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I Forge Iron

Phil H

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  • Gender
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  • Location
    In the mountains west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Biography
    Almost a grown-up now.
  • Interests
    Motorcycle riding, broke-thing fixing
  • Occupation
    Former Electrician

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  1. I only found out at his funeral that he had been foreman of the Heat Treatment section. A little bit of his knowledge rubbed off on me, but not nearly enough.
  2. Takes me back. When I first left school I worked in the metallurgical lab of the local armaments factory. I did a lot of hardness testing (samples were encased in a bakelite button about 30mm in diameter and highly polished using diamond paste to remove all surface imperfections). From memory the tests were either Rockwell or Vickers. They also did tensile testing. It was interesting to see high tensile steel rods of about 20mm diameter being PULLED apart. The machine had a clear safety shield so that you could watch. The test piece would form a slight waist, then come apart with a mighty bang, and the whole machine would jump. No idea how much force was needed. A bloke named Beetle would machine the rod to the correct dimensions for testing. Most of the testing done in the lab was on the pivot pins for the tracks of armoured personnell carriers ("track pins"). The track shoes were cast steel plates with Firestone rubber pads bonded to them. They were bored to take the pivot pins. The factory is pretty well defunct now. One tremendously knowledgeable blacksmith that I know ended up with a soft drink (soda?) delivery run. A huge engineering knowledge base was dissipated. From a workforce of probably five or six hundred they are now down to about thirty people making plastic rifles.
  3. Spare a thought for Moony, who lives on a rural property at Burke's Hill. Quote from the NSW Rural Fire Service website ("Fires Near Me"): The bush fire is burning through the Tallaganda National Park, west of Braidwood. The fire is over 15,600 hectares in size and is being controlled. Current Situation The North Black Range fire is currently burning in the Tallaganda National Park, and to the west and south west of Braidwood. To the south east of the fireground, fire activity has increased around Burkes Crossing and Burkes Hill near the Shoalhaven River. To the north east of the fireground, fire activity has increased around Columbo Creek. Fire activity has increased as strong winds are impacting the fire ground. Currently there are 170 separate fires burning in NSW alone.
  4. I don't know how long they will keep the pages operating, but the local newspaper (Lithgow Mercury) has a lot of pictures and some videos from the 2017 Ironfest . WARNING - next to no smithing content. http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/4616494/ironfest-a-big-metal-hit-visitor-numbers-and-next-years-theme-gallery/?cs=5501 http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/4614607/the-best-photos-and-videos-from-ironfest-day-2/?cs=5501 http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/4613829/wear-your-helmet-otherwise-youre-dead-meet-the-knights-of-ironfest-video/?cs=5501 http://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/4619004/ironfest-young-gun-photographer-captures-top-moments-gallery/?cs=5501 18,000 through the gate this year
  5. Lithgow Ironfest is on again, late April as usual. This year the Ironfest weekend is 22nd and 23rd April 2017. Not just blacksmiths, it's a very diverse festival, and a lot of fun. I never miss it, but then again I do live here.
  6. The clip featuring the old knife forger Albert Craven was fascinating. Like most craftsman who are very good, he made the process look easy.
  7. To me blacksmithing is a trade. I respect a qualified tradesman. A tradesman must serve an apprenticeship for some years, and at the end of this he (or she) will have a fair knowledge of, and some experience at, his (or her) trade. They then deepen their knowledge as they work at their trade. I know blacksmiths. My Uncle George was a blacksmith by trade. Their knowledge and skill are impressive. If anyone suggests that I am a blacksmith I am deeply embarrassed, as there is no way that I could qualify for that category. I play with hot metal. When I see a proper smith at work, I am reminded of a line from a Louis L'Amour novel ("Sackett") : "By god, today I seen a man."
  8. Stan, did you buy it at a swapmeet? I've seen pictures of bayonet handles being used as gearknobs on hotrods. That would perhaps explain the notch, which I doubt is an original feature. Sure looks like a three-oh bayonet to me. I remember the old ones as being very long (the 17" blade that you mention). The SAF Museum here ( http://www.lithgowsafmuseum.org.au/index.html ) describes them as a 'sword bayonet'. I have a Lithgow FN bayonet, but that's another thing altogether. -Phil (in Lithgow)
  9. Frosty, thanks for that description. About how long does it take you to cook a batch of charcoal?
  10. My best guess for the motorcycle is that it is a mid '30s B.S.A. J11 v-twin. This is based on the clutch cover shape, and also the knee-pad shape. Any other takers? That stumpy anvil, however is a mystery. Shouldn't be much of a likelihood of the sidecar wheel coming up unexpectedly with all that ballast.
  11. I have one rather similar, and the whole curve under the heel appears to have been cleaned up with a shaper.
  12. What's that behind it? If it's a ratchet strap buckle then the anvil must be pretty small. Maybe it's a salesman's sample.
  13. The condition tells the story. It's your knife, restore it if you like, but then all that you'll have is an as-new knife just like all the others. I had an old racing motorcycle that had been prepared by a famous tuner. It was special and looked different from all the others. When I sold it the new owner painted it in the original factory colours, so that it looked like all the other ones. I was sad to see this, but it was his property to do with as he wished. My advice :- leave it as it is. If the condition interferes with the function, then put it away and buy another knife as a "user".
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