Monthly Archives: May 2016

it’s easy to cook up a killer cobbler in a Dutch oven….

SOME OF SCOUTING’S best activities seem to involve bragging rights. You know the kind: wrestling ashore a record-breaking fish, navigating death-defying mountain trails or–best of all–surviving high-adventure camp-outs so hot your eggs cooked inside the cooler or so cold your water jug froze solid.

Fifty Boy Scouts, divided into three groups, from the Winnebago Council of Northeast and North Central Iowa actually forged their own Dutch ovens from molten metal many degrees hotter than lava.


On a cold January morning, the first group of eager-yet-slightly-nervous Scouts stepped into a metal workshop at the University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center. They pulled on hard hats, protective visors and silver (to reflect the heat), flame-resistant (to stop any flames) coats.

The suits, normally worn by UNI students while they work with metal, each had its share of scars. Sleeves had scorches and cinder burns, visual warnings for the Scouts to proceed cautiously.

There’s not much that 2,800-degree molten metal won’t burn.


“If you feel like you might be on fire, just stay perfectly still,” UNI instructors joked to the Boy Scouts. “We’re often putting out fires on students.”

In reality, the Scouts had just completed an hour-long safety training session that minimized any risk of injury. Even so, the Metalwork merit badge is one of the few badges with dangers that rival high-adventure outings.

Following direction from UNI faculty and students. Scouts shaped the Dutch oven molds by blending a pile of sand about as large as a beanbag chair with an epoxy binder–or glue–the university had invented using corn.

Why corn? Because this natural product allows the molds to be recycled rather than thrown into a landfill. Mixed together, the epoxy transformed the sand into a rock-hard mold.

The science behind metalworking is simple. In a way, it’s a lot like making ice. Pour a liquid into a container, drop the temperature and wait. Later, remove the mold and a solid object remains. Voila!

Elsewhere in the workshop, the Scouts watched over chunks of cast-iron blocks melting in a furnace. Each block was about the size of a large foot-ball and as heavy as a Cub Scout. The steel that would soon become Scout cookware might once have been the shell of a car, a washing machine or a railroad tie.


Inside the furnace, the molten metal burned sunset red and dissolved into a liquid as thick as cocoa. That metal was now about 13 times hotter than boiling water, eight times hotter than chicken baking in an oven, and four times hotter than a roaring campfire.

“Melting the metal was probably the best part,” says Colin Hubbard. a 15-year-old Life Scout from Mason City, Iowa. “We put the chunks in a hole in the furnace and waited for it to melt. I couldn’t believe how hot it was by the furnace. Hotter than anything I’d ever felt before.”

  • As furnace temperatures rose to 2,800 degrees, the group’s oldest Scouts quickly poured the molten liquid into the just-made molds.
  • The new Dutch ovens would need hours to cool. Instead of waiting, the Scouts left the just-poured ovens for the next group of Scouts and started the next step with ovens that UNI students had made during the week. Using a grinder that resembled a power sander used to smooth a pinewood derby racer, the Boy Scouts smoothed and polished the ovens.

Last step: bending a handle and hooking it in place.

About six hours after they’d walked through UNI’s doors, the Iowa Boy Scouts departed with their newly minted Dutch ovens in hand.

Time to get cooking!


Metalworking isn’t easy; failures are frequent. UNI students estimated that for every batch of six Dutch ovens made, three would be perfect and three would be flawed. [paragraph] The Winnebago Council made about 10 extra Dutch ovens, which it auctioned off as a fundraiser to support camperships. [paragraph] The American Foundry Society may be able to put interested troops in touch with local foundries,


Check out the requirements for the Metalwork badge–and every other merit badge the BSA has to offer–at Just click on the “About Scouts” tab. You’ll also find some helpful video tutorials that will tell you everything you need to know for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class Scout rank advancement.

Michael McKenzie, Alex Michels, Caleb Iehl, Aaron Iehl and Nathan Huffmann take a look at an induction furnace, an electrical furnace that gets hot enough to melt metal

1: Nathan Huffman (left) and Michael McKenzie mold sand into what will become the oven’s pot and lid. 2: Solid metal goes into the furnance, where it will soon melt into liquid. 3: The safety suits allow the Scouts to get rather close to the 2,800-degree oven.

4: The metal goes from solid to liquid in minutes.

5: Sparks fly as the furnace reaches its hottest point. 6: The older Scouts pour the metal into the molds. 7: After it cools, the Scoots break the molds, leaving only the pots and lids.

8: The lids are safe to handle once they cool.


Picking A Ceiling Fan By Finding out The Basics Of Mounting

In this post, we will show you some types of ceiling fan mounting.

Mounting: The initial step with a brand-new ceiling fan is installing, which just describes the attachment of your ceiling fan to the surface area of a ceiling. You can pick a best new ceiling ceiling fan here.  To make it simpler it is a great idea to become knowledgeable about a few terms and alternatives when choosing the right ceiling fan for you. This will ensure that your fan will certainly hang properly and as low as you would like it to. Mounting likewise effects the operation of a ceiling fan in particular methods. Particular methods of installing permit the fan to more carefully direct air to the people in a space and some approaches enable more flexibility in activity.

Downrod: A ceiling fan downrod is truly a very easy piece of equipment. Made of wood, plastic, or metal, the downrod is just a rod that hangs from the ceiling, enabling your ceiling fan to hang lower from the ceiling’s surface area. Some choose this only for the look of a lower fan and some would such as the breeze of the fan to be stronger, but for either reason a downrod will correctly lower your fan securely and successfully.

Round and socket mounting: This is a type of mounting where a ball-shaped apparatus is connected to a downrod, with the fan body and blades hanging from the sphere. This makes it possible for the fan to move easier than it would with other approaches of installing.

Hugger Mounting: Hugger model fans are just fans installed near the ceiling, that will certainly appear as though they are holding on to or “hugging” the ceiling directly. This can also be referred to as the close-to-ceiling-mount.

Dual Mounting: Fans that feature dual installing have the ability to be mounted near the ceiling or from a downrod. You can choose after buying your fan, which is ideal if you want to see how the fan looks on the ceiling first. Downrods are inexpensive and can easily be applied to dual mounting fans for aesthetic purposes; for cathedral ceilings, a fan reduced with a downrod can offer a look of grandeur and luxury. Plus a reduced fan brings the breeze of your ceiling fan closer to you, for a somewhat more concentrated or more powerful breeze.

Blade irons/brackets: Blade irons connect your ceiling fan blades to the motor, connecting the fan together after it is installed.

Low ceiling adapter: A low ceiling adapter is a kit which accomplishes the very same thing as a downrod. Normally made from brass or another metal, a low ceiling adapter kit connects straight from the ceiling and leaves out the requirement for lowering the fan at all as it instantly hangs a little farther down with the adapter.

Once your fan is installed you can include lights to make your ceiling fan serve more than one function and be an even much better addition to your home. Lights can be added while mounting the fan, and there are three types of lighting methods to select from: downlights, uplights, or among the popular light kits. Downlights and uplights are just as they sound with uplights pointing toward the ceiling, and downlights pointing toward the center of the room. Each supplies a somewhat various effect. Uplights originate an aura-like gleam to dress up a ceiling, and downlights lighten up an entire room with a radiant glow. Light kits also come with numerous ceiling fans and can be classified as a type of downlight. The light kit replaces any main lighting that was formerly hanging from the ceiling.