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I Forge Iron

Bob Brandl

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About Bob Brandl

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    Western North Carolina, North of Asheville.

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  1. Railroad clips fall in the dead mid-grade carbon content to the low end of high, so water works alright, but oil is generally better. It's not as hard on the steel. Go buy a few liters of canola oil. And like we had talked about before, free steel is great, but it's always preferable to work with a known alloy if you're making a tool out of it.
  2. As an addition to the three pins, you might also think about this: depending on the alloy you're using, as well as what you're quenching in, you have a small window after the initial quench to straighten the blade while it's "hardening." No, that's not at all the technical term, but I'm trying to keep this relatively simple. And by small window, I mean something in the order of 6-10 seconds, if you're Super lucky and careful. I usually leave a blade in the quench for a 6 count, check for straightness, and if it's warped I'll stick in a vise, or if I haven't gotten rid of them again, I'll put it between sections of angle iron (I like aluminum for it, but steel works quite well) and clamp it somehow. I've also just lightly hammered it straight on a stump or other block of wood, but I don't recommend that unless you're feeling froggy...still don't do it. The angle works better on longer blades, but it's effective regardless. It's a little sketchy and takes a lot of practice to get down, but I've yet to crack a blade, let alone break one doing it that way. Using the pins during a temper cycle is less sketchy, but doing it the way I described gives you a little more plasticity with regard to the metal. Ideally, conditions would be ideal enough for warping to not be a problem in the first place, but that isn't the case as often as anyone would like, and most would admit. I don't do a whole lot of differential hardening, but it shouldn't make a ton of difference doing it that way with something knife to big knife sized. At least I don't think so.
  3. I've heard of people using steel from heavy duty and older bed frames for all kinds of tools and such, but having never done it myself, I can't attest to it one way or another. Don't know that I'd fool with it, even if it were. You do you, though, haha.
  4. No worries at all. Always glad to help.
  5. Check out Burt Foster's how to videos. He's about the best bladesmith around, and has the teaching background necessary to Actually teach people some things. Jason Knight also has videos on YouTube that are very informative, and he's crazy good, too.
  6. I'm inclined to wonder the same thing with regard to the forge atmosphere. I've been using kerosene for a while when I make damascus, and have had no problems with it. Hmm...
  7. If you take the tooling out of the picture, the Little Giant is a better hammer for general work within certain parameters, and I personally never liked working tooling under any Blu I've ever run. I've run several different iterations of the Blu, and it not only seems to me like they get more complicated with each version, but there's also the issue of the air compressor, and that they choke at the drop of a hat. Honestly, if I were going to use tooling at all, I'd hunt for almost any 100lb+ mechanical. But, it's not my money, haha. Either one will be fun and work.
  8. Little Giant, definitely. Using tooling on either one is kind of a pain, in my opinion, but given the choice I'd definitely go with the Little Giant.
  9. Yup, they're right. That's a fixer upper for sure. But, it ought to be worth the work and all to get it back into shape.
  10. That's definitely not a bad price for it. it's a fuzz higher than what I paid for mine, but I bought mine a good while back, and this one is in a little better shape than mine was. John Brooks anvils have become my anvil of choice over the years, and I have (and have had) more than a few. I'd buy it, especially given that it looks to be in pretty good shape.
  11. You know what makes me want to slap people? People whining and fussing about what other people decide to do with their tools, and stating opinion as gospel truth. I'll grant that whoever worked on that anvil does appear to have wrecked it, but that was their decision and they have to live with it. I've done more than a few repairs on anvils and other blacksmithing tools, and more than a few of those times I've used a mill or grinder. Should someone work with mills, grinders, or other cutting/grinding/welding tools without knowing what they're doing and the particulars of what they're working on? No, of course not. But if someone knows what they're doing, or knows someone who does, it's a perfectly valid way to fix something/clean something up, as is welding up an anvil face or corners if necessary. It's a shame about that anvil, but it's not your problem to deal with, it's theirs.
  12. I second the welding of the seams, as well as the drill rod in the pipe and all the prep. you can do on the steels. I've had an air pocket form on me with the welded seam before from getting in a hurry and not getting as flat a grind on everything as I should have, but I lucked out and managed to power through it. Mostly because the bubble was isolated to the very end of the billet, though. Anymore I mostly leave a little bit of the seam exposed on one end and soak in WD-40 or kerosene (I prefer kerosene) before I weld. Works like a charm...most of the time, haha. Also, and I doubt it has anything really to do with the success/fail rate, but I always weld the seams with stainless wire or filler rod now, regardless of the jacket and core steel configuration. I don't seem to have nearly as may issues with delamination as I did using regular wire/rod with the same forging setup. Likely makes no difference, but it works for me.
  13. I just had the face on my Brooks milled down, and it was pretty xxxxxx hard at .070" deep, and I figure I could have gone down another .030" or .040" and still been fine, what with it being cast steel. Not saying yours would necessarily be the same, but you look like you would need to take way less off than I needed to on mine. I really like most Swedish made anvils. Almost as much as Brooks', haha!
  14. Could a mod/admin please remove this thread? Thanks.
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