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I Forge Iron

Andrew Collington

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     East Sussex, UK

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  1. Thanks for the great advice! Once I am able to make a decent billet, getting a pattern more than what can only be described as "splodgey" would be a good thing, so I'll try the countersinking like you suggested. I'm thinking the motor on my drill died - there's just no attempt at life when I got the power button. So looks like I might have to buy myself a new tool for the garage... "oh no!" The clamp I made was from scrap pieces of an old "up and over" garage door mechanism. Was about 42mm x 8mm, and the bolts were M8 X 45mm. I can totally appreciate what Frosty said about making them tighten evenly. I made it long enough to fit in the vice for compression but then struggled to keep the coins aligned when trying to tighten. But I definitely think it was thick enough - didn't see any noticeable bending, at least. That looks amazing, Daswulf!
  2. That's really cool, Chimaera, and inspired me to try similar today. I think I overheated the coins after the first compress and they started to slip apart. Got three of the quarters welded together, though.. so even though my drill press broke when trying to put a bolt hole in the clamp, I'm still counting it as a win!
  3. Thanks Careful Eugene! The middle one was 10mm square, the one on the right was 16mm square, and the icicle was 10mm x 2mm, I think.
  4. Interestingly, anything before 16th May 1969 you're OK to do whatever with, and that sounds like a really interesting project you did! Any photos of it? Here they say you can't melt metal coins down or break them apart, but don't then go on to say "and reuse as legal tender" (though I'm sure that was the intention). https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1971/24/section/10
  5. Great responses, thanks! Thankfully this isn't a "I have to rush to get it done for Christmas" thing, more a "I have time off for Christmas and want to spend it at the anvil trying things out", so no rushing... Just the obvious lack of experience. You're right, Buzzkill, it's just for something "purty". Never would have thought to use a stack of quarters! It's ever-so-slightly illegal to deface UK coins here... but I'm sure the UK government wouldn't mind me defacing American coinage . My wife's American so we try to get back there once a year and quarters usually make it back with us, so this could be perfect! Going to chalk the stainless steel up as a fun but failed experiment and not something to try again for a while (at least not until I've learned to drive rally cars on ice )
  6. Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up what I was trying to do perfectly! I'll have a look at doing some mokume gane next with nickel and wrought iron as you suggested. I'm assuming that's pretty much the same procedure? I'll go watch some videos and read some articles on it before attempting anything this time. Thanks for your feedback, Thomas Powers!
  7. Hi there, I've never tried pattern welding metal before, and I've also never used stainless steel before. But my wife thought it'd be nice to have a "simple damascus necklace" and it seemed like stainless steel was a good enough way to go, so figured I'd knock off two complete unknowns for me in one go. Needless to say, it didn't go well. I started with about 1m of 304 and 316 and cut it roughly evenly. I sanded off all the rough edges from cutting and cleaned the surfaces with acetone. I stacked and welded them together as best I could (don't look too closely at the welds - it's only the second time I've ever tried welding anything!) I got the metal warm and sprinkled with borax then brought it up to temperature (well, what I guess was temperature, anyway). Then I did some light blows to try to set the weld, repeated with a little more borax, heat, light taps, heat, then basically tried to give it some wellie to solidify. (Mostly I hit it square, but still need to practice better hammer control.) However, anytime I set to hit the metal harder the layers would start to peel apart. So I'd try a little more flux and reheat, light blows, heat, hard blows. I also tried compressing it in my leg vice with some angle iron, just to try to spread a bit more even pressure across the stack than my hammering would. In the end, though, all I made was an unholy mess with layers of metal all peeled apart. So I wondered if anyone could give a little advice for if I try this again? Was my procedure flawed? Is there a different way of working for stainless steels? Is the metal worth sanding down flat (lots of bad hammer blows on parts of them somewhat because I was tired but I think mostly because I was venting frustration ) and trying again? I know I wouldn't be able to tell the two metals apart, but that might just make for a more interesting pattern if I pull it off. Or should I just scrap all of that? Is there a better choice of metal for metals for pattern welded jewellery? Wow, that's a lot of questions! But any advice for a newbie is always appreciated. Thanks! Andy
  8. Probably simple stuff, I know, but I made some tree decorations today.
  9. Good to know you're happy with the quality and thanks for posting those pictures. Yeah, there are some quite obvious gaps there... So you're just laying a base of the supplied clay (is it refactory clay or rigidiser? Is there a difference? Sorry - no idea about this stuff yet!) and then putting a much more complete layer of Kast-O-Lite over the top of it? Could one option be to remove the blanket entirely and replace it with fire bricks that are of an appropriate size? (The base ones supplied and then some on the side that effectively hold up ones across the top with holes drilled through them for the burners, of course.) Their DFPROFK series seem to use fire bricks rather than blanket, so I guess it's possible, but don't know if the internal construction of the forge you have is any different.
  10. I am considering getting a 2-burner Devil's Forge with a door (the DFPROF2+1D) and came on here to ask if the refactory clay they supply is enough or not (especially after reading the https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/53239-ceramic-wool-insulation-safety-alert/ post!). I had seen one video of its application (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNOywSx01pM) but have no idea generally how thick the clay liner should be - I just assumed it should be enough not to allow the fibres to break loose. So anyway, it was good to see this thread because it looks like someone else has figured it all out :-D So please let us know how it goes!
  11. The 90 or so bricks I got from an old ex-farrier (who I got my anvil from), and he said they were firebricks so I guess I'll just have to trust him on that one. I was pretty sure the others were firebricks... right up until you questioned it But assuming they are, it sounds like it could work out so I'll give it a go! With the reshaping or the pit; I'm assuming the premise to that if you wanted a bit of a longer heat you could widen the pit length a bit (be more oblong than round). But would anything need to be done with the tuyère to enable that? Or does it being in different shaped pit make the air circulate in the right direction to push out the heat correctly? Ah, just looked at the thread at and it appeared to answer my question about the pit shape and tuyère - sorry about that, I should have investigated a bit more first.
  12. Hi all, I've been given a bunch of firebricks, a dozen of them quite large (190mm x 230mm x 45mm) and heavy and 90 or so of them smaller brick size (175mm x 90mm x 70mm) - would they make a suitable base and sides for a side-blast forge? I was thinking of just making a box (like the excellent jabod's shown on the forum), placing some of the larger size ones on the bottom (maybe 2x3), put the smaller bricks around the inside of the box as a wall, get a tuyère in there somehow (maybe between bricks or possibly through one of the brick holes if I find a small enough pipe), and then fill the basin left by the bricks with coal. Does that at all sound reasonable? Can I do it just on bricks or would I need to pack dirt around anything? Cheers, Andy
  13. Hi all, Hoping to get a little advice on setting up a backyard forge area - nothing professional at all... I live about four miles (as crow flies) from the coast in the south of England, so get a bit of salt air, fog, rain - you know, typical British weather. I was going to set up a small work area inside my garage with a coal forge, putting in a chimney through the metal roof. However, I've recently pulled down a shed which had a nice flat concrete base and thought about putting the forging area outside on that base. I'll probably put up a free-standing shelter over the top of it at some point, open-air so no sides, but given where I live is it even a good idea to have an outdoor forge area, with or without a shelter? (My wife was going to have it as an outdoor kitchen in that area but is willing to give it up for forging if it's viable!) Thanks, Andy
  14. You guys are so creative! To be able to look at some spanners and come up with critters, chairs, tables - it's great! Have loved looking around and seeing things like the rabbit/hare you created, @Daswulf, or the dancing figure from @ausfire... and that horse sculpture @scrapartoz created? Wow! Can't imagine how heavy that thing was to move. I'm sure there's a lot more posted up that I haven't seen yet (it's a shame there seem to be a lot of pictures missing; I get the impression there was a big file loss at some point). The spanners for me are going to be tucked away somewhere in my garage until I feel I have any kind of skill level to do them justice - and I'll certainly be taking inspiration from all the great stuff posted on this forum. I certainly take your point with the rasps, though, @BIGGUNDOCTOR. I have already pulled out a couple of the less rusted ones to keep as-is. But I was going to use the others more as a practice for getting some technique down, shaping, quenching, etc. They just seemed like a good stock size and shape to practice turning it into a knife, and if I really mess up when trying out different things then I'm not out any decent steel that cost me a bit more money. (Though I saw someone had turned a rasp into a snake, which I may like to give a go.) Incidentally, it looks like that 3rd spanner from the left may be a bulldozer spanner. It's got the same code (3041400) and Staffordshire Knot (visible in the pic) as the one listed here: http://ozwrenches.com/ihc.htm#43
  15. I went to a car boot sale today (non-uk friends; it's like a garage sale but people rock up in their cars/vans and sell stuff out the back of them) for the first time in forever, and my wife scored me 28 or so rasps for £10 and myself found some really heavy-duty spanners all for a tenner, as well as a few other bits and bobs. Got the rasps so I can practice something like knife making (whether they'll be viable metal for it I don't know, but it's more just for practice and to learn) and had every intention to reshape the spanners in some way… but they're pretty big and something I'm not likely to get again so don't feel I have the heart (or arm strength!!) to hammer these out in any way. But still; I was happy with my haul today from the local area and just wanted to share my joy. :-)
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