A Weird Stress-Dream

My subconscious is a horrible nag and pretty much never shuts down unless I’m on opiates. Last night, I was dealing with some “issues” from an afternoon of mess (more on that later, once the problem is resolved) and my subconscious was clearly thinking about metallurgy – specifically creative ideas for layering blade steels.

Out here in North Central PA, it’s windy, cold, and pretty nasty. The skies are the grey of Hitachi White Paper #2 steel, and the snow blows in little swirls.

In my dream, I was out in the field by the standing stones, building a guillotine. The frame was mostly done, carbonized oak, glued and pegged with walnut dowels; I’m sure it was a lot of work to make it and it looked like my handiwork – I make most things without condescending to measure any part except against another, so I can recognize my work easily.

The blade was the problem. I had strips of steel laid out that I was going to forge, and the strips were cut from the frame of a cop car. My subconscious knew that, and it felt righteous. The problem I was mulling over was whether I could get away with taking a thermic lance down to Philadelphia and maybe chopping a chunk out of the Liberty Bell to use the bronze for flux to weld the blade. I know the blade doesn’t need to be sharp, it’s the angle and momentum that do all the work – I just wanted it to be … special.

It was not an unhappy dream, but in my dream I was cold and the wind was howling.

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I don’t want to incite anyone, but if you’re ever looking for a great way of destroying a bronze statue – say, a confederate memorial – a thermic lance is a really useful thing. You can make your own using a small oxygen tank and regulator from a mini oxy/acetylene kit, a piece of vinyl hose, and a 2′ length of steel brake-line. Just get the steel burning by stuffing it with steel wool, crack the O2 a tiny bit and light the steel wool; when it gets hot you can open the valve and you’ll have a torch that can slice through cinderblock like it’s gouda cheese. It will also scare nazis.

A “guillotine” is also a blacksmith’s device for chopping molten bars (like its namesake). A few weeks ago someone posted a question on one of the facebook knifemakers’ tools groups asking “anyone know how to make a guillotine?” I was almost done a page-long explanation of how you could make the blade-release mechanism before I realized that maybe they were asking about the other kind. I hit “post” anyway.


  1. says

    You have such an interesting mind. Have to say, I love the idea of a guillotine blade made from a cop car. That’s just so right.

  2. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#2:
    You could probably use some reassuring news to help relieve your stress. Such as the claim that Ivanka Trump has expressed interest in running for president herself some day.

    I was thinking of a “Welcome our new Oligarch” posting about that, but Ivanka’s clearly already an oligarch and has already grabbed political power. Remember back in the day when people complained that Hillary Clinton, as 1st Lady, had no business interfering with government policy?

  3. says

    I love the idea of a guillotine blade made from a cop car. That’s just so right.

    Can’t plasma-cut the depleted uranium armor of an Abrams tank. What’s weird about my freaky subconscious is that I’m pretty sure it took that into account.

    If you hear that someone vandalized the liberty bell, don’t tell, OK?

  4. says

    Have you sparked the Glorious Bladesmith Revolution?

    No such luck. Besides, if anyone told them “to the barricades!” they’d mostly start arguing about whether the barricades should be damascus, or stainless, or maybe … stainless damascus. And then the “hey! titanium!” crowd would come along and it’d never get anywhere.

  5. jrkrideau says

    “to the barricades!”
    Does no one have a sense of history?

    Granted that today’s barricades will not be the same as in Paris in 1870 but wreaked cars, burning tires and a few snipers should help.

    “damascus, or stainless” Urr, a good piece of wood, a French rolling pin or a baseball bat is recommended.

  6. xohjoh2n says

    If you hear that someone vandalized the liberty bell, don’t tell, OK?

    The NSA already know, but they might not care.