So I started at 8:00 this morning and made the pipe fittings for the blower and finished connecting it to the forge. Once I got the forge fired up about midday, I started heating metal and practicing some simple things like tapering. I learned and noticed a lot of things today I need to address.
-The hot spot in my forge seems to be deeper in the firepot than the hearth level. I may need to lift the grate from the original 140mm depth to about 120 or 115 and adjust the depth and shape with bricks as needed.
-A trench shaped firepot with even steeper sides might be more fuel efficient.
-The blower struggles if I pack too much small bits of charcoal into the firepot.
-I need to learn to manage the fire better. Sometimes it looks like it's hot enough, but when I take the steel out after heating, it's only dull red. I probably can't "read" the fire properly due to my inexperience.
-I need to add an adjustable railing in the front of the forge to support longer pieces.
-Smoke hood and stack required ASAP.
-I need to remember to take care of my own needs while going at it. I started at 8:00 with the blower build and proceeded to forge afterwards. Got a head ache at 3pm and suddenly remembered I had not drinked or eaten anything during the day.
-My hammers are awful. Mainly because they are not blacksmiths hammers. Apart from a light ball pein I bought recently, but It's so light it's like hitting an elephant with a pillow. I've got a 1kg one with a fiberglass handle that's too long. Another with too thick wooden handle that's good length, but the head is too heavy. Most of the little control I have over the hammer is lost due to the awkward handles and excess weight. The heads are sharp edged and leave dents on everything I work on, including my "quality" russian anvil. I need to fix the hammers before I try anything else.
-I need tooling for the anvil. I had to cut against the edge of the anvil since I haven't got a hot cut tool. Need to look for an old axe blade. I also need a jig for bending.
Blower connected to the forge. Finally.
An old file I stuck upright into the forge against the bottom grate in order to see the depth of the fireball.
My slack tub is an old milk churn.
Covered the firepot with a brick and left it to cool.
And the flock of barnacle geese flying by just as I stopped working.
Here's a video of heating steel. First bit is a 12mm round bar. The other one is the file. No youtube link, sorry.