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I Forge Iron


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About JHCC

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    Grammar Hammer, Master of None

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    Oberlin, Ohio

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  1. Never quench with a wine you wouldn't drink.
  2. We didn't study it in school either, but my son had a unit in math a few years ago (9th grade?) that talked about disregarding outliers to increase the statistical power of a data set. The things you learn helping out your kids! You didn't have to tell me you're not an Alaskan. At least he didn't say Alaskan Bush People! Visiting Alaska in '87 what what taught me to like salmon.
  3. Better to build a quality burner with cruddy tools than to build a cruddy burner with quality tools.
  4. On the whole, I agree with Buzzkill on this, but I would like to give a counter-example. I got a tap-and-die set from a yard sale a couple of years ago for five bucks, and it has given me very good service on many jobs that I would not have attempted otherwise. It's not great quality, but I've been replacing the taps as they break and should ultimately end up with a good quality set! That said, taps and dies are definitely one of those tools where spending as much as you can afford is the best long-term strategy.
  5. In his 1969 book Wrought Iron (reviewed HERE), East German smith Fritz Kühn shows his design for a fence and gate that combines elegant design with great strength, especially in its resistance to racking and sagging. Thought folks who wouldn't otherwise look at the review might appreciate seeing the design, which could easily be adapted to match a wide variety of styles. Here is the detail itself: And here is the entire assembly:
  6. I'm getting some big offcuts from my cutting-bigger-belts-down-to-fit-my-2x90-grinder projects, so I'm thinking about a way to turn them into discs for the 4-1/2". Current thinking is to cut them roughly to size, punch the center hole, mount a bunch between some properly sized plywood discs, and trim them to final size and shape with an old rasp.
  7. The best advice I can give for scale is to remember that the first number is units in your drawing and the second number is units in the original. Thus, something that is 1" in your drawing is 3" on the original, if the scale is 1:3.
  8. Those rubber backing pads that take abrasive discs are useful too. You can get them sized for your grinder, with a flange that screws onto the shaft to hold it and the disc in place.
  9. Fritz Kühn (1910-1967) was born in Berlin into a metalworking family and earned his certificate as a Kunstschmied (master artist blacksmith) in 1937, just before the outbreak of World War Two. After the war and the partition of Germany, Kühn continued to work as a smith, a sculptor, and photographer. Although (like Samuel Yellin) he died in his fifties, his career was a decade later than Yellin's and thus overlapped the transition from prewar traditionalism to postwar modernism. While Yellin's aesthetic was retrospective and looked back to medieval and classical models, Kühn more readily adapt
  10. Nodding donkey, day 2: After tightening up the aforementioned bolts, there was still a lot of slop in the hammer, as shown here. The two inner marks show the hammer’s resting position, and the two outer show how far left and right it can travel. That’s about 2-3/4” total, which we can all agree is way too much. The problem is that the axle pin fits pretty loosely in its bracket, and the pivot block on the arm doesn’t have anything to keep it straight. So, the first step was to weld some chunks of steel to help guide the pivot block straight. And then cut some big washe
  11. Hmmm... there’s birch trunk rotting out next to the road on the other side of town, leaving its bark behind. Might see about harvesting it.
  12. And if they splinter away to nothing, you’ll have what lawyers call “absence of mallets”. I don’t know; I haven’t seen it in person. Definitely some kind of burl; I will ask my neighbor. Today, I decided to add some bracing to the nodding donkey, as I’ve been experiencing a lot of slop in where the hammer hits. It turns out that a big part of the problem was that the two bolts holding the axle to the column had loosened up! Nonetheless, I went ahead with adding the bracing, so here’s before: And after: And here it is in all its glory:
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