A craftsman's ramblings on making art, food, love and adventure

Category: Blacksmith

Special Order

I received an interesting call at Roaring Dog Studio a couple of weeks back. A very nice-sounding woman was hoping that I might be able to turn a small box of old nails into a unique gift for her son. As it turns out, these nails were hand-cut nails more than a century old that were salvaged from a family home during a recent renovation. So…in she came nails in hand.

We chatted and I realized that she really had no idea of what form this creation would take…artistic…sculptural…functional…YES Please…all of the above! Looking at these old nails…functional stalwarts of a bygone era I new that they needed to be recognizable in the finished piece but also needed to be transformed somehow.

Here are a few pictures of a very pleasurable journey last week in the ‘smithy’…she is coming in on monday to pick up the finished piece…I think she will be happy.

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Creating the elements…

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The antique nails prepped for forge-welding

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A lap joint created to weld nails to leaf forms

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The Finished Piece…we are calling it an Apron Hook…most days…I really love my job!

Island Time

One of the things I am most looking forward to moving forward with this blog and the evolution of roaring dog studio is to share with those interested some insight into how our new products move from concept to reality.

We have an exciting new piece coming to fruition now in the shop. What we set out to do was to create a relatively small, stylish and functional kitchen prep island. We decided that we wanted the island to be round and that it would be made from a pairing of wood and iron. After several versions of design, critique and redesign this is the overview of what we are building:

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One of the unique concepts with this island will be a standard base in cherry and steel with a choice of tops/chopping surfaces. The first versions will offer tops in 1 1/2″ thick Curly Maple, Cherry and a butcher block motif featuring both together. Here are the leg blanks and island tops ready for final dimensioning:

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Perhaps the most exciting feature of this island in a collaborative design element conceived by the Roaring Dog team and executed by a wonderful local shop called Mack Bros. Boiler Works. This old line industrial supplier has most recently been involved in numerous artistic ventures and was more than willing to make the iron rings that will make the core of our island. We just picked them up this morning. Here is a peek at the unfinished pieces. These perfect circles in 1/4″ hot rolled steel are just what we wanted!

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The plan is to keep our readers updated with progress on these islands. There are a few more surprises coming (a few we may not even know about yet). Stay tuned!

Sneak Peak…part 2

We have been busy over at Roaring Dog Studios…I mean not regular busy…I mean really busy. Today maybe a little less busy since we started the day at about 10 below and our wonderful 1896circa foundry building stays a little more closely connected to the outside temperature than sometimes we might wish…like now! Overall like I said…really busy.

Check out this beyond cool cutting board for the cook with style and chops…the removable grain-matched tray actually has rare-earth magnets embedded into the joint to keep the tray aligned with the board to smoothly and oh-so cooly slide your chopping stuff into ahead of a trip to the saute pan or soup pot.

You know you want one…you need one. Should be on our shopping site in the next few days. There are only 6 in existence as of today so keep close.

VB Carrot1-C VB Carrot1-A VB Carrot1-B VB Garlic 1-D VB Beet1-E VB Beet1-C VB Beet1-D

Quilt Welding

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So…I’m taking a welding class in support of the evolving Roaring Dog Studio blacksmith shop. Thus far this has involved several hours of basically unsupervised time in a welding booth each night with just a hint at education. A couple of nights ago the assignment was to ‘lay down overlapping beads of weld on a piece of plate steel’. Yaaaawn! Started welding and realized that ‘overlapping beads’ did not have to be dull…no…this could be fun!

My wife Carolyn is a quilter…pretty much a kick ass quilter. What more would a quilter want from her nocturnally welding husband??? Why…a five pound solid steel quilt square of course. Who says romance is dead?