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I Forge Iron


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    Asheville, NC
  • Biography
    Professional blacksmith for 10 years, I teach two wkend blacksmith classes at John C. Campbell sch.
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, Mythology, Psychology
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  1. How do you keep from getting heat exhaustion (or at least feeling unwell) when you're working over a fire all summer, and what do you do to recover from heat exhaustion when it does catch up with you?
  2. It looks like a beautiful anvil. I do a lot of drawing steel between the edge of the anvil and the edge of the hammer (like two fullers). The most efficient place to work on the anvil (the area with the greatest rebound) is over the anvil waist. If you like stretching the steel on the anvil's edge I would recommend a slightly heavier radiused edge (1/4 to 3/8 of an inch) over that waist. It all depends on how you work. A small area with the edges only radiused maybe 1/16 of an inch is nice to have now and then. Good Luck.
  3. Those look good. I took Elmer Roush's Viking Ironworks class at John C. Campbell Folk School in 1999 (i think). We made some of those bearded axes in the traditional way. You folded the steel to form the eye with one piece of iron or mild steel. You shaped another piece of iron or mild steel to the length and width you wanted the beard to be, and then butt welded a piece of high carbon steel to the edge. The high carbon steel was maybe half an inch long with a width that matched the width of the beard. Once those were welded the beard was sandwiched into the end of the piece which was folded to make the eye and forge welded.
  4. To make the pintle without burning the whole end off it is important to have the loop with the pin in it just inside the really hot center of the fire. The thin flat section of the hinge should be outside the really hot center. I occasionally turn it in the fire to evenly heat the whole piece. When you turn it you do it gently so it doesn't sink into the oxidizing part of the fire or come out of the hot neutral part. Good Luck
  5. I really hope he gets well soon. It is always amazing to see how deep and broad his knowledge is.
  6. What year did the transition to using tool steel from the waist up take place? What years did they do that?
  7. I have a new old anvil with what may be A25000 on the front left foot look down the length of the anvil from the horn side. It also has a 001 on the heel looking at the side of the anvil with the horn on the left. Does that info make sense and have a meaning?
  8. I thought the Hofi method was promoting a movement of the wrist like that in a basketball dribble; which is said to be better for the joints than the side to side wrist movement. I just learned to use very little wrist, letting the hammer pivot in a loose hand grip. If the hammer can pivot in the hand in harmony with the movement of the shoulder and elbow joints than the wrist can get less wear and tear while the hammer still moves with great velocity.
  9. You may be right. I really don't know, it is how I've conceptualized it. Let me know if you find out exactly what is happening in the process. I tend not to use flux on mild steel, so I'm welding at a light sparkling heat. It is a narrow temperature range but very effective. I really can't say I understand exactly how the bonding takes place in forge welding. It seems to be a molecular bond in which the two pieces really do become one. Elucidation is always welcome.
  10. If you go with a round hole, you can key it to prevent the tenoned bar from rotating. By keying, I mean take a chisel and drive it into the edges of the round hole, mortice, on the side you will be bradding over the tenon. When you upset the tenon it will be pushed into the chiseled slots and lock it in.
  11. Personally, I think Dodge's anvil is better than most of the London pattern anvils in that the waist is bigger. The most efficient part of an anvil to work on, meaning the part of the anvil that will allow you to use the least force for the most effect on the steel, is the section of the face directly above the waist. Just take a ball-pein hammer and lightly drop it on an anvil over the waist and then progressively farther from the waist to the end of the heel. Notice how far the hammer bounces back as you do that. Over thousands of blows in a day that difference becomes very significant.
  12. They were probably working in the neutral part of a coal or charcoal fire which prevents much scale from forming, and the finish really isn't that important on tongs like that. They may have lightly hammered the steel pieces at a very low heat or even cold after getting them to size. That is a technique called planishing and was a common way of cleaning the scale off steel in the old days. A light filing with a very aggressive file or even rasp after it all is assembled is another technique used presently and in the past. They may have skipped that part because it tends not to be what spectators really enjoy watching.
  13. I also want to add that your anvil is in good shape and I think with a fine grit on a flap grinder it should only take 5-10 minutes to fix it.
  14. If you smooth the sharp transitions on the anvil edges you will make it less likely to chip more and the rough edges won't leave marks in your work. Would you use a hammer with edges like the ones on the anvil. The comparison isn't entirely accurate because you only use a small section of the anvil edge at a time, but on any edge you are working over it should be a consideration. Your anvil is used and worn some. It does have a variety of radiuses already on the edges. Smooth those edges and use them. Unless you are collecting the anvil to sell as an antique there is no reason not to lightly dress it and some good reasons to dress it.
  15. It is a tool. I would smooth the edges with a flap disk, maybe 80 grit, maybe even finer. Just smooth it all out. Don't go to far with the smoothing/radiusing just make the chips on the edge transition smoothly. If you are using the anvil, after a few weeks the patina on the face will all be gone and the face will be shiny, the smoothed edges will blend right in. You'll want to adjust the edges more after using it for a while so do go lightly at first.
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