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I Forge Iron


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About Latticino

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    Upstate NY
  • Interests
    Blacksmithing, bladesmithing, glassblowing, restoring and playing antique flutes. HLG and boomerangs, recumbent bicycles, sea kayaking, white water canoeing, reading SF/Fantasy

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  1. Some of the irregularities appear to be from hitting with the edges of the hammer rather than the flat portion of the face. Try to keep the hammer face a bit more square with the stock and overlap blows. Also learn how to make planishing blows at the end of your heats (lighter blows at lower stock temperatures) and definitely before completing your forging.
  2. That is what I use (left over from 10+ years of lighting my glory hole for glass blowing on a daily basis). Have to say at the school I sometimes teach at the push button sparker propane torch does an easier and cleaner job, but those are much smaller forges.
  3. 5160/9160 leaf spring is notoriously difficult to forge weld to itself. I have heard it said that it has something to do with chromium content, but don't have the metallurgy to back that up. I've had plenty of success welding it to other steel, or even wrought iron, but otherwise it is a real challenge. If you come up with some sort of aggressive flux that works better I'm all ears.
  4. Interesting idea, but I think you may find that the differing thermal expansion rations between the ceramic nozzle and the burner pipe threaded to it may be a problem. This will be particularly evident when the forge is turned off after a work session. It sounds like you will have your burner semi-permanently mounted and the radiant heat from the forge will heat the parts after it is off and the air gas mixture is no longer cooling the burner. I'd stick with a heavy wall stainless steel nozzle and protect the very end of it with castable forge lining, but you idea is worth a try. Note: the sales link will likely be removed by moderators shortly based on the site TOS. For other's potential interest here is a photo of the nominal 1" TIG ceramic nozzles in question:
  5. John, That is pretty brave for 5160 (the tip water quench in slack tub). I certainly do that for 1045 or 4140 struck tool tips, but once I get material past 45 points of carbon I usually quench the tips in oil. Of course it will work, and the generally thicker sections for a chisel may help as well, but I would lean towards an interrupted water quench (dip the tip for only a couple of seconds iteratively with a couple of seconds in air in between each dip).
  6. It depends on what oil you are using. Engineered quenchants formulated specifically for quickly cooling steel from the austentitic range will have directions from the manufacturer on whether they need to be preheated. If you end up using vegetable oil (not used motor oil!) it is often a good idea to preheat it slightly to lower its viscosity and speed the quench. You need to be careful to keep well below the oil flashpoint so when the hot steel goes in it doesn't start a fire (fireballs seen on Forged in Fire and the like are a sign of poor process). Typically I keep canola oil between 120 and 140 deg. If if I am using that, and it acts like a medium speed quenchant (which is good for spring steel like 5160). I have more limited experience with water quenching. Again, heating it a little doesn't hurt, provided the water stays well below boiling. I tend to think it has little other effect, as the water viscosity doesn't change appreciably with temperature. If you are concerned about the shock of the hot metal at 1,500 deg. F going into 45 deg. F water rathe than 160 deg. F water, I can't see it being a significant difference. Brine may be another issue as well. Note that even the best water quenchers loose a portion of their work to cracking.
  7. Inside the open space of the garage it isn't all that important what you run the vent with. Ideally I'd like to see a black steel duct (not galvanized) at least 10" in diameter, though you can usually get away with galvanized spiral duct after the first 3' or so. The issue is when you are closer than 18" from any combustible construction (wood framing, plywood or flakeboard sheathing...). That is where you need to upgrade your materials to one that is rated by the manufacturer for lower clearance to combustibles, typically double wall duct with an inner liner of something like mineral wool. This is usually rated for either zero or 2" clearance (Selkirk, DuraVent, DuraTech...). The real issue is at the penetration. You have to maintain the correct clearance there as well, which may take an engineered "Thimble" with double wall duct and an air gap covered by a rain shield (probably what Fraser has) and can be quite expensive (I got one quoted at over $800). Most code mandates 3' above the nearby roof peak, but more doesn't' hurt except for addressing wind loading.
  8. For chisels and the like you can usually get cheap stock from flea markets (repurposed older chisels are usually ideal and can often be picked up for a buck or two a piece). You can also hit a junkyard or spring shop for 1" coil spring or try tie rods. You can make your guillotine tooling from mild steel, though it will last longer in high carbon. Probably not worth the trouble to heat treat them though.
  9. Kind of depends what you are using it for. If blades, I got some 1080 from New Jersey Steel Baron last year. Check his site to see if he still has any. If tooling I'd check at a local machine shop for a drop of 4140.
  10. Fuel efficiency is related to the quality of burners you choose, but also to the insulation value of the forge lining and door system. My personal feeling is that it is a lot easier to build and tune a fan powered burner and you get added efficiency because you can virtually close the doors completely and "lock in the heat" (you are planning on including good doors in your build, right?). Also, hard firebricks are certainly cheap, but are a bit of a drain on fuel efficiency both due to their thermal mass (which takes a long time to heat up) and poor insulation value (which allows more heat to bleed through the forge skin). It is all a trade off. You might consider just biting the bullet and buying a commercial burner. There are a couple of good ones out there that aren't too expensive. If you do plan on building a Zoeller Sidearm style burner (like in the linked file), try and follow the directions exactly, including using the correct fittings. As a beginner you are planning on doing a lot of forge welding in your gas forge? Even if you go fluxless the temperatures reached can be hard on a forge, and reduce it's lifespan. Hopefully you will do the most efficient thing with your money and take an in person class or two. Watching videos just doesn't compare, though if you are careful there are certainly some very good videos out there that can supplement your training. In this instance I don't completely agree with Mikey regarding the information from the article. I definitely agree with them about the requirement for volume matching and necessary forge diameter for developed length of flame. I also feel that even thought here are advantages for limiting "hot spots" by having more than one burner, a single forge burner is usually much easier to tune properly (good compromise is a multiport burner...). Good luck.
  11. Cool. I have taken a class from Nick Rossi on forging integral bolster knives and he just demonstrated them again at Ashokan (He has a great video of this forging on the NESM YouTube site). I have a couple of tricks he shared that will make your life easier when you try one. Using a Smithing Magician like guillotine tool is pretty helpful to keep the various offsets in line. Making that abrupt heel pull down from the bolster is tough. Keeping the bolster centered between the blade and tang is another challenge. I still struggle a bit with both of those, but am getting better. It is important not to rush, at least on the first couple. 1/2" thickness is a little light for a chef's knife bolster IMHO. I think we used 1" square stock, but that was for a 10-12" blade. I think he uses 3/4" round for his paring knives. Maybe you can upset your leaf spring a bit before you get to the blade forging proper. I'm sure we can work something out.
  12. Scales certainly look great. The wenge has beautiful grain and you did well bringing it out. Your pins are also very clean and look proportionate. If you don't mind a little, what I hope is constructive, criticism I recommend considering the following: Often hand forged chef's knives don't include a clearly visible plunge grind, and if they do the grind does not go completely up to the spine. If a visible plunge grind is used, it should feather out before hitting the spine. The blend between the handle and blade in grinding a chef's knife without a visible plunge is the most difficult part of grinding these knives IMHO. There are a couple of good videos online teaching this technique. Of course this is a purely aesthetic issue, and certainly doesn't have any effect on how well the knife works. Functionally chef's knives are most often used for chopping or slicing on a cutting board. The extension of your riccasso down slightly past the edge of the blade may interfere using the heel of the blade. This will only get worse as the knife is sharpened over time.
  13. Nice job for a first set. You appear to have avoided some of the standard first tong mistakes with the bolster being too thin or having a stress riser at the joints between the bolster and bit or reins. One suggestion: you seem to have made lefty tongs (hammer in left hand and tongs in right). Unless this was intentional you need to rotate the stock between each set down in the opposite direction.
  14. Suggest you make an effort to attend SOFA to get re-energized.
  15. You are not supposed to forge weld the top and bottom of the blade edges together to form the initial point. Ideally you are squeezing the steel at that point to form a sharp taper. This is one of the basic blacksmithing processes (taper, upset, punch, drift...) that is the most important one for blade forging. It is difficult to squeeze down this point using stock that has a high width to thickness ratio as it is tough to upset far down into the bar. If you are reluctant to use Frasier's recommendation of precutting, it can be accomplished, but it takes time and practice. I recommend practicing with cheap mild steel until you can do this reliably. You need to work hot and use fairly heavy blows well directed. You will also need to forge on the "flat" periodically to push down the areas that you upset in thickness. Don't let the top and bottom corners project past the center of the bar width when you are forging (forge them back in if they start going astray. I like to visualize the middle of the bar almost extruding out past the top and bottom edges, but you can think of it in your own terms. Jason Knight has a very good video where he demo's forging in that first tip with hammer and anvil only. He gets it done in one heat if I recall correctly and uses the anvil edge (can also use the horn similarly) to concentrate his blows:
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