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I Forge Iron


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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

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  1. Yellow ochre, pencil lead, powdered graphite... these are common jewelers solutions. You can use yellow ochre acrylic artist’s paint. Maybe use a coating or dip and then also put a barrier line of soft pencil lead to help keep the solder from flowing into the clamps? I’ve had pretty good luck applying a slurry of powdered yellow ochre, it’s kind of an anti flux.
  2. I like your splitting axe! I just am impressed by the power of a true wedge shape driven by weight and momentum! Yours looks just about right too. I do find that the axes in my collection are rarely used for splitting though. For firewood a maul is better and when I had a bad arm on one side I actually split quite a bit with a heavy duty froe and hand maul. For more delicate splits... like spoon blanks or tool handle blanks... I generally use a mid size froe. The small froe is also just the thing for splitting chunks of hickory or pecan for the smoker/bbq.
  3. I quite like the looks of that Ozark hoe! Personally I’d prefer to make the langets by using solid rod and making a u-shape, like a big staple. I guess the downside would be that you couldn’t tighten it after the original installation. If the ends were pointed and bent inward... you could hammer them into the handle and then use wire wrap to secure them!
  4. Third from last is a webbing stretcher I believe. An upholsterers tool, it stretches the webbing and then the hammer is used to tack it in place. Very similar to a farriers horseshoe nail clinching alligator pliers.
  5. One wood that no one has mentioned yet is hackberry. Elms in general are probably good. The interlocked grain patterns of elms resist splitting and make for strong handles! Hackberry is particularly flexible and springily compressible... making for good hammer handles that tend to stay tight... I have some that are proven in use! Hackberry root was a traditional favorite for froe mauls.
  6. Railroad track is considerably more difficult to bend than 1.25” rebar! During the civil war saboteurs heated railroad tracks in bonfires and bent them around trees... so that they couldn’t be reused! It would certainly be possible to make the type of bends you want by using a trench fire. I suspect that you could coax such bends at black heats far short of red hot! You might even try cold bending them! To cold bend use a sledge and lots of strikes... similar to re-arching leaf springs. A sort of giant bending fork setup on your steel table could also work for cold bending if you use long pieces so that you have good leverage... make lots of small bends... don’t try to get the whole arch at one go.
  7. It’s true that Missouri jungles do not grow padouk. We do have pecan, hickory, Osage orange, persimmon and many understory shrubbery woods that all make good tool and knife handles. The persimmon is related to ebonies and commonly used as carving knife handles by some of the local makers here in the Branson area. Redbud, rhododendron and many other small bushy trees are also useful! Our local jungles are truly RICH in excellent wood sources!
  8. Locust is incredibly hard wood! I haven’t used it for handles... but I’d say it’s a pretty good bet! Mulberry is tough and flexible... likely to be good for many types of handles! I don’t know much about olive, but I would think it has good potential!
  9. Air dried wood is generally prettier and easier to work than kiln dried Thomas. Still IMO starting green and working the woods right through the drying process is an unmatchable pleasure! My spoons are carved fairly thin and dry enough to finish in a couple days or so. For tool handles I commonly use branch and sapling woods that use the natural rounded and sometimes curved shapes. I no longer worry about drying splits! If I get some, epoxy or cyanoacrylate (for the very thin cracks) is an attractive fix! I now subscribe to the Japanese tradition that holds broken and repaired to be superior to unblemished originals! I will often refurbish old handles on antique, sometimes abused tools... when I might have replaced them more quickly... but they would be less interesting!
  10. Magnificent! A joy to my eyes! I am a woodworker myself. These days I mostly harvest my own from my property. I only have 1.67 acres here... mostly grass. Still the shrubs and trees produce more wood than I could possibly use! Lately I’ve cut some small trees that are too close to the house. One small trunk of black poplar has been split into eight blanks that have produced six spoons so far! It is very satisfying to work with froe, axe, knife then crooked knife! I also enjoy working with a shaving horse and drawknife! So much more enjoyable than working with power tools! I am spiritually enriched by your dedication to work in ethical ways that respect the Earth and her bounties!
  11. WD40 works pretty good for me. I have some larger plastic ammo can type boxes that have rust inhibitor molded into the plastic. I have been using them to store carving tools and files. I think the brand is Zerust... boxes by Flambeau. Similar products may be available too.
  12. For your next one... walnut is a poor choice but ash is fine. Any hickory is very good including pecan! I actually prefer green wood for most tool handles. It’s best to dry it after shaping but before final fitting. Short tool handles are easily dried in a microwave oven. Baking in the sun for a few days works well too. In summer my pickup’s dashboard is a handy drying oven! Once you’ve worked a lot of green wood... it’s not scary anymore. The finished products are much superior! Air dried woods are prettier, stronger, more flexible... basically better in every way! If I happen to have a handle that splits when dried... I just fill it with epoxy or super glue. The cyanoacrylate (super glue) is for very thin splits that I can’t get epoxy into. Yard trimmings like lilac, holly, dogwood, oak, redbud, persimmon and many others can be good handle materials!
  13. Since no one has mentioned it... I like the old way of deliberately forging a fish mouth and then refining that with files to create an eye punch. It also reinforces what kind of forging creates fish mouth and makes it easily recognizable when you do it accidentally!
  14. Amazon has 1” thick sewn muslin wheels in 10” diameter. I think you’d be better off with those than with two 3/8” ones.
  15. I bought a little 1/2 inch pneumatic belt sander for jobs like that. I don’t use it often, but it’s a real treat when I do have work for it! Mine was only about a hundred bucks online!
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