Making new bolts look old…

I have said over and over that I LOVE custom orders.

I had a great time making a super sharp bill hook for some really great folks. Check out there wonderful blog.. https://whollyholyliving.com/

This week, through a friend, I got a commission to build a gun rack.

Now, you might ask what’s so special about a gun rack?

Well…it’s for something called a “punt gun”. Prior to this I had never heard of one. Apparently, during the late 1800s and early 1900s some people would commercially harvest wild ducks and other birds. As with any commercial operation these guys wanted to increase their yield.

Somewhere along the way, someone went to a gunsmith and had them create a muzzleloading shotgun that is over 10 feet long and weighs over 85 pounds! The barrel itself is 2 1/2 inches a cross! This allowed them to shoot a large number of birds from a great distance. Seems a bit unfair to me and I’m glad that its now a display piece, but its still really interesting.

This one is estimated to mid 1800s.

That brings me to the challenge, and the title of this post.

I have to make hooks that mount to a board (prettied up, of course), and then mount that board to a brick wall. Gret big ol’ blacksmith engineering challenge. I started the hooks for the board and will have some photos later as they develop. He wants the whole thing to look a bit rustic, so we couldn’t just use regular store bought looking lag bolts to mount it to the wall. I took 8 lag bolts and converted the heads to be pyramid shaped in the old decorative style.

I really like the look of old bolts like that, and if I had my choice, all bolts would look that way!

So, even though they are new, they look nice and old fashioned now.

With me year coming up, here’s to you and here’s to hoping 2019 is a wonderful year full of challenges and success. Challenges are what builds us.

Happy New Year and all the best to you!

Chad

Busy, always keeping busy

First, and foremost, Maria and I hope that you all have a very, Merry Christmas!

As always, we have been busy. It’s something that we just seem to always be. Dealing with our day jobs isn’t nearly as much fun, but all the rest that we do doesn’t seem much like work.

We finally found time to run up to the farm. I haven’t been up there since summer and had no idea if the camper, tractor, etc..was even there. Luckily, everything was there and looked in pretty good shape.

Maria took a few photos on the way up. We aren’t quite in the mountains, but there are some hills nearby.

We talked to Mr. Brooks (who lives a cross the road from the farm) and he said that during the big snow storm last week there was about 16 inches of snow there on the farm. And we missed it!

Back in the forge, I took the knife that our online scammer had tried to get me to make for him and made something different. I turned it into a chopper type butcher knife, perfect for barbecue.

I also completed the steel and G10 sheath for the red and black hunter.

And, of course, that last photo still has a big fat thumbprint on the blade. Lol.

I was also able to finish up this beauty.

But, its not all about knives. I also came up with a flat platen attachment for my grinder. All fabricated by me. I have ordered some aluminum idler wheels for it as I just don’t trust the skateboard wheels. They weren’t designed for those rpms or that much force. But a true blacksmith makes as many or more tools than he/she buys.

Again, we hope you all have a beautiful Christmas, and we are looking forward to a new year. (Just that much closer to retirement from the day job, lol)

all the best and Merry Christmas,

Chad and Maria

Online scammers, and shuttin em down.

WARNING, POTENTIAL FOR STRONG LANGUAGE

As many of you know, Maria and I have a shop on Etsy.

She sews and makes the most beautiful and vibrant tie dye I’ve ever seen, I on the other hand sell knives and other blacksmithing projects.

We believe that Etsy is a wonderful venue for small businesses that hand make their own items, sell vintage items or craft supplies.

Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, we occasionally get contacted by someone claiming that if we send then an item for free they will do a review for us. Mostly by Instagram, YouTube, etc. Well, this week I got one of those requests, again.

He sold his story well, claiming to be affiliated with a YouTube channel that specializes in survival techniques and equipment reviews with 300,000 subscribers.

I checked out the channel, and sure enough, they have that many subscribers and the videos were just as described. I was still very skeptical and told him so. He continued to reassure me that he was a post production guy.

So, I started work on the knife. I kept him updated by e-mail. He continued to be picky and particular. That in itself isn’t a red flag for a customer, but I continued to feel weird about it.

Maria finally said, “This dude just doesn’t sound right”.

I agreed. So I did a little more research and found that the company that he pretended to be representing had a web site. I contacted them and explained the situation. Big surprise…they had never heard of him.

Now, normally, I don’t care one way or another where our customers are from. We’ve had some great buyers from Hong Kong, Australia, Norway, Canada, Italy, and all over the U.S. I think that they are probably great people and we have actually had some wonderful correspondence with some.

This douche nozzle is not one of them.

I kept along with him and he sent me an address to send the knife to. I then did a little research.

I might not be as deadly or dramatic as Liam Neeson, but I too…have particular set of skills. Some of you know what I do at my “real job” and some don’t. Lets just say it involves figuring out what happened, who did it, and where they are.

I know all three about this punk.

He was arrested in 2015 for fraudulent use of a credit card and elder abuse because he tricked an 80 year old man into giving up his credit card info and then racking up $3000 in online purchases.

This time he picked the wrong one. I have been in contact with his hometown police department and expect a follow up to the investigation from them tomorrow. I am also exploring the option of swearing out felony warrants here in NC for obtaining property by false pretenses. They won’t extradite from California, but if he ever comes this way….got em.

With most homesteaders having some sort of small business as either their only income, or to supplement their income protection needs to be in place. With a lot of small online businesses, we are afraid to question someone. We fear that we will scare off that person. Here is a little secret though, if they are asking for something for free, they are not a customer.

Any legitimate entity that wants to do any kind of review of your items or products is generally willing to purchase them to review.

Take care of your customers. Maria and I try to go the extra mile for everyone that orders from us, but we will not be duped if we can help it.

Don’t let these pieces of…..well, you know, get over on you. Vet them out, if they are legit, then cool. If they are not, shut them down as best you can.

I debated with myself about including this d-bag’s photo and personal information. I decided against it. He knows who he is, he knows (or soon will) how much trouble he is going to be in. I think that’s enough for now.

I have, for years, been trying to break some bad habits that were formed and developed during my Marine Corps years. Swearing being the biggest. I think I have done pretty well, except when these….kinds of people crawl out from under their rocks. Sgt. Hollar then makes a reappearance and they get an ear full.

Bottom line, he picked the wrong one.

Maria and I hope you all have a wonderful week. Stay warm.

All the best,

Chad

Strengths and weaknesses….

Every person in this world has some things they are really good at and some things that they are not.

I have learned that I am good at metal work, and decent at wood working.

I have also learned that I am terrible at leatherwork, and nearly as bad at photography. Unfortunately, both of those things are needed to compliment, and ultimately sell the items that I make that I am good at.

Luckily, I have found a few people that are good at the things that I am not.

I have a guy that I work with at my day job that does excellent leather work and has made a few sheathes for me. Hopefully when he gets time he will make more.

I have two fellas that I work with that are photographers with nice cameras and a talented eye to match.

One such fella is Jason Williams (known as JD). He has taken a few product photos for me and filmed the outstanding YouTube video that we posted.

Unfortunately (but understandably) he moved away from the coast to the mountains. That puts him out of commuting range for product videos or photos.

Another friend though, Nathan Ramsey, has begun the journey to be a photographer. He came by the shop today because he wanted to practice some “action type” photography while I was working. It worked out because I was working on a bill hook knife for a custom order. I like making farm and homestead tools as much a I like making anything else.

Here are a few of his photos that he sent to me. Keep in mind, he went home and altered some of them with his editing software to learn and experiment.

He also did a silly “movie trailer” with some photos. The video quality isn’t the greatest, he said that he did this one on an app on his phone. Despite the video clarity, its still pretty good.

He took one of my knives on a road trip a couple of weeks ago to take some great photos.


I am very fortunate for my wonderful customers, especially the great folks looking for a custom order. I am also very lucky to have friends that are capable enough with others skills to help me complete those orders in the very best way I can.

Thank God for good friends and for both our strengths AND our weaknesses.

We hope that you all have a wonderful week!

Chad

When work can be fun.

From our last couple of posts, you can tell that Maria and I tend to stay pretty busy. We both have full time, stressful jobs, but still maintain No Harm In Farmin. All of this side of work is a lot of fun and doesn’t seem to get old. Maria has had a couple orders for tie dyed quilts and has been feverishly sewing to get them done before Christmas. I think she will have plenty of time.

I’ve been making a few knives.

I’ve got a new leather guy. He does fantastic work, but we need to speed up his turn around time.

I also made a new display rack for knives. When we go to shows, Maria has some fantastic displays for her sewing, but my knives tend to just lay on a table. I wanted to add some vertical aspects. These photos aren’t great, but its what I’ve got.

I’ve also been trying to get more YouTube videos made. Its been suggested that I do some of the forging process. I know that people came out last weekend and watched for a few minutes, but nobody…and I mean nobody wants to hang around for the long process. Besides, there is a lot of sweating and a few swear words (still working on that, lol).

Here is a little snippet of a video I’m working on editing. It involves making the twisted forks for that knife display. Be sure to notice the fantastic vacation beard. That is, if you can, I need to adjust the camera angle to eliminate that dang fluorescent light.

My good friend J.D. that filmed our first YouTube video moved to Ashville. So I’ve had to start learning it myself.

It should be an interesting learning curve. Well, back to work.

We hope that you all have a wonderful thanksgiving, and be safe out there.

All the best,

Chad and Maria

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

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