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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184 profile views
  1. 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)
  2. 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!
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. UK bolts safe to forge

    Can always square up hex bolts whilst giving them a hammer finish
  8. 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.
  9. Complete Beginner

    You're most welcome. Just keep asking questions I will be doing the same tool wise but time is precious to me so figured I would start with a decent hammer (or three) and a pair of functional wolf jaw tongs. If you really want to go the route of building up slowly there are a few good videos on no tong tongs (making tongs without owning tongs), Black Bear Forge on Youtube has a good video on them if I recall. I managed to snag a really long set of pliers that I actually use more often than my tongs (most of my work so far allows me to just hold the end of the bar/rod most of the time). If you're looking at the car boot you will also see files/rasps quite often, don't be put off by a little surface rust, once you get them on hot steel they soon shine up. Hot rasping and filing will be your friend if you're looking to go in on a budget as you might not have access to power tools. Forging up some punches/drifts are good beginner projects, they might not last long on your first go/need dressing up frequently but again they save the need for power tools. If you find a friendly smith nearby you might even be able to talk into forging your tongs using their equipment to make the process easier/faster. What kinds of stuff are you looking to make? Your photo suggests knives?
  10. Complete Beginner

    I can see the bag of lumpwood charcoal in the foreground so that wasn't your problem. I use coke. More difficult to get hold or but it doesn't spit/smoke anywhere near as much as when I use charcoal. OOo what Thomas said above is a really good point. Watching videos on the different layers of the solid fuel forge was an eyeopener. Changed a lot for me and worth hunting down/asking more about!
  11. Complete Beginner

    Welcome to the hobby! I'm just a few weeks in and I think I'm making pretty good progress with techniques and tools. Be prepared to be sucked into wanting more and more tools... I have overspent so much this month buying vises/forge/hammers/PPE etc From my incredibly limited perspective here is some of advice that I will echo from what others have told me or you will see elsewhere: 1) Classes - can't stress enough how much I was initially against taking one but I took a day one and will be booking more soon. Taking the lessons from the horses mouth not only means you progress so much quicker but you build confidence and have an array of items that you can practice on without just hammering out a hot, useless mess for the scrap pile. 2) PPE - safety gear is your friend. I've already had a few close calls that I have audibly thanked my equipment from protecting me from (I always talk to inanimate objects, that's normal right? ) I've picked up steel I shouldn't have, had metal chips and scale ping off of my glasses and hit burning steel that showers me in hot mess that would at the very least/best case burn a hole through the shirts I'm wearing. I'm accident prone and sometimes just daft.. I actually wanted to see why you don't hit hard metal for myself. It really can chip/spark quite nastily. 3) Watch what your left (tong) hand is doing. Move the material, not the hammer when you can. Moving the hammer affects your aim, tires you quicker and means you (read: me) are more likely to land your hammer off angle and leave dinks in your work. 4) Don't swing hammers that are too big, work up. On the first few days I really hurt my girly arms ("You have a woman's hand!) swinging a hammer I wasn't used to, my finger still hasn't recovered. I only recently realised that you can also just let the hammer landing do a lot of the work, you don't have to force it down (derp), the effort is in the lift, not so much on the drop. Obviously this isn't true when you're trying to move a lot of metal/quickly/small hammer. 5) Be prepared for failure. Ponder what went wrong. Hot cut it off and just start again. I've been redoing forks over and over until I'm happy (still not) with them. New hardy hot cut will help immensely with that (Thanks Iron Dwarf!) 6) Find local people to talk to/work with. Still trying to find a few more locals myself but if you ever happen to be 2 hours north-west of where you currently are, my door is open for a hammer swing and a beer! 7) If you do end up buying a solid fuel forge instead of building up, I highly recommend Iron Dwarf's forges. I have one and it is super simple to light, maintain and can be super efficient at spot heating small parts or build up into a roaring forge weld. Excellent price too. Contact him pm. Most of all, have a target and work towards it whilst having fun! Oh and in response to your recent replies. Charcoal is fine but get lump wood charcoal. Charcoal briquettes are pants.
  12. UK bolts safe to forge

    Thanks guys I only wondered for the purposes of making bolts looks older/more fitting for hand forged items, no way would I use them as a source of steel. I get my known steel from a certain Iron Dwarf
  13. What Would Your Anvil Say?

    Just gotta know where to look I suppose! Members wise there are still too few around these parts though!
  14. What Would Your Anvil Say?

    Probably true, I never really see much in the way of old world craft stuff around my area though. I'm sure they're squirrelled away somewhere but seems like most of the forging equipment makes it out to the south or north of England. I bet you probably find British ideas of something being too far away pretty quaint but I rarely drive more than 10 minutes anywhere around here. Iron Dwarf is my closest forge guy and that's an exceptionally long ( ) 40 minute journey from me! I wish there were a few more members from around my area on here! How come you have more than one anvil? (If you don't mind me asking!)
  15. UK bolts safe to forge

    I found one, plus looking through I saw a few comments about chrome plating and figured that SS is a steel/chrome alloy and that might pose issues. Happy to be corrected, that's what I was hoping for, no matter how basic it may seem to someone else. Either way, I'll keep my 'very basic questions' to myself in future. Seems like people could just choose to ignore or answer in the time that it takes to slap someone down for it though. As an aside I have several quotes from IFI about SS potentially being toxic or not being toxic under normal conditions without expanding on what those conditions are. Hence asking straight up, so I did do my homework by the way, I could do more easily but figured I would ask both at the same time, sorry.