Saturday, July 02, 2005

General thoughts on this weekend

"The era of the state church has been replaced by an age in which the state itself is the church. European progressives still don't get this: they think the idea of a religion telling you how to live your life is primitive, but the government regulating every aspect of it is somehow advanced and enlightened." Mark Steyn, found at Les Jones.

The enviroweenies prove once again that they'll use anything to push their agenda, including saying the mess in Zimbabwe is the fault of global warming.

And an interesting cut from an interview with John Lennon on the subject of raising money to 'save people'. Damn, I'm gonna have to check out Jones often now that I've seen the place.

The God-cursed U.N. is pushing Brazil to ban the ownership of guns by citazens. Let's see, crime problem? Restrict gun ownership. Crime gets worse? Ban/restrict more. Repeat. Sounds like the mess in Britain, doesn't it? And the U.N., which will stop at nothing to try to control the whole damn world, is in the middle of it. If that earthquake ever does hit NY, if only we could kind of center it on that damn building...

Gullyborg thinks the President should nominate Ann Coulter to replace O'Connor. It'd be worth it just to hear the screaming. And I'd just about pay to see what happens when Ted 'Swimmer' Kennedy mouths off to her.

Froggy Ruminations has a lot of info about the SEAL team that took a hit a few days ago, including ways to help the families.

Yeah, some of this is depressing. I remind myself that a: I'm in America, b: as American Drumslinger puts it "The whole world sucks, but America sucks less", and c: despite the efforts of a bunch of statist bastards, we've still got a fighting chance to keep things on a good level here. Sometime this weekend I'm hitting the range after work, and I shall enjoy some of the sounds and smells of liberty. If you can I'd urge you to do the same. Preferably with family. And whatever your religeous beliefs, say/think some words for those on the sharp end.

Friday, July 01, 2005

More tools

One of the big ones. I've mentioned before the portable forge I take to fairs and Scottish festivals, and here it is:

It's a Champion forge with a crank blower. The pan is about 18" across and heavy cast iron, the legs are steel pipe, and the blower body is cast iron machined to final dimensions with(I assume) steel gearing inside. You can't see it here, but there's a pipe that runs from the blower to the bottom center, where a 'T' junction has one arm coming up in the pan, and the other going down. The lever you see sticking out from the bottom is attached to a hinged gate; ash that falls through the grate collects at the bottom, and you can lift the lever to open the gate and dump it.

This shot shows the other side of the blower, including the crank:

If used in one place, you were supposed to line the pan with fireclay to protect it. Since I have to carry it around, and the clay always fractured and fell out, I use it bare. After a weekend is done, I clean it off thoroughly, then brush a coat of linseed oil on; the linseed dries and makes a nice protective layer over the metal. So far it's done a fine job of preventing rust.

I've had a lot of people ask me where I got it, and many of them follow that with will I sell it?(No, hell no, etc.) They can be found sometimes at flea markets, or farm or estate sales. I've seen a number of them over time set up in yards as planters, with moss roses or something growing in them(which always makes me cringe). You can buy them new; the last time I looked at Centaur Forge they were-JEEZ! I just went to the site to check since it's been a while. $1245!! Damn, they've gone up! There are other models, including some designed to fit on the back of a truck for use, that are considerably less, so if you're looking for new it might be worth it to get one of those and make a stand for it. 'Course, if you just want one to set up in a shop, check out the others.

Where did I get mine? Enough years ago I hate to think about it I was riding with my dad and we stopped at an antique shop in a small town, just to look around. Scanned the inside and one of the owners mentioned there was more stuff out back, so I went out and around the corner and there it was. No ash gate, no windscreen, but everything else was there and worked. Asked price, and the two guys looked at each other, then the one who'd spoken before said they had a truckload of stuff coming in tomorrow for a sale and needed room, so how did $45 sound? A check was written and we wrapped it up and put it in the back seat and headed home. This, I was informed, was an early Christmas present, and damn right I accepted gratefully. If I'd realized just how good a deal we'd gotten I might have screamed. As it was, I was just very, very happy. It took a few hours in the garage to make an ash gate and handle, then cut, shape, drill and bolt on some thin sheet steel for a windscreen. I later drilled a piece of steel plate for a grate to fit over the air hole, and I'm still using it. I've burned out a number of grates, but everything else is still going along.

No, it's still not for sale. But I will, in the future, post on how to make a portable. Not as good as this one(yes, I'm prejudiced), but one that will work quite well.

Carnival of Cordite #20

It's up, over at Gullyborg

Well, well, well...

According to the Truth Laid Bear's ecosystem, I'm a big flappy bird. I'd prefer a Harpy eagle, but it's probably a buzzard. Oh well, I've been called worse...

Over at mASS BACKWARDS, he just found out what some twinky really thinks of him. Like someone once said, as long as it's the RIGHT people that you're pissing off.

As of yesterday afternoon, there was a chance of 'scattered showers & storms' last night. That is now 60-70% chance of storms through tonight and early tomorrow. And I think it's sprinkling outside now. So much for mowing today. Or lighting the forge, or anything else.

The friend who got married a few months ago? He and the family are buying a bigger house, which means moving. In his case again in six months. So I'll spend part of the day helping them move some things into storage.

Later, folks

I don't know if the fork is just going deeper,

or if it's getting bigger, but unless something changes real soon, Britain is done. Which I'm very sad to say.

In support of this I link to the following:
From Kim, a district council is going to monitor recycling so it can 'advise' people how to do better; probably by threatening them with fines or arrest.

Also from Kim, a report from the 'handguns are banned' Britain about one of the latest shootings.

From The Policeman's Blog, this story about a man being beaten to death by some teenage wastes of oxygen for refusing to give them a light.
As further evidence, just read the Policeman's blog, period. Screwed up as things can be over here, it ain't NOTHIN' like it is over there. Places like San Francisco excepted.

For a variety of reasons I hate to see crap like this, because it happens when the people of the place allow it to happen, and their government wants it to happen. Not everyone, of course, but enough people go along with what the government orders and enough politicians and bureaucrats do it for whatever reasons. Oh, the Houses of Lords and Commons probably don't specifically want people being beaten to death by thugs, and don't actually want people in terror of thugs because the honest people aren't allowed to defend themselves; but they must want something out of it. Maybe it's as simple as power; so many of them want total control over everyone and don't care what happens to the peasants as long as the government gets that power and holds it. After all, they're the wise ones, don't you know? and once they have proper control of your lives, all will be well. Except for that pesky loss-of-freedom thing, but you'll be taken care of, so it'll all be worth it, correct?

Thought experiment: if Britain decided to have a Constitutional Convention, what would happen? If not the politicians and bureaucrats but the(I started to say 'citazens') Subjects of the Crown actually had the say, what would come out of it? I wonder...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Another 'If you haven't been there, you should'

is Alphecca, the Gay Gun-Nut from Vermont. Every week he has a roundup of mentions of firearms and gun owners in the media. He covers all kinds of firearms issues, from cleaning questions to what he'd like to buy next(join the damn club) and a lot of links to good sights; where else you gonna find a place like A Coyote at the Dog Show? It's where I first found a number of nice places.

Update: hey, I was just looking at Alphecca- hadn't been there in a while- and he speaks of my comments on the well-dressed cowboy. I told you it was a good place to go...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A big reason I don't go to some blogs

Attitude. I heard a marvelous example today on the radio. I had a chance to fire the forge for the first time in a while and had the headphones on while working. The Sean Hannity show came on; not my favorite but not bad. There was a guest host on and in once segment they had a guy from Powerline, Scott I think, and Matthew Yglesias.

Yglesias reinforced why I don't read his site. Except in this case it was not only the attitude of the words, it was the voice. Condescending, 'I know better than you on all things', etc. God, he's annoying. What he was saying was bad enough in some cases, but the way he said it...

Reminds me of the main commenter in a weekly paper here. He's a minister, and after he attended the clemency hearing for a convicted murderer(arguing for leniency), he wrote that after his fifteen minute sermon, they board actually seemed mad at him! And of course people with such an attitude couldn't give the condemned man a fair hearing, etc. My thought was that if he preached at them the way he usually writes his editorials, he was probably lucky one of the board members didn't ask a guard to shoot him. Same kind of attitude Yglesias showed; 'I'm superior, I know what is right, if you don't listen to Me it shows what kind of uncaring troglodyte you actually are'.

I don't know if some of these people know this, or just don't care, but when you speak to people that way it does not help your argument. I used to know a guy who could enter a discussion, make what might actually be a good idea, but still have most everyone else ready to strangle him by the time it was over. Even though he had a good idea, the attitude he had turned people off. Badly.

Argue with me, no problem. Speak to me like I'm an obvious retard because I don't agree with you, and I'm gone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I !!*&$$$! hate foam air filters

Like they put on many bikes. Today, as part of my get-it-ready progress, I put in new plugs and cleaned the air filters.

Plugs, no problem. Gap the new ones, take out the old, lube the threads and put the new ones in. Filters?

A while back when I was cleaning the old ones, they came apart. Didn't tear, no, the glue holding the pieces together just evaporated and they fell apart. I figured ok, they're probably old, so I got new ones. And of course the only place that had them was the dealer- no aftermarket replacements could I find- so I bought two, at seventeen dollars and some change. Apiece. The book says replace after every five cleanings, and this was the third cleaning on these. Sprayed them with PJ foam filter cleaner- which the dealer sold me- and let them soak, then started rinsing them. And one of the damn things fell apart. Completely. The other came loose in a couple of places but held together.

After discussing the parentage and ancestry of whatever idiot designed these and/or chose the glue, I dug through the stuff drawer, and SuperGlue Gel to the rescue! This stuff actually held the foam very well. Yes, I did dry them thoroughly first; impatient I tend to be, but not that bad. The seams are stiffer than the original stuff, but they held up with the sticky filter spray, so I put them on and will see how they hold up. If not very well, I may either try a different adhesive or get some foam and make the damn things from scratch. This is on the order of the bitching I did once about Sig Trailside magazines, there's no damn reason for these things to cost that much.

Ah well, it's done. Next week, the clutch.

And more joy from the Supremes

To borrow this from Smallest Minority,

It seems the SCOTUS has again ruled that "The State cannot, (or at least will not) be made financially accountable for failure to protect, because if it were liable, it would be bankrupted by lawsuits in short order. The goverment is not responsible for your protection because it's not possible for it to protect everyone, all the time."

Go read the whole damn thing here, and next time someone says you don't need weapons because 'the police will protect you' slap them with a copy of it.

Oh joy, more glad tidings from the House

Just got this from Gun Owners of America:
House Passes Extreme Penalties For Some Who Use Guns In Self-Defense
-- Bill could also make your hunting party a "criminal street gang"

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Let's assume that you and your family are on your way home from
church. You have a gun in the glove compartment that is there for

After driving within 1,000 feet of a school (which is almost
unavoidable), you stop by the grocery store to pick up a few items
for lunch.

As you are exiting your car, you are approached by a gang of
teenagers, armed with long screwdrivers and wrenches. Realizing that
you are about to be mugged, you brandish your firearm in order to
scare them off -- although this act on your part is a violation of
state law which requires that you first retreat, rather than defend

Congratulations. Under legislation that recently passed the House,
all the members of your family are now subject to a MANDATORY MINIMUM
sentence of ten years in prison -- and up to life imprisonment.

The judge would have NO DISCRETION to release you before the end of
the ten-year period -- but an anti-gun judge could sentence you and
your family to LIFE IMPRISONMENT.

Sound ridiculous? Welcome to the new "tough-on-crime" House of

It's not as though Republicans like House Judiciary Committee
Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) have no experience with the
"unintended" broad consequences of anti-gun laws.

Remember the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act
(RICO)? That bill was passed with the ostensible purpose of going
after the Mafia.

But it was poorly drafted. At its core, a person or business only
had to commit two of a broad list of sometimes-fairly-innocuous
crimes in order to be subject to stiff prison sentences. As a
result, lawsuits and criminal prosecutions soon sprouted against
legitimate banks and businesses and pro-life protestors.

Never capable of learning from its mistakes, Congress is about to go
after gun owners in the same way.

This new bill -- touted as anti-gang legislation -- is numbered H.R.
1279 in the House, where it passed by a 279-144 margin on May 11.
Twenty Republicans -- including pro-gun stalwarts like John
Hostettler (R-IN), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) --
voted against it. It now goes to the Senate, where its counterpart
(S. 155) is sponsored by anti-gun zealot Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and
Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Similar to RICO, these two bills, at the core, would define "criminal
street gangs" to be formal OR INFORMAL groups of three or more
individuals who commit two or more of a long list of "predicate"

What are these predicate crimes, of which two or more could get you
thrown into the slammer for the rest of your life? Check these out:

* Violation of the Kohl 1,000-foot "gun-free-school-zone" law would
be a predicate crime in the House bill.

* Having a gun in violation of the Lautenberg amendment -- because
you spanked your kid or spat on your husband -- would be a predicate
in both the House and Senate versions.

* Accidentally shooting a doe instead of a buck (or shooting the
wrong kind of duck) would be a "crime of violence" (under the 18
U.S.C. 16 definition) and could therefore be a "predicate" crime if
some of the worst provisions from both bills end up in the final
version that goes to the President.

And, as mentioned above, your family's trip past the school -- as
you're driving home from church -- could send all of you to jail if
you use your gun in self-defense, rather than first retreating as
required in some states.

This is because:

* A "criminal street gang" exists as soon as this
"informal" group
of 3 or more individuals (your family) commits "2 or more gang
crimes... in relation to the group" if one of the crimes is a
of violence."

* Violation of the Kohl "gun-free-school-zone" amendment (18 U.S.C.
922(q)) is a "gang crime."

* The threat to use a firearm against the muggers is both a gang
crime and a crime of violence because it involves a "threat" of
"force" against a person.

The bills have other anti-gun provisions, as well:

1. Mandatory Prison Sentences For Gun Owners

The "street gang" provisions in the bill (as mentioned above) could
send you and your family to jail for 10 years-to-life if you defend
them with a gun under certain conditions.

But even apart from those RICO-style provisions in the bill, there is
other language in the bill that could send you to jail for twenty
years MINIMUM if you use a gun in self-defense... even without your
family being nearby.

Federal law prohibits the mere possession of a firearm during and in
relation to a crime of violence. The term "crime of violence"
clearly includes brandishing or even opening your coat to display a
firearm to defend yourself against a mugger -- without retreating --
in states that require retreat. Hence, a concealed carry permit
holder who opens his suit jacket and displays a firearm to a
potential mugger in these states is liable under this section because
"crime of violence" means the threatened use of force against
or property.

Section 114 of H.R. 1279 would increase the MINIMUM penalty for
shooting the mugger (i.e., a Bernie Goetz-type offense) to TWENTY
years in prison.

2. Expanding The Lautenberg Gun Ban

Section 109 of the House bill -- and its counterpart on the Senate
version -- makes it more likely that a person will NOT get bail if
they possessed a firearm after committing a "Lautenberg
Again, a person could be held to commit such a misdemeanor if the
person spanked their kid or spat on their spouse. So for having
committed this small infraction (and for owning a gun) a person faces
a higher probability of being held in jail until trial.

ACTION: Contact your United States senators. Ask them to oppose
anti-gun so-called "gang" legislation.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at to send your Senators a
pre-written e-mail message.

Time to do some constructive yelling at your senator.

More forge tools

While sitting on my a- uh, waiting to go pick up the pup from the vet, I finally remembered to take my camera and take shots of some of the tools I use. For instance, hammers:

These are straight peins, called so because one face is standard, the other is narrow and aligned with the handle:

The big one is 4lb, the smaller is 2. At the time I wanted to get a straight, the only place I could find them was in a catalog that carried a 4lb for, as I recall, $50. So I waited a while 'till I needed to replace the handle in my 4lb sledge, and forged one face down, ground it to final shape, heat-treated it and set in a new handle. Couple of years later I got a 2lb hammer for about $2 at a flea market and made another for smaller work. Where this comes in handy is that if you need to draw a piece out longer you can heat it, use the pein side to put a bunch of parallel dents in one side, then smooth them with the standard face. Or if you need to draw it out a lot further, pein one side and then the other, then smooth it out; it stretches the piece a lot faster. Also good for shaping curves in pieces.

Here we have a hot-cutter, or handled hot chisel:

The cutting end is a long, slim taper from the eye where the handle fits, and has a thinner edge than a cold chisel. The handle is simply to keep your hand away from the hot stuff while you cut it. Very damn handy, I mean to tell you.

Ball pein:

This one is different from the standard design; the face is wider, and the ball is too. I found the head at a flea market for $.50, and for some things it's wonderful. That wide, smooth face makes it perfect for planishing(smoothing) surfaces, and that wide, round pein is perfect for forming spoon bowls & such.

This is a wonderful tool, the post vise, also called a leg vise:

The whole thing is cast steel, and the side that's closest to the bench or post extends all the way to the floor. It braces it so you can do heavy hammering, twisting, etc. on this thing without damaging it. I had to repair the female end of the screw system and make a mounting bracket, and it's mounted on a steel pipe welded to a wheel. I cannot overstress how wonderful this thing can be. Hammering or bending that would damage a standard vise won't bother it, and it has enough clearance around the jaws to do some really radical shaping without the vise getting in the way.

Hammers of all shapes can be found in stores and catalogs, and straight peins are a lot less expensive last time I checked the Centaur Forge catalog. Standard hammers can also be modified in any way you need. Hot chisels of different sizes are available, or can be made. A post vise you really only have two options; check farm sales and flea markets, maybe Ebay, or order from a supplier. A used one will often be missing the mounting bracket, but that's not a big deal to make for most, same if the spring that pushes the jaws open is missing. If the screw is gone or badly damaged however, you've got a problem. You may be able to get a machinist to make/repair the damaged piece, or new ones are available(they ain't cheap). The vise, complete from Centaur, started out about $600 last time I looked for the 4.5"-wide jaws, so an old one that just needs a bit of work can well be worth it.

I'll hit some of the other tools later.

Monday, June 27, 2005

More on the Old West

Due to overwhelming demand from my many(four) fans, I've decided to write something more about things western. This time, methods of carrying pistols.

If you've ever dug into it, you've found that the 'buscadero'-type belt common in movies was not common in the west, not until quite late. Most early holsters were basically pouches shaped to hold a revolver, with a loop on the back so you could hang them on a belt. The leather tended to be soft, not stiff and shaped to the piece. And despite all the movie 'evidence', most did not tie down their holster, or wear it slung low. Cowboys and other people doing hard work who carried one tended to wear it high, so it was out of the way. Crossdraw holsters were not common but were around. Depending on the wearer and circumstances, it might be worn anywhere from high and to the rear on the strong side, to right on the side or a bit to the front; it might be slung quite low or high or anywhere in between. The only almost universal thing about different holsters was a leather thong loop to hook over the hammer so the piece wouldn't fall out while you were working or if you were thrown from your horse.

The shoulder holster was around. Usually worn under a coat, sometimes in the open. They were found both as a standard holster that hung from a shoulder loop, to a later design with a cup to hold the muzzle and a leather-covered spring that snapped around the cylinder, very much like modern vertical-carry rigs.

Carry stuck through the belt or into the waistband was common; not the most favored as it gave little protection to the piece. Wild Bill Hickock generally wore a red sash around his waist, and he slid his Navy Colts into it, butts to the front. Note: he did not crossdraw; right hand grabbed the right pistol, left grabbed the left, and he drew and cocked the hammers as the muzzles snapped to the front(sometimes called a 'cavalry draw' because that's the way cavalry carried and drew their sidearms).

Long-Hair Jim Courtright had a different method; he had leather-lined holsters stitched into the legs of his pants. I don't know if he had hammer-loops sewn in, though I suspect he did.

At least one man came up with a pivoting holster. The holster hung from the belt on a thick leather thong; it tended to flop about as you walked, but you could grab the butt and cock the hammer as you pushed the butt down. This swung the muzzle up, allowing you to fire without drawing from the holster. A close-range method only, but quite fast with practice. A variation of this used no holster at all. A stud with a broad head was brazed to the side of the pistol frame; on the belt was a metal plate with a slot cut in it, open at the front and angled down at the back. The stud slipped into the slot and to the back, where the angle kept it in place. You could pivot the pistol up and fire from there, or slide it forward and out as your draw.

Derringers or small hideout pistols(revolvers or single-shots) were clipped in the crown of a hat; a wristband with a spring would hold it up a sleeve; there actually were rigs that held a derringer up your coat sleeve, and if you pulled a release a spring shot it forward into your hand(from what I understand late in the 1800's and rare).

This is not a complete coverage of the methods of carrying, but I think it gives a fair overall look at the subject. A very nice book to check out on gunfighters and methods is Triggernometry: A Gallery of Gunfighters. With the popularity of cowboy action shooting there are newer works on the market now on the subject, but I still like this one. So check it out.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Left blogs, right blogs and in between

Saw some comments somewhere a few days ago, someone was complaining that people too often wind up only looking at sites that mirror their own views, and can't we all just get familiar and get along? and so forth. I admit that I mostly look at and return to sites that either are demonstrating views similar to my own, or argue with mine in a civilized manner. They don't say that someone on the other side of an argument is evil, stupid, in league with the witch burners, etc.; they accept that people have different views for reasons that are valid to them, and go from there. They're also willing to have an actual argument about matters, as opposed to "you poor benighted fool, once you hear wisdom from my lips/keyboard you will be unchained". I used to be a whole lot more tolerant of sites that considered someone like me to be evil or stupid, and I'd go back occasionally, but I almost never do now.

For one thing, there's only so much time, and what I have for looking around I don't want to waste on the words of someone who would flash the sign against the Evil Eye against me if we met in person. For another, I'm just damn tired of it. Earlier today a site I check on fairly regularly had a link to another site, so I went to look around. First couple of posts I read were ok, and then...

The Downing Street memo proves Bush lied, we all really know there were no CBN weapons in Iraq, we're trapped in a quagmire and the government is lying to us about it and the only real way to support the troops is to bring the home NOW! I read that post, and the comments, then left that site. And I'll probably never go back. I'm not going to repeat here what's known about the actual import of the memo, I'm not going to go over anything; I'm just not going to waste time going back to a place where every other post is going to be a "Bush Lied" etc. piece. I'm tired of hearing it. I'm not going back to a place where Pelosi is hailed as a hero for basically saying that the 'really important thing' right now is to get Bush, or Dean is praised for saying that no member of the other party ever did an honest days work, and is a racist, and...

If you're one of the folks who came her and argued with me about global warming, let me repeat some things I put down in the early days of this blog. I'm registered as a Republican primarily because I got really pissed off years ago at the way the Democrat party ran things in this state. A candidate cannot count on my vote simply because he's a Republican. I don't want the government telling me what I can read, speak, write, hear, watch or say. I think there should be a 'safety net' for those who need help, but it should help them get back on their feet or just help them the amount needed; it should NOT be there to keep people stuck in it forever. I like woods to walk and hunt in, clean water to drink and look at and swim in, clean air to breathe; I also like having the energy to run the products that have made life one hell of a lot more comfortable and easy in many ways. I hate abortion, but I don't think it should be banned(though the way so many use it as just another method of birth control makes my skin crawl). If you said you weren't comfortable with just anyone buying a grenade launcher or something of the sort, I'd probably agree with you; but when someone tries to use 'legitimate sporting purposes' to limit what type/how many firearms or ammunition I'll be allowed to own, I get pissed of and say "Fat effin' chance". I'm willing to argue about almost anything. BUT...

When you start with the "you're too stupid/unsophisticated/uneducated/evil to understand what is Right", I'll either tell you to fuck off or walk away. And if you think that calling someone those things is a good way to change their mind, then you have rocks in your head. Tell me you're concerned with how the enemy being held in Gitmo are being treated, and we can talk; compare the place to a gulag and our personnel there to Commies/Nazis/Khmer Rouge and I'll tune you out. I'm not wasting my time and energy with someone who actually believes that, or thinks that counts as intelligent discourse.

Yeah, I know there are right-wing sites just as bad in their way. I don't read them, either. For the same basic reasons.

This ends my rant for tonight. I need a drink.

Oh, if you don't normally read Lileks, go read this eon.