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I Forge Iron


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About DocJohnson

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    Junior Member

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  • Gender
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  • Location
    St Paul, Minnesota
  • Biography
    Am an early boomer who grew up in Viet Nam, USMC infantry medic
  • Interests
    Smithing for 16 years, still learning daily, fishing, storytelling
  • Occupation
    RN, holding sick call at local small college

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  1. DocJohnson

    Box tongs

    MrDarkNebula, Thanks for the reassurance, and thank you for being one of those who will keep the craft alive into the future, Doc
  2. DocJohnson

    Box tongs

    JJordan, Nice tongs, much like some I have made, and still use. MrDarkNebula, Your simple forge looks perfectly functional, but all the leaves and wood scrap beneath and around it cause me some concern. I know it would be better, to not burn down the building. Respectfully, Doc Johnson
  3. The Guild of Metalsmiths is an active local organization in the Twin Cities area. Check www.metalsmith.org
  4. Daniel, Check the Guild of Metalsmith's website at <metalsmith.org> Classes are held mostly during the school year, but there are threshing shows during the summer, and a corn feed in August. The group is quite active and people are welcoming and helpful. I'd say welcome to Minneapolis, but being from St. Paul, I don't go there, so, welcome to Minnesota! Doc Johnson
  5. Another I have heard is, "Is that real, or did some one make it?" On several occasions, I have heard a parent tell their child that, "You had better do your school work or you will end up doing a job like this." I will respond to the child saying, "And if you would like to this, you need math, geometry, drafting, art, and metallurgy, at the very least. So work hard in school, it is worth it." I think some of the folks that refer to their grandfathers as being blacksmiths, may just be trying to connect in some way with the smith. I will ask some of them if their grandfather did his work in the barn, or did he have an outbuilding? Their answer can be telling. I had two great grandfathers that actually were blacksmiths. They worked in the big Great Northern Railway shops, steam hammers and such. I doubt they ever made a nail. It was, at times, difficult to remain in that character, circa 1827, with the landing pattern of the international airport right overhead. I am loud, but not that loud. And a big thank you to all those that do demonstrate smithing, DocJohnson
  6. Gotta love the corn cob handle on the soldering copper in the first picture!
  7. Also check the ABANA website affiliate list, <abana.org> the Badger Blacksmiths list one of their contacts in Eau Claire.
  8. In addition to what all the others have said, make the connection with the local organization. The Guild of Metalsmiths in Minnesota has its Fall Conference, The Madness, in September. That takes place a few miles south of Hastings, MN. On line it is metalsmith.org. Upper Midwest Blacksmithing Association is umbaonline.org. You will find people who are like minded, with skill levels varying from just learning which end of the hammer to pick up, to world class artists and craftsmen. There are lots of classes and other opportunities for learning. If you get to the Madness, bring a camera and a note pad, the conference gallery will provide inspiration to last a year, and perhaps that will reduce your frustration. Best of luck in your search. If you get to the conference, say hello. I'm a short round guy with a white beard, and while there may be others of the sort, I think I am the only one with three gold earring in the left ear, DocJohnson
  9. I have seen it done quite easily by heating the tubing, slipping it over a piece of pipe, and then twisting. The pipe keeps the tubing from collapsing, though as it is stretching, the flats will come in a little, giving a bit of a fluted look. The pipe can be held in a vise with a stand positioned so that when you slip the tubing over the pipe,it will slide into the twisting wrench on the one end. Have the other twisting wrench ready to do the twist. Remember also that as it cools, the tubing will shrink, don't want to have it stick on the pipe, so get it done quickly and get it off. you might want to run through it cold a couple times. Good luck with the project, Doc Johnson
  10. Musika, I'd like to ad to the other's answers to your question. In using charcoal versus wood, charcoal allows for a more closely packed fire, which is necessary to heat the stock. A wood fire burning enough carbon to attain necessary temperatures would be large enough that one could not work near it. I know some do small things that way, I have too. Charcoal to some extent, also acts as its own refractory. A good fire made of it will burn steel just as easily as a coal fire. Charcoal was the earliest of fuels used in metalworking. It was called "coal." People who made charcoal were called colliers. Much of the forest in Europe was cut down for making charcoal. Forests in the new world were also used extensively. "Mineral coal" was mined from the surface and used, but it was not until the centrifugal governor was used to regulate the steam engine, allowing water to be pumped from deeper mines, that mineral coal was used on an industrial scale. For me, learning the history of the technology is a big part of what I enjoy about smithing. I hope this helps, DocJohnson
  11. A smith can achieve quite smooth surfaces with just the hammer. It require practice, some more practice, then some repetition. I see beginning smiths try to chase the hot metal with the hammer, swinging through a different arc with each blow. Imagine your hand hammer as being the ram of a power hammer, striking the blow in the same place each time. Then move the hot metal beneath the hammer. Work to do the basic shaping at the highest part of a heat, then as the heat drops, use lighter overlapping blows to smooth and straighten the piece with every heat. Note the term, "overlapping blows." Try these things with a piece of scrap wood to see the effect of the hammer blows on the wood. Most smiths will not make swords, but they will do tapers and scrolling. Smooth even tapers make scrolling easier. Even scrolls fit into a design better. Every project is built using basic skills, and building on them. Best wishes, I hope these comments are useful. DocJohnson
  12. I suspect you will get many opinions on this question. Blacksmiths learn to position themselves to get the job done. For drawing, using the horn or a well radiused anvil edge works well. After 18 years I am still learning how to use my cross pein for forging. I have decided accuracy is more important to me than hammer collecting. The collecting may be important to others though, and I admit to having more than a dozen. In the mean time, welcome, and enjoy the ride!
  13. Thomas Dean and Sask Mark, Thank you for providing the DOB of my Hay Budden. Its ring was piercing until I made a proper stand and clamped it down well. I do love it. I now also have a 260# Old World Anvil. The H-B will travel and holds all my hardy tools. It is really handy having two anvils when going from one process to another. Again, thanks, DocJohnson
  14. I am the current owner of H-B A35186. It is 125#, and in great shape. I gave $50 for it about 17 years ago. I do not know the age, but it is older than I and will out live me, just like my Little Giant.
  15. mortice and tenon top member, hand made rivit assembly, The customer wanted two like the one I have in my yard, as mine was freehand, the second pair was more difficult. I must remember to take notes and measurements.
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