wasn’t something I spent much time on as it isn’t something I will be actively using.

The third project is to make something else out of a second railroad spike.  I am going to make an ornamental coat hook to hang my welding jackets on.  It is started but I haven’t gotten very far on it as I have only worked on it for about 30 minutes or so.  My initial plan wasn’t working very well so I need to figure out how I will actually get it done.

The fourth project is to make a hammer out of a chunk of bar stock.  It could be artistic or a functional hammer.  I have a small machinists sledge so i decided to go more artistic with an interpretation of Thor’s hammer based on old pendants and engravings found in Viking era sites.  It should be finished tomorrow but here are a few shots of the work as it progressed.  I’ll add a final shot when it is finished.

The head is shaped and the rough shape of the handle is cut.  Nothing is attached at this point.

The head is shaped and the rough shape of the handle is cut. Nothing is attached at this point.

The first inlay is done using some copper sheet that was left in the garage by the previous tenant.  The handle still isn't actually attached to the head at this point.

The first inlay is done using some copper sheet that was left in the garage by the previous tenant. The handle still isn’t actually attached to the head at this point.

The handle is attached to the head.  The second inlay is completed and the handle is stained.  Only the pommel weight is left to be done.

The handle is attached to the head. The second inlay is completed and the handle is stained. Only the pommel weight is left to be done.

I have a couple more projects to finish as well.  One is a brand that we will use to mark the piece of wood we are mounting the anvil too.  We made our own nails just for this purpose.  The other is a gardening tool.  I have some extra steel from an old style garage door that I took apart that will probably go into making some additional tools.  If I get that accomplished I’ll let you know.

Life Update

In education, job hunting, money, planning, ramblings on November 6, 2014 at 3:00 am

After the failure of my business I moved in with Mom who generously offered up her guest room for me.  I spent a little bit of time driving from the west coast to the east to visit with friends.  After that i started job hunting.  It took about 6 weeks to find a job and even that wasn’t great.  Thanks to Obama-care nobody is hiring full time which means you have to somehow figure out how to coordinate two jobs and, in my case, school.  I haven’t been able to do that so I am trying to get by on one part time job that pays about $150 less per month than my bills require.  I bought a cheap car and am attempting to sell my good one.  That will help a little bit from an insurance standpoint and I will be able to pay off my credit cards some.

As for the school bit, yes I have gone back to college.  I am attempting to get an AS in Welding.  There is a big shortfall in welders at the moment as everybody my age and younger went to the university and nobody went to trade school.  The older guys are retiring and there is nobody behind them to step into the gap.  I am hoping this will be a good long term career choice that I will actually be able to live with.  I like making stuff and get a lot of satisfaction from it.  This should let me do that and will hopefully pay a decent wage on top of that.

The job is ok.  I am a lot associate at Home Depot.  I spend my days loading heavy things into peoples cars and pushing shopping carts up a steep hill.  I did lose 30 pounds in the first few months of working there so that is a bonus i guess.  I think I am doing a good job and have had a number of department supervisors tell me to apply for openings in their departments.  I have been doing that and even got to the interview part but it is easier for the store to hire to fill those positions than it is to fill my job so I have been stuck outside for the moment.  A full time job inside with a pay raise would make my life much easier.  The benefits would be great as well as I don’t have any insurance at the moment.

I guess that is it for the big stuff.  Doing my best to hang in there.  I do enjoy school and my job most days so that helps.  I will leave you with a picture of me in welding drag.  🙂


New-to-me drill press

In refurbishing, tools on November 6, 2014 at 2:41 am

My uncle gave me a drill press.  It was in poor shape after not being used for a long time.  The wiring was disintegrating, it was filled with rat poop, covered in rust, and the plug had been cut off at some point.  He thought the motor was still good though.  I got it cleaned up and rewired.  I replaced the plug wire as well.  It still needs a new belt as the old one is a bit frayed but it does work!  It has already been getting some use.  🙂

it clearly needs some love

it clearly needs some love


cleaned, painted, rewired, and ready for action.

3D printer update

In 3D Printing, Electronics on November 6, 2014 at 2:25 am

Sorry that it has been so long between updates.  My cousin and I got the printer working again by adding a fan (and printing a fan mount) to cool the arduino board.  We never did figure out why it is overheating, but the fan keeps everything up and running.  Of course we have managed to break the hot-end a few times.  This last time I ordered a new style hot-end but got the wrong size for the filament that I was using.  So i ordered some filament for it and have been unable to get it to print since then.  Part of the problem is getting everything leveled out properly.  It’s a real pain to do and with the smaller filament it needs to be much more accurate than with the other stuff.  I will probably just buy some new nozzles that are the larger size.