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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Austin, TX


  • Location
    Austin, TX
  • Biography
    Occasional amateur blacksmith
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  • Occupation
    Computer Programmer

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  1. I too was turned off by the high cost of vises (personally, I blame Forged in Fire), and their extreme scarcity. I took a different approach, though, fabricating mine out of 1" rebar using a $100 HF welder. Rob
  2. I took a page from the college where I took the class I mentioned. 7018 was kept in a rod oven, but 6011 was just kept in bins. I just got some fresh 7018 today, but I will have to dress my coupons. They are pretty rusty.
  3. I do have training materials, some from Lincoln, but none of them answer the question I asked. They show examples of "travel speed too high/too low", "amperage too high/too low", etc. but as I said, since they are good welders, they can easily modify their technique to show off what happens when only one of the variables is wrong. If I were interested in doing this for money, a school would obviously be a worthwhile investment, but since I am not, I am seeking something more informal. I looked into retaking the same class I took about a year ago and found the prices had quintupled, plus with COVID, it's currently on hold. While I don't expect anyone here to be able to say, "here's what you're doing wrong" without watching me do it, I was hoping someone could advise "first practice your arc length" if that's a thing. It sounds like IronDragon is indeed advising that's the first thing to master. It also sounds like I might need to use 7018 to exaggerate any issues. Is that fair to say?
  4. Unfortunately that link only has the table of contents and a little of the first chapter. That said, I have been watching a number of videos from weld.com, Tulsa Welding School, et al. but part of the problem is that they are all such good welders that if they are showing poor technique, they can isolate it down to one variable, whereas I am likely screwing up several things at once, hence my question about which to master first and how to tell when you have. Getting coached by a good welder would be good, but the only one I know lives in another city. FTR, I am running 6011 at 90 amps with a 10% hot start (99 amps for the 1st few secs) on 1/8” plate (maybe 3/16). I was getting thin beads (about 1/4”) which didn’t appear to be too high nor noticeably V-shaped. The weld didn’t look too dragged out, but certainly wasn’t a stack of dimes. I was grinding them off today and didn’t notice pockets of slag or porosity. I hardly have a trained eye though and might not be seeing all my mistakes. I mostly do this to make tools for blacksmithing, so I can do it well enough to get it to work, but it would be nice to be able to mean to make the welds I make. If I lay bead after bead, it’s hard to see how I will improve if I don’t know what’s causing my issues. Thanks, Rob
  5. No, while I’m not a total novice, it wouldn’t be at all accurate to say I am rusty. The classes amounted to about 100 hours of instruction and practice, but I can’t say I really got the hang of it and we weren’t pursuing certifications or anything like that. It was more of a survey course where they exposed us to different processes (OA, brazing, stick, MIG and TIG). I wouldn’t be able to weld anything structural. The beads I have been making are no good but I am not sure if it’s travel speed, amperage, arc length or, more likely, all 3. That’s why I want to know if there is an order in which you should master these and how to tell when you have. Do I need to use a different rod for practicing e.g. 7018? I always regarded that as something you used once you had mastered welding. That said, five pounds of Lincoln rod are about $15 at Home Depot.
  6. I took a continuing Ed course at the local community college about 20 years ago but haven’t stick welded much since. After years of wanting it, I finally got 220 installed in my garage and fired up my old Lincoln AC/DC 225/125 and tried welding a couple of projects. While they stuck together, the welds were pretty ugly and I had fits trying to get the arc started without sticking like crazy. I have had my eye on an Everlast stick/TIG machine for years and finally ordered one off Amazon ($414 shipped for a 160STH). I decided to start doing some practicing on a coupon, trying to lay a straight bead. All I have at home is some old ESAB 6011 rod (and some hard facing rod) so, I was practicing with the 6011. Naturally, my beads look terrible, but I am not sure what I should concentrate on first to make them better. Should it be arc length, rod angle, travel speed, or do I have to concentrate on all that at once to master it? Thanks, Rob
  7. I used an old wooden planter box to make a JABOD forge last spring and rebuilt it recently after it sagged and the bottom boards fell out. The tuyere pipe is 1” black pipe connected to a hair dryer. The end is about 2” below the top of the space for the fuel and sis dug out about 2-3” below that. in the spring, I could get welding heat no problem using TSC rice coal, but since it kept turning into a tar ball and blocking the air supply (I was raking it out about every five heats), I decided to switch to using some coke I have. Getting it lit is not an issue, but it seems to burn awfully cold and it’s really difficult to heat up metal. Coals above the air inlet more than two inches have about the intensity of a small camp fire even with the air on full blast. This afternoon, I lit some lump charcoal and wood scraps to see it was getting enough air. The coals were getting blown out as they burned down, but I certainly wasn’t getting the fires xx Xxxx that I would expect. Any ideas here? Too little fuel? Too much air? I can’t seem to get a consistent fire at all. Last weekend, I went from waiting 5 or more minutes for a dull red to pulling out a sparkler after a couple of minutes. Thanks, Rob
  8. A lot of articles on blacksmithing emphasize the importance of rebound when determining the quality of an anvil. I believe the idea is that this somehow makes the metal move more easily by resisting the force of the hammer blow from the underside. Please correct me if I am wrong about that. Given that we are hitting hot metal which has next to no rebound, I am not quite sure I see the point. It seems to me that mass under the hammer and securely fastening makes more difference. That said, I am not a professional smith and have only a tiny fraction of the experience of some of those here. Can you please enlighten me? Thanks, Rob
  9. Black powder. To be clear, this isn't a project I am currently working on, it's just something on my bucket list. I am familiar with The Colonial Gunsmith, first seeing it in the early 80s, and where I first fell in love with blacksmithing. I finally got ahold of Foxfire 5, but haven't heard about that issue of Anvil. My question is how you would handle welding a barrel without a striker or power hammer. Does that article cover it? By the way, I would never get my face near a barrel that hadn't been proofed. Thanks, Rob
  10. If you had to make a forge welded tube a la Wallace Gusler for a rifle barrel, by yourself and without a power hammer, how would you do it? The bit I can't figure out is how to insert a mandrel and make a weld without losing the heat. Also, does anyone know if there is a scarf and what it looks like? Thanks, Rob
  11. I was looking up prices for new 1018 5/8" square bar from some local suppliers and was shocked to see the price was around $3/lb.. Is this typical? Thanks, Rob
  12. What kind of breaker did you need? Also, if time is not an issue, can you weld thicker steel with multiple passes with one of these on 110v? Thx
  13. I would use 220 if I could, but you're missing the point. I want to know what one of these 110 stick (NOT fcaw) machines CAN do. I see that my link to Amazon is gone, but for those who are trying to figure out what I have in mind, think Everlast 140ST. That one is 110 only, iirc, and comes with TIG accessories, but there are similar dual voltage welders which just come with a stinger and not a TIG torch.
  14. Great success! I found rice coal and only used one dryer. Unfortunately, now it’s a little too hot... Got to put a choke on it. thanks for all your help!
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