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About Michael

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    Senior Member

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  • Gender
  • Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
  • Interests
    Old Tools, woodworking, blacksmithing (of course!), poker, cycling, Top Gear, The Woodwright's Shop, books, my lovely wife, my above average kid etc, not necessarily in that (or any other) order.


  • Location
    San Francisco
  • Interests
    Antique hand tools, smithing
  • Occupation

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  1. I have one of these little HF 110 Flux Core welders and I love it! As long as the washing machine isn't running, the breaker doesn't trip and I've yet to run up against the duty cycle yet (which is more about my stop and start welding than the welder!) Great for small jigs and fixtures that I'd previously bolted together. Buy an extra 1 pound spool of wire and plan on burning thru a whole roll to get the hang of these little guys. I've stuck 1/4 inch plate together with it. Took a couple of passes, grinding the welds between and the flux core is almost as messy as stick welding, a can of anti spatter is your friend. The best part is not having to stop a project, gather everything up and get to a "real" welder
  2. I think so, and a freewheel sprocket from a bike so it only engages the gear on a downstroke. I think hardest part would be a arbor the grinding wheel rides on and the tire presses against. Again, I never got around to building this, the scrounging gene in an urban area meant powered grinders found me before this got built.
  3. It seems you have some definite ideas about the treadle grinder you're planning on building. I had also toyed with the idea of casting a concrete/square holed grinding wheel but never got much past the design phase. The design attached has been sitting in my 'projects to do' folder for a long while now, but might help a bit in your design process.
  4. took a day off yesterday to take the car and the dog and my teeth into their respective maintenance appointments. Got the forge lit about 11 AM, nothing like mid week coal burning in the suburbs (gas forge for weekend forging) . Made some pass thru joinery tooling, punch and drift from coil spring, bolster from some axle steel, the end of a hammer attempt that went wonky punching the hole. Finished a set of Ken's Iron tongs, took a while to figure out the bends to make them offset tongs. finally hammered out a 150mm Challenge piece, started at 6 inches (150mm) of 3/4 square. 3/4 is about the limit of what I can move wiht just a hand hammer. Happy how it came out.
  5. Looks like the last anvil stand you're ever going to have to make! Love the plywood Anvil mockup!
  6. Being in often tinder dry California, I have hardware cloth screens screwed in to both the top and bottom of my forge chimney. Not that the coal/coke fire produces a lot of sparks, but you can never be too safe and the effort was not a big deal. I have neighbors on 4 sides, and there are times in the fall when I'll when hose down the grass in the yard, before firing up the forge. It doesn't take much smoke to bring the fire department nowadays. A friend up north in the grass lands would fan exhaust his forge hood horizontally onto a section of the yard with a sprinkler going on it.
  7. I have to agree. There's not much of a need for refractory in a solid fuel forge. When forging with charcoal (before figuring out my neighbors don't care AND i've got the wind on my side) I'd sometimes put a plate of 1/4 inch steel over the forge to try and reflect heat back to get to a welding heat, but that reflection just heated the charcoal into ash before I could get the heat needed for a forge weld. Piling up a huge pile of charcoal was the solution. Now with coke/coal, welding heats are easy, burning heats are even easier!
  8. thank you! the lovely wife made a similar comment, which I take as a hint to remake the thing in 1/4 stock like the other feeders have.. Honestly, I started with the first ungalvanized lag bolt in the pile and was striving for a particular length specified by said lovely wife and didn't pay much attention to the starting stock.
  9. Last week I welded up some channel and bar stock as a forge door frame. Got a deal on some kiln shelving to replace the disintegrating firebricks. The lever action handle concept closes well, and opens well enough to get tongs in there. Next gasser I’ll weld channel directly to the forge shell. This forge is 8 years old and cleaning off the rust might not leave enough metal to weld to! forged out some blanks for flower hooks, and made a new hanger for one of the hummingbird feeders. FullSizeRender.mov
  10. Nice Get!! I'd stand it on end and box that end up in wood. You would not need much of a stump to bring the whole thing up to a nice working height.
  11. I'm set up in a residential neighborhood and when lighting up a coal fire, I try to keep a good bright flame burning to keep the green/yellow smoke at bay. Not much heating of metal going on at first, but a good 10 or 15 minutes managing the fire, opening the top to keep a tall, wide flame going and eat up all the coal smoke goes a long way towards keeping the fire department at bay. Once a nice double handful of coal has coked down to be reasonably smoke free, I can pile green coal around the perimeter of the fire, wet it down and if the smoke gets to be a problem, open the top of the fire again to burn it off. At least in my neighborhood, a plume of smoke will get the neighbor s to call the fire department. This is exactly why I buy a bag of coke whenever I'm at a blacksmith event or hammer in.
  12. Workshop about 90 minutes away on Saturday to make tools for the CBA Education trailer. Got to strike and direct making bottom swage, and break in a nice old 8 pound sledge, recently found and re handled.. Then on Sunday the local scrap place had beer kegs again! After burning a hole in the bottom of the quench bucket, I've been looking for a small keg to use. A pleasant hour with an angle grinder cut the top off. Local brewery that I have to try, they have a red ale that looks promising.
  13. After taking down the holiday lights and tree, had a little bit of time to redo the hood over the coal forge. Original was some 8 inch ducting, poked thru the leaky part of the patio roof, ('honey, I'm only enlarging a hole that's already there") when the first brake drum/furnace blower/charcoal forge was set up back in 2004. The "hood" was some floor register duct with some flashing screwed to it. Most of the smoke goes up it, and there's hardware cloth screwed into the duct at top and bottom to act as spark/ember stops. I recently banged the "hood" with a long bar and the rust gave way, leaving bits of it hanging down into the forge. Now the scrap pile has a section of ducting bits and bobs that might come in handy someday. There's square duct that will one day make a Hofi style chimney, a turbine top, some restaurant hood parts etc. One part of 10 inch duct I thought looked kind of like a forge hood, and after months of searching scrap dealers for a 10 to 8 inch transition without any luck, found one at the local big box retailer. Some trimming, (Beverly shear) some bending (Pexto sheet metal pliers) and some hammering and sheet metal screws and there's new Ugly Ducting! The airflow is good enough that it never gets too hot to touch so I don't worry about the galvanized. Honestly, working with coke, there's not much smoke save for when the forge is first fired up, but the scrap pile was reduced some, which is always good to point out to the spouse.
  14. Nice anvil, great stand on that blower! Cream Separators are the top of the line for reuse as bases for other equipment. As long as it still blows when you put it back together, you're golden. Now put a forge together and get to hammering! Charcoal is a usable fuel if you can't find coal or coke nearby. You are off to a great start!
  15. This was a commissioned project for a buddy's aquatic themed woodworking bench. A "Leafy Sea Dragon" bracket that will hold a swing out shelf with an oil wick (wood plane lube) and a beeswax block. Learned the Sea Horse scale technique from another smith friend who teaches, added a dragon head and, after months of futzing around trying to make the 'leafy" bits from forged bar stock, I pulled out the Beverly shear and cut them from I guess 20 gauge mild steel sheet? A little shaping in the mini gas forge and some nails for rivets and its done. All the leafy bits took a day once I stopped trying to hard. Swings on the bracketed post that the workbench maker helped to punch the holes in. He's going to weld a plate for the shelf onto the back of the dragon.