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I Forge Iron

Steven Bronstein

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    Marshfield, VT

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  1. I usually use 2-3 inches of kaowool for the tops of my gas forges. I am now making a top using insboard. Since Insboard is denser can I use just 1". I am not concerned so much about saving materials, really just curious about the relative insulating ability. Thanks.
  2. I have successfully used folded kaowool for my flat top forges. As per the design suggested on another site, I draped the kaowool over stainless steel rods and hung the rods from the top of the forge. This has worked very well for small forges. I have used them extensively and they last for years. I have to make a larger forge with a 16" x 25" flat top, which will be placed on top of firebricks so the interior volume will be 11" x 20" I have some insboard . It would be somewhat easier to lay the board inside a flat top frame rather than install the folded blanket. Not that much easier but does make for a simpler design. I have never really understood the tradeoffs between wool and board. Could someone please explain this to me. I understand cost is a significant difference. Are there any other factors to be considers. Thanks
  3. When I am in production I will have different tooling on each hammer. When I am in regular mode, I will still move between my Bull Air Hammer which is great for tooling and my Beaudry mechanical for speed of drawing. The work is what drives the need. When I had one hammer I still got a lot done and just had to allow for changing dies. Having an easy way to switch tooling might be a bigger time saver than the extra hammer. I am making this point more to beginners who think that hammer quantity is more important than shop setup and clever tooling. Getting your first hammer is a quantum leap in improved production capacity. After that it becomes more of business question or for the hobbyist maybe more of a want than a need.
  4. I have the same setup. It is funny how the bottom keys are so large and the top so small. I was always concerned about using tool steel thinking I wanted them to move in case the dovetails weren't straight. Didn't want to crack the sow block. I am guessing that since you fitted the key properly it wasn't an issue because you wouldn't have to overdrive them. I will give it a try before messing with the dovetails. Thanks.
  5. Thank you this is really helpful. There are two keys on my sow block. I , at first, thought that one was just a spacer but now see that it is tapered. It appears both of your keys are reasonably stout. I still have the original problem which is that both keys are 1/4" at the thinnest end and start to bend as soon as I try to remove them. This is why I was hoping that ( when I finally manage to get them out) I could reduce the size of the dovetail and increase the thickness of the keys. Any suggestions?
  6. I remember, especially how we had the hammer lifted horizontally in the air so you could drive your truck underneath. Glad it worked out. Thanks for the feedback. I will cut the dovetails so I can use a bigger key, that makes it so much easier. Hope the die steel isn't too hard for machining. Thanks
  7. I have a 50# Fairbanks and I am dealing with a recurring problem that has plagued me over the years. First, the space for the key is 1/4"-5/16". This small a key is prone to bending and mushrooming so removal later can be quite a challenge. I have other hammers where the dovetails are narrower and allow for keys that are 3/8" - 1/2" which is then much easier to deal with. I have never been brave enough to have the dovetails machined smaller to allow for a larger key. Has anyone done this? And would it be a mistake? The second challenge is the sow block allows for the key to be removed because the dovetail plane is perpendicular to the plane of the machine. The hammer dies sit on top of the sow block and you can only access the key when installing the die. To remove , you have to first remove the sow block to access the key for the hammer die removal. I have reason to change hammer dies somewhat regularly and wish there was a better solution. I know I could replace the existing sow block with a dovetailed plate and bolt holes so I could use bolt on hammer dies. I have had trouble with this solution because the bolts do not seem to last very long. I hope someone out there has a better way of dealing with this. Thanks.
  8. So I thought I should report back. From the responses, I got the impression that it was straightforward and really shouldn't be an issue. So...I checked my container of Boiled Linseed Oil. There was a heavy deposit of sludge in the bottom. I am assuming it was old/bad/not useful. I replaced it with new stock, thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits and i can now dip my pieces, blow them out, warm slightly and they are done and look great. Thanks for the collective wisdom. You got me to rethink my steps and go back to first principles. Thank you, I appreciate it.
  9. I am oiling at room temperature. The mix is 50/50 boiled linseed and mineral spirits. I do blow the oil out from the crevices which is a big help. I was hesitant to dilute below 50/50 because I didn’t want to thin too much and lose too much oil protection. I will try warming the piece prior to oiling. I will also try LPS. Is Wd40 not recommended? Thanks so much for the help
  10. I have a production job with lots of floral parts where the oil gets in to corners and I cannot reach it to adequately wipe down so a heavier residue is left behind. I am now using a 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and thinner. This is almost good enough but there are still some spots were it still dries a little too thick. I am tempted to just use straight WD-40. Any thoughts? This is just for interior use. Thanks
  11. Thanks Frosty, I will be putting together a low voltage unit so i can avoid all of these issues. Do you understand what the cause of the darkening in muriatic. I thought it would eat away the free iron leaving the surface brighter , not darker. thanks.
  12. putting the stainless in muriatic resulted in a grey discoloration over the whole surface. I was able to remove it mechanically. Anybody understand what is going on? Not clear if the muriatic is creating new staining or is that the result of iron particles being etched by the muriatic?
  13. I am forging 304 stainless steel. It has a hammer textured surface and want to remove the blackened surface but not remove the hammer marks with grinding. My goal is to remove the blackened surface and then wire wheel to brighten the surface. I soaked it overnight in a citric acid bath. The solution is a concentration of 1 pound citric acid/ gallon of water. There was no discernable change in the blackened surface. I did get some cleaning benefit using BarKeepersFriend (Oxalic Acid). Any suggestions?
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