Redbeard The Grey

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  1. Redbeard The Grey

    Halligan forging

    I know this is a very old request, and one that I cannot answer fully since I have not made one, but it doesn't appear that anyone has tried to fully answer your question in the past five years, so I figure I might as well tell you my take on it: 1: The mass on the end of the bar (to be divided between the adze and the pike) is going to have to be greater than that of the bar. This also applies to the Fork. a) Upsetting is one way to get more mass on the end of the bar. b) The other is to start with stock with enough mass for the two components and draw out the bar. This has the added benefit of having more mass on the other end to create the squared off meat before the fork taper. 2: Steel stock will need to be of some higher carbon content, and shouldn't be mild steel because it will need to be treated for toughness on the bar to handle the prying. This should probably be heat treated to a nice flexible toughness (will change depending on the alloy). I would think 1045 would make a nice alloy, but those with more experience might have other (better) opinions. Heat treating something this size will be a bit tricky. 3: Power hammer. This would be exhausting to make by hand without a power hammer, especially if you chose to draw out the bar. You can by one for a few hundred dollars... getting the work done by hand in the amount of time that would make it profitable seems unlikely. Setting down the mass on the end of the bar would place your mass in the right spot for the adze/spike split. This would allow you to cut, squish and taper the offset mass in the direction of your spike. Seems like it would be awkward, but doable as long as you have the clearance on your hammer... You may have to make a courtesy bend in your bar to accommodate. Straightening the bar and then Forging out the adze should be trivial. Then changing its orientation as the last step will keep everything easier to forge. I have seen different styles of forks, but I have noticed that the squarish shoulders are considered a tool. I would use some sort of monkey tool or a set of dies to get that shoulder defined and then refine it before pulling out the fork tines. I would hot cut it last by defining the end of the cut with a punch and then a ball punch to get a nice rounded stopping point. I would, only then, hot cut the rest of the fork tines and then refine. I hope my thought experiment helps. -RBG
  2. Redbeard The Grey

    heating large steel with open forge

    Hi folks, I am looking for experienced input on large forging in an open coal forge. I have been heating and working with 3" square in an open coal forge which we open to be about 1.5" x 3" in cross section. So far, my best bet has been to try to manage the fire under the steel and build in "heat lines" in order to fire a fresh cover of coal over the top in order to light it and keep something close to a surrounding heat. Obviously, this isn't going to be nearly good enough by itself and it requires turning the piece repeatedly which breaks up my blanket and heat lines and I have to kersmudge some semblance of it back together for each turn until I get a relatively even heat throughout. This problem of turning is exacerbated by the fact that I cannot heat into welding temp in the base of my fire or I will burn one surface while the other remains cold which means that the whole process takes a long time while I "rotisserie" the large piece. Does anyone have any fire management experience with large pieces like this who can share some insights? Thanks, RB
  3. Redbeard The Grey

    Forge Welding in the fire

    That is a really good question. I am trying to remember if I have seen this phenomenon (the sideways movement of the liquid while at welding temperature in the fire) only while using flux... and my gut says that I have seen it without... however, that doesn't mean that is true. I have never really experimented with this, only observed it. It's not a sheen, but more like a blob of butter... or possibly a blob of glass-like flux... :-) I am not questioning or even disagreeing with your accurate description of welding. Billy slapped me with the same cleanliness mantra for a year in his shop... I wasn't there long enough for him to slap me about pressure... I think he was saving it. however, I am simply curious... and since he is no longer with us to ask, I have put it out to the digital universe as to whether or not anyone has noticed the same. If you have not, then that's okay... my description is, as you have recognized, not an engineer's assessment, or one that comes from an industrial or metallurgical background. I'm just a curious guy with a limited vocabulary to describe things that I don't understand. I appreciate your candor and I really hope that your tone does not indicate that I have offended you in some way. Thanks for the input. I have already done a search for the suggested book, and found it to be the price of a birthday present ... or so says my wife. Thanks again, RB
  4. Redbeard The Grey

    Forge Welding in the fire

    Thank you for that reference! I will look that up now :-) While I know you are right that it is not turning into liquid, clearly, the molten state of the steel on the surface of the stock is, in non-educated terms (which are all the terms I know), clinging, but "rolling about" the stock at the hottest point. This moves toward another bar of similarly heated stock when they gain close proximity. I have repeatedly watched this process (much to the chagrin of any safety people who might be reading this) and have been made very curious about the attractive behaviour on the surface and the possibility of having a weld with any penetration take place by merely letting the stock do what it seems to want to do. It seems that your experience is that a decent penetrative weld can be made in this manner without the addition of force.
  5. Redbeard The Grey

    Forge Welding in the fire

    Anyone that you know of publish any material on this technique?
  6. So, we have all been there... working with coal, left a piece in the fire with another piece, accidentally got the fire up to welding heat and ended up with an unintentional weld that was a bugger and a pox on all our houses. So comes the question... has anyone done this intentionally as a practice? I have heated up two pieces, gotten them close to each other at a welding heat and they literally liquified themselves together... At the time it wasn't what I wanted... but now that I think about it, it would be a much more controlled environment for me than trying to pull them out to stick them together. Has anyone come up with a methodology that helps them with this.. scarfing differently, building a different fire (clean coke on bottom, mounds on front and back with only a small slit on the sides for parts entry, and an open top, for example)? If anyone has made a practice of this, I would like to hear about their experiences... I have some downtime before I get my shop back to coal burning worthiness... so the theory and practice of this has taken root in my idle mind. Thanks, RB
  7. Redbeard The Grey

    Taking others' ideas...is it OK?

    Whenever you monetize a craft, unless it is a craft that you alone have developed (like induction ice sculpturing), this question comes up. Whether it is writing a thesis, quoting statistics, creating a painting from a reference piece or creating a bottle opener, the footnotes count. When someone says they do a Merritt, Braseal, or Reinhart Style ______, they are giving credit to the author of their inspiration; which is right and fair. This gives someone, who wants to search out the origin of that inspiration, a trail to follow. If you do not, then it steals the opportunity from the client to follow the origin and path of a derivative work. It steals from the inspiring the honor of that inspiration, and it steals the dignity of the one who claims it to be their own. Copyright laws were intended to foster innovation by allowing someone to create something and gain profit from it without fear of someone capitalizing on their hard work to make that idea a reality. Making a bottle opener is not a money maker. It's a way to pay for your gas as you evangelize the virtues of blacksmithing. If you develop a way of making that bottle maker, document it in a book and sell that book to blacksmiths, then the book is copyrighted. If someone wants to get a copy, they need to just buy a copy. Innovation, however, is not fostered when fear of retribution raises its head for those trying to learn a craft. This is why we have created fair-use laws. I will copy another's work to gain inspiration. The process of figuring it out is a particular challenge that I thoroughly enjoy. I will be found at a demo, however, selling nothing but a few spoons. Those smiths that are teaching me their different forgings are often with me, and they are selling those items they have taught me to make. Nothing even similar will be on my table. My works that I copy for inspiration will go to family and friends while I learn my trade. I will not take money away from those who are teaching me, and I am unlikely to make money smithing. I am okay with that because that's not why I am there. When I learn enough techniques to create my own non-derivative works, they will show up on my table and I will be proud to show any of the other smiths how I came up with it and puff my chest with pride. Etsy is the same. I won't put something on the Etsy table that I derived directly from another's work... but I sure as shootin' will copy their work to figure out how to do something cool and neat. With those ideas storming around in my head, maybe someday I will make some mind blowing works. Until then I will create my utensils... they are all that I have really created by myself... and even that was with the help of concepts taught to me by others. Just my take, /\/\ - Redbeard The Grey