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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by Latticino

  1. 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.
  2. Suggest you make an effort to attend SOFA to get re-energized.
  3. 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:
  4. If you are planning on getting into blade making, the most useful tool IMHO is a decent belt grinder. Unfortunately it is also one of those tools where you get what you pay for, and most budget options are significantly less effective. There are certainly work arounds, you can even draw file very effectively with a setup that costs well under $100, but you are trading your time for equipment cost. As far as tongs go, ideally you should work on making your own. For starters I recommend tong kits, like the ones from Ken's Custom Iron Store, but eventually making your own (or at least learning how to modify garage sale finds) will make yo a more versatile smith.
  5. Not a clue, but I kept clear with my big exhaust fan running in the shop when preheating it and now it is encapsulated behind a 1/2" thickness of Kastolite.
  6. Here's mine, in reflection I should add those sweet fuller marks that Jen did. Never finished as I had a crack in heat treatment.
  7. I used concentrated water color painting pigment to color mine the last time I sealed my blanket (because I found some tucked away in my wife's supply rack and didn't have a bottle of food coloring around). Bottle probably was on the order of 25 years old, but it worked quite well for me.
  8. Or the K values, for that matter. The real issue you will run into is that the board has a tendency to sag quite a bit over time, it is friable, and will still give off the same small fibers after being heated up to forging temperatures as the blanket. If I recall the board it quite similar to 8# density ceramic wool. You can certainly build a forge with 1" of either, it just depends on how efficient you want it to be. In either case I would strongly recommend sealing and protecting the surface.
  9. That's a really nice shape for a swede, I made a pretty similar profile a short while back and really like it. Of course mine was smaller and not made from steeled wrought Looking forward to seeing yours etched and finished. I know I would have trouble with a hammer that large and such a small diameter peen, but you have much better hammer control than I do.
  10. Lovely job, glad I was of some small help in the project.
  11. A good trick I learned from Jim Austin for the front of the eye is to use a round nose or half round chisel, like the one pictured below, to cut away the very front of the eye, removing any minor delaminations there. Cut in hot using a post vise to hold the stock works a treat. Of course that is just if the front of the eye is too tight or you have a cold shut to deal with. for an eye that is too wide at the front the easy solution is to forge it down further...
  12. Better is a relative term. Yes it will put out more air at higher pressure. The question is do you need that?
  13. Actually, in addition to the oiling of bearings there can be a couple of other reasons for blower mounting orientation to be specified. Some types of bearing are good for radial loads, but not as good given loading along the shaft by for example an extremely heavy impeller (i.e. roller bearings). The real issue though is if you have a blower that is either just the right size or slightly undersized. If you mount a centrifugal blower incorrectly based on the downstream ductwork configuration you can drastically reduce the air output to your forge. This can be addressed by having enough duct length from the blower outlet to fully develop flow in the duct (say 5-10 duct diameters), or having an oversized blower, but can certainly be a factor. Here is an illustration: There can also be system effects at the blower inlets. For more detail please reference this article: https://www.tcf.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Fan-Performance-Troubleshooting-Guide-FE-100.pdf
  14. I'll have to post a better picture that shows them more clearly, but the 5'oclock one is my favorite also.
  15. Some of my hawks. Trying out different profiles for the bearded ones.
  16. Haven't used it myself yet, but I have heard very good things about potassium permanganate solution (get it from the pool supplies shop).
  17. I have used 1045 on a number of smithing hammer builds and been quite happy with the results. I quench in water, large volume and strong agitation. Sometimes I snap temper in a cheap, throw away toaster oven. Other times I have differentially tempered using either a heated eye mandrel or oxy-acetylene torch (work from the eye out to the faces, just like Fraiser mentioned).
  18. I've heard good things about Magna cut from Nick Rossi, but am not sure if he was forging it or using stock removal. For the amount of effort you need to put into making a San Mai billet, I would recommend going with stock that is a little more conventional, at least for the first trial. I have done wrought/1075, wrought/1084, wrought/1095 and mild/1084, and mild/5160. I have experienced the core peel effect only once, but unfortunately don't remember which combination I was using, or whether I quenched more than once (pretty sure it was one of the times I used mild as the casing). I've not been to Andy's shop, but did hang out with him at one of the Ashokan gatherings. He knows his stuff and has a pretty amazing shop from all reports.
  19. I had a similar application and ended up getting a custom stencil made for my touchmark. There are several providers that can make something up for you from your electronic files. The screens are reusable for multiple etchings. Look up Marking Methods, Inc and Blue Lightning. San Mai trick is to have the cladding be less than 1/2 the thickness of the center HC steel when first welding up if using something like LC steel or Wrought with significant differences in thermal expansion during the hardening process. Using that technique you need to be sure to forge in your bevels. You can also bevel back the cladding a little on both the spine and the edge at the boundary of the profile. Joined NYSDB yet?
  20. I purchased a used swage block from another smith with a section that had been broken off. It probably used to be rectangular, though not as long as the Holland block, and is now roughly square. I have no idea how it was broken, but the key thing is that I'm pretty sure it is cast iron, not cast steel or ductile iron. I believe the Holland blocks are ductile iron, so are likely more resilient.
  21. Grain is a little larger than I like to see on mine. Not the worst, but you need to work on your normalization a bit to get it down further IMHO. You have something that looks like 120 grit sandpaper, you should be closer to 250-400, no shiny glinting or irregular sizes.
  22. If you liked those check out the old Mel Brooks film "The Twelve Chairs". A bit more bittersweet than his later slapstick, but it still has a young Frank Langella as a romantic lead and Dom Deluise as a supporting actor (not to mention the amazing Ron Moody and Mel himself). My list of film essentials includes those Thomas mentioned, but is a whole lot longer...
  23. Oliver, As many have already tried to tell you, you are headed down a bit of a dangerous path. You need to be prepared for at least the following: Matching the overall draw of your furnace with the electrical circuit it is connected to. Most likely you will want to use a 220 V (or whatever the equivalent voltage is in UK) and on the order of 30 amps. This kind of power is sufficient to cause you significant damage if used wrong. Controlling the power output so you achieve the temperatures you want without either overshooting or burning out your elements. As previously noted this likely means that you will want to use some form of temperature controller. Most of these will require some form of interposing relay or contactor to allow the low voltage controller switching to cycle the high voltage coil power. Coil design: Wire size, length and method of suspension are critical. Coils will sag when hot. If they touch each other you will screw up your circuit. You must suspend your coils without connecting them to a conductive shell. You need to design a heating coil assembly that is circuited in either parallel or series to match the resistance with your available main power. There is a reason coils are used rather than just straight wire. Do you know why? Service wire: correctly sized so the resistance there is low enough to not heat that up (like your coil) and start a fire. Electrical code is your friend. Circuit selection at main: correctly sized so the draw doesn't pop the breaker or burn out the power wiring to your equipment connection. Door switch: both molten metal and the tongs used to manipulate a hot crucible are conductive. You should have a safe and reliable way to keep the power shut off while the door is open. Shell Design: For efficiency you need decent insulation. For safety it needs to be able to take the anticipated temperatures. For convenience it needs to be able to easily support the coils. Door design: again, frequently overlooked, but you need to plan how to make a door and where the hot side of same will be while you are trying to move a crucible full of molten metal I have found the design information in the following to be a great guide. Some of the systems are a little dated, but I've built gas forges, glass furnaces, annealers, hot pickup ovens and heat treat ovens using similar strategies: https://www.joppaglass.com/homepg/Joppa.web.Product_Cat.2018.pdf (if the TOC don't allow this informative link, just go to Joppa Glassworks and look for the downloadable PDF). Right now what you are proposing is analogous to sticking a fork into the electrical outlet in your house.
  24. Unless there is a basement, you don't. Actually these days most hydronic radiant heating floors are piped in PEX (plastic tubing).
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