Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kitchen Knife Handle

A while back I found this kitchen knife in the street that was missing a handle.  It seemed in good condition, so I decided to fashion a new handle.  I used this handle I was given from a broken brass hammer.
First, I had to open up the holes in the knife to accommodate the copper rivets I wanted to use.  I had considered using bolts or pop rivets, but I wanted this thing to look luxurious.  Here I used a carbide end mill to open up the oval shaped hole.  The carbide was necessary since the knife was hardened, and my high speed steel end mill didn't cut.
The round holes were nearly the size I needed, so I tried drilling them out.  It worked with minor success, though dulling my drill in the process.
Next drilling corresponding holes in the handle after cutting it to length.  The handle was held with a rag in the vise since the sides weren't parallel.
Then with a bigger drill, countersinking the holes so the rivets would sit flush with the handle.
Slicing the handle in half with a hacksaw.  I figured this would cut straighter than the wood saw.  The blade was the coarse tooth one I use for cutting aluminum.
Then with the belt sander, cleaning up the handle halves: smoothing the saw cut, and modifying the contours to better match the blade.  It was here I realized just how dirty the original hammer handle was.  Notice how much darker it looks in the beginning than the end.
Copper rivets cut from some scrap wire, then deburred on the belt sander.
Then, very carefully, hammering the rivets through the knife and handle.  The challenge here was to make it tight enough without cracking the wood.  Making sure to hammer them straight up and down helped a lot.
Close up of the finished handle.  Fancy!  This is actually one of the best cutting knives I have now.  A very worthwhile repair.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bicycle Stem Repair 3

Previously on Scrap Attack:
We built this stem upgrade which cracked after 9 months of use
Building the stem upgrade
Then, repaired it with a second tube
Repairing stem upgrade the first time
And now:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Foundry: Melting a Honda Engine Head (Video)

One day I was riding by and found some junk on the side of the road including various parts of a Honda 4 cylinder engine.  I decided to take them since I had my new upgraded bike basket which easily fit it all, and why would I pass up the single largest piece of scrap aluminum I'd ever found on the side of the road? (alright, maybe I'm not counting the time I found a car wheel next to the dumpster)
Instead of trying to disassemble all the valves and springs on the engine head and trying to cut it up into crucible sized chunks, I decided I'd just melt it directly in the furnace and let the molten aluminum drip out the bottom into some metal trays lined with sand.  What better way to kick off the foundry season then with some scrap downsizing? Here's the video of the melt in real time:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rye Stout #4 Bottling

I bottled the latest Rye Stout in 2 different lots, one of them on Nov 29, and the other on Dec 2. The final gravity and ABV respectively were 1.013 and 5.7%. Altogether I was able to bottle a little over 50 12 oz bottles from this batch.

Monday, January 1, 2018

L.A. Eco Village Tour

As it comes time to think about where I want to live after college, one option that was introduced to me was the concept of an intentional community.  This sounded very appealing since it would involve living among people who share similar ideals to myself.  Additionally, it would solve the problem of finding a place to house my metalworking equipment, and also give the opportunity to share my skills.
I was invited to tour the Eco Village in Los Angeles as part of the Food Justice Club at my school.  This particular community occupies a block in west L.A. with several buildings and plans to expand.
I arrived with expectations of seeing something like the hippie communes in the '60s.  This was nothing like that, but rather a well established organization with a powerful presence in the city.  While my descriptions fail to catch all the details, it's basically a collection of apartments bought out and organized into a community living arrangement with emphasis on environmental sustainability and cooperation.  Tenants pay rent and can be involved in various committees to manage the different areas in the organization.  They have community dinners and events, and host tours to the public monthly for a small donation.  I figured I'd get my money's worth and make a blog post out of it!
Let's check out the place: Here's the front of the main building.