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About Buzzkill

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  1. Please critique my process.

    Welcome to the forum. A lot of what you seek has been covered many times on the forum. However, the search function for the forum is less than stellar, so if you use your favorite web search provider and include "iforgeiron" in your search terms you can usually find what you need. I'll start by saying that the steel which RR spikes are made of do not have enough carbon to harden much, if at all. It certainly isn't what you want for a knife that will hold a good edge. There are some RR spikes with "HC" stamped on them which are slightly better in that area, but still don't have enough carbon to harden enough for a good knife edge. What that means is that heat treating will have little to no effect. Gun bluing creates a specific iron oxide coating on the steel, which is more resistant to rust than bare steel. However, this is a quite thin layer (especially if it's cold bluing) which will wear through quickly in use. A quick wipe with oil, or some types of wax, can provide decent protection against rust, but again these will wear off and have to be applied again after use. Look at the pinned/stickies in the knife making and heat treating sections of the forum. Most of your questions will probably be answered there. If not, come back with the specific issues you have questions about and we can help more.
  2. Liability question

    Agreed. How far back do you go? The guy who made the SLO? The company who turned the steel into the leaf spring? The business that produced the steel in the first place? The people who mined the ore for the steel? Like I said though, the play is done and it went without incident. I spoke with the director at some length and was comfortable that she understood it is not a toy and access to it needed to be controlled by her. I understand that it still could have come back to haunt me, but I do have a stubborn streak and although I was obviously concerned enough to post the question on here, I still refuse to allow fear of what may possibly happen in the worst scenario prevent me from doing anything. My general theory is don't live in fear of everything, but don't make yourself an easy target either.
  3. Basic forge building.

    While it is true that these refractories are not AS susceptible to being affected by borax containing fluxes, they are not immune. As probably anyone who has used Kastolite 30 and is just learning to forge weld can attest, the flux WILL eat into that material a bit. From what I've seen of others on here, and I know is true for myself, there is a tendency to get "flux happy" at the start of your forge welding journey. In my propane forge, which had nearly an inch of Kastolite 30 for the originally flat floor, a trench about 3/8 inch deep developed where excess flux made contact with the floor repeatedly over many more heats than an experienced smith would have needed. So, for those who have enough experience to use the right amount of flux the impact may be negligible, but Kastolite 30 is not impervious to copious quantities of flux and lots of heat.
  4. Here we go, knives 3 and 4!!!!

    I have used a piece of copper tubing as a file card to clean out the gunk and a vinegar bath to "sharpen" old files with moderate success. Some files are just too far gone to benefit much, but if they are just a little dull or rusty the acid bath can give them some new life. In my opinion it's better than before, but still not anything like a new quality file.
  5. Injured Grip muscles

    Some of my pain was in that area as well, for whatever it's worth. You may have been fortunate enough to just strain the muscles, which should heal much faster if that's the case.
  6. Injured Grip muscles

    This. I developed tennis elbow in both arms from non-smithing activities, but when smithing it was aggravated much more by trying to grip something tightly than swinging a hammer with a loose grip. I had the shot in my left elbow, which significantly decreased the pain for about 3 months. However, when the pain returned it was worse than before. For me this has been an ongoing issue for more than 3 years and although I no longer experience the constant daily pain or feel like I barely have the strength to lift a full glass, my grip strength has not yet returned to nearly what it was before. My recommendation is stop when you start to notice even a little pain. Give yourself time to heal up and search for therapy techniques you can do to help reduce the pain and speed the healing. Research good hammer grip and train yourself to do it that way until it becomes natural to you. It takes a little getting used to if you are used to a different grip, but your body will thank you in the long run. If you notice it in your tong hand (elbow) then you may want to use longer stock that doesn't require tongs or use tongs that have a ring or clip which holds them closed. Either way it will allow you to use a looser grip and not aggravate the condition nearly as much as a tight grip.
  7. Burner flames

    I believe Mikey explained why flames seem to disappear or change in color and length as the interior of the forge heats up in either his Burner 101 or Forges 101 thread. I don't recall it well enough off the top of my head to offer the explanation. Dragon's breath can be difficult to see in broad daylight especially looking straight into the heating chamber. If you wait till nearly dark and take a picture from the side you'll probably see something different. I just use scraps of my insulating blanket around the burner (outside the forge of course) once I have it aimed the way I want it to seal it off. I hit it with a little bit of rigidizer (fumed silica in water) when packing it in and let it air dry for a while before firing, but you probably don't even really have to wait. BTW, you're braver than I am. The thought of vaporizing the liquid fuel to make a naturally aspirated burner makes me a little nervous. It's probably because I have a limited understanding of what's going on there, but I am impressed with the functionality of your design.
  8. Liability question

    Thanks for all the advice. The play is over. I did give the SLO to the director, but we agreed it would not be used in the combat scenes. It was more or less just scenery in the long run, so I put a fair amount of time into something that I probably could have done in about a quarter as much time. On the other hand it did give me some experience with techniques I would use to make a real sword. Here's what it looked like. It's about 25 inches from guard to tip and about 33 overall. The handle is just wood (not even sure what kind) that I stained. Everything else is steel.
  9. Bolt tongs from bed frames

    Just curious here. Why not heat and fold the angle iron before making the cuts? I think you could cut all 4 "slots" at the same time with a vise and a clamp to keep the two folded pieces tight to each other. I love the innovation. Great idea.
  10. DIY anvil stand

    I have to agree with IF&C. I have made rebar tongs. I have also had them fail in use, and I do not think homogeneous mild steel would have failed. At the time I thought rebar was mild steel (and it may or may not be), so I dunked them frequently to cool them off. I believe this caused them to harden and ultimately break. We use tongs to hold glowing hot steel. Flying hot steel is not your friend. I was lucky enough for it to result in just falling hot steel, but I'd rather trust in the right material than luck. Lesson learned for me. I hope you don't have to learn it the hard way as well.
  11. Damascus vs pattern welded

    It used to bug me too, but then Thomas Powers (I think it was he) explained that the two terms have been used interchangeably for several hundred years in many old blacksmithing books. I think most people will understand that you're referring to the "original" Damascus steel if you use "wootz" to denote it. If you haven't seen it yet, Daniel C has a drool-worthy thread where he has been creating a reasonable facsimile of wootz steel.
  12. DIY anvil stand

    Kind of reminds me of a T-shirt we got for my brother a few years ago: "Those of you who think you know everything are really annoying to those of us who actually do."
  13. Hand forged tongs from rebar

    All joking aside, rusty is better here anyway. If the bolts are rusty you know they aren't coated with something that will make you sick when they get hot. If you have taps you can make your own threads, but a couple dollars should get you enough appropriate nuts at your local hardware store. If those are galvanized then you'll want to soak them in some vinegar for a few hours to remove the zinc if they will be close to the fire.
  14. Hand forged tongs from rebar

    You mean the bolts you don't have to bolt the pipe to the rotor? And yes, vinegar will remove the zinc coating from galvanized objects. However, I don't think vinegar will remove chrome coating. Just make sure you know what you have before you get started. You're so close now. We'd hate to see you get sick right off the bat.
  15. Hand forged tongs from rebar

    You can always use your sawzall or a hacksaw and cut 4 vertical slots in the pipe. Then you can bend the 4 tabs this creates out and down at a right angle to the main portion of the pipe. This will be easier if you have a decent torch. Clamp the pipe in a vise, set the rotor on the tabs so you line up with the holes in the rotor and drill in place or mark and drill the holes. Taking that mower apart should have given you a few bolts to work with. The rotor has the surface which the brake pads grip in use right? That's a larger diameter than the "bowl" shape which has the holes in it. You make the hole in your table (mower deck) large enough for the bowl portion to fit through, but not the outer ring of rotor. Then you can just set it in place without fastening it at all. Used bricks are normally cheap/free. You don't need a pallet full or anything. A dozen is probably more than enough. Clay just needs to be barely wet enough so it holds its shape and doesn't crumble if you squeeze it in your hand. If you get it right and ram it into place there should be no dirt filled nightmare. To me it still seems like you are making this more complicated than it needs to be. In simplest terms you are making a hole in the ground with an air source. You are just building a table to get that hole up to a convenient working height.