Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blacksmithing 101 classes

Sat., Jan.10, 10-4PM, Blacksmithing 101: Make a Knife. Students will heat, cut and shape a knife blade from spring steel. They will harden the blade with oil. Filing and polishing may continue beyond the class time. $125
Sat., Jan. 17, 10-4PM, Blacksmithing 101: Make a Tool. The beginner will heat, cut and shape a three part assemblage for the end of a wooden handle resulting in an ice pike. Use the ice pike at our Jan. 31st Ice Harvest at Willowbrook. This initiates foundational skills to build upon with practice and future projects. $125

Contact us: director@willowbrookmuseum.org, 207-793-2784

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Workshops: By Arrangement Starting January, 2015

Winter Workshops: By Arrangement Starting January, 2015

Call us: (207) 793-2784 or Email: director@willowbrookmuseum.org, if yoiu are interested in taking any of the following classes.

 In order to run any of our classes we need a particular number of students signed up, as some of our paid instructors are traveling long distances.

1. By Arrangement. Ice Harvesting Workshop for Kids. As this is dependent on ice we would need to set a date for this between the end of January and the beginning of February. We can accommodate 60. Homeschoolers welcome. Involves inside classroom time and outdoor hands-on activity. Students will learn about traditional hand tools and horse drawn equipment, the process of harvesting, making ice tools, and the construction of ice houses. We will harvest cakes of ice from a pond at the museum. $10 per student.
2. By Arrangement. Making a Hacksaw Using Mortise & Tenon Joinery. Ages 11 and above. Group of six or more required. Homeschoolers welcome. this involves using reall hand tools to create a hacksaw in the style of an old fashioned bucksaw. A beginner's tool making class. 4 hours plus. $50.
3. By Arrangement. Erector Set Fun for Kids. Using vintage erector sets we will make structures, vehicles, contraptions while exploring engineering through hands-on play. What a great way to spend the afternoon with your friends. Groups wanted. 3-4 hours at our heated facility with instructor. $30.
4. By Arrangement. Making a Working Scale Model of a Trebuchet or Catapult for Kids. Using early woodworking techniques, students will assemble from a kit prepared by the museum, one of these early siege weapons. Ages 10 and above. Parents invited to join at no extra cost. 4 hours plus. $50
5. By Arrangement. Animation & Early Motion Picture Making for Kids. Ages 8 and above. Discuss how early parlour entertainments evolved into the first movies. Learn to make such early visual entertainments as a zoetrope, praxinoscope, phenakistoscope, and thaumatrope. 3 hours plus. $45
6. By Arrangement. Letter Press Printing at the Print Shop for Kids or Adults (Ages 8 and above). This class is for a group of eight, ages 8 and above. Homeschoolers welcome. It includes a short overview of the history of the printed word around the globe. We will look at handwriting, illuminated manuscripts, calligraphy, and early block printing. Students will experience quill and ink, hand block printing, and compose a chase of lead type that they will ink and print on our Kelsey press (circa 1920) and our Golding Pearl (circa 1902). 3 hours plus. $45 each. For a group solely comprised of adults there will be greater emphasis on learning to compose lead type and printing.
7. By Arrangement. Metal Casting in Aluminum and Brass with Peter Grant (www.oddduckfoundry.com). Learn sand casting methods. Overview of metal casting techniques, materials & equipment. Make a mold, melt metal and pour. Choice of aluminum projects. 2nd day: Make a 4 inch Brass Bell. $200.
8. By Arrangement. Blacksmithing 101: 10AM-3PM weekdays or weekends. Make a "J" Hook and "S" Hook. Learn some of the basics of blacksmithing. Ages 13 and older. Homeschoolers welcome. A group of at least six is necessitated for this offering. $70
9. Sat. & Sun., January 10 & 11, 10AM-4PM. Two Day Bladesmithing Class. Make a Tomahawk & Bowie Hunting Knife with bladesmith Adriaan Gerber (www.adriaangerberknives.com). Using a propane forge or coal burning forge, cut and shape these edge tools from spring steel. Filing and hardening the blade will complete the task. Handle kits available ($20). Tools amd materials provided. non-members:Non-Members:$250,  Members: $225
10. By Arrangement. Blacksmithing Studio. Instructor on hand to assist. Must have blacksmithing experience or be enrolled in a class to participate. Beginning, inermediate or advanced projects. Materials and tools provided. $40 Package of three for $100.
11. By Arrangement. Blacksmithing: Make a Coat Rack and/or Other Project. This class will provide some of the basics of blacksmithing. Heat, cut and shape metal to form your own punch, drift to use for this project. Use tool to create composite piece that includes hooks riveted to an ornately fashioned plate suitable for wall hanging.
12. By Arrangement. Six Board Heirloom Blanket Chest Making. This two day woodworking class will result in an heirloom chest for your family with dovetail joints and dados using hand tools. The pine box will measure approximately 36" x 18" x 24" with a hinged top. Materials and tools provided. $300. See blog.
13. By Arrangement. Two Day or One Day Class: 1st Day: Make a Propane Blacksmithing Forge; 2nd Day" Make a Bowie Hunting Knife with Your Forge. Involves cutting metal, welding ( welding done by instructor), making a cement form, and mixing refractory cement. Cement used is fast-drying. A propane gas delivery system will be created with black metal pipe, hose, and 3 Plus PSI propane valve. Make a knife or tomahawk on the second day. 1st day: $300; 2nd day: $125; two day price: $400.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Horseless Carriage, the height of technology and status at Connecticut's Savin Rock, an early amusement park in New England

      The tintypes below were recently discovered at a stamp and coin shop in Bangor, ME. An ink stamp on the back of the paper construction souvenir frame reads: "Sea View Photo Gallery---Savin Rock---Chas. Stratton Prop'r [ Is that Gen. Tom Thumb?]. Connecticut's Savin Rock was an amusement park, one of the nation's first. It became the model for the original Luna Park and Coney Island in Brooklyn, as well as others.  My own experience with the concept of a "Luna Park", which became a generic term for amusement parks offering mechanical thrills was in Istanbul, Turkey where a "Luna Park" has served generations with an assortment of mechanical "rides". These exist around the world and were modeled after this Connecticut landmark with a selection of newly patented machines providing amusement. Depicted here is a horseless carriage with its "tiller" for steering; this was the latest technology when this was photographed in a studio at the park. Having ones' photo taken in a studio where the props included the latest technology were among the commonplace souvenirs and marks of status purchased  by New Englanders and many American's travels and amusements at the turn of the 20th century. This tradition stems back to the very beginnings of portraiture and continues to this day.

This was taken of a car owned by the Holbert family in Warwick, NY in 1903 (Photo from the Robert Schmick Collection).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Bath Daily Times, Monday Evening, January 7, 1946, Old Sagadahock House Coach [Willowbrook's Stage Coach] Conveys Passengers to Dude Ranch in Far West and Holding Up Well

The Bath Daily Times, Monday Evening, January 7, 1946

Old Sagadahock House Coach Conveys Passengers To Dude Ranch in Far West and Holding Up Well
[This picture is] of the old Sagadahock House stage coach [ the stage coach in 19th Century Willowbrook Village's collection ], used at the time of the dedication of the Carlton Bridge over the Kennebec river at Bath. On the coach were 21 people, including U.S. Senators White and Brewster of Maine; Governor Cross of Connecticut; State Treasurer Cox of Massachusetts; members of the Bridge Commission and their wives.

The old, familiar Sagadahock stage coach, which for years has been an object of interest to passers-by at the fine old Crooker mansion at South and middle streets, as each summer it appeared on the lawn, has not been seen for some time, nor will it be seen here again, for it is now in active service at a famous ranch in Arizona, where it carries guests from the railroad station to the beautiful lodge on the ranch, just as for many years it carried people in this city [Bath], and as it conveyed passengers from Bath to Rockland and return[ed], before the days of the Knox & Lincoln Railroad came into being. The fine old coach, relic of bygone days, was purchased some time ago by Paul Litchfield, for coaching parties into the dessert from the Wigwam ranch at Litchfield Park, a project of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. on one of its cotton plantations near Phoenix, Arizona. Mr. Litchfield, who is chairman of the board of this great business concern, is no stranger to Bath, where he spent his Summer vacations, with his aunt, Mrs. Alvord, and where, as a young lad, he watched the great wooden vessels, and later the steel ships, come into being in the famous shipyards. In recent years he has visited here occasionally, and at Squirrel island, and he was a frequent visitor at Central church, which his mother attended, and which he has held in fine regard because of these tender memories. Beautiful flowers have adorned the pulpit of central church, in memory of his mother, a gift from Mr. Litchfield.

The old coach has a most interesting history. It was built about 1858 [1849] by the Concord Coach Co., of concord, N.H., to the order of William Jewell, a retired sea captain of Phippsburg, who was the father of William Jewell, lately deceased at Phippsburg, at the age of 77. Capt. Jewell established a stage coach route from Bath to Small Point for a number of years, and in the late 60s the coach was put on the run with the Berry coaches of Rockland, continuing in that service until the opening of the Knox & Lincoln Railroad in 1871 when it was acquired by the late H.A. Huse, father of h. Augustus Huse, night clerk at the Sedgewick. Mr. Huse was co-partner with Jerre Shanon, father of the late Mrs. J.R. Andrews, operating in connection with the Sagadahock block at Front and Center streets. It was at this time that the coach was redecorated by John Berry and also re-equipped and was given the name Sagadahock House.  

The coach remained in the possession of the Huse family until 1920 when it was acquired by Charles t. Jackson and entered in the celebration of the Centennial of the State of Maine. It was featured in the gala parade with 13 young ladies riding in it dressed in colonial costume and was driven by the late Joseph Avery with his four handsome black horses, winning the first prize, a beautiful silver cup. In following years the coach has been an attraction to the public on the lawn of Mr. Jackson’s residence throughout the summer seasons and has been used on many occasions through this part of Maine through the courtesy of Mr. Jackson. Many of the older citizens of Bath can look back to the enjoyable coaching parties of 20 to 25 young people going to a country dance or party, or to Topsham County Fair.  

Not many people in Bath can recall, as does Mr. Jackson, the early use of this coach from 1869 to the present time, or take greater pride in its use and condition today or of the other coaches that were in service in those early years. The memories of them are with him vividly, and of the men who were their drivers. The Bath to Rockland run was established by the Berry Stables of Rockland and included the Bath coach.
The coach left each city in the morning and returned in the evening, about 50 miles each way. Two steps were made each way and four wearied horses were changed for fresh ones; at Warren and at Sheepscot. The roads were rough, which nothing but Concord built coaches could stand. And the passengers were jolted considerably on the journey. But they were always on time to connect with the ferry between Bath and Woolwich he speaks of the driver of the Berry coach, a gentleman as well as a great four horse coach driver. His name was William L. White of Rockland, later of this city. Later he became the first to run Rockland and continued in that service until he was promoted to be the superintendent of the Knox & Lincoln Railroad with his office in Bath. Mr. White was the father of Miss Minnie White, who now resides at the Cosmopolitan club here.

The driver of the Sagadahock coach was William Witham, father of the late Fred and William Witham, and he was followed by the late Charles Carter of the Carter homestead on Middle street. This colored gentleman was about five feet five inches in height and weighed about 180 pounds. He was as nimble as a cat in his spring and mount over the wheel to the driver’s seat. Gathering the reins of the four horses in his left hand he would reach for the whip and with a long whoop give his “Ya hoo” and sharply crack the lash about the ears of the lead horses and off they would go on the leap for the ferry. Mr. Jackson says that many a time he has seen Charles Carter swing out of Ferry street into front street coming from the ferry at top speed to pull up at the Elliot house in the brick building now occupied by McFadden’s Pharmacy and Cohen’s grocery store. After depositing his passengers and baggage Mr. Carter would mount nimbly to the driver’s seat, crack his whip over the lead horse’s ears with a “Yep-Yah,” swing in a complete circle at the head of Arch street and drive into the alley to the stables at the rear. He was considered one of the best drivers of four horses in Maine.

During the service with Sagadahock House the coach was operated between the hotel and the railroad station and was driven by the late George M. Duley for several summers operated a stage route from Bath to Parker Head. For the many years the old coach was in the Huse family it was the greatest delight of young Gus Huse to handle the ribbons over four lively horses with a merry crowd bound to the Fair, or to a dance, or party in the country. After Gus Huse left Bath to travel in the theatrical world, where he made a name for himself, the coach was driven by the late Joseph Avery. And now it is doing fine service at the “dude’ ranch in Arizona, still going strong after nearly 90 years of service. Surely that is a credit to superb New England workmanship.      

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Making Your Own Blackmithing Forge

Sat. & Sun., Dec. 29-30, 9-4PM. Two Day or One Day Class: 1st Day: Make a Propane Blacksmithing Forge; 2nd Day: Make a Bowie Hunting Knife with Your Forge. Involves cutting metal, welding ( welding done by instructor), mixing, and assembly ( see details below). Cement used is fast-drying. A propane gas delivery system will be created with black metal pipe, hose, and 3 Plus PSI propane valve. Make a knife or tomahawk on the second day. Cut a piece of heated spring steel, shape, file, and harden. Temper at home once you have filed and polished to satisfaction. 1st day (forge): $300; 2nd day(knife): $125; two day price: $400 (forge and knife). Extra cost  for a full propane tank (or bring your own) to use with your new forge on the second day of the class.

This was Willowbrook's first propane forge making class; we are now offering another class. We are limiting it to eight students. We will be working on these inside, in a heated space, during the winter months. Sign up now!
This is one of the results of our first class. Actually, this required some tweaking. We had to re-position the propane delivery pipe. The refractory needed some work as well. As this was the first class, some changes have been made to make it better. We are using a 100 percent mix of high temperature refractory. We are also using a propane gas valve that is more powerful providing a stronger and hotter flame for balckmithing.
Here you see the valve that we created in the class. A propane gas hose attached to the gas supply hooks up to the nipple. We provided the valve and hose as an afterthought for our first class, and we will provide that in subsequent classes. We won't be supplying a propane gas supply, i.e, another tank filled with propane. For an additional cost, and if you want to take the second day of knife making and use your newly made forge, we can have that on hand. The refractory we will be using is fast drying.

Close-up of the gas delivery fitting. That open 3/4 inch black metal elbow fitting stays open to allow air to flow to a very small hole that has been drilled in the smaller 1/2 inch pipe, elbow and nipple configuration. There is a 4 inch threaded black metal pipe attached to the open ended 3/4 inch elbow you see. That fits right into the welded pipe that extends into the forge shell. That 4 inch pipe merely slides in and is free floating; it can be taken out when not in use.
Here you see a successful molding of a 50/50 refractory and kitty litter mix at an insulator for the forge. This took more than a month to dry thoroughly. There were some failures with this approach. Some mixed too much water with the kitty litter and refractory making the finished product flaky and brittle. Others moved there drying refractory around too much cracking it. Doing the half and half mix saves  a lot of money, as the refractory mix is quite expensive. We offered students to come back and have their refractory fixed. The insulating wall can be patched up with pure refractory, and you will likely have to periodically "tune up" the refractory of your forge with repeated use. It should last a lifetime given the gauge of steel of the original propane tank that this forge was made from as long as you keep the refractory insulation maintained.

Made from a propane tank. The tank is prepared by initially taking the valve off. Don't do this yourself; this can be dangerous. The valve can sometimes be under extreme pressure even if you think you have bled it thoroughly. Once the valve is off you should fill the tank with water. You can cut the tank with the water in it as a safety measure against igniting any residual gas in the tank..
The next step involves cleaning off decals and labels with an angle grinder. This is purely for aesthetics.  Students prepare a number of "lugs" that holes are drilled into and serve as a way to fasten the top of the forge to the bottom. These will be welded by the instructor round the perimeter of the top open portion of the tank and around the perimeter of the larger open bottom section. The tank will be in two halves making it easy to form the refractory cement heat insulating layer on the top and bottom.

The square holes will be the openings by which you enter your metal and heat it when blacksmithing. We use a skill saw with a metal cutting blade to make two perpendicular square openings as you see.. A black metal pipe is welded in another opening that is cut as seen in the photo.  That pipe will hold the fixture for delivering propane gas. The pipe needs to be positioned in a manner that the propane gas will be delivered on the curve of the refractory lined interior of this tank.. Gas will swirl once delivered, and the objective is to have the ignited propane delivered inside form a vortex which will achieve the desired heat for heating metal so that it can be cut, shaped and forge welded. The gas must be delivered at 3 PSI or more to achieve the needed heat for blacksmithing.
Actually, this pipe seen in the photo needs to be slightly re-positioned as you can see that much of the flame delivered would escape from the square hole on the left, which is one of the entry points for your blacksmithing project. The flame would largely exit through that hole rather than starting on its way to creating the desirable vortex.
Here instructor Adriaan Gerber welds lugs and the metal pipe gas delivery pipe to the cut propane tank we are using as our shell. We are also welding horseshoes to the bottom of these tanks to raise it off the ground for easier use in the future, and it makes for an interesting look. One might mount their finished forge on a heavy metal table to bring it to a more desirable working height ( see the homemade metal table created for the welding rig).
We painted each of these forges with high temperature black paint.

Here you see the top and bottom sections of the forge with the welded lugs that will later be fitted with nuts and bolts to close during use.
Here we see the painted forge with the welded horseshoe legs, lugs, and pipe.
For our first class we used a 50/50 mix of high clay content kitty litter and refractory cement rated at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every student created a mold to set the refractory in and preserve a center void with card board and duck tape but other materials could be used. A piece of old black metal stove pipe or a piece of Sana Tube could also be used to keep the refractory out of the center until it dries, and this would create a more uniform and smooth surface to the refractory.  The cardboard could be burned out on the initial firing of the forge; in fact, this is recommended as taking it out once the cement is dry may result in damage to your desired form.
The tank is first filled with refractory to a depth of 2 inches. This is your fire pan. The mold is formed on that in addition to creating forms to the two openings for blacksmithing.
This is the cardboard form that refractory will be poured around creating insulated walls when it dries for the forge. See the two cardboard constructions which preserve the openings for blacksmithing.

A birds eye view of the constructed card board form. This is ready for the refractory.
Here we test the gas delivery device we have devised. We will drill and fit all the pieces
The larger 2 inch in diameter pipe is the piece that is welded into the shell of the propane tank used for the forge. the smaller pipe inside is the propane gas delivery pipe, and the flame comes out of that.

Here we see the lids for the forge with the refractory in it as well.