Lou L

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About Lou L

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    Metal Mangler Ph.D

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  • Location
    West Hartford, CT
  • Interests
    Too numerous to count.

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  1. Building a New forge

    I know more about the surface of the moon than I do about gassers. That said, are you planning on hinging a door to one of the bolts near the front! I know it will help with efficiency. From what I have read here in the past, I am pretty certain the experienced gas forge guys here tell people to stay away from brick only forges for long term use. Efficiency and durability are their issues I believe. Still, it’s a great way to get up and running in my opinion. Still, you should look into castable refractory and/or ceramic blanket for the top and sides as you move forward. There are a few must read threads that are stickied in the gas forge section that tell all. Either way, I say you fire it up and mash some metal while you think on it. Lou
  2. From Northern Vermont

    Hey, welcome aboard! Nice job on your first projects. The nibs on those tongs are a little bent but, guess what...you are now a blacksmith and can shape them to suit your needs! It looks like you have enough meat on them to add grooves for holding square or round stock. I say it like it’s nothing but, in reality, I seem to have a harder time doing that than making the rest of a tong.... Also, look up NEB (New England Blacksmiths chapter of ABANA). I’ll beat Judson to the punch and suggest you join us. The organization has been growing a lot lately. http://www.newenglandblacksmiths.org/ Bonus for you: You are much closer to the Brentwood Teaching Facility and can go there for monthly hammer-ins and basically get free lessons/experience I dream of. Lou
  3. It followed me home

    Charles, I’ve considered playing with an old radiator as well. I’m not certain if the temperature difference in the water would be enough to circulate the water through all that interior volume. And once it all gets hot you may lose circulation. Still, I want to try it. I currently use a self made water cooled tuyere. I do enjoy that it is “plug and play”. Combined with an electric blower and an air gate my forge basically just goes as long as I want to use it. My design is definitely a work in progress; but, I think that a more experienced smith who knows how they want all the other aspects of their forge to be will enjoy the addition. I have had my bosh freeze solid in the winter but I was lucky, I guess, and the expanding ice had room to expand without breaking welds. Rust, I am certain, will lead to the demise of my bosh in short order. I’m looking for a stainless steel alternative. I have an old stainless steel double kitchen sink that is tempting me. I’m also wondering if any of those sprayable rubber sealers are able to tolerate boiling water temperature. However, the water in my bosh has never boiled, even when it is very low. In fact, I never keep it full anymore. Lou
  4. What Did You do in the Shop Today?

    Let’s not reenact a scene from Star Wars. I like to keep my nerd card deep in my wallet.
  5. What Did You do in the Shop Today?

    For sure. I started it but was not happy with my tong options. It was hard to control and made me slower and less accurate. I expect to be grinding that knife soon..perhaps tomorrow. I need to get some grinding experience u dear my belt because a friend has requested some complex knives from me and I am currently unequipped to make them.
  6. What Did You do in the Shop Today?

    I had a good time in the shop today. I decided to work on the leaf technique I recently learned from @JHCC so I made a few keychain jinglies my wife and mother requested. Then I sized and fit up the tongs I made for flat stock/knife making. Got some beeswax on the anvil...it’s not rust.
  7. Swage Block design

    I think it would have to have a one inch hardy hole and a two inch hole for drifting hammers and such as well as for making hardy tools. Also, I think,it would be useful for two of the corners to be rounded with different radiuses for sheet metal or armor making. The dishing areas for spoons and bowls are super nice as well. Lou
  8. Rail - evidence of heat treat?

    I have no direct knowledge but a little searching revealed to me that hardened rails do exist. The process is called head hardening. The hardened rails are more durable and are used in areas where particularly heavy trains travel or where there is a slow down zone. It seems they use a process of thermal cycling to achieve the hardness. I have absolutely no idea if that process would result in a thru-hardened rail or one hardened o lay to a certain depth. I would assume they would want a soft, squishy core for more toughness though. Oh, and when it comes to whiskey, I will choose a barrel strength rye every time. High West, James E. Pepper ....oh, the list is so long and glorious.
  9. It followed me home

    I love it! I’m pleased to think my zip ties increased their anticipation, thereby multiplying the “What the heck is this?”, moment upon reveal. We should have put a note to them in there.
  10. The critical eye towards forging.

    Honestly, John has it dead to rights. If you want to feel better about all of it just read more Mark Twain quotes. There is a reason the award is named after him. He was amazing at reminding us that, ad a group, we are brutally flawed. Only in individuals do we meet our potential as a species. edited to add my original thought: Don’t even waste your time teaching them. It is a lose-lose proposition for you. Odds are they will just perceive you as a blowhard know-it-all and ignore you...and, even if they have an epiphany, it will do little to change the misconceptions because they are unlikely to spread your gospel. Sadly, it’s best to say nothing unless people directly ask you for explanation.
  11. The critical eye towards forging.

    This needs context! Can you give the background story without incriminating people?
  12. Sorry for not responding earlier, all. I’ve been quite busy. Haven’t even had the time to forge or come here during my week vacation. But, many thanks for the insights. I’ll keep at it until I am near 100% success rate when I draw out a weld. I’m thinking I may have been too gentle because my last one worked beautifully. I hit it lightly to tack on the first heat then let in to it once I knew it was relatively solid. No delams.
  13. If you have the room and the funds get the best band saw you can for sure. The portability of a porta band is irreplaceable in certain situations, as others have already pointed out. If you own a chop saw you may be able to wheel and deal with the wife to get two ways to cut metal. You can sell your chopsaw and buy an Evolution miter saw that cuts wood and metal. That will satisfy the multi-purpose aesthetic. Then you will be close enough to even to justify getting the bandsaw of your choice. Search for the video of someone cutting an I-beam with the evolution saw to be convinced. My nephew bought one for the shop he works in and it has become a crew favorite.
  14. Sorry @SLAG, good point and I should have noted. I have been working with A38 1/8” round stock and 1018 1/8” square stock. @bluesman7, I did all of the drawing out at forge welding heat and seriously felt that weld improved as I went. Then, while refining the piece at cherry heat to get ready to make the corkscrew, there would be a delamination. I was able to reweld to good effect but, eventually, something would give. I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a threshold to how much abuse a weld can take.
  15. Beginner anvil

    There is so much information about improvised anvils on the site. Do a search for that term on google and add “iforgeiron” and you will find a bunch of ways to do it cheaper and better. Don’t get married to the idea of the traditional anvil shape. Save money and wait until a good one pops up...it will.