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I Forge Iron

Sam Falzone

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Everything posted by Sam Falzone

  1. Thanks. Hi Frosty ... life's been busy. I know I've been neglecting IFI ... I've missed it, but time has been a scarce commodity lately. Hopefully things will quiet down soon.
  2. Greetings all ... it's been a while since I've posted last. I remember a few years back, someone had posted a list about the different types of steel you could find on a car or in a junkyard. I'm having trouble finding it on this new site format (looks great by the way). Could someone help me locate it? Thanks.
  3. Andy and Frosty have the right of it. Blacksmithing is not about swinging the heaviest hammer - it's about swinging the hammer weight that you can control comfortably and still get the job done. It's ignorant and inconsiderate comments from smiths like that guy in the original post that discourage a lot of young smiths or convince them to swing hammers way outside their comfort zone causing them to do considerate damage to themselves - both short term and long term. We need to teach better than this. Sam
  4. WOW!!! I can't believe someone actually said something like that. This is an open forum and everyone has the right to voice their opinion - but that crosses the line. I mean, sure, I've disagreed with things Thomas has said before, and I may have even been the recipient of a less than flattering comment, but no one has the right to tell anyone else to shut-up (except maybe the moderators in a way). Thomas I have always appreciated your knowledge and skills in the art of blacksmithing. Please keep it up.
  5. What do you get when you have 2 blacksmiths who are professionally teachers and who have that same March. Break? A week-long blacksmiths playdate. I'm currently sitting in the Buffalo Airport waiting for my flight to Minnesota to go visit Danr (Dan from Irontree Works) to spend the week collaborating on a project. Best March Break Ever!!! Have I ever mentioned how much I love my wife?
  6. The only thing I've heard of in smithing that mentions using graphite is in some lubricant recipes for slitting and drifting. Sam
  7. Thanks to everyone for your kind words and warm welcome back. I realize now how much I've missed this place. Today has been another good day. Did more much needed clean-up in my outbuilding (which will be my smithy). Moved stuff around and got everything in place, ready to move a lower rolling cabinet to my basement for my silver-work bench. However the cold and my aching back forced me back inside the house, so I'll move that cabinet and finish setting up my silver-bench tomorrow. I've also set up an old 13" tv and dvd player in my basement workspace for those long work sessions. I'm excited about how things are coming together. Cheers all and thanks again. Sam
  8. Happy New Year everyone. I know that I have been largely absent from this list for a long time but the past few years have been difficult. I've been dealing with life changes and deep depression and have not been very active in any of my crafts for the past 2 years (at least). I'm hoping to change that. I've slowly been dragging myself out of the depths of depression, trying to kick-start living again. So far my biggest success has been completing the set up of my stained-glass work bench at home - I even made 2 quick stained glass ornaments for the season. Next on the list is my silver workbench which is mostly complete. Still to come are my woodworking bench and finally my blacksmith shop in my back shed. I'm finally starting to pick up some momentum and things are finally happening - I'm taking this as a good sign. I'm looking forward to getting my silver-bench operational. I want to get back into doing some jewelery in silver and copper and even bronze. I picked up some sheet bronze this year and I'm looking forward to playing with it. The big project will be my smithy. It has sat untouched for too long - it now needs a new roof, but once the shop is complete and operational, I've decided to commemorate the event and and major turning point in my life with a tattoo of my shop logo - but that is still to come. I want to get more active on this list again. I want to share new projects and hear about your new projects, see your pictures and have some good discussions about topics and ideas Well, that's it for me for now. I'm hoping to post again soon with more good news. Happy New Year to everyone. All the best of Luck, Health and Prosperity in the coming year. Sam
  9. Greetings all. I'm in the process of planning out a bellows project for my travel forge rig. However I've hit upon a possible snag/question that i hope someone here can help with. First the details ... -my protable rig is a charcoal forge -the fire pot itself is around 12" x 12" x 3" deep (fire brick). -- The bellows will be a double-lung (over/under) model -- I want the bellows to provide enough air delivery to get the forge to welding temperatures. My question is, "Is there a formula to figure out the minimum or maximum size the lungs need to be?" Or does it not matter? Thanks all. Sam
  10. Southeshore I'm with you on this one ... I just don't get it. To each their own.
  11. It would be great blacksmith karma if you can buy it and pass it on to a beginning smith at a fair price. That and it would be a really decent, upstanding thing to do. You could become some young smith's mentor. Good luck. Sam.
  12. Just thought I'd post this for historical interest. Years ago I bought a repro of a 1908 Sears Roebuck catalogue because our house was built in 1908 and my wife and I thought it would be interesting to see what was available at that time. Here is a page from the blacksmithing section ... it almost made me cry. Yup ... you're reading it right ... Acme anvils sold for 15 cents per pound - this sale ad was for 9.5 cents per pound. Now I know times and costs are all relative, but to hear about anvils selling for 15 cents per pound at any time is still mind-boggling. On other pages, Sears sold complete home blacksmithing kits including a small forge, anvil and a set of tools for $45.00. I want a time machine !!! Sam Hamilton, ON. One other thing ... All those years watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and I've just realized that all the times Wille E. Coyote was mail-ordering stuff to make his traps, he was ordering from Sears Roebuck (... they were the only company carrying Acme anvils).
  13. That is SWEET !!! Nicely done. Truely something to be proud of. Sam.
  14. Charcoal is pretty much my primary forging fuel so I have quite a bit of experience with it. You may actually have multiple things happening causing all this "sparking" (... I call them fire-fleas). First off, bagged charcoal tends to have a lot of fines mixed in with it and that's just charcoal getting ground together during handling and transport. These tend to be most concentrated at the bottom of the bag, but can be added to your fire every time you up-end the bag and add more fuel. The easiest solution is sift and grade your charcoal. Sift out the fines from each bag of charcoal - some smiths even grade their charcoal, busting up large pieces until they have charcoal lumps about the size of walnuts. It does deliver a much more consistent heat, but the smiths I knowI only do this step when smelting. After sifting and/or grading, you could also store your charcoal in a separate container (- like an old wicker basket) so that you're using a shovel or grabbing handfuls of charcoal to fuel your fire instread of up-ending a bag full. If this is your first time using charcoal and you've learned on coal, I'm guessing you're using a bottom-blast forge. Bottom-blast forges are great with coal because coal is heavier than charcoal. A strong blower on a bottom-blast forge can send sparks, embers and whole coals flying out of a forge because charcoal is less dense than coal. I find side-blast forges work best with charoal. Charcoal CAN be used on a bottom-blast forge, but you have to be more careful - ease-up on the blower or modify your grate to difuse the air more (use smaller holes and more of them). Wetting your charcoal can help a bit in controling sparks, but I tend to use wetting to control charcoal consumption - wet down the carcoal around the outside of the pile that is away from the hot centre to prevent the fuel from being burned up for no reason. Don't give up on charcoal yet. It takes some adjusting to but it is a great fuel to use. It is much cleaner than coal, gives much cleaner welds when forge-weldng, and if you're interested in history, it doesn't get more old-school that charcoal. Good luck. Try changing some of the things I mentioned and see if it helps, but the truth is you're never going to get rid of all the fire-fleas - there will always be some. For me, I tend to forge outside most of the time anyway - so long as I'm not getting embers or coals shooting out of my forge, I tend to ignore the fire-fleas ... they're mostly harmless (... though I did catch one on the tongue last month ...). Cheers. Sam. Hamilton, ON.
  15. Picked up a flyer at CanIron last month and I just found it again. Apparently a new coal supplier has opened up in Hamilton. I haven't checked out this place yet but i figured I'd post the info in case someone was looking to pick up some coal and wanted to investigate. Here's what the flyer says ... That's exactly what it says on the flyer, so don't ask me to interpret meaning. I'm hoping this is legit, a coal supplier so close in S.Ontario would be nice ... not that Thak's is extremely far away, but one closer is always better. Cheers. Sam. PLEASE contact the site admins about where to send the bill to pay for your advertising here at IFI
  16. Joshua, John Newman here in Hamilton casts his own swage blocks and he has a few different styles/sizes - they're the ones listed on the Blacksmith Depot site and others. I figure the drive over to pick one up would be cheaper than shipping form the US. You can PM John and ask him all about his swages. Good luck. Sam. Hamilton, ON.
  17. Countryforge ... what are ball mill liners and where do you live??? Sam
  18. I'm envious. I've been looking for a wagon tongue vise for 2 years and I would jump all over one for $50.00. I almost had near heart failure when I saw a listing on another forum for a vice just like that - the person wanted $20.00 for it and was willing to drive into town to meet up with me. I was so excited - when we met up and he pulled it out of his trunk it was 5 inches tall . He thought it was a blacksmith's vise because it looked like the style in the books - it actually would have been more useful as a jewler's vise. I was so disappointed. I couldn't believe how small it was - I didn't realize the wood it was clamped to in the photo was a 2x4. In retrospect, i should have bought it anyway - it would have been a great addition to my kit. Sam Hamilton, ON.
  19. Truth is JFCat, either method can pay big dividends so follow which ever path seems right to you. Just because you decide to start with the school route doesn't mean you can't continue with a local mentor afterwards. I've been in the SCA for over 20 years - located in Southern Ontario in the Kingdom of Ealdormere and I've been a self-taught smith for the past 12 years. My persona is 10th century Icelandic norse. I started in the SCA with the name Aeneas Oakhammer but after 20 years I'm thinking of changing it because it doesn't fit my persona at all. I'm the guy who wrote about smithing all this last Pennsic - but there are a few blacksmith rigs at Pennsic these days. I know Solvarr (also an IFI member) had his forge set up this year and was teaching 2 classes. I hooked up with a great smith named Danr this year and I had a great time. I went home dirty, sweaty and tired every night and I LOVED IT !!! That's my idea of fun. With all those tank parts lying around, could't you get someone from the engineer corps to cut you off a good chunk and ship it home to use as an anvil when you get back? I'm willing to bet no one else in your ABANA group will have a T72 anvil. I wonder what the steel specs / junkyard list is on T72 tank parts??? Maybe you could also start scrounging up materials to make tooling with. Think of it, you could call your shop The T72 Forge and have all your tools made from tank steel and your forge from a tank track wheel- now that's what I call bragging rights. Seriously though ... Good luck with the smithing ... Come home safe. Sam. Hamilton, ON.
  20. Ever since WW1 every single american navy ship had an anvil in it's engineering shop. Check with the navy salvage / scrap yards, you may find one from a decomissioned ship. Thomas is right though, any large chunk of steel will do. Think outside the "anvil" shape and you'd be surprised at what you may find. My first anvil was a 5"x5"x5" block of mild steel - I still use it as my travel/demo anvil. good luck. Sam
  21. Me too. I've been in the SCA for over 20 years, and just spent 2 weeks working with a friend of mine at HIS blacksmith stall at Pennsic (huge camping event in Pennsylvania for those not in the SCA - over 11,000 people this year). He's a great smith with over 15 years experience and makes beautiful window grates and other iron ware - but his bread-and-butter is tent stakes, s-hooks and lantern hangers. They're easy to make, not very challenging and can be down-right mind numbing. The upside is that they are relatively quick to make so it doesn't take long to build up an inventory. You can also spruce them up a bit with nice twists, curls at the tips, even leaves and other creative elements. Once you build up your main sales inventory, then you can make a few specialty items to sell along side them - dinner bells, candle holders, trivets, shelf brackets, cooking tools, tent stake pullers, wind chimes, etc. You don't need to carry too much inventory of this other stuff ... maybe 2 or 3 to keep around and display. If they sell well at one event and you run out, or someone is looking for something you don't have, offer to take orders to be delivered at the next event or through mail-order and Paypal (... personally, I try to avoid the hassles of mail-order, though others may swear by it). Small utillitarian items sell at re-enactor events because nearly everyone needs them - large ironware or artistic pieces cater to a much smaller crowd and can take a long time to sell. Sam
  22. Thomas has some excellent advice there. There are a lot of re-enactor groups around the states - if you know any civ-war or blackpowder re-enactor groups, you can make a nice bit of money selling just tent stakes and s-hooks. Setting up a stall with a working portable forge rig so people can SEE you working will also grab a lot of attention - you gotta sell yourself before you can sell your goods. Once people know you as a reliable source of quality handmade iron-ware, they'll start coming around looking for fire strikers or tripods or spits or grills. etc. Good luck to you. Sam. Hamilton, ON.
  23. Macbruce has the right idea ... A36 is a good all-purpose steel to use for most projects like tongs, s-hooks and such. Hot-rolled is also less expensive than cold-rolled (I also prefer it because it doesn't have the sharp "machined" edges like cold-rolled does). You're probably going to get alot of different advice on what sort of dimensions to get started with - it depends on the smith. Here are my suggestions. 1/4" square and round (-good for s-hooks, j-hooks, nails and other small projects) 3/8" square and round (good for tong rivets, steak flippers, candle holders, heavier hooks, chest handles, med-duty tent stakes and long-handle forge tools like a fire-rake, water-can, coal shovel, poker, etc. 1/2" square and round (good for heavier projects like spits, tripods, fireplace tools, tent stakes, etc.) 1/4" x 3/4" bar (good for making light duty tongs, simple strap hinges, BBQ forks) 3/8" x 1" bar (general purpose tongs) I think this is a good starter list to keep anyone busy making simple tools and projects. You don't need to buy a truck load of steel either to get started. Buying new steel usually comes in 10-12 foot lengths - I would say start off with buying 2 lengths of each type to get you started (less of some or more of others, depending on what you plan on making). If you can, allow yourself a "stock allowance" ... try to squirrel-away $10.00 - $20.00 (or whatever you can manage) from each paycheque into a coffee can somewhere to go towards buying new stock when you need it. You can easily add to that allowance any profits you make from selling stuff you make (if you know any civ-war or blackpowder renactors, you can make a nice bit of money selling just tent stakes and s-hooks). Later on as finances and skills improve you can get into the tool steels and real specialized stuff for making cutting / punching tools and the like. Hope this helps. Like I said earlier, others may suggest different ideas - listen to all the suggestions given to you and then make your decision based on your particular plans and needs. Good luck. Sam. Hamilton, ON.
  24. A gift for a blacksmith does not always have to be tools, books or steel (though don't get me wrong, I would never turn up my nose at tools, books or steel ). I bought 2 pairs of blacksmith suspenders for myself a few months back and I love them (they look really sharp too - red with black anvils). I think they would make a great gift. sam
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