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About VaughnT

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

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  1. Fisher 192 anvil

    Gorgeous anvil! Fisher's are the best out there, bar none. I wouldn't do anything to it. The face is excellent, and those few chips won't get in your way. Use it for a few years. Enjoy it. Love it. That's all she needs!
  2. Found this online and keep thinking about making one for myself. I like that it's on wheels and handles those shorter pieces I always end up with.
  3. New display

    Looks good. Don't get too wound up about the look of things, rather realize that this is an organic development process that takes a year or three to happen. You're on the right path, but expect things to change as your skills grow or new materials come to hand. Big and small, the way you use the space available will make a tremendous difference in how both the students and prospective customers see you. Keep your apron relatively clean. Your shirt should be a nice one, not one filled with holes and stains. No rust should be evident anywhere. If it something a customer might handle, wipe the piece down and give it a clear coat so the customer doesn't get grime on their fingers. And watch out for "walk offs". More than a few times I've looked at racks you've made only to find one hole empty. Did someone steal it? Did it fall out along the way? No telling, really, and it happens all the time! Best to use some epoxy and fix the things in permanently. There are a ton of ways you can go with your display boards, and they'll all work. Tall and skinny boards are great for catching the eye while also funneling folks in towards you. Smaller stands like you've made are great for filling up the table and getting people to think about how your work might be used on a project they have in mind. Keep working at it and you'll have a stellar operation in no time flat.
  4. I'll look forward to seeing how this works. The process sounds inline with what I've read from other sources, but I'm not an experienced welder. My Fisher has a wonky hardy hole and seriously chipped edges on the face. I'd dearly love to find someone that could weld it up!
  5. It followed me home

    I'd cut one end off just past the curve and stand it on end so you have all the mass right below the hammer-impact zone. Just turning the plank on its side will work, jut not as well (by a long shot) as if stood on end. The others could be used as swages for when you need them, but they'll also make great trade items. Those are striking anvils just waiting to be, and I'm sure a few folks would be glad to have them.
  6. Nice opener design..... but I really like that ruler! I've been hunting for a short ruler like that, but all the ones I can find either have too fine a gradation or have metric as well. A 6"x1" rule that's broken down to eighths on one side and sixteenths on the other -- ooh, would that be nice to have!
  7. The Dreaded Dimple!

    The stock does have a bump in the bottom of the hole. The only thing I can imagine is that there's some kind of bounce-back caused when you get to that last strike and can feel the anvil jus like you do if you're trying to punch a hole. On this last go around, I was extra careful to quench the tool in water after every third hit. Starting with a fresh grind, the divot formed in about ten hooks, or thirty strikes. I have been thinking about making some kind of punch like you describe. It seems like it would be a very convenient way of doing it, and I've seen it done in industrial applications. Not sure what alloy you'd want, though. It'd have to be something tough that'd stand up to the heat and not wear round on the punching part.
  8. Time for a new apron!

    Bless you, Frosty! How long is your apron from top to bottom? I used yours as a template of sorts. While mine doesn't have a waist belt, that was intentional since the current apron I'm using doesn't require one. I always found it bothersome, pulling my shirt up whenever I moved. Like you, I opted for heavy leather that would take a blow form a disk grinder gone awry. Better to be safe than sorry! The last time I got caught by an angle grinder, it rolled right across my apron and grabbed hold of my t-shirt. Scary, for sure, and it would have been a lot worse if there wasn't a good bit of leather between the two of us! The leather is from a bull, which is fitting for a man of my stature. I can only hope that it allows me to forge to your level one day. You're a rare breed and I'm honored to know you.
  9. Time for a new apron!

    If you don't have a cross-back strap system, you ain't in the game, hoss! There really isn't another option, and once you go with the cross-back straps, you'll smack yourself silly for ever thinking there was another way. Promise! You can go with a cheap, "make it work", kind of apron. You can buy an old chair from the Salvation Army and turn it into an apron. But the cross-back straps are the bee's knees. There really isn't an alternative! You don't have to go full-on custom like I did, but at least do yourself a favor and whip up some proper straps.
  10. Time for a new apron!

    Thank you. When I bought my old apron, I opted for their 48" style figuring I could always cut off the excess I didn't like rather than finding myself stuck with something that was too short. Turns out, it was a really handy length. Not only was it long enough to go over my belly, but several times it stopped a piece of oh-so-hot steel from catching up on my boot! Dropped steel a few times, and each time it slid down the apron and onto the floor rather than snagging on a boot lace or whatnot. Since I work in shorts most of the time, it's very easy for hot scale or steel to catch on the top of the tongue and start burning in if the boots aren't covered up. When Giovanni asked me about length, I was real quick to ask for the same thing that'd saved me a burn or three.
  11. Time for a new apron!

    All finished and ready for work. The grommets make it really easy to get the apron on and off, but also help relieve the stresses put on the side tie-in points as you're moving around. There's nothing as nice as cross-back straps to carry the weight of the heavy leather. Giovanni (the apron maker modeling in the pics) has a long history of working in equestrian circles, so he knows straps and buckles! Reinforced everywhere, the apron won't fail before I fail. Maybe I'll leave instructions that I'm to be buried in the thing! The texture of the Dragon Hide leather is perfect. A custom apron isn't cheap, that's for sure. But if you factor the cost over the life of the apron, it's no more expensive than buying a cheap hardware store apron every couple years as they wear out. The difference that the custom apron looks fantastic and any customers who see you in it will recognize that you take your trade seriously. I'm a happy blacksmith. A poorer blacksmith, but definitely happy!
  12. The Dreaded Dimple!

    Thanks gents. The problem isn't repurposing this punch into an eye punch, something I've been considering. But, the fact that it happens at all. When I saw it happen to the punch I made from a cheap chinese chipping hammer from the hardware store, I put it down to the garbage alloy they must have used. I was wrong, apparently, because this dimple formed in just a few hooks. What causes the dimple is a mystery. The only thing I can come up with is some kind of rebound effect since the only odd thing about what I'm doing is feeling the anvil through the punch when I make that last hit. It doesn't happen when I pre-drill the screw hole, even if I bottom out and the tip hits the anvil. There's got to be some weird science going on. Ausfire, it's an honor to have played a part. I love what you've done with those nails!
  13. The Dreaded Dimple!

    When I make some of my hooks, I like to forge in a countersink for the mounting screws. My go-to punch is made from a car coil spring, 5/8" in diameter, tapered and ground to a nice angle. I might have heat treated it back when i first made it, but I can't remember. I'm sure the HT has gone the way of the Dodo by now. Anyhow, lately I've been getting this dimple forged into the end when I forge the countersink. This one formed after just ten dimples were forged into the hooks. That might not sound bad, but when you have a few dozen hooks to make, having to stop and dress the punch is both aggravating and changes how the countersinks look -- not a good thing. Generally, I'll drive the punch in with three hits, then quench it in water. Maybe I'll add a fourth hit before quenching, but cooling the working end is certainly on the list of things to do. Most of the time, I drive it in until I can feel the anvil underneath. Not all the time, but enough.... So what's the science behind this? You wouldn't think the force of rebound off the anvil would upset the punch, driving some of it back up into itself. But, for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. What can be done to eliminate the dreaded dimple so a punch will last longer? So far, the only thing I've come up with that definitely works is to drill the screw holes and then use the punch to make the countersink. This means the tip of the punch is actually traveling through air, not the steel, while the sloped portion forms the countersink. It also means you usually have to go back and re-dril the holes to clean them up, but it does keep the dimple from forming. Do the countersink first, though, and I seem to be stuck with the dreaded dimple.
  14. The bolt lugs on the base are just cast iron, so it's no worry about seeing them snapped off. Shame to lose them, but they break off pretty easy when you torque the bolts down unevenly and such. The bits on the horn could be anything, and I'd just take them down with a file as Marc said. Quick work, that, and it'll be no bother down the road. You're very lucky to have found the face in such immaculate condition. I'd dearly love to have my Fisher's face in such great shape! Overall, you've not lost much by losing the heel. It's a convenient thing to have, but hardly the end of the world. With the horn and face in such great shape, you've got a million and one things you can do with that beauty. Or just mail her to me and don't trouble yourself!
  15. Time for a new apron!

    I'm sure that it'll be a good apron as far as smithing aprons go. My only worry is the suppleness and how it rolls and bends with the body. Nothing worse than getting the edge of the bib jammed up under your nose or chin when you sit down! Of course, the downside to a high-end apron will be trying to keep all the fans out of my shop so I can get some work done. Being awesome is one thing, but I don't want to drive the ladies wild by going overboard on the awesomeness. I've no interest in taking Elvis' crown.