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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by ThomasPowers

  1. Hey I just read wheere they have created a cow that doesn't make the prions for BSE now *that* is a leap forward if it pans out after testing! Then perhaps they can do it for deer, sheep, etc... Thomas
  2. Of course they would have to be engravings as the camera was a bit after the revolution... Diderot's Encyclopedia has a lot of them from the end of the 18th century. Thomas
  3. Thanks for taking it in the manner it was intended! There are some exceptions---one is work done by not properly trained people in remote areas and the other is work that was "fast and dirty" and was intended to be as cheaply done as possible---so someone banging out a repair shoe on a wagon wheel tyre for an anvil and a buffalo dung fueled forge would very likely be done in a more "crude" style. Still a very nice shoe and a great one to mount outside for "luck" as it won't rust! Thomas
  4. The big problem with this is that in pioneer times *smooth* was what was wanted. The "hammered" look came in in around 1900 with the Arts and Crafts movement. In pioneer times *everything* was handmade, no hammer marks needed and so the skill of the smith was to hide them. The Arts and Crafts Movement was fighting against the "souless machine made stuff" and so leaving the hammer marks in (or even adding them!) was done to show that it is hand made. (BTW this also happens with handspinning where people want it to look crude and lumpy to be handmade; so they priduce a yarn that would get a 7 year old whipped for wasting wool if it was done 500 years ago) This is a big problem with folks who don't know the history throughly enough and assume that old stuff must be crude----I usually refer them to the Sutton Hoo find to see what stuff from before 1000 ad looked like... Another is when they want to make stuff look just like the ones in the nuseum---that have several hundred years of wear and weathering whereas they should look *new* if they are trying to portray a certain period with just the daily wear you would expect from use. Nice shoe BTW... Thomas
  5. I got a new "reciprocating saw" for Christmas and used my Birthday/Christmas money to buy a used commercial duty horizontal metal cutting bandsaw. It was on craigslist and I snuck into Albuquerque right before the storm, picked it up and hightailed it back to better weather!
  6. IIRC the labourers makeing roads the hard way in the old CCC camps used a 30#+ sledge for breaking rocks---may have read it in one of the foxfire books. People also used very heavy hammers straightening plate at the mill. They were *real* *men* back then but of course your body was worn out by the time you hit 50.
  7. Ron---where do all the *OTHER* smiths in NW AR buy their coal? There is a passel of them and a lot of knifemakers up there. We used to buy ours from the Stone County Ironworks but that's been about 30 years ago. Do you go to the local ABANA chapter meetings?
  8. MY BOOK CAME IN YESTERDAY! "The Knight and the Blast Furnace" the foremost study of the metallurgy of plate armour of the renaissance---it weighs IIRC 7# all that glossy paper for pictures of photomicrographs is heavy! It was a birthday christmas present from my wife and kids and the $300 I had saved up to buy a copy gets to be spent on my shop---I'm looking at a band saw today. On a lighter front I got the complete Black Adder series on DVD
  9. I could do most of my work with just 1 hammer; but sometimes I'd be having to hold it back doing delicate work (hard on the arm) and really over amping it doing heavy work (hard on the hammer)---so I usually bring at least 3 to demo's---And what if I teach? the 1.5 kg sweedish crosspein is not suited to the beginner---though I have a couple of 700gm? ones to show students that it's the skill not the tool. So while most of my work with just a couple of hammers having the *right* hammer for a specific task really speeds things up---try dishing a pot with a standard hammer and look at all the pretty dings you have to remove...
  10. It would not be hard to make a mold and make it out of concrete however it wouldn't be much good as a mandrel. Pounding hot steel against concrete rapidly errodes the concrete and can create quicklime dust as well. The original floor standing cones were cast iron and are now quite expensive However at blacksmithing conferences you can often find "improvised" versions. At Quad-State there has been both small (6-8"?) steel cones that started life as test samples from a steel company and larger, (3' tall?), steel cones that were nose cones for ballistic missles that failed QC check. Thomas
  11. A good fleamarket will run you out of space *fast*, of course some of the items are really "stock preforms" rather than hammers---I have a bucket of ballpeins just for making hawks from---anytime I see a good one cheap I buy it and toss it in the bucket. I was given a steel frame looks like it had been used to hold stock for painting. I bolted 4 pieces of pipe too it each pair seperated by space for a good sized handle getting about 12 linear feet of hammer storage---which is full, hammers in the front one and set tools in the back one. No welding required! (no power to the shop)...
  12. Bets on how short that 20 years turns out to be?
  13. Woody is right, IR is the problem with forge fires *NOT* UV so O-A welding goggles in the lighter shades are generally suggesed not Arc goggles. If you want to research it loog for "Glass blowers Cataracts" This is also one of the reasons I don't like gas forges to be at "eye level" I want to discourage myself from looking in as much as possible. Once a gas or solid fuel forge comes up to temp you should have a pretty good feel for how long a piece will take to come to the right temp.
  14. I'd go ahead and try a superquench heat treat on it; nice lines! Thomas
  15. I talk about the layers in a coal forge starting from the tuyere: Oxidizing, neutral, reducing and then as you get outside air smaller neutral and oxidixing layers. You generally want your piece horizontal in the neutral or reducing layer rather than slanted down into the "danger zone"
  16. I should ask over at the Mat Sci dept if a student needed a project and do the test *right*. In early pattern welding having the material twisted meant that any slag inclusion or crack did not leave a weak spot straight down the blade. Tyler have you read "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner? Lots of great metallographich analysis of extant blades from that time period showing exactly what the smiths did do. Try to ILL it from the public library.
  17. Glen I wouldn't use the bricklayer analogy as a bricklayer is paid for his work. Once he is paid he has no "rights" to it. How about a Barnraising---a community effort where everyone contributes to the extent they can whether it is a precision crafted mortoise and tennon joint or merely hauling timber where the more experienced folk ask. You do a barn raising because you help your neighbors; more than likely they will end up helping you back someday; but if the balance is still on your side it's still OK cause that is what good folks do! If you later get on the outs with the barn owner; well you did it for the comunity; not for the individual. (This last summer I figured how to get into my neighbors yard and get a tractor through their locked gate so we could prevent their house from flooding by ditching through a berm to shift water to a lower spot---they were not home at the time and were quite thankfull that their neighbors had looked out for them)
  18. Strine, make sure it's stainless---I had a friend who got a nice heavy grate that way only to find the hard way that it was crome plated brass. We of course did not give him any hassle over the brass running out the bottom of the forge... Thomas
  19. Hey---if I can't edit then folks can't sass me about my typing, spelling and grammer right? I likes it! Thomas
  20. Back to that anvil: hmmm stocky, fairly short horn, no pritchel, rather small hardy hole; could be an early one and does look to be one where welding might be indicated on the face if you want to use it further But first make sure it's not a cast iron anvil. I have seen some that "looked early" that were fairly (within the last 50 years) recent cast anvils for low duty use. Thomas
  21. With a steel grate you can take it out and hammer it on the anvil to break off the clinker. When I'm welding up billets I sometimes get stalgtites of flux/clinker depending from the holes in the grate. Thomas
  22. I have used cast iron drain covers in my forge. I have used expanded metal cut and beat to fit---limited use life generally 1-2 days of demo. I have used a plate with holes drilled or slotted into it. I have used a piece of barstock bend in a "W" . There is only *1* way to do something blacksmithing---and that's *anyway* *that* *works*. Thomas
  23. ohhhh pretty! Now to make it look throughly "used"... Thomas
  24. Note: as the holiday season approaches a lot of folk will be stressed out and likely to make mistakes in how they interpret other peoples' posts---so everybody try to remember to cut folks some slack if you read something that riles you a bit. Just wish them "Merry Christmas" and go on with your life---remember "forging well is the best revenge"! Or was that: "be nice to people that do you wrong because that will heap coals of fire in your forgepot"---or something to that effect... Shoot I came in sick today for out weekly 8:45 am meeting planning to go home before 10 and here it's after 5pm and I'm still at work...just blame it on the *lack* of drugs---can't take them till after I'm home and off the snowy roads... Thomas
  25. Alan ther have been many discussions on what constitutes "hand made" in this world of tools. The definition I like the best deals with "Craftsmanship of Risk" vs "Craftsmanship of Certainty". If it's the skill and experience of the maker that makes the difference then it probably qualifies as "hand made" even when they are using power tools. I sometimes do "period projects" where I try to use no tool whose form can't be documented to before the year 1000 or 1600 and that includes things like modern abarasives and drillbits. A real learning experience on what can be done the old ways---and how long it can take to do it. Thomas
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