Now is the time to build up your workshop!

Von Gruff

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Speaking of picking, I was in getting a new V belt for the helve hammer and remembered seeing the(US 50 gal) drums of old bearings at the back of the shop when I picked something up from the no contact pick-up area during the lockdown so asked them what they were doing with them. They go for scrap so I have free reign to take what I want as the outer races are very good steel for forging tools etc. Most are smaller in the drums full so I got some of the 4 inch dia ones but there were a few of the larger ones about 2 ft in dia. I do know that some have been forging from the rollers in that size so will see how I go with the outer races in the meantime but good to know these are there for the taking if I feel the need.
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steve white

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I recently built a checkering cradle, which is also good for holding a stock for inletting, carving, etc. Cost less than $10 for the materials, too. Picked up a binocular surgical magnifier from a warehouse of retired medical equipment. The lenses are Zeiss, and the lighting works on it. Good for these failing eyes when working on minute projects. Need a good drill press, as I wasted money on a Chinese harbor freight jobber. Have been organizing things into plastic lure boxes. Fixed up a massive vise, but don't know the brand. It's only quirk is that it only locks when swiveled 45 degrees. The lock doesn't tighten otherwise. Still, useful. Cleaned, flattened and sharpened all my planes, chisels, and carving knives. Can't really organize things even if someone stuck a gun to my head. Don't know why--just can't seem to do it. Expanded selection of various hand tools, testers, gauges. Happy with all the upgrades!
 

rookhawk

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Speaking of picking, I was in getting a new V belt for the helve hammer and remembered seeing the(US 50 gal) drums of old bearings at the back of the shop when I picked something up from the no contact pick-up area during the lockdown so asked them what they were doing with them. They go for scrap so I have free reign to take what I want as the outer races are very good steel for forging tools etc. Most are smaller in the drums full so I got some of the 4 inch dia ones but there were a few of the larger ones about 2 ft in dia. I do know that some have been forging from the rollers in that size so will see how I go with the outer races in the meantime but good to know these are there for the taking if I feel the need.
View attachment 355875 View attachment 355876


When I started reading your reply I thought the story was becoming “worlds largest canister Damascus experiment”!
 

rookhawk

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So I’m out with that in-laws in New England and to pass the time, I try to rebuild something nice. Wouldn’t you know it, I found a Wilton 3” model 8300 bullet vise in New York and fetched it up on my long drive East.

this little gem is a highly collectible piece of American iron. The first picture is what it looked like in the advertisement. the 2nd and 3rd pictures are where it’s at today, stripped down.

For those of you unfamiliar, the bullet vise was collectible because they were really precisely made with smooth as silk screws, even compression, a low shape that prevents hitting your elbow on them on the bench, and they were made in small dimensions for gunsmithing rather than just gigantic sizes for mechanics.
 

rookhawk

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Today I pulled the vise parts from their bath in degreaser and detergent and started hitting them with the wire wheels. I then noticed the striking anvil used for setting copper/brass pins and rivets was bashed to hell so I spent an hour draw filing it flat and true again. I then started working on dressing down the sides of the jaw castings as well. I tried to get the steel jaws out but two screws were buggered so I had to drill and tap the studs out and clean up the holes.

Tomorrow I’ll do more polishing and hopefully I’ll have it ready for primer by midweek.

For those keeping tally, a new one of these is slightly bigger and is lower quality for $1000-$1200. A very nice vintage one goes from $200-$450. A full restoration takes 12-25 hours
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Speaking of picking, I was in getting a new V belt for the helve hammer and remembered seeing the(US 50 gal) drums of old bearings at the back of the shop when I picked something up from the no contact pick-up area during the lockdown so asked them what they were doing with them. They go for scrap so I have free reign to take what I want as the outer races are very good steel for forging tools etc. Most are smaller in the drums full so I got some of the 4 inch dia ones but there were a few of the larger ones about 2 ft in dia. I do know that some have been forging from the rollers in that size so will see how I go with the outer races in the meantime but good to know these are there for the taking if I feel the need.
View attachment 355875 View attachment 355876

One man's junk is another man's treasure!
 

rookhawk

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One man's junk is another man's treasure!

I wish I could apprentice with @Von Gruff fir six months to learn about this stuff. What type of steel scrap is, how it quenches (air/water). Hardness. Suitability of use. How not to accidentally lug around 500lbs or worthless steel that can’t be hardened.

the more I read from him, the more I conclude he’s a frugal genius.
 

Von Gruff

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I wish I could apprentice with @Von Gruff fir six months to learn about this stuff. What type of steel scrap is, how it quenches (air/water). Hardness. Suitability of use. How not to accidentally lug around 500lbs or worthless steel that can’t be hardened.

the more I read from him, the more I conclude he’s a frugal genius.
Any steel that has to have a working hardness can be used with the understanding of its hardening needs. Older US and Euro vehicle springs are good steel as is the sawmill bandsaw blades and large circular saw blades with sharpenable teeth (no attached teeth saw blades are any good) Lawn mower bladesare often used and wire rope is also of some use.
Bearing races and roller bearings take a lot of beating into shape but do harden well.
jackhammer bits and chisels etc are good usable steel as are broken end mills and drill bits of high speed steel have all been used to forge and harden. Crowbars and similar hardened tools are often reshaped and used for tooling in the foerge.
A lot of the old wrenches etc have good steel and a simple spark test will soon ascertain if the scrap steel you want to use has a high enough carbon content to make using it a worthwile effort.
 

bruce moulds

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rookhawk,
for a while i flirted with the idea of making my perfect knife myself.
then when i found africa hunting i discovered von gruff.
well i saved myself untold money , heartache, and time and got a better knife from him than i could ever make.
bruce.
 

rookhawk

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rookhawk,
for a while i flirted with the idea of making my perfect knife myself.
then when i found africa hunting i discovered von gruff.
well i saved myself untold money , heartache, and time and got a better knife from him than i could ever make.
bruce.

his work is functional art of first order. Mine goes everywhere I go and has been patina’d with much blood.

I still want to learn to make an inferior, uglier knife myself so I can say I did it, but I’ll still carry VonGruff’s.
 

Adam S

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Great idea for a thread! This isn't gunsmithing related, but I was given a small wood lathe by a family friend about 2 months ago. I had it set up in some plywood and sawhorses, but just got around to building a rolling table for it. I've been having fun learning to turn pens.

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Scrumbag

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Well,

The below is my garage. Was bare walls a month ago. Still much to do much making a start.

Scrummy

 

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Tokoloshe Safaris

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Wow, how I would love to have some of the stuff you have acquired, especially the tool chest. I wonder what delightful little gems might be found in some of those drawers?
 

rookhawk

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Wow, how I would love to have some of the stuff you have acquired, especially the tool chest. I wonder what delightful little gems might be found in some of those drawers?

Lon, you’re welcome any time. What’s in those drawers is “community property”. Headspace gauges I loan out all the time. 100 years of old silvers pads and horn plates that get reused when we restore old guns. Sights. Pieces from various scopes and rings. Odd screws. I save all that stuff because somebody needs something out of the stash and drops a few more odd pieces in.
 

rookhawk

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My latest restoration is nearly complete. A vintage 3” Wilton Bullet Vise made in Schiller Park, Illinois. This beauty is one of the best gunsmithing vises ever made. They had a keyhole style shaft that ensured smooth operation and straight alignment of the jaws when closing. I was able to source smooth vise jaws so I’ll be replacing the serrated jaws shortly.

it is hard to find a well made, smooth vise that is very strong, yet has small jaws suitable for detail work. The bullet vise is also nice because it sits low so you don’t bust your elbow on it all day at the bench.

they can be found used from $150-350 if you hunt for them hard. Restoration is just time and $30-$50 in supplies. (fully restored, they go for $450 and up, to $1000 for some models and vintages)

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steve white

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pretty pens...I cringe to think how much small walnut I just threw away back when I was cutting gunstock blanks.
 

Scrumbag

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My latest restoration is nearly complete. A vintage 3” Wilton Bullet Vise made in Schiller Park, Illinois. This beauty is one of the best gunsmithing vises ever made. They had a keyhole style shaft that ensured smooth operation and straight alignment of the jaws when closing. I was able to source smooth vise jaws so I’ll be replacing the serrated jaws shortly.

it is hard to find a well made, smooth vise that is very strong, yet has small jaws suitable for detail work. The bullet vise is also nice because it sits low so you don’t bust your elbow on it all day at the bench.

they can be found used from $150-350 if you hunt for them hard. Restoration is just time and $30-$50 in supplies. (fully restored, they go for $450 and up, to $1000 for some models and vintages)

View attachment 357493

I need something like this. I have a wood working vice but a metal work one might well be next.

Scrummy
 

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