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About fangedknight

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    Berks County, PA
  • Interests
    Farming, Crafting, Animals, Video Games,

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  1. Hey all, So I've finally decided it's time for me to build my first forge. I only have a couple issues. Firstly, I'm broke so I'll be scavenging what I can from around the house. Second (Which is more of a challenge not an issue) is that I'm going to be using our old propane grill. It's an old Weber from back when I was a kid so this thing is at least 10-15 years old I think. (It's hard to remember when we got it but I know it was way pre-2010). I currently know nothing about propane forges yet so here I am getting ready to turn this thing into a solid fuel forge. I'll be able to get pictures in the morning as it's almost 8 pm where I'm at now. However I figured I'd start asking my questions now. (Some of these might seem fairly obvious but my dad always said the only stupid question is the one you don't ask, and I wanna make sure I get this right the first time). I still have to examine the grill to make sure it's not rusted out or anything weird that I can't handle, I'm not entirely sure what to look for but as long as there's no huge holes in it I should be fine, I think. Question #1: How big should I make my fire pot? I've been looking over some of the threads and I keep hearing 4" x 8" getting thrown around. For now I'll be making more simple things like hooks, leaf keychains, etc. (Not planning on doing any blade smithing anytime soon). And I'm wondering if that'll be a good size or if I should go with something a little bigger? Or a little smaller? Question #2: I'm planning on using a dirt/clay/sand mix (since my back yard is nothing but clay, thank you Pennsylvania!), from some of the build pictures I've seen it looks like the fire pot is made out of the clay mix that you fill in the "box" part with. I'm only going to be using charcoal, but I'm still wondering if it's okay to have it be a solid bottom fire pot/no clinker breaker (I still haven't learned very much about clinker breakers, however, from what I do know it's more of an issue when forging with coal instead of charcoal. I don't think I need one, but I figure asking is better than not). Question #3: Since this grill originally ran on propane tanks (and i'm obviously going to take off the tank before I convert this to a forge). Is it okay to leave the connection line, where you would hook in the propane tank, alone and simply plug it with something or keep the valve off? Or do I need to disconnect it entirely for this to work? Again, never really screwed around with any kind of project like this, and the only time I used the grill was for cooking so I'm not entirely sure how the connection line works in the way of how you get the propane from the tank to the grill in a normal grill situation. (The good news is, I'm the only one that's going to touch this thing so I wouldn't be stupid enough to try and hook a propane tank up to it after the fact). Question #4: What kind of pipe should I use for the side blast? I'm going to be using a hairdryer since I don't have a nice pair of bellows lying around (unfortunately). Do I need to get it in a certain material type? Or will just a plain old steel pipe work? (I already know about how dangerous galvanized steel is, and I was going to avoid that with a ten foot pole because I'm only 24 I don't want to die from zinc poisoning thank you much.) I figured a tin can or something of the like should be okay for a connect between the hairdryer and the pipe since I saw someone do that before, but if there's something I need to avoid when figuring that part out too, please let me know. I think that's all the questions to start with. Tomorrow I'll get outside and look over that grill and see what I can do with it. Hopefully everything goes well. I literally have everything I need except for a pipe I know for a fact isn't galvanized (There's a couple questionable ones running around but I don't want to chance it). If this works however, you could even say this build is a JAGOD instead of a JABOD!
  2. forgedinfire 123 - Good to know there's someone not too far from me! Just a quick update for everyone, I haven't had much luck trying to get everything fixed up. My angle grinder ran off on me, but I think I understand the concept of dressing hammers now. And I do understand how to fix up the punch (I just need to make sure it's the right size for the hooks I need to make, if not I'll be making another one). Still gotta find tongs though, I've been having no luck with that at all. For the tools I know I'll need to make it'll be a punch plate, any new punches I need, and a twisting wrench. I've got another event at the Homestead on Saturday the 27th so I'll be there with another "new" blacksmith (He knows what he's doing, he's just new to some of us at the Homestead). Hopefully everything goes well, worst case scenario I'll be there attempting to know what I'm talking about and throwing candy at the small children from behind my fence.
  3. Frank actually was talking about that when he was telling me about the blowback. He said it's not as much as a concern with charcoal, since it happens a lot more with coal, but I'd rather be safe than sorry and be prepared just in case. Because I know our bellows have been blown out before and we only use charcoal on them due to historical demonstrations.
  4. Just saw this and wanted to check in and see if you ever got this done. The funny thing is, this is actually the blacksmith shop that I started my apprenticeship at/volunteer at. (And it's my profile picture). If you did finish it/ever get it done please be sure to show it off to the Daniel Boone Homestead, they would love to see it.
  5. YUP! That's why Frank was saying later that day that if it's going to be so much of a pain to fix it then to put it in a museum and get a reproduction to use for the forge. Honestly when I build my forge I really want to have bellows if I can fit them in because I'm loving how they work. (Just still recovering from working them extra hard!) I also definitely want to go to Rough and Tumble sometime, I heard Frank talking about it all day! We even had a couple guys from Rough and Tumble show up. = Glenn, thanks for letting me know about the crank blowers too, I didn't realize it could happen with them.
  6. How big?! What! I don't even think I could lift something that big yet. How do you even use something that huge? And yes, Lou! The smaller hammer does have a radius on it, I was planning on using that one for my go too hammer. (I had completely forgotten the term cross-peen whoops!) I'll definitely go looking for that information so I can get them ready to work. I'm assuming the engraving chisel is the "small cuts" one? And yes, I figured the punch was almost good. I'm guessing the tiny lip around the top just needs to be ground off and of course clean it up to sharpen it a bit. Papy, I might set it aside, I'm not sure yet. The smaller hammer is going to be my main hammer so I guess if I need to sell the bigger one at some point I might.
  7. that's a good one Frosty! I'm an anthropology major specializing in Physical Anthropology so skeletons are my thing. I also go to Kutztown University (I'm just on a break now) The forge is side blast, and is definitely charcoal from all I've been told.
  8. So now that I've started on my blacksmithing journey I want to try and collect together as many tools as I can from what I have at my house. My dad did a lot of different trades before I came along so I have a ton of his old tools lying all over the place. A lot of those are stone hammers, heavy hammers, etc. I highly doubt I'm gonna find any kind of tongs but I might get lucky. Literally my dad did everything from stone masonry, to welding, to working with muzzle loaders as a hobby. So I literally have a whole garage to sort through! I'm gonna need some help figuring out what hammers/tools will work well, won't work well, or what'll be fine once I clean it up. There'll be lots of pictures to help with that process though. Okay here come the pictures of the stuff I found so far (the garage is a hot mess and is doubling as a small animal barn right now because I don't have a barn. Thankfully it's just rabbits, however stuff has gotten moved around and it's a mess). First hammer I found is a flat headed monster, thankfully not too heavy so I should still be able to work with it, just not sure what I'd do with it. Next hammer I found is a bit smaller so a little more manageable, it's a round headed hammer like the one I was working with yesterday so I'm definitely more comfortable with this. Just need to figure out how to clean these guys up. Here's a pair of vice grips (always handy), a ball peen hammer, and some assorted files. There's files literally everywhere of every shape and size I'm just not sure about the one with the handle but I'm sure I can use it for something. Here comes the fun part. Technically you could probably call these things chisels, I'm just not sure what the correct terminology is for blacksmithing uses. I've heard Alec Steele call things similar to these as fullers before, but again, not sure if I'd be using the term properly. Unintentional scale with butter dish and water bottle cap. As you can see I have some huge ones and some small ones. This one looks like it could be used as a punch, I just might have to tinker with it a bit. This one has some interesting shape to it but I'm sure it's just another small cut chisel/fuller/something And of course I managed to hunt down my father's favorite metal working "chisel" he actually made this one in a shop class of some sort when he was younger (now given my father was known to exaggerate quite a bit so I'm not so sure if this is completely correct or not) and he said they were learning how to temper things and that he had tempered this "chisel" 7 times. He also showed me that it rings like a crisp bell when dropped onto the head of a hammer (not too hard of course). I'm sure he was showing off since I was younger at the time but it's still a nice tool that I want to make sure I use for something. As usual any advice on cleaning up some of this stuff or ideas for uses or what it could be would be great! I think I know where I want to put my forge once I start building it, alas it's not going to be a permanent fixture since my S.O. and I are planning on moving out to our own place in the next year or so if we can do it. However! I can always start small with what I got and that's fine with me. In fact I might have a lead on a railroad tie for a first anvil! I haven't tried sniffing one out though, that'll be later. Also once I find more potentially useful tools I'll pull them out and take pictures and hopefully we'll be able to figure out what I can do with these things!
  9. ...I feel a little stupid now, I haven't used my public library in so long I forgot I had a library card to begin with! I'll see what I can find through there, knowing my luck it'll probably have to be a state loan. Although my college library might have something since they have a nice focus on history and anthropology (hence why I go there). Oof yeah French is a big no go for me, I'm still learning German and Spanish right now for the most part. Reading in another language is a little easier for me to wrap my head around, but French still makes no sense to me. I'll have to definitely do some digging when I can, see if maybe there's any articles on the research databases or things like that. For the moment I've just been spitting back out what I've heard from Frank as he talks about how they did things back then, but I'm always game to find out more. All this research sounds like just another crazy term paper! Except this time I'm not looking things up about dead people or primates.
  10. Ooo those are some nice resources thank you! I'll be sure to check them out. It might take me a while as I have a bit of trouble finishing books, but I'll do my best with these. I'm hoping that I found the right one for Moxon's, hopefully this one? Also when looking up Diderot's Encyclopedia I'm coming up with several different volumes, is there one in particular, or do they all contain useful smithing information? I'm not entirely sure whether or not this particular forge was originally built for charcoal or coal. What I do know is that it's not the original blacksmith's shop/forge at all. They had it moved/reconstructed from another historic site nearby I think? I'm a little hazy on the details when my master was talking about it to some folks, I was busy tending to my iron. But, I do know that when they excavated the site to check and see what was where, they found the footprint of the actual blacksmith shop and built this one directly on top of it to the best of the builder's abilities. (I just wish I could take a broom to the darn floor in there at some point because holy hand grenade of Antioch is it dusty and needs swept up. Which I know sounds silly since it's a forge but at the same time it could be a little neater... gah I'm too much like my father). That's actually a really great metaphor, I might need to steal that. Yeah, unfortunately our hands are pretty much tied when it comes to trying to get anything restored, fixed, or replaced at the homestead due to the fact that our lovely state doesn't want to pay for anything. A few years back they cut all funding to all historic sites, so there's only 2 state employees working there (the director and the groundskeeper) and everything else is volunteer run. To get anything done with any historic piece you have to have an expert write up an official report saying what needs doing and what all from last I checked. (Of course that was dealing with the old Barn Loom that finally got moved to the Landis Valley museum because it's in desperate need of better care and needs to be kept in a museum instead of in a barn). If we make enough fuss we might be able to get some headway with it... maybe? For now I'm just glad it's working, I just don't want it to have any more blow outs because it's literally being patched up with duct tape. Speaking of the bellows, just in case (god forbid) I ever get a blow back from the fire while I'm working, how do I handle that? I know most people don't work with bellows these days so I figure I'll ask now while I can. Frank said it's not like a grenade blowing up so I'm assuming there's not much/no shrapnel, but I'd rather be prepared than have it happen and panic.
  11. So I'm not entirely 100% sure exactly where the forge itself fits into the timeline. However, I know that the Boones built the Homestead around 1730, so I'm assuming we're starting there and working our way up till at least right before Revolutionary times. (Probably somewhere around 1750 ish?? Maybe later? I'm not sure). (We do have a lot of presentations on the French and Indian war and also the Revolutionary War) But usually when it comes to the craftsman side of things it's usually a broader range that we cover. Honestly, today Frank was yaking more about where we got our iron back then and about how it's a charcoal forge instead of coal, since they only had charcoal in our area. And of course when I was put on the spot to talk to people I was mainly just talking through what I was doing. How blacksmiths back then mostly did tools instead of blades (axes exceptions of course. I literally had like 4 kids thinking I was making a sword or a dagger out of a 6 inch piece of metal that wasn't even an inch thick...), and of course how the bellows work and why I'm working extra hard due to the fact that our bellows are semi busted.
  12. I keep forgetting about the fact that it's to keep up character, I've been there volunteering for so long it's pretty much everyday talk for me at this rate! Well thank goodness the confusion wasn't too much this time!
  13. Thanks Frosty! And yup makes perfect sense! Lol I had forgotten about the old time way of doing it! I'm using the term and we use it at the Homestead, since it's a historic site I can't live there (unfortunately) and my teacher is one of the main blacksmiths (if not the main) for Landis Valley. It's definitely not a formal class if that helps? (We technically have never had any offered at the Homestead). I just asked if I could apprentice to the blacksmith and they said sure and to show up for the event to get to work! I honestly wouldn't know about proper old fashioned apprenticeships, I'd like to think there are some out there somewhere here but I'm honestly not sure. My apologies if it's a bit confusing, I didn't exactly think about how loosely we use that term at the Homestead.
  14. Today was the fated first day of my blacksmithing apprenticeship at the Daniel Boone Homestead! And I would just like to take a yell from the rooftops about how much fun it was!! I expected to work my butt off today and I was not disappointed! My master/teacher (honestly not sure about the propper terms these days) said that for the first day of me tending a forge or hammering anything on an anvil I did a really good job. (And according to one of our other smiths at the Homestead, if he says you're doing good you're really doing good!) As for burns, nicks, and other injuries, thankfully just a few extremely minor burns and a bit of soot in my nose afterwards. If I counted correctly I burned myself at least 6 times. Once was when a piece of scale flew off my piece and landed right on my hand! Thankfully, I didn't drop what I was holding in my tongs. And the other one that left a mark was when I got my hand too close to the hood over the fire and sizzled myself a bit. Today I learned how to make simple wall hooks with a small scroll and a twist. I managed to get two of them done over the course of 6 hours, which I'm really proud of. Our forge is charcoal, 18th century style, and has an old historic and busted double chambered bellow. (There's literally duct tape all over it they need to really get it replaced and put the original in a museum.) So it took a bit longer/more work to get the fire going as much as I needed it too. Here come the pictures! Here's what our forge looks like! I really love the bricked forge so when I finally can build something like this it's going to happen. Our working anvil, in the 18th century they wouldn't have had an anvil in this style, but it works for what we need. Getting the fire going, alas it's commercial charcoal so it pops and sparks a lot but hey it works so I can't complain too much. I just don't appreciate the fact that my fire is trying to be the 4th of July in the end of September. And the two hooks I made today! First one on the left, second on the right. The second one is shorter because the scroll broke twice... Ugh. Thankfully Frank (my teacher) was able to help me fix it. Techniques in the project for anyone curious are: Temperature gaging/fire managing, Drawing out a taper, gently creating a scroll, dulling down sharp edges, creating a hook on the bick, 1/4" half faced blow, drawing out shoulders, upsetting, punching a hole, and finally twisting. (and obviously removing scale) These bad boys were finally warmed and sprayed with cooking spray to help keep them rust free and make them look a little nicer. I'm extremely happy with how these turned out, and my significant other has already stolen one... Guess I'll have to make more! EDIT: I forgot to mention that I did all of the work with only a hammer. Frank helped me correct a few things with needlenose pliars where necessary but besides that, it was hammer and eventually, twisting wrench.