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I Forge Iron


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    New Mexico
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    I also sign on as "Adam" on other metalworking forums.

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  1. Me too. I don't think there is a BS supply house in my state. I buy online. Kayne & Son Hammers I just think a blacksmith's hammer is too important to be chosen by what's available in the local hardware store. There are very few good quality hand tools of any kind to be found in a hardware store today. Often it doesnt matter much but this is a forging hammer. Just my opinion and as, I said, I don't know your budget. I have known times when $25 was hard to come by.
  2. My first forging hammer was a chinese 2lb double faced sledge. It was fine until the handle snapped just below the the head. Since then I have used a lot of cheap chinese hammers of different kinds. Always a problem with the handle, either it loosens or breaks. Sometimes they can be rewedged and glued. To me its no big deal to make a handle for a hammer. But if you want to avoid dealing with that, spend the $25 and get a nice forging hammer from one of the BS Supply houses. Sheesh, for a hand tool that is central to your work and is used constantly, it doesnt make sense to go cheap unless you really are strapped.
  3. I think every smith in the world would love to see that. It wouldn't be an easy thing to film either. The light from the hot metal would make it hard to get clear shots and it's not a process where you can reshoot till you get shots you need. But Ms Ribiero is not interested in forging anvils nor is most of the world. She wants to make a program about anvil shooting which is loud, dangerous and stupid - the sort of thing that makes great TV. Media are interested in cheap sensationalism. If you've ever seen a subject that you are knowledgeable about portrayed in the media, you will realize what a shoddy job they do and how badly the material is misrepresented so that it can be played for laughs and gasps.
  4. The hammer is perhaps the most dangerous tool in the blacksmith's shop. If not used with care and proper technique, it can slowly damage your forearm, your elbow and the nerves in your neck. It's a gradual, incremental process and by the time the symptoms appear, the damage is hard or impossible to reverse. In a day's forging one might swing the hammer thousands of times. Every blow generates a shock and if the technique is poor this runs right up the bones of the arm. There are too many smiths who can no longer swing a hammer or have to severely limit their activity for this reason. I went part way down this road myself until I wised up. A steel handle is about the worse thing. It has no flex and transmits the shock to the hand without any softening. You can feel this when using such a hammer. It actualy stings the hand. A rubber grip helps only a little. Proper technique does not come naturaly to most people. If you are serious about forging, I urge you not to just pick up a hammer and start swinging. Learn from someone who knows good technique. One place you might go is the Uri Hofi Ergonomic Hammer video. Worth every penny IMO. Many smiths make their own hammers, big and small. It's a fun thing to do and sometimes you need a special tool. Anything over 2lbs is tough without help from a striker or a power hammer. If you are interested in this, do a search in these forums for "Brian Brazeal"
  5. Those are nice. A graceful flowing design. I agree with the suggestion of rivets or plug welds (French rivits??? Fancy name means a fancy price ). If you have to explain to a customer why your stuff is better than Walmart's, visible arc welds are easy to point out. I've had that exact conversation. People outside the trade don't spot it but once you point it out to them it's glaringly obvious. Completely agree. In fact if people are looking for something of quality they need to pay a high price otherwise they are uncomfortable. If someone offered you a Rolex watch for $50 what would your reaction be?
  6. I considered that idea before I set up the heater. There is something frustrating about generating all that heat with the forge and then having to use a separate heat source to warm the tank. But after thinking about it, it seemed more complex and a lot more cumbersome. A small space heater is neat and easy and if you are running a blower the electricity is right there.
  7. Scary! *****. The instructor is at fault for letting two inexperienced students do this without close supervision. I pour a little bit of lead evey now and then but otherwise I avoid working with molten metal for just this reason. One small oversight and it's third degree burns.
  8. Those red splotches might be what's left of the road runner! A Hay Budden!!! And it looks like it's in great shape. HBs have a kind of cult following among American smiths. I own two (and had to pay MONEY for both!) and neither is in as good shape as yours. You can knock off the paint like Mark said. The face and horn can be cleaned up with a belt sander (100 grit) or flap disk. If you do that, and it's not really necessary, go very light an just take off most of the surface rust. Chances are the face is pitted from rusting and if you try to expose bare shiny metal you will take off too much. Don't do any reshaping at all until you have had a fair amount of time using it. People are often mistaken about how smooth or shiny anvils should be. That girl is ready to go to work just as she is.
  9. It's not every day anvils fall out of the sky and land in your back yard. Must have been Wiley Coyote did it. In any case thats terrific. If you post some pix, people here will help you identify it and figure out the weight.
  10. Gosh. I didn't mean to rain on FoF's parade. I strongly believe one should follow one's passion. Especially if you discover it so young. I say, go for your dreams but don't do it in your sleep. Face the hard facts but don't let them discourage you.
  11. "Spirit of Salts" sounds like a term from alchemey ! Googling I found "Spirit of Salts" usually means muriatic acid and "Killed Spirit of Salts" which is zinc chloride. Apparently zinc chloride is the main active ingredient in many ordinairy soldering pastes like Oatey. So I will play around with that to start. Again, thanks for all the tips
  12. Congratulations! "half" an anvil? which half? I am guessing from your comments that its a more recent HB that was welded at the waist and you have the top half. If thats the case, you might consider buying a heavy block of mild steel and welding it onto the bottom? In any case it's a great find and it sounds like you got it for a good price. Perhaps even a little sweeter being that you narrowly beat out another guy How about pix? I have mixed feelings about resellers too but I recognize that if it weren't for their tireless efforts, many of these anvils would be rusting away in sheds and end up in the scrap yard. Also, they add significant value by making these anvils easily available online and in some cases backing them with a warranty. Consider all the time you invested till you finaly found yours. The Thomas Method may not cost cash but it ain't cheap. It costs considerable work. And yes, he does have supernatural powers. We are not all gifted that way. That being said, I ended up buying an anvil from a blacksmith who resells smithing equipment. I felt confident because he is well known in the online smithing forums. I am quite unhappy with the way he treated me and have since heard similar complaints from others in my area. It pays to check carefully. Lately I have been dreaming of fabbing a large European pattern anvil from all the steel that I have in my backyard and selling my HB. Again, congrats. It must feel good :)
  13. Fantastic! Congratulations! Looks like you have a low welding heat which is excellent. You have a nice swirl going which gives good mixing. Cant be sure from the pix, but I don't see much scale on that piece of rebar. Some gas forges have a problem with that at high temps. Most mortars are fairly forgiving and you can keep patching them. You will probably have to patch sections regularly as part of maintenance. A hard refractory lining doesn't have this problem. You still have the front pretty wide open. I'm impressed that the forge gets so hot that way but it will eat a lot of gas to keep up with the heat loss. Try blocking it up with a solid wall of bricks leaving something like a 4"x3" window in the middle. I try to keep the window just big enough to accomodate the work I am doing at the time. Its a bit unusual to see a first forge work so well on first firing. Mine didn't. I credit the fact that you followed a tried and true design as closely as you could and resisted the temptation to reengineer. Judging from the exhaust, it looks like your gas/air mix is about right. You should experiment with different levels. Small forges don't always run hottest going pedal to the metal and sometimes the best heat up setting is not the same as the hotest cruising setting. Also things change depending on how you have the front window configured. 3/8" is a good size to start with. Although that forge will handle much heavier stock.
  14. Fabulous stuff! Even a couple of pieces that didn't appeal to me as much kept me looking. That's special. You have a good "eye". Not every body does. I agree with the comments on pricing. I would say $150 - $400 for work of that quality. If you underprice people wont appreciate your work. If it's expensive they will value it more and spend some time really looking at it. Your stuff is better than these pieces ceramic bowl ceramic bowl ceramic bowl And while there is an army of potters out there making creative ceramic bowls, there aren't many people making them in steel.
  15. Jack, thanks for doing all that work. It's useful info. My 20# tanks will freeze in the summer time. The frost line is about one third of the tank height. Taking the curved bottom into account this is probably close to 1/4 full. As for the possibility of a bleve. The overpressure valve is designed to release at 375psi to prevent a bleve. It doesnt matter how the tank is heated. 10 years ago my town was burnt in a forest fire and propane tanks were significant hazard for the fire fighters but I dont recall any accounts of a bleve. From the videos I saw, the tanks simply turned into a ball of fire, much as you would expect a bucket of gasoline to behave under the same conditions. The process was rapid and catastrophic but there was no explosion. I assume that the overpressure valve vented at a high rate and the burning propane heated the tank accelerating the process. I have now replaced the hand dryer with a small electric space heater which is more convenient and compact. The tank feels neither warm nor cool to touch. Since it sits on the floor, it blows mostly on the lower part of the tank where the liquid is pooled. In light of Jack's analysis an even smaller heater should be sufficient. Perhaps a mini desktop heater. I will see how far I can turn this one down. I am confident that with reasonable care, this setup is perfectly safe but that is just my OPINION.
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