John McPherson

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About John McPherson

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    Grumpy Old Guy

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


  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

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16,309 profile views
  1. "CAD/CAM, CNC plasma cutting, picking the right inverter arc welder and process/electrode/shielding gas for the job, laying out and measuring job sites with laser tools, and other needed modern production/fabrication skills are added to basic forging, shop tool usage, heat treating and metallurgy lessons to create an up to date program." I will be glad to put up a more comprehensive list of the skills in each class, and the other classes that complete the Certificate. Let's do that next week, and start a new thread. Give me a chance to put on my PPE before you all take a swing at me.
  2. Scot Forge is one of the companies that sends recruiters to our college for NDE grads, and I have talked to the Plaid Jackets. Welders they do not need. They would love to have students with the skills that I am proposing. Scaling up is easy if you have the fundamentals.
  3. Our Welding and Machining Technologies departments both currently use some of the online SME education products, but they do not exist for the sector that I am setting up. Unfortunately, I agree that the forging article was sorely lacking in detailed content, and the Canadian skills student document was less thorough than the Boy Scout Metalwork merit badge book. The facilitators guides were useful. Not here to name drop, but there are at least 6 shops in NC that I know of personally that produce custom forged ironwork, be it architechtural, decorative, or custom tools and knives. They all employ helpers that need to possess certain skills to be useful . Some are owned by a single individual, others are corporations. I have reached out to, and visited most of them at one time or another about what they need in a new hire. Some were willing to spend a hour or two answering in depth questions. Above the scale that I am targeting, there are shops where the "tongs" are manipulators on forklifts, and the "hammers" are giant presses and rotary forging units that make the earth shake. No community college program can be more that the equivalent of military basic training. We can ensure that they are capable of further advanced training for a specialty of some sort, and have the necessary skills to not be totally useless from the start.
  4. I did not mean to come off as flippant or dismissive: I truly value the input of this august body of voluntary mentors. I am not trying to replicate everything that the ACBA Blacksmithing program does in four years in two semester-long courses. I am trying to add a specialty track into the mainstream Welding Technology offerings. We have done the same for Automated Welding and Cutting, Pipefitting, etc. Many institutions either refuse to share information, or simply never return calls or emails.The tip from pnut was worth more than gold to me. I simply do not have 600 to 1000 spare unpaid hours to devote to course prep if there is something better out there pre-existing. Online, print, and hybrid texts for welding curricula, (whether for internal corporate training, private trade school, union journeyman program, or public college degree track), are easy to come by, and constantly updated by teams of editors. Systematic blacksmithing, not so much. I talked to owners and managers of production blacksmith shops to see what skills they wanted in a new employee. Shipyards and corporations from as far away as Washington state and Minnesota send HR folks to our community college to headhunt our Welding and NDE graduates.We pride ourselves on being a national leader in Workforce Development. I have been part of a team taking students with zero background or knowledge of welding, teaching them everything from blueprints to orbital welding, and turning them into useful entry level workers for a while now. Former students now work for Lincoln Electric, SpaceX, the Electric Power Research Institute, etc., and make a heck of a lot more than I do. Some are maintenance welders in quarries, shutdown welders chasing the next power plant offering 7/10's, shipyard workers, pressure vessel fabricators, underwater welders. Others have their own shops and have been on Forged in Fire. I never said that the basic forging chapters in many old books were not valuable, just that the context, format and sourcing data was outdated. The science of working and forge welding real wrought iron, expectations of years long paid apprenticeships working alongside masters, and walking down to the corner hardware store and picking out an anvil with all the trimmings was fine in 1919, not so easy to come by in 2019. CAD/CAM, CNC plasma cutting, picking the right inverter arc welder and process/electrode/shielding gas for the job, laying out and measuring job sites with laser tools, and other needed modern production/fabrication skills are added to basic forging, shop tool usage, heat treating and metallurgy lessons to create an up to date program.
  5. Trying to convey the state of the blacksmithing/fabrication art and craft here and now, as it applies to money-making endeavours and not hobbys, does not come easily with archaic texts. It is like trying to teach students how to work on modern computer chipped, fuel-injected, anti-lock brake system cars with a Chilton manual for a Model T. Again, I am looking for ***one book*** that covers everything that goes on in a production shop, conveyed in a modern, concise text and illustrations. And it does not seem to exist, although many sources have useful projects, chapters or passages. Think of it akin to video editing. It seems to take about 10-12 hours of research and amalgamation from many sources to produce one hour of classroom instruction. I need up to 64 total hours text/video/powerpoint for the 2 hour/day lecture part, before heading into the shop for another 6 hours. Students are expected to show up with zero knowledge, and exit the program with enough useful abilities to be hired as an entry level worker in a production facility. (You scoff. Obviously, you are not familiar with the expectations of modern academia!)
  6. For a collector of name brand anvils, it would have no real value exept as a curiosity. If it is at all usable as an anvil, then you did well for $1.00/lb. Enjoy it in good health, and if you are seriously still engaged in blacksmithing in a year or two, upgrade to a better anvil. BTW, the NCABANA meeting is this Saturday outside of Raleigh. The great Jerry Darnell is demoing. PM me for directions if you want to go.
  7. Thank you all for the input. I am the NCABANA chapter librarian, and have more than a passing familiarity with most of those titles. And a short ton of others as well. And while I would love to find a simple, straightforward, step-by-step, well-illustrated text or two currently in print so as to avoid copyright problems by just having it in the school bookstore and available for purchase with scholarship funds, so far it has not happened. Sigh. I may have to write my own, starting with a bunch of projects in a three ring binder. I have a file drawer full of ideas to organize during the dreary winter months, since my shop is in "pleine air" at the moment.
  8. That "repair plate" was masking put over the name on the side of the real anvil when it was used as a pattern. This ASO (Anvil Shaped Object) was then cast from that pattern. As it was a low grade of casting and full of holes, they attempted to make it usable by putting a steel plate on the face when cast. There was a sophisticated method of doing this by several reputable companies. This example was not made by one of them.
  9. The most common shape from England was the London pattern with the drop from face to horn, but Soho and Engine smith patterns were standard as well. On the Continent, the drop was, and is, much less common.
  10. Norrisez, were supposed to be pretty good anvils by reputation, though I have never used one personally.
  11. I am dealing with this now, part of why I have been gone so long. Finally (12 years!!! later) have gotten the state of NC to approve Wrought Metals I & II into the Welding Technology curriculum. Sooooo, now, all I have to do is get an area at the community college set aside & enclosed, wired for 120/240/480V, compressed airlines for power hammers & etc, secure funding for all $100K of tools, write 2 semesters of course outlines with tests and projects, pick a textbook... and still teach a full load of regular welding classes while maintaining some semblance of a life. Wish me luck.
  12. Going to Madison guy?


    1. Canyonman


      Hey there fellow Grumpy Guy,  

      Might you have a material and dimension sheet for the steampunk sawhorse lookin Anvil stand.

      I realize the original post was a while ago. Just thought I would ask.

      TIA    Ken


  13. I have found that companies that cut out sink openings in kitchen countertops, often give piles of stone oblongs and discs away on freecycle and similar websites. Use drill bits made for cutting glass, make a dam of clay around the spot, and keep the bit wet. youtube has lots of videos.
  14. If you will take the time to read the lettering on the pitman arm of that massive horizontal metal bender, you will find that it is "The Bulldozer". Years later, recalling the action of that standard shop tool, someone took to calling the impressive earthmoving capabilities of a push blade on the front of a tracked site preparation tractor by the same sobriquet, and the name stuck.
  15. 1 x 112 + 0 x 28 + 6 pounds = 118 when new, which was prior to 1906, since it was not required to be stamped 'England" for export.