Nick Owen

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About Nick Owen

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    Advanced Member

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    Northamptonshire UK

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  1. Nick Owen

    Blacksmith knife bent backwards?

    Pretty much how I was thinking.. I couldn't find pics of ones in a different style but as Latticino posted (thank you!) they clearly exist Can't help thinking how much my blade looks like a butter knife compared to the others with such a stubby point but it's modelled after a kitchen knife I really like using... less likely to severely pierce myself as well
  2. Nick Owen

    Blacksmith knife bent backwards?

    Hi, Just getting to towards the end of my first knife. Needs heat treat and grinding, I was intending on bending the handle forwards and curling it under the finger as normal but then I think that the blade would be too shallow for chopping then. I've looked around at hundred of images of blacksmith knives and I can't find any pictures where the handle is bent upwards into where the palm would be. It would look odd but probably make the blade more useful. Has anyone got any pictures of a blacksmith knife curved that way to base a plan off? Otherwise I'll just go for the traditional look and try to draw the blade depth down a little next time.
  3. Nick Owen

    Modifying a mini-sledge

    Car boot sale again and try to pick up some long wooden handled items like rakes etc. I can only imagine my first few will be crap/want to fly off so might be best to have some cheapy rubbish to practice on first
  4. Nick Owen

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I think if I just keep rotating and little more as I bring the shoulder down it will be OK, I think I neglected one side for too long and kept doing 1/4 turns back and forth instead of going around and checking each face.
  5. Nick Owen

    Modifying a mini-sledge

    I have been fiddling around with my first heat treats and tempering... watching the temper colours move across the metal is rather hypnotising, I almost missed my chance to fix the temper because I carried away watching it the second time If you're making a knife I can definitely recommend making a herb chopper (an herb chopper for the other side of the pond) or a blacksmith knife as it means you can focus on the blade skills before learning how to put handles on and probably wasting time on putting handles on something that is ugly and not optimally functional. I'll be making a few more herb choppers/blacksmith knives to get those skills down and then moving on to a chef's knife.
  6. Nick Owen

    What did you do in the shop today?

    Herb chopper V1. Its full of cold shuts and it's ugly but not bad for a first attempt. It was my first attempt at forging a blade and my first proper heat treat and temper. If I hadn't screwed up getting so many cold shuts as I put a shoulder in to draw the handle out I also wouldn't have ended up with such deep hammer marks that scarred the surface. V2 will be much better!
  7. Nick Owen

    Just bought this vise... How'd I do?

    I recently bought a leg vise and got it set up. It looks almost identical to yours. When I first got it the jaws were really stiff and wouldn't spring open when I unwound the threads. I just took it all apart which may seem daunting at first but is really simple, take photos so you know what goes where and then it's just common sense. Once I had it apart I just scraped away the old crud and greased it all up a bit. Put it all together and bibbity bobbety boo. If it's still stiff there are videos on youtube for fixing the spring or forging new ones. There is little to no rocket science behind them and they are amazing once set up. It's the third arm you need so bad for a lot of operations Have you figured out your choice of mounting it yet?
  8. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    Nice oven! Most of those projects should be pretty fun. I've been thinking about how I would tackle a shovel myself, without a swage block to form the shovel around I might see if I can just carve a depression into the top of a log/chunk of wood and form it in that. I have somehow injured by back so not sure if I will be forging this weekend either. I did a similar thing to the other side of my back a few months back and it suddenly got a lot worse and had me unable to move for a week so probably shouldn't push it.... sucks as tomorrow will be the first day of my holiday (teacher)
  9. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    Coming along nicely! Metal was just too soft, I knew it would be as I took the stock from a box of machining steel... really soft I figured that I might be able to get away with using it a few times before it needed dressing up but it dinged right away! No good but the drift works fine. If your forge is ready better get on with those tongs! Most of the projects I'm working on at the moment I can work at the end of a bar/rod and get away with just holding the bar between my legs whilst I use my hand for other operations, everything else just has to balance across the anvil, something which is a lot more difficult on a wee railroad track. You'll just have to get creative at using metal clamps or something as a hold down. It's frustrations like these that make or break people, personally I knew it would break me which is why I just went right for a traditional shaped anvil for the hardy holes, can easily make up some holdfasts for them. I'm sure there are easy hold downs for rail road tracks as well. Could ask in the forums!
  10. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    Just keep looking for a leg vise. I just did a fresh search on eBay for 'leg vise' 'blacksmith vise' 'post vise' and also for 'vice' spelling variants. You'll find a bargain eventually and a good post vise can a good beating Have you tested your chisel against metal yet? I tested my punch and drift today, drift works great but could do with a shallower profile to speed it up a bit, the punch sucked. That's the problem with found metal though
  11. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    When I get to needing something more robust than what it can stand up to, I will lift a patio slab and drop it into a hole with some more concrete. The slight wobble whilst twisting/filing is already annoying me so it won't be long I already knew that it wouldn't be stable side to side, the tub it's in is longer forward/backwards so I just angle my work to be in that direction. Ghetto but it works
  12. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    I used to play a bit of Warmachine but now I just DM a 5E game once every four weeks. We usually only get through about 4 encounters due to ordering food, general chat etc but we usually have a good time. I like to treat my players with dice boxes, special dice, 3D printed models etc Bottle openers are a good way to practice and making the tools to do it right has been fun, should be making my first few attempts tomorrow/Friday. Neighbours and noise are a big concern for me too. Although the neighbours grandson (early 20s) popped his head over the fence and was pretty excited by it all so it can't be all complaints going on over there! They have a lot of little dogs that bark every time there's movement outside so I think they can live with a few hammer thumps and the occasional scream from me I managed to pick up a leg vise for £30 off of ebay last week. I spend half that on a tiny little engineers vise, useless thing! I had to take the vise apart a few times to clean it up and loosen the spring a little but it works great now. If you want to see the most ghetto vise stand ever, I can put up a pic. I bought a set of steel (rather flimsy but perfectly sized) speaker stands, drilled, bolted it in, put them in a plastic tub and backfilled with concrete. It wobbles a lot but its sturdy enough for twists/filing! If I dig a pit for the tub to sit in it will probably be stable too!
  13. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    Show us what you make I've just finished beating the largest metal I have so far to make a punch and a drift for making a few palm bottle openers that CC ironworks has just put a video up for. I have a tabletop games night once a month and thought I would make one each for my buddies who come over.
  14. Nick Owen

    UK bolts safe to forge

    Can always square up hex bolts whilst giving them a hammer finish
  15. Nick Owen

    Complete Beginner

    Man.. I would love to have access to power tools Going to get an angle grinder and a basic bench sander next month hopefully. Approaching the summer holidays and it's never cheap being a teacher with a kid means long periods of time sitting on my wallet. Hot rasping rips metal down really quickly.. just watch your fingers Punches are really easy, anything with the shape you need on the end will do short term. Knock some of those clips into a tapered point with a flat and you can knock holes through easily enough, they just wont last long. If they are good steel they can be hardened though. Plenty of guides on here for that. If you don't have a pritchel hole for punching through to just bend a bit of square bar back on itself to create a U shape with a space in it wide enough for your punch to fit through and that will do just fine The easy tongs that Glenn posted is a great guide. I think that anyone could make those and even turn them into something really good by simply drawing out the reins into something more comfortable and tweaking them to fit. If you don't have round stock you could even get away with bolting them closed until you do.