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Everything posted by ausfire

  1. I think it's too nice a thing just to languish by your fireplace. That old beauty is crying out for work!!
  2. ausfire

    Uses for Catalytic Convertor material

    Weld some spines on and make an echidna.
  3. ausfire

    Glass Anvils!

    Ice anvils!! I knew our resident inventor Brasso would think of something. Not easy to do in any detail, but these little guys would be a hit after a hot day at a hammer-in. A nice refreshing drink with an anvil ice cube.
  4. ausfire

    stone curlew

    I have used a few stones in sculptures, but I thought I would try to make one that looked like a stone-curlew. We get these on our property all the time and they especially like wet weather when they dance around in the rain with tails up and necks outstretched like mad things. They like to freeze and squint their eyes at you if approached, hence the tank screw eye. Wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Head/neck is one half of multigrip pliers. Feet are a bit exaggerated for stability. In retrospect I should have welded a big blob at the bend in the legs, as stone-curlews are often referred to as thick-knees. They are quite endearing things, although they have an unholy scream at night.
  5. OK, forged or welded, whatever. I have tried forging frogs a couple of times with limited success. This one is an attempt at a green tree frog (big head, slender body) and the starting stock was an old railway fish plate bolt about 100mm long. The skirt on the head of the bolt is peened back and flattened, and the threaded section split to forge the back legs. Had to weld a bit of light rebar on for the stumpy front legs. This is a first try using the bolt; I can see where it needs improvement and I think I can do better next time. Anyone else given it a go?
  6. G'day Dale, I saw some TV coverage of the remembrance ceremony. Very moving. That tree looks spectacular. Cheers from the tropical north.
  7. ausfire

    Just a photo.

    Summer is damage time for us. Tragedy here in Queensland. Only three weeks ago people were praying for rain after years of drought. Rain came.. and came.. and came. Devastation on a scale never seen here before. 300 000 head of cattle lost. A sea of water hundreds of kilometres wide has just wiped out livelihoods of graziers in North West Qld. I know a lot of those station people from my previous work as a teacher with School of the Air. Lovely, hard-working rural families. My heart goes out to them.
  8. ausfire

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Finally got round to attaching those old bed bits to a back board. They were scrap pieces from some old Victorian era wrought iron beds.
  9. ausfire

    Show me things that move

    I'm not much good at this movie taking, but here's a try from my phone. The dancing girl is made from some old pliers, a bicycle sprocket, a spring and some other bits. She pirouettes on an old motor from our air conditioner which was struck by lightning. It has a very smooth action. She sits on our deck table now and when we walk past, a flick on the skirt will keep her spinning for a while. Hope this video works: IMG_1773.MOV
  10. Well, you could forge a bottle opener. Good for a drink after a harrowing experience.
  11. Don't know what sort of steel they are but they weld easily. Great for scrap art - bird beaks/claws, scorpion legs, etc. I have made punches from them, but there's better steel about for that.
  12. ausfire

    Ouch, Local Anvil Prices

    Old vs New. I get asked just about every day whether the old anvils are better than new ones. I am non committal in my reply, just sayin' that my old Kohlswa is good quality and we like it because it is old and fits nicely in our historic setting. I show them the 95% ball bearing return and there are gasps of astonishment. But I do add that you can buy new anvils today that are high quality and some that are not so good. Make your choice according to your wallet. Among the usual questions, I got one the other day I have never heard before. A lady asked if the blacksmith in the early days worked long hours every day, as many did, would he wear out an anvil? Didn't quite know how to answer that one.
  13. ausfire

    stone curlew

    Yes, the big lizards are loving it. Townsville is just about through the worst of it now, but the clean-up will take a long long time. My son was lucky - his house was surrounded by a sea of water, but none inside. And no crocs.
  14. Ted, thanks for the pic of the punch and the info on its use. I use the ball end of a small ball peen hammer, applied straight down. I can see how your angled approach adds a bit more mass.
  15. Ted, those are really classy openers. The lifting tabs are so neat. Would you care to show us the punch you use to achieve that? And if that is 'goofing around' your serious work must be awesome!
  16. ausfire

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Aha! Thanks for the info about those sickle bar mower blades. We do have a few sickle bar mowers, but they are vintage types. I have used many of the long points they have as bird beaks. I think Das as used them for that too. But the ones in the picture must be the modern equivalent. We have no modern sickle bar mowers (I googled them) so I don't know how these finished up in a pile of vintage scrap.
  17. ausfire

    stone curlew

    Das, those sickle bar things will make good wings on another bird. They weld quite easily too. And I can hear those curlews wailing as I write this. They love rainy nights. Massive flooding in Townsville at present. It even made the BBC news in Britain I'm told. Frosty, this is the first one I've made trying to make it look like a curlew. I've done others with the stones that look more like fat storks. Maybe I should find some smooth black basalt rocks and make some crows. Stone the crows … or something.
  18. ausfire

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Heavy rain. Cleaned up some piles of old scrap and found a bunch of these things. They are obviously cutting edges for something as they are razor sharp. Spark test indicated very high carbon. I reckon overlapped like the ones on the right, they would make convincing bird wings/tails. And they polish up well too. Golf tee to indicate size. Any idea what they are?
  19. ausfire

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Finished off making this long-legged bird thing today. I call them crazy birds because they have a quizzical look. I like to be able to see the makings - my old fence pliers for the head, garden fork crest, speed brace neck, pulley block body, horse shoe wings, some old wrought bar for the legs and U bolt and bolts for the feet. His beak has the look of a jabiru stork so I forged a small snake from threaded rod for his catch. The head rotates on the handle of the speed bar.
  20. ausfire

    Just a photo.

    Don't know about Cajun, Frosty, but croc burgers are on the menu in a number of places around Cairns. Haven't tried it myself. Probably tastes ''just like chicken'.
  21. ausfire

    Just a photo.

    Still extremely wet here. You know it's monsoonal when this happens:
  22. ausfire

    Fuzzy Math

    And some young people have become so reliant on calculators that common sense has gone on holiday. I remember a few years ago when calculators first came into use and we went into a jewellery shop to buy a crystal on display in the window for $60. The shop advertised a 1/3 off sale. The young assistant punched the calculator to figure out that we were to pay $40. And she was perplexed because the answer came up as $40.02. She had been instructed to use -33% to calculate the discount.
  23. ausfire

    Roses 101

    Like Das said, 4 discs (or 3 will do for a start) cut from mild steel. (Suggest you avoid stainless until you've had some practice). Make the discs progressively smaller - eg 100mm, 80mm, 60mm 40mm etc, but the sizes are arbitrary. Drill a 6mm hole in the centre and cut towards that centre hole to make 5 petals. (72 degrees if you want to be precise, but it's OK if they are not perfectly equal). It's handy to make a plastic template for this if you intend doing a few. Round off the corners of the petals a bit to make them easier to overlap. I usually put the blanks into the forge to a dull red and texture the petals. Be careful - it's thin metal and easily burnt. For the stem I use 6mm round bar, textured, or at least with the smoothness taken off. I weld a stop about 15mm down from the top of the stem. Put the sepal star-shaped disc on and then slip the petals discs on that, large one first of course. I then get the whole thing to an orange heat in the forge and peen down the top of the stem to grab the petals tightly. Then bend each hot petal upwards and overlap them. Needle nose pliers are useful to bend the lips of the petals over. Sometimes you have to repunch the centre if things become loose. Forge a few leaves with serrated edges and you're done. Thorns (pointing downward) look good, but I have never done any of those. A brush with brass can look good, or finish as you desire. Heat colours are nice too. I guess there are lots of ways of forging roses , but that's my take on it.
  24. ausfire

    Iron Hill Smithy

    You have everything you need to get going there, but I would find it pretty uncomfortable working in the mud all the time. You need some drainage and a weather wall or two. But a great start nonetheless.
  25. ausfire

    What did you do in the shop today?

    And hand forged furniture too, alexandr. What a lovely room for a little girl!