Nobody Special

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About Nobody Special

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    Senior Member

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    Oak Harbor, Wa
  • Interests
    Smithing, casting, running, almost anything involving historical engineering. A shiny new hobby or bit of knowledge a day practically.

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  1. Nobody Special

    Refractory help

    I have used portland cement in the past, using the recipe at the site formerly known as I forget what they're called now. If I remember correctly, it was 1 portland cement, 1.5 parts sand, 1 part perlite, and 1.5 parts fireclay, with the first three mixed together, then fireclay added last and mixed with as little water as you can get away with. It worked...but it was problematic. Definitely not as effective as a good refractory. I used it on and off for several years without spalling at temperatures suitable for melting aluminum or lower temperature metals, but at higher temperatures, it..well, it didn't explode, it just kind of degraded, got brittle, and fell apart a lot quicker. Pieces started to break off of the inside and required patching when you poured bronze, copper, or brass. Not explode, just kind of cracked and gradually fell to the bottom over multiple uses. Not really desirable, and you ended up having to cover your crucible. I did have one rather glorious explosion in one furnace, but that was due to a failure to ram the refractory in properly, which allowed a gap in which water collected. The thing about cement is it's porous. And any porous material that collects water is prone to nasty steam explosions. Honestly, with homemade refractories, I did about as well with a 50/50 sand/fireclay mix over grog, with maybe 10 percent straw or sawdust built in and baked out. It's about as effective as a refractory, and easier to work with. The real way to go is to buy a proper refractory and use it. It's cheaper in the long run, and far more effective. Have you looked at the Gingery books, or the website above?
  2. Nobody Special

    Discussion desired

    Yesterday's Peddinghaus and today's Peddinghaus are not the same anvils. Both are nice, but the older ones are often quite better quality. I've played a bit on both, and was happy with each. I haven't used the other two brands. Joey van der Steeg is very knowledgeable of the german brands, and used to hang out both here and in the blacksmithing forums on Facebook, sometimes under the name TechnicusJoe, although he's a bit quieter these days. If all you are concerned about is a large striking anvil, have you considered obtaining a block of 4140 or some similar? When striking with a hammer that large goes awry, it can be tough on the anvil. Good luck any way you choose to go.
  3. Nobody Special

    Flame Straightening done right

    Used to use something similar with dry ice to pull small dents and dimples out in sheet metal. Put it (or often enough, park it) in the sun on a hot day, then run dry ice over it when it was good and hot. Pulls small rock dings out of a car nicely.
  4. Think they're long out of the coal business. There was someone selling bituminous near Olympia that advertised on Craigslist, but they were about 50 cents a lb. If you get a positive response though, let me know. I may pick some up the next time I go to drill at Lewis.
  5. Nobody Special

    Help Anvil Identification

    Yah, now all you need is a wiley coyote.
  6. Nobody Special

    Rusty Leg Vise

    True, but we wouldn't be into smithing if we didn't like doing things the hard way for the joy of it sometimes. I've also had a couple of frankenvises that worked fairly well. If all else fails, and it's old enough, (to not be mild steel) he may have a perfectly good chunk of wrought iron to play with. I second (or fourth?) the acetone tranny fluid mix, with the addition that I like to toss jammed up bits in the back of the pickup after applying and drive around with them for a few days. The vibration and such seems to decrease the time it takes to penetrate the rust.
  7. Nobody Special

    Show me your anvil

    Heh heh...and the police don't understand when you sneak into the yard in the middle of the night to give it a gentle wire brushing and BLO either...not that I would know from experience. AHEM... You see officer, I was just trying to preserve...why no, there's no need for handcuffs...
  8. Nobody Special

    Christmas items 2018

    I can't find my pics, but small stock squared, tapered, and twisted makes cute icicles for the tree. Keep it little though, gets heavy fast. Also, hand forged stocking holders proved popular.
  9. Nobody Special

    To wedge or not to wedge

    Been living in very humid areas. BLO soak or antifreeze soak seems to help, but not enough by itself. I've taken to making a round metal wedge a lot of the time and using it with a wooden wedge. Usually works great, but every once in awhile I'll get one that just doesn't seem to stay put no matter what I do. It's twice as bad if it's a struck tool. (Yes, I know the debate about not wedging struck tools...)
  10. Nobody Special

    How strong is forge welding

    Well, the main difference to me would be the potential for inconsistency. A chain, famously is as weak as it's weakest link. One bad weld, however it was done would make for a weak chain. For calculating working load strength, I suppose you could always do it the same way they used to. Test some to destruction with huge weights. Of course, breaking strain is funny. I was always taught with rope that the longer it is, the less tension it can handle safely. Not sure it applies to chain. And of course working limits are only a fraction of the breaking strain.
  11. Nobody Special

    Results of first week of making

    First knives are first knives. They aren't bad as first knives go. Prettier than mine, certainly. Angle grinder is a bit rough to use at first, and could easily overheat things after heat treat. You might want to get it close while soft prior to heat treating with a set of files. Make sure you leave at least about the thickness of a dime on the edge prior to heat treating or it may overheat, and will also tend to warp. Finishing after heat treating is a pain without power tools, but doable. File then sand. Hope you had fun. I don't see any pins, how are your handles held on? Carry on, enjoy forging!
  12. Nobody Special

    Having problems heating metal

    A number of things, pics would be a huge help in diagnosing. Video would be even better. That is a large space, and refractory cement is definitely NOT the way to go for saving heat. Thermawool, ridgidizer, then seal it and a refractory coat on the other hand...I dunno, I don't play with propane much anymore, used to play with it mostly for casting. Someone will chime in. A big space with poor refractory will take a significant amount of preheating before starting work. Not really sure of your design, but three at a time may have a very large draw and be freezing your supply. What kind of regulator is it? What pressure are ya running? Is it naturally aspirated, or forced air? Pics, and someone better than propane than me will help get ya fixed up. Also, with that avatar name...13B?
  13. Nobody Special

    Crucible Shattered

    In general, pre-heat everything. Crucible, stock, furnace. Can aluminum...well, the big thing is it has a lot of surface area, but isn't very thick, right? So because it oxidizes so easily, you get a lot of slaggy crud between aluminum oxides and the liners/paint, with very little aluminum to show for your trouble. Worse, the slag sticks to everything, especially the crucible. I've had good luck with cast car parts. An aluminum transmission housing has a looot of aluminum.
  14. Nobody Special

    Wood Floored Smithy?

    Par for the course, there will be exactly three copies ever printed. One will be buried in your basement, one will be proudly displayed on Thomas's bookshelves after having been found by Thomas at an obscure auction held only in the 27th dimesnion, buried under a stack of old Necronomicons, and the third will be at a library in Weehauken, which he will suggest that we get an interlibrary loan to obtain.
  15. Nobody Special

    How to repair a fisher vise screw

    With fisher doubles , it's a steel screw, and the thread box is machined into the cast iron. From Josh Kavett (aka Fisher museum guy's) words of wisdom. Either way, if you're not good at brazing or welding, take it to someone who is.