Follow up to the Big Busy Weekend.

Well, the Big, busy weekend lived up to expectations.

We loaded up the truck with our tent, displays, items, and two gas forges and an anvil. This was a much bigger load than we are used to for our events. Normally we don’t break down the shop and take half of it with us. On top of the forges and anvil, I had to have hammers, tongs, stock steel, and other tools to work. These things are up in weight pretty quick. So it was loaded Friday night, unloaded and set up Saturday morning, then packed back up Saturday night. All with 6 hours of standing up, and forging as much as I could stand for those 6 hours. It was a great time at Taylor’s Blueberry Farm. We’d like to thank Linda and Daryl Taylor for inviting us.

Of course, I was wearing my custom, tiedye short made by my lovely Maria.

We then got home after dark and unloaded the trailer. We left the majority of our displays and items in the truck as we had another show on Sunday. We didn’t need to have the smithing tools for that one so we unloaded all of it.

That doesn’t mean that we were totally off the hook. We still needed to unload, setup, and then break down and reload our normal set up. We’ve got it down pretty well to have it all set up in less than an hour, but that does involve some hustle.

So, on Sunday, we were at the autumn hall apartment complex to benefit the Cape Fear Enrichment Society to help those with developmental disabilities. It was a little chilly, but overall ahealth good day.

Then to pack it all back up, go home and unload it completely. Yep, if you were wondering, we were tired.

Luckily I took a few days off from my regular job. Yesterday I reworked one of my early knives. My blade work has been good from the start, but fit and finish was a struggle early on. At the suggestion from one of my early customers who had been looking at my current work, I decided to rework the guard and handle on a mini-kukri. It now looks a whole lot better. I also suggested that he send me the knife that I had originally made for him.

So, overall, its been a good weekend. Thanks to you all for coming on this ride with us. We’d love to hear what you have been up to this weekend.

All the best,

Chad

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Big busy weekend!

Hey everybody! This weekend is going to quite the busy time for us.

As everyone should know, this Saturday November 10th is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Above and beyond that, we are going to busy as can be.

On Saturday, we will be at Taylor’s Blueberry Farm in Leland North Carolina for a fall festival. Maria and I will have our booth set up selling her tie-dyed and sewn items. I will also have knives and other metal work available for sale. While that’s going on, I will be giving a 6 hour forging demonstration. We will be there from 11 am to 5 pm.

And then on Sunday, we will be vending at the Winter bazaar for the Cape Fear Enrichment society from 1 to 6 pm. This year the bazaar will be held at Headwaters at Autumn Hall in Wilmington North Carolina.

This is charity event, we will be vending, but they will also be auctioning off some great items to help the Cape Fear Enrichment Society.

If you are in southeastern North Carolina this weekend, come by and see us.

And if you can’t make either one of those events, feel free to swing by the Blue Moon Giftshops in Wilmington, they will be holding their annual open house. You can see a ton of great vendors. We unfortunately won’t be in attendance, but Maria’s booth is stocked up and ready.

I have been finishing up a couple of custom orders before this busy weekend.

I made a bowie style knife for a great customer in Virginia.

Ryan’s knife is acid etched 5160 blade, mokume gane guard, with a cherry burl and cocobolo handle. This is a great knife and I’m glad I had the opportunity to make it for him.

So, once again…if you are going to be in, or around Wilmington this weekend, come see us. If you aren’t planning on being around this area…maybe you should! We’d love to meet ya!

All the best,

Chad and Maria

New forge and cool projects..

With the onset of Hurricane Florence, I didn’t get the opportunity to tell you all about the new addition to the shop. A brand new beast of a gas forge!

My old one (still usable for appropriate projects) does pretty well, but it does sometimes take a while to properly heat the thicker pieces and to get up to welding temp. Well this new one is insulated to the nines and is sporting 3 burners…still very fuel efficient though.

Here is a little peek of it in action.

As Jerry Reed said “when yo hot, you hot!”

As for projects, Maria and I have a fall festival to bend at on November 10. We will be at Taylor’s Blueberry Farm near Winnable NC. Yes, it is the Marine Corps birthday, but duty calls. We will be selling our items (tie dye is always a big hit), and I will bring the forge, anvil, etc and will be smithing onsite. It should be a whole lot of fun.

Knife orders from people at work are starting to trickle in for Christmas.

I also got a commission to create a big ole Bowie knife to be raffled off for the up coming, local Fraternal Order of Police conference. This is what I’ve got so far for that one. I still need to build a display though.

I’ve still got some sanding and finish work on the handle, but its getting there.

I’ve got a tomahawk order that I’m working on as well and I will have some photos of that soon.

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad

Hurricane Florence, overdue post..

Maria and I hope all is well with all of you.

We weathered the storm fairly well, and I’ve been meaning to post for a while now. Things have been a bit hectic and scrambled.

We didn’t have much damage at all. There are areas around Wilmington that were hit quite hard, but we came through pretty well. I had to work nightshift straight through the storm and for a couple of weeks after without a day off. Those 12 hour shifts day after day can wear you down quickly.

During the storm, we lost power for a few days, but that little Honda generator that we take up to the farm was a gem. We could run the fridge, the freezer, a fan, and charge our phones. We could also use the microwave or coffee maker if we temporarily unplugged the fridge.

Maria was the true trooper of the storm. She had to hunker down at home while I was out in it. Worrying about me and taking care of things here. We also ended up with a couple of guys I work with staying with us until they could get back to their own homes. She was the rock in the middle of the storm for sure. She took great care of us all.

I saw some damage while working, a lot of flooding, some trees down, and some structural damage.

Yep, that’s a car in a hole.

Once the flooding started to subside we could see in different areas that there were a lot of fish that got trapped.

There are certain areas where the smell is horrendous.

All in all, things are starting to get back to normal. There were about 20 Deputies that lost their homes completely in the storm, mainly from flooding. Everyone else in the department is trying to help those in need. It just sucks to be out there working in the middle of the storm to save others, only to find out that you have no home to go to at the end of that shift.

Anyway, we would love to hear from all of you, let us know how things are going. Take care for now, as we get ready for a big fall festival/ forging demo coming up in November. More to come on that adventure!

All the best,

Chad

Working overtime…

So Maria and I have been working like crazy lately. Hmm that always seems to be the beginning of our posts.

School is starting up again so Maria has been getting that rolling. She’s got her booth at Blue Moon Gift Shops all set up and running. We put the final touch in today, some lighting. I didn’t get a photo of that, but I did take one of the bracket I made for her to use.

Its sitting sideways, but maybe you can picture it.

We’ve been very short handed at my day job so the overtime is building. It doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

And yet I still find some time to do some forge work. We’ve been saving up to get a proper belt grinder, and after 6 weeks of a 2-3 week turnaround (yeah, not impressed with that) we finally received the Bader grinder that we ordered.

It took awhile to get it, but its worth it. That thing is a dream to use after a few years of using my home made, harbor freight, wood lathe conversion.

I have been able to finish out a few knives that I’m pretty proud of.

This beauty is already displayed in the Eclipse Artisan Boutique.

This next one is a birthday gift for Maria’s brother.

And finally, I just finished this one up tonight. As soon as I make a wooden sheath for it I will list it on our Etsy shop.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the maker’s mark. We had this made to Marie the blades. I really like it, whatcha think?

We hope to have some time to relax soon, haha…right.

I know it seems like all we do is work, well, it kind of is. But, when you love what you do then you never work a day in your life.

We hope you all have a wonderful week.

Chad

Always keep an eye out for a different road..

Lately I’ve really been stressing out about sheath making. That might seem to be the easiest part of knife making, but for me it’s the hardest.

I’m good with metal and wood, but my leather working skills….well, they just plain suck. That’s the only way I can describe it.

Today while working in the shop, I was stressing about making sheaths for the knives I have made already. When it hit me…Why not make them out of wood?

I started laying out a few and starting working 3 of them. I like the look and the durability. I made the belt loops from wood as well. To strengthen the loops I drilled and pinned them as I would to attach scales to a knife handle.

Let me know what you think. I’m really looking for some feedback. I like them, but what I like might not be what others like. Feel free to critique…I promise that you won’t hurt my feelings.

I hope you all have aa great week.

Chad

Trying to catch up and finding a moment to breath..

I normally try to post once every couple of weeks or so, but I noticed that its been almost a month since I have posted anything.

For that, I apologize. However, it’s been a pretty crazy month.

We got the water transport wagon and shower set up completed, but haven’t had a chance to get it moved up to the farm.

Maria happened to go into a local business after her dentist’s appointment. What she found there was an opportunity. That business was Blue Moon Gift shop. It’s a large group of individual vendors with permanent booths that are overseen by Blue Moon employees. What she also found was a booth that was available. She came home and we talked about it, went back down there and looked at it. Before you know it, she was juried in and we were remodeling the space.

Here is how it looked when we first saw it:

And here is what it looked like when we got done with the remodel.

It took us 2 full days to do all of that. The problem was, we didn’t get much sleep. I work 12 hour night shifts at my regular job. I worked Sunday night and then started work on the booth first thing Monday morning with no sleep. I had Monday and Tuesday off, kind of. We worked until about 5pm Monday night. I then took a 3 hour nap while Maria ran all over town getting hooks, hangers, and such, all while sewing and tie dying in between. After my nap I had to go out to the forge and work until about 130 am. I then slept until 7 am, got up, and went to the dentist myself. After getting 2 cavities and a crown taken care of, we went back to work the rest of the day Tuesday to finish the booth. Of course we were both exhausted by then, but I needed to stay awake so I could sleep Wednesday during the day and return to work that night. Whew!! That made me tired just typing it!

So Maria worked like crazy and built her inventory to the level she wanted and got the booth stocked.

I think it looks pretty dang good!

During this process, we were informed that the Eclipse Artisan Boutique right next door was actually owned by the same person. It is a little bit different venue than Blue Moon Gift Shop. It’s a venue to display more one of a kind items and have them available for sale. The management suggested that I bring in a few of my knives to present them for the jury process. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait for a decision. The owner was onsite and seemed to be really excited about my knives and Maria’s tie dye. The meeting took about 10 minutes and my knives were priced and displayed.

To make matters even busier, my immediate supervisor at work got promoted and moved to another division. That leaves me to be the assistant supervisor (Corporal) and the supervisor (Sergeant) all wrapped into one. Not too bad, except for the huge amount of administrative tasks required. I’m really a blacksmith, remember? Lol

So, that’s this month in a nut shell. We hope that you all have had a wonderful month as well. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I’m still waiting on the beast of a new belt grinder to get here from Bader.

If any of you are in or around Wilmington NC, come see our displays at Blue Moon Gift Shop and Eclipse Artisan Boutique.

And, as always you can check us out on Etsy, or Noharminfarmin.com

All the best to you all,

Chad

Soon, a nice hot shower on the farm…

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a shower at the farm. It’s going to be quite some time before we can get a well drilled up there. Normally we carry our drinking water in, but washing is another issue.

Now, we could go down to the creek and wash up, but that’s not a great idea. For one, we really don’t want that gray water going straight into the creek to pollute and contaminate it. For another, in the spring and fall…and winter it will either be super chilly or just flat out frozen.

So, the solution is to be able to take some water (as needed) to the top of the hill. This will give us the opportunity to heat that water for washing and, with the proper drainage, to let the soil filter that gray water long before it gets back to the water shed.

A few years ago I built a small wagon/trailer/cart. I decided to attach a 55 gallon drum to that and add a pump so we can pump water out of the creek, haul it up the hill, heat it and run a shower.

First I had to get some parts and components.

This is a portable, propane fired tankless water heater. Super fuel efficient

There’s the trailer, the drum, a new pump, and a few of the plumbing fittings.

Finally ready for testing. If you notice, its after dark when I finally got this joker put together, I am definitely NOT a plumber. Lol

In the background to fhe right you can see the water heater hooked up. It worked well, except for one thing…I had a leak..a pretty big one. If you look where the green hose comes out of the pvc you can see a black rag wrapped around the fitting. It by no means stopped the leak, but it kept water from spraying everywhere. I’m going to have to change out that green hose to something a bit more rigid. When filling the barrel (simulated creek) the pump was powerful enough to collapse the hose. Even with the collapsed hose I can fill the barrel in just around 3 minutes.

The water heater had a bit of trouble because it has a low pressure safety switch that turns off the burner when the pressure drops. Well, the rag wrapped fitting caused the pressure to drop to the heater. Water still flowed out of the shower head at a decent rate, but not with enough pressure to ignite the burner.

A couple of adjustments and some tweaking is in order, but I think it will be a glorious addition to the farm. After working out the bugs it will be time to build a nice, cedar deck to stand on while showering.

Let me know if you have an outdoor shower and how often you use it. I’d actually prefer to shower outdoors regardless of the weather.

I’d love to hear what you’ve got!

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad

I think I’m gonna buy a Bader…..

I have been bladesmithing for a few years now, and I don’t have any big, crazy equipment. As time goes by and as my experience grows I have been gradually upgrading equipment. I started with a Harbor Freight cast iron anvil, home made brake drum forge, and an angle grinder. All functional, but not nearly effective enough to complete the amazing knives I can and want to make.

Eventually I got a propane forge from NC Tool Company, as well as a 112 pound steel anvil. These helped me to heat and move metal much more efficiently.

As far as a grinder for shaping and polishing….well…I converted a Harbor Freight wood lathe into a belt grinder. I made a two wheel arm with a small 4 inch flat platen. It only has a 3/4 horse power motor and I’m constantly overloading it. The biggest reach I could build was for 48 inch belts. Again, it works, but it is very limited in its capabilities.

That’s me with the lathe/ grinder in action.

When I went in Forged In Fire I had the opportunity to use a Travis Wuertz TW 90 2×72 belt grinder. And it was a BEAST! Maybe I got a little spoiled, or I was able to test drive that joker and was able to imagine the possibilities. Either way, I knew it was time to upgrade. Unfortunately, the TW 90 base model is REALLY expensive. None of the decent belt grinders are cheap, but dang.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and after spending time with the guys I competed against and found that the Bader BIII is about the best, all around grinder that will work for me. They’ve got an excellent track record and a ton of accessories.

So, for almost $1500 less than the TW 90 I am going to get a Based. This should be exciting, it only took me 2 years to decide. I’m going to give it one more day to sleep on it, and then I’m going to order one.

Let me know if you’ve used one, or both of these grinders and what your thoughts are.

Hope you have a great week.

Chad

Fun and Joyous reunions…

Today was a good day. A day of fun and reunions on two fronts.

First off, my lovely Maria returned home after nearly a week of being gone to Maine. She and her sister travel upta camp so to speak to visit with their ages grandmother. I think it was a great trip for them, but I sure did miss Maria. I was very happy to see her home.

Before that could happen though, I took a day off of work to go out to the home of Tim, one of the guys I competed against on Forged In Fire. The champion of our episode, Andrew, had come down from Pennsylvania for vacation in the outer banks. The fourth member, Tom, couldn’t make it.

We spent the day showing off knives we made, swapping techniques, and tool and equipment building. We had some fun and learned some cool things. Being the rookie of this crew, I’m not sure how much I contributed to the learning, but it was a good time. The short time we all spent together was a great bonding experience, especially since we all have a common interest.

Maria made some gifts for the guys and their wives for me to take. She tie dyed some No Harm In Farmin tee shirts and tote bags. They were a big hit.

And as true bladesmiths we also swapped the gifts of steel. I gave each of them a huge bar of 4140 stainless steel, and Tim gave Andrew and I each a couple of bars of 1090 modified steel. These might seem like strange gifts, but it was like Christmas to us. Lol

Here are some photos from today:

That’s Tim on the left (second place), Andrew in the middle (champ), and me….umm first eliminated?!? Lol. Another thing we traded were tee shirts. Andrew is wearing Maria’s tie dye, Tim and I are wearing shirts from Andrew’s shop.

Spending some time pilfering through Tim’s tools in the forge, admiring his forge set up and formulating plans. We made some tentative plans to make this a yearly get together, next year will probably be in my shop.

We even took some time to play with the donkey and the goats…ahh good times.

I’m not sure if anybody is ever going to plan a big get together of all the contestants from all episodes, but I think it would be a whopping good time.

They are some really great guys and are super talented bladesmiths. I enjoyed spending time with them, but I also looked forward to getting home to see my lovely Maria.

We hope you all have a great week.

Chad