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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by bigfootnampa

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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!
  12. I have a Pheer grinder. I remember the day that I first set it up! Within twenty minutes I had sharpened every dull blade I could find! I had to shut it off! What a feeling! Have you got some belts? I had used all sorts of cheap and common grinders for many years... the difference STUNNED me! You are likely to be a very happy guy!
  13. I have no experience with bark spuds... but I get the impression that they are most useful when the bark is being saved. Bark siding has had occasional periods of popularity. I recall reading about one bark dealer that had sent his minions to scour antique shops across the nation for serviceable bark spuds!
  14. I like most of the properties you describe. I find that 10” or 12” edge length is good for such use and most general work too. I also like a good sharp edge but for most drawknife work a clean bevel seems more important than a real shaving sharp edge. I prefer to work with my bevels down but when I am doing bark peeling I often use it the other way... like you. I like to have a pear shaped handle or one that tapers thicker at the heel. Textured rustic handles are nice! I’ve rescued antique models by filling splits or cracks with epoxies or UV glues and some super glues. They can be kind of interesting and very practical!
  15. Just as a pragmatic point, I have had the best luck making center punches by grinding old star drill bits. There seems to be a good supply at attractive prices and they are pretty durable. I don’t heat treat them at all... just regrind the points, cut to length and profile grind the struck ends. I’ve tried various steels and heat treats... but these are cheap, easy and reliable!
  16. It is very nice! If it were mine I would grind a choil on it though. Otherwise excellent!
  17. Yes. For my own blades I prefer to use the slack belt area of my grinder to make a slightly convex edge grind... thus I don’t really have a secondary bevel... but do enjoy the effects of one. This has the added advantage of creating a very smooth, slick cutting, transition that is easily repeated and good looking. If I do, in some clumsy way, end up with a rough looking transition... I will round it over a wee bit to make it look better and work better too! Mostly we are talking very subtle refinements here, of course, nothing that average users could detect... except for the appearance.
  18. Tungsten carbide is INCREDIBLY DENSE! I once acquired a few pieces of solid rod with intent to use as burnishing rods. Small chunks seemed vastly heavier than lead would! Extremely dense and very brittle... it would be a nightmare to adapt for aircraft uses... generally... I could see it for small specialized parts.
  19. Easier and cheaper than either of those options would be to forge copper nails. Drill or punch through the straps and then pilot drill undersized into the oak. Then hammer the copper nails in! You can put whatever sort of decorative heads on them that strikes your fancy!
  20. This is inaccurate. The anvil’s rebound quality will determine the opposing force to the hammer’s blow. With an anvil that has better rebound more work will be done with each hammer strike. Over thousands of hammer strikes, this will have a big effect on the efficiency of your forging. This is why rebound is such a critical quality in selecting an anvil. It’s not about bouncing the hammer... the force is transferred to the anvil side of the forging blank. When an anvil has less rebound... more of the forces are wasted in heating and deforming the anvil... to no useful end.
  21. Charles is right about this. Ideally you have a tang hole slightly undersized and black heat the tang so that it MELTS (not chars) it’s way in. Then the heated and compressed wood fibers cool to form a very strong socket for the tang while the resins in the wood (which are a natural form of ferrule cement) glue the tang into place. Done this way, the hidden tang is at least the equal of a through tang for security. I generally make a tapered square tang and melt it into a step drilled round socket. For tools that will see rough use, I’ll carefully fill the slight gaps along the flats of my tangs with a thin glue filler (usually some version of cyanoacrylate). If you use the burn in method, IMO, it’s best to use an undersized model of your tang and then follow up with a tang broach or drill/mill bits to create an overly tight tang socket that will melt to a perfect fit during the hot fitting process. This requires a bit of experience to judge as softwoods will compress a lot more than hardwoods while being hot fitted. Each wood species reacts a bit differently. A little practice will get you there though... and the results will be well worth your efforts!
  22. Mostly I work my hook knives with a very powerful pulling wrist twist stroke. You should not use your arms to pull toward yourself! That is too dangerous! The wrist twist is strong and quick and safe. It works best when taking many small bites, quickly. Skill is an underrated factor in using hook knives. They are MUCH more efficient in the hands of experts!
  23. I only use axes in the rough out phase. A drawknife and shaving horse is most efficient once the rough splitting is done... but not as portable as an axe. Sloyd knife and hook knives are generally most effective after the profiles are roughed out. Except for the interior of the bowl, skillful drawknife work can bring a spoon to near completion in an amazingly short time! Axes and sloyd knives can do all the work that a drawknife will... but they are slower. It’s nice to have them for working in the field though! The ambience of working in the forest is hard to beat!
  24. I love the small scale! Personally I prefer my carving hatchets beveled on both sides and worked ambidextrously. They cut curves better that way and the angles give clearance for the hatchet eye. I do like fairly long bevels and I quite often do some splitting with mine. A smaller and lighter version like this is nice for small scale work like carving spoons... which I like to do. I am a big fan of small axes!
  25. They look pretty good to me! You’ve polished them nicely! I don’t see my favorite type there... Hofi type compact or balanced hammer. So maybe you need more? I think I could work with that collection though... you are well hammered!
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