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I Forge Iron


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  • Gender
  • Location
    East Bay Area, Nor Cal
  • Interests
    Smithing, knives, axes, primitive technologies


  • Location
    Tracy, California
  • Interests
    hunting, smithing, dogs
  • Occupation
    manufacturing engineer

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  1. I agree I think it’s penny wise and pound foolish to make refractories. I was able to buy refractory once from an AP Green warehouse. They sold me a bag with a hole in it for half price. Also ceramic wool is cheap, you can buy short pieces 2300-2600* 8lb density. Buy 5-10 lbs to hard face it from the IForgeIron store. If you plan to weld in it with Borax flux 90% plus alumina will last longer. $75 will insulate LPG bottle or smaller refrigerant bottle forge/furnace. Edited to remove refractory sellers and inserted IForgeIron store. I haven’t been here for at least a year and didn’t know this site carried gorge building supplies.
  2. Those bottles are 31 inches in circumference an 13” long I believe. A 4 ‘ length of 24x1” (Or 8’ of 12x1”) ceramic wool could give you two layers thick inside (cut most of it lengthwise to form Two 12” wide strips) with some left over to make end caps/doors. I’ll double check but think 10lbs kastolite (Or other refractory) will cover the whole shebang 1/4” thick, with the floor twice that, with leftover. A pint of Plistix or ITC will give a reflective finish coat to everything. A 3/4” T burner or Miley burner should have power to spare in such a forge.
  3. Fullers, spring fullers, hold downs all work well made of mild steel. As said, axles are good medium carbon steel, torsion bars and coil and leaf springs are usually a bit higher medium carbon with chromium and or silicon to toughen them up. Sway bars are usually medium carbon steel, some are already shaped like hold downs, cut the end off at proper length, adjust bends and diameter of portion going into your pritchel hole if needed. Job shops and fabricators almost always have 4130/4140 remnants, as well as true tool steels. Repurpose different type of fleamarket and yard sale hammers and hatchets to make handled tools without having to start the eye from scratch. As stated,if buying new mild steel, many suppliers the guys in the yard will cut in half for you, or use the hack saw like Frosty said. Easy peasey.
  4. Mount it using fender washers or angle iron to capture the feet. Take note the square and round holes are directly below the hardy and pritchel holes - you might want to mount it so long stock can drop through at least one of them.
  5. I’m not sure if the softer horn is intentional or just a lucky artifact of their heat treating regimen, but my round horn was substantially softer, as was the one onmy friends. A new file would skate on the face and edge of my anvil as well (US made Johnson mill pattern).
  6. I got lucky on mine I bought perhaps a year ago. $140 shipped, no pin holes, no major voids, harder than wood pecker lips in January. Rebound 90%+, much cleaner casting but not perfect. Yes, like yours working over the tail isn’t as efficient, it is cantilevered off the sweet spot quite a bit. Totally worth the price I paid for a travel size anvil. BTW, really nice review. (-:
  7. Ted, any updates on this? Best, Steve
  8. Yessir, that thread is in much better shape than many I’ve seen. I was lucky both of the ones I kept for myself were nice and sharp just like yours. You have a great vise there, congratulations (and nice restoration detail too).
  9. They are a big player, it’s too bad they messed that up, a lot of folks would use their site as reference. Your compositions tho were correct.!
  10. Jen, maybe you are right, maybe they traditionally worked differently at the anvil. Hard to know now with the heyday of blacksmithing and guilds gone. Even if you find old manuals etc the small nuances aren’t always conveyed.I too would love to see the original techniques that evolved with each regional type anvil, that would be enlightening. Like martial arts, you would surely see some technique from another practice that better suit your physique or natural movements.Oh, and the odd dropped tail? English Yorkshire patterns have it too a lot of times. Weird. Love your cutlers anvil and stunned you found it near your home! BLKSMTH450 that is the most ambitious anvil repair I’ve seen yet, looks great. Did you do full penetration with the welds? Build the tail up with hardface?
  11. Steve your Brinell numbers are incorrect, way too low, not sure who published that information but it’s in error. Doesntmat h anyofmy book or online references. 205 Brinnel is less than 20RC, which is lower than annealed 4140. 4130 in thin sections and a fast quench can get maybe 50 max, 4140 can reach at least the mid 50s. Prehaerdened 4140, for machining fixtures and tough parts, comes from the vendor at about 30. Judson is correct that Grant used water, but I’d imagine a fast quench speed turbulent oil bath would get get you there safer, if you had it available (ie Parks 50, or some 5-6 second rated oil).
  12. Ethan that is a beauty! Love the fat horn and crowned face right behind it, you could move some serious meta there. Also, I’ve noticed a lot of old French anvils with much better condition faces and edges than contemporaries from other locals, including Germany and England. I can’t believe all the historic users were better hammermen than in other countries, I think they found a way to forge a better mousetrap (anvil).
  13. Ah, yes to biggun and TP IF it is at least medium carbon steel. My suggestion for hardfacing was if it was MILD steel. As Biggun and TP say, there’s a couple ways to test, by spark observation or actually trying to harden an edge first. Then it will all about a kiln or a bonfire, a cherry picker (engine hoist), and a bath date with a very large barrel of circulating brine. Be careful, steam burns are some of the worst I’ve gotten, and that includes a couple third degree burns. Let us know what you finally do, I think it’s great that you want to get the most out of this thing!
  14. If it’s truly steel, and not cast iron, if you or a friend are a good welder it could be worth building up the face (free labor just materials and tool wear costs). A couple layers of impact resisting medium hardness, followed by the needed passes/res of a higher hardness. Your original plan, if steel, is also good. Use the hardy hole and horn, and add dovetails for dies.
  15. I will say I have one of the 66lb EBay anvils and it’s a good anvil. I have a friend that has one as well. Only regret is that the seller doesn’t stock the 110lb version which I’d prefer. However I have a larger anvil so not a real issue. For a lighter anvil I believe they are a solid value.
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