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About Ramsberg

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    Rockford, Illinois
  • Biography
    I still live. . .
  • Interests
    What the sun touches and beyond. . .
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  1. Until there's a proper study and regulation of induction heating, yes, it does matter. "Nevertheless, magnetic flux densities in excess of the action levels for peripheral nerve stimulation are reported for workers involved in welding, induction heating, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The corresponding health effects exposure limit values for the electric fields in the worker’s body can be exceeded for welding and MRI, but calculations for induction heating and transcranial magnetic stimulation are lacking." The above is a quote from the linked to paper, by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. What's particularly disturbing about induction heating for blacksmithing, is the proximity of the person to the magnetic field and said field typically having absolutely zero magnetic shielding. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4305112/ Charcoal has always been my personal favorite, being more versatile in regards to being able to easily make a custom sized forge for different work if required, what with the low air pressure that is required as compared to coal or the less controllable and more complex gas forges. Overall, seems to me that charcoal/coal forges are better for work that is highly variable in size and shape, such as custom fixtures or more scattered hobby work. Whereas gas forges seem to be better for predictably shaped repetitive work that's done by the dozens or hundreds.
  2. A very good experiment in regards to pein shapes is to take a rasp or belt sander to some bits of wood and produce different pein profiles on them. Then take some clay, playdough will do, and force the wooden peins into the clay. Then take another bit of wood with the same general profile as your "flat" hammer head and push down the bumps made by the peins. This exercise will show rather clearly where what profile of pein will move the metal too. It will also show, to a degree, which shapes will make cold shuts. Then after all of this is done, grind the hammers pein into the shape of the best wooden pein. Caleb Ramsby
  3. A flatter isn't a hammer. It is held on top of the work and struck by a hammer to flatten the surface. The end opposite the flat bit needs to be made to be struck. Caleb Ramsby
  4. I am begining to think that "ciladog" is actually the "deceased" Howard Hughes. . . have you tried case hardening steel in a box packed with fingernail clippings yet. . .
  5. . . . or they dug trenches around the hammer to stand in. . .
  6. For tongs check out this thread on "The Ultimate Tongs" http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/16260-the-ultimate-tongs/page__hl__%2Bultimate+%2Btongs Kinda a one size fits all deal. To adjust tongs, one heats up the grippy end of the tongs and holds the work in then, then lightly hammer it so the work fits. Honestly, tongs don't take up much space. A metal horizontal rod 24" long can easily hold a dozen of them, closer to two dozen if they are light and packed in there. Riveting can be tricky. Firstly one must make sure that the surfaces that will rub together at the tong pivot point are flat and smooth. If when making them the finishing blows are done with the pivot contact point of each part of the tong on the anvil, they should be flat and smooth enough to slide. Secondly, when pounding in the rivet, do so hot. For a rivet I just use a bit of round stock that will fit in the hole easily. Cut the rivet so that close to two diameters in length of the rivet sticks out of each side of the tongs. Then put the two parts of the tong together with the round stock in place. Place the tongs in a medium intensity fire with one side of the rivet facing down, heat until said end of rivet is close to yellow, then flip the tongs over and heat the other side of the rivet. This can be done with one heat per side of rivet or two shorter heats per side of rivet to keep the temps more even. When you take the tongs out of the fire the body and pivot point of the tongs should be rather cooler then the rivet ends. Have a pair of pliers at hand to squeze the two parts of the tongs together so that there is no gap between them. Then place one end of the round stock/rivet on the anvil and hammer it square on the other end of the round stock. It takes a medium hit, softer is better then harder, since when upsetting stock like this the key is to hammer directly in line with the axis of the round stock. After a hit flip the tongs over to see if the other end is upsetting in a mushroom manner or bending over to one side. It should be mushrooming evenly on all sides. If it is then go back at it until the ends of the round stock, now rivet, are flattened out. DO NOT quench the tongs after this operation. Instead, grab the handles of the tongs and work them back and forth while they are cooling down to a black heat. When they reach a black heat they should be nice and loose and then you can cool them the rest of the way in water if you like. That is the way I do it. Some other people heat up only the rivet and place a bit of thick paper, such as an index card(don't know if that is what they are called over there, just thick card stock) between the two halves of the tongs and this allows enough room for free movement when the rivet cools. The rivet shrinks as it cools and will make the tongs tighter. The paper will get tore up and work its way out and free up the tongs. I should also note that when hammer the rivet, with either method, make sure that the tong halves stay tight to eachother. If there is a big enough gap then the rivet will upsed in between them, that is bulge out a good bit, this will cause a major issue with the use of the tongs. . . well not that major, just cut the ends off of the rivet and try again! I would like to urge you to try your hand again at making tongs. If the chrome plating on the grippers you are using starts to burn off it is a very bad thing, that stuff is deadly toxic, NO joke! Caleb Ramsby
  7. You really need to make some tongs. Not only do they greatly help with keeping your holding hand away from the fire and hot work, as well as align your body in a better position. Making them is good practice for hammer control, forging to a size, forging duplicates and fitting two pieces together. Besides wearing eye protection, also consider wearing hearing protection. Any hearing loss is LOST! Caleb Ramsby
  8. Ramsberg

    First anvil

    Great anvil and photo. I really like that hammer. Is it one you made or bought? I think I could use a stout chain like that around my waist to keep it from growing! HA!!!
  9. That hot cut hardie advice is very good! Early on I was using mine and instead of twisting off the cut off piece, I hung it over the far edge of the anvil and smacked it off. . . without removing the hot cut. Just before that I said to myself, "Take that hot cut out before you hurt yourself you dummy! " , I replied, "Nah, it is just a little smack" Well, of course the smack was too hard and the hammer flew down propeling my pointing finger onto the hot cut. If it had been just 1/4" over it would have sliced though my fingers tendon! To add a bit to the other fantastic advice. Working with another smith at a forge is akin to dancing. . . except there isn't always a clear leader. If I am sharing a forge or anvil I like to discuss with the guy or gall what shape of fire they will be requiring, if they will need any help with punching or other operations and things of that nature. That way one of you isn't suprised by what the other will be doing. A big part is fire control, especially sharing a fire. At a meet once, me and another guy were sharing a coal forge, bellows bottom blast with a side hood. Then a rather well intentioned third guy walked up with a bucket half full of pea and dust coal(pea as in the size of a pea, as in a beanish thing) he said that he had been collecting the coal fines for a while and wanted me to have them. Wow, I thought, that is rather nice of him. I was actually at the forge at the time so I was looking around for a place to put the plastic 5 gallon bucket, when all of a sudden he dumped the whole thing on top of the fire! I had to quickly poke a hole through the stack of raw coal and then pump like crazy while scooping it off to keep it from absolutly filling the shop with smoke. The guy had good intentions but. . . If you have a local blacksmithing group and plan on attending it a lot, something I would suggest is to not do much of anything your first time there. Most of the people show up rather often and if it is held at the same place, they will have staked out their "territory" . As in where they place their tool box, which anvil they use, ect. That helped me a lot for sure. If it is a one off event, then it is a different story since everyone there is new to the place. Caleb Ramsby
  10. A few pry bars of various sizes would be a good idea. Leave them soft as in don't quench them, let them cool slowly after forging. They will eventually bend, but by that time you should be advanced enough in your blacksmithing to make proper heat treated ones. There is a lot that can be done to make a custom hand forged pry bar work and look bettern then an off the shelf one. Caleb Ramsby
  11. Number one in my book is not to just grab a tool and start using it, unless it is yours. A few years ago I was at a small local blacksmithing meet and had my open top wooden box of tools with me, it was against the wall so as to be out of the way. I was at the anvil pounding away when out of the corner of my eye I saw a new guy at another anvil swinging one of my hammers. That upset me a bit, but when I noticed that it was my greatgrandfathers blacksmithing hammer I felt like ripping his throat out! Needless to say, he was rapidly aware that he wasn't welcome to use my tools anymore! A blacksmiths hammers can be rather personal items, as is their anvil. Besides that, the best advice I can give you is to tell the other smiths that you meet what you DO NOT know as opposed to what you do know! Personally I have learned a great deal by doing that, much more then if I had blabbed on and on about what I thought I did know. Caleb Ramsby
  12. Yep, I ran out of questions that could be asked before I got to that. The great issue with how the handle is griped is how to properly describe it with words. Especially in poll question form. From what I have observed, both from myself and other smiths, the shape or shaping of the handle often dictates how the hand grips the handle and visa versa. I do believe that a little bit can be learned by what options above were NOT chosen(in this poll) , compared to what was chosen. Such as, thus far no one has said they use factory stock handles. Caleb Ramsby
  13. Thanks for the input guys. This little poll of mine simply can't encompass all of the variations that smiths hammer handles take. I conducted this poll because there is a lot of information about what shape of hammer head people use and how they swing their hammer and hold it, but not a lot or at least I couldn't find much, about the exact shaping of the hammer handle. Even if I could put 100 options in the poll, I don't think it would be enough. Also, it appears that a lot of smiths switch up between not only different weights of hammers, but also different lengthed and shaped handles in a day of forging. Well, I gave it a go, but I don't think this poll is nearly as effective as the hammer handle material poll. I must also admit that the poll questions and answers I produced here are rather confusing. . . even for me! HA!!! Thanks again everyone. Caleb Ramsby
  14. I am conducting this poll because my poll on hammer handle material indicated a near unanimous vote for wood and also indicated that there are a great deal of different profiles used for hammer handles. It is my hope that the results of this thread may give people ideas as to what else to try in regards to hammer shape. I have enabled multiple answers for the first two poll questions, seeing as how some may have multiple preferences for the first poll question and the second question is actually three questions in one. If anyone has a preference for which there is no answer in on of the questions, please state it in the thread and I will add it to the possible answers. Caleb Ramsby