John on Fishhook

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  1. ATTENTION: Coal Forge Demo and forging play day this Saturday (5/30/15) in Wasilla - ALL WELCOME Several forge beginners (like myself) have asked about some forge time, so I will be running my coal forge on Saturday (5/30/15) from noon to whenever. Please stop by if you can. I have everything you need, but you are welcome to bring anything you'd like to try yourself. I will be unwinding 20' of garage door spring so the forge will be good and hot if you want to make something. To get to my house in Wasilla: we are basically at mile 10 Wasilla Fishhook Road directly across from McCasey Drive. More specifically, we are at 8485 North Wasilla Fishhook Road. If your not familiar with valley roads: Turn up Main Street in Wasilla (the one with the post office, and credit union on it) and go 10 miles and we are on the right (just before our house, there is a 25 MPH warning sign and we are the 2nd driveway past the sign). Look for a grey house with white trim and a basketball hoop on the detached garage. We are very easy to find, but if you get lost, give me a call at 745-2733. You don't have to, but if possible, give me a call to let me know you are planning to come or you can send me an email at [email protected] Hope to see you on Saturday. John Mielke on Fishhook
  2. What time of day is the April meeting?
  3. If anyone is interested in making a Randy McDaniels forge, I have the templates for the fire box that I am willing to let someone use.
  4. Thanks for the comments about my forge. It is great to talk to people about coal forges. The kind of heat available with coal, opens up so many other opportunities, not only in metal working, but also in aluminum casting and glass working. Some people commented about my forge not having a lip. It doesn't have a lip because it hasn't been needed. The coal I use ignites and cokes up so fast, that a small reserve is enough. On big heats (or big for me), I coke up reserves over on the side that the slide-on hood is on (see photo), but the un-coked coal is easier to handle. Much of what I have read about coal management did not really apply to the coal that I use. It is A-grade Bituminous coal with a heat value of 15,500 BTU's per pound. The sub-anthracite I've mined isn't hotter, it just burns cleaner. To compare the coals: Usibelli is 7,500 BTU's per pound and Jonesville is 11,000 BTU's per pound. Coal sold by Centaur Forge is around 14,000 BTU's ( the heat value changes how you manage it). Also, there is very little clinker in the coal I use, so the (hard to make) clinker breaker I made for my forge proved useless. Mining your own coal is great fun, but I assure you, in the first loads I brought home, there was a lot of black ROCK that would not burn (I still do bring home rock from time to time).
  5. The plans for my forge were from a book by Randy McDaniel's and it was made from steel scraps and material donations from friends. The total cost of my forge was a $40 angle grinder (the $20 angle grinder caught fire) and $10 worth of cut off blades. The blower was from a clothes dryer, and had a rheostat, but the air restrictor on the intake worked much better. I spent a long time on the clinker breaker, but never used it and it would work better without it. Five pounds of coal gives me about 45 minutes of heat. If you continuously load it, that time is infinite. The 600° high-heat paint has never burned off, no matter how hot I run it or how long I worked. You don't need a lot of expensive tools to start with. When I started, I held the metal with Vise-Grips, then made simple tongs, then cut-off tools, coal working tools, hammers, froes, knives and a giant screw driver, so you make the forge first, then use it to make what you need. I get all of my coal out of the ground, so it is very economical to run.
  6. Welcome AKNewbie: I built a post anvil from a 3" steel pipe, a Toyota rim and a 1" steel top and it works well. The 3" pipe fits into the rim center hole and the 1" top had a 1" hole it. I used it to compensate for the missing hardy on my anvil. It holds my cut off tool and my mandril, both are homemade. Once you have a forge, you make the tools you need, usually as you need them: tongs, hammers and forge coal tools. My forge is coal fueled with a blower from a dryer and plans f rom a book by Randy McDaniels. The book also has plans for a welded anvil that looks like it would work. The pictures I'm sending shows a 1" bridge bolt. I got it that red hot in 3 minutes. I drifted a hole for a handle and I use it as a flatter . You don't hammer with it, you hit it to flatten things. The bolt was 18" long and I made a hammer and mandril from it. Now that I have a heat source, I melt aluminum and glass it it. It is all new to me and is very exciting and great fun even the mistakes and outright failures. My fellow blacksmith burt a 1" hole in a lawn mower blade he was going to make into a knife. He had a gas forge and was not used to the rapid heating of a coal forge. I'm JUST STARTING to melt aluminum. Good luck, it's non-stop fun. John on Fishhook
  7. Hello Jerry, Are you the same Jerry Frost that lived in Chugiak about 1975? If so, I'd like to hear from you. I've just built a coal fired forge and I'm having trouble finding coal, and I could use some advise. Give me a call some time, I'm in the Wasilla phone book . John Mielke