Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nail Forge...ASSEMBLE

They say you can't make a cake without breaking a few eggs, and if that's true then I'm absolutely doing it right. I'm crackin' eggs like the rapture's hot on my tail. There's certainly something to be said for taking the scenic route on your way to a goal. You can learn a lot by asking yourself, "Can I figure out how to make this?" Unfortunately, it's easy to forget what you were doing in the first place while you agonize over a specific component.

Things have been a little up and down the past few days. I've finally successfully produced a batch of (EXTREMELY) concentrated water glass, which was a major confidence boost, and a big step forwards to getting a forge in place. In case you're curious, my efforts to make it from some local silicate didn't work out. At the last COMAG meeting, I talked to a lovely geologist and she told me I should hunt down some diatomite, which is a more rock-like form of diatomaceous earth and similarly composed of trillions of bitty critters of yesteryear. I then left town for a week and then it promptly dumped a foot and a half of snow on all my hopes and dreams. So I conceded to buying some flower drying silica from Michaels just so I could move forward with the project.

I've been throwing a lot of money at some of these miscellaneous projects like that, and it's become a little frustrating. Lots of DIY sites/YouTubers like to brag about how cheap it was for them to throw together something that would have cost them a pretty penny at a box store, but a lot of times they sidestep the cost of not being established and networked. They throw out things like, "I have these 5 lb sacks of silica gel lying around so I used them as..." or "I borrowed my buddy's welder to..." What starts as a $10 forge burner quadruples in price when you realize you don't have the tap you need to thread that one vital piece. It'd be nice if Bend had a tool library like Portland's.

Anyway, now that I have the water glass made up, I've spent about the whole day experimenting with it and the pumice I collected back in the fall. My goal today has been to make a nail forge. My Paw told me about this guy he met who was taking duplex nails and flattening them out into little swords. I thought that'd be a swell reason to make a forge in miniature to test some of the components I've been assembling.

So as I write this, I've got a tomato sauce can full of home-brewed refractory speed-curing in the oven. I made one earlier today which set up beautifully. A little too beautifully in fact - it practically melded to the tube form, and I ended up destroying it just trying to get it out. I took the advice of ye venerable internet and coated the form pieces with vegetable oil this time around, but so far this seems to be having the effect of making the water glass bubble into a sort of glass meringue. Probably I will not eat it.

Lord almighty, if our landlord could see what's going on in here right now, his head would probably explode. Anyhow, we'll see how this all shakes down (or at least I will - I realize that I may be the only one reading this anymore). Fingers crossed. Big money, no whammies.


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