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I Forge Iron


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About nc_cooter

  • Rank
    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Grover, NC
  • Interests
    Knife making
  • Occupation
  1. I sort of eased into blacksmithing through my knife making. I started grinding knives about 16 years ago. Built a propane forge for heat treating. It didn't take long to begin looking into forging knives. My first anvil was a piece of RR rail. Lots of trials and many errors. Sometimes self teaching sucks. Finally scored a couple of anvils and moved up on the learning curve. It didn't take long to discover that 5 min. on the anvil saved 20 min. on the grinder. I also reduced the number of sizes of stock I had to buy. As word got out in my area that I had a forge, people would ask about about things other than knives. Cooking iron sets, fireplace sets, farm equipment repairs/parts, repointing jack hammer bits, etc. During that time, it was small money and barter, just to cover supply coats. It payed for my learning. Today, I am still learning, but the money is better and the barter is much better. It is still my hobby and always will be. Been retired for 6 years and go to the forge almost every day. It's the only hobby I have had that pays for itself. About 3 years ago, I started teaching my meager skills to anyone who wants to learn. I don't charge for my time, only for supplies. I am now teaching student #6. The other 5 now have their on shops and a couple have out done the teacher. Mike
  2. red, at least we have sun over here and not a dim glow a few days a year.
  3. red, I hope you get all the regulations that you want and maybe a few extra for good measure. Even controlling the type of paper you wipe with. In the future, as that island sinks under the weight of those regulations, maybe you will remember the good old days. PS: I didn't know you had nads over there. Maybe they should be regulated.
  4. bigred, having first hand experience with your country's' trade unions in 1980 and 1981 while working under contract with the government over there, I can say that there is no guarantee of quality because of the system. Decisions are made by committee and if one person is not in attendance, nothing gets done. My work took me to your town as well as Lands End and Greenwich gas works. I am not saying that I didn't meet some well qualified people. It was the system that was the primary problem. The more the schedule slipped, the slower the decisions came. I am talking about basic engineering based on tried and true principles. I had a chance meeting with your then Prime Minister, Ms. Thacher and the conversation drifted to the job I was working. She was very familiar with the work and asked about the delays. I gave her a briefing and she promised to look into the problem. This happened on a Friday. The following Monday it was a whole new game. The decisions were made and the job was completed on time. She had called the Gas Works leaders to her office on Saturday for a detailed update. No system is perfect. No amount of testing can guarantee perfection. I am self taught in blacksmithing and knife making. I read books, joined this forum and others and practiced. I will never be a master smith of any kind. Over here, under your system, blacksmithing wouldn't be a dieing art, it would be dead. We have freedoms that your country lost years ago. We are free to make mistakes. Yes there are consequences and I am willing to live with them. I stand accountable for all that I do. That is my basic work ethic. Mike ( of the Middleton Clan ) PS: Six weeks after the job was completed and I was back home in the "colonies", I was offered a job as Director Of New Works by British Gas. My reply was "Thanks, but no thanks"
  5. Thanks. Pug the punches were not hardened. I just keep them cooled down in the quench tank. Mike
  6. I made some tools this week. The hot cut and 1/2" slitter are W1. The punches are mild steel. This is my first try at forging this type of tools. Used the slitter and square punch on some scrap pieces. Ended up making a cross from my first square punched hole. Punched a second hole in some wrought iron for a base. Thanks for looking, Mike
  7. I have heard that kitty litter can be used to protect forge lining from welding flux. If this is true, I would like to know what brand is suitable. Thanks
  8. nc_cooter

    Tong Rings

    I have some nerve damage in my left hand and cannot grip well. I use hose clamps. They are adjustable and cheap.
  9. Since I don't drive, I don't get out much. I have checked the local scrap yard with no luck. What size stock should I look for?
  10. I need to make some hand tools and will have to order some stock as only mild steel is locally available. I will be working on mild steel only to begin with. Sizes will be 3/4" to 1/4". I am considering 4140 but am open to suggestions. Price is a concern. What size stock should I order?
  11. nc_cooter

    New Gasser

    Wayne, I didn't have enough of either product on hand for a final coat, so I mixed what I had. I would guess 60/40 mix ITC 100/ Plistix. The only thing I noticed was the mix seemed easier to apply than either product straight. I used a foam brush to apply the mix. It worked better than a bristle brush. I will let you know how it holds up. This project was somewhat of an experiment to see what I could build with the leftover material I had. I knew the single sidearm burner would be a push for the volume. Adding a bit of air let me get welding heat at 2psi propane with a neutral flame. I can hold forging heat at 1psi with the air reduced. One thing I have learned is to add water with a spray bottle when mixing the coatings. (satanite, ITC 100, Plistix) Start with dry powder, squirt, mix, squirt , mix- until you achieve the consistency you want. It is a lot easier to me. Mike
  12. nc_cooter

    New Gasser

    I built my first gas forge for knife making almost 10 years ago and it's still going. I have been doing more smithing projects and the small forge was really limiting me. Been having to use my O/A rosebud way too much. When I built my knife forge, I used 2 burners and soon found out that was overkill. I removed one and plugged the hole, so I had a burner. I had an old 11gal. air tank with a pin hole leak, so I had a body. Scrap metal shelving to make the ends. I have helped 3 other guys build gas forges and kept all the leftover material. The 1" Inswool was 6" to 8" wide and about 24" long pieces. I had about 6# of Satanite and small amounts of ATC100 and Plistix 900F. I cut the ends of the air tank and ended up with a 12"x14" body. I used my hydraulic jack to make an oval shaped cylinder. Cut some of the shelving to make the ends and a tray for soft firebrick sliding front door. I ended up with an interior oval approx. 9"x5"x11 1/2". About 460cu/in volume. To give my venturi burner a little boost, i used a small squirrel cage fan I found in a dumpster years ago and some 2" vacuum cleaner hose to provide extra air. All comments and questions are welcomed.
  13. Our living history group at Kings Mountain National Park has one Trades and Crafts event each year in May. This is the only one I attend for selling. I make cook fire sets, trammels, trivets, blow tubes, various hooks, and knives. I keep my prices below on line listings for the same items. This year I sold out by Sunday afternoon. I even sold the cook fire set and trammel I was using. I only live 2 miles from the park and have had 3 additional sales resulting from the event. Sitting around the fire Saturday night, one vendor told me my prices were too low and I was hurting others. I did not even try to answer. Blacksmithing is a hobby for me and it's the only hobby of mine that pays for itself. I made enough profit that weekend to pay for my forge fuel and supplies for the next year. Being retired on a fixed income, keeping my prices low is the only way for me to continue my hobby.
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