Finally fed up with less than awesome results cleaning up inside radiuses (such as the staves for snow shoes), I cut a dai block. It was a piece of firewood, and now something to get chuffed about because it produces workmanship of certainty. It may yet end up being a piece of firewood, some oak just doesn’t handle repeated wedging of the plane iron and it really loosened up. Cutting a block like this only takes a couple hours, you can use a blade that you already have, voila, any radius you need is possible and there is no need to suffer the use of a portable belt sander, perish the thought!
The steam bending routine is well organized, all it really takes is proper grain in the lumber and practice. Oh, and pre-soaking my staves overnight helped too.
I added a thermal efficiency enhancer to my boiling pot. I’m thinking I’ll sell the idea to SpaceX for their next rocket. Damn its cold and windy recently.
Perfect weather for staying warm, Lilly has the right idea – thermal efficiency! I’m training her to sleep rough, teotwawki is coming! Seriously we have a fireplace, the kid just likes boxes.
Steam bending has a real charm, the smooth continuity of grain, giving something mutability and strength in tension from curved shape. It makes me want to write a poem but I think it would sound like Buckminster Fuller trying to tell a dirty joke.
That pondering of grain never really goes away, your appreciation of it just deepens over time.
Some little shuttles for the lacing. That’s butchers twine on the small one, not nylon. I just had to see how it felt in my hand with a bit of cord, you know?
For all my romanticizing not every part will be steam bent. I’m using a style of foot binding that needed a thickness and radius of curvature not suited to bending with heat.
I have to consider that you could be really SOL if your shoe brakes and you’re out in the bush in deep snow, at its essence snowshoes are a survival tool, quality of construction can never be sacrificed.
You need some way to bind the tail of the snowshoe frames together, bolts, rivets, wire wrapping. Somewhere in my readings I recall that snowshoes were often made by boat builders as winter work. Its a natural fit then to use copper rivets and nails over roves.
My boat building knowledge is all over the place these days: Douglas Brooks, PBS Nova: Building Pharos boat… and the new America’s Cup cats that are closer to airplanes dipping their toes in the water, wild stuff.
I really admire when I see a smith that can move material fast, draw it out, Brian Brazeal comes to mind. When you first start learning this stuff you pound enthusiastically but to seemingly little effect. The copper grounding wire I used to make these rivets turned out to be good practice (albeit tiny), no forge fuel required.
I’ve used flush countersunk rivets in brass for yarn spinning tools, mild steel works fine as a rivet header.
The grounding wire is annealed so making the rivet work hardens it a bit, a good thing in this case. And these rivets have that hand forged look that brings a smile to a weary eye.
The round rivets are for attaching the leather straps of the binding to the bent lamination seen earlier. The square ones for riveting the frame. My roves only cost one penny each, all minted before 1981 when the US mint stopped using copper.
I don’t have a square nail header, love to forge one but its interminably cold and windy of late. Thus, it was a neat trick heading them in the metal jaws of a small bench vice. And I ended up forging three times the number I needed to get four that match well enough.
That’s all for today, my back is really sore from being bent over while lacing the snowshoes. Its slow work for me but looking great, the subject of another days post.