John McPherson

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About John McPherson

  • Rank
    Grumpy Old Guy

Contact Methods

  • MSN
    trollworksAThotmailDOTcom

Profile Information

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

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  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

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  1. John McPherson

    How do you stay cool ?

    Hence the term "after action reports", because some units have already been de-briefed. (Thank you, I will be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitress, and try the veal.)
  2. John McPherson

    Show me your anvil

    About a page back, dealing with 'peasants'. Just keeping the fires lit when you can't be everywhere.
  3. John McPherson

    Show me your anvil

    A straight line is a terrible thing to waste. Just ask Frosty, or half a dozen others around here. The thrill of victory is getting there first, the agony of defeat: someone already posted what you were going to say. There was a very short-lived sit-com TV show called "When Things were Rotten". Lots of gags like the one I blatantly stole, plus "Peasants! Hold your tongues!" and they all oblige by sticking out their tongues and grasping them. Lots of poor-but-proud dirt farmers and lint-head textile mill workers in my family tree, just lucky to have some with a knack for the trades that passed it on to me. The closest we get to royalty is naming the dog Duke, or Rex. I was casting no aspersions on anyone, and I hope that no one was offended.
  4. John McPherson

    Wood Dog or Log Dog Specs

    Excellent sketches of woodworking and many other tools, with how they were used, in Eric Sloane's "A Museum of Tools".
  5. John McPherson

    Show me your anvil

    Yes, yes they are aren't they?
  6. John McPherson

    Vice information

    Yup, early '80s bailed out of Wichita, after selling our high school rings for gas money for the Uhaul to get back to NC. "Will the last person leaving the oil patch during the bust please turn off the light?" "What is the difference between an oil man and a pigeon? A pigeon can always make a deposit on a new 4x4 pickup."
  7. John McPherson

    Trenton dating and advice!

    Or you could just consider yourself lucky to have found an anvil that dumps the scale on the far side of the work, instead of in your socks...... Seriously, some great smiths like Bruce Wilcock used anvils just like that to great effect for a lifetime. Many old anvils were off kilter, either fore and aft, or port to starboard. You simply adjust. Don't let a machinist's mindset take over and ruin a perfectly usable blacksmith tool. More anvils have been ruined by well-meaning people trying to "FIX" them than by neglect. A bubble level is only used by a blacksmith for product installation, never on his shop tools. Shim the base with a wedge if you have to, in order to sleep at night. Or build a stand that compensates for the angle.
  8. John McPherson

    Wooden Handles

    Also, skin contact is different on different parts of your body. Hands and feet tend to be callused and less sensitive. But with the rise of Concealed Carry permits in the US, many folks have found that a wooden grip on a pistol, worn against the skin instead of outside the shirt, caused contact dermatitis. Which may lead to staph infections and other nasty problems. Once you are sensitized, it only gets worse. Several knifemakers can't even walk into another maker's shop due to the presence of traces of cocobolo dust. And if its your shop, you may have to pay someone to clean it thoroughly before YOU can go back in. Heck, horse people will tell you that a tiny trace of walnut sawdust in the stall will cause havok.
  9. John McPherson

    NE Ohio - Ish

    As Thomas said, Quad State is the best event of the year, (I will be driving from the south edge of NC again this year, with luck) but lots of other events go on there year-round. The SOFA web page will have other listings. That said, you would be hard pressed to find a weekend without something going on somewhere. How far are you willing to drive/carpool with a group of like minded individuals? There are several active ABANA groups within 4 hours of you, a ton within an 8 hour day. As far as gas forge advice, Mikey Price wrote the actual book on that subject, and he chimes in here in the gas forge forum. You can do a lot of heavy sledge hammer work over the supported face of any well mounted anvil. The smaller the waist, the smaller the sweet spot, and the greater potential for damage out on the horn or heel.
  10. John McPherson

    80lb anvil ID?

    In my 40+ years of examining thousands of anvils, the presence of a lip on an unmarked casting almost always guarantees that it is an ASO. Caveat emptor. If you think education is expensive, try auditing ignorance!
  11. John McPherson

    80lb anvil ID?

    It is cast, but cast what? Iron or steel face? Be prepared to get back in your car for a long drive with your cash still in your pocket if it fails the ball bearing or hammer test. (You do know what those are and how to do them, and how to interpret the results, right?)
  12. John McPherson

    New Swage Block Pattern

    I now own 4 different swage blocks, from 6" x 6", up to 18" x 18", and use them as regularly as any other specialized tool. For some things they are indispensable, they rest of the time they are a hazard to foot traffic. I see this design as still crowding the corners with arrowhead shapes, making them prone to breaking. Both from mis-handling and heavy hammering. Personally, I would like to see just six half rounds in 1/4" jumps starting at 1" up to 2", then 3" & 4", and a large arch, either simple or increased gradient like a french curve. More hex shapes on the edges, and more square and rectangular thru holes replacing rounds. My two pennys worth, you decide if they are silver, copper, or zinc.
  13. John McPherson

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Gergely, use the citric acid in the electrolysis bath instead of nitric acid. And make sure to tumble the parts first to break up the shell of scale.
  14. John McPherson

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Citric acid will work as the chemical bath, and is available in bulk at home canning suppliers.