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I Forge Iron


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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. It's new to me but with a bazillion posts on this site, may have been mentioned before: In the Greek myth, Procrustes was a son of Poseidon with a stronghold on Mount Korydallos at Erineus, on the sacred way between Athens and Eleusis. There he had a[n iron] bed, in which he invited every passer-by to spend the night, and where he set to work on them with his smith's hammer, to stretch them to fit. In later tellings, if the guest proved too tall, Procrustes would amputate the excess length; nobody ever fitted the bed exactly. Procrustes continued his reign of terror until he was capture
  2. Wow--that grinder has a lot of potential expletives one could attached to it. Its chief benefit would be in the health category--because you should get plenty of exercise in your quest to run away. There is no great solution that is also "cheap". There are some passable solutions--for instance many get good results using a flat disk in an angle grinder if they work carefully. There are also chinese 1 x 30 machines that are in the $ 120 USD range which, though underpowered and a bit frustrating, can get the job done if you don't push them too hard. (put your money into only high-quality
  3. Box blade on a tractor...Didn't our Italian friend say he had access to a tractor in the past? On a 3 point hitch, you can crank one side to make it skewed out of level with the tractor to take down slopes. Not fast but compared to hand methods, far far better. With the "teeth" in, they work pretty well in even rocky soils. But the image implies a small dozer with a 6 way blade would be more than worth the rental expense.
  4. Exactly. They have the ability to make remarkably good stuff but if you don't have someone over there constantly monitoring the supply chain for you, crap seems to slip through. I've even seen things that were obviously broken/flawed tossed in a crate because they know the return process is onerous so most on this side of the Pacific just skip it and eat the loss or fix it here. One other thing--no matter who you call, they will say "Yes, we make that". There doesn't seem to be a distinction between actually manufacturing something and being willing to go find someone who can make it f
  5. What the esteemed Mr. Powers said above...only louder. The typical simple overhead hood seems like a good idea but in practice, most find them to be rather a failure in terms of handling the smoke and fumes (some, a total failure). Super sucker on the other hand appears to be pretty remarkable when done to spec. I've seen images where you would swear that thing would be useless, but basically sucking every bit of smoke away and even sucking up the forge fire a bit. The only one I've personally seen kept an insulated pole building garage totally smoke free, even with the doors and windo
  6. Drill bits are one of those areas where quality is worth every penny. Skip the cheap chinese offerings. I had one set given to me that were so soft they unwound in use rather than breaking. If at all possible skip the home center bits as they are generally not much better, even if they have a good brand name. Buy some quality bits from a machinists supply source--or online from similar. USA made tend to be quite good--but there are some from offshore that are also great (Poland usually makes some good ones for example) Once you use a top quality bit, it's darned clear why they are worth th
  7. My first thought when seeing the paint was that this might have been a gravestone anvil. That black looks like field applied "japanning" which is usually a linseed oil based goop with carbon black and some other things to thicken and cure the oil. There was a time when anvils were almost worthless so the Smith's own anvil would be used---or an old used anvil acquired. If that sat in one place in the rain for decades, one would expect the underside to collect moisture between the coating and anvil and result in heavy corrosion. Graves rarely get dry weather because the sprinklers keep t
  8. Long soak in citric is the most common these days due to easy disposal requirements and fewer employees at the doctor. But the pickling paste style from the welding store--really nasty stuff--tends to do a quick job of things. Assuming you got the scale off there is electro-polishing also but that's a bit overkill. I prefer mechanical cleaning then removing any surface iron (which will eventually rust) with citric acid. Check out this home brew weld passivation using a 12V batter charger. Cleans up the welds pretty slick. Explanation starts at 1:30 Might work if your proje
  9. My Brother did have a house fire which destroyed virtually all the contents. He now swears by full replacement value insurance...as well as keeping as much of your old crap as possible (that's a joke on his part). In his case, things like an old quilt he used for the dogs was considered a custom craft project at high replacement value--similar for an old piano he was given for free. In reality most items really DO need to be replaced with new equivalents so you aren't actually coming out ahead: But dang, he did come out like a bandit on some of his old "junky" stuff. "New replacement
  10. I would add to Rockstar's post the notion of selling anything out of the home smithy. Magically it becomes a business rather than personal equipment and claims can be denied should they choose to. There are LOTS of games insurance companies play when they want to get out of paying. In the past, they sometimes also played the self-insured game for those who under-insured. Say your stuff is worth $ 100K. You insure it for $ 50K because you underestimated it's replacement value. If it's all lost, insurance companies (*some* used to) only pay out $ 25K: They claimed that you were 50%
  11. I have a master machinist friend who absolutely cannot stand woodworking: It just drives him crazy. He's so fixated on the fact that he can machine things down to .0001" that the fact that wood does what it wants and you need to work with the material's foibles just files in the face of his daily grind. He just can't wrap his head around it. It's kind of weird to see because he's brilliant and very highly skilled--making anything less than perfection a frustrating course in his head.
  12. A quick dip into research implies that it's going to likely be high-volatile bituminous from that area. Tends to burn a bit faster than the usual bituminous for smithing so will make more flame as it out-gasses it's volatiles. Says that coal also tends to be pretty high in the goodies that make clinker. Lots of sulfur. More water content than many coals. However...commercial coal talk is a bit hard to sort through and the fields in that area are a bit variable..so what I said only as an impression, not verified fact. Should theoretically coke up to some extent. One reference says
  13. That's a big one. My version is "live light in your youth", meaning don't get burdened with stuff...or people that weigh you down...or debts. Cheap car, cheap living, no debt, casual relationships unless you are REALLY sure (and that should take a LOT to happen). That gives you actual FREEDOM. Theoretically once you learn that in your youth, at least some of it stays throughout life. I made the mistake in a previous marriage of getting hooked with someone who had to spend on things, needed "stuff" to feel fulfilled no matter what the debt costs were, and demanded constant attention.
  14. I do love a power hacksaw running a little on the slow side. It's one of those old school tools that sort of reminds you to slow down your life a little and stop stressing. Horizontal bandsaw or a power hack saw cranked up to jiggling warp-speed just doesn't do that. I guess it's sort of like using a woodworking hand plane that's tuned to perfection: Makes you wish you could step back in time a few decades and focus on the quality of the process, not just the speed. They never seem to come up at a decent price around here--unless they are the rinky-dink lightweights or the behemoths.
  15. One thing I should add about these larger "rough" balls--and another style that is similar which was used as a large bearing in old grain combines. People find them in various places and then try and sell as "cannon balls" at ridiculously high prices as though they are something special. Since the smithing world often digs through scrap offerings, it's just something to be aware of if you run into someone who is ill informed. It's rarely someone trying to intentionally deceive--at least in my experience. I have a dozen of the combine version (they are close to a 2 lb actual cannon ball
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