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About VaughnT

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 10/15/2010

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  • Location
    Northwest SC
  • Interests
    Shooting, reading, woodworking, more reading, metal working, photography, etc.

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  1. I buy a 20' stick of 1/8"x6" for the same money you're getting that 4140 for. Unless you need the high carbon content for a blade, I can't see any reason to use HC steel. If you are making a blade (and who isn't trying to make swords these days!?!), you'd be far better off shelling out the bucks for new steel in the size you need.
  2. You're exactly right. The big problem with the scroll jig in the OP is that the company marketing them is simply using finished scrolls made by a machine. The finished scroll looks good, but using that scroll as a jig to make new scrolls always leaves the end product looking rather ungainly for exactly the reason you noted. It's a great idea for the company making, but a lousy idea for the customer wanting some scroll jigs.
  3. I'd love to know how you're registering the twists to get the standoffs to line up nice and square to the door. That's always been my biggest problem when doing twisted handles. It usually takes me a solid day of cussing and spitting to get the handles so they sit flat on the door.
  4. The problem with rebar hasn't changed. Even if it is "good stuff" by some internet smith's estimation.... you don't know how qualified that smith is or where they've gotten their information. And that's aside from the fact that you don't know how best to heat treat the stuff. Now, a hammer made from mild steel is a handy thing to have in a shop and you would do well to make one for yourself as practical exercise. If you're interested in making working tools that are worth the time and money invested, you're much better off using steels that are of a known alloy. Even something like sucker rod is easy to deduce since so much information is available on the internet regarding it's chemical composition. You're not saving money or time buy trying to use mystery alloys. Online retailers sell short lengths of 1045 and 4140 for a very reasonable sum.
  5. Don't feel too bad about using that form and not getting good results. I'm pretty sure that I bought the same one and it's an utter disaster. All the company is doing is buying machine-made scrolls and welding a bar to the underside so you can clamp it in the vise. The results, if you do everything right, is that you end up with what looks like a machine-made scroll. Ugly as sin and not at all sized so it looks right with the size of the bar you're using. As mentioned above, cooling off the very end of the bar, after you've made the initial hook, will give it the stiffness needed to not deform as you pull the rest of the bar around the scroll. It's not a perfect way of overcoming the flat end of the scroll jig, but it does help a great deal and does away with the need for a clamp. I'll take a photo of mine in operation when I get back out to the shop.
  6. In an apartment, with limited funds, seems like you're tailor-made for a copy of this book! There's more to blacksmithing than hot fires and big anvils. Those things are nice, but you can do a ton of work with old soup cans and strips of thin steel! Best of all, the lessons can be scaled up so when you do get a gig in a big shop, you'll have some idea of how the components go together. Hope you can land a job overseas. I'd love to travel over to Europe for a year or two just to study in an area filled with old ironwork and people who still appreciate it.
  7. Excellent build. Best of all, it looks like it was made by someone with talent and an eye for details. That will pay dividends when customers see it, even if it's only in pictures. I really don't see where you could put a tool rack that won't be in the way of something else, or inconvenient to use. If you install some nice flat-top fenders over the big wheels, not only would it sexy the whole thing up, but you could mount a rack to them much like gear was attached to the USGI Jeep fenders back in the day. Personally, I'd keep it neat and clean. A swing-out work support is perfectly acceptable, but I think you'd be better served with a stand-alone tool rack rather than cluttering up the forge with more stuff.
  8. Tongs are not a beginner's project. If you try to force the issue, you can expect a lot of frustration. Buy tongs new from people that make them for a living. Not only do you get to support a fellow craftsman aching for a sale, but you get a quality product that holds your stock securely. The latter makes for far better use of your limited forging time. If you want to learn the trade, start with the basics. Make a hundred scrolls of the same size. Make a hundred tapers of the same size. Repetition builds skill if you're doing things right and paying attention to the details.
  9. Thank you, Frosty. I haven't tried it yet.... mostly because I haven't had the need for a punch. It does sound like it would make for an interesting project, though, and I might have to give it a whirl just to see how it turns out. Next up on the list of things to do is more "practical", but I'm keeping a tight lid on it just because I can. I think folks will like it, though, and find it useful for their shops.
  10. They'll work fine, I'm sure. I was going to use lead, but thought the copper might be a hair better because it isn't as soft. Be sure to post some photos when you get a few practice pieces done. I'm looking forward to seeing your work. I'm glad that you found value in the post. I wasn't sure what to call it, so I just called it what came to mind first. That's a great idea. I hadn't even considered tin as a possibility.
  11. That's correct. If you hammer on top of even mild steel, the ridges will collapse. This doesn't look bad necessarily as it adds to the rustic hand-hewn look, but it does tend to conflict with the sharp image on the second side. All depends on what kind of look you're going for. The pitch might work for this application, but I really don't have any experience with it and wonder if it might be too soft and make carving the second image a bit more difficult. Copper gives a good bit of resistance while being soft enough for the ridges to sink into without deformation.
  12. I had a customer request a double-sided pendant. I've done quite a few of them in the past, but always disapproved of how the ridges in the design would collapse when you carved the second face. A lot of people use pitch bowls, but I haven't invested in one yet. I keep saying I will, but never seen to have the funds available. So, I decided to make my own soft face using some old copper bus bars. It's a simple construction not meant to last long at all. I cleaned the surfaces with lacquer thinner and a wire brush to get a reasonable bond. Then a squirt of spray-on adhesive. Worked like a charm and the first design looks as fresh and crisp as it did when first carved. Proof, again, that being a pack rat can be advantageous!
  13. Repetition is the key to mastering a fundamental movement. I'd start with a bar of 1/2" square stock and draw the end to a nice taper about 4" long. Cut that taper off, throw it in a bucket, and start on a new taper. By the time you have the bucket full of tapers, you should be pretty good at making a taper. And when you look at them, you should see a marked improvement between the first and last. Then take those tapers and put a flat on the big end. Make it as nice as you can, rounded evenly. Go through each taper, cleaning them up if necessary, and putting the set down and flat bean end on them. Again, by the time you get through the bucketful, you should see a tremendous change in your ability. Then it's a matter of putting a hole in the bean end for a screw, scrolling the finial and curling the body to make a wall hook. Do you need a bucketful of wall hooks? Well, yea, but that's not the point. Doing a repetitive exercise, always focusing on making every hammer blow count, drives the lesson home. If you jump from project to project, always biting off more than you can chew, you don't learn. You get frustrated and angry because you're not seeing results you think you should be getting. Get a good set of tongs that will hold the stock securely, and set up a with a 20' stick of 1/2" square bar. By the time you finish, doing each step in a mass-production style of work, you'll have a bunch of nice wall hooks that you can sell or give away as presents. Then you start on something else like making s-hooks that you can scale up and down, changing the size a little, to combine into some really nice art pieces for around the house.
  14. That's some gorgeous work, Aus. Wrought or not, you've really nailed the design. The ram heads are spectacular.
  15. Steel away, my friend! I started with about 6" of shaft and drew it out to a smooth taper about 9" long. By the time I curled it around, I wound right back up at 6" OAL. I thought about trying it on one of those Dog Head spikes you sent me, but I'm saving those for a special occasion.