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About ausfire

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Atherton Tableland (Promised land) Far North Queensland, Australia
  • Interests
    Metal work: blacksmithing, junk sculpture. Timber work: turning, furniture. Photography, aviation, motor sport. English teaching.

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  1. We are not doing too badly here in the tropics, but our hearts go out to those caught up in the 'mega blaze' (journo term) in the southern states. We do have serious fires up here from time to time, but not as explosive as those being experienced at present. A firefighter said that the concentration of eucalypt oils is much higher down there, and those crown fires and ember attacks are just unstoppable. We count our blessings here in the north, where we have more rainforest trees and a wetter climate. And I concur totally with Marc's comments about hazard reduction burning. Don't want to make anything political out of this tragedy, but the Greens have a lot to answer for, and their time will come a the next election. Meanwhile the fires go on and on. We thank those of you on the other side of the world for your concern and kind thoughts.
  2. Thank you all for the pictures and comments. I think the 1/2" stock seems the best, and the higher tensile, the better. I'm inspired to make a whopper out of a torsion bar.
  3. But doesn't the whole piece vibrate to make the sound, rather than each arm independently? Something to try though. Thanks.
  4. Had a request for a dinner triangle thing. Chose some 8mm stainless for the first try but the resonance was less than I expected. Looks nice, but a bit tinny. A larger one made from a higher tensile steel about 12mm had a pretty loud ring. Anyway, got to thinking … who made triangles the boss of dinner bells? Why don't you see other shapes? (Maybe triangles are the easiest to make.) And what steel is the best? Tried a few different steels - mild, stainless, wrought, but found that by far the best was spring steel from an old car coil spring. Rather than straighten it out and make a triangle, the curls themselves make a very strident bell. The picture shows a couple of my experimental 'gongs' and my testing set up. The heavy coil spring stock had the most satisfactory resonance. These are just test ones - obviously they could be enhanced with scrolls, twists etc. I would really like to see others' designs for dinner triangles/gongs/bells, whatever you like to call them. And what other factors have you found that affect resonance? Whether the steel is quenched to a brittleness, or allowed to normalise, the length of the vibrating 'arms', thickness of metal, etc. The method of hanging is important too. A light twine or fine leather strip works well but chains don't.
  5. Here's another take on the old longhorn bull. The horns make good holders for keys.
  6. Made a few toast forks with these leaf wrap handles. Stock was old 8mm rebar. Knock the old concrete off and they polish up pretty well. People like recycled stuff. Quick and easy.
  7. Jennifer, as you would know, pricing work is always tricky. You want things to sell, but you know how long things like this take to make. I have found these card holders sell at $85. That's Australian dollars of course, which would be around about $60 in your money.
  8. I was told by an experienced smith that hammering with the thumb along the shaft of the hammer is not a good practice. For most hammering I use a full grip - thumb around the handle. For some light work though, I get better control and accuracy with the thumb along the handle. Is this poor technique?
  9. Great variety of openers there, Mark. Love the bulldogs. Did you use the same tool for the ears as for the opener tab?? Very neat!
  10. These card holders have been selling well over the Christmas period. They take a while though - hard to keep up the supply. Heads are forged from 19mm x 8mm MS bar, bases are scrap offcuts from heavy beam:
  11. ausfire

    Too hot.

    Yep. It must get kinda warm in there.
  12. ausfire

    Too hot.

    Any other southern hemisphere smiths feeling the heat? Nice to get away from the forge for a day or two to visit Townsville where our grandson has just turned one year old. Very hot there. Even the wallabies joined the party and found a cool spot in the shade of a tree in the yard. Can you spot the Joey?
  13. What a popular topic this has been. I wonder if young 'littleblacksmith' would have thought his initial post would receive over 10,000 replies and generate nearly half a million views! Just sayin'.
  14. Yes, the stairway twist (others might have a different name) has a light line cut down each face and then cuts made to meet those lines on two opposite corners only. The cube twist is done cutting in from all four corners. And yes, the gold is just a bit of burnishing with a fine brass brush (copper is a bit dark) while the steel is hot. Black heat only - red will vaporise brass.