• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About beaudry

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • Location
    Eastsound , Washington
  1. Show me your work table

    I've never quite understood the idea that to be productive a work space has to be a cluttered mess, although I admit, everyone has their own method to their madness. For myself, I try to keep my main work table clear except for the job at hand. There are three other smaller work tables close by where tools and parts that are in use are easily within arms reach. There's steel topped cabinet right next to my layout table that houses the welder, tig cooler and plasma cutter that is about 3'' lower. This enables me to pile tools on that surface below the level of long bars that overhang the main table surface. The difference in height also allows me to clamp all along that edge.
  2. Clamps made to fit in the square holes , round and square pegs of various sizes and heights, a heavy leg vise mounted near one corner on it's own foundation with the top of the jaws just below the the top of the table. One end of the heavy frame that supports the 5' x 10' platten sits on a 20'' tall wide flange beam that sticks out a couple feet on each side. This makes a handy step to jump up on top of the table with a long hot bar to upset the end against the 6,000# mass of the table top . Great tool, I have mine set up in front of the shop so that there are no obstructions to working anywhere around the table.
  3. Show me your work table

    Keep the edges and corners clear of obstructions. Mount vises to a solid post along side, attached to the underside of the table for rigidity. Set the legs back from the edges the depth of your deepest clamps. Use heavy flat plate with true square corners for the top and set it up level so you can use it as a work surface that you can set up projects with an accurate reference to plumb, flat and square. Put a heavy shelf below to keep set up fixtures ,clamps etc. Put good lights above out of harms way and a hoist. Run a solid ground back to the welder.
  4. Workshop Flooring! Hopefully these guys won't mind sharing this photo from instagram of a brick floor in a blacksmith shop.
  5. What I meant is that electricians and plumbers are in early and all throughout a building project . Running hot and cold water, lights and power are essential components while ironwork , particularly forged ironwork is more of a luxury item that usually comes at the end of a project when the budget has been pretty much blown out of the water. There is still a place for it , but it takes some time and effort to educate the client how it can really add aesthetic value and why it costs what it does.
  6. Shop rate is pretty area dependent, so an actual number may be less than useful to the discussion. A better benchmark is the going rate for a skilled tradesman with a shop in your area, auto repair , cabinet makers, welders etc. They have similar overhead and equipment investment and provide a product and service at an hourly rate or by the job . A perusal of their premises or local reputation will indicate pretty well how close that rate is to a livable return for their efforts. Your rate should be comparable at the very least . For that you should be fully tooled up and ready to go , able to deliver a superior product on time and at the agreed price. Plumbers and electricians are somehow in another league altogether, so if that's how you want to spend your work day , go for it. I haven't made a dollar for 22 years that didn't come from metalwork of some kind, by far most of it custom architectural forged work. This has enabled me to raise a family , buy any tool or equipment I needed , build a house and shop ,live completely debt free , send my kids to college and fund a decent retirement and take off at least a couple times a year. I don't bother to make hooks or bottle openers or anything someone can shop for on the internet. That's a race to the bottom with third world craftsmen or part time hobbyists . If I charge by the hour I include every minute I'm making the clients project a reality. site visits, design time , phone calls ,emails as well as actual work in the shop , travel time, delivery and and putting everything back afterwards, ready for the next job. Material is at cost plus a percentage. This always includes shipping and consumables related to the job. If it's a fixed quote I include all the above, figuring it all out on the high side, because it almost always takes every thing you think it will take and then some. Every once in a while you get pleasantly surprised and really make some money. The best clients are those that made their money by their own efforts and can appreciate the investment of time and equipment and skill you can bring to making their dreams a reality. The worst clients are the ones with trust funds who like to pretend they are poor.
  7. Workshop Flooring!

    The brick floors I've seen were common hard fired red brick. They were laid tight to each other with no mortar The sand slurry was pit run glacial sand mixed with enough water to make it flow and level out like wet concrete. The sand slurry was screed flat and level with a long straight board and then allowed to firm up as it dried. The slurry method was a fairly quick one way to get a firm level compacted substrate for the brick floor, but this could have also been done with a compactor and shovel , rake and level. After the bricks were laid on top of the sand , more sand was sprinkled on top and then swept clean, filling in any cracks. It's a nice floor for a blacksmith shop with just enough give to be easy on your body, good traction ,fireproof, drains any spills and can be easily repaired or taken up to run wires or piping under the floor. If I was going to build a new blacksmith shop from scratch , this is or compacted dirt is the kind of floor I would put down. I personally don't like spending my day working on a concrete slab and think using the floor as a layout surface is inconvenient and in the way. My preference instead is to have a couple of steel tables dedicated for the purpose. Large or heavy pieces get moved around or in and out of the shop with an overhead jib crane I mostly do large pieces like gates, stair railings and staircases and like having the work up at a comfortable height where I can get all around it.
  8. My younger son at the 200# Beaudry forging 250 railing pickets . Raising the hammer put the bottom die at a comfortable working height, allowing good posture as well as a clear view of the work. Dropped treadle keeps allows a relaxed stance with both feet solidly on the ground.
  9. Workshop Flooring!

    This just proves the old adage that if you ask 10 blacksmiths a question you will get at least 11 answers, mostly opinions based on varying amounts of real world experience. Another good option is a brick floor I have a friend that has built two blacksmith shops with this kind of floor and really likes them for a number of reasons. He poured concrete stem walls and then brought in a mixer truck with a load of pit run sand and water slurry. The sand slurry was poured on the floor sub grade and leveled with screeds. When the slurry set up hard, he dry laid hard bricks on the entire floor. When it came time to install the power hammer, he pulled up the bricks in that area and poured a deep concrete foundation block . The floor is fireproof , easy on the feet and yet hard and solid enough to roll machinery on.
  10. Workshop Flooring!

    My forge shop was something that quickly evolved in the flat area in front of my enclosed wood shop [ wood floor ] and machine shop [ concrete slab ] . Within a few months the business took off into a full time paying occupation and it grew to it's present form. At first I just had a tarp for an awning to cover the area until I built a heavy timber roof structure and some sidewalls. Even now , knowing some of the disadvantages and advantages of different types of floors, I'd still do it basically the same way.
  11. Workshop Flooring!

    I'm sure that there is ''recipe'' for a dirt floor, but eliminating any organic matter and rocks that keep the floor from compacting is a good start. Some clay in the mix helps. Keeping it damp helps to pack it down and keeps it from being too dusty in dry weather. In addition to the inherent softness of the floor , the natural gentle contours that develop over time feels good as you move around the shop. I sweep mine with a stiff broom between times that I go over it all with a fine toothed spring rake to gather up the leaves that blow in and the small rocks that work their way to the surface. There is some maintenance involved and a lot of people would prefer to just pour a concrete lab and be done with it. I wouldn't put a wood floor in a blacksmith shop, although it was fairly common at one time. Recently ,I had an inspection at short notice from my industrial insurance company in regards to fire and ways to minimize the risk . Among other things, they seemed to like the fact that I had a dirt floor in all the areas of the shop where hot work was done.
  12. Workshop Flooring!

    A packed dirt floor is traditional in a forge shop and easy on the body. You can dig it up to run water , air , or power lines. Anvils , post vises , fixed benches and power hammers and other stationary machinery can have proper sized concrete footings buried below grade. Sparks don't fly far when they hit a dirt floor and hot pieces don't roll and are easy to pick up. Rake it smooth and flat every few days as a way to gather your thoughts and to warm your body up for the days work ahead. Dirt floors aren't perfect, but they have a lot of advantages. I've never lost so much as a rivet in the dirt. Here's mine, 20+ years of dirt, sand , clay, scale , swarf ,crushed clinker and ash, wetted down and tamped periodicaly.
  13. New Fly Press

    Interesting press with such a tall frame. This opens up some interesting options not usually possible with other presses . It seems like the best thing is to fabricate a heavy table to bring the work up higher,but still be readily removable for tall jobs. I make all my tooling where the combined height of the bottom and top tools has the ram fully supported by the guides throughout the entire stroke at the heaviest load.
  14. Schuyler Power Hammer

    What swedefiddle said above, these mechanical hammers were originally designed and built to fairly loose tolerances. People [ particularly machinists ] get all excited and think they will ''improve '' on the design by rebuilding them to overly close tolerances with grease fittings and tight bushings everywhere. This era of machines were designed to run with frequent hand lubrication at open oil points at all the moving parts that allowed the oil to flow through, flushing out the dirt and scale inherent in a working blacksmith shop. Basically these upright hammers translate the circular motion of the crank to the up and down motion of the ram through a spring actuated knee action of the linkage. This action needs a certain amount of slack and lots of oil to work smoothly The force and speed of the blow is either controlled through a mechanical clutch integral to the machine or with a driven slack belt and idler pulley arrangement. Keeping things well oiled and adjusted enough to take out any excess slop without binding will make for a well running machine. Keep us posted and we'll all learn something as well.
  15. Schuyler Power Hammer

    The books referenced have pictures of the complete hammer so if nothing else you should be able to tell if your hammer has all its original parts and is set up as designed. Sometimes these old machine were kept running with parts from other machines or shop built to fit. A lot of these smaller hammers were used in remote rural settings where they were on their own to keep things running with what they had at hand.