Gooby And Bowl

A while ago, I auctioned off a “winner’s choice” gooby. So, here it is:

The metal is low-layer 304 stainless and 1095 high carbon, which I welded in a canister. It’s some really tough stuff to work with! I’m not sure what happens at the transition zones between the carbon steel and the stainless but something wicked hard forms there: drills literally melt when they hit it. I finally got a small set of carbide mills and chewed up several making a hole. The moral of the story, there, is that I should have heated the whole thing up yellow hot and punched it with a hammer and punch.

Making stuff like the gooby is very satisfying: you put the metal in a vise, pick up your angle grinder with a diamond wheel on it, and start cutting and shaping. Then, eventually, you sand and polish. It’s meditative work and it’s slow and the metal gets quite hot, which slows things down more.

Anyhow, it’s a Thor’s hammer. I don’t recommend this, but if someone wearing that Thor’s hammer was to get thrown into a jet engine, it almost certainly would ruin a few of the fan-blades and possibly the whole engine. That’s tough. Or, if the wearer were incinerated in a fire, the pile of ashes would be identifiable because the Thor’s hammer would look pretty much exactly like that. And if a zombie wolf tried to bite the wearer’s head off, it might chip a tooth on the Thor’s hammer, which would be unmarked by the experience. Pattern welded steel goobies are not something you need to take a lot of care of.

The background is a small platter I turned out of a piece of bog oak. I’m not going to lie: I believe I may be addicted. It works beautifully under carbide (most things do) but that surface finish is just the wood’s natural luster. The semi-quartersawn grain is just randomness – I did not resaw a chunk of bog oak; I just chucked it up the way it was and that’s how it worked out.

I’ve found a US importer that sells bog oak by the board foot, and am arranging to get some samples – i.e.: I wrote a check and am waiting for a package to show up by UPS. It turns out that bog oak is prone to splitting when they dry it (makes sense, right?) so they don’t do large pieces of it, ever. I’ve been trying to talk the guy into cutting a couple pieces 6″ thick, putting them in a plastic bag, and shipping them out anyway – I can try drying them in polyethylene glycol and then infuse them with poly resin. I know I’m probably a nut, but I have been fantasizing about turning a set of bowls for my Go stones.

I may be committing some kind of crime, turning a chunk of 6,000 year-old wood into chips and powder. That tree may have been alive when the young earth creationists think yaweh built the universe – imagine bearing silent witness to such an event!

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By the way, “Yorkshire grit” is just beeswax, turpentine, and diatomaceous earth. I’m not trying to ruin the lives of any purveyors of yorkshire grit, but if you want a great wood polish for lathe-work, there you go. I brew my own and (as you can see) it works great. With an open grained wood like oak, it seems to pack into the grain a bit, but I just give the work-piece a wipe-down with linseed oil and it comes clear and shiny as PZ Myers’ conscience. The diatomaceous earth appears to act like polycrystalline diamond – as it wears it breaks down into finer and finer abrasive until it’s basically gone.


  1. says

    It’s a lovely piece. It#s a shame that Thor’s Hammer has been so profoundly abused by neonazis that I would instantly mistrust the wearer of one.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Once I saw an exhibit of Viking artifacts at the Smithsonian. My favorite item was a jewelry mold. It was obviously from during the period when the Vikings were being converted to Christianity, because the mold was cross, Thor’s hammer, cross, Thor’s hammer. I can imagine the jeweler whipping out his display: “What do you want? We’ve got the new god, we’ve got the old gods! Be on the safe side, buy both!”

  3. says

    We’ve got the new god, we’ve got the old gods! Be on the safe side, buy both!”

    The gods were pretty chill about it, but Svein Bluetooth was a practical smitey kinda guy.

  4. says

    something wicked hard forms there

    Since you are using kerosene to stop corrosion, you are introducing some carbon to the boundary, since it disintegrates into carbon in the heat. Further carbon does tend migrate to the boundaries between the steel layers, and it lowers the melting point of the steel there, thus making forge-welding possible. So my hypothesis is, that a thin layer full of chromium carbide crystals forms there.
    Since 304 is austenitic stainless steel, it is tough and strong in tension, although not very hard. But that makes it probably very tough on drill bits as is, austenitics stainless steels are usually difficult to drill. In combination with high-carbon steel layer and possibly some chromium carbide on the boundary it should be nigh impossible to drill. I would also assume it blunts grinder belts like nobody’s business.
    It would be interesting to see a metallographic picture of the boundary.

  5. says

    it should be nigh impossible to drill

    Pretty much!

    I would also assume it blunts grinder belts like nobody’s business.

    Yes, when you first push it against a new belt, you get a faceful of shattered ceramic coming off and flying at you.

  6. kestrel says

    Nice! I love the platter, that’s some gorgeous wood. I am sure the new owner of the Thor’s Hammer is thrilled to know it will last much longer than they will in a zombie apocalypse, or jet engine.

    Is there a point where you can first drill the hole then make the piece tough and strong? I do that on some of my pieces: cast, make the hole, then work harden it. Not that it would be *that* much harder to drill with the metals I work with, I’m just lazy and don’t like to work too hard if I don’t have to.

  7. voyager says

    The bowl is fabulous – gorgeous colour and grain with a perfect finish.

    Thor’s Hammer also has a lovely pattern and finish, and I like that it could be useful against zombies, vampires and Christians.

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