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I Forge Iron


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    Apollo, PA, USA

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  1. Shelves and racks are coming, and I just put my dad's homemade desk in it with drawers and spot for a stool. Yes, the shop is clean, but it is new. I forged today and dirtied it up a bit. Also, I can still build larger things in the shop because there's double doors that open up to a flat ramp to the driveway. The major issue with building anything large is the small propane forge, but I have an outdoor coal forge and am planning on building a lean-to off the shop for that. Thanks for all the advice and tips. It's a work in progress, and will adapt to my needs as I go along. It's far better than the garage!
  2. This will be my final post in this thread regarding my wood shed conversion to blacksmith shop. Thanks for all the advice and things for me to think about. I found a good solution and it's working out great. My main question was about flooring options. I chose to cover the wood floor with 1/2" cement board, and covered that with a limestone mix of #2 down to dust, which allowed me to tamp it down to a hard pack while still not being too hard on my feet and knees. Power was brought into the shop this weekend, and now I have plenty of juice to light the shop, run the 16" attic exhaust fan and the auxiliary fan to keep me cool at the anvil, power the Ring security camera, and five outlets across two circuits for various power tools. I have plenty of room now, and a far safer setup than being in my garage. I have the CO alarm and fire extinguisher in the shop, too, all tested and current. I'm sure things will evolve with the shop as I start using it in full now, but this is a great start. The smithing "triangle" is perfect; I'm less than one of my strides away from the vise, forge, and anvil respectively. Needless to say, I'm stoked to start using it!
  3. That would’ve worked, too. I just didn’t think of it.
  4. Thanks Will-I-am, but I've been using the forge in my garage and it's never once set off the CO alarm. That being said, I've purchased a 16" shed exhaust fan that I'm mounting this weekend. It has auto and manual fan/temp control, so that will work great for ventilation, plus the open shed doors. I'm transferring the CO alarm out there. I also found a solution for the floor: cement board covered with a thick layer of packable limestone. We've decided to run power out to the shed, too, which will be key for lighting and security, among other things. Thanks for all the suggestions.
  5. I have considered doing that, but that would put my anvil and forge outside unsecured. I have a 260lb anvil on a large white oak round (weighs easily over 500lbs total), so it's not easily put back in the shed for safe keeping. I'd rather be able to lock everything up inside. We're running power out to the shed, so there will be security setup. I won't be keeping power tools inside the shop for that same reason. I'll just have to carry tools from the garage to the shop (about 20 yards away) when I need them. The lean-to may work when I get my coal forge going, but for now my portable propane should be inside the structure. I probably don't even need the floor totally covered, just where the anvil and forge will be. The rest of the shop floor can remain wood. I may just get pavestone slabs if I can find them cheap.
  6. Hey all, I have a 14x10 custom-built shed in our yard that I'm converting into a blacksmith shop. The problem is that it has a wooden floor. I'm researching options but not sure which way to go. I don't want to bring dirt inside because it might rot the floor out underneath. I was thinking of using cement board over thin mortar underneath, then covering with with some small gravel (yes, I know dropping stuff in gravel might mean losing it). I don't want to tear the floor up because then I might be staring at the ground, and I don't want to lay concrete in that situation. Just trying to convert a wooden shed floor into a usable blacksmith shop floor. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
  7. I’m not trying to harden and temper mild steel. The spring is not the part I’m talking about. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. The swages attaches to the mild steel spring are what I’m referring to that are 4350 steel. I know I can’t harden and temper mild steel. Thanks George. I’m not making the spring out of 4350, just the swages that are attached to it that will be hammered upon. Sorry if I gave the indication that the spring itself would be 4350. The spring is simple mild steel, which I know can’t be hardened or tempered. I will have to just experiment like you said, but I will likely go with a darker straw first, which should be tough to prevent deformation while being soft enough to prevent shattering. Thanks! A picture can help. The square swages are 4350; the bar spring is mild steel. Just need to harden and temper the pieces which will be hammered to create the pattern. I know to harden will be to take it to around 1500F and then oil quench. Then when still warm, temper to desired color. Will do it slowly to do a thorough harden rather than just surface harden (right?).
  8. I found some properties for the 43xx family of alloys that would seem to apply to 4350, too, but the tempering color for a spring swage is a bit of a mystery to me. Does anyone know generally what I want for a spring swage that will not be used under a power hammer? Do I want straw color, or a bit darker into bronze/purple? I want to minimize deformation while also minimizing brittleness, but not sure what I'm supposed to target for a tool like this. I've never made one before. The 4350 blocks (x2) are just an inch thick each, and about 1.5" long each. They are connected with a 3/8" mild steel bar that acts as the spring. I will be hammering on this to put texture into round bar accents, so nothing really major in terms of striking. Thank you for your kind advice.
  9. It’s done. Minor restoration complete. It leaks a little bit, but that’s typical. But it works much better than before. Thanks again, all.
  10. Thank you. I used my Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG using 120V power. Not a beefy welder but my first one and it worked well. Got penetration into the crack without deformation or melting.
  11. Awesome will do. I have some Lucas gear oil and will not use too much. Thanks a bunch!
  12. The 50/50 acetone, ATF, and Seafoam mixture really did a number on the sludge. It’s gone. Put it back together today and a couple of things of note: 1.) JB Weld didn’t hold the broken piece together, so I had to weld it. I welded it from the outside to keep bead away from the spinning blades inside. Worked great. Didn’t melt or warp it, and it’s holding solid. My welding skills are below noob level. Forgive the sloppy work. Learning as I go. 2.) I had to re-handle it, as you can see. I don’t have a lathe, so I had to improvise. I bought a wooden-handled paint roller, took the roller out of the handle, cut it to size, drilled the 5/16” hole all the way through, and bought a new 5/16”-18 6-inch long carriage bolt and washers for spacing. Works great and is larger than the original...and less cracked. 3.) I need to let the gearbox dry out before putting the top cover back on and adding oil/grease. Will likely let it dry for a couple of days to be sure. 4.) I added white lithium grease to the bolts to help prevent rusting and seizing. I hope that was ok? I researched it and it seems good for this application. Thanks for all your help and guidance. I doubt this blower will ever not leak oil because it’s not perfectly sealed around the fan shaft that runs through the gearbox. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I didn’t take it apart per your recommendations.
  13. Yes sir, I’m over it as well and thanks for the helpful advice. That goes for all of you. I will consider all of it and will post up when I’m finished. The week of soaking is probably the direction I’ll go, then I’ll try to determine the best way to weld that piece back on. I don’t have a torch, but definitely have access to one. I’ve used JB Weld a lot, and hadn’t considered that until now. Seriously, thanks for the forgiveness. I’ll do better the next time I’m feeling like a 2-year-old.
  14. Ok everyone, perhaps my response was a bit terse, but I already had it apart from the pictures, so the warning - while maybe beneficial to the world - I perceived as being a bit sarcastic. My bad. Honestly, sorry. I hate the Internet. It’s a necessary evil and it bothers me. I’m skeptical of people I don’t know, and when I ask for help I don’t particularly like perceived unhelpful replies. I didn’t take the gearbox apart. I actually listened to and heeded Thomas’ advice. The club guys said I could take it apart and reassemble, as there’s a ton of talent there, too. Are they wrong? Right? I don’t know. Did you see in the picture that a piece of the blower is cracked off (see picture attached), and that the gasket is totally gone? I didn’t do that. I need to weld the piece back on and re-gasket the case. Or not? Perhaps this one’s already toast and ready for the parts bin. It was in poor condition when I got it. No oil. Gears grinding. Very stiff and sluggish mechanism. Handle was taped due to a split down the middle and a bent carriage bolt was holding it on. Maybe this is how they all are? I have never once heard from anyone not to take it apart to clean/restore it. I’m trying to salvage what I can and I thought I could take the fan out to better clean the gearbox half of the case. If I can’t, ok, I’ll clean around it another way. I did listen. I didn’t stomp away mad. I apologize for my initial response to you, Thomas.
  15. It’s not functioning properly and is caked with oil and dirt so badly that...never mind. I come here for help and I get “why are you doing this?” Thanks anyway. I’ll take it to my local smith club and get help there.
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