Warm beer anyone?


A few weeks ago a friend was commenting on a TV show he had seen where someone took what he thought was an old style soldering iron, and used it to warm his cup of coffee.  While I have never actually seen this done, I have heard of a “flip iron” being used to make a hot toddy or hot buttered rum.  I felt pretty smug knowing what he was refering to.

Imagine my surprise when I recieved the following message a few days latter. “I’ve been searching for an iron tool that is used in the upper-midwest during spring bock beer festivals. The solid iron “head” of the tool is heated in a fire and then dipped red hot into a glass of beer. The result is a hot foamy head of beer.”

Here is the picture provided by the customer

Here is the picture provided by the customer

Now I really should learn from the way the old timers did things. It would save me lots of grief.  But not me, I have a 100 pound power hammer.  So why not just make these from a single piece of 1″ round bar?  Even under the hammer drawing 10″ of 1″ bar into 40″ of 1/2″ bar is a lot of work.  I suspect that this took about 3 times longer than the alternate and probably more traditional approach.  I am pretty sure the old timers would have used a shorter section of the 1″ bar with a short stub drawn out and the 1/2″ handle forge welded on.  But, live and learn.  My customer gets a great value and I got a great education.

I suppose I need to make a shorter one and try the hot toddy or hot buttered rum, but I’ll leave the warm beer for more adventurous types.

Here are the 43" long irons ready to make hot beer, Yum ;)

Here are the 43″ long irons ready to make hot beer, Yum 😉

The claw hammer gives some idea of the size.

The claw hammer gives some idea of the size.


Small turning projects for working on other projects

Small wood turnings used in other crafts

Small wood turnings used in other crafts

Yesterday I decided to do something a bit different.  I worked on three small and fairly simple wood turnings.

The smallest is a fid and is used in rope and cord work such as a splice making a loop in the end of a rope.  Historically these were a common item on sailing ships often made from lignum Vitae, a very dense hardwood.  They are made in a wide variety of sizes, this one is about 6″.  Small ones are usually of steel and are called a marlin spike.

The next larger piece is made of maple and is used to burnish the edges of leather.  The different sizes of  grooves are used for different thicknesses of leather.  In use it is rubbed vigorously back and forth to smooth and polish the edges.

The largest piece is a nostepinne.  These are for making a ball of yarn and are remarkably efficient.  I have been meaning to make one for Janet for several months.  The photo below is her first ball wound this way.


Whats up in the shop

Curently there are not any really spectacular projects going in the shop, but here is what is on the workbench or anvil if you prefer.

I am working on a set of fireplace tools for a local here in Beulah. These will be short for use in a wood stove. They will have heavy 3/4″ handles forged to a tapper of about 3/8″ at the tool end. There will be a poker, shovel and broom. The broom is hand tied from Grassy Creek Brooms.

There is a new order for some more hinges to match the ones Chris Shwarz put on his Dutch tool chest. I will also be making a spare set to list on the web site

I started working on a couple of small striking knives similar to the one mentioned by Chris

Of course lets not forget the Roubo workbench I started over a year ago that still has no legs

And then there is the log house that remains unfinished

Back Camera

Cat Head Chest Lifts

cat handle 001 (2)

I had never heard the term “chest lift” before.  But that is what Megan Fitzpatrick from Popular Woodworking Magazine asked for.  Turns out it is just the same as a chest handle.  since there is generally a waiting list around here it was going to be awhile before I got the handles done.  In the meantime Megan posted a blog about her new tool chest she showed some little toggles that hold the hand saws in the till, they are shaped like little cats.  I commented that I could make the handles for the chest look like cats as well.  Really I thought she would laugh and write it off as a joke.  But she loved the idea.  So I have been working on my first ever set of cat shaped tool chest handles.  This has really been a fun project and I’m glad Megan liked the idea.

The design was drawn up in Correll Draw by Janet (my wife and the head of our quality control department).  The paper copy is then glued to an 1/8″ piece of steel plate.  I cut to the line using a Beverly shear, hacksaw and belt grinder.

Cutting the cats on the Beverly shear

Cutting the cats on the Beverly shear

the ears are cut a bit closer with a hacksaw

Here is one of the blanks before trimming, the one on the left is ready to grind right down to the line.

Here is one of the blanks before trimming, the one on the left is ready to grind right down to the line.


I wish I had some pictures of the chasing process for the eyes, but I can’t get pictures while working very well.

the ears are cut a bit closer with a hacksaw

New Holdfasts available

I am now offeering holdfasts on the website http://www.blackbearforge.com/holdfast.htm After talking with Phil Koontz, who is very well known for his holdfasts, He gave me all of the details for his style of work. Phil is no longer making holdfasts and was glad to pass the information on to someone to continue making his style.
holdfast 020

I plan to include free shipping and a guarantee with these holdfasts