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I Forge Iron


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About PJames

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    Shreveport, LA
  1. I broke my wood chipper about the same time Harbor Freight was putting their small flux-core welder on sale. I watched a bunch of you-tube videos and then bought myself the welder and all the safety equipment I thought I would need for a while.i had always feared getting eye or skin damage (I already have skin cancer) so I got what I needed. So far I have only made 2 projects outside of just playing.The first was my fabricating a wheeled cart to put the welder on. made that out of scrounged metal and wheels. The second was to repair the wood chipper so now I am back in business with that
  2. Almost all communities have a 'votec' school around.Some are under a local Jr. college, some stand on their own. Look at what they offer. I doubt you will find blacksmithing courses per se, but you will find welding, machining, auto body work etc. All these are good foundation education with the added benefit that you can get a real paying job after you finish. Then apply this base knowledge to your desire to blacksmith which you can do on the side. Just my 2 cents...but without some major finacial support to buy equipment and support yourself , you might find blacksmithing a tough road to
  3. I recently pulled all the interior out of my gas forge and rellined the 5 gallon bucket I was using with a couple inches of kaowool. I used the same refractory cement i used the first time, but it started flaking and chipping off. It was not exposed to rain but it was to the high humidity. The refractory insulation I had bought looked like chipped up insulation mixed with a little cement. I went to a ceramics store hoping to find some kaolin ( the woman running the shop had no idea what I was talking about) or at least 'porcelin' mix which i figured was laregly kaolin. She was out of it, so
  4. I just broke out the coating and pulled the kaowool from my forge and relined it. The stuff was cracking and chipping badly. Im thinking I did not apply the hard coating properly. I used insulating cement from the place I got my kkowool from. It looks like insulation mixed with a little motor and hardens but still has some give to it. My question is how thick should that layer be? I smeared it on by hand to coat the wool fairly well and I think I might have 1/4 inch layer but probably not much more consistently. Should I apply more? Once it dries, I will paint it with Plistix that I bought a
  5. Dave...I enjoyed your video and am gathering the parts to make aburner now. Did I understand that the tip of the mig fitting is to be at the bottom of the holes? So all the air comes in above the propane?
  6. As a complete rank beginner, I bought a Harbor freight anvil on sale for less than $40..not a bank breaker... I know it will not last long, but is serviceable for now. I also found a piece of I beam that i use as well. Alot of the time, I turn the I beam on edge to use it as a fuller or swage (inside corners). A cheap alternative.
  7. I'm old enough to NEED a treadle hammer, but too inexperienced to put one to good use. Plus definately too CHEAP to buy one....(right now anyway..) :)
  8. I have not been smithing for more than 3 weeks but today had to refrbish my forge. I was considering just throwing the thing away and building a new one then figured I would be ahead of the game by fixing the old one. The original: I used layers of kawool, Ech was inch thick. I offset the join in the kaowool so as NOT to have a thin spot. I then covered the ceramic fiber with a layer of refractory cement that I bought locally. It was adry mix that really looked like insulation mixed with mortar. I'm not sure it is rated high enough. The company I bought it from said 2300 degrees but the bag
  9. In watching a heck of alot of You-tube videos and seeing posts here I seem to have noticed that coal or ('m guessing) charcoal forges allow better control over the heating of the material being worked. Particularly where the heat is wanted to be localized. I live in the south and coal is almost unknown as a heat source. Charcoal is considered something you use for a bar-b-que. Unless you buy special coal and ship it in you can use or make your own charcoal. So that leads me to a couple questions. I have seen comments it takes several times more charcoal by bulk to get the same amount wei
  10. I got one of those deep fryer hoses and regulators. Problem with it is no gauge. Right now I use a venturi style burner and I get good forging temps butnot welding temps. For now it is adequate to learn basic skills, but I will need to make a better burner soon.
  11. I was not about to try to get the pieces perfectly straight. I wanted to just have usable pieces. I did measure wrong (but at least I was consistent) makeing the pieces 14 inches long instead of 15 like I had thought..I was back on the tracks yesterday looking to see what I could find. I wasn't interested in spikes as I have enough but found a couple of those plates they use to hold the ties down, a really big bolt and something that looks like a tow bar with a U piece on the end.. That piece is going to be a bending fork. I cut it off this afternoon and squared the shaft to fit a hardy hole
  12. This afternoon/evening I straightened out one of those coils. I viewed it as an exercise in hammer control, seeing how metal should go, etc. As inexperienced as I am it is good practice. I also walked some RR tracks today and picked up some plates and some other metal , like big bolts etc that I can make use of. I have to work tomorrow at the hospital but when I get home I will try to get busy and do something some of this steel. I have pretty much decided that unless I REALLY need a specific piece of metal for a certain project, I will use scrounged stuff. ie I am not into this to make a p
  13. I understand the math.... I do it when I figure what I need.. My point with the original post was just how much material is in a single coil spring. A "lotta bang for your buck" . as you will.
  14. Wow, I had no thought of possibly breaking even on this new 'hobby'. I started to look at it because of a desire to have fun making something useful from crap I scavenged or traded for. Also I knew my maternal great-grandfather was a smith. When I took my first successful set of tongs and a RR spike knife over to show my parents last week, my 80 year old mother almost cried.... Her comment of "Oh how I wish my Grandfather was here to see this!!" kinda touched me too... I figured that at best I might make a few things ( mundane to most here but unique to my family/friends) to give away f
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