Lou L

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About Lou L

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    Metal Mangler Ph.D

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    West Hartford, CT
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    Too numerous to count.

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  1. Lou L

    Can anyone I.D. this post vise

    I’ve learned that post vises are really difficult to identify. Without clear maker’s mark there is no chance. Once you clean it up you will either find or mark or not. It looks like that will be quite to project. The thread on the end of the screw look worn thin. If that is the case, keep your eyes out for more beat up vises for parts. Keep at the project and post your cleanup results here. You may get more answers. Have fun, Lou
  2. Lou L

    Connecticut BS Guild meeting

    I’m sure you will be welcome. I’ll be there for sure. There are a few Mass. people who have gone to our meetings simply because they are closer for them. This one will be the furthest south that we will have. However, the shop at Mystic is awesome s8mply because of the work they do there on historic ships. I’d be happy to meet up with you if you want to go.
  3. I, too, love the mounting you chose for the burner. It’s ideal but seriously reduces portability. Now I have to decide how portable I want my forge to be before I move forward. I’m just now finding the time to start working on mine again. I’ve never run mine past 10psi and I don’t imagine I will have to. Does yours give a little pop and backfire when you shut off the gas?
  4. Lou L

    Which would you use?

    Harbor freight has decent hammers with wooden handles cheap. You can get an engineers hammer that is easily ground into a rounding hammer on one side for cheap. They also have a 2.5 pound ball peen...because those aggressive peens are useful! All hickory handles to boot. I saw a video a while back in which the guy claimed to have had those hammers tested by a friend who worked in a lab and he claimed they were good steel. Either way, they are great to start with...and cheap.
  5. Start looking for cheap sources of steel. Big box prices, no matter the store, are too high by far. You can scrounge scrap yards in Texas, plus there are plenty of steel dealers. It was worth it to buy what you did to get going but don’t make that a habit...it is an expensive one. Also, think about getting a basic blacksmithing book and try out the projects. Having a vision of what you are making and steps to guide you will be priceless. Have fun, Lou
  6. So true. My post vise is only 4.5” but weighs 70 pounds. This is supposedly not normal. It has signs of age based on construction but has no identifiable markings. Deep down I would like to know it’s origin...but none of this ever occurs to me when I’m using it. The only time provenance matters with these things is during transactions for purchase.
  7. Lou L

    Mark III JABOD forge

    To quote the curmudgeons: “send pictures, we love pictures!” Seriously, the fruits of all the labors of people who post here are the results new people achieve. Charles needs your pictures!
  8. Lou L

    T Burner Illustrated Directions

    If the 1inch male fittings are on two ends with the narrower female fitting is on the other end you should be good. The entire point is that the end leading to the mixing tube is 3/4 inch or about 19 mm and the two other ends are larger allowing more air to be drawn into the mixing tube via Venturi effect. There is a little room to play around and they are easy enough to build that you can experiment rather cheaply. Don’t get so caught up in exact measurements as proportions. Frosty may jump in and correct me soon enough! Have fun experimenting. Lou
  9. Lou L

    newbe question

    Honestly, stressless, it seems to me that you are the type of person who would seriously benefit from getting a programmable oven. It is terribly difficult to achieve the accuracy you are describing in a typical forge. Most of us settle for “close enough”, use a magnet, turn down the lights, and use whatever experience we have. The rest rely on Paragon ovens! Lou
  10. Lou L

    newbe question

    I suggested practicing using mild because, when I started, usable knife steel wasn’t in large supply in my shop. I assumed the same case here. Plus, the mistakes beginners make are usually geometric errors, hammer control errors, and failing to achieve the desired outcome. Using mild steel for the first few tries nets you useless blade shaped steel objects (if you are lucky) but saves your good steel. For sure, working carbon steel is completely different and Thomas is , as usual, right in pointing it out. You have a much narrower range of forging temperature as you can’t get it too hot and can’t forge it too cold. You won’t learn this until you use the real deal. Mild steel is no substitute for this lesson.
  11. Lou L

    newbe question

    The simple answer: rough forge, normalize three times, rough grind to remove scale (some start a rough bevel in the step), harden, temper immediately, grind, hand sand, handle, sharpen, fantasize you are Crocodile Dundee or Rambo while brandishing your new knife. Real answer: The procedure changes depending upon a number of variables: blade size, steel type, heat treatment equipment available, tongs available, your skills, etc... For example, it’s obvious that you have to rough forge a knife first (unless you are doing stock removal) but do you forge out th tang first or do it last? That decision alone could be determined by so many things. Do you even have tongs that can hold the tang tightly while you forge the blade? What type of tang is it? Are you making a complex hidden tang with an integral bolster? Personally, I’d do that end first because it would be the highest point of likely failure for me and I’d hate to waste the time hammering out the blade only to scrap it messing up later on during the hard part. The best thing you can do is watch what others do and, most importantly, try it a bunch of times on your own to figure out what works best for you. Just go into it knowing that you are going to make mistakes and have failures every time. You will learn from each one and then, on the next knife, you will get farther along in the process before you find another way to make a mistake. Make a drawing, use mild steel, and spend a long couple of sessions tough forg8ng the same knife over and over. Document the steps you take each time. Before you know it you will be able to report back here exactly what process works best and start a thread discussing the topic. most important, have fun and don’t get anvil rage when you mess up! Lou
  12. Lou L

    Custom burner and forge having problems

    If you follow the directions for a T-burner you could be up and running a good burner in no time. Mikey literally wrote the book on the topic, I’d do whatever he says.....
  13. Lou L

    Brand new to blacksmithing

    I’d suggest tools like punches and drifts. Tongs aren’t beginner projects unless you are willing to fail a lot before you have success. Making punches will acquaint you with basic heat treating. To do that well you will have to hammer out small coupons of the (likely mystery) steel and experiment with heat treating it. The method to do so is explained best here: http://www.bamsite.org/tips/heat.pdf Master that and you can start making small knives if that is your focus. If you want to do blacksmithing as well you would do well to forge about 50 symmetrical s-hooks to start. Forging to a plan is a great way to grow. My first pair of good tongs occurred when I sketched them out, planned the steps in forging and then worked off of my measurements. Everything I did before that was horseplay in comparison. I’d suggest a blacksmithing project book for that reason. Following a plan until you can execute it is an amazing feeling. Have fun, Lou
  14. Lou L

    The Legacy of a Blacksmith

    Awesome huh? I would love to visit that grave.
  15. Essential Craftsman, on YouTube, was sent in a story about a 19th Century blacksmith from a viewer. I found it inspiring. This video communicates why I love blacksmithing. I imagine it is the same for many here. Lou https://youtu.be/oy9hEcxMCWo