The other half of my weekend was consumed with making tent stakes, a stake puller, hardware, buying wood for ridgepole and uprights, and being shown about a pretty good flea market in Dothan.
Stake puller and tent stakes. They need painting next.
Red iron is fun.
In this picture, I'm putting the heated stake in the vise, and that face is *required* to line up the notch with the top of the vise. It's really really hot. So hot, that if the rods sort of stick together, while they're heating, it's really best to go in and separate them, and then take a break to let your hands cool off before you take one to work on it. I am very proud that I didn't drop one, or burn myself. No singed hair, either.
Then one picks up a wrench with an extra lever, and starts the bend...here.
I watched Mike do two stakes, and then I tried it, and couldn't stop. Cranked out the remaining ten, and would have happily done more.
The red iron is oddly clay-like. The hotter it gets, the mushier the clay feeling.
Having access to this shop is really fantastic - stakes cost quite a bit already made, but are expensive to ship.
We also made a stake puller - Mike did the drawing out of the point, and then I helped bend the hook (doing the pounding part, while he oriented the hook in a swage block). I was glad I'd had experience with Maudey's stake puller, since that influenced our design.
Finally, we played around and copied something.
I recieved a couple of neat hardware pieces from a generous fan of this site who's also a blacksmith, and although Mike had had an idea for the ridgepole splice of my tent, we both liked this solution so much, we wanted to try making more for the vertical poles.
The black finish was achieved by heating the steel in the forge (it's a gas forge, which has more consistency of heat), then quenching it in a bucket of old motor oil, which forces the oil into the molecular structure of the metal. This won't keep it from rusting, though, so I'm going to polyurethane or varnish it when I get the pieces set up on my tent parts.
As thanks to Carl, both for these pieces and some other niceties (I now have bone hairpins, mom has a very smooth bone nalbinding needle, and the Roman lamp reproduction is just gorgeous - your email inbox is full Carl, sorry to have to do thank you's here), here are more photos of the anvils in Mike's shop. There are three.
This is the anvil by the gas forge - that's its leg in the upper right. A new, larger propane tank made its debut this weekend, with much more efficiency of fuel delivery. The date on this anvil is 1898. This is the one we did the hot work on.