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I Forge Iron


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Posts posted by Ellen

  1. Well cartridge guns are a tad more difficult than muzzleloaders I should think. Never tried one. I do have a 45-120 Pedersoli Sharps, and the workmanship is very nice. Fun to have, but I would probably have been smarter with a 45-70; a tad easier on the shoulder. Just that I already have a half dozen of them (not in Sharps style). One of my all time favorite cartridges. Also, I have yet to dial in a really accurate load for it (Sharps) that does not involve smokeless powder. I think I just need to get in there with an overpowder wad to protect the base of the bullet; also I have been shooting 777 in it instead of plain old black. So far the best results have been with 540 grain paper patched bullets. Joined the range about ten miles from me so will be burning power soon. I no longer shoot formal competition; but I do like the informal competitive shoots, like "red necked bowling". I like that one because I always (knock on wood) have gotten my entry fee and cost of cartridges back.......grin! It's kinda fun to skunk all the guys with a fairly plain 1911.

    I think you will love the control on Augustus and will be thoroughly hooked. I don't think the learning curve is as steep as you think; some much of Augustus is so similar to hand forging; in most ways it is not like using a machine at all. I also use mine to taper the cross section of the blades with flat dies, well one flat, one at an angle. No hammer marks at all to worry about. I think the fullers will clean up so easy you'll wonder why you didn't get a flypress earlier.

    Are you going to videotape your performance of "Mammy?" Might sell a few copies.....BOG!

  2. I also highly recommend "The Master Bladesmith" and "The Pattern Welded Blade" as well as the 2 VHS tapes on Pattern welded blades. If you really want to make knifes these resources will save you time and money. At the price of steel today, if you can eliminate some of your mistakes you have recovered the cost of the books and tapes quite rapidly, and I like the way Dr. Jim writes. I understand what he is saying. I cannot say that about some of the other bladesmithing authors.

  3. Jim,
    Thanks for the tips on possible separation of welds on the billet. I sectioned it on the band saw and right in the middle there was about 1.5" where one layer had not welded at all; you probably saw that in the photo, you sly fox,you! Grin.

    Jim, keep the wife you have. I am way too ornery for anyone to live with. It's been tried. No go, sigh! Heck, most days I don't even get along with myself.....grin! Course I always say I was married to half a horse and supporting the whole critter so it was much better to get rid of the half and get a whole one. Grin!

    Surgery is no big deal this time. Last year I had a busted gut and peritonitis, and that was major; this is just taking out a kidney which has a tumor inside of it. Since the other one is working just fine doc says best to take it out, too many times biopsies just spread the darn stuff if it is cancerous. Laparascopic (didn't know they could do that) so should only be locked up for two days then home, easy does it for two to three weeks, then ease back into my routine. Thank you for asking though, and yes, I will keep you all posted. This was actually a big factor in my buying a power hammer. Made me realize it is not wise to postpone that which you would really like to do indefinitely, because our time here is finite.

  4. Jim, I think a 3" fuller should be ideal; not too long, not too short. I love the feel of the metal too, the feedback is truly excellent on the flypress. I don't know of another metal working tool out there that can do what a flypress can.

    I have a couple of poor pictures of my flintlock in my album at Forgemagic. I made it before there were kits.....drilled and rifled the barrel, shaped it octagonal, make the lock from scratch, and the furniture from brass. The stock was just a curly maple plank and I took it from there. Lots of hours, but I learned some valuable skills, including patience. Good shooter too, I've taken Rocky Mountain Elk with it. It's in 50 cal.

  5. Thanks Jim, I intend to get lots of practice after I recover from the surgery. Will try to do one more billet before I go in. My experience in life has been that if you want to do something badly enough and work up a good sweat at it on a steady basis, you can develop the requisite skills. You may not be as much of an "artist" as someone who is really talented, but I don't let that stop me from doing my best.

    How much boric acid (powdered) should I add to the anhydrous borax? and is there a source for the red iron oxide you mentioned, and if so, how much of it should be added to the mix?

    Want to do my next billet out of 1080 and 15N20. The 10XX series seem to get plenty hard for anything I need to do. I like to forge knives out of O-1 when they are homogenious because I like the steel to work with and for it's edge holding abilitites, but no, I don't intend to use it for Damascus. I did order some 5160 for homogenious blades, and maybe a Claymore down the road just for fun....it's in my ancestry and I'd like to have one, but one I made....from scratch. Just this funny streak I have. I like to make things. Sharp things, and also things that go bang.

    I'll work on the bigger hammers, but I don't think an 8# is in my future unless someone else holds the stock while I strike with both hands.....grin! But Thor should be able to deliver light hits as well as heavy ones, I know the Big Blue's can from recent personal experience, and have been told by those I respect that John's Iron Kiss has better control and lots more power than a Big Blue. I'll be sure to post a full report......

  6. Thomas, and Chuck, not to worry, I like smiths and you two characters are up there on my "good" list. Besides, I'm really meek and mellow as can be.

    The 1095 billet welded up nicely. It took a lot more physical effort than the 1018, that or I was tired from the day before. Taking some rest time; I don't want to go in for surgery as tired and sore as I am today.....I wish Thor was here!

    I'll try and post a picture; it looks better in real life, but any bevels reflect the light in a picture and make it look ground at a huge angle when it's just a tad. I didn't bother to go back and grind it smooth cause I could see it was welded, and its get heated, drawn, rewelded, etc. Next is to make a billet with the 15N20 and 1080 that came yesterday; drawing will be done after Thor arrives. Already cleaning a rearranging my shop. I'm going to run a copper line 3/4" for the air, should that be the L or the M tubing? I'm not which is which but one is $47 for 20', the other is $63 for 20'. I imagine the heavier tubing will last longer in case of vibration.

    Thanks for all the help and encouragement!


  7. Well, billet #2 of 1095 is welded (I hope). I will grind it clean and take a look in a bit. It ended up 3/8" wider, and 2" longer than when I started , and sounded sold on the anvil after the second pass. I was tempted to grab a 3# hammer but didn't feel strong enough to swing it today. It welded better (it seemed) than the 1018, but took a lot more physical effort, unless I was just tired from yesterday. My 15N20 came today, and also some 1080, so if this billet welded, billet #3 tomorrow will be fancier in composition....maybe. I might stick will the less expensive material for awhile.......decisions, decisions.

    Jim, I must say, you sure know how to show a girl a good time! Welding up billets when it's 107F out. Well, it's good for me. Maybe I'll lose some weight.

  8. Jim, your plan sounds like an excellent one to me, and the round tooling for the bottom should be fine. We just learned the hardy hole and made all the tooling for that in class, so that is what I have been used to, but I can see where round would be good. I have hopes on a South Bend lathe for my shop down the road a bit, but that is bittersweet because it belongs to my flintlock mentor from long ago; he is 84 and doing dialysis 3X per week, but darn, I am going to miss him! He has a half finished long rifle and I have promised him his grandson and I will finish it when the boy is ready (he's 12 now).

    The bolts sound good, and I will have to try some. The collars are costing me over $2 each so if I can save a dollar I will. Looking forward to seeing some pictures when you have some tooling done, at your convenience. Where did you say you were buying them from?

    On thinking it over, I think you were smart to get a #6 press; you are of the proper size and strength to take advantage of it.

    The beauty of the flypress is that it so easy to making tooling; and most of it can be forged and then welded to your round stock; soon the trick is keeping track of all of it. I bought a piece of scrap grating out of 1" x 1/8" flat stock with 1" X 2" slots in it and that is going to be my "tool holder" for the flypress tooling.

    Have you seen John Crouchet's DVD? If you haven't and would like to I will mail you mine and you can send it back at your convenience. Just let me know.

  9. Well, the 1018 was welded at what I call a "slippery" orange with the borax bubbling, and yes it does go after the floor of my forge, and yes, I have a couple of kiln shelves on order to fix that, and a box of kawool for repairs.

    Today is a 1095 billet, six inches long, 6 layers, just came in to drink some water and get ready after grinding it clean.

    I have some powdered boric acid I keep for washing out my horses eyes when they need some TLC, but where should I look for red iron oxide powder?

    The bronze alloy .040 wire is ordered from McMaster Carr. I feel stupid, cause when I watched your tape again last night you specifically said 18 ga or .040 phosphor bronze.......well if I was real smart I'd be rich instead of pounding on hot iron, riding horses, and happy as if I had good looks and money in the bank.....Grin!

  10. Thanks Jim, sounds good. The 1095 for billets came today, just waiting on the 14N20. Will do some more practice billets. Ground the edges of my first practice billet and no cold shuts. One solid piece. All with hand hammer on my anvil. Felt good! You are right on when you say "get it clean".

  11. Thanks Jim, will order some wire and give it a try.

    Final quesion: on the billets for the class, what do you recommend we weld up for that? So far so good on the billet welding, ready now to try the higher qualitity stuff. Will do a couple more practice billets to be sure.

  12. There's been some posts here and elsewhere on the virtures of using a 1" bolt cut off "short" and letting the head form the shoulder against the ram and welding the tool to it to get things rolling. That seems a fine technique to me.

    Others have mentioned simply chamfering the end of the shaft that goes in the ram hole and that will prevent upsetting a stuck tooling. I don't know enough about that one to venture an opinion, but I am sure some fine minds have studied it and it is o.k.

    I was taught by John Crouchet, a man with 30 years experience to use 1" CR1018 (sizes are tighter than A-36), cut it a 1/4" short, and weld a 1" ID motor shaft collar to the chamfered edge of the 1" shaft. I like that method becuase it is absolutely straight, the allen nut tightens the shaft down perfectly, and a couple of minutes of 6013 rod makes it all one piece; my 2" X 72" Grizzley makes all flat in a matter of monents, and it is all set to go. I make up these a half dozen in advance, and they work well for me.

    I cannot pass judgement on all the methods out there, I only describe what works for me, and what I choose to use. There is no right or wrong here. It is simply a matter of what works. God bless and may all your methods work flawlessly and give you hours of productive work and joy.

    Likewise, on the bottom tools I have chosen to make a bolster, and put in a hardy hole on a diagonal so long work has a place to go. This works fine for me, but there is no reason one could not use a round piece of shafting or bolt there as well.

    So there are lots of equally good ways to get this done, don't take my methods as being "true path" or whatever, cause they're just what works for me.......

  13. Well, first practice billet went in the forge about 5:30Am-ish. Managed to break my quart bottle (glass) of supersaturated borax flux first off,so ending up fluxing the old fashioned way...a long handled spoon and powered borax..not anyhdrous. This was an 8 layer biller of 1018 wired together after having been ground to get rid of mill scale and so forth so I started with bright metal, baling wire and a billet 8" long by 8 layers thick. It welded up o.k. took me a few trys to get the places I missed, and I should go back and get one or two more heats just to make sure.

    I took a rest interval and added 1" of additional kaowool to the forge, plus a nice coat of ITC 100. Figured it might help some. I'll pick up a kiln shelf in town today as the bottom of the forge catches hell with the liquid borax.

    All in all for a first try I was quite happy. My goal is to weld up one or two billets a day, more as I get better, and next week the "good stuff" will be here....1095 and 15N20 so I can try for pattern effect. I bought 54" of 10" sq heavy walled steel tubing last week, so will weld it up for a deeper quench tank.

    I also ordered some 5160 in 2" width by 1/4" thick from Admiral and hope to try my hand at a claymore. They run in the family and I would like to make one, crude though it may be.

    Jim, what thickness of bronze wire should I get for the handle, and should it be phosphor bronze or alloy bronze? Both are available from McMaster Carr and I want to start wrapping handles. Thanks! I'm excited! I can twist it with the electric drill set up you show in one of your books....... sorry to be a pest. You can take your frustration out on Thomas. He's used to hard knocks. Grin!

  14. Julian I would love to have you out. YOu have wheels? If not we can overcome that obstacle. I have surgery the 14th of June be out of action for two week, [otherwise cell is 480 235-3169. I go to be bed early. Rich Hale can tell you what kind of horse thief I am, grin, so you will be warned. Yeah, if you want we can rough out a Randall drop point skinner out of O-1 (that's what they make em out of, and you'll have a $400 knife without the five year wait.....grin! They work great too, mine (not a Randall) has skinned out a whole elk without being touched up.......they really forge up fast, its the grinding and putting a hilt on that that takes time. A caveat: Rich's knifes are works of art, pattern welding, etc, mine are utilitarian...... Call me when you can. Glad to help another smith and I alwasy learn in the process.....!It'll be fun!

  15. Nice job. How old is your youngest grandson? Just curious. Be interesting to see the sheath when it is done. I like to see kids learn to make useful things.

    How's the shoulder, Rich? Better I hope. I've been using the Western School acct. at Apache Steel (I pay cash); they always ask how Terry is doing. Nice group of fellows down there. They cut some nice 4140 in 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 sq for me. Great for hammers.

  16. Howdy Mills,

    Well, I bought the DeVilbiss from Harbor Freight (not to worry, it's still made in Alabama) and it was $800 delivered (with lift gate truck), HF had a special no freight on anything over $500. I don't think they carry it now, and I don't think the free freight is in effect now either. I do see some nice two stage compressors for about that price range (cast iron cylinders and not the plast oil-less junk) at Home Depot and maybe one or two other places. Seems like you can can get a new compressor, American made, for around $800 or so; if you want a Cadillac of compressors check out Ingersoll Rand, seems like they have them on line, maybe The Tractor Store or some such. Rich W, I think, bought one that way, and when he is through with his off line sabbatical perhaps he may chime in.....I'm sure others will.

  17. I spent an afternoon last week with my friend Dief who has a 110# Big Blue; he has 3 die sets, flat, combo, and crown. He seems to use the combo dies the most, followed by the crown. It was a real education, and I think a class on a power hammer would be a good idea. And I intend to do so in the near future. My hammer will be delivered (115# Iron Kiss) in July, and I have contracted with a local rigging company to install it.

    I don't know much about moving heavy machines, and so it is worth a few dollars to me to have it done properly....and safely...by pros. After all, by the time I pay for the hammer and the shipping to AZ from the east coast, the rigging become a very small part of the cost.

    I watched Hofi's video on free form forging (about 3 times so far), and it was a real eye opener. I've tried to watch Clifton Ralph's video but I rented it from ABANA and the quality was so poor, I ended up watching only bits and pieces. If he'd put it on DVD I would buy it. As it is, Hofi is my first choice to take a class from, followed by Big Blue........but I think a class is necessary to get the most out of the tool and also to be sure you've learned the safety procedures.

    There are lots of power hammers out there, and to be quite honest, the Little Giants and similar mechanical designs are intimidating to me. I do not like all those moving parts near my head. They seem distracting and dangerous. This is not to run down those who have and love and use their LG's dailing with no injury; it's just me.

    Another deciding factor was air....I have lots of it. A two stage DeVilbiss 80 gal tank with 6.5 HP, rated at almost 20 SCFM at 150 PSI. So not additional expense there. Noisy you say? I'm fairly deaf as it is. I'll wear ear protection to save what hearing I have left, but I spent way too many years shooting before the days of ear muffs and ear plugs.

    Great discussion here guys and gals, I've learned a lot. Let's keep in info coming and lets all share, and we'll all learn something.

  18. "and heres to you fuzzy wuzzy with your hayrick head of hair,
    and here's to you fuzzy wuzzy at your home in the Sudan, and
    here's to you fuzzy wuzzy for you broke a British square" or something like that. It's been a while.

    Churchill made some fine points in "The River War" if you ever get to read the uncensored version.....he describes what might happen if technology should come the way of the inhabitants of the middle east......

    Anyway, I'm not about to clean or help clean anybody else's shop unless invited and supervised. Life is too short, and my own shop could use a good cleaning.....but not the Thomas style of cleaning; he's already been kind enough to offer.....grin!

  19. I was just saying the welcome mat was out and the shop is there; the timing, if possible at all, is up to Jim. Same for you, you old horse thief you......grin! Sandpile said I should use terms of endearment like that to get on your "good" side, and I can trust him, right? He's been kinda quiet since I said maybe you could clean out his shop while I was in class and he was at the kinife show.....I told him you wouldn't charge over $50 for the job.

  20. Jim, I have a dumb question and I hope this is a good day for dumb questions.....on wrapping a knife handle with twisted wire, do you have an online source for that twistedwire, be it brass or bronze on plain steel? I promise not to bug you again with any dumb questions for at least two weeks......grin! Thank you very much. Today will be the first billet welding, 8 pieces of 1018 8" long using your supersaturated liquid borax flux and powdered borax too. The nickle allows are still "in the mail". Thank you!

  21. Chuck, he, uh, starts his cleaning with the anvil, then the blade and tool steel stock, hand tools, belt grinders, post vises, you know that sort of pesky dust collecting junk. He's so charming about it all the MRs. usually fixes him a nice lunch of chicken fried steak, pie, all the trimmings. He does a good job. Fast too. It's good to have solid friends like that.

  22. Glenn,

    Thank you for undertaking this project and seeing it through to completion. Mighty nice of you to do so. Had I been spending more time here and wasting less time elsewhere I would have been "up" on this project and contributed a leaf. Sorry I missed out on it!

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