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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Clarksville, VA
  • Interests
    Machining, blacksmithing, hit-and-miss engines, old machinery of most any kind, history and heritage.

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  1. Most definitely! I had it bead blasted before I took delivery of it. I'll also do a few hard burnouts before trying anything edible in it. My neighbor made one from the same kind of drum (from Sportsman's Warehouse) a few years ago and it works superbly. My old smoker is about to fall apart from years of use, so this project is being driven by that to a certain extent.
  2. Started work on my drum smoker today. Nothing really accomplished other than getting a few measurements and sketching out some parts to work on (hinge, handles, charcoal basket, etc). The drum is bigger than a 55gal drum - it's about 25" diameter. Was some kind of military aircraft engine container originally. Then I took the crude hooks I bodged out yesterday in a class and experimented with surface finishes. I used a mixture of beeswax, BLO and turpentine and got a nice black finish from treatment of black-hot metal after cleaning them up good on the wire wheel.
  3. Not in *my* shop, but took a class today and made some hooks. Helpful to have an experienced smith looking over the shoulder and giving tips. Again, highlights how much I have to learn and practice, but I'm enjoying it immensely. I'll practice plenty more on my own. My wife already likes these amateur hooks, so I know I'll have at least one customer.
  4. Alexandr, that's a sweet looking countertop! Well done!
  5. Frosty - thanks for the thumb rule. The rivets that came with the tong set are 1/4" with a 13/32" head on the prefinished side. Since I was finishing them flat on the anvil while peining the unfinished side, (while being very careful to keep both tong halves flat together) I can see where both sides are more like 7/16" now. I'll pay more attention on the next set I put together. Dragon, that's a nice batch of setters! I had in mind to make some of different sizes as I go along. I saw how much things like this sell for and I can't imagine paying that for things I can make so easily (o
  6. Thanks Thomas. I buy used cold chisels (among other things) at yard sales and swaps, so have a decent place to start on a round end punch like that. I can't for the life of me find a large enough bearing ball in my shop right now! Need to "go to the source" and pick up some scraps. Originally, I settled for the 3/8 ball mill, since the rivets that came with the tong blanks are only .406 which is only about 1/32 bigger than 3/8. Since now I'm learning a new hobby, perhaps I should think more about how I'd do things in the forge than on the lathe or mill. Of course I could use a rounde
  7. Man, I love those hooks and swivels! Great stuff! After making some tongs yesterday, I fiddled around in my shop and made a rivet setter to use on the next set. It is nothing fancy. I just used a ball endmill to make both parts out of a couple of pieces of steel. The largest ball endmill I had was 3/8" so it isn't very big, but should do for the next few sets of tongs I make.
  8. Hammered out my first set of tongs, courtesy of Ken's Custom Iron. I have a lot to learn and need a lot of practice, but these will get me started. I sized the jaws to let me hold the 5/16 blanks to make the rest of the tongs in the set. Then I'll resize/shape as needed. For comparison, here is a photo showing the gorilla tongs I had (was in an auction lot I won some time back). They're awful heavy for anything I'll be doing for a while. The ends of the reins are about 1/2" round - these things are heavy. Glad to put them down now!
  9. The edges do have a small radius and are not particularly sharp. The area near the chipping is a little bigger radius. I don't think the edges are too square and sharp as they are.
  10. Thanks, Frosty. Good stuff! I have been reading all the posts on Soderfors anvils here and count myself lucky to have a great one. The face has some pitting and one edge has a little bit of chipping, but otherwise it is in excellent condition and just needs to be used. Now that I have time and a good space, I plan on remedying that! I'm a former career Navy steam engineer, so I come equipped with eye and hearing protection wherever I go. I only have two of each of those sensors, and plan to keep using them the rest of my life, so if using this anvil means wearing hearing protection
  11. Here's my anvil - 148# Soderfors. I love this anvil! I found it at an old iron (hit-n-miss engine) swap meet a couple of years ago and paid right at $4/lb for it. I think I got a great deal. She looks to be in excellent shape, with some pitting overall, but edges look clean and only minor chipping there. Great rebound and rings like crazy! Anybody know what the "155" below the weight means? I made some spikes to chain mount it to a stump, hoping the chain would help quiet her down some, and indeed it does. Work on the face is within the bearable
  12. Thanks, Frosty! I will probably make the guard rail you and Dragon recommend. I've been reading a lot of your advice on the board too, including the "formula" for the clay lining. In the spirit of whatever's worth doing is worth doing again, I decided to prepare the recipe of 2 to 3 parts sand, 1 part kitty litter (hydrated) into a dryish mix. After slipping out under cover of darkness and swiping my neighbor's cat box off the screen porch and poaching a little sand from my other neighbor's swimming pool filter, I set out to mix things up. After picking out as much cat debris as I c
  13. Thomas - Thanks. I already have plans in mind for a larger, rectangular steel forge with a bigger table and deeper firepot for the future. I figure this one will be a great place to learn, even if limited to smaller work. I'm not one of those guys who saw Forged in Fire and wants to make blades. I like making tools and other useful things, and would one day like to become skilled enough to produce some more artful things that non-blacksmiths might think are pretty. I've been reading the Controlled Hand Forging coursework on the ABANA site and will start with those exercises to build skill
  14. Thanks for the tip on quoting. I read the READ THIS FIRST (first, of course!) and misunderstood Bonus tip #1, as I trimmed what I was quoting without realizing it was frowned upon unless the previous post was particularly long. I'm a member of several sites like this and each is slightly different on this. I offer my sincere apologies to the mod who had to go edit each of those posts above! As for the forge, she was a bit long in the tooth and has a few missing teeth and some nicks in her ears, but I think lots of life left. I had a similar forge that was rusted down to a pretty thin
  15. I certainly understand that. I have had much the same experience with machining over the years. It represents one of my "happy places" and offers me challenges, successes and failures, but always a place to learn, think and unwind. I know already that blacksmithing will offer the same opportunities for catharsis, and I look forward to each session.
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