My new office chair

This is the classic 'Bank of England Office Chair', a wonderfully British design of strength and beauty made of luscious walnut.

I purchased it off of craigslist, threw away the horrifically ugly base that came with it, refinished the chair entirely, and built a new base out of steel, teflon, stone, and medical casters. 

The spring on the base provides just a little bit of suspension, though I usually don't drive over rough roads in it.

I plan to upholster the seat and a small area on each armrest - once I find just the right fabric (or possibly leather).

The footrest allows me to sit with my legs tucked under, without having the chair roll away from under me. 



Many of the parts for the base are hardened steel, so I annealed normalized them prior to welding.  You see, if one welds hardened steel without pre-heating or annealing normalizing the steel, it can end up with a brittle zone around the weld which is very weak.

I dug my old propane forge out of the storage shed and fired it back up.  It's pretty simple and rather dangerous.  It's just an old hair dryer with the element removed and a piece of copper tubing stuck through the side into the air flow.  You can see it lurking ominously in the background (below), with the copper tube kind of 'sticking out of my forehead'.

To light it, I fire up a small propane torch, turn on the fan, turn on the propane to the torch burner and stick the propane torch in the side of the inlet on the forge.  POOF!  It lights. Honestly, I didn't even singe one beard hair doing it.

To anneal the steel, I brought it up to red and held it there for a few minutes, then just set it aside.  I probably shoulda oughta put it in a pile of pumice or ash to insulate it while it cooled, but I was lazy.

UPDATE: (5:18pm, July 17th)

This just in from my brother Rich, who actually is a blacksmith:

"...heating steel past the Curie point (A3 or non-magnetic) and then air-cooling does not anneal it – it normalizes it.  Plenty good enough for avoiding the heat affected zone issues of welding high-carbon steel, though a post-heat of 450° is still recommended.  I doubt you’ll have any problems with it, though."

Here's a few shots of me using the forge:


and, cutting some parts using an abrasive blade in the Skilsaw:

(note the protective eyewear)