The weather has been abnormally warm. It is December 21 and this is the current forecast:
As weird as the weather is, it has been nice considering I am forging outdoors everyday and when it's cold out the steel sucks the heat from your skin faster than you want it to. Anyhow, after my first four months of attempting full-time blacksmithing things seem to be advancing better than I could have imagined so far. I've even been able to funnel some of my profit back into some tools and machines that will come in handy in the near future and should serve a very long life. Specifically I bought (used from craigslist) a Kalamazoo 2FSM 2x48 belt sander with a 1/2hp Baldor Motor (these things last apparently). I ended up buying a new drive wheel and platen as they were worn down, but overall this thing is a beast, and it eats metal like nothing else! The other (also used, and also from craigslist) tool I picked up was a Millermatic 140 autoset MIG welder. One of the better 115v rigs in its class. I haven't had much time to test it out, but the tiny bit of welding I tried seemed amazing. No breakers popped, and the welds were deep and clean- it seems to easily weld 1/4" mild steel, and I even got some really good welds on some 3/8" square stock. I'm not sure I would trust this machine to weld structural pieces that thick, but for sculpture or other uses, it should stick just fine.
I have been anticipating December to be an especially busy time of year for me, but now that the holiday orders are finally slowing down I can say that I had no idea the Etsy shop would be this successful. I had enough work to keep me busy every single day for all of November and December. I even had to make the decision to turn down a couple of custom orders that would have slowed me down a little too much.
As the Etsy orders slow down a bit, I plan on turning my attention to my own work for a while. As happy as I have been to be busy with paying orders the past few months, I am also more excited than ever to start work on a growing list of my own projects. Here is a sketch I did recently of a project that should utilize the Miller nicely. It's for a "smithin' magician" of my own design. Next to it is a picture of a nice one that someone else made. Many uses for this tool as you can make dies of any shape you can imagine.
On a slightly different note, while splitting an old felled yellow birch for firewood I came across this- looking forward to squaring this into (hopefully) some beautiful spalted material.