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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by Kozzy

  1. Rigidity is the issue. Most smaller bandsaws are not nearly rigid enough, even for wood cutting. They can be a nightmare. If you happen to find something old school and rigid, yes it can work for you to cut metal--but it is far better on sheet goods than thick stock. Thick is quite slow and the high pressures you need to keep on the material make cutting it on a vertical a bit of a work-out. I have a 14" vertical from Boeing surplus and it does work to profile some things but it's not a job I look forward to. Sheet is not bad to work but 1/4" thick plate and a bit above is not fun. Top quality sharp blades are a MUST. My Delta 3-wheel 18" has a rigid cast iron frame. It came set up with 2 pulleys--one for wood and one for metal. Same as the 14" above basically in function but the 3 wheel deltas with the cast frame are not a fan favorite so often are available for low pricing. Costco sold them a couple of decades ago--after tweaking for belt tracking (that's why they weren't favorites--homeowners didn't know how to tweak), they are pretty good machines (Photo stolen from the internet). These are pretty heavyweight. I also have a disassembled (for restoration) Walker-Turner 2 wheel vertical from the 50's that is bench-top sized and has a full cast iron frame. It was also a "universal" unit and spent a lot of time metal cutting. Just pointing out that if you dig deep enough, there are some rigid units out there. For ever good one there are about 100 terrible "homeowner woodworking" units without proper rigidity though so don't settle for those. In a bandsaw, rigidity is EVERYTHING.
  2. Might be possible. Found a single reference from a USGS publication that mentioned whetstones being made in Woonsocket RI. "Other Rocks Only minor use for dimension stone has been made of such rocks as marble and Pennsylvanian sandstone. Very minor use has been made of soapstone in lenses of the Blackstone Series. The sandstone at Woonsocket was used for making "ten thousand dozen" whetstones in 1840 (Jackson, 1840, p. 71)." From "Bedrock Geology of Rhode Island" https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/1295/report.pdf
  3. Here's a clue for you: Anything that says plaster of paris and sand mix is appropriate for forge or foundry use hasn't a clue what they are doing and should not only be dismissed...but you should run away so fast your shoes smoke. Same with concrete/cement admixes Same with "cinder blocks", standard bricks, and many hard brick solutions (even hard refractory brick unless used in certain specific ways). Same with "weed burner" type burners in a forge as your heat source Same with small propane blow (plumber's) torches--unless everything you forge is the size of a finish nail. The list goes on but I hope you get the drift regarding how much terrible advice is out there. Good information is out there if you take the time to find peer-reviewed stuff like is available on the IFI site. After one packs in a bit more knowledge, it's easier to spot the crackpots who are just parroting another crackpot who is parroting another... (especially common on youtube). Some do glitzy-looking videos so come off as though they are knowledgeable: Don't let the production quality fool you into believing that translates to information quality.
  4. I'm seeing galvanized parts--maybe it's just the lighting. That is dangerous. Look up "fume fever". If galvanized was used in any areas that will see high temperatures, correct that before this thing is used by your son. I'm not kidding---it can kill. Even with outdoor use, you never know when a light breeze will send a snootful of toxic fumes at you. I'm not wanting to throw water on your son's enthusiasm but please suggest that for the next try (and I'm betting there will be a second try) absolutely DO NOT get design advice off of youtube. Many of the designs there, including this general one which seems to be parroted over and over, are extremely poor for a long list of reasons I won't go into at this point. IForgeIron has extremely good peer reviewed information on forge design. Diligently reading through all of that will start to show where the shortcomings of this first design are. One is the efficiency of the current design is so poor that the money spent on wasted fuel will be enough to pay for all the stuff needed to build a more efficient forge. Hate to say that--don't want to curb any of his enthusiasm. Just be plenty careful and don't toss much more money into that existing design. I feel like a jerk for saying the above. I'm not trying to beat on your son here--just trying to help steer him toward better choices.
  5. 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 captured by Theseus, traveling to Athens along the sacred way, who "fitted" Procrustes to his own bed [lifted from wiki] I'm kind of torn--I like the idea of a scoundrel blacksmith but I think this guy is a bit too Freddy Kruger for me. Anyway, with Halloween coming up I thought it was time Smiths got the limelight for once Plus it's a costume we ALL have available without trying.
  6. 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 abrasive belts/discs--going with the best there is where things pay off well). One thing to keep in mind though: It's expensive to get into quality but the value remains--quality can be resold in a short period to recover the majority of the purchase cost. Junk will only be worth junk prices later if anything at all. You are basically putting money into the "bank of iron" for a while. That means if one can scrounge a bit more money for quality to begin with, it isn't really a loss to your wallet, it's just banked for a rainy day or later upgrade. Not everyone can weasel the cash up front for a larger purchase but it will pay back better over time so should at least be considered among the possibilities.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 for you. The consequence is you might think your source is knowledgeable about what you are needing and they may never have even seen one before. Choose your wording carefully when seeking suppliers.
  9. 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 windows shut in the winter (though it'd be wise to make sure there is plenty of make-up air available as well as a working CO monitor).
  10. 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 the money. Down pressure is also key as already mentioned. I don't know the bit size but you want enough pressure that you are generally continually producing curls (mild steel). just for the sake of example, let's say you are running 600 rpm and want the chip load to be .0015 (small bit). That'd mean you are drilling through 1.8" thick stock in one minute..and that chip load is small for most bits. No hesitation. Hard to get the proper down pressure on small diameter bits with a portable drill because one little twitch and you've busted the bit--which is why it's great you are using a drill press. Cobalt bits are better but plain should do the job you mention--if you've truly fully annealed the stock and it isn't full of carbide precipitation spots. Fancy coatings rarely help on anything but commercial applications where the bits are pushed to the limits--the home center versions are mostly like fishing gear at the sporting goods store: Designed to attract fishermen, not fish. Anything over half inch should have a pilot hole first. Make sure the chuck runs true. Some drill presses have chinese chucks which are waaay out. Replace with a good brand like jacobs if using that style of chuck. Sometimes the chuck taper in the spindle is bad and that's a hard fix--too complex to cover here. Forgot to mention--never let the bit "rub" in the bottom of the hole, even for a second. That quickly dulls any bit and even a great bit will magically become a crappy one on you.
  11. 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 the lawns watered also. Are there any clues on the bottom? Peg holes drilled in? Some line that might imply grout mounting?
  12. 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 project is the right shape. Electrolyte doesn't have to be the nasty stuff.
  13. 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 value" is well worth it.
  14. 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% "self-insured" therefore they are only responsible for 50% of the loss. Cross all the T's and dot all the I's.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 that no anthracite is currently mined in BC and that deposits of that are pretty much only in remote regions.
  17. 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. Finally getting rid of that and having zero debt (except the mortgage) is something I'd never give up. Even the mortgage is 1/2 what the bank would have loaned. The other advice I wish I could still learn is that in business, no one gives a *bleep* about you but you. My father taught me to be a "company man" and assume that hard work and loyalty would be rewarded or at least appreciated. It's manure 99.9% of the time. Problem is, I can't seem to unlearn it and move on from some business relationships that expect more loyalty etc. than they give. When you hit 60, it's a lot harder to give those old business ties the boot without a replacement.
  18. 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. I'll probably eventually find the right one when I'm about 90 and have to lube it with my old-geezer drool.
  19. 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 in size) rolling around in the back of my truck right now looking for an "art" project to be used in.
  20. Good point. They also but the balls on some vibratory screens to keep the product sifting through. Without the balls "de-clumping" it can cake on top of the screen.
  21. Yup, ball mill balls. They're typically extremely hard material and usually contain a lot of manganese similar to abrasion resistant plate/welding wire and such. Pulverize whatever material you toss in the tumbler, generally down to a talcum fine power. Some small hard rock gold mining operations use a "miniature" ball mill to turn ore into powder so that the gold can be chemically extracted. One weird application is dust mites. Dust mites are everywhere in your environment, eating the dead skin you sluff off. With that exposure, may people become allergic to dust mite protein. The "cure" is a series of allergy shots to expose one to increasing doses of the protein and desensitize the patient. The protein is derived from mites (at least initially) and those critters are tough as nails. They are crushed in a ball mill. However, they are so tough that they survive a regular ball mill so a pressurized ball mill is used--they take the air pressure inside up to about 5000 PSI which pre-stresses the little critters enough that the balls can break them up. They normally survive both the balls and the pressure but with both, turn into a nice slurry to make testing meds from. FYI There is also a "bar mill" where instead of balls, they use round bars in the tumbler. Imagine a bunch of heavy shafts laid crosswise in a tumbler. In some cases, bar mills can be more efficient because the overall contact surface area with the product being crushed is higher and the bars have more weight than balls.
  22. I'm curious as to why someone would want to. For that price, one can generally find a quality older blower (head) usually including shipping. For about that or less, one can get a darned good electric blower from some sources assuming electricity is available in the smithy--and since constant airflow is extremely important to the "tractor supply" anthracite coal many are using it tends to be a good option. Good question to ask though: On other Chinese made blowers, I have heard nothing but negatives and frustrations so significant feedback on these before plonking your money down is is a wise path. And dang, I could sure use a week or two in a yurt down at Fort Stevens. Unfair that you have me drooling for some vacation and de-stress time
  23. I'm actually amazed that the main body casting was done as well as that originally. Most of the cast machine bodies I've dealt with--especially American castings of the 80's I've done restoration work on...are terrible and have a ton of "bondo" on them to make them look better. The cheaper Chinese castings often have big blow holes that are hidden as well as a surface that looks like the mold sand was 1/2" gravel. This appears to be darned good like they actually cared. It's nice to see under the cosmetics here--a rare opportunity. I think Anyang gets another gold star in the ratings chart I store in the back of my mind. Just as an example, my 1997 vintage US made CNC mill has more than 1/2" of "bondo" in places to hide poor mold alignment as well as fix some rough surfaces.
  24. Heh...I usually see it called "Rot Iron". It goes with the wenches that people are always selling online
  25. Others have covered it pretty well--usually full tang, slab and drill for cross pins, mount, grind on water cooled diamond wheels, work up abut 6 grits to a polish stage. LOTS of work and not a great first lapidary project due to the high "cost" of simple mistakes. There are people who do this. I know of one specifically who uses higher end stone on old knives to make some remarkable stuff that sells for big bucks. He searches for the older knives that have broken handles and sell for a couple of bucks...and turns them into art which sells for several hundred bucks. Lapidary tends to not be a cheap entry-level hobby. As an example, I just bought a new 6" sintered diamond wheel for my machine and that single 120 grit wheel was $200 USD. A local club as many have mentioned is the best way to get access and help for little money. Most clubs absolutely love to help teach if you treat them with respect in your contacts.
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