Saturday, June 17, 2017

Red Bronze KingPins

Hi Everyone,

Happy Father's Day weekend to you! After a week of beautiful weather we are getting some mixed skies and on and off rain again for the foreseeable future. At least it's finally warming up.

The Fidget Spinners were a big hit and thanks so much again for the huge and enthusiastic response. I am looking into possibly making more but I'm still not sure. I will keep you posted if it works out...In the meantime many other things are in the works and I am rapidly finishing projects up.

Today I have a small batch of Red Bronze KingPin tools ready. You'll notice that the heads have a very familiar 5 flute shape, but in a slimmer diameter (1/2") and longer length than the 5/8" diameter 5 flute Mega beads. The heads are tapered and drilled on one end to accept an 1/8" diameter pin and the exposed pin length is generous at just over 2 inches long. OAL of the tool is about 3 inches or so with the sheath. The pins are slip fit into the pin heads using green 680 Loctite so they are permanently set in place unless you were to heat it up with a torch.
 
The 5 Flute design works great for these tools as it provides well defined grip surfaces, and unlike other pin tools, these are totally anti roll so you can set it down and it absolutely will stay put. There is nothing more annoying than setting a small tool down for a moment and having it roll off the work surface.

The pins themselves are made of hardened steel which I have hand ground to a sharp point. Don't ask me what grade of steel it is as these are standard extra long dowel pins and the makers do not specify exact material, but they are definitely high carbon steel. Keep them wiped down and clean as they will probably rust. A few swipes with a worn green scotchbrite pad once in a while will make them as good as new though if rust spots do show up. And they are easily resharpened on a belt sander or grinding stone.

The KingPins come with a simple slip sheath of vinyl tubing. Once in the sheath they are perfectly safe to carry in a pocket or anywhere else. Keep the pin in the sheath at all times when you are not using it though as these are quite sharp and it would be very easy to puncture yourself. By all means, use common sense while using these and please, KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!

I have been carrying mine for a few weeks and showing it around to see people's reaction. You can always tell which folks lack imagination when you see the uncertain look and blank expression followed by "What would you use that for?" Haha....a much better question would be "What wouldn't you use it for?"

I use mine all the time for mixing and applying two part epoxy. The pin performs perfectly and it is so easy to wipe clean. I have used it to mix a small jar of model paint for some touchups I needed to do. The pins excel at cord and knot work of course. Use them for all sorts of poking, prying and scraping tasks as well as cleaning duty to get into tight corners. They are great for helping to remove small bits of stuck on masking tape. I was using one just yesterday to pry a nasty old o-ring out of a groove. Leather people, woodworkers and craftsmen of all stripes will find endless and obvious uses for these tools. And, if you happen to have a balloon popping fetish, boy are you in luck! :)

I'll also be making more of these this summer in Zr, Titanium and Copper. Maybe a better fixture holder will allow for decorative hand stamps but for now these are ONLY available with the standard Atwood name stamp.

The bronze KingPins will run $60 plus shipping and it's one per customer with this small first batch. Don't worry if you miss today as I have a ton more of these on the way in other metals. As always, thanks for stopping in and have a great weekend.


Sold out for today, thank you so much folks! :)



















       

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Titanium Fiddle Spinners!

Hi Everyone,

Well, what a crazy couple of weeks it has been. I've been scrambling to get various projects started, keep others going and get still other projects done. And in the meantime we have gone from freezing cold and rainy to blazing sun and temps in the 90's. It's already a year to remember and we're only half way through.

So I posted a little project update last week on the Toolbook group. I'm making great progress on all of these items including KingPins and the new skinny 5 flute beads. I'm also right in the middle of yet another variation on the Spin Coins and I think you guys will love what is coming down the pike...

Today I have some really cool little Fiddle Spinner toys for you. You would have to be living on Mars not to have seen all the spinner toys out there as it seems every kid in America now has at least one. So naturally I had to try my hand at them and see if I could come up with a design that ties in with my product line. And I wanted to see if I could improve on the fiddle factor a bit with something that has absolutely no utility functions whatsoever, just purely a play toy.

One thing I have noticed is that many of the current designs have propeller type arms coming off of them. While that design scheme certainly puts the weight out towards the edge and promotes centripetal force, it often tends to make the toy difficult to spin with one hand, as your drive finger will sometimes slip in between the blades instead of making contact with the blade end. So I set out to fix that contact issue...other designs I have seen are just a boring plain round shape and I couldn't see the play factor in them. 

The Atwood Fiddle Toy has a familiar hex shape with my signature edge scallop design. The weight is distributed towards the outside edge so even with a relatively thin material there is still plenty of weight to keep the spin going. The Hexi style edges provide a very satisfying and secure landing spot for your drive finger so you can spin or flick these very easily with just one hand if desired.

I opted for titanium of course, and went with some 5/32 material (.160) so they will work with the standard spin core length. These toys have a wide variety of finishes....it's a small batch however so I have mixed them up rather than break it down into small groups. All of them are cool I think. Almost all are anodized but I kept out a half dozen plain ones in case someone really can't stand color. No stamps or extra grinds whatsoever on this batch.

The center holes are reamed for Scott McCoskery's 3/8 spin cores. You will have to purchase a spin core separately from Scott and the link for them is here. I know he is busy making more so if you don't already have one perhaps an email to Scott will get you one...here's a handy tip by the way...take a standard hole punch and pop out some discs of self stick grip tape or skateboard tape. It really helps with those slippery spin cores!

Now, the center holes on these are tight, MUCH tighter than the previous offerings I have put out this year. You will have to gently tap the spin cores in and I recommend a plastic tip mallet for this. You could also use a regular hammer if you put a piece of wood or a thick cloth over the core before tapping. Place the fiddle toy over a pair of side by side wood blocks (or something non marring so as not to mess up the anodizing) so that you can tap the core through and get it lined up evenly on both sides. Go slow and make sure the core is lined up straight as you go! Keep checking for straightness as you GENTLY tap it in as sometimes these type of things can go crooked on you. If it goes crooked knock it out with a stick and start over! Definitely no Loctite or glue is required on these and they will certainly not be falling out once seated in place.

The Atwood Fiddle Toys will run $60 plus shipping. As I said, it is a fairly small batch so one per customer on them please. I am not sure if I will be able to make more of these as there were some odd production issues and my waterjet guy was quite unhappy. So this may be it on them. There will be one other micro sized batch of 3 dozen pieces coming in stainless steel when I get around to them, but other than those I probably will be moving on to my many other projects after these are gone...

So there you have it. Thanks for coming by today and I hope everyone is doing great and staying cool this week!

Sold out, thanks again everyone!










  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stamped Minis

Hi Everyone,

Wow, I was not expecting quite the tremendous response to the raw bar minis yesterday. I ran out well before I was able to respond to the nearly 100 emails I received. So I am sorry I was not able to hook everyone up who wanted one.

You know, I never know how many to make on any given project. Sometimes I have made a large batch of tools and I end up with dozens left over. I still have a dozen or two of the titanium Mini P15 Prybabies for instance, also a couple of steel Mini P15s, and this is almost two years after they were released!

So this year I am making smaller batches on some of these tools. And that means some tools may be harder to score...don't know of any other solution and I am not about to set up lists or anything like that (I tried that years ago) because that will make me totally crazy and I will have to give this all up and retire. Haha, yeah right, ok maybe not retire, but lists are waaaay too inefficient for one guy to handle...And so, here we are. :) Anyhow,  I do my best and I am IMMENSELY grateful for you patience and continued support!

So, today I have another small batch of the Mini Prybabies done. This is the end of them btw...these are surface ground so they are slightly thinner than the raw bar ones from yesterday. They are all stamped! They also have a similar light bead blast finish so I recommend oiling them if you wish to prevent rust from forming on the CPM 3v tool steel.

No lefties remain....sorry about that. I hooked every one up yesterday as best as I could.

Stamped Mini P17s will run $75 plus shipping and it is of course a one per customer limit on them. Hopefully a few folks who couldn't catch the two minute sale yesterday and can score one of these...



Sold out, thank you everyone!


Monday, May 22, 2017

P17 Mini Prybabies

Hi Folks,

Happy rainy Monday. It's a cool one here, dark and dreary again. We're having quite a crazy spring so far...mostly cold and wet.

I've been fairly quiet again lately, but it's not because I've been languishing in a comfy hot tub down in some fancy vacation resort listening to Jimmy Buffet. No, instead I've been slaving away in front of a dusty belt grinder and fighting with cantankerous finishing equipment. Hmm, hot tub vs. belt grinder...maybe I need to rethink this gig! Just kidding.

All is well on the project front. I am about to start finishing up a bunch of stuff so hopefully I can get some sales rolling finally. I have some super cool pin tool pokers coming up shortly, The KingPin series. Those will be in bronze, Zr and titanium with hand ground hardened steel pins, pics coming shortly. Also coming is a dedicated, non tool, fidget spinner toy that will accept Scott's 3/8 spinner cores. The steel Wrunts are on deck for grinding so I will be starting on those probably next week. And there are some more 5 Flutes coming too. New drawings are completed for a steel Ghost reissue for late summer/early fall time frame and I hope to have a sample to evaluate soon.

Today I finally have the first wave of CPM 3v Mini Prybabies completed. Officially this is the P17 Mini Prybaby. They are short, only 2.6" long, but quite robust at 3/16" thick. The finish was a long struggle but I finally gave up trying all last week to get them evenly shiny and instead went for a light glass bead blast finish. They look sleek and clean but you will want to oil these when you get them if you want to prevent surface rust from forming. CPM 3v is a wonderful tough material but it is definitely not stainless and even less so when it retains the "raw bar" mill scale as these do. 

These little tools have a great old school vibe to them, with stepped edge grips. I used to call this type of edge look a "deckle edge" after an old 1960's special baseball card series that I had as a kid. Recent research on that name though revealed that a deckle edge is actually that torn paper look that you sometimes see on certain hard bound literary works, so it's not a uniform or geometric shape. I decided to borrow instead a term from the automotive world and I'm calling this effect a StepSide edge.

These P17 StepSide Prybabies feature a V notch pry tip, simple cap lifter, rear pry/screwdriver tip, O2 wrench lanyard opening and a central pivot point opening which is reamed to accept Scott's cool 3/8 spinner cores. When I first designed this tool back in the fall I wasn't focused on spinner tools, so I didn't bother trying to make the central opening exactly centered on the tool as far as weight distribution is concerned. However, the slight imbalance turns out to be an asset, because it allows you to work the tool one handed and get it spinning. It's all quite fun.

The P17 Prybabies with light raw finish will run $70 plus shipping. It is regrettably a rather small batch so one per customer please. The surface ground ones will follow shortly in a day or two so if you miss out today there is another small batch coming. Thanks as always for stopping by today and for your great patience!
  
Wow, gone in a flash, thanks so much everyone!   









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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Zirconium Five Flutes!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you're all having a great spring so far. It's been rather cold and rainy here these past weeks but it's supposed to finally start warming up for us in a few days. I can't wait!

Well, there is so much going on that it is hard to know quite where to begin. Same old story, the days come and go, I get tons and tons and tons of stuff done but nothing quite gets finished. At least the projects keep rolling along and eventually they will all come to a happy completion. I hope. :)

For tools, the new Mini Prybabies in steel are at heat treat right now. They should be back and ready to go in about two weeks or less...Thick steel Wrunts are next in line and I will be grinding those very soon, followed by Superbugs and metric Crawdaddies. Also, I have K4 Keytons in zirconium coming later this spring or early summer.

For beads I have more 5 Flute style ones in the works, both stainless and red bronze coming up. And I have a nifty new bead related tool design that is now finalized and turning as we speak. Oh so nifty, you will not believe this little jewel!

For spin toys I have a new fidget toy coming up, and those were just cut last week so I'll be working on them very soon. I have more Spin Coins/GameKoins coming as well and I just need a day of shop time to get the next wave of those in motion. Never enough hours it seems...

Today I have the first wave of 5 Flute beads done, these are zirconium! The original batch of Zr 5 Flutes was very small indeed, about 4 dozen is all I made. Many many people have asked for them so I made another batch, not huge by any means, but enough to get some more out there and give more people a chance to get some.

These have a buttery smooth finish and feel great in the hand. The burnished and individually hand flamed surface finish makes them look almost like black glass or ceramic in the right light. I am putting them on a variety of cord colors and they look great on everything.

The Zirconium 5 Flute Beads will run $55 plus shipping and it is going to be a two per customer limit on them so that everyone has a chance at them. (Newbies: The link to purchase is right above the pictures and if you don't see the link there that means they are sold out and you missed the sale.)

 Thanks so much for dropping by today folks, and I hope your week is not too hectic!

Sold out, thank you!










Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Antique Brass GameKoins

Hi Folks,

Hope you're all having a great spring so far. We're having some warmer days here lately, lots of showers this week and the leaves are just about to pop on the trees and bushes. I'll probably be mowing the lawn for the first time this season by the end of next week.

I've been busy the past few days with steel Mini Prybabies. Another day of grinding should have them ready to go into the tumblers and then off to heat treat. I also started prepping thick steel Wrunts and those will be on deck for grinding next, followed by the steel SuperBug17 tools. So it looks like the steel train will start rolling again very soon, bringing us a nice load of tools for the middle of May and into June.

In other news, I am about to make another short run of 5 flute beads so you can expect a few more stainless, more red bronze and possibly some more Zr ones too. And while we are on the subject of lathe turning, I am experimenting with a few other brand new ideas so we'll see where they lead. Sometimes experiments pan out and sometimes not, but it sure is fun to play around with new ideas and see where they go.

Today I have more GameKoins for you. These are made of brass with an antique finish, so they are very similar in appearance to the bronze ones, just a little yellower in color. The two metals are actually easy to tell apart because the brass makes a higher pitched "ping" sound when the edge hits the table, rather than the duller "thunk" sound of the bronze. Otherwise, they feature the same wide ranging variety of stamps and leathers. I haven't timed any spin tests with the brass but I imagine they are about the same as the bronze. 

The Brass GameKoins will run $85 plus shipping and, as before, it's not a huge batch so it will be one per customer on them. Thanks for dropping by today and have a great week!


Brass ones are gone for now. Thank you everyone!











Thursday, April 13, 2017

Game Time!

Hi Everyone,

Spring is in full swing here finally. What a treat to be able to go outside in a T shirt, and the flowers are starting to come up around the yard. Always my favorite time of year.

Well today I have something very special to bring you. This whole spin coin project began earlier this winter, with something totally unrelated. I was not thinking about any sort of spinning tops. I had gone out on Ebay looking for small advertising trays from the early 1900's and discovered that there is a category called Tip Trays. Because everyone backed in those days smoked, I believe they originated as giveaway trays so that people had a place to "tip their ashes" and at the same time they would see a reminder of the company and it's products. Typically the subject matter is beer brewing, shipping lines, home appliances, farm implements and the like. Some of these trays are very colorful and feature fabulous graphics or pretty ladies.

Well, I was buying a few of these for a display in my office and I noticed one that had a car race game printed around the rim. The ad was for Jenney Gasoline, the colors and graphics were awesome and most importantly, it was a spinning game! As soon as I saw it I started thinking about the GripCoin project and I began thinking, wouldn't it be cool if? A lot of my projects start that way: wouldn't it be cool if? LOL...

So, I found some more over the winter months and promptly acquired them. Most of them have horse race themes:



Now, the exact rules of Tip Tray spinner games can only be guessed at, but I imagine it went something like this: Each player picked their horse or car and then they would spin the tray. Whatever rim ends up touching the table when it stops turning is the "winner" and would then have to pay the bar tab. Or perhaps you could settle a bet with it, or maybe that person is the one who has pulled the short straw. Whatever the rules, those are a good place to start and perhaps you can make up your own as circumstance dictate.

There are two type of these Game Koins. Type 1 is a simple three stamp version where each stamp is different and each player picks their stamp. Type 2 is a 1,2,3 game where I have used either one, two or three stamps in each section. There are more of the 1,2,3s than the other version for this first wave. At any rate, the rules would be the same for either type of coin, so it would either be pick your stamp or pick a number 1,2,3.


This first wave of GameKoins are made of silicon bronze, alloy 655. I have given these a rich patina so they have a wonderful aged look. I also have brass GameKoins underway as well as some other bronze versions, so more red metals will be coming.

As you can see from the pics, I have also brought something else new to the table, leather inlays! For years I have been collecting scrap leather and intending to use it someday for an inlay project, but I kept envisioning it for a tool body such as a Prybaby. My tools always tend to be too small however so it just never happened. The GameKoin project suddenly offered the perfect opportunity to use it though and I'm so happy to finally be able to do it. The leather inlays used here are almost all embossed cow leather and the variety is nothing short of spectacular. They are so cool that I'm having trouble parting with them, haha...    

The Bronze GameKoins will run $85 plus shipping. The higher value and limited number of them makes me a little worried about international shipping which means Priority Mail International so that there is tracking...I will send these at random (sorry, no stamp choices) but as you can see the variety is crazy and every single one of them is unique.   

The batch is good sized but I want to make sure as many people as possible get a chance at them so it will be one per customer. I will have a lot more brass ones coming up so there will be plenty of chances to score these and other versions as we go forward this spring. Thanks for stopping by today and hope your week is a warm and sunny one.

Bronze ones are gone for today but more will be coming soon. Thank you so much!






The last time we'll ever see them all together!