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About ThomasPowers

  • Rank
    Senior Moment Member; Master Curmudgeon

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  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Central NM/El Paso TX Area, USA
  • Interests
    Iron Smelting


  • Location
    Central NM
  • Interests
    Iron smelting
  • Occupation
    bit herder
  1. I bet there is a patent for it somewhere; it looks like a "new and improved, best thing since sliced bread" type of thing.
  2. I thought that was a brown pants moment... Stance: with beginners I generally have to get them to step up to the anvil they seem to think they should work standing at the far end of the tongs and leaned over like a sideways U and just using their wrist to move the hammer. I tell them that it doesn't matter where the hand holding the tongs is. (Well it does but not hour 1) It can be behind their back even. They need to step up to the anvil and raise their hammer up shoulder level and make a good long swing. I then teach them how to hold their tongs pressing their hip to stabilize them and the workpiece especially when they are hammering the piece back towards them. I demonstrate what they are doing and what they should be doing so they can see it from the side.
  3. (or non-existent) I remember reading about the US exporting petroleum coke to China where it was processed into blocks for home heating as well as other energy uses. Unfortunately it's been called dirtier than coal; but is not tracked like coal is.
  4. Tang is totally not tanto like. Looks like you are over heating it before quench or heating in a very oxidizing fire. What did you quench it in?
  5. The original question was answered; several times: industrial coke tends to burn hotter and with continuous air is rougher on the firepot. So thicker/heavier firepots are made to use it. When you buy coke it's industrial coke and not the lighter and less "intense" breeze. Coke made from coal in your forge sometimes will float in a bucket of water. Industrial coke sinks. Industrial coke is better for some processes and worse for others. For example a lot of us forge with hand crank blowers, with industrial coke you will have to have another person in your shop just turning the blower continuously---industrial coke can and will go out while you are working a piece at your anvil. Using coal burning to coke this is not a problem. Good smithing coal will clump when burnt making it possible to have a "closed fire" which many people prefer for forge welding---especially when they are getting started. Coke does not do this you can only get an open fire with it. Etc and so on! As an analogy think of diesel engines and gasoline engines. Why do we have two different types? Diesel is better for some uses and gas is better for others---you can do a lot of tweaking to try to get one type to work for the other use case but it's a lot simpler to just use the one most suited for the job. Very few "hobby" smiths need a "16 cylinder diesel engine" in their shop. Now why do they sell charcoal when you can just use wood to get coals for cooking over? Why do they sell charcoal briquettes when you can just use lump charcoal? Why do some people want mesquite for BBQing and others want apple? WHY? WHY? WHY? The "usually" is to deal with petroleum coke, not used much in the USA but used a lot in China---not necessarily for forging; but for home heating. Considering you are quibbling over something people have been doing all over the world in a hole in the ground for over 2000 years; perhaps you should drop blacksmithing and try machining, it's a process where fussiness is considered a plus. If this is so much a problem for you; why have you not asked around and got a bucket of coal and a bucket of coke and dug a hole in the ground and figured it out for yourself! Get off the net and *DO* *SOMETHING*!
  6. Patrick N's tool color was hot pink. He said that people wouldn't even ask to borrow his tools...
  7. I've had trouble welding nickel/chromium steels to themselves. Enough that I often will put a piece of plain steel between them---I look for *old* hand saws that are trashed at the scrapyard---from before they started adding in the fancy alloys; or I use pallet strapping. They can be welded using very proper technique; I tend to just "cheat" and get on with it.
  8. One of the things to realize when touring Europe is that a LOT of what you are seeing is not "original" but restoration of stuff from after the wars. Luckily there were often detailed documentation on things and the will to put things back they way they used to be. (This is also the reason I look for pre war guidebooks showing ironwork before WWII and if I'm lucky before WWI.)
  9. Tool colour makes it so much easier when you have multiple smiths at a demo and "helpers" that are not aware of "what is whose"
  10. The Chinese, Indians, Greeks and Romans all did cataract surgery in ancient times.
  11. Leaving out critical information is more normal than not when folks ask questions here; hence my numerous posts about details! That problem is that the asker *knows* all the details and seems to forget we don't...(hmmm when was the last time I twitted someone about wearing a tin foil hat impeding our ability to read their mind...)
  12. Don't forget to run the rope lights around the inside of that stand to give that set up that otherworldly glow...
  13. In my experience the heavier the vise the shorter it tends to be as they were intended for heavier work and so "lowered" to allow for better striking with heavier hammers. just like you would mount a heavy anvil used for striking lower for "hammer room".
  14. Welding 15N20 with 5160 is probably the problem; are you using an aggressive flux to help with the chromium and nickel oxides? Also "2 each": is that one on either side; or two thin pieces per side meaning you are welding 5160 to 5160?
  15. It's definitely a good brand anvil and of American make (due to the attenuated shape common to American anvils in the "latter" years.) How many handling holes does it have and where are they located? What does the underside of the heel look like---smooth or undulating? Any stampings on the front foot? My guessing pool is currently: Trenton, Arm and Hammer or HB All top makes! Now to narrow it down.