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I Forge Iron

C.D. Mitchell

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About C.D. Mitchell

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    Dayton, OH

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  • Location
    Dayton, OH

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  1. If you're wanting to burn solid fuel, look into charcoal or pure coke. Both of those burn very clean with almost no smoke or smell. Charcoal is especially easy to get away with because it will smell like you're just having a cookout. If you wanted to be really covert you could make a forge out of an old grill, that way no one would suspect anything. If you can't find any pure coke, look into building a charcoal retort and making your own charcoal. The retort method is also very clean and doesn't require anything more than a standard firepit to make your own solid fuel. Either way, be
  2. Welcome to the world of blacksmithing Daryn. Here on this site you have acess to thousands of pages of information and thousands of years of combined experience...needless to say it's an excellent resource. I'm also from the Cincinnati/Dayton area. PM me and I might be able to give you a few pointers on how to get started.
  3. I'm about to do an experiment on a 20" section of railroad track. I'll be using it in the "post anvil" position, and my goal is to incorporate as many useful surfaces into the track as I can. Ex. grind a hot cutting edge and cold cutting edge into the web, turning the base of the track into tapered fullers, etc. The point of the experiment to prove that you can have a single, portable tool that is commonly scrounged for little to no money, but is still versatile enough to do almost anything a smith could want to do. Working on a real anvil is great, but learning how to maximize the potenti
  4. I've found everything I've ever needed just by scrounging, dumpster diving, asking around, etc. When you have more time than money, learning to scrounge is a necessity, and I would also say it's part of being a blacksmith these days. Sometimes you get to the point where you just need to buy something...but a lot of times if you look hard enough in the right places you'll find what you're looking for.
  5. There's not doubt you built a nice forge, especially for the first go round. Once you learn how to tune the burners it'll be smooth sailing. Glad that explanation was helpful, it's just what I've learned from experience.
  6. Don't make that thing look to pretty or you'll have a lot of blacksmiths on this site asking you to make them one. Your welds look great, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
  7. The flame coming out of the mouth of the forge is normal, it's called dragon's breath, and it will take all the hair off your arm in a hurry. In regards to your burners fluttering, it could be a combination of things. Let me try to break down the key factors that make an atmospheric burner work, then you may be able to diagnose your problem: 1. Gas volume/velocity/pressure 2. air intake volume 3. mixing 4. combustion Now don't treat this like it's out of a textbook...these are just very basic descriptions of what make an atmospheric burner work. If #1 isn't correct, then #2 most
  8. After building three gas forges, my recommendation would be to design and build them in such a way that modifications or repairs are made easily. For example, you want to be able to easily replace the lining, bricks, or other parts of the forge when the need arises. Your design plan sounds good, but I would recommend finding the thickest sheet metal you can for the sides of the forge. I wouldn't go any less than 1/16 unless that's all you have. The heat from the forge, even with the insulating firebrick, could be enough to warp a thin piece of sheet metal on the outside. I've built both s
  9. I'm in Ohio and I've seen recent CL adds for post vises at $90, $150, and $250. Ohio probably has a few more post vises than California, but the prices still vary greatly. I was looking for a post vise about a month ago and ran into a guy who sold me three 100% complete post vises for $120...two 5's and one 5.5 incher. That was an unusual blessing for sure, but I still wouldn't be too hesitant to pay $100 for a post vise in complete working condition. I got a great deal on mine by asking around, not off of craigslist. Most people who are taking the time to post something like that on CL a
  10. Welcome to IFI, there's lots of good folks here. I'm impressed by your work, but I'm even more impressed that you've only made one post and you've already figured out how to upload pictures! What kind of a smithy setup are you working with?
  11. You could also go the other direction and aim it more towards the floor. This would give you more of a hot spot where is hitting the floor, but the flame would also bounce off and circulate around the rounded top of the chamber. I position my work in that "hot spot" directly under the flame quite a bit because I can get a more localized higher heat in that area.
  12. You got a heck of a deal on that anvil! That's a good weight too, heavy enough to do anything you'd want but light enough to be able to move by yourself. It's definitely not a cast anvil though...that anvil has a forged wrought iron body with a plate of tool steel forge welded to the top. If you look closely you should be able to see a seam line where the two were joined. The other way you can tell it is a forged anvil is because the writing is stamped into the side of the anvil. If it was cast the writing would be raised above the surface of the metal. Sheffield is a common English anvi
  13. Congrats on your first forge build! That's a big first step into blacksmithing. You're fortunate to have welding skills and equipment, that'll make the project a lot easier. I wasn't able to open your pictures, but it sounds like you have a pretty decent plan of attack for this thing. I would encourage you to reconsider the 24" length of your forge. That is A LOT of space to heat up, even with two burners. Two burners in a chamber that long will probably not give you an even heat on your metal, and you will go through a lot of fuel trying to get the heat you want. The other reason why s
  14. Rub some chalk, flour, or soapstone over the stamping. The white powder will fill the low spots of the stamp and when you brush away the high spots you'll be left with a more clear outline of the stamp. You could also try to transfer the stamp onto paper by holding the paper of the emblem and rubbing a crayon over the stamped area, but I've found the the surface around the emblem is often too rough to get a good visual. Using a wire brush, either by hand or on an angle grinder, is also a good way to clean it up and make it a little more visible. Nice job getting something like this for
  15. I've never dressed the face of a rounding hammer, but I use varying grits of flap discs in an angle grinder to finish my hammer faces. I lock the hammer in a vise and use the flap disc to shape and polish whatever kind of face profile I'm going for. Making the hammer stationary allows you to see all parts of the face as you're working it with the flap disc, which I've found makes it a little easier to get a more even and accurate finish. I had to dress about 30 hammer faces one day for a group of students, and I was able to dress and polish all the faces within half an hour.
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