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I Forge Iron

HondoWalker

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Albemarle, NC
  • Interests
    wood turning, blacksmithing, geology

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  1. A home made type. When I first decided I needed one I looked them up and saw where they were way beyond any kind of reason price wise. So when I got my El cheapo flux welder I got some angle iron and a 2 inch wide wheel from my sister. When my stimulus came in I bought 2, 2 inch wheels from Harbor Freight. I found a piece of 2x12 and lathed me a drive wheel for the 2 hp treadmill motor I had. I'm amazed it works. It is litterally the first thing I ever made with a welder. It has eaten a few belts so far but it works good enough for me. And it didn't cost any $2,000 either.
  2. I screwed up and ordered 150 grit for my belt sander. It does not really remove much steel at that grit. I spent almost 2 hours grinding on it. Next time I get to order some belts I will get 80 so I don't have to spend so long grinding. I have my hammers pretty well dressed. At this point it's more using an arm deadened and disobedient to strike the steel. My strokes took away most of my fine motor control. I still do it anyway because I've had to let my disabilities destroy enough of my life. If I stop doing challenging things I will have lost.
  3. It's a bit further along now. Bunch of sanding and polishing left to do.
  4. The steel was a coil spring. It was given to me so I don't know anything more about it. I quenched in used synthetic blend motor oil. My stepson fixes cars so I got a bunch of used motor oil. I probably did over heat it. I started using my rebuilt hair dryer but it was barely keeping the coal alight. I switched to the vacuum cleaner blower and even though the bleeder hole was open and it was barely blowing into the pipe it still got so hot I just sat the steel on top of the coal instead of down in it. Had to cover the forge because of the heat with an old grill lid. I was trying not to burn it but I sorta fade out during heats sometimes and the steel can get too hot. No deep marks this time. I got near to the shape I wanted and switched to my lighter hammer. No pics yet except for a before Pic.
  5. Last week a very kind and generous member here sent me some good steel. I forged a piece into a blade. I quenched it and tempered it into some very very hard steel. I tried not to quench the tang but it got hard anyway. Had to use a torch and heat it up enough to where I could drill a hole in it. It's still being worked on. But I noticed something and it's got me curious. On this blade it has cracks on the surface where I had to spread out the steel to make blade, This has happened several times before on other blades I made that got hard. Why does good steel do this? How do I prevent it?
  6. Here's the latest practice knife. Used a wider/thicker guard. Think it makes for a better knife. The wood is oak.
  7. I know there are better places to get steel. It just happens that the Dollar store and Tractor Supply are right next to each other and my wife had needed to go there. I had saved up enough money to be able to buy a cheap piece of steel and took the opportunity. I can't just go anywhere I want or need to. I don't have any money either. I don't get any disability money. She draws too much for me to get anything. That puts me at her mercy both financially and transportation. I'm lucky to get what little I get. It was nice when I was younger and made a fat wad of cash every week. I could play as hard as I worked and I didn't worry about much of anything. That was 7 strokes and 3 stents ago. I figured the steel wouldn't be good when I bought it. It was either buy it or do without. I'll go ahead and glue it up and polish it a little and chalk it up as another practice knife.
  8. So I bought a bar of 1/8 x 1.5 in x 48 in just to play with. Last time at the forge I put a point on a piece and later sawed out a tang. It's at the point where it needs quenched and tempered. I don't want to waste coal on a useless temper. The price tag had nothing but size information on it. What I'd like to know is this steel going to harden after a quench? I've already made 10 knives that aren't hard. I don't want to make any more soft knives. 4 hard out of 14 is a pretty poor record.
  9. Fired up the forge today in an attempt to make another knife. I could not get it done today. I spent 4 hours on it. My arm would not lift the hammer anymore. I was in much better shape last year when I started. I'm going downhill fast. I don't have the stamina I had then. Today was the third time I had attempted to forge something and just could not physically keep hitting the steel with the hammer. I intend on building a power hammer and a hydraulic press but metal is xxxx near impossible for me to get. Due to my strokes I can't drive and it seems no amount of begging or pleading will convince my wife I need to go to the scrap yard. It's the same with my wood turning with her. I see a piece of wood I'd like to stop and get and tell her so and we pass it for literally months until it's gone. The frustration is getting beyond my limits to forebear. I'll end up finding someone to drive me where I want to go. But that's going to cause it's own set of problems for me. I'm so tired of asking. I'm starting to feel like wanting to do things is not worth the aggravation required to get anything done. I can't see any way to get past this point. If I hammer with my left hand soon it stops working. If I hammer with my right hand even a little I get 2 months of tennis elbow pain that is maddening. I see the rich guys doing in 5 minutes what it takes me 3 hours to pound out. They can afford power hammers and presses. It's a giant victory for me to get a bag of coal or sandpaper. I mean it literally takes weeks of effort to get. I'm just sick and tired of asking for help from any of my family. I get let down more than helped anyway. It's sad, something I enjoyed and wasn't too bad at is leaving me again. Maybe someday I'll get some steel and I can weld up a press and hammer. I've been trying to get some materials to make them for months, since at least April. I have a 5 hp engine for the hammer and a 12 pound sledgehammer on a short handle. I have an old bottle jack for the press. May be a few years before I get to heat metal again. Who knows, I might find an anvil someday. Or at least a chunk of steel that won't jump up every time I hit it.
  10. This is my latest knife. I sorta gave up on it when I discovered it was not hardenable and is in fact really soft. The buffing wheel caught the blade a couple times and ruined the edge. It was practice I guess.
  11. Been awhile since I fired up the forge. And it showed. Got up early before it got hot. My coal just would not start. Took me 2 hours to get it started. My rebuilt hair dryer wasn't pushing enough air to get it going. And my vacuum cleaner was giving me too much air blowing it out. I finally got it going and tried to forge an old piece of file into a dagger. What little I got burning was barely enough to heat it. And then I had to quit. Couldn't catch my breath, was seeing spots (more than normal), and felt weak as a kitten. Got a tang on the file and that's about it. Took me an hour to quit breathing hard. But I wasn't sweating too much. It was a new experience. Unpleasant. I guess when it hit 90 with the humidity it was too much for me. It's really upsetting. I worked out in that heat for 25 years. Never got like that. And I did landscaping in the 90's back when it was stupid hot in NC. It has cooled off a lot since then. Who knows when I'll be able to finish that dagger.
  12. Fixed my blower finally by finding a dc motor that fit and an old laptop power supply to make it go. Set out to make a ginseng hoe but run out of gas and it ended up being a rock hammer. Took me two hours to get the hole made. My punches kept sticking to the steel. Was going to try to make a bigger hole but the angle was wrong on the biggest punch and it did nothing. The handle is from a walking stick I cut in West Virginia about 12 years ago. It was 25 and only an inch and a half wide. So I figured it would be a pretty strong handle. Until next time.
  13. Thanks for the knowledge. I've never made Damascus and only know the legends about the Japanese and Syrians. I just guessed that the more steps you take up in grit the cleaner the shine. Lately I've begun realizing that I can only polish wood so much so I don't have to go through every grit up to 3,000. Never been too good at talking to people or asking questions. I've always tried to figure stuff out myself. It's usually worked out pretty good that way. However this metalworking stuff is quite a bit more complicated than it seems. I can use the advice. Saves me a ton of time and bother.
  14. Nice damascus. I haven't tried any yet since every single attempt I've made at forge welding has failed. That and if I do it I'd like to try one piece of steel folded like 50 times. But can't do anything until I figure out a solution to my blower problem. It was an old hair dryer that had a cool setting. I locked it on cool last year and forgot about it. And it stopped working and melted my adapter that held it on the pipe. I figured no problem and took it a part and cut out the heater wire. The really bad engineers that made that thing was using the heater wire as a voltage drop. Without the wire the motor won't run. It is a 12 volt dc motor! I do not have a 12 volt dc power supply. A battery would die before my forge even warmed up. Luckily I got the blade I was working on finished before the blower trouble became apparent. This one started as a chunk of hinge I had been given. It forged nicely and even got semi hard. The handle is made of teak from an old boat I had 20 years ago. Saved the wood just for something like this. The pommel is carved from a solid chunk of aluminum. Things I learned on this one: If I use 7/16 threaded rod it's easier to cut a slot out of the center and place the tang inside the slot. It really welds up solid. But it's harder to tap. And my 1/4, 5/16, 9/16 and 3/8 taps are worn completely out. Also, starting at 36 grit and going 100,150,220,320,400,500,600,800, 1,000, 1,200, 1,500, 2,000,3,000 then buffing still leaves little scratches!!! Even starting at 500 and going up two more times still left tiny scratches! It's maddening. Hope I can get my blower up and running soon.
  15. Today I got to fire up my forge for a couple hours or so. My mom gave me a bunch of hinges. Well half hinges made of 1/4 inch steel welded to a tube. I have one I cut the tube off one and sanded/ground on it until it became an adapter for my tool rest on my lathe. I cut off a kinda small piece and hammered it into a blade. I don't know if it hardened on the quench yet. It's still 115 in my shop. When it gets down to 90 I'll go up and see how it did. Only had a couple blades harden. Both made from a really, really rusty piece of threaded rod. I use one of them as a utility knife and it has already cut me bad several times. But when your hands are numbed, and deadened by strokes it's to be expected.
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