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About ThomasPowers

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Central NM, USA, Sol 3
  • Interests
    Iron Smelting, Historical Ferrous Metals Technologies


  • Location
    Central NM
  • Interests
    Iron smelting
  • Occupation
    bit herder

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  1. Local scrapyard has a bunch of rail already cut to convenient size to be stood up; 20 US cents a pound. If you are in the central NM, USA area let me know and I can show you where it's hiding.
  2. I heard the cost of dynamite had gone way up!
  3. At this time! We have a friend with a Yarn shop down near Yellow Springs who should be shutting down her business if she hasn't already. The door of the shop has a picture of a rocking chair with a skeleton in it titled something like: "My wife said she'd just be a minute in the shop".
  4. Well I cheated a bit: I was once offered the sample library from a University's welding program that was cleaning out for a move; so I have hunks of stuff like 2345 (for real) of course with my background I mainly picked up the medium and HC steels...But even for a approximate set things like leaf spring, car axle, hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel, file, can get you kinda in the neighborhood. Now if you are part of a blacksmithing group talk folks into everybody buying a different piece of known steel and slicing it into 6" lengths and trading!
  5. As I get older I find I like to start with stock that is already along the road to what I want to do with it. (Like using a leafspring with a good distal taper on it as stock for a large blade.) I also have found a lot of smithing shortcuts when you have a piece the right shape to hammer metal against to get a shape you want: so a big lifting eye and a dome topped trailer hitch that will fit in my screwpress' tool holder, (and made some amazing mammiform shield bosses for Y1K reenactment. So I am on the look out for random pieces of metal with "interesting" shapes. I was using a Ski Jump tool last Sunday to curve the spring for a postvise I was working on. (An isosceles triangle of 1" thick steel with a hardy stem on the long side edge). Heat your strap and bridge it from the peak of the ski jump to the anvil face and tap over the open area to bend it to the curve you want. Isosceles so you have 2 different "slopes" to use. With practice you can do very nice complete circles. I forgot to mention that most of my tool racks are made from stuff I picked up at the scrap yard: round base with pipe welded to the center + more pipe + steel wheelbarrow wheel = tong rack or the simple one: Basketball hoop = tong rack. Metal frame with 1-1.5" hardware cloth on it: tool rack. Improvised hardy holes: And I found pics of a couple of trip's haul: and a few augers on another trip Oh yeah, the oak for the anvil stands left and right was free from my local scrapyard; all the other stuff was US 20 cents a pound. Save for the Baldor and Dayton 1.5 hp TEFC motors; they were expensive and cost me US$10 a piece.... Guess where I'm going on Saturday Morning?
  6. That's the problem; I like H13, S1, S7 for tooling that gets pushed into glowing steel; but they are not altogether beginner friendly or easy to find locally. It's the sort of thing I buy at blacksmithing conferences and hoard till needed. To get started for punches I would probably go with scrounged material like 5160 auto coil spring (well usually!) or sway bar or even axle (usually around 50 points C where 100 points = 1%) I would also expect you to need to replace them after a while and hopefully by then be ready to step up to the fancier alloys. Also have you though about using used cold chisels and star drills as stock for chisels and punches?
  7. Mass will keep the temp up a while and most things you do to change that will cause problems with the A2. Good Luck!
  8. What I'd need is a windmill to pump water. Luckily the Windmill repair and installation company is about 2 miles from my house! Hole is already dug between my house and the next one. Put up a tank and we'd even have flush toilets! Have to build a summer kitchen though. I even have a hand crank drillpress and a bunch of drill bits to repair horse drawn farm equipment. We'd have to move a younger family in with us and talk with our neighbor with the goats, chickens, ducts, turkeys, and Great Pyrenees....
  9. I happily pay US$1 for a decent sized ball peen, may go to $2 for a huge or hand forged one. Dealers keep telling me that you can't find them for that; but I'm working on my third 5 gallon bucket full bought that way. Traded one bucket off for some steel I needed and I'd take one to Quad-State and double my money on them. A lot of beginners like to make hawks from them and so my classes use up some too. Of course I am usually buying just the heads. Not a problem when they will be going in the forge and so need re-handling anyway. BTW being "stuck" at home is a great time to make handles and rehandle hammers that need it.
  10. Forgot Medium Carbon and also what I call High Alloy steels that have lots of stuff in them but usually not good for forging because they require very precise working temps and heat treats. Machinerys Handbook had a list of steels and what they would be good for in it. As for specialty steels; you would have to order them; like if I wanted 1084 I would contact the New Jersey Steel Baron who sells new cutlery grade steels in reasonable sizes to blademakers. Now there are several "Junkyard Steel Lists" on the net that list what certain items found in scrapyards *MAY* be made from; but there is no guarantee that they are complete or correct and so the basic rule of using scrap steel is TEST before you spend time making something! In general no manufacturer will pay extra for alloys that are more expensive, harder to work, and require more expensive heat treatment. HOWEVER folks making repairs out on the farm may grab whatever they can find to hand and use that.---(especially Depression era repairs!) I've run into a piece of Farm equipment where one strut on it was made from real wrought iron and the other from 1080 steel. I was happy for both but I'm sure glad I tested and didn't try forging swords from both pieces!
  11. Easiest way is to make a set of known samples and then test the unknown against them till you say "that sure looks like 5160, (or real Wrought Iron, or file steel, or A-36...) MARK the SAMPLES! (Don't grind off the markings too.)
  12. Gobble, Gobble, Gobble... "It was pity that stayed his hand----It's a pity I've run out of bullets"
  13. Well my pile grows each time I visit the scrapyard, or stop and pick up stuff on the side of the road; or accept scrap from neighbors. (Always accept scrap from neighbors, even if all you do is to take it directly to the scrap yard---you want to get them in the habit....) Scrap I buy at the scrapyard is often based on stuff I commonly make or am thinking of making---so tongs: keep my eye open for sucker rod. Sq stock of almost any size, (1/8" to 2"), is useful. Tools that can be reused or reforged---the stake anvils made from odd sledge hammer heads for instance and with 1.5" shafts. Items to go into billets: bandsaw blades, timing chains, hand saw blades, etc Items to work on the smithy with: eyebolts from utility poles. My latest visits have included 1.5 hp 1725 TEFC motors. Basic rules: Never expect something to be there the next time. It may or it may have a crushed dump truck piled on top of it. Never argue price. Cheerfully pay it or cheerfully toss the item back on the pile. (Again: trains them in what price you will pay.) Always check in with the yard staff; I like to wear my red smithing hat too. Never expect them to watch out for you as they run large machinery with risky loads on it---they head your way FLEE!!!! Bring leather gloves. Bring basic tools; my yard lets me disassemble stuff---saves a lot on money! Keep your eyes open---I've found a mint condition stake plate and a bracelet mandrel there before and a couple of weekends ago the body of a post vise. Also 99# cast iron dock weights and lots of scrapped Oxy welding tanks. Now there are a few things I don't stack to high at home: leaf springs and coil springs. They are pretty much always available so I only need a couple... If I find stuff that shouldn't be there I will bring it to their attention; also folks seem to always be dumping copper alloy stuff in the steel pile---it sells for a lot more so they are idiots; but if I see faucets, fittings and stuff I'll toss it on the correct pile. If I find tools and I want them I always ask if they intended to sell them. Staying on their good side and being allowed to wander the site is worth a heck of a lot more than just sneaking something out! (I mean "We're going down the road for breakfast; just call us when you want to weigh out..." has happened fairly often.) I keep my eye out for cleaning the garage type stuff, or even cleaning out the place after a death. I find a lot of nuts and bolts in like new condition and much cheaper than going into town! (I also picked up a craftsman drill and sabre saw probably 20 years old, may outlast me too) One time I took out 100# of sockets and wrenches and auger bits when a commercial shop cleared out a space. Finally BE SAFE there may be Physical Dangers, Chemical Dangers, Radiological Dangers, XYZ Dangers! It's YOUR responsibility to protect yourself. Don't make the owners regret letting you inside!
  14. Spark test it for C content---most likely mild.