Archive for March, 2010

Just finished a small metalworking project to make a heavy-duty hole-punching machine.  This is needed as we have been bending the handles of even the heaviest hand-punches that we can find, trying to go thru multiple layers of fire hose and webbing.

Aunt Betsy got us an arbor press for Christmas that uses snap and grommet-setting dies with a 3/8″ shaft, so we have been able to use 3/8″ bolts to fabricate new attachments for it.  This post walks thru the process of using nuts, bolts, and brass to make a hole-punching tool for use on the press. 

Hand-punch
The problem – I keep bending the handles of these hand-punches trying to go thru thick materials.  Note – the punch tubes themselves are threaded. 

Press
This is the arbor press – in this photo, it is set up rivet setting dies made from 3/8″ bolts capped with brass.

Workbench
The workbench       

Brassing_a_bolt
First off, I needed to make the bottom ‘anvil’ – This is basically a flat surface covered in soft brass, so your punch tips won’t get smashed by pushing down on a hard surface.  To make it, I cut a small tab of brass from a door kickplate that I found at the ReStore, placed a 3/8″ bolt on top of it, got both pieces cherry red (not melting) and melted brass onto their junction.

                               

Brassing_a_bolt2
Next I took the fused bolt+brass, put it in a cordless drill, and used the drill as a lathe, rounding and polishing it on the grinder and wire wheel.  This will be the bottom 1/2 of our punch press.

                               

Punchmaking1
The top 1/2 of the punch press needs to be a 3/8″ shaft that is tapped with 5/16″ fine-threads – the size of the threads on the tubular punches that come on our hand punch.  I didn’t have a 5/16″ tap, so I decided to braze a nut with the proper thread onto a 3/8″ bolt.  The 5/16″ bolt on top is just to keep the brazing from getting into the threads, and came out after the brass was set.  It was really hot, and when my glove started smoking I just dropped it on the concrete. 

                               

Punchmaking-assembled
Here is what the piece looks like with the punch tip screwed into it.

                               

Punchmaking-hogged
I forgot that we needed a way for the punched material to get out of the inside of the punch tube.  I clamped the piece in the drill press and tried to drill at an angle.  Not ideal or pretty, but it worked out.

                               

Punchmaking-hogged-assembled
Final piece, filed, and cleaned up – some brass had dripped on the shaft, so I put it back in the drill and spun it while I held a file on it to clean it up.

                               

Punching
The final product – it works well!  The only concern is that since the press generates about 1,000 lbs of pressure, the pressure on the tip is probably about 3,000 psi, so we’ll need to be careful not to pull too hard, lest we punch all the way thru the brass cap on the bottom piece.  
I can make these on a custom basis if you have a hand press and want to be able to punch with it.

                          

Hot_shoe
Remember the hot bolt that I dropped on the concrete?  After a while of tapping around the shop, I was wondering if I had a rock stuck in my shoe.  
We’ll use this new tool to punch leather for bookbag sides, punch the corners of messenger bags, and just about any other rivet setting that we do in the shop.

                               

ZeekoBag started with a bunch of market and tool bags made from Chicken feed sacks.  In 2008 we got into using scraps of graphics printed on mylar in our designs, and did a series of bags using maps and graphics designed by Zeke, and Hindu comics from Erika’s childhood.

Here are some of our favorite bags from 2008.

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Purse from feed sack and thrift store belts

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Durga on a duck food bag

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Purse from feed sack, mylar printed with hand-drawn maps and fish coloring book images, and thrift store belt 

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Maps are of the Chico area, and tell the story of wild Chinook salmon returning to our creeks

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Sold to Amelia – our friend from Concow

Farmersfront
Small simple purse with belt strap

 

Totefront

Market tote

 

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Hindu purse from grain sack – strap is used belt

                               

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Paravati Purse      

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Hindu purse                     

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Man purse/truck bucket

                               

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Man purse/organizer

                               

ZeekoBag has had the privilege of participating for the last two years in Chikoko’s Holiday Artisan’s Faire.  This event is great in that we get to be part of a larger community of artisans, and that it forces us to produce enough inventory for an event.  At this time, this has been the only event that we sell at.  

Here is a sampling of the items that we made for sale at the 2009 Winter Faire.

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Messenger bag – body is 100% fire hose.  Recycled strap and hardware.

 

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Messenger bag with 2 bike purses – 100% fire hose body. 

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1 off messenger bag made from fire hose, inner tube, and surplus cargo parachute harness canvas.

 

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Messenger ‘X’ bag – This is a design that we plan to focus on.  ‘X’ available in 3M retroreflective sticker.

 

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Bike purse/day bag

 

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Messenger bag detail.  Body from fire hose, strap from surplus army parachute harness.  Rivets at all stress points.

 

All of the bags above are spoken for or gone, but similar bags are available.  Due to the nature of using found objects, sometimes we run out of a certain kind of material or hose color.

Email zeekobag@gmail.com for pricing and shipping info.

ZeekoBag has had the privilege of participating for the last two years in Chikoko’s Holiday Artisan’s Faire.  This event is great in that we get to be part of a larger community of artisans, and that it forces us to produce enough inventory for an event.  At this time, this has been the only event that we sell at.  

Here is a sampling of the items that we made for sale at the 2009 Winter Faire.

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Messenger bag – body is 100% fire hose.  Recycled strap and hardware.

 

Img_9712

Messenger bag with 2 bike purses – 100% fire hose body. 

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1 off messenger bag made from fire hose, inner tube, and surplus cargo parachute harness canvas.

 

Img_9715

Messenger ‘X’ bag – This is a design that we plan to focus on.  ‘X’ available in 3M retroreflective sticker.

 

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Bike purse/day bag

 

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Messenger bag detail.  Body from fire hose, strap from surplus army parachute harness.  Rivets at all stress points.

 

All of the bags above are spoken for or gone, but similar bags are available.  Due to the nature of using found objects, sometimes we run out of a certain kind of material or hose color.

Email zeekobag@gmail.com for pricing and shipping info.

We found a 1892 Singer ‘Patcher’ sewing machine at a yard sale in Paradise.
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These machines are called ‘patchers’ because their long skinny arm allows you to sew up inside of a jacket sleeve, or at the tip of a shoe.
We have been looking for a machine like this to sew in the bottoms of bags, or in other hard-to-reach places.

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The machine had been sitting for about 20 years, and was really stiff – hard to crank.  It runs off of a foot-powered treadle, and needed to be taken apart and cleaned.

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This is the head of the machine.  It is set up so that you can sew in any direction – with the walking foot moving the material.  This is handy when you are up inside the tip of a boot, and can’t rotate the piece around on the machine.  
Because the machines run off of foot power, they don’t get hot enough to wear things out very quickly, and the tolerances in this 120 year old machine are still very tight.  I cleaned everything with solvent, and oiled it with sewing machine oil.

 

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Many of these parts were made by hand – you can see file marks from the original machinists on some pieces. 

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Reassembled and on the treadle base.

 

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When we got the machine, I noticed that one of the cast iron tabs that holds the pivot pin for the needle-driving arm was missing.  The machine would sew, but the action of the rocking arm would cause the pivot pin to fall out after awhile.
Luckily, the people that we got the machine from had saved the two parts of the tab that had snapped off, and they fit tightly in place, with no missing pieces. 

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I ‘brazed’ the broken pieces back onto the body of the machine – basically, this means that I used an acetylene torch to get the body of the machine red hot, then put the missing pieces back in place and got them cherry red also.  Then melted brass over the cracks.  Brazing is like gluing with molten metal.

 

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After filing and redrilling the bore on the new piece, the pin fits snugly, and the machine runs well.

There is one other broken part on the machine, but it is not essential.  There are actually a lot of parts available for this machine though most of them are used.  Singer made a lot of these over a long period of time.  Many of the parts suppliers that I have tracked down are in Amish areas – these machines are popular with off-the-grid leatherworkers and horse harness makers.

Sometimes I think that I enjoy working on the machines more than I actually like sewing, and that this bagmaking work is just an excuse to tinker in the shop.

New Bike Basket Bag

Posted: March 21, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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Inside view – bag is 7×12″ at bottom and 8×15″ at top.  Wallet/phone pocket on side.

 

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Body is 100% salvaged fire hose, as is strap.  Adjuster is surplus parachute hardware.

 

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Reflective yellow trim

 

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Top flap ties to bag through basket to secure both