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  • Shrinking stump

    Looking at getting myself a shrinking stump. I have a good source of hardwood tree stumps at work to pick from.

    Can someone help with some advise on shaping a cutout in the top for shrinking on. Maybe some pictures and dimensions would be great.

    Thanks

    Michael

  • #2
    If Peter doesn't post pics, I'll try to find or take some of mine. His tapered horseshoe design works much better than the typical round bowl, which invariably produces unneeded circular witness marks that need additional work to remove. Life is too short for that. The typical round bowl ranks right up there with an FSP imho.... Peter also exploits the outer edge or circumference of the stump to further shape the metal- straight, square corners, concave & convex curves along square and curved edges. It makes excellent use of the real estate occupied by the stump in a small shop like mine. A plain as-found natural round edge is a wasted opportunity to make a more efficient tool.

    This is how I made mine, which may or may not help you plan and produce yours-

    I started with a well-seasoned (approx 10 yrs) red oak stumps. The open grain structure left noticeable witness marks on aluminum- maybe not a big deal to others, but it meant more work to clean up the metal. They also split like crazy- after 10 yrs of drying- within a few days of cutting the horseshoe relief & shaping the sides. Not cool. These were smallish diameter stumps, which meant I couldn't fit all the compound edge details & an adequate horseshoe relief & flat space on one stump. I had two, so I thought it would be no problem. Peter personally laid out the tops on both for me, but they are only souvenirs now. Very not cool...

    Instead, I got a larger fresh, 100% green pecan stump (actually a crotch) and a gallon of boiled linseed oil. I cut it to height, squared the ends and began soaking the entire thing with linseed oil- especially the ends. I removed as much bark as possible, but focused upon saturating the ends with linseed oil. I turned it end for end throughout the process. Eventually, after about 6-8 wks, the linseed oil started to congeal on the ends instead of soaking into the wood. It's been nearly 2 yrs and there has been very little additional radial cracking or splitting in my unheated & no a/c shop here in SC. Think I used maybe 1/2 a gallon of linseed oil during the process.

    I use the stump upside down to the way it grew- splayed crotch portion down, with three general points of contact so that is sits more level more often. The splayed bottom helps a lot with stability and even with clearance for feet when standing close to the stump. Lay out the detail if possible to exploit this point. Pecan has a very swirled grain, which makes it a bitch to split but seems to help it hold together well instead of allowing it to check badly and self-destruct.. The tight grain produces no significant witness marks on my work, even when using Peter 3lb blocking hammer. Very cool.

    Test or research your available wood. If it isn't suitable, keep looking even if you need to temporarily use a poor stump while you search and prep your better stump. Your stump is central to traditional work. Having a great stump is worth the effort.

    edit- typo above plus adding below:

    my working height of the flat top of my stump is slightly (around the maximum depth of the horseshoe relief) above the face height of my blocking hammer with my hand at rest by my side. The bottom of the horseshoe relief is approximately the face height of my hammer at rest, but probably also slightly higher. I think this helps me hit harder without over extension or unnecessary fatigue. Other may disagree with these dimensions but I'm certain my stump isn't going to grow taller as I pound on it for the coming years or maybe even have to re-face the top.

    edit #2. Autocorrect is a PIA..
    Last edited by cliffrod; 09-01-2019, 03:27 AM.

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    • #3
      Cliff if you have any pics for the stump shape, please post them simply because to find mine along with 10.000 others it would a big job
      Thank you
      Peter T.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the detailed reply cliff. Pictures would be appreciated. I have my eye on a power pole offcut sitting around at work but I am concerned because it would be well seasoned it's likely to have cracking throughout.
        Might look for a fresh gum stump to cut to size and start the oil process while it is still green and free of cracks.

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        • #5
          Here are a few pictures of my shop stumps that were updated per Peter's input. My friend Jimmy Matthews made a fixture to use a router to put this 'indent into the top of the stump.

          As an aside: Peter (and others) - what type of wood is best suited for hammering .040" low carbon steel and 3003H14 aluminum x .060"?

          Peter - have you taken a close look at my avatar??? - remember?? I sure do!!!!!!

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          • #6
            Will you might not believe this but I am founding hard to scroll trough this forum, meaning that I do not know which section to select each time ,and when I get it right The next day I forgotten what I did , but as you know computers and I do not seems to understand each other. So when you say .....(.have you taken a close look at my avatar) ? what does it means? sometime I just do not get it .Or in my defense should we say I do not understand computer talk but I am trying hard to do so. I am not complaining but I wish the set up was a bit easier. Some of my friends here, where kind enough trying to teach me how to get around the Forum..... but unfortunately it just will not sink in and I really get frustrated sometime.
            Peter T.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Peter Tommasini View Post
              Cliff if you have any pics for the stump shape, please post them simply because to find mine along with 10.000 others it would a big job
              Thank you
              Peter T.

              Heres pics of my pecan stump with two 12" long rulers on top. Overall height is just under 32" tall.

              Comment


              • Bill Tromblay
                Bill Tromblay commented
                Editing a comment
                Hi, That is very cool, I never seen Pecan trees before, only cashew trees in Brazil. The Pecan has a unique color to it, are these stumps easy to come by, we don't have any in Wisconsin.

                Thanks
                Bill

              • cliffrod
                cliffrod commented
                Editing a comment
                Bill, pecans are in the hickory family & very common here in the southeast both as-planted & volunteers. Not too hard to find stumps. Much of the wood goes for smoking meat and BBQ. I have a dump truck load for firewood but don't think there's anything quite this large of diameter right now. If you want one, let me know and I'll keep watch & call my local tree friend.

            • #8
              Originally posted by Michael13 View Post
              Thanks for the detailed reply cliff. Pictures would be appreciated. I have my eye on a power pole offcut sitting around at work but I am concerned because it would be well seasoned it's likely to have cracking throughout.
              Might look for a fresh gum stump to cut to size and start the oil process while it is still green and free of cracks.
              I would skip the power pole as a permanent solution. Not an ideal hardwood (probably treated pine) and those chemicals used to treat the wood are of zero benefit to your metal, subsequent welding, etc so I would not want to risk contamination of my metal.

              Gum could be good but I think it tends to crack a lot. Maybe not, especially if well saturated with linseed oil. Jim Hery has a large Elm stump, which has a great reputation among blacksmiths. Finding large elm is probably tough nowadays after Dutch Elm disease has wiped out so many trees.

              the biggest thing is to get started and see what works for you. You may be very happy with something that I would not choose. Splitting or checking, witness marks created by the grain structure, dimensions and overall toughness soundness & of the wood are important to me. You cannot reverse decay. Not a fan of steel banding a stump to try to limit checking. I would rather have a sound stump than one that needs to be held together. IMHO The majors costs in a stump is your time and maybe the linseed oil.

              Lots of scrap will to be made while we're learning. Sometimes that includes scrapping a stump or few..

              Comment


              • #9
                Peter, my 'avatar' is the picture that I use when I post. It is like your picture that shows up of you each time you post (off to the left) take a look at that picture to the left side at each of my posts and tell me if it looks familiar.

                I am also not very computer skilled, and am having trouble getting around, but i guess it will get easier with time. Many from AMS seem to be coming here to post.

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                • #10
                  Peter, will
                  Yes this forum is a little different then AMS. I also find it a little harder to get around in. Like Peter I get a little frustrated at times.
                  But I always come back. Some good topic already in the very early stages of this new forum. I think it will grow into a great forum.
                  David Bradbury

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                  • #11
                    Will ''I think I have got it '' do you mean the photo that made you green in the face when a got the biggest torch in your shop to anneal your tail section? If that is it...I still laugh when I see it!
                    Peter T.

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                    • #12
                      Making you smile and laugh was my intention. I appreciate all that you have done for this metal shaping community, and for me in particular. You are a great and talented friend. I will always remember that day as well.

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                      • #13
                        Thanks for the photos Will & Cliff should help with creating my cutout

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                        • #14
                          What a timely post! Guess who has a hardwood block from the firewood heap, which has been soaking in linseed oil for 5 months,

                          Cheers Charlie

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                          • #15
                            I am trying to prepare a 'seminar' on using wood in the process of vintage/coach built cars, and would like to ask for wide ranging advice. In this particular instance about choosing a stump.

                            What do you gentlemen think would be the best choice of wood? Would you look to strictly find a hard type of wood? How are some choices for treating the wood? What is the purpose of the metal ring?

                            I have few answers on my own regarding these questions, but hate to pass up world class talent, and am seeking qualified opinions. Any other advice on choosing and preparing stumps?

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