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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    TN Mountains, North Of Chattanooga
  • Biography
    I am WAY too busy.
  • Interests
    Art, Writing, Nature, Photography, and of course Blacksmithing
  • Occupation
    Merchant Marine officer, Artist

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  1. Band with an inset 2.5mm Peridot stone- This one has a 4mm Black Onyx- This one has a 2.5mm Red Garnet- This is a bit heavier band, With an inset 2mm Black Diamond- This one has a .25ct Natural rough cube diamond- All of them are sized, and depending on the design, SOME of them are resizeable to a point, usually about 1 size down and 2-3 up, but for the most part, they're pretty much custom made to order, so they fit! It took me a while to get the sizing thing down- it is far more precise than most blacksmithing work I am accustomed to, there is only about a .10 inch difference in the circumference between sizes- And getting them dead on is pretty important. The ones that have inset stones are a result of a lot of experimentation. I'm pretty happy with the results. I had to create punches that match the bottom of the stone I'm setting, so I get a good, tight fit! -Andrew
  2. Here is some new work from this week- I've been making a lot of rings recently. All are forged from 304 Stainless steel. Some simple bands- More in next post....
  3. I got a little more work done this week- I've been playing with setting stones in my work recently, and I like the results. Making the settings is a bit of a pain at times, but i've got a 'system' down now They are all forged out of 304 stainless steel. This one has a 2mm Black Diamond inset- This one is a red garnet- Black Onyx- Red Garnet Cabochon- And, Some without stones as well- The fun part of forging these guys is NOT burning them up- Everything is pretty tiny. I'm still doing the majority of my work on the big 'ol coal forge, but doing some of the fine tuning and 'touchup' work on my new micro forge, which is gas... They'll be making their public debut this weekend at the regional blacksmiths meeting. I've got a few more awaiting final finishing work... Including one that was supposed to take a 0.63 ct rough cube diamond- But I managed to drop the diamond, and can't find it! Oh well... -Andrew
  4. I fired it up and actually USED it for the first time today. I start the torch, then crank it up 'till the valve is about 3/4 of the way open. It takes about 5 minutes, and the inside of the forge is a nice orange color- You can't see it too well in the photo (I was using my cell phone camera), but I have a piece of work in there, a stainless steel ring. It is a nice orange color, ready to be worked. It is pretty small- exactly what I needed this forge for! I don't need to be nearly as careful about burning up work in this forge, compared to the coal forge I had been working on. This forge works PERFECTLY for what I need- It works even better than I expected. Now- If I could just find that diamond I dropped on my shop floor today while I was making the setting for it... Grr.... -Andrew
  5. Yes- It is important to keep the spouse sane & happy if you want to enjoy this hobby... I've found that a constant stream of trinkets from the forge helps out a lot She is, after all, the one that went to get these anvils for me- They came up on Craigslist while I was at sea- and I had to send her after them with a check :)
  6. Phew- Thanks for the clarification here- I ALMOST made a mistake. The chain goes on the ANVIL... Ooops. Actually, there is almost no ring now. Besides- she 'steals' about 1/2 of what I make most of the time anyway, so she can't complain :)
  7. I FINALLY got my 130 Lb Arm & Hammer on a block! It has been patiently waiting in a corner of the garage for months now while I decided what kind of block to put it on. I need it to be portable- Since it lives in my studio area when I'm not using it, and I wheel it out when I need it. I suppose I could have gone with a tree stump, but leveling them is such a pain... I found some drawings on the Anvilfire page of a block made from 2 x 12's, and it looked like it would be ideal. So, I built one. It works VERY well. The way it is constructed with the 'offset' in the 2x's and straps at the top makes it a little wider, therefore a little more stable. That also makes some convenient storage 'holes' for hammers, hardies, etc. The two end boards are longer, and help to hold the anvil in place. Once I wedged it in to the block (with the angle stock), it was very solid- and not going anywhere. I strapped it down, too- Just to be sure. This anvil had a pretty loud ring to it- I didn't mind it too much, but it drove my wife crazy (not a very long drive, mind you ). But, when strapped down firmly in this block, it is a LOT quieter. I am actually amazed at how silent it is! I mounted this one so the face is a little above my knuckle level- Which seems to be where I am most comfortable working. It's nice to have one mounted at MY height rather than the ones that I use at the shop that are used by many people, and therefore at a 'generic' height that I find way too high for comfort... I've still got to mount my Mousehole- I think I'll make the stand for that one a touch taller, for when I do detailed work. -Andrew
  8. Makes perfect sense to me, Phil... Most of my forging sessions are a few hours long, so I will plan accordingly. I think that I'm going to skip the castable lining, though- and just use kaowool. I'll probably end up with about 3" or so in there. I know that thickness is overkill, but I got a really good deal on a whole roll (25') of the stuff, and I've only used about a foot of it in my micro forge, so I've got PLENTY of it on hand to use! I'll be lining it with plistex 900, just like the micro forge, and I plan to use a fire brick on the floor to protect it from my clumsiness I've got MOST of the burner parts on hand now, I've just got to get it put together. -Andrew
  9. Thanks... With luck, I'll have the rest of my supplies this week so I can finish the lining up. I didn't want to use it TOO much until that's all done. I'm going to use a tank adapter to attach it to a larger tank, although I am also building a small venturi burner as well for a slightly larger forge, and might experiment with using that- But it's probably going to be a LITTLE more power than I need for a forge this small! I'm getting my anvil up on a stand today, So I'll be ready to go. -Andrew
  10. I needed a small forge for when I do really tiny work- I do a lot of very, VERY small stuff- And the coal forge that I usually work with is just too much. This is my new Micro Forge- The design is based on the various coffee can, one brick, and similar forges that I've seen on sites all over the place, But is a bit more permanent. The main body is made from a piece of 6" DOM pipe, about 8" long, with a cap welded on the back. Handles and feet are 1/4" stainless steel. It's painted with a high-temp (2000 degree) baked on paint. It is lined with 1" of 8 lb Kaowool Rt. I'll be adding a firebrick floor to it once I get my firebrick- It's still in the mail. There is a 1 1/2" pass through in the back in case I need to heat the center of a rod in the forge- Though I doubt I ever will need it, I decided to do it while I was building it just in case. So- Time to fire it up for the first time! It's a little tough to see the flame, it was sunny out. The 'burner' is a Bernzomatic TS839 torch. It's a pretty powerful little beast- Seems to heat the forge up pretty well. It can also burn MAPP gas. I let it warm up for about 5 minutes, then I stuck a 3/32 stainless rod in there. It was hot in a VERY short time- That's tiny stuff, though- So something a little more challenging... Here is some 1/4" Stainless round- Within a minute, it was glowing a nice orange color on the end. A successful, though very short, first test. I will be lining the inside with Plistix before I use it much further. I am curious to fins out what kind of burn time I'll get from one of these cylinders, though I plan on connecting it to a larger tank soon. The cart, BTW, is a repurposed cart from a gas grill- Painted and reconfigured a bit. It'll be able to hold the propane cylinder, too. I still need to add a stock rest, and a few other little items, But I wanted to make sure that the basic concept was sound first. -Andrew
  11. Nice- I especially like the paper towel holder- I think I need to make one for my kitchen!! -Andrew
  12. Here is what I'm going to try. First, Line the inside w/ Kawool- About 3" or so. Then, make an insert out of the refractory, using a mold... This is the plug for the mold- That is the forge chamber, I'll put this inside a 6" cylinder, then pour the refractory around that. Once it's cured, I'll remove it from the outer mold, then burn away the foam, hopefully leaving me with a nice, one piece liner. I cast some test pieces with the cement yesterday to make sure that they were 'tough' enough to hold together if cast in the thickness that I'm planning on using them, and they seem to be OK. Next, we've got the burners to work on. The interior volume of this forge is pretty small- Just about 60 cubic inches- so I really don't need much of a burner! I think I'm going to try a torch. If that isn't enough, I'll probably try something like the Mini sidearm burner on the zoeller forge page. -Andrew
  13. Thanks. Leeroy- Damar is available from art supply stores- bigger ones, for the most part, or online. It is a natural tree resin. The stuff I use comes to me in big crystals, that I have to break up before melting... They even have insects in them sometimes, like amber -Andrew
  14. I could easily do that- Is something like Kaowool appropriate for this? How would I go about doing that- Just lay the Kaowool in place then pour the refractory right on to it?? I would actually PREFER that approach, as in addition to being more efficient it would be lighter, too...
  15. Thanks, Frosty. Encaustic is a wax-based 'paint' used by artists. I use it in my artwork from time to time, and have experimented with it as a finish for iron, and REALLY like the results. It seems to be more durable than straight wax, and has a beautiful finish that retains a fair amount of gloss without looking too artificial. It dries much harder than wax alone, and has a significantly higher heat tolerance. I make my own encaustic, it is usually a mix of wax and Damar resin, which is melted then 'cooked' with the wax. Pour it in to cakes, an you're ready to go! -Andrew
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