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About bigfootnampa

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/12/1951

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    Blacksmithing, whitesmithing, woodworking, photography, fly fishing, faux painting, fine finishing.

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  • Location
    Saint Louis, MO
  • Interests
    Woodworking, metalsmithing, photography, fly fishing, carving
  1. I have found the hay rake tines to be quite brittle material. They are nothing like modern spring steels! A friend had been using them to make long hay hooks that he used to drag bales with. He had broken several and complained that it was dangerous as well as inconvenient. When I spoke with him a few days ago, he said that, on my advice, he had switched to using 3/8" rebar instead and that the hooks are now reliable and last for years! Weldable rebar seems to be of more reliable quality. I've used it for a variety of useful hook style items with great success! For standard duty pins it should be excellent! I usually forge out most of the texture but for some uses it is actually desirable... like tent pegs, for example.
  2. Personally I prefer a 4 1/2" or 5" grinder. I would not use a portable grinder for cutting thick steel. It's too DANGEROUS!!!! If your stock is too thick to cut with a 4 1/2" cut off wheel, you ought to have a proper band saw or at least a hot saw! Wait till you catch a 7" wheel in a deep cut!!!! You'll be hearing me then!
  3. Once you've used a good belt grinder you will KNOW! Wheel grinders are much more dangerous, much slower, far less versatile, inferior in nearly EVERY aspect!
  4. I have bought actual copper (bronze) bristled brushes. It wasn't easy! I found them online though. They do not work nearly as easily as brass brushes! The temp at which the color transfer occurs is cooler and much narrower with the bronze brushes! I usually have to make several repetitions to get a good effect and even then the copper heat colors to a much darker tint than the brass! I still like the effects though and will often spend the extra time and effort to get it! A much easier method, that offers much more variety, is to use metallic acrylic artists paints. These can be thinned and dry brushed or wiped on and then be buffed back to whatever opacity is desired. The better brands will hold their colors quite durably and can be mixed with (or over tinted with) burnt umber to get antiqued effects that are startlingly realistic... undetectably so!
  5. Thomas is sure right! I can't see drifting wrought iron ending well! I'd think you should be able to punch it though, and then you ought to be able to use a cone or anvil tip to draw the ring diameter out. A possible alternative to Thomas suggestion.
  6. When I have skinned critters I've found that most of the work is done with the curved parts of the blades. Even so I prefer a pointed blade as it will reach in to work tricky detailed areas. Something like the Schrade "sharp finger" knives is what I prefer. Extreme sharpness is most useful and the sheer amount of work (often) presents a challenge to keeping such an edge working optimally. It is no bad thing to have more than one knife at hand! I've sometimes used up the best of three good edges working one carcass! So having more than one style in the field is quite a reasonable way to go.
  7. Of course you could just slit punch it through the cheeks, drift it out and call it good! By the time you get the new slit and drift done the old handle hole will be pretty well closed up. For this type tool the handle is just for positioning... that is you never swing it... just hold it in place and drive it with another hammer. So the handle is normally NOT wedged tightly. Thus the slightly wanky cheeks should present no problems.
  8. I would guess that they are NOT cast iron, probably forged or cast steel. For ag equipment cast iron would rarely be durable enough.
  9. The spike is likely from an old harrow. The donuts might be also, I'm not sure about them.
  10. I can see that. I mostly use buckskins and light to mid weight leathers. Even upholstery leather can be the devil to push a needle through... pre-punching is essential. This awl slices right in though. Each corner cuts like a knife blade. i used to have some trouble keeping the stitches neatly spaced... now my brain is wired... I can often hit an invisible hole from the backside, just by knowing where it ought to be. I mostly lace things together, but for zippers, I need glue and stitching. Also some fine details like the leaf grommet are a bit small for lace attachments.
  11. This tool is really SHARP! It takes little effort to push it through the leather by hand. If I can get a backer behind it I'll use a small plastic cutting board with sticky foam sheets built up to the right thickness to get just the right penetration. If I can only get fingers back there I am careful to feel for the point and align it to pass between my fingers. Best technique is to wiggle and twist it while pushing gently. Where I can get the backer in position I can just shove it through. The square corners cut as it penetrates. It is way easier to push through than a round awl! I can punch many more holes by hand than I could with a drill press because of far greater speed in alignment. Even punching through three layers of leather plus a zipper tape is no problem at all. So it really makes a tiny + shaped hole. The holes reclose so quickly that I sometimes have to repunch them to find them on the back side.
  12. Strictly speaking this project does not involve forging... though it could. I think it might be useful for smiths who also make scabbards or other leather projects though. I made this sewing awl to punch sewing holes for my needles on leather pieces where the throats of my punch pliers is not deep enough to reach. It was about a 15 minute job repurposing an old straight blade screwdriver with my belt grinder and another 20 minutes or so to make the little scabbard for it. I used a ceramic belt and was careful not to overheat the point... so that I could preserve the original temper of the tool. The four sided grind makes a sort of self healing hole that recloses pretty nicely around the thread. You might need to adjust the taper for different leather weights. Longer taper for thicker leather, of course. This works well for most of my work. You can see where I have used it in the detail of the attachment reinforcing grommet. Manual screw driving is rarely used now, in comparison with the old days. So, many nice screwdrivers are available at bargain prices in antique malls and flea markets. I rarely pay over $1.50 for one and get quite a few at around $.50! They also make nice small chisels, which I use to make slits for my lacing. BTW I have found this tool to be superior to any that I've seen offered by the leatherwork suppliers that I am familiar with! It is already a favorite!
  13. Pulling/lifting chains are usually hardened and tempered.
  14. The curve certainly does make for a weaker structure than a straight brace... but these are massively built. David's strength estimates seem conservative to me.
  15. It is a turners tool designed for drilling centered holes. It is supposed to self center as it drills and is commonly used for things like drilling lamp stands to create a hole for wiring. These are still being manufactured and I have one in my truck. These are sometimes called lamp augers. They are usually 3/8" diameter, which fits a standard threaded wire tube.