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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Reading, PA
  • Interests
    Forging hot metal since 1972.
    Author of A Blacksmithing Primer.
    Love forging with my 60 ton press and pushing hot metal like clay.
    Forged metal teacher and demonstrator.


  • Location
    Reading, PA 19608
  • Biography
    Over 35 years forging hot metals. Author of "A Blacksmithing Primer". Teacher and demonstrator.

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  1. I've seen them made from railroad rail as shown. But you can see the wear on the one as I described above. You can see mine in my book about presses and tooling. 1Hardie.bmp 2Hardie.bmp
  2. Seems like most cut offs for the press need constant sharpening. That process of cutting on a thin blade tends to turn the edge into a fuller.
  3. I really recommend that you use Batson's book to figure how to do the frame compared to your tonnage and what pump to what cylinder, etc.. Looks like you'll have plenty of strength there, but the info is out there so you know up front. Also keep your hoses to the back of the press in case something blows it's not aiming at you. Protective sleeves for your high pressure hoses is another good idea. It's all about safety. Looking forward to seeing the finished product and how it works for you.
  4. I mentioned how the transplanted European smiths did that over here so much. I saw one demo where they were anvil tapping AND striking! I think their were 3 strikers and it was quite the show, but obviously they weren't using tapping signals to control the action.
  5. All of the above answers are right, but no you don't have to do it. It is really just more of a habit. The old smiths were asked why they did it and they told us it was the only thing they could bring over here from their home country that was duty free. In other words they didn't have to pay taxes on it.
  6. I did not design this press, but bought it designed and the frame ready to go. I had to get the balance of the plates and build a mechanicals cart and assemble it. He then came over and did the plumbing. The man who designed it has built many presses and uses Batson's book to figure most things out. He also works along with the local hydraulics company if he has any additional questions or concerns. Equalizing pressure between the cylinders was one of my concerns, too. They do sell synchronizers for this purpose, but he explained that the pressure between the cylinders would balance on their own as they are hooked up in tandem and the pressure would flow equally to both cylinders. He was exactly right. There has never been a problem with one cylinder operating faster or slower than the other and both sides come up and down equally.
  7. RobWilson, Yes we do: http://www.astragalpress.com/Hydraulic_Forging_Press.htm .
  8. Grundsau, Yes you can. Brianc has it right. It's just less expensive to buy two six inch cylinders than one twelve inch.
  9. I just received this message from one of our members: Merry Xmas, Randy. I saw you wrote a book and I've wanted to get it soon. I was wondering if you'd say something about folks who say run away. As they think forging with presses is foolish? Like most any subject, I've found most are scared of what they don't understand most times. I don't know much about this type of operation and I’m very interested in any thoughts per se. Thanks Personally I’ve never heard anyone say those things in regards to the forging press, but I’ll address it for you in case that concern is out there. Hydraulic forging presses have been used to move hot iron and steel since about 1861. It started in major industrial companies with presses in the hundreds and thousands of tons. By the late 1800’s they had also moved to the blacksmith shops, but in a much smaller size, usually 200 tons or less. It didn’t take long for the smiths to see the benefits of its power and control, besides its versatility in forging operations. We have the knife makers to thank with coming up with the powerful, small footprint, homemade forging press of today. Besides making this piece of equipment economical it has added another versatile tool for moving hot metal. When I asked smiths that use the press what they most like about it the answer was almost always, “control, control, control”. Whether for forge welding billets of damascus steel, punching holes, drawing out bar stock, making repeated designs with dies plus a number of other operations, the hydraulic forging press is a incredible machine for the blacksmith shop. It is so versatile that I even sold my Nazel 1B air hammer which I had used for over twenty years due to my press being able to do as much as it could do and more. My new book, “Hydraulic Forging Press for the Blacksmith” explains the differences in the major forging equipment, it helps you decide what type of press would work best for what you want to make, goes over safety issues, shows tooling and how to make it for your press and has a gallery in the back of smiths from around the world with their presses, tooling and what they make using it. Perhaps the so called idea of the press “being foolish” is based on either the safety issues or with shop presses or other presses not meant for forging. Yes, there are safety issues with the press, but as with any piece of equipment education is the key to safe operation. These rules of safety must be followed. One line that I wrote in my book that describes this best is, “Power does not ignore ignorance, it magnifies it!” I have seen shop presses, those flimsy often bottle jack propelled presses that you can buy for hundreds of dollars, used in the forging shop, but I do not recommend them for forging. They are too slow and the framework is not meant to withstand the power exerted in forging. There are exceptions in everything, but the common shop press usually will not work for forging, so it’s okay to “run away” from those. I hope this has helped to clarify this issue. If you want to learn more about the hydraulic forging press find a local smith who uses one and talk to them about why they like it.
  10. This is one of the first reviews by Albin Drzewianowskiof my new book which came out in August: Title: Hydraulic Forging Press for the Blacksmith Author: Randy McDaniel Publisher Skip Jack Press, an Imprint of Finney Co. Apple Valley, MN. 2014 ISBN: 978-1-879535-29-9 192 pages, Contact List of Suppliers and Artists, Index, and Author's Biography. Numerous color photographs and drawings. This book will not help you build a hydraulic forging press but it will help you understand what such a tool can do for the metalsmith and how to go about getting such a tool and setting it up in your shop. Randy McDaniel, an accomplished user of this type of press, will give you the background to determine whether this type of tool would be of benefit to your shop. The book starts off with a brief history of the press and then follows up with Randy's personal journey into press work. Next is a very important section in which Randy compares and contrasts the many types of presses out there including the punch press, fly press, and drop hammer. There are chapters on safety and press maintenance followed by 4 chapters on making and using tooling. The book concludes with chapters on working with pipe and sheet metal and finally an excellent assortment of gallery pictures showing pressed ironwork by Randy and other metalsmiths. If there is one continuous thread through the book, it is SAFETY. Starting on page VI, Randy spells out, very bluntly, how dangerous these machines can be if proper materials and protocols are not followed. When using 30 to 200 TON machines, there is little room for mistakes. To quote Randy, “... They can incapacitate, maim or kill you or others around you.” and, “Power does not ignore ignorance, it magnifies it!” Over the last couple of years the hydraulic press has become very popular with knife makers and has now spilled over to blacksmiths. This book is important because it helps the smith understand how the press is different from either a hand hammer or a power hammer. The hot metal “squishes” under the force of the ram; much different than what happens under the impact of a hammer. Chapter 5 goes over PRESS CONTRUCTION. If you are going to either build or buy a press this chapter goes over what to look for and what to avoid. This is followed by Chapter 6 which covers the pros vs cons of building compared to buying a press. Like the treadle hammer and the fly press, on obtaining a press (whether you build one yourself or you buy one), you have just scratched the surface. The utility of this tool is in the tooling that is used in the press. As with the treadle hammer, power hammer and fly press, little in the way of tooling is available commercially. Generally you need to make it yourself. Given the large tonnage that you will be using with a hydraulic press, proper design and materials for the press tooling is critical for safety and success. Chapters 9, 10, 11 and 12 cover the philosophy behind tooling, how to make the tooling and then how to use the tooling safely. Along with the tools that are shown here, Randy has accompanying pictures of metalwork created using those particular tools. In my opinion, this may be the most important part of the entire book. The book concludes with Chapters 15 and 16 showing galleries of press work by Randy and by 15 other metalsmiths, 2 from Spain and Serbia and the rest from around the US. These 38 pages in Chapter 16 are especially useful as they include pictures of the different presses, home-made and commercial, used by the metalsmiths along with the tooling and the results possible. A very well written book, one that belongs on every blacksmith's bookshelf, it really makes you want to get a press. The chapters on tooling have given me lots of ideas for tooling to use under my treadle hammer and fly press. Cover1A.bmp
  11. Get the book by James Batson, " Build Your Own Hydraulic Forging Press". Sold through Knifemakers Guild and Blue Moon Press. Has designs and charts to do it right!
  12. Randy

    press power

    Everything I needed for my press came from Northern Tool including the motor.
  13. I've been running a two cylinder 60 ton press for about 7 years. No equalizer needed. The pressure will equalize between the two cylinders just due to its pressure. It needs equal length hoses, but that's it. You can buy equalizers, but for the little difference that I have between cylinder push I don't need it. If you watch my youtube videos you will not see a difference in the push from either side. The pump and motor were designed for this press and it runs at about 2" per second. A good fast speed for a general forging press. Photo is of the back of my press.
  14. Don't guess as to what is required. Get James Batson's "Build Your Own Hydraulic Forging Press". Blue Moon Press sells it. It has plans for C and H frame presses and charts to show you what goes with what and safely.
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