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I Forge Iron

Chris Williams

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About Chris Williams

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  1. It should work until the day it rusts out. When that might be depends on your local conditions, how you store it, and whether you add water to it. Better to get started now and find a replacement in a few years/decades once it is beyond use. Seriously, the only issue I've had with thin metal for a JABOD is warping it from the weight of dirt/bricks. As long as you brace it well (possibly underneath as well as the sides), I wouldn't anticipate any problems.
  2. When I am looking at credentials, I am typically only concerned with whether a welder is qualified (not certified) -- for the process(es), position(s), metal group(s), thickness(es), etc., for the task(s) to be worked and per the specification(s) in the contract and/or drawing. Of course, I've always worked in a niche field, and may not have experience in what you want to accomplish. What credentials you need for a welding business will depend on what sort of welding you intend to perform, who you will be welding for, and where you intend to perform that welding. These three detail will help you to identify any laws, regulations, or typical contract terms associated with those welding applications, for your customers, and for your location. Like everything else in welding, the right answer here depends on the details of your specific situation.
  3. I wasn't trying to complement the pommel if I came across that way. As far as I am concerned, though, design details are up to the maker and/or commissioner. I did find it a curious feature and still do wonder what it used to be.
  4. What is the pommel? It is reminiscent of the splined part on the end of the output shaft of a washing machine gear box. If you hadn't said it was a lawnmower blade, I would have thought that you forged one of those shafts into the blade with the spline left as a design element.
  5. Thanks for the video. I was wondering if the angle may cause some stick, and wasn't even considering the other half of the door.
  6. I really like the latch design. Is it smooth when starting? Just a clarification for all that will read your post in the future -- a railroad anvil IS one kind of real anvil. What you likely meant was "London pattern" or "southern German pattern" or some other regionally standardized version of commercial anvil. Don't diminish an anvil that may exceed the working area, mass, and hardness of the majority of anvils that have ever existed since iron working began. Masterful work has been done on less.
  7. Thanks for letting me know such a thing exists so I can keep my eyes open for them, Thomas!
  8. I have been similarly inspired by the Alldays and Onions round bellows. I have been thinking about trying it out once I come across a 55 gallon drum without dents in the side that would bind the piston. I have been too time constrained to put even marginal effort into sourcing one, however. Sonotube just may be the solution to my materials availability (I. e., time-to-source) problem! I think mocking it up with a bean can may help in sizing the moving bits and placing holes.
  9. I definitely recommend joining FABA. There is an active group down south (two, actually -- SW, and SE). I've heard some of the southern FABA members gush over their local scrap yard that apparently has a good selection of promising improvised anvils and other materials; I'm sure someone would be able to point you towards it. Some of the regions are hosting virtual meetings right now, but a few are still hosting (or have resumed) in-person meetings.
  10. I used to think that. I've seen some thoughtful discussions on the subject lately and I'm not so sure anymore. I also have a William Foster anvil with deformed (rather than broken) edges and chisel marks on the face that has clearly been softened at some point and that has pitiful rebound, but it forges just fine. I bet it would be improved by hardening (and other restoration), but at what effort? I may get around to it as a project some day, but not from necessity. I'm sure someone will come behind me to explain what I've missed, but I currently think that an anvil needs to do two things: resist movement, and resist deformation or breakage. You get the first one with mass and rigid mounting and the second one with enough but not too much hardness. Use it for a while. If you aren't denting it, you probably won't see appreciable value from hardening it.
  11. A helpful tip for anyone interested in finding what is in an industrial (or commercial, or household, or other) chemical: search for the SDS. You should be looking at them anyways for the products you use. There can be some obfuscation or omissions of the content and ratios of ingredients to protect trade secrets, but you can usually figure out what the active parts are. This can give you a starting point when trying to home brew. It will also help you understand whether certain chemicals are even safe enough to consider in your mix. Stay Silv Black has Potassium fluoborate 20 - 40%, Potassium tetraborate 20 - 40%, & Potassium difluorodihydroxyborate <20%, for example. The fluorine in these compounds is both effective AND dangerous! Educate yourself on the hazards of chemicals that you buy or make, or find someone qualified to educate you if you don't understand a particular hazard. Most of the fluxes I just looked at were a boric acid/borax mix. Others included or substituted fluoride compounds into this base. I even found two that had silica, and one that had a mix of oxides in addition to the active parts. Sodium carbonate was the base of one high temp flux, with boric acid rounding out the mix on that one. You may even learn about compatibility with your refractory (very much a "maybe" from an SDS, but I did come across some good "do not use with" information). Bottom line is this: flux isn't glue, but an aid. If you use and like borax or borax plus boric acid, then carry on. If the water boiling off from borax bothers you, then buy a commercial one (with NO fluorine compounds!). Either way, check out the SDS, and know what it is that you are using and how to use it safely. *Note: There are specific specialty cases where using the fluorine containing fluxes is warranted, but never for general smithing. The best control of a hazard is elimination or avoidance of the hazard. Don't risk your life and health over convenience or ignorance!
  12. I knew your forge is and started talking about your case, and then I went and generalized my question without actually elaborating as such. Frosty's response actually DID answer what I was wondering about, without me actually being clear enough for anyone to know it! Wait a second! ::scurries for tin foil hat:: Take the thing off for just a little while... Sheesh! Anyways, I do still think that side blasts are primarily only susceptible to coal gas explosions by blowing the gas into the forge fire (activating the blower/bellows OR some other pressure differential) or an external ignition source (like a spark). That's what got me to wondering how the bellows that I've read about exploding, exploded. Of course, I didn't know whether those forges were side or bottom blast, leading to my question. I don't think that it is the accumulation of coals/embers that ignite the gas for a bottom blast in the ignition scenario Frosty mentioned, but single HOT coals that immediately ignite the gas upon falling. 750degF is not unrealistic. Restarting the air remains the most likely coal gas ignition mechanism for either type.
  13. Just smooth one face and dress the edges to remove the sharpness. Use it until you find specific issues that you understand through your use how you would like to change it. If it is too soft, it will be easy to dress again when needed. It will still be harder than hot steel!
  14. Thanks Frosty. I certainly had missed that one. It explains most of the anecdotes that I've read about that don't cleanly match ignition from the forge fire.
  15. At least in the case you describe, there should also be: f, blower is turned back on, blowing mixture of air (with oxygen!) and coal gas into the hot fire, igniting the mixture. For any fire, you need something flammable and oxygen (or oxidizer) in an appropriate ratio and pressure (pressure just determining how much oxygen is available for reaction), and heat. I found a reference to an autoignition temperature of 750degF for production gas in air. The lowest autoignition temperature I found for a common constituent (based on limited research of what those common constituents are) is 500degF in air for hydrogen. I am wondering if coal gas ignition necessarily starts at the forge fire and simply propagates back through the air supply plumbing, or whether the autoignition temperature of any constituent is low enough that ignition could credibly occur in the air supply (or bellows) without an external ignition source. I expect that a spark in an electric blower or switch would be one such credible external ignition source. This could substitute for my hypothetical (f) above.
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