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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 won't have a chance to play with this new toy till tomorrow, but the plan is to re route the cutout that fits my 104 PW in the live oak stump to fit the slightly larger base of the 161PW and then use it a bit! New anvil is about an inch taller so it might be too high. I could fab a new stand but I'd rather forge now and fabricate later. Always been a fan of wooden anvil stands, but the scrap pile might have enough stock to fab up a tripod stand from square tube and plate.
  2. I just got a deal (by Left Coast standards anyway) on my second anvil! I was getting ready to take the dogs to the park, my phone was close to dead so I sat down to let it charge a bit before heading out. Saw the craigslist ad for a 161 pound Peter Wright, (my current anvil is a 104 lb PW), fired off an email and then, reading the listing more carefully, actually texted the guy as per the instructions, 'is this still availabe?' text fires right back 'yes it is'. Check the traffic and its 30 minutes south of me (San Francisco Bay Area) Hop in the car, text the guy I'll be there soon and hit zero traffic on a Sunday afternoon! Kismet! He's got it loaded on a handtruck already, the cash flew out of my wallet so fast it may have broken the sound barrier! No traffic on the way home either (almost unheard of). A bit heavy to lift by myself, but the pre 1910 (no Patent England) PW loaded into a wheelbarrow and then to the grass outside the smithy, where I could get a hand truck under it. The dogs were really excited when I got back, having seen the 'get ready for a walk' posture before I ran off to buy my 2nd anvil. Been looking for a 150-175 lb anvil for a while now. A double horned German or French Pig anvil would be ideal, but I've been smiling about this 2nd Peter Wright for 3 days now!
  3. Here's mine, rolling metal base with wooden upper bits, made before I had a welder. It'll be rebuilt with metal and welds if it ever falls apart
  4. I have a friend who maintains and repairs industrial lasers. He has a stack of stickers in his toolbox that say 'Do NOT look at laser with Remaining eye". The maintenance clients get fresh stickers every year.
  5. Mine is just above waist height, about 40 or 42 inches off the ground. On a rolling cart with some firebrick and steel plate under it to bring it up to there. I'd had it both higher (PITA to support long bars in the forge) and lower, but the current height for my 6 foot self works well. I can lean my head and upper body backwards to see the heat the steel has. Now I need to figure out a good door configuration for the Freon canister gas forge, the firebricks piled in front of the opening are falling apart.
  6. Nice! I’d be digging in that shed to see what else might be in there
  7. Finished up a ‘blacksmiths helper’ stock stand. 1/2 inch square and a scrap cast iron base from a commercial fireplace set. Topped with a test piece for a sea dragon that’s another WIP. Should have made a monkey tool for the riveted tenon, it might have gone on straighter
  8. Thanks for the tip, Forge and Clay (I have a friend whose business is Clay & Steel, having started in ceramics and moved to ironwork) Never saw the need to clay this particular firepot, it's a very thick Centaur forge cast iron model, and I"m not really running really big or days long fires that would justify claying it up. I did once clay line my old brake drum forge in an attempt to better direct the airflow and fuel burning, but the clay would start to expand and come apart after a half dozen uses. Ended up cutting and shaping firebrick to get me the firepot shape I needed. Last year some friends were forging a 5 foot tall, 200 pound anchor from 3x3 square, running 100 pounds of coke a day for a few weeks in a big, heavy railroad forge. They cracked that firepot and the forge table before they were done. Lead smith on that project said he'd clay the forge next time (after they got it welded back together). The long, soaking heats to get 3 inch square up to working temps, and the amount of fuel they were burning day after day, really took a toll on that cast iron forge.
  9. Got this great heavy dolly for free a little while back. And the forge table has been feeling low at 28 inches to the rim. Cut the dolly and welded in some 2 inch angle so it fits under the forge legs and brings the top up to a nice waist high 36 inches. Plumbed and ducted an electric blower for those projects (thick wrought and bloomery iron) the hand crank, and my arm, are not quite up for. Too hot to light a fire and try it out yesterday, but maybe this weekend
  10. all us California smiths are dealing with the loss of Uncle Joe. He will be missed
  11. the big post vise (5 inch?) was mounted to a section of 2x6 lag bolted thru the studs on the shop wall. Stuff kept coming OFF the wall in the shop so a free standing vise stand was bolted together (pre welder) from a cafe table stand, some random diamond plate I had on hand and a big cast iron sheave pulley for the base. The sheave pulley was a failed flywheel-on-a-treadle-lathe project. Second vise, a 4 inch and was mounted at right angles to the bigger one on the stand.
  12. Thanks, I appreciate the endorsement. I've got a hand cranked blower but lately I've been working with some 1.25 inch wrought iron and some chunks of bloomery iron and I just can't seem to crank fast enough to keep those big chunks at welding heat.
  13. Pile of scrap free for the taking from a neighbor a few blocks away. some 18" pipe sections, lots of 1/2" square shorts, triangular off cuts, heavy bar and rod. Also cleaned up an 8# sledge head. when the rust came off the face and peen were nicely hardened and polished up to the limit of the sanding disk I had. Will swap out to a belt grinder to get the nicks out. The sledge came with an electric blower that will be nice to mount on the forge.
  14. Congratulations! I've also got a 7/8 hardy hole (104# PW) and finally got around to making a 7/8 hole in a plate of thick steel to act as a bottom swage for making tooling.
  15. Garage sale near home showed up on Craigslist. Picked up the old sledge hammer head and a Dayton electric forge blower, both for $10. Had to drive the broken handle stub out of the eye, which looks like it was punched by hand. I'm guessing 6 or 7 lbs, but haven't put it on the scale yet, need to clean it up, grind out the chips in the peen and handle it. Very compact and I really like the round notches style of these old hammer heads (I find a lot of them in garages, the narrow spaces between the garage door and the wall always seems to have a sledge or two in there)