Black Stallion Cowhide Welding Jacket


I bought this jacket three years ago while shopping for welding supplies, but it now doubles as a motorcycle jacket. Convection is the enemy of anyone on a motorcycle. Leather is naturally wind proof, so its brown cowhide suede finish has kept me warm while riding around on my Harley. The jacket’s really well made and an amazing value for about $55. I’m just learning how to weld (my particular interest is to build furniture), so my experience is rather limited. However, it’s my understanding the sparks created from arc welding have a tendency to melt through most synthetics, and that heavy cotton and leather seem to work best at shielding sparks. The cheaper welding jackets made by Black Stallion are made of cotton and may work fine, but because they can allow air to pass through, they wouldn’t work well as a motorcycle jacket. With this one, I get two jackets for the price of one.

-- Velemir Cicin  

Black Stallion Cowhide Welding Jacket
Available from Working Person’s Store

Manufactured by Black Stallion

The Complete Metalsmith

I’ve spied this book in the cluttered workshops of many amateur craftsmen, and it is frequently nominated as the best all-around introduction to light metal work. If you take an entry class in jewelry, this is often the manual. (Complete in this case does not include welding or blacksmithing; this guide is best for metal projects smaller than a bowl.). The reason I like this manual is that it is quick, succinct, clear, and dense — sort of like metal itself. The author assumes you wield a certain level of handiness, and that you can kind of figure out things yourself if you get a general sketch of what needs to be done. It shows you with simple drawings (no fancy photos here) things you might want to do with small bits of metal — different methods of shaping it, different textures or patinas to coat it with, ways to cast it in molds, how to set stones in it, what metals to even use. In other words, it’s a quick tour of metal work possibilities. It also lays flat on the table with its thoughtful metal spiral binding. Be sure to get the revised edition. (more…)

-- KK  

The Complete Metalsmith
Tim McCreight
1991, 208 pages

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

Drawing Wire
This simple tool will allow a craftsman to create the thickness and cross section of a wire as it is needed. It is an example of a tool whose shape and function has no changed since its invention 500 years ago.

The plate is held in a vise so it is well supported.

If a vise is not available, hold the draw-plate on a board with a hole in it, braced across your door jamb. Native American silversmiths used to anchor their plates against pegs in the ground.

As anyone blessed with bronze babyshoes knows, it is possible to eletroform over nonmetallic objects. The only requirement is a coating of a conductive paint. This can be painted onto a matrix of wood, plastic, paper, stone or about anything else.

Electroforming equipment

Gold Solder
Gold may be joined with silver solder but to achieve a color match a gold-based alloy is usually used. Gold solders are available in many colors and melting points. When buying solder, specify the metal you are joining. 14 karat yellow solder refers, not to the quality of the alloy, but means it is used on 14K gold. In fact, solder will be a karat or two lower than the metal it will join. Any gold of a lower karat can be used as a solder. 10K will be a solder for 14K; 14K will solder 18K, etc.

Auto Center Punch

A simple superior tool about the size of a stubby pencil that punches a tiny depression in metal. It’s used to start a hole, or mark a point. But unlike standard punches, which you need to hit with a hammer — whose impact usually misalligns the spot you intended to punch — this one gets its punch from a tiny internal spring that flexes as you press the tip down. You simply press the punch where you want a dent and there it is exactly. A classic.

— KK

We in the rescue trade also use these pretty routinely to safely remove the glass in automobiles. They work particularly well on the glass in the side and rear windows and leave all of the little glass bits intact in the window frame until you gently remove them with gloved hands. The bits then go where you want (generally) and not on your patient. I assume that keeping one in your car would let you punch out your own windows in case of emergency. Just remember that it is key to use the device on the lower corner of a window or the glass can shatter and go everywhere.

— J. James Bono


Auto Center Punch

Available from Amazon