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About Kozzy

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    Butcher of metal

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    Southern Palouse WA state USA

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  1. Power pole holes used to be hand dug--to about 10 feet deep. They used a modified shovel with the blade slightly more horizontal and a bit more scoop shaped--and about 12' handle. A "pike" with a steel point would be dropped down the hole to loosen things and the scoop-shovel then cleaned the loose stuff. Lather rinse repeat...for what was likely a really long miserable day. We've got a set for that donated by the local power company at the museum here. On days when my job seems hard, I think about those. On a side note they also donated a fully beautifully restored 1941 Dodge pickup used in the early days in this county so it's not like they were cheapskates
  2. If you have very few rocks and if those rocks aren't like loose gravel, I'd do the hand auger style from a tank or similar. I find this style to be faster and easier than others in my primarily rock-free soil. Typically for fence posts I also go about a meter deep. These hate certain types of rock and loose gravel is a gigantic pain with them. Therefore I also have the clamshell style handy to help when heeded. Since my soil has quite a bit of clay, it turns hard as a rock when completely dry so mid-summer, it helps to wet the area well a couple of days before digging so there is some moisture in the soil. I also have the power auger for the tractor but if I'm doing less than 6 or 8 holes at a time, I still prefer hand digging due to the ease in my soil here. I prefer a design that is a bit more flat bottomed than the image because It is easier to set posts...or I use the 2 handled clamshell digger to make a flat bottom. Edit: I also usually start the first 6" of the hole with the clamshell style digger---it's easier to get the location exact with those and the twist digger then starts brainlessly. Edit again--roots are terrible with any digger. I use the clamshell to cut them when using the twist digger but the real solution is a style like this one--very heavy and cuts roots way down at the bottom of the hole. I absolutely love this style but they tend to be costly and not as easily available. My danged brother borrowed mine and never returned it...20 years ago.
  3. With a work backlog so deep that I may never see daylight again, at best it allows me to catch up with .01%. In my office, I generally work alone anyway--and the main plant is a critical operation so isn't shutting down. So basically it's business as usual for me. Same hermitage, different day.
  4. Prime candidate for a variable frequency drive. Being able to slow the RPM improves the danger level but they are still dangerous machines. Not a great machine for smithing but one thing that can be done with it is to use the nylon bristle brushes that have a bit of carbide grit en them--one brand is "Nylox". Those can do some nice finish work on some items. Polishing head is what it's designed for--things like polishing out bumpers before plating. I'd personally pass it on to someone who needs that kind of thing...or start your own polishing business :-) The MUCH smaller buffer (2 HP) I use regularly will grab a part, rip it out of your hands, and slam it on the floor faster than you can blink. I have to be super careful to work on the right segment of the wheel so that if it does grab, it goes down rather than across the shop--so you NEVER work on the bottom (with smaller parts) because it'll fly horizontally and NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER work on the top of the wheel where the part can be thrown at you. You also have to be super careful to develop the habit of a light touch. You do not want to cram the parts into the wheels--the surface does the work and cramming it against the wheels with high pressure is a recipe for disaster. I deburr complex machined parts using 12" Nylox bristle wheels.
  5. Tough question due to the current market. In good condition one could expect somewhere between $ 5 and $ 6 a lb in the current market for the PNW in general. It isn't actually worth that but people are paying ridiculous prices and if you wait long enough, a deep-pocket buyer who just *has* to have a "real" anvil seems to come along eventually. In pretty bad condition like that, I'd probably call it no more than $ 2 or $ 2.50 a lb in the current market--it might push a little higher in big-city limits. Too much risk that the damage will progress (assuming that it's properly checked for existing delamination and is still ok). Anything above that and you could find better options with a little patience. Again, that's not what it is worth---that's what the current market stupidity is allowing things to sell for with time and patience. The wise buyer will take the time to beat the brush and keep looking as reasonably priced anvils are still out there: Not everyone tries to milk their iron for every last penny someone with "anvil fever" will pay. Obviously your mileage may vary.
  6. Going back to the O. P. photo, there are also a host of different similar stake anvils in the sheet metal world. They often get specific names related to the job like "teakettle stake" and "candle-mold stake" but most are more generic. Here's an old example of only 3 (plus bigger stakes)...but the range of these small insert stakes is so broad that they are probably more common in the sheet metal world than the smithing world. Round tops, oval tops, hex tops, square tops, rectangular tops, etc. Most have a square post similar to an anvil hardy tool.
  7. I start with a small pile of 6 or 8 standard BBQ briquettes. Once those get going well (starting with regular BBQ lighter fluid), I add the coal and turn on the air. A few minutes later and things start heating up well. Part of the secret with this stuff is careful air control--too little and it dies, too much and it seems to blow so much needed heat out of the fire area that it also dies--the high air-flow actually seems to cool the fire. There is a narrow sweet spot in the middle where you get the fires of Hades.
  8. I don't have time to do a real drawing so I'll fake it with a text emulation for now 3 point hitch adjuster end (without top link) -------------------/------o Wheel That makes it so you adjust the cutting height (fine adjustment) wit the 3 point control arms but the tractor itself doesn't affect the planing action as much. The wheels near the blade/rippers make the whole unit act as an independent plane so you actually smooth a road. This is not for earth moving...it's for planing and flattening things like road and field surfaces. It'll move a bit of dirt but it's not a dozer like a normal box blade being pushed backwards or dragged forward. The wheel end should have some height adjustment..or the blade being able to adjust upward...so you can tow it around without dragging. This is what the US Forest Service uses around here on it's backwoods trails and roads that are too small for a full sized road grader. For smoothing gravel roads and parking lots, the blade gets replaced with a rake which lets some of the gravel pass through when smoothing. Here's an old school version to give you an idea but typically you want a bit longer beam for better flat grading. Again, this is not a dirt mover, it is a grader. If you are stsrictly trying to emulate a dozer, a standard box blade from the implement store will do the job...sort of.
  9. Is there are specific reason not to buy one of the already made "chinese" models? They tend to be so cheap that you can't build one yourself for the cost--and because they are so simple in construction, they tend to be quite robustly built over there, using quite heavy plate (steel is cheap in China due to being highly subsidized so they often build a lot heavier than other places do). The rippers can help if you are talking about breaking and rough-leveling hard-packed surfaces but they do not work that well on existing gravel and such--they aren't the best leveling tool on a standard 3-point hitch because their level and angle is far too dictated by the tractor itself--back tires hit a low spot and the scraper digs in (a few feet behind the tractor, making a new low spot)...hit a high spot on the tractor wheels and they leave a hump 5 or so feet back. Without remarkable care in use, they actually tend to make surfaces more UN-level, causing the road defects to be emphasized and not removed.. For good leveling you need a bit of a different system--much longer framework that isn't affected the same way by the tractor's frame position. It's basically more like an independent trailer than an attachment. But if you really want to go through the motions, they aren't that hard to build. For the actual hardened scraper edge, I'd find a supplier of pre-made units and see if I could buy only the blade as a replacement part. That blade is a bit tough to make due to the slight curve, edge geometry, and the fact that they are usually a less commonly available high-manganese steel for the abrasion resistance.
  10. Practice practice practice. Sometimes those lesser welders can work pretty well when you learn how to work with their foibles. In the realm of desktop CNC they say something which applies here too: You actually have to become a BETTER machinist when you have one because you learn to overcome their shortcomings via proper planning, programming, etc. to cover for the machine's issues. When you have a great machine, the machine covers up all those pesky details for you. So learn to make your hoopty sing...it might serve you well. That means taking the time (and frustration) to practice with it. You finally have an excuse to use all those little scrap pieces which aren't useful for anything else.
  11. I hate to play into the madness but after the past 10 days, I'd certainly recommend everyone stock up on EASY meals that one can make/eat even if you feel awful. I came down with a flu-like thing in WA state about 10 days ago..and after traveling to an area that had a few cases of the bad stuff. No, I don't think I have the "real" thing...it's just a nasty flu like bug...but because of the scare and issues, I haven't wanted to be Typhoid Mary and kill off anyone on that .001% chance it's the bad stuff. That means I've been stuck in my cloister, feeling like death warmed over, and trying to sort through stuff to cook that isn't a pain in the neck. First week wasn't bad because I was stocked with "good" food but then all the easy stuff starts disappearing and you only have boring stuff. So..if you go shopping to put some things on the shelf "just in case"....get 1) easy to make stuff that you'll be willing/able to cook even if you (and your family) feel like complete crap and 2) Stuff that isn't so boring to eat that meals seem like something you dread. Don't forget basic meds to help you feel less terrible. Nyquil et al are a godsend (I ran out about day 5..who anticipates a 10 day+ illness yet can't chase basic meds? Oh...I guess everyone these days) I have a TON of stuff for the long emergency but was surprised at how unappealing it all was when one feels horrible. And it's just me now that my wife has passed away so I don't even have someone to cater to my incessant whining and whims
  12. If you get nowhere with it, let me know. There might be some things we can do to help in my shop if you are ever back through town.
  13. Like Vern said above, 'round here a good Swedish steel anvil will tend to go for about $ 6 a lb these days--especially the heavier ones (slight premium for heavy...usually). People usually start at more like $ 6.50 asking and wait for a bite. At $ 5/lb, they fly out the door pretty quickly. $4/lb would leave burn-out skid marks from moving so fast. That's Eastern WA...where people from Seattle are often willing to travel (several hours) to get anvils. 100-ish pound Kohlswa Swedish currently listed in my town @ $6.50/lb but hasn't yet moved after several weeks. Most likely because this town is way out in the sticks and it's a bit lightweight (relative to others available). I'd probably bite if the seller would come down a little...everyone needs a spare anvil or three
  14. The problem with welding up some of these castings is that they are often really poor material and have a ton of voids. This wasn't a high-end piece to begin with so casting quality is at the very least, in question. I've had similar castings sort of disappear under the TIG gun because the material was almost "foamy" with internal voids. Though I totally agree and welding is the way to go, I would hesitate without seeing it first--which is why I only mentioned brazing. If the O. P. can find a "friend" who has a least a little experience with poor quality material, they should be able to adapt and make welding work. But dang, when the casting disappears under the heat like when we used to put model cement on styrofoam as kids, it is a bit disheartening On the more modern chinese crap, I've discovered huge hidden voids, perforations, and pockets that they hid with bondo. Looks great until the paint comes off and then it looks like swiss cheese.
  15. Do you actually use the table tilt? If not, I'd scab in a simple new fixed piece--shouldn't be hard to make. One could fab up a full replacement with a little work that did everything the old part does but the hours to do that are probably more than the unit is worth. Due to the age, I'm assuming the part that broke is cast iron and not cast zinc. Assuming it's CI, it can also likely be brazed back to a working condition assuming you don't over-stress it in the future. If it's cast zinc (test with a magnet) you are stuck making one from scratch. And the above is easy for me to say because I have a full machine shop to work from. If you can eventually post a photo of the broken part, it might be possible to suggest alternatives and options better.