Turning Archive 2008
>So, I found a guy locally who blacksmiths, and he sells excess equipment. Really nice guy, consults to budding smiths to make sure that they know what they are buying and that they don't overbuy...
I went over to his shop a few weeks back, and turns out he is a knife maker (I've also made a few). He showed me a couple of damascus blanks that he's working on, and we got to talking about how he finished the handles.
"I just use some walnut"
I recoil in horror.
A trade is born. He's got the perfect starter anvil for someone like me. An old section of railroad tie. In return, he's going to get a box of wood cuttoffs that will open his eyes to the fact that there is better material than walnut.
I took an old cutting horse that I made years ago (never put the screws where a chainsaw will be cutting!) and turned it into my anvil bench. If you look closely, you'll see two slabs of walnut under it that I drove the 4 railroad spikes into. 3/4" thick and they didn't split it.
(a free tip: When you slab out the pith for bowl blanks, slab off either side of the pith into these sections and just stack them up. They are almost 100% quartersawn and make excellent handle materials)
Almost a perfect height for me, too high for my 10 year old...