The Hunt for Junk
While heavily involved in the great Firewood Harvest of 2008, I broke a pin on my winch so I went hunting for a temp replacement until I could machine one at work. Well that brought me into my Grandfather's old tractor shed...now a heap of lumber that is filled with junk and clutter and is barely standing. While searching for a pin I found some cool stuff. Mostly Auger bits for old braces and hand cranked drills. I scoffed them up as anything in there is mine for the taking.
What really was a great find was an old star drill bit. This Star drill bit is about 14 inches long,an inch or so in diameter and heavily used. It was used around here a lot to punch holes in rocks so dynamite could be stuffed inside and turn a big rock into little rocks. I know,it has absolutely NOTHING to do with woodworking, but still a great find nonetheless.
Not far from this shed (100 feet maybe) there is an old granite rock that was too big to move via tractors of the day, and so someone pounded a hole halfway through it so a stick of dynamite could be placed in there. No one did though, it is located WAYYYYY to close to the house.
I grew up hearing lots of funny stories about dynamite since back then you could buy it at the local hardware store. Some of those stories included my Grandfather getting way too tipsy on Firewater and not calculating his dynamite load to rock ratios just right. Apparently what he thought was a huge rock was just one big flat rock and after sailing through the air, it landed on the powerlines!! (Family tradition I guess)
Others included using a quarter stick of dynamite to flip a rock over one flip at a time across a field just so he could prove he could do it without having to blast the thing to smithereens.
My own dynamite story is much more tame I guess. Most of the old barns around here have plenty of dynamite packed up into the beams or flooring and if you know where to look you can find plenty of it. Anyway my Uncle sold his house and the owner was telling me he his boys had ADHD. I said "well on that note you probably don't want this hanging around then," then grabbed a box of dynamite and the blasting caps. I tossed them in my truck and never thought much about it until I went into Walmart one day. Right on my seat with this big wooden box that said "EXPLOSIVES"in big red and white paint. I could just see myself coming out of Walmart with my truck surrounded by the Rockland PD and the Bomb Squad hovering over my pickup. I tossed a sweatshirt over the stuff so no one would see it and then stored the stuff elsewhere after that.
Maybe that old dynamite and woodworking tools will join up one of these days. I was watching a thing on welding on Modern Marvels and they use explosives now to make "cladding" That is two layers of unlike steel fused together with an explosive blast. I was thinking aluminum, or stainless steel bonded to cast it or would make a great cladding for hand planes. I bet that is something Tom Lie Nielsen would never try
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"