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Dave Stephens

Forge Withdrawal: Stephens Forge Update

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Hi Guys,

 

Thought I'd drop you a line with an update.

 

Mouse, Devan and I made it to Florida (4,800 miles). My wife joined us after getting the house in Alaska squared away and on the market. We've closed on the new house and are now living on folding lawn chairs and mattresses on the floor until our stuff from Alaska arrives with the movers. And, it's 96 degree F (36C) with ultra-high humidity.

 

Yet, despite all these discomforts, the thing that is killing me the most is not having a shop. I really miss the de-stressing of working in the smithy in the evenings.

 

While my long term plan is to build a dedicated separate shop on the property, in the interim I am converting the attached two-car garage into a shop. I'm actually kind of excited about how I've decided to have it upgraded.

 

I will be replacing the garage door with an aluminum framed, glass panel door, which should let in a ton of light. Here's an example of what I'm buying, except mine will have clear panels of glass, not frosted.

 

Garage-Door-Glass03.jpg

 

I'm also having a dedicated 2-ton air conditioner installed with a heavy filter to deal with the particulate matter in the air.

 

Finally, I'm installing light wood laminate flooring on all areas except the forging/grinding area, which will be slate or another dark stone.

 

My plan is to really lean on my induction forge and use my propane forge only to set the welds on the billets.

 

Craig Hashimoto was really kind in giving me a "pancake" coil to use in my plan to heat the thick billets and draw them out.

 

photo.JPG

 

I'll be building a Z axis table using a scissor jack (also generously provided by Craig) which will allow me to raise the work piece and keep it close to the coil as the thickness decreases.

 

Finally, I'm investing in a good two-stage dust collection system that includes a cyclonic precipitator (man I've always wanted to say I owned one of those . . .sounds like a doomsday device from a Bond movie!).

 

I'll keep you posted on the progress. Electrician comes on Wednesday to drop in the 220 circuits for the press/bandsaw/kiln. Air conditioning guy next. Then drywall. Then paint. Then build the benches. . . gah, it's gonna be forever before I make a sword again.

 

Grins,

 

Dave

 

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My shop shrivels at the site of yours! Complete shop envy.

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My shop shrivels at the site of yours! Complete shop envy.

 

That's just an example from the internet. Yeah, I wish it looked like that too.

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you traded alaska for florida :blink:

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You sure about the clear glass, Dave? If so you may want to think about upping the AC unit to a 5 ton minimum for your new location... ;) Or maybe some low-E mirrored glass to keep curious crooks from seeing the goodies.

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I seem to remember you building a second shop in Florida a couple years back...

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Dave, where in Fla. did you move to.

I'm down there 3-4 times a year and would love to meet you.

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You sure about the clear glass, Dave? If so you may want to think about upping the AC unit to a 5 ton minimum for your new location... ;) Or maybe some low-E mirrored glass to keep curious crooks from seeing the goodies.

 

The glass door is double pane, and has some RF value. Also, the garage faces North, so it shouldn't get much direct sunlight.

 

Still, mirrored glass sounds like a good option. I'll look into it.

 

I sweat at 70F, so anything to bring down the temp!!

 

What the HELL am I doing here?!

 

--Dave

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Dave, where in Fla. did you move to.

I'm down there 3-4 times a year and would love to meet you.

 

Lake Mary. Small town north of Orlando.

 

Drop me a PM if you're in the neighborhood!

 

--Dave

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you traded alaska for florida :blink:

 

If you'd experienced the last few Alaska Winters, you might understand. Still . . . at the moment, I'm agreeing with you!

 

It's a family thing. Spending too much time on the road on business trips down here. Missing daughter growing up. Had to move the family down here.

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I seem to remember you building a second shop in Florida a couple years back...

 

Yes, a small stock removal shop in the corporate house I had the company buy to save on hotel bills. Only made one blade in it, and sweated far too much doing so. No real A/C.

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I can feel for ya Dave, I moved from Kodiak Island to central Wyoming three years ago. All my stuff, and shop was barged down to Seattle, put on a train to Denver, and then trucked up to Thermopolis, Wyoming. It's nice and dry here now(7% humidity), but I know about humidity as I grew up just West of Chicago /96degrees with 96%humidity, yuk! hang in there, I lived for a month like that waiting for my belongings, hopefully you won't have too. Wes

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Am I the only one impressed not by the future shop, but by the fact that you work for a company that takes such good care of you!?

 

I wouldn't recommend going with clear glass on the door, though. The frosted glass will diffuse the light, making it more even and eliminating hot spots. It will also keep prying eyes from seeing all your goodies.

 

No doubt the family will learn to love Florida. It's gonna be culture shock for a time, but the year-round tanning opportunities and all that other stuff will make up for it. I moved from PA to GA and thought I'd die from the heat and humidity for the first year or two! Best part about living in the south is watching the natives operate in the local "winter"!!! A quarter-inch of snow (that melts under your boot!) and they close schools. Still makes me giggle after all these years.

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I have a ton of family down there I will have to come see you and the shop and the family .

 

Sam

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I just finished a local move, and I feel for you. I have been suffering withdraw myself...

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Best part about living in the south is watching the natives operate in the local "winter"!!! A quarter-inch of snow (that melts under your boot!) and they close schools. Still makes me giggle after all these years.

 

Quarter inch of snow on the ground is still warm enough for me to sit on the front porch in naught but me skivies. Surprising how I can survive the summers here! :blink:

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You can look into mirrored or frosted films that you can apply to the glass in your overhead door to cutdown on heat gain (not that you'll have any if the door is facing north) as well as diffusing light and cutting down vision from the exterior as well. Much cheaper than replacing all the glass.

 

Awesome having the double panes though, in Florida I would have expected they would only install a single pane.

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Egads! There's gotta be a middle ground between Alaska and Florida... say... Vermont? ;)

 

Good luck setting up. :)

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