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I Forge Iron


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    Lancaster, NH
  • Interests
    blacksmithing, building and flying RC planes, shooting, nature photography, woodworking, running a small sawmill, Jeeps

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  1. You might try the following two groups. I'm not sure of the age of your lathe but Vintage Machinery deals with the older stuff, mostly woodworking but parts suppliers or casting shops may be common to metal working as well. Practical Machinist has lots of brand specific lathe forums as well as general parts finding forums. I've belonged to both groups for a while and found them helpful on several occasions and their focus is more towards machinery rather than blacksmithing. http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ http://vintagemachinery.org/ Good luck finding what you need.
  2. I have two anvils in my shop, a 250# Kohlswa mounted on an 8 foot piece of 12" x 16" rock maple set 6' into the ground. This anvil is securely bolted to the wood with a piece of truck tire inner tube between the anvil and the wood. It is rock solid and whisper quiet. The second anvil is a 165# Kohlswa mounted on a steel base that I built. The base is a piece of 12" I-beam on end of the proper height with a rectangular base of 1/2" steel plate which is slightly larger that the I-beam and a top which is also plate but the size of the I-beam. I have a couple hardy racks welded to the side and a shelf welded between the flanges to the web. Two pieces of angle iron go over the base ends of the anvil and are bolted to the top plate. This anvil also has a piece of inner tube between the anvil and the steel plate and it is just as quiet as the wood mount. If you know Kohlswa anvils, you know that they ring like bells and would be impossible to work on for any length of time without dampening the sound. The smaller anvil can be slid around the forge area as needed or used as a portable for demonstrations by moving it with a two wheel dolly. When used outside, the plate base (as opposed to legs) keeps it from sinking into the ground when struck. Either anvil is more than solid enjough for work with a striker and a 20# sledge though we tend to use the permanently mounted one more for that. My shop has mostly a concrete floor but in the forge area I used dry-laid brick so I would have the option to sink an anvil stump and vise stand. I think either a wood or metal base is fine as long as the anvil is securely fastened to the base so they become as one and I find no real advantage or disadvantage to either. They both get used daily.
  3. The first thing you might do is to call your insurance agent, describe the situation, and ask him if they will still pay if you burn the house and garage down. I would also suggest a smoke detector that is tied in to your household smoke detectors so that if a piece of smoldering metal flares up in some sawdust up during the night, you will have time to get out safely. My shop is a separate dedicated building fifty feet from the house and I have the smoke detectors tied like that. I was a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years and and have seen things far less risky that destroyed properties and killed the occupants. Most building codes require at the minimum a 5/8" sheetrock wall between a garage and an occupied dwelling. Hate to rain on your party but you are "playing with fire" (pun intended). Good luck.
  4. The link below has lots of info and photos on various vises and their maufacturers over the years including Parker with the author's take on the better choices. He favors Parkers over all others. There is also a link at that site to information on restoring old vises. I have used the info for reference many times. http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62716
  5. Hardy and pritchel holes are handy but in a small anvil such as your they take up good forging area and may lighten and weaken the anvil because you will probably have to cut the web. An easy way out is to make a saddle with one or more drilled holes and a couple flanges to hold it in place on the anvil. That will work fine for backing up punches and short drifts. A hold down could be mounted on whatever base you make for the anvil and for a hardy holder, think about a securely mounted leg vise. A big advantage to a vise is that you don't have to be fussy about making sure your hardy tools are the same size or if they fit the hardy hole tightly-just tighten the vise. Even with two anvils, I often use the vice for holding certain hardies. For hot work I prefer the vise mounted with the top about waist high. Nice job on the railroad track anvil. It will get you started fine.
  6. I also saw this and recognized it as an unusal piece. I'm not into collecting tools I don't use so I notified an acquaintence in southeastern NH who collects vices and does period demonstrations. He was able to purchase it and the other tools that were part of the package. He had not seen that type either. It is definitely factory made and not modified.
  7. If you are inside a building, simply closing the doors and windows may help with outside noise. I run a 75# Reiter air hammer at 220 blows a minute and it is definitely obnoxious to anyone close by if the doors are open but with the doors shut it is barely discernible outside. It helps that my shop is well insulated. We live near a pumping station for a large gas and oil pipeline and the pumps were really loud even several hundred yards away. The owners put up some baffling and it cut the noise drastically. You might consider some portable baffles (similar to welding curtains) made from insulation board or perforated ceiling tile to absorb the sound, especially on the side toward your neighbor. It will be easier to fend off complaints if you have made an attemt to mitigate the noise ahead of time. Getting a permit for a home business and making it legal won't make it quieter.
  8. You might check out ABANA's website for local affiliate blacksmithing organizations Most groups have regular meets and maybe a newsletter where you could contact locals about your idea. Dues are usually inexpensive and it might pay to join and attend a function where you could present the proposition in person. The previous post suggested a good place to start.
  9. Growing up back in the 50's our family also used mutton tallow for years. We switched to Prid when we no longer could get the mutton tallow but I recently found it available again at Lee Valley (see link below)-$2.95 for a 1 oz. can. It will pull slivers from deep within and I use it a lot when I am sawing tamarack on my mill-those little slivers just plain hurt! http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=69309&cat=1,43415,43440
  10. If you can locate a copy of "Blacksmiths' and Farriers' Tools at Shelburne Museum" by H.R. Bradley Smith, it has an excellent chapter on the various tongs and their names and uses. This is a catalog of actual tools that were in use in the trade and collected and documented for the Shelburne Museum's shop in Shelburne, Vermont. There is a ton of information on tongs and other aspects of blacksmithing in the book. I believe it is long out of print but Amazon shows some used copies for $25. If you are in the area the museum is a great place to visit and learn. Further info at: http://shelburnemuseum.org/
  11. Exactly right, if you can't see it, you don't need to measure it!
  12. Lots of info at this link on another site: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/antique-machinery-history/help-please-champion-blower-113740/
  13. I'm not sure of the availability but if you can find a copy of "The Art of Spark Testing" by Edsel E. Bishop and published in 1954 by Wyckoff Steel Company grab it, even if you have to mortage the wife. It comes with a red/green celophane viewer in a cardboard frame that you hold up to your eyes for viewing the 3D colored drawings contained in the book (like the old 3D movies in theatres) and it is the most thorough treatment of spark testing I've seen. There are many factors affecting the spark and as Frank Turley pointed out, it is important how you produce a spark for proper reading. Things like length and angle of the spark stream, type and frequency of bursts, distance at which the bursts occur from the wheel, color of the stream, the clarity of the carrier stream all give hints as to the parent material. Some trace elements make a stream lighter and some darker. In addition to a great explanation of spark testing and profuse examples, the book contains charts for nearly 100 varieties of steel, iron, and alloys with the characteristics particular to each in a spark test. I was very fortunate to obtain a copy many years ago from a salesman for Bethlehem Steel when he retired and gave me his library. Maybe somebody will reprint the book if there is enough demand. Neal
  14. Lee Valley cord identifiers work well too-under $8 for a package of ten. http://www.leevalley.com/US/hardware/page.aspx?p=68740&cat=3,43597,50658,68740
  15. Hi Mike, I have a shop in Lancaster, not far west of you. I have been smithing full time for almost 32 years and my daughter is now working with me with plans to take over full-time on my full retirement I do mostly commercial work for the precious metals refining industry and have a fully equipped shop. There are several of us in the area but we don't spend a lot of time on the net-too much real life stuff to do. Feel free to get in touch and stop by for a visit by appointment. I am not in the shop all the time so you would need to call ahead. Neal wells
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