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I Forge Iron

Ted Ewert

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    Mill Valley, CA
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    Building stuff

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  1. Neil has a point. Smaller stock will work for tongs. The problem comes with over forging the different elements, which is common when you first start making tongs. I have a number of sets which fall into this category. They're perfectly usable, but only for light work on the anvil. If you plan on getting a power hammer down the road, you'll be glad for some sturdier tongs. I have a couple of Ken's box jaw tongs. They're very sturdy and easy to make. A good choice if you're getting started or plain don't want to make some from scratch. They also make a good reference for building your own.
  2. Made a towel rack today. Used 3/8" rod for the twisted part and found it's not easy to get an even twist over that length (16").
  3. 3/4" square stock is perfect for tongs, especially starting out making them. It provides that extra material to correct minor mistakes and still have enough left. I rarely forge material bigger than 3/4" anyway, so most of my tongs are on the smaller side. Never tried vice grips.
  4. Crystal oscillators worked best back then with grounded vacuum tubes.
  5. A good shape might be something like a charcoal briquette. A briquette shape is probably designed with many of the same considerations. I don't know, there are so many different flavors of ceramics available it's hard to tell which one would work best. Even with the right chips, an open top wastes a lot of heat. I would redesign the whole thing. The more I think about it, the less merit I find with the whole concept. The complexity doesn't really buy anything extra. Nevertheless, I think embedding ceramic balls in the floor of my forge would allow hot gasses to more easily pass under the work, heating it faster and more evenly. As it is now, I try and suspend my piece about 1/4" above the deck. Since the gas flow is circular, and hugging the contour of the sides, it hits the work from the left. Little balls would allow me to lay the piece down and still get some flow underneath. No big deal, but more convenient.
  6. The stuff I was looking at is hard ceramic material. Much harder than anything you'd stick in it. Kast o lite is nowhere near hard enough IMHO, unless you're thinking of something else. I'm still not sure if it would be worth it to build one. I'll have to do some more research.
  7. A ball pit with this stuff would have about the same give as a brick patio.
  8. Thanks Mikey. I did do a quick search and saw those forges. I'd love to see how they're built. I don't think it would be difficult to build one of those. Has anyone here built one? The ceramic chips or balls might be difficult to find in small quantities. You can find lots of that stuff online, but it's mostly sold in bulk with a 1 ton minimum. It all comes out of China. The rest of it is just a container lined with refractive material, a burner, a grate and lots of chips. They probably use a peizo sparker to light it. Might be a fun build.
  9. Houjous, I live out on the left coast, but I found a local steel supplier using Google. Read the reviews on Yelp if you can. It gives you a general idea of who and what you're dealing with. Some places aren't friendly to walk-ins. The steel comes in 20' sections. Some places will charge you to cut it, others tell you you're on your own. If you own a pick-up with a rack you don't have to worry about it. I don't. I found a decent supplier run by a Chinese family. Very friendly and helpful. They even provide a chop saw out front to cut your steel down if needed. Every place is different.
  10. Thanks Thomas, I see it's been preinvented. Dang, I hate it when that happens. I guess this thread is a mute point then.
  11. I was thinking about a coal forge and how the work is often buried in the coal to heat it up. It was the surrounding steel with hot material part that struck my interest. Here's a different concept. A coal forge with a ribbon burner in the bottom and covered over with alumina, (or some type of refractory ceramic) balls. Think of a decorative fire pit on steroids. Refractory balls are often used in furnaces to retain heat. I was wondering if sticking a piece of steel into a pile of these heated balls would be an advantageous way to heat it up. Wadda you guys think?
  12. Frosty, I was going to comment on your post but now I can't remember what it was.
  13. Hi Pat I like the clear enamel better than the clear paint, but both work for me. The enamel dries faster and is a harder finish. I use whatever brand is at the hardware store. I spend a fair amount of time on the finish. I first get all the scale off with the big wire wheel, and then the nooks with a small wire wheel on the die grinder. Next is the flapper wheel on my hand grinder, followed by a small flapper wheel on the die grinder. You can get a nice smooth finish with the little wheel. Both are 80 grit. Then I run it through the large wire wheel again to even up the texture. Once that's all done, I clean it with a solvent before applying the clear coat. The clear coat will tend to darken the steel somewhat, depending on how well it's been cleaned. Any residual scale will turn dark. Hope that helps.
  14. Great looking hammer! I like the acid wash look.
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