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I Forge Iron


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About KevinJohnsen

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    Advanced Member

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  • Location
    Near Knik glacier Alaska
  • Interests
    Peace, quite stillness. Harmony with nature. True egalitarianism for all people. Freedom of knowledge, and the unobtainable dream of not dieing alone.

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  1. Been INSANELY busy the last couple months up here. Amazing how much money we have spent so far, and how much work we have done, and still waiting on the concrete guy to come put in the first footing on our first building. We have really solid glacial till gravel here. Very complete mix from ultra-fine to large watermelons, here is a link a picture from the bottom of my trench we made for our water line. Approx 11 feet down. It was NOT a good place to be. The overwhelming feeling that your life is hanging by a thread while down there. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QkQDcpLaVwX8t9tEARSUqpVvfYxS3E7kHQ VERY glad the digging portion of our property is done now. Hopefully the guy that is supposed to do the ICF foundations for us will actually come this week. Not that we are without stuff to do. Built a shelter for the ponies this weekend, so if it does ever rain here, they can get out of it. (Been amazingly dry and sunny here most of the last two months)
  2. I have done some cottonwood clearing back some years ago, we have trees kinda like them down here, but I tended not to cut those down as they were not useful wood here either. Wanted a Backhoe because we also need to grade the long driveway and level land for the house, not just digging holes and trenches. Pretty much all the excavators I have seen, that even have any kind of blade, have a very small one that will not do much material removal. Making a U shaped driveway on the property, probably going to be 600 feet long total. Plus moving material around the property, maybe digging a pit in one corner so we can use the gravel there to raise the driveway grade, without having to buy large number of loads of gravel to be delivered.
  3. We are going to use ICF forms for the footings and crawlspace foundation wall. Snap together like Lego blocks and they are permeant parts and of the foundation. The lot we bought is heavily wooded, mostly cottonwood. The lots on all sides are also wooded. It would take quite a good tower to get above the trees enough to get reliable wind. When we were there last June, was a nice steady wind from the glacier, but was dead clam in the middle of the lot. There is not much topsoil on the property, only a few inches before we are to the glacial till, I don't expect it will be very hard to push the trees over. The plan you mentioned was basically what we were going to do. If the backhoe isn't strong enough on virgin trees, figured I could take a few scoops on my side of the trees to destroy the roots to help get them out. We are going there in two vehicles, one is a pickup with the horse trailer, and the other is a greyhound bus that we pulled all the seats from inside. Mostly will be a moving van, but will also have a place to sleep and cook in there. So summer living will not be great, but will be covered.
  4. We own a lot about 9 miles from the old glen. When our house sells down here, it will pay off that lot there and leave us with enough money for the materials for a nice size house. We are building using the REMOTE system designed by the university of fairbanks. Will be renting a backhoe when we get there and be doing most all the clearing and everything ourselves. Only things currently we are planning on paying to have done is the actual pouring of the concrete into the forms we put up. And the well and septic. Our house down here closes on May 15'th, so will be more like the 27-28'th when we finally pull into Palmer. Have two horses that are coming with (one who was born to the other, when they lived in Alaska last time) Roomie gets SS retirement and also owns some oil rights, so he brings in around $2k a month total on that. Would be enough to keep the lights on and food on the table, but I will likely have to get at least part time work this coming winter to help finish off stuff and get us a little more ahead. We are very willing to live exceptionally frugal lives, so will not take much to keep us doing well. With no mortgage and no car payments, only thing we have to worry about is my health insurance and trying to keep ourselves above water. We also have an emergency fund of $22k that is somewhat hard to get too, but obtainable, if we get into a bad spot in an emergency. This whole thing will be a major aventure for sure. If it does not kill us, we should be ok.
  5. I am moving back home to Alaska after 15 years, this coming month. Bringing my blacksmithing stuff with me. I sadly will not get to do much blacksmithing for a while though, as only own raw land up there. So when I get there, getting a roof over my head will be a vastly higher priority then pretty much anything else, hopefully I can build a house mostly myself, with some help of my roommate, before winter comes. I will have enough money for all the materials to build a house, just not enough money to pay someone to build one for me. I am only a beginner in blacksmithing, but I am really looking forward to trying to attempt to at least partially make a living doing it when I get to Alaska. Though will be also trying other crafting, such as woodworking. Not sure what all I will do, will try to find a gap in the market somewhere and see if I can help fill it. I am moving east of Palmer, up the Knik River valley. Will be joining in any Blacksmithing and other such groups as time allows this year. Kevin Crazy Bear Forge
  6. Well, basically finished my forge. Still needs some tweaking, but it works. Next I need to build a stack for it and clear out a space in the building to house it. I didn't have any coal, but I had some charcoal for grilling on, and as I upgraded to propane grill last summer, no use for it now. But this charcoal is HORRID for forging, OMG. Insane amounts of clinker and ash and flying burning sparks. Hands are covered with micro-burns from hot slag flying out of the fire. Did a short video as it was just starting, and a picture after I had been messing around with a piece of iron a bit.
  7. ​There is a good forum post here that talks about many ideas and links to other posts and discusses it at length. As well as linking to other articles.
  8. Got the table done and basic unit finished. I left the clinker breaker out for right now because I want to take it into work to mill a little more off of it for more air flow. Not that I have tried it yet, but seems a little too restricting still. Table came out slightly warped, but once it is piled with coal and the odd tools and such, no one will notice. I also bought the 164cfm forge blower from BlacksmithsDepot.com, it is a physically smaller unit then I was expecting, but puts out good air flow, we will see. It's that little grey thing on the floor next to the forge. Looks like it will be easy to fix up to my forge, just haven't spent the time thinking how to really do it yet. Will work that up tomorrow. Oh, I did have to modify the length of my ash dump arm, so it would clear my brace there, so added a bit more weight to it before reinstalling it.
  9. Oh, and the bolts holding them together, and the clinker breaker are both stainless, so should last a while. Not sure on the grade of stainless in the clinker breaker though, found steel, noticed it wasn't rusty at all unlike the other steel in the batch, and it was totally non-magnetic, but it drilled SUPER easy. Drills just sank through it! Welded a couple pieces of it with some 309 stainless rod and it welded like a dream.
  10. Well, I finished up the build of my Firepot/Tuyere haven't worked on it very much at a time lately because I ran out of propane for the garage heater, so have to heat it with small space heaters. Takes hours to get warm enough to take jackets off to be able to weld without setting myself on fire. Keeps getting to 0F here at nights more often then not, so has been a pain with no heat out there. But I finished it up today! Now I just need to get the sheet metal dragged out of the barn and taken to my friends shop to cut it down and bend up the sides to make the main tray for the forge. That and I don't know if the weight I welded together to hold the ash dump closed is heavy enough, more then likely is not, but will not know how much more weight it needs till I get a blower on there and coal in the firepot.
  11. Well, just finished up my air gate on my tuyere, I cut a 1/4" slot with a manual milling machine at work in the side of the square tubing, and roughly cut out some 1/4" plate steel to slide into the hole. And now that I got the fuse replaced, I fired my welder up again, and welded a couple strips of 1/4" steel inside the pipe, so when there is air pressure on the plate it will just rest against the strips and will not jam up. So I can finely control my air flow. When fully in, it nearly completely seals off the the flow. Next I will work on finishing up the vertical pipe and prepare to weld this pipe to the vertical.
  12. Just obtain 5-10 pounds of plutonium-238, keep them stored in a thermally insulated salt bath, and you would have free forge heat for 100 years or more. It's safe enough, only alpha partials, meaning long as you don't touch it with bare skin or eat it, it's harmless. So no licking the steal when your done forging, wash it off first.
  13. Just read it 2 weeks ago. Got the hard cover version for like $4 total including shipping, from Amazon. Price was $0.01 and shipping was $3.99. Good read.
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