Tag Archives: foster

Boy Did I Get Lucky – Foster Coupler Blew Off Just Over 3,200 PSI And Hit Me In The Glasses

Time for a safety briefing and, yes, I am the cause of the briefing. This is not a blame game post – what happened to me will likely happen to me again and may happen to you as well. The important thing is to learn from it because I got real, real lucky.

I was topping off my new Hatsan Jet II with high pressure air from my Omega tank for maybe the dozenth time or more and thought I was being careful. I am respectful of high pressure air because I am a NAUI certified SCUBA diver and sometimes weld right with Gas, MIG and TIG torches. I have heard plenty of stories over the past 40 years (yeah, I am that old) about tanks, fittings and what not. Guess I got sloppy this time.

I connected the DonnyFL female foster fitting to the male foster fitting on the Jet II and gave a gentle tug to make sure it was seated. You always want to do this by the way. I really didn’t think a lot about it because I have refilled from a tank so many times. Bad routines can lead to bad outcomes and it did here.

I was holding the Jet II off at an angle where I could see the manometer (what they call the pressure gauge in the high pressure / pre-charged-pneumatic (PCP) airgun world. I’d guess the angle was about 30-45 degrees and may 18 inches away – these are all best guesses in hind sight.

I cracked open the valve and was doing a slow controlled fill. Somewhere just over 225 bar (3,263) PSI, the hose’s female fitting explosively slipped off the male fitting on the airgun and rocketed off. It happened so fast that I realized my face was numb, I had taken a direct hit in the polycarbonate right lens of my glasses and had heard something like a gun shot. I turned off the air and went to the bathroom to look in the mirror expecting to see blood. I was geniunely surprised there wasn’t any so then I started looking.

My right lens had a gouge where the fitting hit it and saved my eye. I had a small light bruise on my eyebrow but it really wasn’t bad. Luckily, I had spare glasses and grabbed them to be able to see.

This is the lens after my optometrist bent things back correctly and cleaned then lens. The gouges are there to stay. I told her what happened and she told me I was very lucky to be wearing polycarbonate lenses because they can handle an amazing amount force.

What happened?

My next thought was “what the hell just happened?” The O-ring from inside the DonnyFL female quick connect foster fitting was still on the Jet II’s male foster fitting. Nothing had broken – no tears, missing metal or rounded edges.

I was the victim of stacked tolerances. This means that any given specification has a +/- allowance that the machinist can go over or under by and still be ok. The stacked tolerance problem is when you have those tolerances of parts combine to then be outside of specification. Please notice that I am not blaming any of the vendors.

The DonnyFL female quick connect foster adapter, which works fine on my Air Venturi fittings and FX Impact Compact Mk II had slightly different dimensions than the Hatsan male fitting. I had noticed since I first bought the Jet II that I needed to firmly seat the DonnyFL female fitting as it didn’t go on easy. With 20/20 hindsight, I should have realied that was a bad sign and switched to the supplied Hatsan female quick connect fitting. I didn’t make the change befoe because I thought the DonnyFL and was good to go since it worked on everything else. Turns out that was a wrong assumption.

I really don’t know why more harm wasn’t done. Maybe the fitting flew straight out, the end of the hose was reached and it whipped back with less energy. Maybe because my glasses flattened around my eye socket it partially absorbed and then distributed the force. I can tell you I feel real lucky that worse didn’t happen.

What did I do as a result?

All of my air fittings are made by Air Venturi – I buy different configurations of them and keep them in stock so that when I have a fitment problem I can change to an Air Venturi fitting.

In this case, I wasn’t about to take the Hatsan apart so I took the Hastan supplied female fitting and put an Air Venturi male quick connect on the end to get a solid connection both to the airgun and to the DonnyFL quick connect. The fittings go together very smoothly and I’ve not had problem after almost a dozen top offs.

The DonnyFL female foster fitting is above. The Hatsan female foster fitting with the Air Venturi male plug installed is at the bottom.
This combination seems to work really well. The DonnyFL works great with Air Venturi fittings and the Hatsan female foster works great with the Jet II’s make foster fitting.

Summary of Lessons Learned

The problem of stacked tolerances will always be around and thus one brand of fitting may not work well with another. So here are the lessons learned.

  1. Be mindful that when you have to push a foster fitting on harder than normal then that likely indicates the fitment is wrong and you must look at your options.
  2. Use the airgun supplied adapter (if they give you one) and then put a brand of fittings on it that allow you to safely mate the parts together if there is a fitment issue.
  3. I will use the pressure gauge on the tank and not the airgun going forward even though I thought I was at a safe angle.
  4. Do not get anywhere near the fitting during refills – especially with your head or face.

I hope this helps you out. It was a wakeup call for me.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How to Find Big Cleavers to Restore on eBay – August 2020 Edition

Some years back I wrote a post on how to find cleavers and figured it was time to update it with better search routines for eBay plus to add a few tips not in the original.

One of my favorite things to do is to restore an old cleaver. I’ve done a ton of them over the years and posted many photos along the way. In response to the photos or sales listings in my online store, guys will ask how to find a good deal on one to restore themselves.  

The best deal you’ll get is at garage, barn and estate sales – no two ways about that.  Antique dealers usually jack their prices into orbit and I’ve not seen a good deal at an antique dealer in a long, long time.

My challenge is that I don’t have time to go hunting for stuff so I do a lot of automated searches on eBay.   What I am going to do in this post is try and give you some tips plus also live searches of eBay using key words that frequently turn up cleavers to keep an eye on.

This is a New Haven Edge and Tool Co Cleaver

That leads us to tip #1 on eBay – set up searches that email you when they find stuff.  What you do is enter your search term on eBay and then click “follow this search”.  EBay will then give you options for alerts and so forth. You can experiment and figure out what works for you. For me, for example, just searching on “cleavers” is useless because of all the junk that comes back so I keep refining my searches based on key words both to include and to exclude.

 This is a 16.5″ Foster Bros #8 – Fosters is another favorite brand

Learn some of the phrases folks use to describe / market these big cleavers.  No doubt, I like big cleavers so I use search phrases like “giant antique cleaver”, “giant hog splitter” and what not.  In general, the hog and cow splitters are big.  These huge cleavers were used in the days before extensive automation to chop up big farm animals such as cows, hogs, lambs and so forth giving them their name.

When searching, look in descriptions and not just the titles if given the option. You may need to use the advanced search option and add key words to exclude when things you don’t care about are included in your searches.

 This is a 16.5″ Lamson

There are also certain brands that I really like such as Fosters, WM Beatty, Lamson and New Haven Edge Tool Co.  There were a lot of makers including folks on farms and village blacksmiths forging their own cleavers so it really takes some digging.  I found searches on Google to turn up interesting information about the history of the makers and so forth when I could find some kind of logo or marking.

 This is a 20″ WM Beatty and Sons

Another tip I would give you is to look out for old cleavers that are shiny.  Somebody probably sanded or ground the rust off.  I have bought a couple that were utter train wrecks from guys trying to make something look good for sale.  Just be careful.  Nothing that was used is going to be bright silver steel any longer.

Do not worry about rust, dirt and dings – you are going to be working on it anyways.  How far you want to go with the wood is up to you.  The most fascinating cleaver I ever worked on had a trashed handled that I built up with epoxy.  It was stunning wood under decades of grime.

Be careful on the measurements – look for the blade size and overall lengths plus the weight.  I like to look for cleavers that are at least 18″ overall.  Call be weird but the smaller ones are okay but just not as interesting to me.  I do have an exception though – some of the small Fosters are just wicked.  They were forged, have a thick blade and quite a heft.

Watch out for photos.  Sellers try all kinds of stuff to make them look big, in great shape, etc.  You are especially focused on whether the blade is intact, meaning no big nicks or any cracks, and the dimensions.  The photos are nice eye candy but don’t base your whole purchase on them.  I certainly use them to try and judge the condition of the blade.  If a seller doesn’t have an angle you want to see, ask them to send you what you need.  Many sellers will oblige these requests.

Giant 24.5″ cleaver with a 1/2″ thick blade from an unknown maker – my all time favorite

Now be patient and don’t rush.  Watch the prices these things are selling at and don’t start bidding until the last minute.  Also keep an eye on the seller’s ratings.  New ones with fewer than 20 sales make me nervous.  Read what folks have to say about the seller.

Keep an eye on shipping charges.  Some guys will do stuff like list something dirt cheap and then charge a fortune for shipping.  Don’t just assume shipping & handling charges will be reasonable if it isn’t listed.

Be patient!  You can get some very decent cleavers for under $100 but what you consider a fair price is entirely up to you.

Here are some realy time eBay Searches to help you get started using keywords I use in my own searches and you can buy these right now!! Note that some sections may be empty if there are no current matches,

Giant Antique Cleaver

There will be times you want to qualify a search phrase and “antique cleaver” is one of them. If you search on that you will get matches for things people call cleavers that are just a few inches long. When sellers have a big cleaver they tend to use words like HUGE or GIANT in their description. Of course, most will not be very big but it is something to look for. Let’s try “giant antique cleaver” first:

Next is “huge antique cleaver”

Hog Splitter

This one is searching on “Hog Splitter” and excuding the words “stereo plug mono” because some stereo cords get matched and would be included otherwide.

Cow Splitter

True clow splitters are rare so when you search on eBay you will often get quite a few near matches from their search engine and wind up with a long list of things to exclude such as “witchblade stereo cord wind extender cable engine cent paring comic glove knob”.

Beatty Cleaver

Beatty cleavers come in a variety of sizes from small to big splitters so be sure to carefully read the description. Sometimes the photos make them look bigger than they really are.

Foster Cleaver

Fosters are also very good cleavers. They made a bunch of different models to read the description carefully.

Antique Cleaver

Just to show you what antique cleaver sucks in, here you go:

Vintage Cleaver

Large Vintage Cleaver

I hope these tips and sample search terms help.  My biggest tips are to carefully read the descriptions, consider the seller’s ratings carefully and watch out for shipping. Also, don’t rush and get caught up in auction fever – only buy what makes sense to you.

Happy hunting!!

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.