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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by Mainely,Bob

  1. Sure do like that pattern. Looks like it is the sort of work that your grandchildren will be proud to put to work. It should still be going strong long past then.
  2. One of the ways I learned to swing a large sledge was what was called a "full round" swing, Like the men in the background of welding up the ring in the first video were using. The advantage to this is you hit, the hammer falls away after the hit and you use the momentum of that fall to begin the follow on swing. You add force by acceleration spinning the head in a circular path. Rather than lifting the head up and powering down you just keep it spinning. I found it far less tiring than any other full power swing I was shown. As for accuracy, we used this technique to hammer up pipe unions in the oil field and could maintain a steady pace for for extended periods of time while maintaining accuracy. The length of the handle depended on the person swinging it. The only modifications we made after cutting the handle to length was to pin a ball from a large ball valve onto the end of the handle to help keep the hammer under control while maintaining a relaxed grip on the end of the handle. Some hands drilled thru the end of the handle and tied a loop of nylon line that they stuck their hand thru in order to maintain hand placement but our crew from Texas favored the ball ended hammers as we could drop them at will in order to "wing up " the unions before hammering. When I began striking for others I just naturally reverted back to this same oil field method. The folks I was striking for were amazed at the pace, power, and accuracy of it. I knew a few hands who could swing 2 hammers, one in each hand, using this technique but they were just showing off when they did this.
  3. In the realm of "form should follow function" this is an impractical joinery technique as by the time you make it work (I`d do it as T Powers suggested) the wedges become redundant and are only a non-functional added design feature as the wedges are not what really holds the joint fast nor are they needed as if you knock them out the table still cannot be disassembled. If I wanted to highlight that area with a design feature I personally would do something like a larger rivet of a dissimilar metal, such as bronze, and work the oversize heads of the rivets to add a more significant design feature. But that`s just me.
  4. The bottom line is that it`s your anvil (for now, as they tend to outlive us) and you can do with it as you see fit. I personally would use it until a problem developed that made it less useful. If and when that happened I `d pull out all the stops and bring it back to exactly what I needed and/or wanted it to be. I agree with the suggestion to keep as much of the maker`s mark as intact as possible and blend all the rest back to that mark. That`s what I try to do when I restore tools.
  5. I believe the part that connects the moveable jaw to the vise screw is known as a "garter".
  6. I used to do the same thing to fix old cast iron gearboxes when I worked as the welder in a factory that both produced DOM aluminum tubing and aluminum extrusions. Worked well using nickel rod for the cast as well as 309 stainless for dissimilar metals. We had large plates of graphite laying around the extrusion presses. They used them as guides for the shapes as the aluminum came out of the dies.
  7. From my experience those logs don`t look like spalted maple, they actually look like ambrosia maple. The color reaching all the way from the center outward mixed with live, clear white wood is why I say this. spalting is the first stage of rot and while it may be capped by white sap wood it usually doesn`t mix with the living white wood. I haven`t had much luck keeping full round wood from splitting at least once from the surface to the heart even if end coated so I usually split it in half lengthwise and coat the split face Keep the wood in a cool dry place so rot doesn`t set in and protect it from the bug infestation and you should be good. Nice find, I look forward to seeing what you make with it.
  8. I never turn down free stuff. In this case I would use this for either what it was designed for, trade it for something more useful to me. If I modified it at all I`d use it for copper work or light sheet metal work as others have suggested.
  9. What has worked best for me when making tools is to first understand what I really need in order to do the intended work. In the case of a forming block or what some call dies (which is all an anvil really is) my understanding that the over simplified version of what I need is appropriately shaped backing to maximize impact force and solid support that reaches from the point of impact(the work) to solid ground or the floor. Many people put on blinders by using only existing solutions as their reference points for what they intend to do. Unless you already have tooling (like hardy tools) that fit a conventional anvil why slave yourself to the idea that you absolutely must make an anvil shaped object or something that replicates a section of an anvil in order to do work? When was the last time you saw an anvil being used as a lower die for a power hammer? Power hammers hit harder and do far more work in a day than any human can. If you intend to make something I`d personally go with something based on the lower section of a power hammer. If nothing else something more adaptable like this would allow you to change out and yet securely hold dies that better fit the work while retaining your more versatile heavy supporting base. One of the other things I like about tooling designed to fit a power hammer is that it is usually secured with a simple bolt/socket combination welded to the side of the die holder rather than incorporated into the body of the die and allowed to dance around like a hardy will do in a well worn hole. If the bolt/socket becomes worn or damaged it`s far easier to repair or replace than a conventional hardy hole. The saying; "think outside the box" has been tossed around a lot recently. I try to begin by gaining a true understanding of what I really need in order to accomplish my goal while forgetting "the box" entirely for a moment. I find that when I do this I`m open to considering the idea that a barrel, bag or even a hole in the ground may better fit my needs at the moment and let me get on with things.
  10. If you really want a bullet proof dishing area and work cold metal then email me and I`ll send you a disc of nylon bearing material to drop into a pocket you can rout out of the stump. One of the advantages of this is that you can pop the disc out and clamp it whatever is handy and use it like a "tuck puck" for bench work. The problem with working things like stumps,logs and other wood "in the round" that contains the heart of the log is that there is no way to dry them without having them check to release tensions incurred by the drying process. You can minimize the checking by cutting relief cuts from the side that reach to the heart of the log. these act like relief cuts in concrete slabs in that they ,rather than nature or fate, decide where the stresses will be relieved. For a check free wood endgrain work area for hot work you`d be best off going with stacked, glued and bolted kiln dried 4X4s or 6X6s. Ask around at the local decking or commercial construction companies for scraps rather than buying one from the lumber yard and cutting it up into short sections.Much cheaper if not free that way. Stay away from pressure treated as any smoke produced by the hot metal coming in contact with the wood will be toxic to both you and any observers/beer holders.
  11. In many different belief systems there is a very close link between the blacksmith and the shaman. In the religion of Taoism one of the 5 sacred elements is Metal. the others are; Fire, Water (both used by blacksmiths) Wood and Earth. There are many different correspondences for the different types metals in both alchemy and the occult. Iron is the metal of Mars the war God and copper the metal of Venus, Goddess of love, for example. For a spiritual person everything we do has a spiritual aspect. Go to youtube and watch the video trailer for "The Last House of Iron" to see some of the spiritual links and ancient lore of blacksmithing in Africa.
  12. Some of you might be surprised to find out that there are strong ( usually same family) links between shamans and blacksmiths in places like Siberia. The blacksmith is the one who makes most of the tools for the shaman and is also the one who leads and facilitates a new shaman`s initiation ceremony.
  13. Some of the questions I still have are.. "What is the best place to locate a clean air intake? low or high on a side of a wall? or on a roof?" Think about the nature of air (what it does naturally as it is heated and cooled) and then think about what you want the air to do for you in relation to it`s nature. This will tell you how you need to move it and what, if anything, is going to be required to move it to meet your goals/requirements. "What should I weld hoods out of and how big are traditional hoods over a gasser? -and how many CFM should i be looking at to draw the bulk of those gasses off?" Answer the first question first. A stationary hood in the overhead that uses natural draft will need to be larger and positioned differently than something like two smaller point capture suction hoods/cones positioned close to the front and rear of your forge. That stationary hood will also require you to keep the forge in one place rather than let you move it and the blowers if need be. "Is there anything better than dryer-type ducting at home improvement stores out of which to build a point extraction arm?" Why limit yourself to home improvement stores? I live on a peninsula and have to drive at least an hour to get to a city and most things I need. Well worth the time and effort to get what is really needed rather than settle for less and wrestle with the shortfalls every day I work with it. If anyone knows good answers to these questions I'd love to hear them. I definitely am on board with circulating the all the air in the shop as well as having point extraction at places where welding, sanding, and forging is being done.
  14. You`ll want to be especially careful to completely seal all the end grain of those hardwood burls ( Emphasis on the cherry and pecan) or they will quickly begin to crack and the cracking will travel all the way through the burls making them only good for firewood. Wood turners ( I are one) know all about burls and how to dry them. Look for some help from your local WWers. I`m sure they will be more than happy to help you successfully convert these for a share of the haul. I know I would. You can also feel free to email me and I`ll be happy to share better than 20 years experience of dealing with these challenging sources of wonderful wood.
  15. Some points to consider here. First is that propane forges (or any heat source that draws air in order to burn) also consume the same air you need to breathe. Where is that air going to come from if your shop is sealed up tight? The second point is one that most folks miss as well. Metal, especially metal we intend to forge, is rarely "clean". Put metal into an induction forge and it most likely will give off some kind of smoke and/or fumes, even if it`s just from the residual things like oil from our skin, our gloves, that oil you didn`t fully wipe off the bench from the last project because you reasoned it`d help keep the bench from rusting, etc. I have seen some of your projects Avadon and like me you take pride in smoothing and grinding things so they flow nicely. That grinding dust also needs to be dealt with and it`s not the kind of thing that rises like smoke and fumes. It requires point capture and something more akin to a shop vac rather than a passive system or ventilation fan. There are factors in play here such as floor plan, type of work, square footage, wall as well as overhead construction that we need to know about before we can give you detailed info. I know you like your answers to be as defined and polished as your projects so help us by taking the time to give us all the info you can pertaining to your work and environment as well as pics. As you know, Frosty isn`t the only one who loves pics. :)
  16. For me personally, one of the keys to moving my work up to the next level has been to look at the work being done not as a series of independent steps first but as a complete process, I think first about how it can best flow from the selection of stock to the finished piece sitting either in my hand or on the bench. Once I have an idea of how I intend to dance thru this particular song. I can then break it down like a musician would approach the flow of a song they were crafting. I think about to how I intend to make the transitions and breaks as well as how and what I am going to play through the chorus. Thinking about these things allow a natural flow to take place and make all the difference between having enough energy to get thru the project with some to spare or being worn out half way through and knowing you`re not going to be able to sustain the rhythm and beat thru to the end of the piece. How and where you intend to stand, hand position and support as well as having all you need close at hand yet not in your way makes all the difference when it comes to flow. Training yourself to think like this as well as training to be ambidextrous can also allow you to give one hand/arm a break while you continue to work and preserve the rhythm/ flow through the work. Speaking from personal experience, it will also contribute to being mentally willing and able to continue even when an injury (sometimes a serious injury or disability) threatens to take you out of the game.
  17. Those bunion stretchers also come in handy for precise manipulation of hot spherical objects that tongs won`t quite get a good hold on. I hate to modify a good set of tongs for something that I do very infrequently.
  18. Be sure to do a proper leak down test before you fire one of these things up. Finding a leak by way of ignition while you`re holding it or working in close proximity to it can be a bit more excitement than most folks are prepared for. :o
  19. As others have said brazing is a process where a filler metal that melts at a heat below the melting point of either of the two pieces being joined flows between the pieces and bonds them together once cooled. It works like soldering but at a higher temperature. There are filler materials available that melt at different temps so an experienced hand can put together complicated assemblies using multiple heats without worrying too much about remelting the prior joints and having parts fall off. It has been my experience that with torch brazing you can control the flow of filler metal by directing it with heat. When doing forge or furnace brazing you rely on the prep and flux to control the flow of the filler metal. Anything that was not cleaned and/or fluxed will not accept the filler metal. You can also get brazing paste that combines both powdered filler and flux to brush on the joint prior to assembly but the use of this type of product requires a very close, high quality fit. Soldering, silver soldering, both low and high temp brazing and welding all have their appropriate applications. Soldering and brazing really come in handy when joining dissimilar materials that can`t effectively be joined by methods such as welding. I think you`ll find it time well spent to study up on all these different processes and learn both how, why and where each one is most appropriate.Many times knowing things like this made all the difference between me or someone else either spending or receiving a rather sizable amount of money.
  20. Two bits of advice from an old mentor come to mind here; first was to "use what you have without abusing it". To me this meant if I had a lighter weight anvil I should concentrate on doing work that was appropriate to the tools at hand. I personally would think about reseaching and undertaking projects that would be both appropriate to the anvil I have and build my skills at that level. Once I became reasonably skilled at using what I had two things happened for me; 1- I knew more (based on experience) and could better assess my true needs (as well as tool purchases) moving forward and, 2- my newly won skills made it possible for me to make salable items that allowed me to afford to "tool up" without draining my bank account. I`ve rephrased my mentor`s advice into something like "Work where you`re at, once you master it at that level it`ll both show and take you to where you need to go next". The second lesson from him was to think in terms of "progression". He showed me how to get the best out of things by thinking in depth, looking at the work and all the things I would need to move the work along to completion.Using hammers appropriate to your anvil has already been mentioned as has fastening and bonding that anvil to an appropriate anvil stand. Sure would be a shame to take a ten pound sledge to that anvil while attempting to overload it with heavy work and ruin a tool that could have been useful to someone (maybe you) further down the line.Far too many abused and broken anvils out there already. Thinking in depth and doing appropriate work could have avoided most of that. Instead of thinking about the hammer, anvil, stand and work as separate things think of them as an integrated system. Do each of them support and compliment each other? Are each of them appropriate and applicable to the work? If not then set that particular project aside until you have everything you need to support the work. Thinking in depth and doing appropriate work will keep things like accidents, injuries and set backs due to broken tooling and wasted material to a minimum. It will also help you build skills that will serve you well across and throughout the rest of your life rather than perpetuating bad habits. These are the types of things my mentors taught me and continue to teach me. They are also some of the first things I share when someone comes to my door asking for advice.
  21. As the recipient of this fine bit of work I can tell you that the detail Stephanie put into it is incredible and the pics don`t do it justice. She is an incredibly talented lady and I am very glad to see her posting her work here.
  22. We used what was called a "third hand" in much of our brazing work. To make one grind a point on a 2 foot long piece of 1/2" round bar and then bend the pointed end 90 degrees with the point about a 2-3 leg of the bend. Now take approx 12" of that same 1/2" bar and bend it at center to another 90 degrees. Braze that v shape onto the long end of your other bar so the point is down when the "legs" are flat on the bench. The way to use this is you place the assembly you want to braze on the bench, Place the point of the "3rd hand" on the part you want to fix in place and then place something heavy on the leg end of the 3rd hand. I had one with a bit of thin plate tacked onto the long leg so I could place a work light right where it would do the most good. Easy and quick to make, store and use. Sure beats looking for the right size clamp and then balancing both the work and clamp while you`re trying to tighten it. Also works when the base piece is too big to clamp or the secondary part is too far from the edge for a clamp to work. If I knew how to post pics I`d post one of mine so you can see how simple they are. (just like the guy who makes them) :D
  23. Use a threaded portion of the handle instead of a separate bolt on the opposite side to hold the punch in place. If it the punch becomes loose you just place the tip of the punch in the pritchel or hardy hole and twist the handle to re-tighten.
  24. Anywhere near Boothbay? If so maybe I can help with that anvil search. Welcome aboard.
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