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in progress ...
You'll recall that I've been establishing
a bluing shed to hot salt blue steel.
This being the only step of the entire
business that I haven't done myself ... and having had endless
headaches securing dependable service ... I figured I'd complete
It's the supersaturated boiling salt
bath that darkens the steel. I've always prepared everything for
this bath and had others maintain the tanks. The entire bath process
involves cleaning the polished steel, rinsing the cleaning solution
off, boiling the steel at the exact proper degree of temp. and
salt consistency, neutralizing the salts, cleaning and rinsing
the steel, soaking the green blued surface in oil. It involves
several heated tanks which have long propane pipe burners under
Enough of that for now. I needed the
space to set up the shop. The salt steam had to be kept away from
the machining shops or it would rust the mills, lathes, saws,
etc. I needed an isolated bluing shed. I pressed a corner of the
workyard into service. That small courtyard is mainly occupied
by the trunk of the massive 111 year old weeping cherry tree that
hovers over the shop. I share the ground with it. You note it
has made a few dictates as to what area I can use. Behind the
ladder and planks there (off frame left) is the massive trunk
- probably take three of me to reach around the base. That's just
a limb probably 36-40" around showing. Just lop it off? Sure
... it's about 60' long and most likely weighs five tons. And,
it's a twig as compared to the trunk. I keep it trimmed so it's
growing as vertical as possible to lessen the stress load.
I choose an inside corner of the shop
complex (thru the windows left). It gave me two steel sheathed
walls 10' high for the interior corner - but required a concrete
floor, an irregular building footprint with it's framing and sheathing,
and blending dissimilar roof lines.
The door shown is an access door, with
it's concrete ramp, to dolly the heavy propane tank into the shed
and onto the tank rack - this avoids a trek thru the shops to
reach the site.
Nothing about the framing was straight
forward. Interior steel surfaces (roof above right) were coated
against the salt steam. The interior is not yet finished.
The area is becoming more functional
by the day. You see here the evidence of the fresh air intake
system working. The shed is designed so that fresh air is always
being drawn from behind me - blowing past me - and carrying all
fumes away from me and up into the exhaust system.
The ceiling unit which creates the
exhaust draft from the inside corner of the room.
The alley back into the courtyard area
now being used for the bluing shed as well. It's impossible to
get a perspective of all the angles. The flat end of the shed
in front of you has the exhaust port flap up at the 10' level.
This section is a "bump out" to contain the tank area
and some of the exhaust system. You see the propane tank door
handle sticking out about chest high to the right of the window.
There's a corner and drop back there to the window wall plane.
Dusk now. It's been about a month of
work in rain and unGodly heat and humidity here in Md. Working
on this project and related maintenance to the shop buildings.
I'm mentioned before, the shop complex
is a collection of buildings all grafted together to create the
various shops. There are 10 major rooms (shops) within the walls
on two levels. The other day I counted twelve exterior doors including
roll ups, hatches, entry, and let down drawbridge type. It would
simply amaze you as to all the various tools and work stations
required to do what I've chosen to manufacture.
Maintaining the entire production system
is part of the cycle which yields the product. Hope you find the
awareness of what's required to be interesting.
Next will be hooking up the hot tanks
with their burners.
Thanks for reading.