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About ThomasPowers

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    Senior Moment Member; Master Curmudgeon

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  • Gender Not Telling
  • Location Central NM/El Paso TX Area, USA
  • Interests Iron Smelting


  • Location Central NM
  • Interests Iron smelting
  • Occupation bit herder
  1. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  2. Listen to the Curmedgeons and be patient...

    I think being willing to post time after time after time after time answering the same stuff again and again for folks who can't seem to do basic research on their own---what was the old saying "Couldn't pour water out of a boot if they were told the instructions were printed on the heel".  Yet hope springs eternal as some of these people will turn out to be decent smiths and good friends given time and some instruction and willingness to put up with some of their "greenhorn" antics. (Some folks just have to micturate on the electric fence themselves...)  Would it be possible to have each episode of Forged in Fire start and end with a reference to "The Complete Bladesmith", "The Master Bladesmith" and "The Pattern Welded Blade"  (and whatever #4 is; hope it gets published before the rusting in Florida starts...))?   Sure save me a lot of typing! (Though my wife is incredulous that I can correctly spell Hrisoulas without looking it up...)
  3. Anvil and stand

    EMP takes some power to do over a distance; luckily most drones can't carry much right now.  I'd worry more about "ingestion" as you can make drones from rather indigestible materials, of carry small loads of energetic materials.  (The  big drones are pretty much owned or controlled right now)
  4. Hello from 10,000 feet

    Sorry but we don't vent propane; we BURN it. If your system is venting propane something is wrong.   If your plumbing is leaking is it OK or do you need to FIX it? The forge vents CO2, CO, N2 and H2O at high temps. I usually use firebricks to close in the doorway of my forge as much as possible leaving just enough space to get the workpieces in and out. I once started to get a headache at a SOFA meeting where they were running a propane forge rich and had closed the sliding doors a bit more than usual as there was a storm going on outside.  This was a good sized room with bleachers in it for the meeting attendees. I tend to advocate over caution as I prefer not to lose any more friends to easily dealt with dangers. You are of course welcome to live your life as you see fit; I will just err on the side of warning folks even if it's perhaps more than I myself may follow...(I gave the farewell toast for Paw Paw Wilson at Quad-State the year he died; you'll run across his story here or over at anvilfire.) Sanders vs Grinders: speeds, bearings, protection of bearings and motors from dust, types of belts used (though the old garnet belts are not as common as they once were for wood sanding) In general one can grind wood on a belt grinder better than once can sand metal on a wood sanding system...   I've worked in a commercial woodshop and for a swordmaker so I have some experience with both set ups---as well as 35+ years smithing.
  5. Listen to the Curmedgeons and be patient...

    Files are very brittle and do NOT like to be hammered on---use a piece of mild or medium carbon rod---perhaps from a spring and draw temper on it to blue! or even just normalize it. I'd love to see how it comes out; practicing on a trial piece first can help.
  6. What else do you do?

    It's not so much where you start as where you end up and it looks like you are heading *up* at a steady pace...
  7. Hello from Indiana

    I was there one year when one of the demonstrators had to cancel at the last minute---health issue I believe.  So Billy Merritt stepped in to pinch hit---most of the local folks had seen him demo over the years so there were only a handful of us standing within touching distance of the forge. I had done some forge welding before but that demo was a "master's course"! He was doing welds at temps I would have thought too low for decent forging!
  8. Building a scroll jig?

    I've seen one where the smith torched the spiral in a piece of heavy plate and then heated it and "pushed" it up---if you need a multipass scroll you generally offset the jig and then flatten the scrolls afterwards.   So having a big wooden mallet and a flattening plate as well as scrolling forks AKA bending forks, disposable vice grips to hold the tip as you run around the shop with the other end, etc...
  9. Looking for a gunsmith

    Well buying a chunk off a nontraditional gunsmith would probably be the fastest way. (I once bought 2 coffee cans of them at Quad-State for under a 10 spot.) I googled "black powder gun barrels for sale" and the first page was full of them:  Dixie gun works, Green Mountain, Track of the Wolf; good names in the business!  But not cheap! Got a friend in the police department that could torch off a barrel from a disposal piece?  Done right it could be good publicity about upcycling, etc Once I took a piece of old rock drill shafting---round/sq/hex with a hole through the center; used in mining to drill holes for explosives and found at the scrapyards out here on a regular basis.  The older stuff is usually higher carbon than the newer stuff as they used the same material for the cutters as well as the shafting.  Anyway cut a length off it and cleaned out the hole with a drill/drillbit.  Forge welded the bit end closed, slit and drifted the handle eye. (First time to use my screw press for this---slit a solid high carbon steel shaft in 1 heat working from both sides using an S1 slitter I had forged.  Pretty much had a toolgasm...)  I drifted out the pipe bowl until I could work it on a bick and used a fuller to set it off from the shaft.  (not all these processes are in correct order here but some of that is the order may depend on YOUR tools, skills and preferences!) NOTE you always check that the hole is clean BEFORE placing in the forge. I heard of one example where they had used an old drill as a tamper and had filled the center hole with explosive material that did not react well when placed in the forge; doubt that smith wanted to ask his wife to wash his bluejeans after that...but I bet they surely needed it!
  10. Listen to the Curmedgeons and be patient...

    One way to forge it in is to start with a cross peen and then refine by taking a piece of round stock and hammering that into what you have forged to make a nice smooth curve, I like the swell you can get this way and if done nicely it impresses folks as the change in thickness in the blade material is something you don't see much of with "factory" knives. Should be able to be incorporated in a kydex sheath "latch" too (Helps to have someone or something to hold the blade on the anvil while hammering on the roundstock---or make a variation on a swing arm fuller so you are holding the blade and hammer and positioning it in the fuller.)
  11. Craftmaster

    One "trick" is to put the left handers on the other side of the anvil from you; that way their good hand mirrors yours.
  12. Good solution for file handles

    It was the ones with a liquid center that I found did not make a good file handle.  I haven't run across any of them in years though.  Sort of like being careful not to forge sodium filled valve stems---bad when it happens but not that common.
  13. having trouble forge welding

    Say what?  I've melted steel in my gas forge---is a puddle hot enough?  I know other smiths who have turned a billet into a puddle in their propane forges; (Remember that time at Ohio Village Patrick?)   Perhaps you are interpreting it as "not being as hot" but forge welding is a *SOLID* *PHASE* *WELD* and so a molten puddle is way too hot! 
  14. Vise ?

    I don't do any hammering on the machinist vise on the drill press table and I have a stout drill press. (2 HP oldschool Dayton motor on it). I have noticed that my 6" postvises tend to be shorter than some of my 4" ones.  Perhaps they were "designed" for heavier work from the gitgo. (And yes I am overly fussy about "simple" answers to questions that are wide spanning...I can't even just say what height I use as the 11? I own differ amongst themselves)
  15. How to: Chess Board

    Make a mosaic damascus board and be done with it!  (1084 and 1094 will look the same and it's the pattern that would be different: perhaps concentric circles on one and concentric squares on another...or X and O)