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Everything posted by anvil

  1. alas, no. I was unable to make it. My "shop kit", a load of logs, arrived on Friday and needed attending till yesterday.
  2. 1) Name: Lee 2) Location: under the shadow of the Sleeping Ute. 3) What type blacksmithing do you do, what do you make: Traditional architectural blacksmith. what do I make? Literally anything I can get in my fire. I started off doing crafts fairs and demonstrating at various places. I went to every possible workshop and volunteered to other working Smith's to work for them for room and board on a per job basis. The learning I got doing this as a general smith was intense. I did everything from drilling holes on a fine railing to helping another Smith get out an order for 500 "S" hooks. Not to mention doing a few hundred or so grapes for a grape leaf chandelier. Lol, he insisted I do these to dimension,,, 5/8". After I made about a hundred he said I could go ahead and vary them from 1/2" to 7/8"! He later told me he had gone thru a number of others who could not consistently forge them to 5/8". I guess I passed his test! 4) How and when did you get started in blacksmithing: Lol, I'd like to say "when I was 5 or 6 as this is my first memory of a blacksmith. And it's still strong. My dad took me to a "western town" and I can still see the mind pic of the dummy blacksmith sitting in a rocking chair with tools strewn helter skelter around the shop! I finally got a rocker,,, I'm almost there! My real start came when I was 17 and I became a farrier with the full intent of becoming a reeeel blaaaaksmith, even though I had no true concept of what that meant. Nearly 60 years later I'm still at it and building my "dream shop". 5) What object or thing did you use as your first anvil: RR track 6) Tell us about your first forge, hole in the ground, camp fire, brake drum, stacked bricks: my first forge was the bottom of an old cast water heater, three tee posts, a twyre made from two pieces of 1-1/4" pipe. My blower was a 12 volt car heater. At the same time a friend and I, in my grandfather's garage, built a barely doable dry-layed brick forge and a very fine great bellows that we built. 7) Who assisted you or encouraged you in the craft: Too many to list and the list is still growing. To highlight a few. Frank Turley, Tom Joyce,Francis Whitaker,Russ Sweider,Nick Brumder,Vaclav Jarosh, Jim Selby, Steve Titus. 8) What event changed your attitude about blacksmithing: my time at Turley Forge and the years with Francis Whitaker. 9) What tool has changed or made your life easier in the shop: that's actually a tough one. It's easy to say my 25# lil giant, but that's not the real answer. Getting to the point where a forge weld was easier and quicker to do than using a torch or a welder ranks high. Understanding the concept of a "localized heat" and just how a ox/acetyl torch enhanced this. This was brought home mastering a simple right angle bend, first learned in the forge, then how a local heat made this a truly quick and efficient detail. And last but not the least was learning to forge to dimension and getting to the place where I do this with literally every job I do. 10) What advice would you give those starting out in blacksmithing: blow off the naysayers, they are thick as thieves. This especially includes all those who tell you that in this day and age you can't make a living as a traditional smith. There are many ways to do many things. Never hesitate to learn as many as possible. You will find that some variations are situationally better. However, you will quickly learn that most variations come in second to a few. You will never learn which is what without trying them all. That's called learning. Be efficient. For instance if you find you spend a lot of time walking around your anvil, you are doing something wrong. 11) What advice would you give those already involved in blacksmithing: all the above plus, never forget the 3 "D's". desire, determination, dedication. and "There's plenty of room at the top". thanks to Francis Whitaker for both. 12) What are some of the interesting things that have happened to you in your life as a blacksmith: my journey has taken me from Beverly Hills to Prague.Its brought me in contact with the finest people I could ever imagine, be they customers or other Smith's. Every point on the journey has been significant. Easiest said is I can't imagine any other pathway, for me, being as rewarding, challenging, and ultimately satisfying soul deep!
  3. yup, a real pain. Bottom of the line is a check in a stump happens and is normal. Your stump will not suddenly split in half. So, no band is needed.
  4. I suggest you try burning just your bituminous coking coal by itself. I suspect you will find you get a better coking fire just using it. Also, if you keep the green coal out of your coke, it won't smoke
  5. to add to Jens post, measure with a traveler then cut your stock just undersized so that when you expand it hot it will be able to slide on your stump, then shrink down and put the stump under compression.
  6. back to the OP, if you are making hardware, check out Donald Streeter's book, "Professional Smithing". I believe he shows a hand punch or a shear that he used to blank out colonial hardware. The tool works for many things. Also, as an alternative, you might look into a Beverly shear. A B-3 will shear 3/16" mild steel, and is designed to cut curves. Sweet Bev is a fine tool!
  7. I've not used a box bellows but I have built a great bellows. I agree with Thomas. A great bellows is a joy to use. I used rip stop nylon instead of leather and old pine tongue and groove flooring for the woodwork. I was in a 12'x12' old 1930's garage. I hung it from the ceiling to save space.
  8. H13 is a hot work steel. Yes you can forge it to shape
  9. Welcome to the "Dance of the unsecured anvil stand". I learned it well during my farrier daze.
  10. Coal fines work well in a forge. They will create the same type of enviroment as anything else. I could get it for free at the mine or for a six-pack to the driver, he would load me up. Here's how to use it I use a 5 gallon bucket to hold the fines. Mix well with water until it is like a good mortar mix/slurry. That's it.
  11. Heres an example. This is not from my notebook, but these are the full scale drawings that go on my table as well as in my notebook. This shows the full scale chalk drawing, all transitions and what happens inbetween them, and a "layout stick" that shows the starting length of parent stock and all transitions centerpunched. This layout stick enables me to forge matching pieces and, with my notes and drawings to be able to reproduce it when needed into the future. Thats why transitions are so important. They tell you where something starts and here something ends. Then you need to know how much material you need to create whatever is inbetween. Then you can forge this to whatever you draw. The beauty of this process is that anything I see in my mind, I can draw in chalk, then break it down by transition, figure needed material, then go to the forge and make it. And, of course, do it again anytime in the future and match it. Heres an explanation for one detail. Look at the top drawing. It says 10-3/4. At the bottom you see "SW" and some numbers. SW is my shorthand for "start with". The 1/3 is how I define a taper. I do it as a ratio. Here it means start with 1 unit of parent stock and draw it out to 3 times its length. Back to the top and the right side of the arrow. The line on the diagonal. You see "1/2". This tells me to take 1-1/2" wide parent stock, draw 3-1/2" of it to 10-3/4" and down to 1/2"wide. And the drawing just below the hinge leaf is the layout stick or parent stock needed and layed out to do the forging. Hope this helps. For what its worth I worked with two furniture makers and a cabinet maker for ~ 10 years. The furniture guys worked out of a gallery, one in Sante Fe, the other in Taos. The cabinet guy worked in our local area in Colorado. It was a good gig for all of us. They did all the legwork, and I just played in my shop!
  12. Lol, my note books usually end up being something only the originator could deal with! well worn, cluttered, dogeared etc. If it will help, Ill take a pic of a page and post it. I have not read that Weigers book. Its new to me. I will find it. Thanks. I make no claim to pos/neutral/negative being original to me. I learned of this from a Czech blacksmith Vaclav Jarosh. He explained it and it made sense. Its been a guideline for me ever since. As far as simple/functional I was thinking like a blacksmith, not fab work. Altho both types of work are avalable in our craft as well. Thinking of Pakistani imports here. It boggles my mind that so many smiths dont see the difference and consider these functional imports to be competition. Lol, a critical add on to this is that wise old saying that separates a mastersmith from all others is " If you make a mistake, for god"s sake be consistent!" This statement, btw, is the basis of my definition of applied artist/craftsman. I substitute "to create an emotion" for "visually appealing". An artist is primarily concerned with creating an emotion, not function. When I first meet with my client I let them know what the design process entails, including a full sized representative sample. I let them know that it will be 10% of the final bid. This is paid only if they refuse the job. Otherwise its included. I also make sure that they know that all drawings and samples are mine, not theirs. I feel that the learning I get and the advertising the samples will bring me in the future works out pretty well for me. As a general personal rule, making the sample will take 3-4 times longer than when I get into my " limited production" mode. All things considered, this seems to work out well for me. I also bid my jobs time and material not to exceed "X" dollars. That way, if I happen to make a mistake(see above ) and the mistake beats the detail Im working on, it means I can make this change, no matter if it happens on the first or the last piece of the run. Good business is not always the bottom of the dollar line. A better aesthetic and customer relations often pays dividends in the future. I believe that when doing custom/commission work its critical to have this option.
  13. Interesting. I had forgotten this. Thanks for bringing it up. Its true, the eye follows changes such as tapers. And how we do this is important. Some say the journey is all. Heres an addition to that. Where does a taper lead from? What does a taper lead to? It leads from a transition to another transition. And often at the end of the journey we have a finial. A leaf, a flower, a fishtail flair. So when your eye finishes the journey,,, Dont forget to smell the flowers. The message here, to me, is good design is how we do all three parts.
  14. I'll start here. And use a grill or railing as my example If it is going to fit a space, you need a full size drawing and anything you make as a traditional Smith, from the simple to the sublime, requires the skills of a traditional smith. The hardest design to pull off is the concept of "simple". You just don't have room for even the smallest mistake. You can hide quite a lot in the clutter of complex. Most of my work is commission work. Thus I work out design with my clients. Often times they will have an idea as to what they want. That is where I start. If they have no real idea I will ask if they have something they really like that I can incorporate into the design such as a specific type of flower. Next I check out the architectural style of the space the project will go. Is it a Tudor style house, is the theme of the room southwestern, is the door and entryway colonial? Context: I look at 3 design principals to determine context of my piece. I call these positive, neutral, or negative. Positive means my piece is the "centerfold", so to speak. It's the primary detail, designed to grab your attention.Neutral means it is in balance with another, or all other details. This means if your eye picks out detail "A", you also see detail "B". Think of a dark colored door or armoire and dark colored hinges. Negative is, in my opinion, the toughest to do. Think of this as its purpose is to subtlety accent the primary detail, but you don't really notice it. However, if someone removes it, when you return you just "feel" something is missing. Next I take my measurements Now I have my basic parameters. Next comes a scale drawing, usually just of my idea. I don't generally incorporate the setting. Then I show this to my client. I make appropriate changes as necessary. Then I select a particular part of my design, do a full sized drawing, transfer this to my layout table in chalk, and make a sample piece. This usually includes the primary detail. If it's a railing, this is a full size section(8',10',12') of the railing. I then make a full sized detail of the primary detail. If I'm doing a railing, this is wide enough to do the detail plus a pocket on,each side to set the frame. For my own growth and learning I usually attempt to design the included theme detail to be my own personal challenge. This sample is full size and has two primary functions. First is to make sure my client sees absolutely just what they will get. The second is to figure out just how to make the danged thang! Finally this sample gets the approval of the client. All throughout this process I take copious notes both in a notebook and also on a copy of my drawings. And now the real work begins. here's a pic of "simple.
  15. Here you go. The small one is more a special use cross peen. It's too narrow for me to be effective for "daily use". It is about 3/8" wide. The other is about 5/8" wide and basically the other end of my "daily driver" I consider a rounded cross peen a special use tool as well. For me, to move iron in a particular direction, you can't beat that 5/8" width with the edges dressed as you see.
  16. You might consider asking your anvils father for permission, or just grab your anvil "by the horn" so to speak, and just ask. Sorry, just couldn't resist.
  17. The thing to remember is all these specs and graphs is a means of Predicting what will happen to a specific piece of steel at a given temp and for a specific time. The farther off from these specs, the less likely you are to meet these predictions.
  18. I wouldn't be without my gas saver. I have no special setup for it. When not in use, all the hose and gas saver are kept on my bottles which have a permanent location. I use them in two locations in my shop. By my 5'x10'x1" layout table and by my post vice. The gas saver is mounted on a 2" angle iron. I clamp this to my table with vice grips. When I'm at my post vice I have an adjustable portable stand that I can clamp the angle iron to. When not in use, all hose is hung by the bottles. For what it's worth ox/actl is a little used but important tool in my shop. Primary use for ox/actl in my shop is setting collars, heading rivits, and adding a localized heat to forged right angle bends and twists.
  19. He will be missed!
  20. What do you mean "probably?". From one who back in the day was a country lovin' boy shoeing horses, a 10 year goat business, hand pumped our water, and heated with wood. All whilst living on the edge of the national Forest. Couldn't have done it without my beautiful wife. She handled the goats, canning, and maintained over a 100 tropical plants at 9000' elevation. I still can smell honeysuckle and orange blossoms blooming mid winter,,, sitting around the ole Fisher papa bear wood burner. Oh, still living in the country and swinging a hammer. No goats, but I still garden and am building my new shop. It's been a grand life. Painting figures and getting into history was what I did sitting around the fire at night. I'm still a history buff.
  21. Lest we forget,, when a great blacksmith was asked "how did you do that?" His answer was,,, "6" at a time",,, Also the old addage "too many irons,,," does not mean heat one piece at a time, it means heat as many as your forge and skill level will allow. The meaning of these statements to me is my own one liner. "I've never been fast enough to outwork my coal forge."
  22. It also create a concave underside to the nail head. When you set a nail like this, the edges of the head bury into the wood.