John McPherson

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About John McPherson

  • Rank
    Grumpy Old Guy
  • Birthday October 20

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Charlotte, NC
  • Interests
    Full Time Welding Instructor/CWI, occasional blacksmith.


  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

Recent Profile Visitors

14,238 profile views
  1. It followed me home

    Owen, Acorn and Weldsale are brands of platen tables, the big cast iron plates with a grid of square holes for fixtures. They have been around for more than a century, and are still a great tool to have available for any sort of large fabrication project.Whether you arc weld items on top of it, (student project below) use it for straightening, riveted or collared blacksmith projects, etc. Also see beaudry's layout table pictures in the shop section.
  2. Show me your anvil

    ThomasP, you lucky dog (or werebear, IDK), that is a military wagon or pack mule anvil. Worth serious $$$ to a collector.
  3. Somewhat paintball related? Where does one get a nuclear reactor from a Russian sub to power your coffee-maker anyway?
  4. Welders start fires all the time, at least according to the news. A homeless person died this weekend from a warming fire in a crawl space in an abandoned building. I work hard at keeping new students safe from themselves in the shop, until they know better. Some are harder to reach and train than others, and there is a lot of backsliding on the part of the inherently slack. And sometimes, there exists the perfect storm of ignorance, arrogance, stupidity/brain damage/chemical enhancement and the Y chromosome. Which all adds up to an area effect weapon, which can not be legislated out of existence.
  5. Oh lord, I cant see

    Bright lighting tends to wash out the colors. Every try to read a phone screen in full sunlight? When you get an eye exam, is the office lit up like a tanning booth, or dim and subdued? Are you forging in open air and bright daylight, or under bright artificial lights? A metal bucket on it's side, painted inside with flat black paint, may help in that case. Traditional bladesmiths did their heat treatment after dark, or with the shutters drawn during the day, to better distinguish colors.
  6. Punch and Chisel Storage

    Ask and thou shalt receive.
  7. Can you tell

    Forty plus years a Scoutmaster, and 10 as a Professor of Welding Technology, and yeah, I can size someone up to those standards fairly quickly. It is literally my job to evaluate shortcomings and educate on how to surpass them. I rarely get surprised, and much more rarely is it a pleasant surprise. Some folks get good at hiding their flaws in front of strangers, at least at first. I have a personal theory, based on observations, that folks get into things at the same speed that they get out: hobbies, jobs, careers, vehicles, even relationships. Some folks are mercurial by nature, others plod and analyze every facet. Technological crutches don't help the understanding that only comes with experience AND reflection.
  8. Identify me, please!

    Hay-Buddens were American and marked in pounds, yours is English. A little chalk on the markings wound help with ID. The keel shape under the horn, and the squiggle next to _ _ LE makes me think Mouse Hole Forge. If so, the SN fits with the shape between 1896 (SN 9106) and 1911 (SN 24342). Say around 1900.
  9. Swage Block Substitute

    Blacksmiths have punched holes in steel for millennia. Hardy holes & pritchel holes in anvils, and cast iron swage blocks all appeared in the historical record in a fairly short time frame, about what we 'Muricans call the late Colonial Period. Prior to the Industrial Age, leg vises and a blocky anvil were about it in a basic shop almost anywhere, although anything was possible in an urban center. Diderot shows individual bottom tools that strapped across the top of the anvil, but no swage blocks as we know them. Punching was likewise done with a bolster plate over the edge of the anvil, or on a suitable support. Got a drill and some scrap plate, plus some spare time? Make one for round holes, and make or buy matching punches. When you get better, you can make square or any shape your heart desires.
  10. Where to get square/round stock

    Ray Clontz used one of the adjustable airbag/spring sets to make a hands-free leg vise. A foot pedal allowed you to open or close like a hydraulic press. Ya gotta make it beefy though, the prototype out of small C-channel warped. 100psi X volume of airbag = SMOOSH!
  11. DIY anvil stand

    Out of all of the many, many magnificent traits that I am proud of, I am proudest of my humility!
  12. Tin Roofing

    Do an image search for "corrogated panel art projects", and let your bootstrap business empire begin!
  13. Can you tell

    There are those that strive for technical perfection, art for art's sake, etc. Slavish attention to historical accuracy, period methods and tooling, endless study and cataloging of examples. And go broke doing it, or just get frustrated because no one "recognizes their Genius" and quit. There are those that take one or two classes, buy $20K of tools, convert their garage, copy someone else's stuff from a website, set up at one show, and wonder why they are not making six figures already because no one wants to buy their lifeless imitations of art. And then there are the bozos that mutilate (way too heavy to be historically accurate) bar stock in a forge to give it that 'Old Timey' look, MIG weld (poorly), plasma cut, drill all the holes with a drill press, and huckster $10K of dubious historical accuracy items at weekend shows. Every month. For twenty years. MIG welded squirrel cookers, anyone? ("Got a hunnert of em, jest like Johnny Reb used on th' march.")
  14. Anvil Assistance

    So, I went to the listing, and looked at all the photos. Pretty low resolution, but the pitting seems to be the same on the face as on the sides, which have no markings. May or may not have a steel face. Check it out in person with a small hammer or a ball bearing. See if a file skates or bites on the face, or if the face dents under the hammer. If it has good rebound and a hard face, it is a steal at that price. If not, it is an ill shaped boat anchor.
  15. How do I forge a gecko?

    Ooh! Ooh! If you left the rivets a little loose as articulated joints, it would be pose-able! Add a couple more in the neck and tail, and it will be unique.