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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by DHarris

  1. Did anyone ever post pics of their tries at this? I believe I will give making a bracelet for my daughter another shot. When I do I will post it here. It was just a flattened length of copper ground wire. I put all four of her cats’ names on it in runes. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I took nail sets, small chisels, and punches and reshaped the ends using a file and an angle grinder. Somewhat similar to yours, but just different enough to make them fairly useless. It was just a couple of months ago. I wish I had gone into this section and read your posts before I wasted all my time trying to work everything out on my own. Thanks for posting this. I can see now why I failed. I can’t wait to give it another go. Loki, Missy, Grey, and Rooh are their names by the way.
  2. It looks a bit like Jello and makes me think of my grandmother’s Formica table and kitchen countertops for some reason. It needs nickel silver bolsters I think. I like the layered micarta and wood scales better.
  3. Cool thread. I have been wanting to try making micarta for a long time but never knew how to even begin. And in G rated terms, can you say what the naughty bit is?
  4. Those trees are horrible. Not so bad when large You can prune them up and they will make serviceable shade trees, but unless kept under control they spread like mad and will outcompete other trees. They also burn way too easily when small. When I was a kid they weren’t nearly the problem they are now. You would see cows on farms. People commonly did controlled burns every few years. Now the cows are mostly gone and the land sits idle. Much of it sold to developers a decade or more ago, the land within the Greater OKC Metro area anyway. With the land idle and controlled burns rarer now, there is nothing to keep them in check. I don’t make knives, but considered taking a couple of logs from many of those downed by the storms this past Spring and cutting them up on my bandsaw to use as scales for bottle openers and such. After seeing how yours turned out, I wish I had. Beautiful wood. I would be interested in learning how yours holds up over time. I almost forgot to mention the worst part about these “weeds”. If you have allergies they will make you want to leave the State when they are releasing pollen.
  5. The true cost of buying the first one would be hard to calculate. Oklahoma doesn’t require alimony, but they do child support. Plus unlike many men, I really would miss my wife if she were gone. :-) i will track what I spend. I expect it will be very close unless I add the cost of the fuel I would have spent driving to Arkansas to pick it up. One benefit of doing the repair is the experience. Having succeeded or failed with an anvil no one cares about, I will feel a little more confident attempting repairs to my Dad’s anvil. He got it from his maternal grandfather who was a working blacksmith in Graham, Oklahoma. It is in very bad shape. Much of the plate is gone from the plate. The only flat spot on it is the table. The Hardy hole area is still there, but the Pritchel part of the heel was broken off long before I was born. If Dad agrees, I will probably find a professional to do the skilled work and I will just do the cleanup.
  6. I know nothing of the other people or how they went about welding the edges. My son-in-law, on the other hand is a known for me, as will be the process he follows. As for selling it when a perfect anvil presents itself, no. I want a larger one as a primary anvil, but will keep this one because I can easily transport it. But if I were to sell after repairing it, I wouldn’t let it go dirt cheap. As long as we follow the proper steps, the anvil should be almost as good as when new. Thanks for the info. One of the two different anvils the SCABA is considering selling has turning cams. I have one of their swage blocks and like it a lot. Assuming the anvils are also priced well, I will likely buy one of the 75 lb models to use in my garage. it does have making on the side facing you when the horn is to your right, but it is almost all gone now. I will try a pencil rubbing or maybe chalk dust to see if I can get it a little more legible for a photo. There is still enough left the I can make out part of Armitage, what appears to be an image of a mouse followed by the word HOLE. At the bottom I can see the 0 and 3 pretty well, but the third part of the weight number I can’t. It is either an 8 or 14. If an 8 the anvil weighs 92 lbs and if 14 it weighs 98, if I am calculating the English system correctly. I can’t actually weigh it because we are one of the few homes in the USA without a set of scales in the bathroom. I got it mounted today. I didn’t forge anything. All I did was make a hair thing for my wife from 4 gauge copper ground wire. I will try to make a steak turner tomorrow evening. It was very loud until I got it chained down to the stump. Now it is too quiet, but perhaps that was just because I was striking copper and not steel.
  7. Never knew those were called C-girders. We call them channel iron here in Oklahoma. They are used to make utility trailers and truck beds. This is what I used as an anvil from the time I started about a year and a half ago till tomorrow when I will mount the anvil I purchased a few days ago to the stump in the photo. It looks like a piece of railroad track, but isn’t. The recycling yard here in Purcell where I picked it up said it was part of a bridge being torn down. They had a metal bin full of them. I only had to pay scrap steel price for it. Meaning it cost me just $10 or so. I believe the actual scrap price for it would really have been about $5, but I wasn’t in the mood to quibble over $5 when I knew I would likely want to come back again, because Nemo let me walk around the yard. The larger places I tried in OKC would not. That chunk of whatever it is really works fine for the piddling around I do. The only real problem I had with it was it had no horn or Hardy and Pritchel holes. When I needed a horn I either used a trailer axle, spindle on the end of the axel, or which ever size of random bits of drill pipe I have scavenged. For Hardy tools my plan was to just mount them in a stump. Those are available free at the City of Purcell’s recycling center. When one of the City’s work crews removes a tree, they dump any sizable sections to the side at the center for anyone to pick up and take home. I was just about to try forging the first stump tool when I found the Mousehole I bought. I had chopped the pointy end off of a bale spike and bent it 90 degrees to make up for the bridge piece not having a horn, but hadn’t actually finished carving a hole in a stump to drive it down into. I may or may not do that at some future time. The bale spike wasn’t easy to bend. It is a little over two inches thick at the point where I chopped it off. Had I to do over again I would probably have made the bend BEFORE cutting it to length. I think the bend may have been easier. If nothing else I would have had more material to hold onto. TL;DR: Necessity is the Mother of Invention. You don’t need an actual anvil to do this. Just continue to improvise as you have done.
  8. Well that one fell through. I made the mistake of telling She Who Must Be Obeyed that I was going to Arkansas to pick up an anvil. Since I prefer to not cook my own food, wash and iron my clothes, and certain other things, I obeyed. The anvil I actually ended up with is much more beat up than that one, but being 92lbs is probably better for me now anyway. I sometimes need to load up for demos. Not to show off my awesome smithing skills. I do it primarily because it lets me forge all day without worrying about the noise, and to show people that, yes people still do this AND it doesn’t cost nearly as much to start as you think. I think it may be a farrier’s anvil, because the waist is narrower and the heel is thinner than they are on most other Mouseholes I have seen. The face still has most of the plate left and is reasonably flat. Less than 1/16th of an inch light visible under a straightedge. A half inch ball bearing bounces 9 inches when dropped on any place the face is left. Someone in the distant plast welded the edges. Not a good job but it has not hurt anything as far as I can tell. Since it is a rather common anvil and not one I spent a lot of money on, $2.60/lb, I think I should be able to repair it for less than I could buy a comparable Mousehole in perfect condition, especially here in Oklahoma where almost any decent anvil appears to be selling in the $4.50 - $6.00 per pound range. There is plenty of info here on how to do it. My son-in-law is a welder, that coupled with the instructions should make it possible.
  9. I take it from it being said the handles break a lot, your hands or wrist bones would be breaking a lot if you used a punch without a handle or tongs designed to hold them?
  10. So if you don’t wedge them, do you make the handle taper from thin to thick as it gets closer to the tool? Much like you see with pickaxes or tomahawks?
  11. Which did you choose, and how did it go?
  12. This is an old topic, but why would this be better than just using vinegar? Vinegar is less expensive and appears to work OK.
  13. Bought it. $400 + a steak turner/bottle opener in trade. Now I have to make the 4 1/2 hour trip to BFE to pick it up.
  14. I let a very clean (except for the bird poop) 154# Sodefors @ $750 pass me by at the Sulphur, Oklahoma Tractor Show a month or so ago. I let a decently repaired 130ish# Arm and Hammer anvil pass me by last month. It had two Pritchel holes which threw me. That coupled with the welded and reworked edges. $500. Peter Wright. Unknown weight (described as all you can carry) $400. It was just 40 miles away, but someone had welded chain links to the base. So I passed. Properly priced anvils in the Central Oklahoma area seem to be rare now. Any one of the above anvils would have been acceptable. I suppose I am like my dad in a way. He can spend two or three years looking for a new truck.
  15. I found this for sale. 120#. Asking price is $450. I’m a little concerned about the edges which appear to have been welded. I think I can make out traces of welding in the Hardy hole. It is 4 hours away from me. How risky would you say this is? I like the Mouse Hole anvils. They all look thick and stout. What do you think. Take a day trip to Arkansas and see the sights along the way to look at an anvil that is likely a dud? Maybe even pick up some other anvil or tools along the way. Central Oklahoma has a few anvils to be found but all see to be at full inflated Forged in Fire and Game of Thrones prices.
  16. I was a little worried about what I would find when I finally managed to get the ‘thing’ off. I thought the bottom of the leg may have rusted completely and I might need to put it back in, so I was careful not to break it. SOtherwise I would have just cut it off. Now I am stuck with some floor mounting thing that I seriously doubt I will ever find a use for sitting around taking up space. Can’t toss it because even though the day I find I need it will never ever come, I gotta keep it.....I am not a hoarder, but I think I may be a carrier of the gene. This is the end of the leg. A lot of rust, but I don’t think it is too deep to save. The rust looks odd. Is it wrought iron.
  17. I believe you are right Stevomiller.
  18. Isn’t the spring missing?
  19. The can-like thing, I assume it is to set the vise in a concrete floor. I tried double-tapping to edit the size of the photo. That option did not appear. How do I reduce the pixel count? It took quite a bit of work with a chisel and punch, but I finally got it off. I had Googled and looked at thousands of leg vise images and could find nothing on that “can-like” thing. The vise was too tall with it on and too short if I set the can into the floor. Sorry about the size.
  20. Nice looking knife. Be sure your wife understands those scales will swell and split if she tosses it in the dishwasher.
  21. There are a number of YouTube videos which explain how to restore what appear to be totally dead tools. Some use electrolysis while others use vinegar or extended soaks in kerosene. One guy even used ice on a drill. Heat I had known about, but ice I had not. Should you open it up and find the screw shaft and box are stripped, there is even a video of a guy who replaced the screw shaft and box with a threaded rod and coupling, but he had access to a machine shop. If that were to be the case for me, I would just have to accept that I had a very cool piece for the garden. The only real problem I have ever had with getting a rusted shut tool to work again has been rust which has gone too deep. But usually that isn’t the case. It does require quite a lot of patience though.
  22. So I have learned. I thought all that was over when I quit golfing, but they seem about the same in that aspect. Just as there is always yet another new putter or driver that will “fix” your swing or stroke, there seems to be always another this or that tool which will magically make my forgings cleaner. Bradley. I grew up in Rush Springs, so I’ve been through there many times. Not often now though. I normally take the other road and pass through Dibble and Chickasha when visiting my parents since they opened the road up leading into Chickasha. It seems faster. I sometimes go to the SW region’s SCABA meetings. Perhaps I will see you at one. I had been looking forward to my first SCABA conference last weekend, but life happened instead as it sometimes does. Off topic, but I assume I am allowed to hijack my own thread? I don’t know how to upload photos yet, but I just finished wire brushing my post vise I spoke of above. I was wrong. Some of the original paint is still there. I first noticed it on the leg and thought it just looked like paint. But when cleaning off the U-shaped bracket that holds the vise to the mounting plate, I found what is unmistakably paint. It look a heck of a lot like OD Green. Could it have been an Army vise?
  23. RAs the title says, I am a hobbyist and live in Purcell. I have a wife, three daughters, only one of my girls is still school age. The one still at home has 5 cats, meaning I have 5 cats. TL;DR version: I am a blacksmithing newb from Oklahoma. I work in a clinical lab. I don’t have a lot of equipment, but that really doesn’t seem to matter much. My interest is primarily ornamental and architectural iron working. The Great Wall of Text version: I work in a clinical lab, primarily inventory control, cost accounting, process improvement, negotiating contracts with vendors and clinics, and other business related aspects of the lab. It has been well over a decade since I have actually performed testing of specimens. I am a complete newb where blacksmithing is concerned. I have watched a lot of videos and read quite bit online, both here and other sites. So I know a lot about it, but haven’t progressed past the drive and S hooks, leaf, cross, and steak turner stage in actual practice. I don’t have much in the way of equipment. I use a brake drum forge which was fabricated by a friend. It is pretty cool. It only cost $35. That was for the steel plate he used for the top, and most of that was to pay to have a circle cut for the drum to fit in. The rest was just bed frames, oilfield pipe and other bits from his junk pile. For a blower, I have gone through three or four of my wife’s hair dryers. My anvil likes like something like a piece of rail from the railroad, but the salvage guy said it isn’t. He said it came from a bridge. I have it mounted to a stump I picked up at the city’s recycling center. It works well considering what it is, but with no horn, hardie, or pritchel holes, I will be buying one eventually. SCABA may have anvils for sale soon, just as they do cone mandrels and swage blocks. I have a Champion #40 blower and a post vise. Both weirdly have been usable as they were but I chose to wait until I cleaned the rust and red clay off both and replaced them with BLO. I am about ready to put the vise back together. The blower will take a little more time. I am debating painting it. I have heard these blowers were at one time painted red, but I am unsure of this. None of the original paint is left. Just rust, oil and dirt. In the end I will likely just go with BLO. I have seen some shine them up with flap disks, but I am not planning to do that. Perhaps if I paint the blower, but certainly not the vise. I like the black look you get after using a wire wheel on rusted iron. And with a BLO finish you can still feel the iron. It is just as good with iron and steel as it is with wood. I suppose that is more than enough about me for now. Thanks for all the very good information you guys have contributed to this site.
  24. I like the one on the left. To me framing hammers should have a waffle face, but only because my dad’s did. No other reason. You did a good job with the waffling. It doesn’t appear milled, yet the lines are straight and essentially evenly spaced. I prefer the shape of the handle of the one on the right. I don’t particularly like handles which bulges in the middle. The one on the left seems to have a bulge, whereas the one on the right appears to have be evenly tapered, growin wider as it gets closer to the butt of the handle. Like others, I don’t care for burning a handle. Supposedly you can harden a handle by burning, but here I think you have done it strictly for appearance. Rather than burning the handle, have you consider trying something like ferric nitrate or Auqua Fortis reagent to make the grain and any figuring in the wood more prominent? The effect will not be as dramatic as it would be with a highly figured wood like curly maple, but it does look good nonetheless. It gives the wood a nice rich yellowish color as if it were an old, well cared for handle. The stuff is fairly nasty though. It is safer to purchase the commercial reagent, but you can make it yourself. If you ever decide to try it, follow all the recommended safety precautions as if your life depended on it, because it does. There are videos on YouTube about how to use it. Lastly, I prefer handles to be finished flush to the top of the hammer. Leaving them proud to me makes them appear unfinished, but as will every single one of my other comments is simply my own personal preference. I believe your hammers appear to be very well made and I only wish I could forge half as well. BTW, from what I have read from other posts of his, my saying Frosty is right is likely redundant, but I believe he is right. A roofing hatchet would be more marketable than a framing hatchet, although even they are being replaced more and more these days with nail guns. And having worked as a roofer’s helper in Jacksonville the Summer after I got out of the Army, I can tell you all those I have ever met are stupid free with their money. (No offense intended to any roofers in the forum.) All that Summer long we worked hard from morning till dusk every day the chance of rain was less than 20%. And every night we were in the clubs until long after we should have been in bed asleep. Edited to add: Jeez I sure laid down a wall of text there.
  25. Takes you a couple minutes. On my phone, quite a bit longer. :-) And with people in over 150 countries potentially reading what what I post, I think I will be a bit more careful about what I say.
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