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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Carmarthenshire UK
  • Interests
    18th Century cooking equipment


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    UK & East Africa

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  1. I'm an amateur with about six years practice under my belt, and I guess I could make something that looks like a katana... but that's just the point, it would look like a katana - more or less - but it wouldn't be anything near one in any other way.
  2. Peter Parkinson's 'The Artist Blacksmith'; not very arty, but very practical and will take you from nothing to competence if you let it.
  3. Yves, you know me well enough by now to call me Giles! The mention by Seymour Lindsay of a rail is, I think, the answer to the reason for so few 'racks' - in the proper sense of the word - to be found here. There were often wooden rails along the front of dressers, shelves and the like. Of course these, being 'attachments' so to speak, would be the most vulnerable things to knock and general wear and tear and so don't often survive. Rob' Deeley spent a lifetime collecting domestic equipment and then recreating and reproducing the appropriate setting for it in a barn on his property. I think he did a fairish job, but there are a number of things that I think inaccurate at best. Note my use of italics and bear in mind my former profession... It is a statement of fact that some of Deeley's collection came from Europe, but I can't say whether these items included the racks shown in his book. The salamanders illustrated in S L's book could have been supported by jamb hooks or something of the sort, or just leant against the nearest wall - I have an illustration of such a thing somewhere but, typically, can't locate it now... There was no absolute need to hang implements up anyway, but don't dismiss wood! A hole set back in a shelf with a small access channel could easily accept the narrow stem of such tools but prevent the ball-end from passing. Right, off to bed before the baby realises...
  4. Hello, interesting. I've not come across many racks over here in the UK, the best I know of is in the private ownership of my chum Michael Finlay (see it here http://www.michaelfinlay.com/MF_WEBSITE_TRIAL/___UTENSILS,_HAND.html). I think it can be dated to the third quarter of the 18th Century, it is over eight feet in length and very well made; as always money talked back then as it does now and somebody paid for and got a fine piece of metal. A key thing to note is that English racks were rarely as ornate as continental ones, Michael's rack is about as twirly as they get; some Scottish racks followed the English tradition of simplicity, some were closer to the French style. I am unaware of any certifiably Welsh or Irish racks. I think that racks were never as common over here as in Europe, certainly not if the number of surviving examples is anything to go by. But, that written, they aren't really to be seen in contemporary illustrations either, wall hooks where appropriate seem to have been the first choice. Seymour Lindsay - who knew his subject and had access to a lot of stuff in the last days fire cooking - never even mentions them...
  5. Wayne, there are some bad / amoral and grubbing lawyers around, no doubt about it, just as there are no-gooders in every field - when I was in the army I sometimes came across people who were a disgrace to the uniform. But... the criminal Bar over here are the same people to both defend the innocent and to ensure that some horrible individuals are put away for some pretty foul things (it's a family forum so no details). Anyway, best of luck with the security measures.
  6. Well, professionally speaking - hang on while I get on my high horse... - you can't do much to a thief in most US states, whereas you can have a good go at robbers and burglars in most of them. Here in the UK, well in England and Wales anyway, you can use reasonable force in all circumstances, the problem is that what is 'reasonable' has not yet been definitively codified; fortunately, juries generally have common sense and sympathy for someone in a difficult situation. That written, and this goes for both sides of the Atlantic, it is often a mistake to confuse the law with justice. Curly, the blank 12g firers are currently legal but, as with so many things, extreme discretion should be used in their placement. If any harm were to come to anyone due to their discharge, the responsible person would be facing a definite civil action and a probable criminal one. This would be most irritating if the injured person were a genuine burglar, but would be soul-destroying if it were a small child exploring or a police officer following up on a suspicious action. I have learnt a bit from some of the scum I've had the displeasure of defending, and the things they hate most are loud alarms, dogs and evidence catchers i.e. barbed wire and cameras.
  7. Is it the smaller sized stuff that is about the same width top and bottom, or the stuff with a much wider flat base? I've a few yards of the small stuff that I'll use for bottom tools / stakes in the anvil + under the treadle hammer, once I get the time... I only have about a foot of the wide based stuff; I've cut off the wide, side parts from the bottom at one end, maybe for 4", leaving the upright part and the top intact at that end. This slides nicely into the jaws of my leg vice, the top resting on the jaws and giving a very stable and secure mini-anvil, the further end has the upright part between the top and base for about four inches; this allows me to work on things like fork prongs at a convenient height. I'll be glad to read of any other uses you come up with for either sort of track.
  8. I think that shrinking tyres on to wheels should count, and I suppose strakes too for that matter - they do pull the fellows together.
  9. Yes I've done it now and then, it is not my preferred join but I guess you could include collaring with this too, which is a good way to join. However, I tend to use mortise and tenon joints more often than not, then either rivetting the tenon down or using a wedge through a hole in it. I'll be interested to read of the applications you have found where your method is most useful.
  10. Ditto the above, guillotine / helper is very useful and a treadle hammer is very, very useful. On a simple level - I forget the proper name - there is a swinging arm that fits in the pritchel hole and goes in an arc around to the base of the bick, hooking over the anvil; this is very useful for supporting longer pieces of work. Also simple, Frosty mentioned spring swages, there are spring fullers too; the simplest of these are just stock bent like a hairpin and then bent again at the closed end to fit in the hardy hole - place the work to be fullered between the open ends and hit. For very long or heavy pieces of work I have a loop of light chain hanging from the ceiling between the forge and the anvil but a few feet away (third point of a triangle), a hooked end allows the loop to be made smaller or larger as needed. Putting the coldest end of the long / heavy piece in the base of the loop really takes the weight off you arm and allows easy movement too.
  11. Joking apart, I once made a three sided reamer for a friend and I am still ignorant of any way to taper a triangle easily other than grinding it. I have used the 60 degree grooves in a swage block for making triangle section on a couple of progects, but trying to taper by using progressively smaller grooves didn't work well, or at all, just created steps ... any advice on this would be welcome .
  12. Tapering a triangle section is really hard...
  13. Can't say I know what it is, but I'm fairly sure that it is meant to hit and not to be hit. I write that because things that are made to be hit generally have a fair amount of metal there for the purpose, this thing just has its eye and no more. It looks a bit like a tinsmith's hammer or a silver smith's raising hammer for difficult places / shapes, but I need to see it from another angle to be sure.
  14. It's not a complete tool-set, but John B has a very neat set-up for carrying around punches and specialist tools, I don't have a photo' of it, but if he reads this he may post one. From memory it consists of a large number of pieces of thin walled tube of differing diameter and length, welded together in a useful configuration allowing each tool to be easily identified and picked out - a stout handle for carrying it too. I think he made it for demo's but it is a good idea even just as convenient storage. Yet another item on the long list of things to make...
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