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I Forge Iron

George N. M.

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Everything posted by George N. M.

  1. They are all in my prayers and I hope for the best. George
  2. Hardie tools are more useful than permanent, built in features because they can be put out of the way when you are not using them. You don't want to turn your anvil into a multi tool or Swiss army knife that does a lot of things but none of them well. It's better to have a dedicated tool or accessory for a specific purpose. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  3. Frosty, Kipling has been one of my favorites since I was a young 'un, along with Robert Service. Read Puck of Pook's Hill first and then Rewards and Fairies. Martha and I read them aloud to our son, Tom, when he was young. One of my favorite passages from Puck of Pook's Hill is when the girl, Una, asks Puck about the now departed People of the Hills and if they were fairies in the sense of the gossamer winged small spirits. Puck replies: 'Can you wonder that the People of the Hills don't care to be confused with that painty-winged, wand-waving, sugar-and-shake-your-head set of impostors? Butterfly wings, indeed! I've seen Sir Huon and a troop of his people setting off from Tintagel Castle for Hy-Brasil in the teeth of a sou'-westerly gale, with the spray flying all over the Castle, and the Horses of the Hills wild with fright. Out they'd go in a lull, screaming like gulls, and back they'd be driven five good miles inland before they could come head to wind again. Butterfly-wings! It was Magic—Magic as black as Merlin could make it, and the whole sea was green fire and white foam with singing mermaids in it. And the Horses of the Hills picked their way from one wave to another by the lightning flashes! That was how it was in the old days!' I discovered Leslie Fish back in the '70s and have enjoyed her ever since. The whole genre of "filk music" can be very cool. To bring this back to blacksmithing, a few paragraphs after the previous quote Puck is explaining to the children how the "Old Things" started out as gods, then became the People of the Hills, and finally left England, he says, "First they were Gods. Then they were People of the Hills, and then they flitted to other places because they couldn't get on with the English for one reason or another. There was only one Old Thing, I remember, who honestly worked for his living after he came down in the world. He was called Weland, and he was a smith to some Gods. I've forgotten their names, but he used to make them swords and spears. I think he claimed kin with Thor of the Scandinavians.'" Have fun, some rabbit holes are better than others and the one labelled "Kipling" is a deep but fun one. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand." PS Another "filk" singer who you might enjoy and who does a number of Kipling's works in song is Michael Longcor. GNM
  4. Davor, very cool and interesting. I think I am most impressed from a technical standpoint with the window grate in photo #6 The no weld, riveted chain is interesting. I will have to file that technique away for future reference. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  5. Das, or put a racing stripe or pin striping on your anvil. I kind of liked the idea of a pim..d out anvil. Candy Apple Red or metal flake? "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  6. Thomas, it is now after 5:00 PM MDT of the Friday of the week of October 18th. Did they show up as promised? GNM
  7. Many medieval craft guild rules prohibited work after sun down because the low quality of artificial light then resulted in lower quality work. While shade is good to see colors of hot metal darkness or very low light is not good. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  8. Frosty, read the story The Knife and the Naked Chalk from Kipling's Rewards and Fairies which is part of the Puck of Pook's Hill series. Here is a link: https://www.telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/RewardsFaries/nakedchalk.html The poem Song of the Men's Side is the poetical version of the story. It has also has been set to music by Leslie Fish. see:
  9. Read the poem, "The Song of the Men's Side" by Rudyard Kipling for a story about how an iron knife saves a tribe and its cost. There is something very basic and fundamental about a knife. As a cutting edge it was one of man's first tools and pre-dates homo sapiens. We probably have some sort of racial/species memory and association with knives. GNM
  10. The question about knives is a relatively recent phenomenon, in my experience. When I started blacksmithing and demoing in the late '70s the horseshoe question was common but not the one regarding making knives. In the US I attribute this to Forged In Fire. Also, more people (like all of them) are familiar with knives while fewer are familiar with other forged objects. When talking to a smith they will try to find a common subject and knives and shoeing horses is the usual common ground. When asked if I shoe horses I say, "Sure, 'shoo, horse, shoo'" while waving my hands in a shooing motion. I then tell folk that the 2 things I know about horses is that one end kicks and the other end bites. Like many smiths, I don't make many knives because I don't greatly enjoy the bench work of grinding, polishing, and making hilts and scabbards. I'd rather be hitting hot metal. That said, I am lusting after a 2"x72" belt grinder. My old 1"x42" just doesn't do it any more. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  11. I have a Canedy-Otto blower that is the oil bath type. I discovered that even when tightly reassembled it leaks. Even though I have dirt floored shop I don't want oily dirt. So, I just set a jar directly under the blower and when it accumulates a reasonable amount I pour it back in. (sort of like the Soldier in White in Catch 22). I haven't kicked it over yet. I haven't wanted to tear the blower down again to put some sort of gasket between the halves of the casing. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  12. I figure that dressing is like being a chameleon, you dress for whatever is appropriate for the place, group, and occasion. If it is a formal, fancy occasion you wear appropriate formal clothes, e.g. church, wedding, funeral, business meeting, court, etc.. If it is more casual, like a blacksmith group meeting, you wear appropriate shop clothes. To do otherwise is disrespecting the people who have dressed for the occasion. If you wear a business suit to a beach party or cut offs and a rude tee shirt to a wedding or funeral you are getting in the face of the other people there and saying something like, "I don't like conforming to the group and I think of you as sheeple for dressing the way you do." It's kind of passive-aggressive. I've known guys who take a perverse pride in not owning a tie or even a sports jacket. That, in its own way, is more conformist than wearing a business suit to the office every day because it locks you in to a certain way of dressing without a way to change even when it is appropriate to dress in a different way. Dressing appropriately may not help you in say, a job interview or at court, but dressing inappropriately can hurt you. I used to tell witnesses to dress for court like they were going to church or a job interview. Then, I realized that many people don't go to church and have no idea what dressing for church means and their job interviews have been in jeans and a tee shirt. For young women, I learned that "dressing nice" can mean looking like they are going out clubbing and that can mean WAY too much skin or cleavage for court. I learned to keep a tie and a jacket (M-L size) at the office and a nice scarf can be used to cover excessive exposed skin. All that said, one of the things I liked the least about being an attorney was having to wear a tie every day to work. I had had too many years where as a geologist my work clothes were jeans and a flannel shirt. Now, about the only place I wear a tie is to church (pre-covid). I have noticed an odd social dynamic that if I am wearing a tie/jacket I get more respect and am more tended to be called "sir" than if I am in grubby work clothes. Several times when I was in a hospital with my late wife I got mistaken for a doctor because I was wearing a tie after work. So, the advice for Uncle George is to dress up or dress down as is appropriate. It helps you fit in and blend in. Unless you specifically want to stand out. Then, let your freak flag fly. GNM "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  13. I'd probably run off anyone who was mean to an animal which wasn't being aggressive. I wouldn't need them as a customer, friend, or acquaintance. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  14. I try to balance not being a jerk and refusing all requests for help, including loaning things and giving money to panhandlers, and being a patsy and being taken advantage of. Sometimes I have been conned or not been treated well but I figure that happens on occasion. I also figure that sooner or later karma will get anyone who treats me worse than I would want. There are only a few folk that I would loan my best tools to. Most of them would be like Thomas' friends and replace it if they broke or damaged it. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  15. I got a similar one from a place claiming to be the El Paso County CO (Colorado Springs, CO) Sheriff's Office and when I asked the name of the Sheriff and they couldn't give it to me. I had been recently employed by the El Paso County Attorney's Office and worked regularly with the Sheriff's Office. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  16. Thomas: I would speculate that the high priced RR spike hammers are going to the collectors of railroadiana. I've got one marked D&RGW (Denver and Rio Grande Western) that probably has decent collector value. I wouldn't recommend modifying any of them that are marked for a particular railroad line. The unmarked ones are better to modify. For replacing the wooden handle with a steel base do you treat like a big rivet and make it a bit longer than the depth of the hole through the hammer head and then forge it down into the handle hole and file or grind off anything proud? I recall seeing these when we were set up near each other at Battlemoor (an SCA/medieval re-enactment event for you mundane folk) about 6 years ago but I don't recall looking closely at the construction details. Thx. GNM
  17. A year so so I was in contact with a scammer who had been advertising a travel trailer on Crxxxxlist. She was supposedly a soldier in the DC area who was being deployed overseas and had to sell her travel trailer. She didn't realize that some of the military things she was saying didn't ring true. When I asked her what unit she was assigned to and who her commanding officer is and that I had a friend in the DC area who could come by and check out the trailer she dropped off the radar PDQ. I did report the scam listing to Crxxxxlist. I really do wish that you could send something bad to the scammers. I guess I'll have to rely on karma. I do enjoy the videos of porch pirates getting caught by glitter bombs. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  18. I usually don't answer calls from numbers I don't recognize and particularly unfamiliar area codes but if one does get through and it is a live person I usually tell them that their mother must be so proud of their career choices. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  19. USAN, yes, it was directed to you. My experience is that you cannot get a perfectly flat blade by forging. You can get fairly close, particularly if you use a flatter but if you want a smooth surface on a blade you will need to file or grind. If nothing else, to remove the scale. Maybe better bladesmiths than I can do better but I have never made a knife that didn't need abrasive treatment in some way. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  20. Actually, I'd say that's a pretty good finish for pre-grinding. The only thing that I'd do differently is to bring the tip of the handle back on itself to form a blunt end. That would be the 1st thing I did to the handle after drawing it out. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  21. Purp, that's kind of an odd blade shape. Is there a functional purpose or is it just the coolness factor? Is the front "end" sharpened? "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  22. Maybe we should start a pool on whether the Coop will show up at Thomas' this week and how long they will take to do the job. I predict that they will show up Friday afternoon, dig the trench across his driveways and then disappear not to be seen again for an indefinite period of time. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  23. Another thing to do, if it is available at an acceptable cost, is to start out burning coke rather than green coal. I started doing that years ago to minimize smoke and smell to be considerate of the neighbors. Even though I am now in a semi-rural area I still use coke. It does take different fire management, e.g., you have to keep at least some air to it or it goes out. You can leave it long enough to go into the house to answer a call of nature or get a cold drink but that is about all. And if you are doing bench work you have to turn around every minute or two and give the blower a couple turns. If you are using an electric blower and you can set it low you are good but a hand crank blower takes attention. It does give a much cleaner fire though. You still get clinkers because the coking process does not drive off the non-volatiles like silica. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  24. The amount of orange and yellow flames suggests to me that you may be burning green coal rather than the coke which should be produced around the edge of the fire and then raked into the center to burn. Coke does not produce such enthusiastic flames, even when there is a good blast of air going to the fire. You can apply a bit of water around the edge of the fire (many folk use a sprinkler made of a can with holes in the bottom and with a handle attached) to keep the coking area darkened down. Combustion outside the area actually heating the metal is just wasted fuel. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  25. Jennifer: You always make it look so easy. We mere mortals struggle much more. I wish I could have been there but Johnstown is about 1500 driving miles and 2 hard days behind the wheel. Not to mention Covid. "Look on in awe, mortals. A demi-god is at work." "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
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