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I Forge Iron

Phil H

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Everything posted by Phil H

  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".
  14. Nifty. Like all the best inventions, it's simple and effective and SO obvious (but only after you've been shown it! ). Anyone can invent something complicated, but a simple invention is truly elegant. I'm making one.
  15. 1. Be good to see Liam Neeson in a dark role. 2. Charlize Theron would be enough to make anyone to find some extra courage. 3. Any chance that it could be re-written so that Theron falls for the blacksmith ( etc., etc.,etc.) ?
  16. Trying to post pix, but keep getting this error message: mySQL query error: SELECT COUNT(*) as topicviews FROM invision_topic_views WHERE views_tid=32844
  17. As so often happens on the Net, I was looking for something else (searching for a missing relative in South Africa) and I found this: (let's see if the link works) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-442135/Could-copper-door-handle-help-beat-MRSA.html For those interested on old motorcycles Selly Oak was where Ariel motorcycles were made (I wish I had my mate's father's old VHA Red Hunter Ariel now).
  18. My screw press is an A P Lever 3M, and has a single 5" ball. And yes, the ball is hard. A very handy tool.
  19. I'm sorry that Bruce hasn't posted on this site in quite some time. I always found his posts fascinating, as they usually showed a glimpse of his vast store of accumulated knowledge. As a lurker and a dilettante blacksmith (and also a tradesman in a different field), I am always in awe of actual blacksmiths and their skill and knowledge. I hope that I will always keep my ears open and my mouth closed when in their company (except, of course, to offer to buy the next round of beers).
  20. Same here with the 1" bolts. I've just used my press to break the bead on a motorcycle tyre. The press tool was a square-headed 1" bolt. If I could only work out how to use the press to put the new tyre back ON.
  21. Redclaw? Excellent work. That's a real talent.
  22. I just oil regularly using engine oil. The lubrication system is set up for oil, so that's what I use. (A.P.Lever brand flypress, model 3M. Made in Mascot, Australia. 4" stroke, 1" tool shank.) When I bought the press I had doubts whether I would use it much, but it has proved to be SO handy. The latest job that I did on it was cold-straightening a crowbar. Bear in mind that if the stand is not secured, it will probably want to rotate if you use the press vigorously. I solved this by putting about 600lb of weights (anvil and swage block) under the stand.
  23. I like them. I agree with what you say about the pricing. You shouldn't sell yourself short, but on the other hand (as we say) "Asking isn't getting". If they sell like hot cakes, then ask a higher price next time. I always like the mixture of glass and iron. I make vase holders that use old bottles and jars as the vases, and the fragile and sturdy materials seem to compliment each other.
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