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I Forge Iron

Mel Fischer

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  • Location
    Enterprise, ON
  • Interests
    Casting, carving, makin' stuff.

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  1. Hi Pnut, Yeah, I have noticed it move, especially when I have used the horn. I plan to router out a space for the feet to fit in to hold it snugly. Or i might be making a different stand, one that is lower so that it is at the right height to use when I am sitting (I have knee issues) that will have a lip and some blocks to hold it in place. My problem is, now that I've gotten to the 'actually hitting metal' stage, I don't want to 'waste' my forging time by doing more shop improvements, I want to bang on metal LOL but I hope to get a bit done over the next week and a half to make some things better. Also, bemused laugh at 'little anvil' since this 110lbs one was a huge upgrade from my 25lbs piece of track and my 25lbs cast iron anvil - No, I get it, it is still a little anvil, but it is my 'big' one for now!!! heheheh! But you're right, it will move around and I have to watch it until I get it better secured, thank you for the warning and advice! Irondragon, omg it is so much fun!!!!
  2. Yeah, I certainly found the wood fire pit off a lot more heat than just the charcoal did, which was nice. It was warm today, and I’m off for the holidays, so went out for a little while. Forgot the plywood for under my feet though!!! Fortunately it wasn’t too bad. I heated a 1/4 inch thick piece of steel plate I have and placed that on my anvil face periodically to give it some heat which seemed to work a bit better. Was going to attempt to make the poker end of a fire poker today, including my first attempt at a forge weld, and learned a whole bunch in the attempt. While I did not end up with a poker, I did make my first successful forge weld I think!! However, I made my taper too small, and boy does metal move at welding temps!! so things went a little too long and thin, but the tip welded!!! It was really interesting, watching the fire, there was a definite different quality to it as I got it up to hitter temperatures. And the first time I hit metal at forge temperature and blew off some big chunks of scale, that was pretty cool lol. I ended up breaking off the too long, too thin hook and attempted to bend and forge weld the tip again.... wasn’t entirely successful the second time tho, maybe too much flux?? Will go back and do some more reading. Should have done that before going out probably, lol, but it was still fun.
  3. Very true Glenn!!! But, I wanna keep my first ugly one to look back on But I'll keep that in mind for future projects! HojPoj, you're not wrong - the space heater did keep my feet warm though, which is generally my biggest issue in winter, my feet are always cold. But planning now to build a side draft chimney/super sucker so that I can enclose things a bit more to retain some heat, while not poisoning myself with smoke and CO inhalation - I also picked up a CO detector to be sure of that! So next up is re configuring the shop a bit and figuring out how I'm going to build my chimney and from what... But, in the meantime, I did play a little bit on the weekend, practicing my tapers a bit, and my bends. I experimented with a wood fire on saturday since I had used up my one leftover bag of charcoal, but it was much more time consuming, took a lot longer to get it going and heat, and i ended up having trouble working the steel (I belatedly realized I wasn't getting it hot enough, too impatient) so the day was mostly a bust, but still a lesson learned. Sunday was much better, dug out another bag of charcoal and had fun again, made a flat taper and bent it and flattened it back on itself - no forge welding attempt yet, but it's on the schedule I think my hammer marks have definitely improved since I dressed the faces, so it looks a little less rough. Progress is slow, but I'm having fun!
  4. Thanks guys, that's good advice on coming at a project in different ways. Got to make what I have work for *me*! I will definitely give the pliers a try, that sounds like a great idea. Also need to find some cans so I can 'light a fire under my anvil' so to speak - I mean hang on the horn and heel to heat 'er up, of course ;) I am picking up a little garage heater and heavy duty extension cord (shop doesn't have its own power) so I can try and warm things up in there and maybe get to keep working in the winter a bit. The space is only about 8 x 10, but it's not entirely enclosed, so it'll be interesting lol I decided I'm going to leave my hook as it is, crack and all, just as a reminder and as something to look back on as my first ever one ;) It'll still be functional, and I'll put it on the wall in my shop somewhere to hold ... something LOL Dressed the faces of my hammers the other night as well, so hopefully next time there won't be as many ugly marks in my work!
  5. *adds 'pig tail' to mental lexicon* I actually did do the pig tail first, and then discovered the crack, before I moved on to the main curve. I did not dip in water at all though (I actually don't yet have a slack tub) Stuff was cooling off very fast, and I think I pushed it one (or two) many hits past temp - unless there's something else that you can think of?
  6. Today I made a hook! Unfortunately, it developed a crack just above the tip curl, must've hit it too cold I guess. But I finished it anyway, since it's all a learning opportunity.
  7. Thanks pnut! I'll try that way too, see what I like!
  8. Well, I went back out today. Didn't have anything to really heat the anvil with yet, so it was cold, which stole the heat from my piece really quickly, but I managed to bend my first ring/loop on the end of my rake! I tried making it square first, as advised, before tapering. It was surprisingly difficult to hold the round stock straight while doing this lol. Still had a bit of difficulty keeping it even and forgot to go octogonal and then round before I began my curl, so that's something for next time. I also didn't quite bend the section just below the tip enough before beginning the larger bend, so it didn't quite finish as gracefully as I would have liked, but overall I'm pleased for a first attempt. New anvil worked great. Only one missed hammer strike in 2 hours, and it only left a slight discoloration on the surface. Looks like there are some irregularities in the horn that I may have to smooth out, but it worked well for hammering in the loop. Feel that I learned a lot today, and finished my rake, so it was a good day
  9. Ah, okay, I've gone and done some reading now, and I understand better why to take the round shape square first then taper. Thanks for that! I will be sure to try that when I make the ring on the end of my rake!
  10. Oh yeah, good point about the anvil being too cold to work on... Huh. I am obviously going to have to work out a way to weather proof the shop and maybe get a small stove eventually... if only money were no object! I decided to pick up a 110 LBS cast steel ‘beginner’ anvil for a couple hundred bucks. It will give me more mass to work on, a hardie hole and pritchell hole, and a horn, so I figured it was worth it considering the price of anvils around here. The face seems pretty consistent, only one side next to the hardie hole was a bit ‘dead-er’ than the rest, and the holes are both fairly clean and should only need minor cleaning. Going to leave everything else as is until I work on it and learn what I’m doing a bit. Right now it’s just sitting in the floor of my shop until I either swap it out for my railroad track on my existing stand or build another stand for it. Sprayed it liberally with WD40 to protect it since my shop is not fully enclosed, hopefully that will do the trick. Want to try and get out there this weekend, but also have other chores and commitments this weekend :/ here’s a couple pics, should suit me for a good while at least theres some sort of oil/wax on the surface from packing/shipping - all those marks are not surface dings or anything
  11. Thanks for the advise swedefiddle! One edge of my little piece of rail is rounded a bit, so I will definitely give that a try next time! I'm a bit confused on why you;'d make round stock square and then bring it back to round before flattening it out? Will that aid in keeping all the edges straight and flat? Thomas, that is surely a sign that you were meant to be together :) My husband and I are much the same (for about 24 years now, you have a few on us ;) ) Ooh, good idea with the plywood, that's one to try for sure, and thanks for the 'tricks of the trade' ;) The biggest hurdle will be whether or not I can make myself go out there when it's -22 F LOL Hmmm, I think I may need to make myself some wool forging garb!
  12. Thanks wirerabbit!! Tools are definitely on the menu, since I don’t have many/any yet lol! And, like you say, good practice! And it’s getting pretty cold here too! Don’t know that I’m have many more opportunities before spring now, since all my stuff is n an open air space, sadly. Hey Thomas, yeah, I actually have a couple post vises I picked up last month, the big one needs a spring forged and the handle replaced, but beyond that, I’m not yet set up to mount it, but I have procured a giant stump for when I get the shop expanded in the spring. I knew just looking at the twist that I could have easily straightened it out in the vise, just didn’t have it available yet Definitely going to cut it down to a more manageable size, and if I get another shot at the forge this year, I’ll try and taper and put a loop on the end to be able to hang it Nice of you to let your wife have your tools and nice that you have someone who appreciates them!! Cheers Mel
  13. Thanks Welshj! I'm pretty excited about it LOL
  14. Lol I will leave it to time to decide the correct answer ;D And as requested some pictures of yesterday’s inaugural metal whacking And here are some from today’s attempt. Wanted to play with a railway spike, but I do not have the proper tongs yet so switched to a 1/4 rod of mild steel instead. It was a bit awkward as it’s five feet long, but managed to hammer out what will become a little rake for the fire. Need to dress my hammers still, they leave al kinds of marks. Had better results with the heavier 3lbs hammer but it’s a bit heavy. After a couple hours, I have to say, It’s certainly not as easy as it looks! I expected flattening it to be a little faster than it was (though I was using a lighter hammer at that point) but the bend went even easier than I anticipated! Tried to even up the edges but ended up putting a bit of a twist in the flat part that was difficult to get out again. All of it was made more difficult by the unwieldy length of my stock, and the awkwardness of holding it in the fire while pumping the air pump that’s not affixed to anything. All things that can be improved. Overall not bad for my first go, but lots lots lots to learn.
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