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I Forge Iron


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  1. No matter your air source, you want volume not velocity. The harder you pump, the faster the air moves thru your fire pot. This creates an oxidizing fire. This means too much oxygen. This tends to burn your steel. Perhaps your bellows are too small. My leaves were made from a 4'x8' piece of plywood and we're at least 3'x5', if not a bit bigger.
  2. A few observations. First, as I remember my two chambered bellows, you are working too hard. I think it needs a "tune up". I'm going from my known 2 chamber to your multi chambered bellows. So I will describe my setup and perhaps it will help. I has a rope hanging from the lever at my end. I balanced the bellows by adding and subtracting horse shoes. When I pulled down the bottom leaf rose to the top. When I let go, I always did it when it was fully up. When the air goes from the bellows thru the narrow outlet, there is resistance. I added horse shoes so that the free "drop" took about as much time as It did when I pulled it down manually. It was also set up so that the "go down" time manually or by gravity equalled the "go up" time with no work from me. This gave me a constant draft and no gusts. Thus I could do a slow steady pull down, and get an equal volume of air going into my fire pot on either stroke. The slow steady pull meant minimal work and if I needed more air, I could get it by pulling down a bit faster. I believe you need to work with your bellows enough to at least get the gusts out of your fire pot.
  3. The purpose of a clinker breaker is to easily remove ash and clinker fines without having to take your fire apart to do so. Also it looks like your air inlet is not horizontal. I suspect your air pipe will fill up with ash whenever you dump it.
  4. How easy is it to lift it out and rotate it edge down? It looks like it would be hard to remove and rotate. Also, it looks top heavy. Is it stable when rotating it, or does it want to tip over?
  5. I'm sure that everybody knows where steel wool comes from,,,. A hydraulic ram,,,.
  6. I did a trellis job ~5 years ago. It's outside and I'm near Durango, Co. I used a hot oil finish and prepped the client on the need to rub it down with either linseed/ turps cold or a carnuba based furniture polish once a year or so. They do this in the spring and in the fall. I let them know that if you do this it will develop a beautiful russet patina. It's developing a rich deep red finish at the moment. Basically they wipe it down lightly with fine sandpaper to remove loose rust and bring out fine highlights. Then they apply the cold finish.
  7. It's easier to turn a scroll on a straight piece of iron. I do my bends in my vice with scrolling wrench and bending forks. You can support the scroll with a stand to keep all in plain
  8. Luckily it was only flat on the top side.
  9. A "minor" error. I wasn't double striking so it couldn't be a chord. Perhaps he said C flat, and I've embellished it over the years.
  10. Time to forge "presentable" work? There used to be a 7 year apprenticeship. I'd say that's pretty close to grasp our tools and technique
  11. I had a musician friend of mine check the ring of my anvil. He said it rang in C minor. So, when asked if I play any musical instrument, I always answer,,, "Yes, I play the anvil in C minor".
  12. All my thoughts to your sister and her loved ones!
  13. 1) your welds are the toughest to deal with for a hot oil finish. These welds are "brightwork" and must be heated to a good red and wirebrushed to restore the black iron. 2) basically indoors the finish lasts indefinitely. Considering the forged aspect, I suggest to my clients that they treat it like a good piece of furniture and rub it down with a carnauba based furniture polish ever so often. 3) no. If done properly it is clean. My process after applying a hot oil finish is to clean it with denatured alcohol. Then I apply cold a light coat of carnauba based furniture or car wax and buff it up. Another light wipe with alcohol and see if the black smudges are gone. This will also develop some brighter highlights that I really like.
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