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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by Marc1

  1. A lot of cheaper anvils turn out to be decent for most work a hobby blacksmith produces. Any ASO is, in my opinion, better than a piece of. rail. There is always too much emphasis placed on the anvil from beginners, at the detriment of all the other tools that are required. Anvil is just a tool, and to be used for what it was made, beat hot iron on it. All anvils deteriorate and suffer from work done on them, the only difference is the rate at which they do so. You can damage the best and most expensive anvil if you are really determined. A cheaper anvil will require a bit more care but will be a useful tool until you find a better and bigger one. 100 pounds is a small anvil for small work with small hammers. Use it and learn with it. Take a before and after photo, after one year and two and three years of work. That is the only way to tell an anvil quality or lack of it. An anvil with 95% rebound may end up chipping, and anvil with 50% rebound may turn out to be a real workhorse for 5 years, when you will invariably buy a bigger and better one. And it beats a piece of rail, hands down and blindfolded, on the side or standing up.
  2. Never understood the need to mimic a tree stump by joining lumber together. Make a tripod with heavy RHS or angle or H beam or anything else in steel and you have a good stand. Make a box out of heavy plate and fill wtih sand, and you have a nice silent stand. But laminated?
  3. The Covid vaccine will go down in history as the biggest potential business ever, with the possibility of it being made compulsory in many countries. Development paid by taxpayer and then billions in profits for private enterprise. With this carrot dangling in front, the donkeys are cutting corners like never before. Ethics gone out the door, protocol non existent. In a nutshell, what makes this vaccine difficult is the fact that no one was able to isolate the virus. A vaccine is based on the idea of inoculating the patogen, so that the person can develop antibodies against it, but without the nasty effects of the illness. To achieve this, the patogen, be it virus or bacteria is attenuated, so that it loses the potential for development but gives the organism the chance to recognise it and fight it when it is the real thing. Basically it is about giving the body some training using blanks. But what happens if you can not isolate the virus? You can not attenuate it and so you can not make a vaccine. Simple. What they have done in Oxford is to break down the virus and take parts of it's RNA and reproduce it in a synthetic form. The body will recognise this synthetic form and then act against the real thing, or so they hope. There is a catch though. This synthetic virus made of a simulated RNA will become part of the DNA of the person with unknown consequences. No one knows what it will alter and to what degree. It is the shonkiest and most rushed and botched "vaccine" humanity has ever seen. When asked, many well known professors in immunology if they would have the vaccine themselves, they all said no. Here is a bit of a chat about some vaccines, but written mainly with data from AstraZeneca who has the most to gain, and WHO that ... basically xxx x xxxxx xx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx. https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/20/...of%20patients.
  4. If the cuts are from cutting disk and not chisel, they are likely to bother you less as you work on the anvil. The one that get hammered the most will also close up some. All in all it is likely to be more an aesthetic issue than a real one. Use it as it is for a while and see how you go. By the way ,what can you make?
  5. Very true. A chisel makes a lot of damage but does not remove steel. Grinding the lips of the cut is a sure way to never get that back. Anyway, what is done is done. Just working on it will improve that surface. I remember a dodgy anvil we had in the shop years ago, that was given to the apprentice who put a lot of dings in it. As he progressed in his hammer control, the surface of the anvil eventually turned back to flat. Sure the edges mushroomed a bit but it was perfectly usable. Yours is a quality anvil that was mistreated badly. It deserves a few years of decent hard work to return some dignity to her
  6. Let the old girl be. You can work on that surface no problem, and if you make decorative objects the anvil will add a lovely texture. Some of the smaller cuts will eventually flatten out. If in a few years time you are left with some cuts that bother you ... well just avoid them. Welding them requires preheating and the right rod for the job and if you get either wrong you risk the anvil to lose temper or the repair to come loose and make the damage worse.
  7. Like N Special said, yes, they see colours but their spectrum is different from humans. we see red to violet, they can not see red but can see ultraviolet. White is for heat reflection, and makes the hives visible to us. Unfortunately a long row of hives can be confusing for bees who occasionally end up in the wrong hive. The end of the row is the hive who generally gains population at the detriment of the central hives. Painting the front of the hive in different colors is one way to aid orientation, but don't use red, start from orange down to blue. No need to do this for a hobbist with two hives obviously if not for the fun of it. And if you wonder how come the bee from another hive is not recognised by the guards at the entrance and stopped? ... well, it comes down to attitude. The bee that intends to enter the wrong hive with the intention to steel honey, does so in a suspicious manner that is easily recognised. The bee that comes from the field loaded and enters the wrong hive, does so in a straight line without a second thought and is let in. NS ... do you still get africanised colonies in your corner of the woods?
  8. 1/2" x 1/8" ? Tha't 13mm x 3mm ! How about bending it with your hands back and forth about 3 or 4 times? If you have really small hands ... clamp in the vice and rap the flat bar in a rag and do the same. It will take as much effort as going up one flight of stairs slowly.
  9. Reminds me of a time when someone in a woodworking forum, always posting about his efforts to build things with no money, was asking about "how can I make an anvil for my shed" ? Well, the suggestions came thick and fast, coming from non blacksmith they where ... how to say, a tad naive if not completely useless, but ... it was entertaining. Eventually, and seeing that the fellow was serious in his desire and given that I have way more anvils that I will ever need in my life time and the next, I offered to give him one of my 40 KG anvil that lay unused in the shed. Thinking in not embarrassing him, I said I will "sell" him one for $50. What followed was amazing. He was incredibly enthusiastic at first, bombarding me with private messages about making this payment and picking up the anvil, since he lives in a city about 1000 km away. One of the 'solutions' to the logistics was to send his wife's friend to pick it up when she came to Sydney to visit. Then slowly he started to see problems ... like ... my wifes friend is very small, you will need to help her to load the anvil in the car. And then ... the car is very small, I don't know if it will take the load ... then finally silence. i never repeated my offer and dropped the subject, but my interpretation is that $50 is not free. And I put a token price to the anvil (that is worth $500 sold in a rush) , for a reason. Oh well, enough with the psychology ... no relation to your question Jacob, just my rambling.
  10. Finally a sensible answer. It always amazes me when this questions pop up and they do frequently. How do I get started? and the assumptions by every single answer is ... that it is a mystery, and that it has to be free or almost free. Both assumptions are wrong. Sure you can ask here but you are bound to get a dozen of contradicting opinions due to the heterogeneous diversity of responders. Useful sometimes, not so useful others. Ask your local blacksmith, or blacksmith association. They may be not having active meetings with this chinese virus, but someone is bound to be working in your area. And as far as cost. Every beginning will cost money. For tools and materials. Nothing is free. Sure you can minimise costs here and there, but invariably you get what you pay for. Best thing to do is find a few of your local blacksmiths and pay them a visit. Who knows, you may find someone getting long in the tooth and willing to sell you some of the tools to get started. Best of luck.
  11. I have no problem with my left handed cup ... And all my pencil are ambidextrous.
  12. I had to dig a very sharp chip off a hammer from my left forearm. Not fun. Got real deep too. It did not come from the edges, but the face, sort of a flake off the face that shot sideways. And the denim shirt did not stop it.
  13. It's the difference between making something that is utilitarian where looks don't count, and making something decorative. A gate latch for a farm gate must work not look good. The farmer will not pay more for it's looks. The latch for the gate to an expensive house has to primarily look good. The neighbour will ask "where did you get that beauty?" the answer will be "It's hand forged and made right here ... see all the hammer marks? It cost a fair bit but I like it" , and here comes the neighbour for another overpriced latch. Had I "educated" the customer into the reasons blacksmith of old worked in a way or another, based on some fragile records that may or may not relate to one country and not another, his enthusiasm would have probably be less contagious. After all it is not wrought iron, just modern BHP steel ... Anvil, you are a master at eluding, ducking and camouflaging whilst missing the point just to stand on your soapbox and declame ... not sure what really, because when you claim I am wrong, in the same or the next sentence you assert my very point. Very strange. I put it down to cultural differences
  14. What discussion? More like a monologue. I think we have a language barrier here. I concede to be the least versed in the english language, and there are other 5 languages competing for room in my head so perhaps i took too many words to say what could be said in fewer. By the way ... your innuendos are noted but ignored. Contrary to you et all, I don't really care for one or another point of view, no religion here. I try to have a conversation on a topic of general interest and that is usually misunderstood and misused particularly to the detriment of beginners. Also point to the fact that tradition is great ... but it usually does not pay the bills. Great to read from your success in that area. I said it before in case you missed it ... If you can make the customer pay for the percieved added value for the manner that your product was made, all the most power to you. My words. I have seen many great artist fail because they demanded too much "education" from their customers and forgot how to run a business. From blacksmith, sculptors or chefs, no difference. "Educating your customer" makes for good youtube videos but for very poor customer service. . But ... negativity? evil rip off from traditional blacksmiths? really? Clearly a language barrier ... Colorado you said? I have a brother living in that area. Last time we spoke a week or so ago we seemed to get on just fine. Come to think of it, he does talk a bit funny ...
  15. Not pertinent. What you describe is not modern day blacksmithing but something else more akin to poor imitation. Plenty of that stuff coming from indonesia and philippines for the cost of steel. There is nothing wrong with the idea of a particular traditional way to do things. The meaning of the word may have been originated in the concept of teachings passed on from master to apprentice, but it refers to "the way it was always done", in other words, we don't want to change. And here comes the problem, blacksmith were eager to change and innovate, and we want to lock them in a museum and keep their techniques stuck in time. And we are not even sure what time ... or is it which time? Now ... don't get me wrong. If someone is able to produce good quality stuff in a traditional workshop with no electricity and ... this is the main point ... able to sell this alleged difference and charge for telling the customer that it took longer because you do it without powertools ... mate, all power to you. You seem to imply that I make railings and gates by working the iron cold. That is not the case. When I work a pattern on the stock cold before forging, I follow what my master told me and what he learned from his master in Italy who was born back in the 19 century. Modern blacksmithing is not to substitute forging with machines. As much as a Hebo is a money making machine and makes stuff in a tenth of the time I do, the results as you point out are very different even to the untrained eye. It is not about poor imitations. If that is the case we could stamp steel into shape given enough money and beat even the indonesians.
  16. Traditional is easily defined as something that is done as it always was. Long standing custom. The opposite of traditional is innovation. An invention is clearly not a tradition, yet blacksmith where at the forefront of innovation and always on the look for improvement as any modern day professional blacksmith is. Ergo the contradiction. To say that traditional ways of metal work are better than modern ways, is to say that the blacksmith was obtuse, and set in doing things one way and one way only, something we all know not to be true. Perhaps the best that can be done to make some sort of distinction between old and new, is the use of electricity. If your workshop has no power, you are a blacksmith of old, using old fashion techniques and inventing new ways to solve problems without the use of electricity. A bit like the Amish I suppose ... although they sneak around the limitation by the use of compressed air and air tools. Sneeeeeky.
  17. You don't need to go 200 years back. My wife's grandparents lived next to a blacksmith. His name was "Don Picuto". He was the local fix it all, but his main business was making horse shoes. he shoed a horse only occasionally. So what was he? The idea that we must label the craft and define the person in a manner that satisfies us today is a modern day obsession and one that entertains mainly the hobby person. There is however something to what Thomas just wrote. We could easily classify a person's skills if we could see how that person performs without electricity. That is a real skill and the tooling that allows to work without electricity most probably satisfies those with a re enactment urge. I have worked many times during the far too often blackouts, and forged part of a project to be assembled later. Cutting a post or balusters with a hacksaw is not in my definition of fun. So perhaps traditional blacksmith during blackouts and modern metalworker when the power is back. Would I work without power by choice? Not really, not a sucker for punishment, and I don't have an audience to show what is possible without power, don't work in a museum, don't have apprentices, and most importantly, I am acutely aware that without power my work slows down badly and does not improve in quality one bit, if anything it suffers. Having said that, if someone has a workshop set up like 200 years ago, and enjoys working that way, who am I to say there is something wrong with that? I would only say that he is setting himself for injury and slow progress and will most likely spend hours to make something I can make much faster and that will look the same, unless dissected and analysed under a microscope, something that the average customer will not do. The difference between traditional blacksmith and modern blacksmith is ... in my view only ... that the traditional blacksmith is most likely a hobby, and if not, he will struggle with the handicap he has imposed on himself, and will forever need to explain the (non existing ) difference . The modern blacksmith is most likely professional who is open to the likes and dislikes of his customers who, among other things, want to see the hammer marks on the forged objects he buys, and don't classify them as being done by drunken monkeys. Actually I do have an occasional audience. My neighbour who comes to see what I am doing and asks aloof questions all the time. Sort of entertaining I assume that there are those who call themselves traditional painters, and make the paint themselves mashing toxic pigments in the belief that such must be the way to go.
  18. Agreed ... () i have seen a few restaurants go under simply because the executive chef insisted in "educating" the public via some extravagant out there menu. And they did so either in writing on their menu, with signs inside the restaurant and even in person. If you are "educating" someone, you imply he is ignorant. Not the best way to make customers. May be OK for a whacko university teacher chairing an irrelevant subject. There are of course other considerations when thinking in what to make and how to make it. There is the artistic side that is supposed to be compelling and unavoidable for the artist ... and then there is the (mundane and, oh so below us) commercial side, A sensible balance is supposedly the best choice. Some people are lucky and are born in the right time that allows them to be full on artists, and have customers lining up at the door. And then there is those who have to resort to (vulgar) commercial considerations and compromises to make ends meet. Life is full of surprises ... by the way I agree with your take on the tactile side of a forged object. I take great satisfaction in touching a hot textured piece, particularly after rubbing it with graphite ... after cooling down of course PS ... where is rockstar? this is a subject just up his alley.
  19. Thank you Frosty ... I knew you would come good ... eventually Only joking, opinions are like navels. Not long ago I was banging away in the workshop making a handrail. My Brother who is an architect, was visiting. Some of the components of the railing was 25x 25x 2mm SHS that I textured with a hammer, giving it a lovely hammered surface. Surprisingly he asked me ... what are all those dimples for? Clearly they have no practical purpose and add effort to the end result. Wouldn't it be easier faster and cheaper to leave the SHS as it is? Sure, but the end result would be different. Basically I "like" it that way. But why? What we like or dislike is deeply rooted in the set of values that makes who we are. Why do I "like" a hammered surface, and why do most people prefer exactly the same, as opposed to a flat one? A blacksmith that wanted square stock for his railings would have had to forge it square. Whoever has ever forged a round bar into a square one, knows that the end result is far removed from the square stock you can buy this days with no effort. And the customer appreciates that forged hammered surface and pays more for it. But it would be a fool who thinks that the forged square bar has any advantage over the square stock, besides personal "likes". The crafty blacksmith of today, knows this and buys square stock or square tube and textures the surface to imitate the same effect with less of the elbow killing effort required to do it the "traditional" (read the only way available those days) way. if you are good at it, no one will be the wiser, and it looks just as good. i am not sure my brother understood my reasons for bashing the balusters, but ... who cares right? I like it, and it was for my weekender after all, so no customer to please. PS ... I also use a texturing hammer that has a lot of holes drilled in the face, very close together. If I mash stock cold with it, the end result is a flat bar or round bar that looks as if it was left in the weather and corroded and pitted. A particularly nice touch that customers love. Why? Hard to tell, it does look the part ... I like it too, but why do we like or dislike things is too intricate to analyse here, and If we go deep into the reasons that makes us like something, we would probably stir up a hornet nest. Having said all that, why don't bladesmith do things the old fashion way? You use all sort of modern abrasive, belt grinders, mills and epoxy , tempering oven, gas forge, that would make a "traditional" bladesmith faint. Are bladesmith exempted from this burden?
  20. Ha ha, this is priceless, Anvil talks down to me and Frosty defends me. i am speechless, tongue tied ... actually finger tied in this case When I was a kid, as little as 3, I used to "go to work" with my dad very often. He owned a large antique shop that consisted of a showroom, and a workshop in the back. The workshop was mainly for woodwork craftsman that specialized in reproducing classic english furniture. THere was 4 or 5 of them, and they "made" antiquities ... or so I liked to say to their amusement. Later my father incorporated wrought iron artefacts and a decade later when I started to work in the blacksmith shop, this became the mainstream products that sold like hot cakes. The sixties was a particular prolific time for blacksmiths able to produce architectural and decorative objects that showed the marks of what the public percieved to be the hallmarks of a handmade forged object. In my 3 decades of work in close collaboration with several professionals be it blacksmith or woodworkers, I have never ever heard one single solitary person talking up a particular technique that was used in the past in preference to a modern substitute that produced a better, faster and cheaper result. They did talk about the old days when they, now in their sixties and seventies, were apprentices and what they used to do then. Sure. But the reminiscence was always accompanied by thoughts of piti. I distinctly remember comments like "I can't believe we used to drill countersunk and rivet this together, and then file the rivet to disguise it." ... and many more on that line. The smith was acutely aware that producing an item for decorative purposes and even for practical purposes, was an exercise in ingenuity, and that there was a need to be always on the look for a new, better and faster way to achieve the same or better result. It was a fine balance, to preserve the art without cheapen it, yet achieve the same result faster and perhaps even better. That was the main topic. The concept that doing it "the old fashion way" was necessarily better because of "tradition" never came up. How to make it look better, more sellable, and faster was the goal. On a side note, I remember a Japanese girlfriend from Kyoto. Her father was an accountant yet he liked woodwork. One day he decided to make an attic ladder and did so using only traditional japanese hand tools, and no metal fasteners of any sort. The result was a thing of beauty. The round holes for the pegs he achieved with a square cutter he twisted by hand. The pegs themselves scraped round with a draw knife. I never asked why didn't he use power tools, because I knew the answer. It was his choice and his way to honor his ancestors. It had nothing to do with carpentry. And he would never berate modern carpenters for using drills and planes or buying dressed stock rather than felling a tree. Things get cross wired this days. A lot of people who usually fall in the hobby category, think that making stuff the hard way has some merit over doing things with the appropriate tool. The hand driven pedestal contraption is just an example i particularly dislike. A hole is a hole. It must have a particular diameter, be at the correct angle and in the right place. What turns the drill bit plays no role in the end result. If you drill using a modern mill or you hold the drill bit with your teeth, if you can achieve that hole in the right place, the difference is only in you body suffering the consequences. Sure those antique machines are pretty and I like old machines a lot. To look at them. I also like hot bulb semi diesel engines, and the classic noise they make. Love them on old steel boats. But I own a modern GRP cruiser for transportation powered by a Yanmar and hydraulic gearbox. The fish don't care that my engine is hot bulb semi, or turbocharged.
  21. So true. Anyone that has ever worked in a blacksmith shop to make money, as opposed to play in a hobby shop that takes money out of your pocket, will agree with you wholeheartedly. If you went back in time and offered a "traditional" blacksmith a carbide tipped stepped drill bit will he say "No no no, that is anathema!" ? All it matters is the result, and that such result can be sold for a profit. No filing? You must be kidding! No arc welding? Who says so? Grind away, use your plasma cutter, cold saw, lathe, mill, you name it, you are allowed to use it, providing it produces a sellable result that you are proud of. Working in a way that is painful and painstakingly slow only to say you work like they used to 200 years ago ? There are no medals for suffering. The only medals are for making something beautiful that the customer likes. One reason I ridicule those who insist in using hand driven pedestal drills that require 3 hands both feet and a nudge with your nose, to make an almost round hole, almost in the place you wanted it ... when a battery hand drill can do the same in a fraction of the time, with a fraction of the cost and great precision.
  22. I heard the "I'll never part with it" many times, and generally from people who inherited an anvil in poor to dreadful shape and believe it to be the bees knees. I remember offering to a local mechanic, a decent price for a very large PW, up in the 300 kg, with a massive indentation in the face only to be told the proverbial " never" Not long afterwards, a road passed through the property that belonged to his father, they came into good money from a government forced acquisition and the anvil was forgotten and piled up with the rest of the shop's junk with destination unknown. There isn't a worse seller, or buyer for that matter ... than an ignorant one.
  23. Try Wollongong markets or Kiama, Gumtree, Ebay. Tongs always show up. The race fury is with anvils not tongs. Funny though because for each anvil you need an average of 10 to 20 tongs. May be people buy carpenter pincers? All my tongs are Gameco or flea market.
  24. We suffer the highest prices for anvil in the world as far as I know, so your price for that is well below average for Australia and in particular NSW. If you are in Sydney, check the markets for tongs ... in Fairfield on Wednesday the "Trash and Treasure" on Sundays in Prestons the Flemington markets on Saturday, Balmain, Roselle, Blacktown ... you never know your luck in a big city
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