bigfootnampa

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About bigfootnampa

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    Senior Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Missouri
  • Interests
    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

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  1. bigfootnampa

    Favorite files

    The vinegar treatment is not just to remove rust. It will actually sharpen the file teeth as it undercuts the tooth edges! I usually soak them for a day or two and use a nylon brush to clear gunk and bubbles two or three times during the process. I rinse them in a baking soda solution afterward and then clear water and dry very quickly with heat (not enough heat to affect the temper). I follow the drying IMMEDIATELY with WD 40 spray... to inhibit rust. Most dull or semi-dull files will cut like brand new ones after this treatment!
  2. bigfootnampa

    It followed me home

    That is a raising hammer. It’s typical use is to make bowl or cup shapes in copper, steel or silver. That’s an unusually large one. Those tongs are light duty fire tongs. People used to use them to get a coal from the fire to light their pipes with.
  3. bigfootnampa

    Wooden Handles

    You might want to get some persimmon wood. It is related to ebony and usually has dark heartwood and IME interesting figure. I’ve never seen it commercially available but local tree trimmers occasionally run into some. I personally love pecan wood! It’s in the hickory family and truly tough with beautiful colors and figures!
  4. bigfootnampa

    Favorite files

    Pferd files are excellent! They are currently one of the largest manufacturers... so... widely available. Grobet (Swiss) files are superb, though costly! Grobet does have many specialty styles available. For standard types of files I find the Pferd brand is difficult to match up to... especially if your budget is not very overfunded! if you’re not committed to all new files. You can often get good bargains at flea markets and antique shops. I’ve acquired many from such sources that were nearly as good as new after a day or two soaking in vinegar!
  5. bigfootnampa

    Clam shell rapier guards!

    If it were my project, I’d probably use an old rotary mower blade for material. Most of mine (mostly from high end commercial mowers) are about 1095 or 1080... something like that. At 1/4” thick they’d be pretty heavy! I’d probably thin them to no more than 1/8”... by forging.
  6. bigfootnampa

    Get a load of my new Grinder

    Hmm... much to consider in Latticino’s post! I find most of it in complete disagreement with my own experiences though. Let’s start with slack belt work. I vastly prefer slightly convex grinds to other types! I control the degree of convexity with pretty good precision by adjusting the pressure which I apply. My viewpoint is... “why grind a secondary or micro bevel, when I can do it all at once and have a smootherblade that slices more effectively?”. I do have a 10” contact wheel which is always available if I move off the slack belt area. I use this for heavy removal work but move to my slack belt for refining edges. BTW I usually use a bit more acute angle for my edges which allows the slightly convex bevels to present just the optimal angle right at the cutting edges! Now as to my buffer. I use my buffer as an integral part of my sharpening sequence. I remove the wire edges with my buffer and also polish the edges just enough... just enough to make them sharper and longer lasting than any other type of edge finish that I have tried! The one exception is to polish the edges with polishing stones to a mirrored surface. This takes days or even weeks... but the results are stunning! My buffed edges are very nearly as good with mere minutes invested! Because of the lower number of cutting edges, I find that for blade grinding, any grits beyond about 50 or 60 grit will actually slow my work significantly. If you do lots of grinding on annealed stock or mild steels you’ll find more use for coarser grits. All the work that coarser grits would do for me... I achieve by forging! I am really confident of this advice and use it regularly myself. If you disagree, well do it your own way... but here is gold if you want to pick it up! Joy of the forge to all of you! I’d buy a round if we were close enough!
  7. I have often experienced poor results from partial quenches. IMO you’d be better off doing a full quench and then drawing temper differentially. You might also consider a few normalizing cycles to address grain growth BEFORE heat treating. For beginners, grain growth is a common problem. They tend to heat too much and move the metal too slowly... a good recipe for excess grain growth. I agree with all the advice above re oil quenching too... it is my standard method. Water quenching can work well in certain situations... IMO it is best used by experienced smiths.
  8. bigfootnampa

    Feeling Lost.

    I have to agree with JHCC, nails are useful and good practice. Tongs are kind of tricky work... lots of pretty good smiths are not comfortable making them. Handmade nails are not at all the same thing as what you can buy in the hardware stores... they can be vastly more useful. Hooks are also great projects to get you started. A good J hook is quite useful and an excellent skill builder!
  9. bigfootnampa

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Vaughn; Sharpen your punch with a slight point on it... like a center punch with a pretty steep angle. The slight point helps to prevent sliding or skating off center. It won’t affect the punches function otherwise. I do like to finish up with a drill bit... just for efficiency sake, it’s faster. I do like to use a bob punch to create the countersink, which I sharpen as above and then it’s easier to just drill the through holes cold.
  10. bigfootnampa

    The road to the workshop.

    I did not know that. Thanks!
  11. bigfootnampa

    The road to the workshop.

    WOW! Monet would feel right at home there! I bet you have lots of bees and hummingbirds!
  12. bigfootnampa

    Get a load of my new Grinder

    My advice... get 80 grit ceramic belts for your heaviest stock removal work. Coarser grits are LESS efficient! Set up where you can get a good access to a slack belt area... I do about 75 percent of my grinding on my slack belt space. The addition of a high quality buffer has made my work much simpler and superior in quality.
  13. bigfootnampa

    Question on brass horn repair.

    Target carries Sugru. You can also order online. The shelf life is a problem with it. You can’t just keep stock on hand. IME (which is quite a bit) most brass puddles at VERY close to the same temps as easy solders! Soft solders are a different story. You are dealing with pretty thin brass sheet there. It heats quickly. I would consider it too risky. If I didn’t use Sugru I would go with epoxy. The Sugru would be easier to make it pretty with though... and extremely durable.
  14. bigfootnampa

    Question on brass horn repair.

    NONE of the hard solders are anywhere close to low temp enough to make that repair safely. To my mind the best way would be to use something like Sugru and make a strap clear around the tube and fillet around the nut to make a smooth streamlined joint. Avoid color issues by using black, which will harmonize with the rubber parts.
  15. bigfootnampa

    Coffee and Steel

    I have used French presses but I don’t like to. I grind my coffees pretty coarse and brew with an old style percolator... a new model though. I recently bought some organic Kona coffee and it is terrific! As good as Jamaican “Blue Mountain” at least! This is better than any Kona coffee or blend that I’ve had before! Absolutely NO bitterness at all! My pan... 10” diameter “Lodge” with 3” sides. The higher sides help to keep the beans in when I get a little wild while stirring!