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  2. I don't think there is a more striking wood than Curly Maple. It's one of my favorite woods. Still have a bunch of it!
  3. White noise and vibration seems to be about as universal sleep aid as there is. Mother would vacuum when my sister or I wouldn't sleep and I've heard: tuning the radio to static works better than a channel, a fan with one card taped to the back side to make it a little noisy, traffic noise ad such. Of course a ride in the car does it every time, Mother used to put me on the floorboards. . . without a car seat!! Like I'm young enough to have any experience with a car seat other than maybe tripping over one. The drier and car seat is brilliant. Does your drier have seat belts? It might be a marketable option you know. And that's about all this parent of none has to offer. I may never have spawned get but I pay attention and offer advice from my lofty pinnacle of vast ignorance. I joke about it but not having kids of my own is one of my few regrets. Frosty The Lucky.
  4. Same here except I have a folder for all the blacksmith pictures, which I open up. Then when I want to add a picture, I can drag & copy to the "choose files" area. When you click on the + and the picture appears, double click on it to resize if it's a large one.
  5. An easy job if you want to preserve the original bolt. Build up the bolt end with your welder. Take to someone that has a lathe and can turn a thread. Job done.
  6. TP that might be easier on the hands / grip.
  7. Today
  8. Remember that the sort of ampersand looking rail clips generally have around twice the carbon content of a HC RR spike. (And plain auto springs have better hardenabilty than either of those.)
  9. Look for used billboard vinyls. You can get them from free to around $50 here. Check with the local companies that put them up, many times their name is on the pole with a number. Big and will last a decade out in the weather.
  10. I was noticing the nub hole on my new to me vise yesterday---which told me that the pivot bolt was a replacement; sq headed; but still not the original!
  11. There is also the flatten real thin, texture and curl it over mane style.
  12. That's a nice pile of fun. Remember the moto of "in rust with trust" with unkown metal, beyond that you can learn a lot for a little when using it.
  13. The alignment of the cheeks is fine. As I understood it, the bolt helps to keep it that way by taking some of the load off the forge welds. However, if I'm mistaken, I'll just leave it as-is and not worry about it. Yes, the original bolt does have the indexing nub.
  14. That's why Sunday after church works well; we have a lunch at church and then I have 3-4 hours I can play before I lose the light. I enjoy having friends and students over like Saturday; but I tend to not get a lot done on my projects as I'm helping with theirs. Propane is the bestest for punctuated work sessions! Light the forge when you open the smithy and then start setting up and by the time you are ready it is ready. When you have to go in; just turn it off and walk away---or you can use it for annealing.
  15. During this time frame in the mid to late 80's I had been working on martial arts tools/weapons.. I had done a whole bunch of different throwing stars. Straight stars (much like throwing knives) and grapnel hooks.. And a bunch of swords.. During this time frame there was still industry in the towns nearby and the scrap was plentiful.. There were no scrappers so even on the sides of the roads there was stuff to be had.. Old silage hoops, wagon tires.. All sorts of goodies. The scrap guy to sell the stuff was getting like 5cents a pound and he was getting in all sorts of stuff.. Sadly this is when the industry started closing up.. Little did I know that this would proceed.. This I forgot to mention earlier.. I forged my first grapnel hook at 8.. Out of that section of 1/2" round stock.. LOL.. I still have it today. it was monsterous.. Crazy good fun.. My Pops arc welded it together for me after i shaped the 3 legs.. That was like a 2 month project.. It was so cool.. If I wasn't climbing and using the hook, I was forging.. I retired the hook finally 2017 when I noticed it was getting stress cracks.. I'm always amazed when something comes into my life and plays such a large roll in learning.. It had taken some severe beatings.. Sorry, got diverted.. So now i'm doing fairs every year and starting to get a little more well known.. This lead to more smallish jobs.. I then had a conflict which side lined me on and off for a few years.. I'd forge then stop, then forge then stop.. I was still part time so wasn't a problem.. So by 1987 I was back in the saddle again.. i doubled my efforts and get working.. this is when I started to get more jobs and with this came more books, more gear and at this point had had a real forge, anvil, vise and was ready to get moving. up till this point it really was just a part time gig though the work was getting more stead.. I had gone threw this experience of charging 10 per hour and everyone would complain.. "HIGHWAY robbery".. So I said to bad. I went to 20.00 in 87.. by 1990 I was 60 per hour and had work coming in like crazy.. So, in 89 at one of the demos a guy approaches me and says.. .Hi do you happen to do any gate work.. I said "OF course I do".. (wagons, carriages, hardware Oh, my).. He introduced himself and made plans to meet.. I went straight over to the Old Sturbridge village museum who had a wonderful book store and bought the Corsira books on Wrought iron work.. I studied these books day and night and did some experimenting.. A week later I met with him and his lovely wife.. At this point I had been doing some pretty decent work.. Not great but decent.. (we will come back to this story in a minute about the gate).. Every job was a quoted job.. i would be contacted and i would sit with the people and draw a sketch based on what they described or they would have a photo or I'd dig out Albert H. Sonn's book.. Since each job is quoted.. And no body likes to pay more then expected I started working even more diligently on becoming more effective while forging.. I started literally trying to figure out how to forge things the fastest i could so I could then come under the quote.. Not so much for the people but a challenge to myself.. I stopped relying on finishing with files and grinders to make the forged item.. i started to forge everything to the finished shape.. i also stopped drilling holes and started punching holes when ever possible. Every thing possible to come under quote time wise.. This time frame was the most important time frame from the stand point of learning how to really forge.. This completely changed everything.. I was getting 60.00 per hour in 1990 plus materials and misc.. this included bolts, washers, nuts, paint, coal, anything that was attributed to the job.. Now I had to start keeping track of all the expenses, the billing, the stock.. All of it.. so i could them bill it out to the customer.. Why was this so important.. I had gone and taken a business course and met with a few others in the BBS.. It used to be for businesses looking for funding and such.. College professors and Business owners would meet and discuss how to make the business better. This really opened my eyes to what I had to do it if I wanted to run it as a business instead of a hobby.. I also knew right off that these professionals did not understand the Blacksmithing business but it did give me insight into charging more for the work performed. So back to the meeting.. the guy gave me a drawing and said this is what we are looking for.. the sketch was rather empty but showed the main frame and a Lyre in the middle.. I said let me have this drawing i need about a week.. LOL.. A week went by and I called the guy and said.. I have redesigned the gate.. I have filled in the panels and added some finishing touches.. We met the very next day and he approved the design changes.. This was completely done by hand.. the Lyre's in the centers are 30ft long. Most the holes were drilled on a hand operated post drill.. I love that drill. Kidding by the way.. a modern electric drill was used for 90% of the holes.. the post drill was used for the remainder.. Something I want to point out for all of you guys.. I had no internet.. I had no videos.. I had no blacksmithing friends.. I had a bunch of books and many of them were a dollar or 2 at the book bear and were in the trash pile because no one else wanted them.. I loved these old books as they were perfect for the information I was looking for.. I literally would try something over and over and over again.. Till it looked reasonable.. Enough for today..
  16. When I first was married, I worked in a custom wood shop and one day we got in a set of book matched highly figured walnut boards in a semi load of walnut for wainscot and judges panels. I told my boss to call the police now as they were going home with me. He said no problem; board them out and pay for 1/3---as they would be useless for the project---can't have 1 drop dead gorgeous raised panel with the rest of them plain! Still got them 30 years later!
  17. Thanks for that. I will keep your offer in my tool kit. I need to go over the property today and see if I cannot catalogue the abatement details. BGD, I get that. Working six nights a week for several years was NOT helpful. The biggest challenge is keeping everything dry. So far I do not have a place to do THAT. Need to rent a large storage for that. Will keep all up to date. In the 60°'s F, and dry days and the black widows are quick once they warm up. Never been late on my mortgage - my lender sold my paper to someone else. I will be publicly thanking them for their great customer service. Robert and Sheila Taylor
  18. Chris; you just don't understand the pain of having 4 power hammers currently in my shop and no electricity! That 248# PW goes for MORE POWER! There will be POWER in my shop BEFORE I retire!
  19. Thanks for the link Steven. Though I have a quick correction. It's Darryl Nelson who did the shell tutorial. Dylan, another option would be to use a top fuller, radiating from the center of the bottom. It won't be as fast as the veining tool TP suggested, but it is another path to check for an aesthetic you prefer.
  20. There is a 120 year old house in inner city Columbus Ohio that had a coal and coke filled trench in the back yard that was re-excavated as needed. Now I believe the new owners built a garage over it...As the house originally had a coal furnace it would be hard to tell the ashes/clinker apart...
  21. You may want to look at Weyger's coal forge rebreather setup where he sucks the startup smoke back into the blower to get burned. As for "It takes way less coal than charcoal to do the same job" Are you measuring by volume or by weight? Coal and charcoal have quite close BTUs per pound; but the density is quite different. Also if you use a forge designed for coal to burn charcoal it is not as efficient---just like if you use a forge designed for charcoal to burn coal in.
  22. I like it. Will give it a try
  23. That’s great. Proper blacksmithing I’d say. It looks fantastic- thanks for sharing the steps. Oh man do you ever stop Thomas?! I too avoid sitting down till late evening but that’s because it’s so difficult to stand up afterwards.
  24. WOW, CGL, really nice work. Impressive. Keep going, Jennifer. I'm learning a lot about you I'd already suspected, but you are now confirming. Very interesting.
  25. Love the eye punch, especially the tear drop shape. I've seen some where they use a fuller to draw out the mane like a leaf or knife blade, and I like the look it gives. Kinda like wind going through the mane. I don't have any of my tools, but I did a quick mock up with clay, a lighter(fuller), a knife(chisel) and a pencil(large and small ball punch) to show what I mean. Now you have me wanting to go back to the 3d horse head that started my owls
  26. I like to make dishing hammers from the RR bolts. I've done them with both centered handles and off set to the rear handles to allow for deep dishing things like early medieval pots. The deep dishers work best for me if the bolt is bent a bit so it follows your swing. I source my RR steel at my local scrapyard. Less hassle.
  27. Ok, So with all this extra practice i was getting in, and the paying jobs it allowed for me to build my forge out of cinder block.. So, I will also explain a little now.. We have a very unique family set.. Both my parents really didn't want to be parents.. From a very, very early age I was told if I wanted something that I would have to work for it.. I grew up like a gypsy.. and what my parents really meant was.. it's going to be a bumpy ride.. When I was 16 I dropped from high school.. I did well in class but just didn't find the right connections with the kids or the teachers. Really I can see now, that I needed to go to these teachers and tell them what I needed.. Sadly, i didn't know talking with a teacher was even a thing.. I had no one in my corner (Parents didn't really want to be parents) and so anyhow, I bailed.. At this point I had 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classes.. Was crazy and anyhow, I bounced at 16 and the reason why my buddy used to drag me around everywhere.. And back to the journey. All along I had been getting these little jobs and selling things to tourist and people would complain about the cost.. Oise vay.. How much is this gonna cost me.. LOL.. Not enough.. So, this money aspect of what to charge started up early.. I started at 10.00 per hour.. I think I was making 5 per working carpentry.. The knife, fork, and dutch oven were the only photos from this time frame besides the lighting.. These are Real wrought iron roses forged by my lonesome the old fashioned way.. Upsetting a round bar, and then hot cutting around, then flattening (IE Upsetting it more). Then separating the pedals. the stem was part of the parent bar and was forged out. I still to this day am very proud of the first one.. The pedals were about the same thickness of a real rose pedal and they had this texture to them.. Was amazing.. This knife is actually a very early dagger.. i made it when i was about 9.. LOL.. the blade had huge file lines in it from draw filing. I was terrible with handles but could forge a blade.. the fork is from this time frame.. this is about 1985.. the thing attached to the board was for keys about 1985. the pot rack was about the same time frame and it had some really neat design features to it.. Each chain link is in the shape of a heart and each heart grabs the next section at the top.. I think back then it went for 150.00.. Was about 40hrs of work. Huge learning curve but was into the fork making thing.. So anything that could be slit, opened and forged out I was all for. refining a learned skill set. Still sporadic with photos..
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