by Brian F
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest
As winter progress’s I have been looking for new wood things to add to the sale shelf. So recently I took the plunge into making pens. I got the starter kit from a box store and thought I have this whipped! Well not so much, I quickly realized I needed a stable way to hold the little wood blanks to drill pilot holes through.
I looked over several websites and online groups, I asked a few questions and got the same old answers, buy this, and buy that. A special vise was 50.00 plus shipping, jaws for the generic vice started at 20 plus. In the pictures, the specialized jaws did not look as though they would be difficult to make. So I set out to scratch build vise jaws!
During this adventure I relied on two saws, one an old Black & Decker mini table top band saw, that was a dumpster rescue. Two, a delta miter saw I had got in a trade. There was no bliss to begin with with these two saws. I could not get the B&D to cut a straight or even close to a straight line. And the Delta would not make a square cut. I was beginning to have ideas why they were my saws now…….
After a bit of reading and research, and considerable adjusting I got both devices to cut reasonably well. Digging through my scrap bin, I picked out a piece of trim that was supposed to be locust. Very hard wood, with a few mishaps I had a small pile of pieces.
Next was the vice, the cheapest I’d seen new started at 20.00 dollars plus shipping and went much higher. Then I remembered having seen an old vise tossed in a corner. After a fruitful search I found the most dilapidated accessory I’ve seen in quite a long while! I cleaned, deburred, polished and lubed the decrepit vise till it was in working order.
Ideally having a joiner or a planer would have resulted in a much nicer looking assembly, however, I don’t have either of those tools. I’m still on the lookout for those and other tools to trade for.
Next is fitting and assembly….. A couple of trips back to the saws and to the belt sander the pieces went together well, okay. A hot glue gun was used to fix the pieces together and a small 4-inch clamp to hold till the glue hardened. The slot for the blank is square, and I can drill through the center without being off centered. Now that I have the vise a lot of other wood sources can be exploited, like the huge black cherry roots that I pulled from my new garden area. I have not found root wood available for sale anywhere and those pieces make for exceptional pens! Trash becomes a source of cash or trade goods.
And I saved myself a wad of cash. Yes I did spend time on it but other than being iced in from the weather, I had nothing to do but rewatch DVD’s. I repurposed some scrap, I saved an accessory from the scrapyard. But most of all I did have an enjoyable time. This is what I consider to be self-reliant. And now I can make more pens!
Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- First place winner will receive – A gift certificate for $150 off of rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
- Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason Farms.com and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
- Third place winner will receive – International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.