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I Forge Iron


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    Nashville area, TN


  • Location
    Nashville, TN area

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  1. Besides scrap yards, where do you get RR scrap? I've gotten some from friends, but I don't even know where they got it. I don't steal from the RR co. and I don't think people I know do either. Would asking a railroad foreman when you see them working on the tracks be likely to pay off (maybe that's what Frosty meant by "RR guy" but I thought we were talking about scrap yard managers)? Don't they retire some of the spikes, ties, and rail? I wish I knew how to get a reliable supply of this stuff. I'm always "saving" it.
  2. Thanks for the reassurance. Maybe I should re-label the bucket "mystery patina" and invite the critters to use it to do their business In all seriousness, there have been lots of huge beetles around lately and some of those smell bad even before being incinerated! I had one small bug fly straight into the gas forge tonight. It went up in flames almost immediately. I don't like changing the water because I've heard that well-used quench water helps relieve poison ivy. In retrospect, I've soldered galvanized steel and it does take a bit of care, but as long as you don't leave the torch on it too long, there's no problem. Based on that, I doubt a quench bucket would get hot enough to burn the coating even with hot metal contacting the surface. When galvanized steel burns, I understand that it releases a white smoke. All I see near the bucket is the usual steam. I have not yet taken the time to look up the facts on this.
  3. I've been using a galvanized steel pail as a quench bucket. I try to avoid contact between hot pieces and the edges when I'm cooling something off. Today, I smelled an odor that was very much like cow manure coming from the quench bucket. I'm wondering if that is the toxins from the galvanization or just something harmless in the water. Here's My galvanized quench bucket
  4. This has been another case of getting a different answer for everyone I ask (not just on this forum). Anyway, I tempered the hack and ran it through its paces tonight. No problems. Not that this proves anything. There were many good cautionary statements made here Much to keep in mind for the next time.
  5. Towards figuring noise levels surrounding a blacksmith shop, does anyone have some decibel ratings for various power hammers? A chart would be ideal, but a few responses including size/type of your hammer and decibels (at least an estimate -- here's some info for comparison: http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html) would be better than nothing. This could help those of us who are planning shops. Obviously, dB rating is only the one parameter of importance when planning a shop, but there doesn't seem to be much info available on this.
  6. Steve, I was not suggesting that our intended use of a tool would in some way influence its stress response to remaining in the pre-tempered stage for an extended period (psychic consciousness of tool steel?), but that we may get away with "fumdiddling" (to steal Frank's term) if it's a tool that won't be subjected to a high degree of stress. I'm just speculating here, not claiming to know anything; this is actually my first foray into heat treatment. Frank, the steel is A2. I read that A2 is not to be normalized. So, I guess the plan is to anneal, harden, and temper. Thanks, all. Learning from mistakes and putting the "BS" into blacksmithing...fun as always!
  7. Okay, so it sounds like immediate tempering is ideal (but delayed tempering might work out anyway, depending on the tool's application). I want to minimize failure in my tools, so how do I recover? Anneal, re-harden, and temper? Or is it simply too late to return to the initial grain structure, so I'll have to temper now and hope for the best? When I do temper it, how does 550 in the oven sound?
  8. I made a blacksmith tool (a hack) with the business end made from A-2. I hardened it, then ran out of time and it still hasn't been tempered. I just read that tempering should be performed immediately after hardening. I know that tempering absolutely must be done before using or the tool will fail from internal stresses, but I'm not convinced that it's going to be such a problem if it sits around for a few days in the hardened, pre-tempered stage without being used... By letting it sit between hardening and tempering, have I caused it to form a fragile grain structure? Should I anneal, re-harden, and temper immediately or will I be okay if I go ahead and temper it now, then use it? By the way, what tempering temperature would be best? I guess I'll use an oven. Thanks.
  9. Thanks for making me aware of deburring tools. Safe, simple, and portable. I think I'll try substituting them for the fine grindstones in my tool list (the list is getting simpler -- angle grinders, belt sander, and deburring tools). Now the problem is deciding which deburring tool(s) to get -- MSC has hundreds!
  10. I appreciate the wisdom on both the subjects of expensive alternatives, namely the belt grinder, because I can now add that to my "maybe someday" list. Safety advice is always appreciated as well and never off-topic. Here's what I'm planning now (again, this is for use on general steel work, as well as some stainless and copper sheet)... - 4.5" angle grinders with the following attachments: 60 grit disc, wire cup brush, 34 grit disc, 3" cut-off wheel, flap disc (I'll buy a few extra cheap grinders to minimize time spent swapping discs) - something for cleaning edges of sheet and thin plate: either my current bench grinder (8", 3500 RPM) with a 120 grit wheel or a very simple belt sander (like this: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-inch-x-30-inch-belt-sander-2485.html) I'll mostly avoid using the bench grinder, favoring the angle grinders. Eventually, it may be retired if it sits idle for a month or two. The trickiest part for my setup is finding a way to handle fine deburring of copper sheet edges. I think a 120 grit wheel on the bench grinder or that little belt sander would be both effective and convenient. The belt sander would be safer and may even be cheaper (given the prices of 8" grindstones).
  11. Regarding safety, many of you pointed out the danger of bench grinders (opinions on this site and others seem to suggest that they are regarded as the most dangerous tool in the shop). Some of you prefer alternatives (angle grinders, belt grinders). Are these alternatives really any safer? Also, what about variable speed polishers? How about using them for the soft "gummy" metals such as copper? Can regular angle grinder discs be used with them safely?
  12. Thanks for the responses. I like angle grinders, but I feel much more in control when doing finer work using a bench grinder. Maybe that is because a workpiece can be more accurately manipulated than the angle grinder itself. Are there stands for angle grinders? If so, the same advantage could apply with them -- you could hold the workpiece against a tool rest in front of one side of the spinning disc. Sounds dangerous, though. Maybe a special guard could solve that problem. I found a couple of great bench grinder/wheel references: Popular Mechanics, 1990: Bench Grinder Basics Discussion of wheels, abrasive and bond materials, brands, and sources The discussion of abrasive types is valuable -- I doubt it is common knowledge. Aluminum oxide is best for most steel grinding, while silicon carbide should be used for brass, bronze, and aluminum. Other considerations are hardness grade (wheels are rated A-Z), grain size (grit), and grain density. Dressing/truing an old wheel is an option. "Truing" reshapes the wheel while "dressing" cleans up the grinding surface. Star wheels can be used for truing (I believe they can also be used for dressing) and silicon carbide sticks can be used for dressing. I'm planning to get a fairly rough (maybe 60 grit) aluminum oxide wheel for common steel work (sharpening, cleaning rough cuts, etc.) and a medium (maybe 100 grit) silicon carbide wheel for copper (and maybe bronze/brass/stainless). Anything those wheels can't do would be done using angle grinders and files. RPM and wheel diameter doesn't seem that important. It's obviously going to affect how long a given task takes to complete and technique may need adjustment based on RPM, but the job will get done either way. Spears, good point on ferrous vs. non-ferrous. I understand that stainless should not be used on discs that have been used to grind other steels. Is it okay to use the same wheel on stainless, copper, and brass or should each metal have its own wheel? Or maybe you could get away with using the same wheel as long as it's only for light grinding?
  13. I recently picked up a used 8" bench grinder of some obscure Korean brand that is desperately in need of new grindstones. Right now, it does not work well, but I expect that it will be fine after I replace the grindstones. I want to make sure it's worth doing that as opposed to just buying a new grinder. For general use with metal, is an 8" grinder operating at around 3600 RPM fine? Here's what I use the grinder for: * mild and high carbon steel * stainless * copper and brass (cleaning up rounded edges of sheet/plate and de-burring) What grit stones should be used? Any suggested sources for grindstones? Local hardware stores just have angle grinder discs.
  14. I'm working on a ladle handle made from two 1/4" square rods that are tack welded at the top and bottom (see photo). I want to wrap brass wire around the two areas that are tack welded. How would you fellas suggest I accomplish that task? As you can see in the photo, just wrapping it (I tried with a short piece of wire) isn't working well. So far I have considered first drilling a hole halfway through the handle and soldering/brazing the end of the wire in the hole, then wrapping and doing the same with the other end. However, I know little about soldering and nothing about brazing. If that is a good method, what do I need? Silver solder and a propane torch? Thanks!
  15. I finally got the vise cleaned up. Kerosene and lots of scraping took care of layers of dirt (I suppose an angle grinder with a flap disc would have made it easier). I sprayed White lithium grease onto the screw and in the screw box. Now it's time to come up with a portable mount. Those who guessed it to be an Iron City vise were absolutely right. A nice logo was hidden under the grime.
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