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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    shenandoah valley
  • Biography
    Single A state champ 55 meter Hurdles
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, Bladesmithing, anything metal, Track and Field
  • Occupation

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  1. It really does look kind of small. I think the angle and the camera lens took off some pounds. Here is a picture of me next to the hammer. For reference I'm 6' 3". I'm with you on the electric motor, that and several other factors are being worked out. Ill keep things posted. E.
  2. Today The Williams White power hammer arrived! It is a 90 pound hammer. I have an electric motor for it, but am still debating about whether to get three phase to the shop or just get a Honda or Briggs and Stratton engine to run it. The other plan under construction is the foundation. Just thought I would share. E.
  3. I am curious as to what the majority of smiths today are using. When taking the poll, please only vote for the type of hammer that gets the most attention/use in your shop. This poll only applies to power hammers; not presses, treadle hammers, hand hammers, etc. Thank you
  4. I have always been under the influence that forging is superior to casting. Being a blacksmith I am bias to forging anyways. But with metallurgy as advanced as it is today could one argue, given particular circumstances, that casting is as good as forging? I mean just look at anvils. I know of one maybe two anvil manufacturer that forges them. A majority of the others are all cast. I would like to have a forged anvil one day (just to say I have one), but my current anvil is cast steel and it holds up fine. The argument leads into grain refinement, but it is possible to get finer grain size through different methods of heat treatment depending on the material you are working with. I have often wondered if this debate is residual "old world" knowledge from a time when forging was the superior manufacturing method. I may be wrong but are'nt the Hofi hammers cast? http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/23397-bp1000b-the-real-story-about-the-hofi-hammer/ Scroll to the bottom of the page for information on this topic. But then we are presented with information such as this http://www.peddinghausanvils.com/forging_benefits.htm How much of either of these claims are backed up with scientific studies I do not know. They may be true, or they could be a marketing scheme. The conclusion I have come to is that the difference in quality is so minute anymore that I really do not notice. Instead of questioning the actual manufacturing process I question other aspects such as tool geometry and material. I have seen blades that are cast, and I for one was appalled. The reviews for the knives said they were not half bad. I reckon it just goes to show that the qualities of today's materials are much higher than they used to be.
  5. Look at colonial ironwork. This is a great example of ironwork that was completed for the most part without the aid of a power hammer, although the striker was employed a lot back then. What I notice when I look at colonial ironwork is that it is very thin in construction. They did not want it to be heavy and it was cheaper to make it that way. another good example of fine and delicate work, perhaps the best example would be Samuel Yellin's work. He is arguably the best iron worker that I know of and I will hold fast to that statement. http://www.amazon.com/Colonial-Wrought-Iron-Sorber-Collection/dp/1879535165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365180616&sr=8-1&keywords=colonial+wrought+iron http://www.samuelyellin.com/ As stated above, a power hammer or a striker will increase your efficiency, but as long as you are doing this as a hobby you can throw efficiency out the window. It is hard if not impossible to run a business without some sort of assistance whether it is mechanical or human. The occupation that moves metal by hand without the aid of external help is considered a jeweler. That being said, do realize that you never really do leave the realm of simple trinkets. There is a book I think you would find interesting. http://www.amazon.com/Fireplace-Accessories-Dona-Z-Meilach/dp/076431615X/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365180173&sr=1-6&keywords=fireplace+tools In this book they explain how perspective buyers may wish to observe a completed fireplace set as a sort of resume of skills. I love this part of the book. It discusses how just about every blacksmithing operation is used to create a fireplace set along with the smith's creativity is also reflected in the work. Just remember what ever you make, no matter how simple can always be done more elaborately. Many smiths, myself included, seem to think that improvement of skills means an increase in scale. This may not always be true. Take a look back on the things you have created before and think how can they be improved either in function or in artistic quality. Just a side note, another tool to consider is a treadle hammer. It is not as involved as a power hammer, but it will help nonetheless. I run a hobby/business shop. I do not own a power hammer or a treadle hammer.
  6. Has anyone ever received written permission to enter the property of a railroad and take unused steel?
  7. I have used rail anvils and I do not think highly of them. I see it more as a source of hot rolled 1085. The head could be cut off and made into hammers and anvils tools. The web and base could be split into stock for any tool really. I would wager that some very nice stake anvils could be forged from the rail. I also think it would be fun to make miniature anvils to sell as door stops. Do not forget the mountain of railroad spikes that would also accompany the rail. It would be a lot of work and it is probably not the most efficient way to get steel, but I am a blacksmith and am resourceful. I'll find a way to make it work. I know it is a large undertaking but I like these sorts of jobs. The kind that are so hard no one in their right mind would undertake. Nothing ventured nothing gain right. But as everyone has already said it has to be legal first before any thing can be done. This is always the first priority.
  8. The local real estate assessor did not help. They did not even have a railroad on the map, it was just some weird easement. However the active lines were present on the map. I am still going to find the legitimate owner of the rail before I try anything as I know how hard the railroad companies can come down on people who mess with their property. Has anyone ever had any luck approaching them and getting permission to even collect spikes scattered about? Is there any incentive for them to keep the line, even in the present condition? I heard one story of them wanting to keep another line because they were selling the land and they wanted to claim it had rail access. The line was just as old or older and in no better shape. As questionable as that sounds it is still their property and they can do with it as they choose.
  9. I know of an abandon railroad near me. The date on the tie plates says 1925 and it looks like they have not been touched in at least 50 years. The brush has overgrown and in most places the trees growing up through the rails are doing a better job holding the rail to the ground than the rotted out ties. The rail is ripe for the picking. It is one thing to go and swipe spikes that are lying around but another thing to pull up the rails without asking. I am a chemistry major not an engineer but I think anyone could tell that trains will never again run on this line. I am more worried about the legal ramifications of taking the rails more than anything. I have a possible owner of the tracks, it is a shortline company not some bigwig name like CSX or Norfolk Southern. I have yet to contact them but do any of you think I have a chance of them giving me permission to take some rail? I feel my chances are better since they are a shortline company. Also does anyone know if there is incentive for them to keep the tracks at this point? I would assume that they would be a liability risk and they would want them gone, but I have not researched the topic.
  10. My general rule is: The metal will move where 1. Force is directed into the metal, and 2. Where the metal is in a condition (malleable/hot) in which the force directed onto the metal will cause it to move. This means the plane in which the metal is struck the above statement is true. The location on the metal where the strike occurred will deform and the portion not struck will not be deformed. However, on the opposite side (the anvil face) there is more surface area in contact with the anvil. When an object is struck the entire object tends to go in motion (Newton's Laws). That motion will be stopped by the anvil, causing the deformation to be at a maximum directly under the hammer blow, but also present nonetheless in close to the impact. Take for example a long piece of steel that has a radius placed on the deck of the aircraft carrier with the radius face down. The steel is then struck with a hammer. The result would not be present under the hammer but a general reduction of the radius due to the large surface contact with the aircraft carrier. This is generally the case if the entire piece of steel is under the same conditions (composition, temperature, etc.). But the area directly under the hammer face could be the only area impacted by the strike if that was the only portion of the steel that was heated. Generally this is not the case. All this being said it does not discredit the viability of the rail anvil. It does a very good job at directing force into the steel in a very controlled fashion.
  11. You could forge one end down to fit into the hardy hole. Cut the thing in half so that the eye forms a semicircle and either grind or forge the eye into a swage. I have done something similar to this and it makes a dandy swage. This way you get 2 swages from one head.
  12. The moving of metal via hammering is a science. Freeman Dyson wrote a work titled "The Scientist as Rebel," in which he stated that many scientists were engaged in "a rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture." The context in which this was written was the debate between science and religion, but I felt it can be applied to this topic. Science advances through questioning, experimentation, and criticism. The theories that stand up to this criticism are the theories that are remembered and passed on. The questioning is not because some of us do not simply "get it," but because we want to further our understanding of not only the tool under question but also the method and logic under which the tool is to be used. The questioning is necessary for the advancement of the craft. With that said, can something be clarified for me? If the best and most versatile of all the blacksmith's hammers is the rounding hammer, why is it not marketed at the local hardware store? If I go into Lowes or Home Depot right now and ask someone there for a blacksmith’s hammer they will point me to the standard cross peen. Even on the tag it is listed as a Blacksmith’s hammer. (Just to share, I was looking at some pipe in Lowes one day and I overheard a conversation between the helper and the customer. The customer wanted pipe he could weld to make some stand. The helper stated that the galvanized pipe would be the best because you do not have to weld through all that black paint. This story shows that I realize most people do not know as much about metal working as the average blacksmith, but they still connect the blacksmith with the cross peen.) My point being that after a couple millennia of metal working, and the cross peen is still the public’s perception of the “blacksmith hammer.” Is it because the general population is not in a real need for tools that are specifically designed to move metal and the sale of the cross peen is a way that they are able to sell more hammers? Or is it the most versatile of the hammers? Thoughts?
  13. I saw on another website that the 700 is up and running. That hammer is very impressive when it comes to control. Float like butterfly, smash with thunder. I bet moving that much metal so effortlessly never gets old.
  14. I hate to ask but have you considered propane. I would never go with propane, I like playing/managing the fire. I have not done the math but I am fairly confident in saying that I am getting a better deal burning coal over propane. I do not have enough experience with propane to tell you how much propane = one pound of charcoal/coke. If you read up on it you could probably find out. I have heard nothing but good things about propane by those who use it. The one downside is that you can not concentrate the heat with propane like you can with coal. But for the most part the guys who use propane typically have a rose bud torch for specific heating. I reckon I am to much of a purist to switch, but the I heard one comparison that I thought was interesting. Propane vs coal is equivalent to campfire to oven. Propane is available everywhere, but If you are happy with your charcoal then why fix what is not broken. As long as it heats the metal at an affordable rate then you are doing fine.
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