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About anvil

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  1. There lies the answer. It's the aesthetic you create and this is what sells a "Craftsman's" work. But first, there should be no moral judgment. Quite frankly if what turns your clock is to creat your work "by hammer in hand", then go for it. On the other hand, if a combo of contemporary and traditional float yer boat then a big high five. Any other reason than this is just unneeded justification. They, in our age, are two different pathways to a very satisfying way to make a living. Back to aesthetic. What is this aesthetic? Well, it's hard to pin down. For me, I can look at a piece of iron from say, gothic to now and know it is "forged iron". Somehow, just how it looks defines this to me. Do I know that "power tools" haven't been used? Nope., It just looks like forged iron. Well, that is the aesthetic I strive to have in all my work. And the primary tools to get this aesthetic are a forge, anvil, hammer, and a wire brush. However, It's appropriate for me to use any tool I choose as long as it doesn't take away from that aesthetic. Here's an example. I know that if I have a piece of work and the texture is there, if I use a grinder on this piece, it will remove this texture . I do know how to restore this texture if I choose to grind it. The choice is based on time and material. If the time to make a new one beats the grinder routine, my scrap pile grows, if not, I grind and restore. The critical point is the final aesthetic,,, in this case texture. Here's the kicker. When you first start out let's say you recognize this aesthetic, and want to pursue it, but you have no clue how to produce it, then you hit your first catch 22. "If I don't use this (torch, welder, grinder" I'll never make any money. So you grind it. You cover it up with two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Texture difference is gone. But your texture aesthetic is gone too because, perhaps a hot oil finish is needed to get what you were trying to get. Or maybe you did a hot oil finish over your grind,,, and saw the glaring difference between a forged finish vs brightwork. So you have saved time and gained some good learning. And here comes direction choices. An immense learning curve vs economics. Yes, Yellen and most, if not all Smith's of his caliber used the new power tools. They had a lifetimes experience dealing with this aesthetic thing and had no problem using them in a profitable manor that did not change their aesthetic. Some of them even treated a welded bead as a design detail instead of grinding it and hiding it.
  2. Lol, you guys,,, dingmarks solutions,,,. Bend it, don't forge it. If you have something under your iron when you hit it, you change the cross section. If there is nothing under your iron when you hit it, you bend it. Bending it shouldn't cause dingmarks,, but it can.. If you are dinging it when you are bending, or scrolling, you are hitting it too hard. Hammer control solves that. Spirals are good ways to practice scrolling and developing good hammer control. If there are any ding marks, they are covered up by each new revolution. Thus you have just participated in a ,,, "cover-up". Hopefully by the time you do the outer ring, your ding marks will be gone or very small if you open your spirals, the movement of the hot iron,scale, and a good wirebrush will pretty near remove any of those pesky dings. Thus no need for a wooden hammer.
  3. Great vids! Nobody has mentioned slitting and drifting the eye. No loss of material when done this way.
  4. Use a hot oil finish linseed oil, turpentine, beeswax. 50/50 and beeswax to taste.I like it liquid so add a walnut size beeswax when I use a pint of each. Clean it with alcohol then rub some Johnson past wax or any carnuba based furniture polish on and you will have a good durable finish.
  5. Deep scaling can cause a similar texture
  6. Depending on your situation, I'd consider mounting it permanently on a stump set in the ground. In my opinion a stump 2' or so in the ground is the best stand for a permanent situation. If you need to move it, rr track is overkill for a 242# anvil. 1/4" angle, 3 or 4 legs, will work fine.
  7. I have made my spirals in a number of ways. I prefer turning them over the edge of the anvil as if I were making a scroll. Then, like making a scroll, rotate the spiral 180 and roll them on the face with more or less horizontal blows. Watch for looseness and don't let it get out of control. It's hard, but not impossible to correct if the gap is within the spiral, but it's much easier to correct when it's not under the top wind. Catch it as it happens and rotate it back 180, hang it over the far edge and tighten it up. If it gets out of plane, then level it on the face of the anvil. When you reheat it, place it in the fire spiral up. This way your finished wraps stay cool . I'm not much for jigs and stress that hammer control has always been my goal.
  8. I don't think you have to worry about fire. In normal use, nothing hot enough to cause a fire should be on the top of your pine stand. Hot iron that isn't in my forge goes on the ground till cool. Hot tools are the same. They are usually left on my anvil step or cooled in water and put away. Hot Cut ends fall to the floor. The only thing that ends up on your stand is scale which wont cause a problem. Also, insetting your anvil into the stand is a good idea. If its deep enough and a snug enough fit, you wont need chain. And, consider using a fine sand instead of rubber to set your anvil on. This deadens the sound and makes it very easy to level your anvil. And, I'm sure, scale is hot enough to at least add the smell of hot rubber to your shop.
  9. One thing thing on your cross parts is that the twists don't match. You can do this using a can of water and a torch. With the can of water you can cool small areas and add heat with a torch. Cool it where the twist is good and add heat where the twist needs to be opened or tightened up. Then twist till you are satisfied. This works with a forge and can of water only, but adding a torch to get a "localized heat" is very precise and saves time. You have flat spots on the non twisted sections where the feet are. The easiest way here to correct this is by using bending forks and scrolling wrenches, all easily made.
  10. This is always my starting point on any major commission. Given that, and a bit more customer input I do a preliminary design to meet those criteria. I then often choose to add my own details to enhance the design that I want to learn or increase my skill level by doing the needed repetition. This falls under the heading of paying for my learning. This works at any level from the simple to the sublime. Got an order for "S" hooks? Try turning them on the diamond instead of the flat and learn how. It doesn't take any more time to do it either way. It does take a bit more hammer control. Do you usually turn them on a jig? Charge your jig price and invest in developing your eye and hammer control and turn them free handed. And thats how I get paid fairly for a job and increase my skill level at my own expense at the same time. How much "extra" to add? That depends on you, how Hungary you are at the moment vs how dedicated you are to increasing your skills. It's always a trade-off. Of course, this works best with one off commissions, not production work. Bidding commission work is tough and there are no real guidelines to follow. Production work, on the other hand can and should be set up to follow the wealth of knowledge available for " how to run a business". Usually, and very generally, if your direction is commission work, following the well established guidelines concerning much of what we speak of here on how to run a blacksmithing business, will lead to failure. I believe it's critical when giving out business advice that it is made clear which are you dealing with. As far as which course should you follow, well it's my opinion that the Advent of the industrial revolution made being a production "village Smith" type smith or to make a line of historical reproduction anything a low income business far better suited for an industrial approach. It can be done, but you are competing with everything from "acorn" type stampings to cheap with poor to no quality Mexican, India, etc type imports. If you want to make a decent living in our craft, I believe the industrial approach cannot touch the Craftsman and commission work. With copious amounts of applied experience and dedication, it is an open ended market with very little competetion.
  11. And if you don't have a long enough piece to hand hold, then forge weld up some drop and get her done. Not only are you using up your shop drop, you are getting some good forge welding experience as well.
  12. What a treasured memory! It made my day. Thanks for sharing.
  13. Yes, he and his family are from Oklahoma. His dad was a professor of archaeology/anthro, not sure which, and taught at one of the universities. They came out during the summer to do research and digs in the Sante Fe region. Then around his sophomore year Tom came out and went to work for a hardware Smith. The rest is history. It was fun. He was down by the river and Turley Forge was at the top of the ridge and down and up a bit. There was a trail from Tom's shop that crossed the river to get to town. And a remembered restaurant called, I think, Maria's for dinner. Thanks for the post,,, it's a great memory thread from a special time.
  14. He did not graduate from high school. However, he has far more education than most. His library, even back then, was extensive and quite diverse. I'm pretty sure this was his first shop, but I do not know how he got it.
  15. What Thomas said. And here's the addy to the method he speaks of. It works. There may be alternative rods by other manufacturers that are cheaper.