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I Forge Iron

Lou L

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Everything posted by Lou L

  1. I’ve made a few from a36 steel as well. They work well and I think I’d break the bottle before I bent the corkscrew. I’d rather save my spring steel for punches and drifts...but I’m a shameless miser.
  2. Frosty, I was quibbling on the definition of “scrap” not “recycled”. And, of course there are more definitions than the two I offered. Redefining terms in order to arrive at new and novel conclusions is the philospher’s stock and trade! Slag, I don’t think my friend really intended to do that either...but, yes, I have a moral streak. Still, morality is actually selfish. We do good things because we want to be accepted and valued to others. Viking, If you billed people appropriately because you had much less time invested in the item then I would think it to be fair. They get a forged item at cost that appeals to them. In fact, if you called them “reforged” and made your methods clear I think people would still be willing to pay for the forged aesthetic. Aus, that is an interesting slippery slope. How much of an item”s structure has to be hand forged for it to actually hand forged. If you hand forge a knife but then use files and grinders to get it to final shape and create the final bevels is it no longer hand forged? Does “forged” imply “brought to final dimensions and finished” or does it mean “roughly shaped? In our modern context text I would argue that “hand forged” is akin to “hand made” in meaning. For most people I assume the terms are a contract declaring that a thing is not made in a factory by a team of people and is, instead, created by one person or a small team who put special attention into the object. The unique qualities imbued on the item during its creation give it its value. A hand forged hook won’t hang a pot any better than a factory made one, after all.
  3. In ethics (or any other school of philosophy) you have to start by defining your terms. If you (or your customers) define “scrap” as “that which has fallen out of use and entered into the waste stream” then you are not being honest with your customers. However, if your definition of scrap is “those materials for which the owner has no other purpose” then you are ethically sound. If you believe that your customers have the expectation that you rooted around at a scrap yard for 100% of your parts then you are not meeting the parameters. To complicate it, one has to determine whose definition of “scrap” should be the normative one. Are you required to meet the expectations of each customer or should the label you apply to your work adhere to your definitions? One could argue that the buyers have a right since they are investing capital into the purchase. Conversely, it could also be argued that your labor capital gives you the right to choose what the items are and what definitions abide. I tend to lean in the direction that your definition takes precedent. This is, in my opinion, because one also has to take into account Intent. Because you truly believe the wrenches to be useless for their original purpose, your intent is that you are finding a better purpose for the material. Therefore, the wrenches fall into both working definitions of “scrap” at least partially. If you want an example of a truly unethical practice try this on for size. A friend of mine propositioned me with a business venture. He wanted to buy loads of commercially made cheap hooks and other “blacksmithy” stuff and take it to a craft fair. There he would sell them as handmade while I worked at the anvil making similar items in the background. I declined. Still not sure if he was really serious.
  4. Wow, those modes are brilliant. I desire this. It’s seems the website doesn’t exist yet...
  5. I am not fluent in brick so I’m not sure what the scale is in the picture. I’m sure some people here know what those bricks are and u derstand the dimensions because of it. Still, the wide, flat “fire pot” will lead to charcoal burning out in all directions even away from your air blast. The large volume of air you are supplying will speed that up. I’m guessing you go through a lot of charcoal. Shaping your burn area so it is more contained (as Charles indicated) would help you control the fire a lot better. Spend some time reading the threads in the solid fuel forge section to get ideas while you continue using this forge. A JABOD will blow your mind for its simplicity and you can use those same style bricks to support your tuyere under the sand/clay/dirt if you want. Like all of us, you will end up redesigning your current forge at least a few times and then building a new design just because you will find problems you couldn’t predict. Experience is an excellent flaw identification tool. You may be able to convert your current forge into a JABOD by redesigning the bottom area with clay. You just have to use the right k8 d of clay...others here know better than I do. Good luck and keep working toward the perfect forge...which doesn’t exist.... Lou
  6. I agree with Snuffy. It looks like you burn a lot of fuel in that forge. That blower would only be viable with anthracite coal but even then it is too much. I’m a snob about volume and use a cheap yard inflatable blower that uses bearing on the motor and is quieter than a conversation. I didn’t enjoy forging with a super loud blower thrumming away. You should look into the JABOD. Those bricks WILL crumble rather quickly. Also, I’d suggest you draw or make blanks of the knives you want to make and then practice forging them to the right dimensions, you will learn a lot more about forging that way and will be able to make exactly what you want down the road. Lou
  7. Okay, I am a good way i to my forge and ribbon burner and wanted some feed back. So far I built the burner and, when outside of the forge it has the blue jets, a large blue secondary flame but with orange red flames kicking about here and there. I’ve read that this is commonly caused by the kastolite. I also determined that some crayon particles were still wedged in the jets and, after cleaning them, I got a cleaner flame. I completely failed to take a picture of the burner outsid of the forge....no idea why. But the forge has since been built and I took it outside to finish the rigidizing process. The flame seems good but it certainly turns into an orange read swirl in the forge. I would appreciate any input on the forge, the flame and particularly on the process of lining it with kastolite. I intend to use metal flashing to make forms for the inside of the forge so I can apply the kastolite in one session. Is this madness? This is at 10 PSI....the next is at 6 PSI.
  8. If you have access to construction scrap you may be able to get some grade 8 bolts in 3/4 inch. I can tell you from personal experience that those are pretty tough customers. I am able to get them at scrap prices at my steel supplier....you may get lucky.
  9. Now use it! Mine is mounted on a rather massive stump but still it wobbles when I use it heavily. Yours will definitely move on you, but it is good enough to start learning for sure. Have fun.
  10. Leg vises have nearly limitless uses for a blacksmith. Because they have a hardened face and the leg transfers force to the ground they can be used for forging while holding pieces tight. They can be used to hold jigs, to hot rasp work and (this is a big one) to clamp pieces for accurate bending. Given the choice between an anvil and a very large leg vise, I think many blacksmiths would take the vise.....okay, this may be a stretch.... Just go ahead and mount the vise in your shop. Once you start using it you will find yourself going to it all the time.
  11. You got the anvil for free and it's a nice one.... There is no reason you should be using channel locks. It is dangerous and makes forging much harder. Spend a little on some decent tongs and make blacksmithing safer and much more fun for yourself. Then show us what you make!
  12. You have loads of options depending on your budget and purpose. I’ll list what I can think of...all have their benefits and drawbacks: 1. Haunt Craigslist for a used grinder. You may find a 6 inch belt grinder for cheap. I found a Dayton 2x42 that is only 1/3 HP for $25. 2. Buy one of the above grinders new for about $200. The 2x42 would be better. Either way, stock removal is not optimal and you will stall and burn out the motor before getting everything out of the ceramic belts because they like pressure. Still works well enough to learn on for sure and the slower cutting may help avoid terrible mistakes. 3. Buy a 2x72 frame only from someone like Oregon Blade Maker or on EBay. You can source a motor for free often (old treadmill) and set it up yourself. The benefit is that you get a better grinder with more power and save cost but it will still be more than twice the cost of option 2. Also, the tougher fabrication is done for you...which is good if you can’t do it, cheaper if you will have to buy a welder and all the parts, and will save you time to do actual smithing in the shop. 4. Build your own! If you have the skills (or commensurate patience and time) you can save lots of money and get a top quality tool. If you are resourceful it can be very cheap. 5. Pay big dollars for a fully functional 2x72 grinder and have at it! Some will tell you to save your money and be patient until you save your pennies for a legitimate grinder because the difference is large....especially if you are making knives. Others will tell you to get a starter 2x42 in order to get going and learn with less power. The skills are the same for the most part. Jigs are hard to set up on my little Dayton’s wimpy tool rest so I jumped straight to manual grinding by eye. I could have cut my grinding time in half, though, if I had a wheel attachment while making the five knives for a friend. If you can get a craigslist deal on a 2x42 grinder it is the best way to get started IMHO. It is cheap and gets you close enough to the real deal for very low expense. My grinder piggy bank wasn’t touched by the $25 cost. Everyone’s mileage WILL vary Lou
  13. Bryan, I was jealous when you stepped up as the highest bid. You go a GREAT deal and I think that hammer is almost ready to go. I was talking to Bob Menard about that hammer and he pointed out the spring between the struts in the middle and said, “whoever gets this just has to add a guard for this spring...because they DO give at some point and, when they do, the operator is the target for flying spring pieces.” Id love to help you out of you need any getting that thing running. I don’t remember it having a motor...not sure what it’s reqirements are but I have ways of getting motors if you have a need (no guarantees...but “ways”). It was great to meet you this weekend. Kinda lost you in t(e crowd but the forging competition was fun. Hope I didn’t smash anything you valued!
  14. Hey Dale, you didn’t win an N.E.B casting this year. The stars must be out of alignment. I won nothing as usual. The spring I got two years ago was an aberration.... It was a fun time. Mark was a great presenter and it sure was packed in there. His kind words about our membership and his help with the 2020 ABANA meet were a nice touch.
  15. Lou L


    I always look forward to your posts and yet, each time, I find myself surprised by the art that goes into your knives.
  16. That's a mysterious Hill. Nearly identical profile to mine but it is definitely a different maker's mark. Isaac Hill passed how business on to a son (Thomas I think but memory isn't that great on the topic). I'm guessing it is a later one from the same family.
  17. Nice haul and a great price! Love to see how you use it. If Thomas sees this he can weigh in on whether or not it is good for an armor smith. That was my thinking but I am not an armor smith.
  18. Howdy and welcome aboard, Im not from your area but I know there is an active community out that way. There is so much for you to learn here...prepare to read a lot. start here: Read This First Everyone here will tell you to start reading the forge sections and decide if you want to use coal (bituminous blacksmithing coal or anthracite) or gas. I don’t think people stick with wood forges for very long. I’d suggest you check out the JABOD thread. Just a box of dirt forges are easy, cheap, and awesome. You already have an anvil, just not a classic style anvil. An ASO is something made like an anvil but not made out of tough enough materials. Your railroad track is plenty tough enough. Take a look at the improvised anvil thread for ideas to mount it. Many people choose to mount railroad track anvils vertically to get more out of the mass. My last advice is to buy tongs before anything else! Working with the wrong tongs is dangerous, slows down your work, slows your learning curve, and leads to nothing but frustration. It’s a quick way to quit blacksmithing. Have fun learning! Lou
  19. That would require owning or purchasing a foot switch. As I try to be cheap if at all possible I’m settling for the Irwin strap wrench. It’s works fine. I can adjust speed on the toggle on the trigger.
  20. Just based on what I’ve seen others post here in the past, the only way to get them legally is to find the shops that are contracted to to the maintenance and recycling for the railroad. You visit them and ask nicely. It has worked for others.
  21. I love what you are doing and it’s is clear to me that you have been doing your homework. I absolutely love your anvil. I would probably try to use it on its side but with the narrow end as the top and bottom. I think your stump is limiting the awesomeness of that anvil. Something that held it a bit more firmly in place in the orientation I suggested would be amazing. You could have a small and a larger anvil face ground with different radii and potentially drill a pritchel hole for punching in the narrow waist. You could easily weld on a hardy hole to one end as well. If you know a machinist who can square it up for you even better....b7t a custome made stand could work just as well. Can’t wait to see what you do. Lou
  22. We sure did have a debate about postage costs and registration costs last meet, eh? Felt like I was part of the D.C. swamp just being in the room see ya there!
  23. Sam, as you can see there is an army of anvil enthusiasts here willing to offer their time and help you for no reason other than a love for the craft. Please give us pictures, location, and anything else you know.
  24. Taking the measurements from the existing bar, guesstimating the dimensions, and then making the small cutting table took maybe 20 minutes. I had it up and running so fast that you couldn’t wipe the grin from my face as I cut my first piece on it. But of a pain fining the right clamp to hold down the trigger...probably the only “darnnit” moment. Just do it.
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