Laughing Bodger

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    Mid North Coast, NSW, AU

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  1. Wow... you do some beautiful work. I too am looking to build a forge, and Charles' advice is sound (when I eventually get the forklift tines from which I'm going to build my anvil, I'm going to use the skid they come on to build the box for my box-of-dirt forge. As for fuel, whenever there is a bushfire in my area, it leaves tonnes of fuel, free for the taking). All up it will cost me about AUD $265 for forge and anvil. I know you fellows in the States can do it really cheaply (plus, I got impatient dealing with uncooperative scrapyards), but this by no means breaks the bank either! Welcome to the Forum.
  2. Bonsoir et bienvenue, Mme. samwiththej (well, it is "soir" on Australia's east coast, anyway). I can also recommend Mme. Sims' book. I bought it on a whim and I credit her with inspiring me to take up blacksmithing. In fact, I reckon I'll read it again before I get my smithy (read: place in the back yard away from flammable stuff) set up, hopefully next week.
  3. Hi Josh, and welcome, from a fellow new IFI member. I'm champing at the bit to get started, but I don't think it's going to happen this year (the forklift tines I bought for an anvil don't look like they're going to be getting to me soon, and my work schedule the next few weeks is nuts - Xmas 'n all). Your first efforts look very impressive, and with the knowledge on offer here, are bound to become even more so soon. Looking forward to seeing what you turn out.
  4. Hey Ratel10mm, sorry for missing your post. As I will indeed be in the Gold Coast/Brisvegas area for Xmas this year, I would be grateful to accept your offer (though I might be able to get hold of some cheap forklift tines this week). I'd add myself to the thread you mentioned, but I'm not terribly savvy with this particular Forum software and can't work out how to do it.
  5. Hey ausfire, I think the problem all stems from scrapyards and scrap collectors in NSW being required to be registered with the police - fair enough, I suppose, because it makes metal traceable and makes it hard for junkies and other metal thieves to make free with every piece of copper pipe or wire they can rip of out abandoned/vacant properties (and we have plenty of those in Taree!). It's just a real nuisance for the honest people who want to make some beer money and help recycle valuable materials (I have dreams of cleaning up illegal dump sites and making a few extra dollars myself). A visit to north Queensland is likely to be on the cards some time soon-ish since we want to make the pilgrimage to Bundaberg (I know, not strictly north Queensland) anyway. Thanks for the kind offer - I'd love to visit smiths and associated artisans (would love to witness traditional African ironmaking, for instance) from all around the world, maybe write a book about it (yeah, I've got all sorts of loopy dreams). Ironically enough, I copped a shopping bag full of old spoons and other cutlery from my Mum. I'm guessing they're nickel-silver plated - time to find out what they're good for (she thought I could melt them down in my foundry, but I'm not so sure). Still, I have an angle-grinder, a spark test couldn't hurt. Even if they can't be melted down, surely they can be forged into something. I'm getting really antsy about those tines. My anvil problem could be solved in a big way in a matter of days if I can get hold of them.
  6. Gumtree to the rescue! I found a pair of forklift tines for $130.00. Seems a very reasonable price to me. I'm going to buy them if the freight doesn't kill me - which I suspect won't, as I used to work in the transport industry and still have friends working in it. Now I just wish the vendor would get back to me.
  7. Man, talk about frustrating. My fiancee and I visited the Central Coast, just as we planned, but the scrapyard scene down there is abysmal. One is a major company (OneSteel), and they don't sell anything, the other doesn't deal with the general public (something about the hassle of dealing with drug addicts, plus, he didn't even know what I was talking about when I asked about carbon steel) and the third didn't even return my call. In desperation, I walked into a steel supplier. Their staff were knowledgeable and helpful, but didn't stock anything suitable. However they suggested the names of a couple of bigger suppliers who could help me. One of them stocks quenched and tempered alloy steel plate, but I suspect it's going to be very expensive and they probably wouldn't be interested in a one-off sale of a small piece of plate. Still, I can only ask. And it turns out I have A LOT to learn about steel.
  8. Bodger is mostly homage to my Dad (who really is clever when it comes to building stuff - if I turn out half as good as him, I'll be thrilled). As for a tilt at the Senate, no way! I just want to live out my life in a quiet part of the country, in relative obscurity, pursuing my interests (blacksmithing, obviously, but also beekeeping and meadmaking when the time comes). I agree, though, it is all a debacle. I wish they'd just clean house and get on with the job - if that means an audit, so be it. Shed the blood and move on. The Electorate has had its say with the SSM issue and, just as I suspected, the socially conservative elements of the LNP are trying to derail it and hope we just forget about it. Truly, the Ringmaster's asleep and the clowns are in charge. Turnbull will be lucky to still be PM after New Year... I just hope we don't get Abbott again, but I don't really see who else it could be. Anyway, enough depressing stuff. My trip to the scrapyard was a total bust. They were packing up and going home when I rocked up, and must've cleaned out their skips that day, because all they had in them was old microwaves - the aspiring scrapper in my was drooling, but I've really got no room for all that junk for the foreseeable future. Never mind. I'm going to visit my folks on the weekend. They've got heaps of scrapyards near them, and I've got three days to check 'em out.
  9. Hey ausfire, from what I've read, burning Gidgee would be nigh on sacrilege - it pretty much sounds like the most precious species we have (or, at least for toolmaking and musical instruments). Regarding the name, I sort of inherited (adopted) it from my Dad. He was a diesel fitter/fabricator/could-do-anything-with-metal sort of bloke and not long after his workmates heard his Pommy accent (I was also born there, don't ask, I have very strange ideas about nationality), he was christened Bodger. Funny thing, I moved to Taree for work, and one of his old workmates who ended up moving there recognised me for who I was, so for the purposes of this Forum, I adopted the name, with a bit of a lackadaisical bent. If I end up half the craftsman Dad was, I'd be stoked.
  10. Ausfire, Ha! Why did I not think of bushfires as a fuel source? There was a very large fire near Comboyne (a dairy village in the mountains north of me), I should go up and scavenge the charcoal from there. As for XXXX, don't you all drink Great Northern up there now, like the rest of us? I'd heard that the Queensland diet was more or less Bundy and Great Northern. Anyway, I'm told I could possibly get railway track at the scrapyard (by the skip-full if I'm very lucky). Even if I don't end up using it for an anvil, I'm sure I can think of other stuff to use it for. Either way, very excited about tomorrow.
  11. JHCC and Charles... we seem to think a fair bit alike. I'm also very much into soil care (don't feed the plants, feed the soil) and minimising my impact on the land - I have a few harebrained and perhaps not-so-harebrained schemes (mostly concerning sustainable power) for when my fiancee and I are on our own property - when one rents, one's options are quite limited (though I was just told that keeping bees would be OK - very excited!). I already use a slow combustion stove, which has provided decent amounts of charcoal, but definitely a purpose-built retort is best. I'm not so worried about Council, as I have access to a friend's remote property - 360 acres of more or less virgin bushland, I figured I could build a portable retort and spend a few days up there at a time making charcoal, and yes, I've seen designs which use the wood gas to sustain the process, reducing the amount of wood required for fuel - it all makes perfect sense to me, both in terms of sustainability and economy. My friend is also supportive of my madness, encourageing me to build whatever kind of forging/foundry facilities I want up there. Very exciting times ahead for me. Ask me some time about my most-harebrained scheme - involving a biogas fired steam turbine locomotive. All involving metal casting (I've already built a small foundry and amassed a pretty good amount of scrap aluminium for preliminary experiments). Now I'm just hanging out for the chance to head down to the scrapyard... Monday afternoon, here we come.
  12. Thanks, JHCC, another very good reason to do a soil test (I also want to know where to plant my beans and tomatoes). As it happens, I've been reading a fair bit about how to improve soil, but I won't be improving anything until we're on our own soil. Charcoal helps in this, so blacksmithing dovetails nicely with gardening, so it seems.
  13. Thomas, she loves English comedy (as indeed, do I), so has all the pointers, I think - right up to hitting me with a very large fish to make sure the job is done - pith helmet optional. Charles, excellent advice, thank you - retain the minirail for stock. Tools are indeed where I would like to end up, I have a few ideas such as froes, adzes and the like, once I have the skill (old-school timber framing is an artform I really admire, and would love to knock together a smithy in that style once we're on our acreage). I did figure I'd add some features to the JABOD along the lines you were suggesting, as I do intend using charcoal for reasons of conscience and sheer economy (we've got timber lying around, just for the asking, in my neck of the woods). What are your thoughts with regards to perhaps making the forge more durable by adding pulverized cat litter (the cat is welcome to use whatever I don't)? Thanks again, all, for your welcome and well wishes. I reckon on my next day off, it'll be down to the scrapyard to find the perfect (or merely adequate) piece of steel upon which to begin the journey.
  14. Hey ausfire, not even close! I'm actually in Taree - Byron's far too crowded (and expensive) for me, though I love some of the areas around there... perhaps when/if I ever retire. There's actually a smith in Wauchope (about an hour away from Taree) who teaches classes. I thought I might take one, but that's not likely to be for a few months yet, I'd like to try to get some forging under my belt before I front up there. As for railway iron... well, a friend of mine gave me a 25cm long piece of miniature railway Iron (the real thing has been frustratingly hard to get hold of, even though ARTC has a depot in town). Reckon it'd work if I bolted it to the side of a tree stump? Vertically mounted, it seems a bit small.
  15. Ha ha ha, JHCC, I saw what you did there. Thanks for the encouragement, both of you. After viewing the Improvised Anvils, I've been convinced the right piece of steel awaits at the local scrapyard - and the cheaper/simpler the better, as far as I'm concerned. Smiths of yore made durable and beautiful work for hundreds (thousands?) of years before the appearance of the London pattern anvil. Besides... as I am saving up for a house (and the other Aussies on the Forum will tell you how difficult that can be), I don't want to shell out hundreds of dollars on an anvil. If I did so, I suspect my other half would chain me to it and throw it in the river. And rightly so. Looking forward to learning all I can here - and that seems to be a vast amount.