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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. $ 10 bucks Vulcan pricing was pretty consistent in the early 20th century at 10 cents a pound. They were "cheap" relative to the fancier brands plus were carried by some of the big catalog retailers so were quite common on the farm as well as schools and other places were frugal counted. Rebound tends to be meh but they are serviceable and not boat anchors like the current chinese offerings. The real price should be more like $ 2 a pound but recently they are commanding prices up there with quality anvils...$ 4 to $ 6 a pound usually. As others have said, location location location, though.
  2. IFI immutable laws of smithing: 1) No matter what size shop you have, it will eventually be too small and start to look like Mr. Whoopee's closet. 2) Any horizontal surface will rapidly become a crowded storage space for the 10,000 items you can't find a better place for. 3) Tools have invisible legs and will masterfully hide when they get the notion you are going to need them. 4) Too much is never enough . 5) The most common time to find that you desperately need something is a few days after you take it to the scrapper or toss it in the garbage. The list is longer but those get the ball rolling
  3. Do a search of this site for information about claying and mixtures to use. Refractory and other cementitious products are not the best options. It's one of those areas where simple is better.
  4. One thing I noticed that might be missing: Usually there is a small riser/attachment where the middle of the handle attaches and pivots. Your photos imply that part isn't there (or my glasses need cleaning). You might try some image searching to see what similar risers/attachments look like so you can fab a version. Those were a stress part so tended to break and are often missing from this style of forge. The handle may be a bit shorter than I've seen elsewhere but photos sometimes distort things like that. And since it wasn't mentioned and bears mentioning in case someone happens to wander past this thread: With a cast iron pan like that it will definitely be necessary to clay that forge before use to prevent cracking.
  5. In this general area, that price is not horrible but is still running a bit high. A 4" around this part of the NW tends to run more like $ 80 in that condition and about that $ 100 price when decently complete. I picked up a 4-1/2 at an auction in Grangeville ID (well attended commercial auction) about a year ago for $ 85 with a couple of other small goodies in the lot (pry bar, nail puller). More recently I picked up a 5-1/2 in good shape and complete for $ 175 at an antique store in Lewiston (so higher pricing than auction normally runs). But...if there is some specific "extra" like good branding or a superior screwbox, you aren't too far off. The spring and the other stuff to hold it are not that hard to scab together.
  6. Those lower end old school stick welders are adequate for basic work. With a little practice, you can learn to lay down a good looking and sound weld...but it does take some practice. 150 amps is adequate for most maintenance type welding on what a "smith" might normally run into. Not a bad welder to have around. However, it isn't going to be your favorite "go to" welder if you want to do some really nice work over the long haul. A good wire feed (with gas, not flux core wire) is much more appropriate to the kind of fabrication a Smith might normally see. My MIG gets used 99% of the time and the stick only when I have lots of heavy profiles to do. But...it's a good starter welder if you don't have deeper pockets for now and really want to get started. $ 350 is possibly a little high depending on the unit...because old school stick machines come up for less and there is not much that can go wrong with them. That 60% Duty cycle is not an issue for most non-production welding. Just take breaks to gather your senses and examine your work while the machine rests. Oh..and those Horrible freight cheap auto darkening welding helmets do work pretty well. They aren't the greatest but they can sure make learning a LOT easier. Though I'd suggest paying more for a good helmet if you can afford it, those "cheapies" on sale are a reasonable alternative to get you rolling. I've never had a problem with arc flash on the old one I have around although I ALWAYS test any unit to make sure it's working before striking an arc.
  7. Home brew hydraulics often costs just as much as a pre-packaged unit once you get all the "goodies" needed together..so don't dismiss the option of just buying a pre-made set up. It hurts your wallet but is often WELL worth the expense. Typically for a useful forging press, you are looking at a minimum of 3 hp to be serviceable and 5 to be nice to use. Low HP units only sort of work and tend to be so slow in stroke that you can have a beer while waiting for the ram to "get there" and retract. They'll drive you nuts and you'll wish you tossed the extra $ at the project in short order. As an alternative, check local industrial auctions...like the guys north of you in Kenmore. They have hydraulic units all the time that are in the general range you will need. Sometimes they run a little large but it's easier to make over-sized smaller than undersized larger. Their kenmore auction every 2 months typically has 2 to 5 for sale (but not always). It might give a starting platform that saves you a ton of money and hassle. Although mine is a single stage pump, I've heard tell on this site that 2 stage is awfully nice to have for the speed. I wish I had that speed basically every time I use it. It's also only a 3 hp 220v pre-packaged Parker unit and I wish I had gone for the extra HP for the volume and speed issue.
  8. Um...commercially available rod for cast iron is not really hard to find. There are a LOT of variations available depending on what you want to do though. Some of those are a bit expensive because the constituents to get a good weld on cast iron often take the more expensive "herbs and spices" in the rod such as lots of nickel. True "cast iron" rod is also available and is typically used for gas welding of cast iron. Takes a LOT of heat so you can't really use a small torch head. For simple and less structural fixes, you can also use stainless steel rod if you follow some procedures: It doesn't tend to pick up a ton of carbon from the parent metal so is a bit forgiving on the cracking problem. So...I'm a bit confused about the problem you are chasing here. Maybe you just hadn't dug deep enough about sourcing rod for cast iron? Here's a link to one I posted long ago when I had some unidentified rod--and there's a good video included from Eastwood using true cast iron rod.
  9. Just a warning for folks who love the look of spalted maple (or other woods) but are not very experienced in it: To get to that spalted look, it's generally exposed to a nice and aggressive rot fungus (both naturally and sometimes artificially). So...the wood has started down the "rotten" road pretty significantly. Not a big deal if you catch it in time but if you don't stop that rot process in a timely manner, areas can start to get punky. It's a balancing act to get enough of the spalted look but not let it go so far as to degrade the wood structure appreciably. Because of this, I would recommend that one never buy the stuff online or site unseen--if at all possible, be sure and physically inspect the piece before you buy. It's expensive (retail) and you don't want to discover you are paying a premium price for punk* Or...if you live in an area that has hardwood forests, it's a wonderful way to spend a day if you go on a treasure hunt for "found" wood. It is a true treasure to find a hunk o' downed wood that is still structurally solid but also beautiful--like natural field spalting or bluing or sometimes even burl. Good family activity too...if you can get the kids to not point out every rotten log they find and ask "is this good?!?" Hard to tell them their treasure is trash. There are some remarkable finds hiding in most forested areas if you search. Obviously with permission/legality. * Punk can be stabilized using a process similar to other stabilized wood, such as impregnating with clear epoxies, but it's not something people usually want to set up for at home. It's best to use a pressure/vacuum process to make it happen although there are other ways.
  10. Not sure how it is in Italy but in these parts there are a ton of companies doing lightweight carport canopies. If you shop around, you can find the versions that are a bit stronger and will last. Although you do have to shell out a bit of money, they are not that much more expensive than doing it yourself, plus they do all the engineering and it usually goes up in about 1 day. Sometimes a bit more money is worth dumping a project on an experienced company. Looks like the Chinese are making full kits too..and some look really nice with arched roofs for strength.
  11. Looks on first sight to be a geared head drill press. Those are far and above most belt driven presses, especially if you are one to actually use the right speed for the right drill bit. In any case, around here you could flip that for not only what you paid for both pieces of equipment but probably the cost of moving them to your shop also. Might be a more common thing in your area but not so common around here.
  12. First step is tramming everything so you know the head is square to the table. That's a tedious process that shouldn't be skipped. Also check run-out and backlash with a dial indicator to see how worn things are. Bearing noise, etc should all be at least looked into. Nice little machine and handy to have. Looks perfect for CNC conversion which is not cheap but not horribly expensive these days. Mach3 is a cheap and wonderful controller for homebrew cnc. Works great for most people. What can you do? Well, it's a milling machine. With the right tooling or fixtures, you can do smithing things like the slot in guards and obviously drill holes. You can also do fullers with a little care and set-up. Add a rotary table and you can start doing some fancier stuff like flutes in lathed parts for handles. This is more about imagination than anything else---unless you go CNC, you need to imagine what you can do with clever set-ups. As you do more, you'll learn a ton that will open up other avenues of what you can do. If you get into casting aluminum bits, you can take them further from the rough cast...for instance cast half a handle in 2 halfs and machine the rabbit to fit your blade. And of course it's good for surfacing things to a good flat finish if you have the right tooling.
  13. There are road dust control products in approximately gallon containers that can be purchased retail (even available on amazon- just saw $ 60 for a 5 gallon pail of pellets to spread). One common ingredient is calcium chloride, which can be liquified in water and sprayed on using a simple sprayer like one you use for garden spraying. Others have fancier ingredients like cellulose polymers. Typically they tend to agglomerate the dust particles as you walk or drive over them (more traffic = better dust control)--I have customers who use them in volume in their dirt parking lots. Visually you can't even tell it's on there after it dries for an hour. Anyway..might be a path to look into for a dirt/gravel floor situation because it's so easy to apply...and seems that about $ 60 USD would be enough to last the typical user years. The dust in my barn is so fine and powdery that just about anything will send it air-born. I guess I should consider a topical application too.
  14. One problem with a lot of commercial oil finishes these days is they use a lot of artificial dryers (curing additives) as an addition--people don't have patience and want instant gratification and dryer additives tend to give that by allowing quick build-up. The finishes can thereby come out mediocre. With oils, it's often best to avoid the name brand big box store offerings because of this--assuming you want a high end finish and not just to get the piece out the door.
  15. Clear is subjective. Some people like the slight yellowish tint that certain oils and shellac can give. I tend to lean toward the true clear water-based poly floor finishes because they are tough as nails. A good one can also be musical instrument lacquers because they are slightly flexible when hardened--good for a knock-around knife that gets used. True lacquers tend to give you more of that look of depth in wood but can be a bit more finicky to apply. When done right, it feels like you are looking into the wood and not just at the surface. Catalyzed lacquers can be remarkable finishes but that's a whole new can of worms. For glass smooth finishes, it takes a little more work..you might even look up "french polishing" if you want to go crazy on it. In any case...many thin coats, not fewer heavy coats. Prep both before and between coats is also key. Finishing voodoo is one of those wood subjects where everyone has an opinion...and they all tend to say their opinion is the "right" way and that others just haven't learned yet. Take research with a grain of salt when poking around. Edit---I should mention that shellacs are alcohol soluble so if you every get alcohol on a shellac finish, it can ruin it (along with some other things). The benefit of shellac is that it's easy to re-finish if something like that happens.