M. Demetrius

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About M. Demetrius

  • Rank
    Junior Member

Contact Methods

  • Yahoo


  • Location
    Manor, TX
  • Biography
    Started blacksmithing to be able to make iron objects for Roman hobby
  • Interests
    Roman 1st Century, 1880s Texas reenacting, blacksmithing, taking a nap, reading the Bible.
  • Occupation
    caretaker for stroke-recovering wife
  1. Some old knives have file remnants left in the blade to show they were made of high carbon metal, rather than softer iron. If it were up to me, I'd say leave them.
  2. For hobnails, hardening isn't really desirable. They'll outlast the leather in the shoes, no matter what (except for the ones that disappear because they weren't clinched properly--which requires softer metal. I'd think and ash bucket to drop them in might be the way to go, but hey, what do I know? Let 'em be soft, says I. The cones are still harder than dirt, y'know.
  3. I found the spline end of a truck driveshaft lying by the road. It has the spline, some kind of housing, a 1 ft length of driveshaft and the U-joint with its mount. Are any parts of that higher quality steel? The spline is about 3" in diameter, which makes me think of a dumptruck or something.
  4. Seems like a lot to draw out for the shaft, but you're probably doing it the right way. Do you have a power hammer?
  5. OK< next dumb pilum question. For those with a flat tang, do you fold back and forge weld the metal to get more material there, or do you draw out the entire shaft from thicker stock. Seems like there's only those two ways to go, and both involve some significant work...I've put down the pilum project for quite a while, but it's floating back up to the top of the list. I think the most likely way I'll attempt next is to draw a point about 3" long, turn it back onto itself and attempt to forge weld it. Then, when I make that trapezoidal tang, there should be from twice as much metal at the large end to a single thickness at the point. Am I overthinking this? If you flatten, say, a 3/8" square bar out to 1 1/4" wide at the large end of the tang, it's really thin there, and not much thicker as you work up to the full thickness at the end of the collet. Many pila I made way back when (small bottle propane torch: yikes!) were very weak at that point. How do the big boys do it?
  6. Very nice work. When you made that collet for the "regular" pilum, did you start with a cut piece of square tubing and stretch it into the pyramidal shape? Do you do Roman somewhere? I'm in the Tenth Fretensis HQ in Houston, TX
  7. At least you didn't have to light the fire in the forge for that...
  8. Thanks Ferrarivs. I don't mind the hole so much, because I suspect it would save a few minutes at the forge, and the people making the originals had thousands to make when they geared up. Thousands of few minutes saved makes a few days saved. Might save a slave smith a flogging, and that's always good.
  9. Thanks for the good info. Should I put this hobnail bit in another thread? I don't want to be a hijacker. Here's a sketch of the hobnails. I plan to scale them down to 1/4" diameter and height from the artist's 5/16". Seems like the heading tool could be made by drilling a bar into its end, maybe 3/16" diameter and depth, then heating that drilled end and forcing a "right shaped" 1/4" punch into the hole. That should widen and deepen it enough to do the task. I guess I'd need to figure out how to harden the tool, probably just after it cooled down to red with a quick quench in water? Which would be less fatiguing over a run of a hundred or two nails--a direct straight punch type, or a handled tool type? Obviously the plain punch would be easier to make...but wood handled tools have advantages, too, once made.
  10. Whew! When I saw the title, the first thought that came to mind was, "Don't ever contact orange steel! It will burn the heck out of you before you realize it!" I feel a little better now.
  11. I have a question about a "special nail". Specifically conical headed hobnails, like would be found on Roman military boots. The diameter of the cone end should be about 1/4" to 5/16". The height of the cone ought to be at least a quarter inch. The shaft of the nail (not important if it's flat or round) has to be about 1/2", so it can go through a couple of layers of sole leather and still have enough to clinch over. It takes about a hundred to make a pair of boots. Being basically a bonehead, and a beginner, I can't figure out how to make these. Anybody got a good idea? (heck, even a mediocre idea would help...) The only thing I've though of so far is to make a conical tool to hammer down over the really hot metal of the nail. IOW, knock the longer-than-usual head end into the cone shape, using a conical socket. Does that make any sense? Sounds like a torch would be a better heat source than the forge for something that small. Then I guess I could use a thin piece of mild steel stock, form the point, set in a header, heat, put the cone on top and smack it a time or two to form the head. Am I thinking right for a change?
  12. I was told for torch welding (and presumably forge welding) that green shade 4 is safe, too. Were they telling me rightly? That's what I bought, on the recommendation of the welding supply guy. I wear glasses, and these safety/color glasses fit on just fine over my glasses. It's hard to see at night working at the forge, though, because once I look away from the fire, everything is very dim. Should I light the area more with regular light to overcome this? I also have a full face shield in 4. In some ways, especially when it's hot weather (Texas) that is nicer, because I can be shielded and then bare face for a breeze with just one little adjustment.
  13. You could just get a yard or two of cotton flannel from the fabric store or WalMart, and tear it to the size you need. Flannel is available in all kinds of colors and prints to suit your liking, is machine washable, and doesn't cost much. It's pretty absorbent, too. Woven fabric like flannel will tear in a straight line along the weave, so it's pretty easy to get a square. If you want to get really uptown, you can put a narrow hem in the outer edges. Or just serge or zigzag stitch over the edges, to help prevent unraveling. Beware, they may call you a Pirate, matey! Arrr.
  14. I bought what they said was a "spud wrench" at a junk store. It looked like about a 1 1/4 inch open ended wrench with a marlinspike at the end of the handle. I cut it, drew part of it into a spike, bent it over, and boing! a stump bick. Got the spike red, and hammered it down into the stump. Smoked like crazy for a while. When it stopped, I gave it a couple more hits to set it and it seems fairly secure for the time being. My daughter said, "Why did you need to make a handle for a stump? Where are you going to carry it?" Sigh.
  15. Thanks, Dave. It's exactly like a miniature socketed pilum. These are Late Republic/Principate era javelins. I think they got simpler under Augustus and beyond, leaving out the central shaft. But you gotta love the look of these, don't you? Sleek. So the metal gradually thickens as it approaches the shaft? That would be easier and a couple of heats less than having to make that trapezoid first. I don't really see it's being easy to eliminate that gap where the two figures merge. There will probably be a hole or space of one kind or another at the upper end of the cone. Is that normative? Are you with a group in UK? I'm hooked up with Terry Nix's Leg XF in Texas.