Vehicle ToDo List

The truck I’ll be taking is a 2002 Toyota Tacoma. I’m the truck’s 3rd owner and the previous owner really let her go. It has 201k miles on it and required a *lot* of work to get it safe to drive.

Got the truck back from the shop. I decided it was best to have a real mechanic go over it and then fix/replace things that I would have no idea (or business) how to do. So the following has been done.

– Complete frontend work (cv joints, boots, rack and pinion, tie rods, etc)
– All belts (timing, ac, etc)
– Engine oil leak fixed, flush/fill (bad seal)
– Diff oil leak fixed, flush/fill (bad seals)
– Transfer case output leak fixed, flush/fill (bad seals)
– Radiator flushed/filled and leaks fixed
– Water pump replaced
– Tune up

I had been planning on doing things like the radiator, tune up and oil change but I didn’t want to deal with tracking down all the random leaks the previous owner ignored. The things I need to do now are directly related to making the truck trip ready.

Here’s a list of things that I need to do to the truck before heading out in 2018.

High Priority

Medium Priority

Low Priority

  • New shocks and springs
  • Remove bedliner and get spray in bedliner
  • Set of Goodyear MTR tires (puncture resistant which will be helpful on the Dalton Hwy)
  • New set of tailgate cables
  • Aux fuel tank


On 5/21/2018 I will be traveling from my home in North Carolina to Fairbanks Alaska and then on to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Circle.

The Why
Growing up my dad talked about how beautiful (and cold) Alaska is and I’ve see numerous pictures and documentaries over the years on Alaska and a combination of those things has had this trip in my mind for several years.

The How
This part is still very much in flux. More updates as I make them!

Why Are You Telling Us About Something That Is Happening 2 Years From Now?!
Well, this is something I really want to do and honestly it’s going to be really hard to plan, supply, and execute. My hope is that by putting it out there to my friends, family and the world I will be able to draw motivation to keep this dream alive when times get rough. And I really like having something to look forward to!

So this is going to get published now, expect more updates in the very near future and some fun contests/raffles etc. I hope that you will follow along with me as I undertake this trip of a lifetime.

21 Depression Truths

I normally don’t like sites of this type because of their clickbait-y links. But this one definitely struck a chord.

21 Depression Truths

If you’ve read my blog archives you’ve probably come across some posts about my own dealings with depression. It sucks and it’s something I still deal with on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. I’m still not taking meds, not because I don’t believe in them but because through talk therapy I’ve developed tools to cope with depression. Some days are better than others. When I catch it early it’s a lot easier to get out of that mindset than if I miss it and have to crawl out of it after several days.

Banging Some Metal

Just a few pics of some things I’ve been working on in the shop.

Starting with a piece of A36. Not ideal for a knife at all because of its low carbon content (aka it won’t harden/temper properly) but it gives me some practice on shaping.

Reducing the edge down.

Forging the tip.

Looking more like a knife.

The spine.

Here’s one that’s finished. It’s made out of an old farrier’s rasp with an oak handle and brass pins.

Before and after.

before and after

Overall I’m pretty happy with the the rasp knife came out, especially since it’s the first knife I’ve ever made.

Some Forge Work

Since I have the shop setup I’ve been trying to get out there daily for a least an hour and work on *something*…Some days it happens and some days it doesn’t. Here’s a few pics of what I’ve been working on.

This is the initial drawing out of the original round bar stock. It started off as 3/4in round.
initial forging

After sanding and shaping.
sanding and shaping done

Brought up to non-magnetic heat and then quenched in canola oil.

Tomorrow I’ll draw some of the hardness out by tempering so it won’t shatter when I try to use it. After that, if I’ve done everything correctly, I should have a usable center punch to leave marks on steel. *crosses fingers*

I Have A Maker’s Mark!

I’ve gotten fairly serious about blacksmithing and knifemaking in the last several months. So much so that I decided I wanted a way to mark the things I make. On the recommendation of a designer who’s blog I read, I contacted Josh Ford and he worked with me to get the mark I was looking for. Here’s what he came up with based on my input.

Walters_Black Logo_RGB_72dpi

Definitely digging it! Keep an eye out for more posts about this and check out my instagram since I post a lot of shop pics there.

In the coming months I’ll get this design transferred to a metal stamp that I can then use to mark things I make.

A Picture Post

This is my new workshop. I haven’t been this excited about something in a *really* long time! I’m waiting for the builder to do a few final things and then I can move in and start setting up. The two windows together were an addon so my mom could setup her art studio…From what I can gather she’s pretty excited about it too 🙂

Footers dug out
Footers being dug

More after the jump

Continue reading “A Picture Post”

Some Motivation

I don’t normally post the motivational poster type sayings because most of them just really annoy me. But I found on that really resonates with me so I’m sharing it here if for no other reason than to just have it around where I can find it.

If you can’t make out what the text is here’s a copy of it.

“Motivation comes from within; there’s no supplement, secret or substitute for the power of the mind to control the body. The only thing holding you back from being the person you want to be, is yourself. No matter your goals, your challenges or the adversity you’ll face, the first step always begins with thought; don’t let self-doubt or fear cloud your mind. Unlock the internal fire that’s buried inside and don’t let anything stand in your way. Get up, get out and get after it.”

As someone who has an inner voice who says that I suck this saying really does help me put things in perspective and break out of my own negativity. If you want a copy of it for yourself head over to ITS Tactical. It’s only 5 bucks!

An Ax To Grind

I like sharp things. Axes, knives, swords (high quality and *not* the cheap knock offs that seem to be everywhere) it doesn’t really matter. Since getting back into blacksmithing I look at them all very differently. How’re they made, what kind of steel is used, is it all high carbon steel or was the bit welded in? I’ve also recently had the urge to create things from leather, steel, copper etc. So I ordered a Cold Steel Tomahawk from Amazon so I could play around with some ideas I had. Lots of pics after the jump.

Continue reading “An Ax To Grind”