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About JNewman

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 02/15/1967

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  • Location
    Hamilton, ON Canada


  • Location
    Hamilton Ontario Canada
  • Occupation
    Blacksmith, Patternmaker

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13,264 profile views
  1. Material for making tongs

    I know a lot of books recommend using square stock for tongs but I almost always use round, as did both of the blacksmith shops in the 2 larger steel mills here in town. It is easier to avoid cold shuts in round and 3/4" round is easier to draw out than 3/4" square. 3/4" round is plenty big to make tongs for holding stock for 1" and under. 5/8" round actually can make nice tongs as long as you offset them before flattening them and punch the eyes. I like 1045 for tongs but mild steel is good especially when you are starting out. Watch this video and ignore the jig and the fact he is using a power hammer. Offsetting the stock before flattening like he does allows you to use slightly smaller stock. Working by hand this could be done with a bending fork, or 2 blocks of steel and a flatter(or large piece of heavy flat bar) or 2 pieces of steel and a vise.
  2. Been a few years since I have been able to get to quadstate. Unfortunately this fall is not looking good for going, but how about someone who has a registration package letting the rest of us know who the demonstrators are this year.
  3. Be careful with HSS for struck tools especially with imperfect Ht. I recall Grant Sarver mentioned a competitors shop having a fatal accident with a HSS tool shattering under the power hammer. This was under a large hammer but I remember him saying that this incident made him wary of using HSS tools under a power hammer. That said in the right application with proper Ht they can give incredible results. I have a pair of 1" square lathe tool bits that are in holders that I have cut thousands of 4140 and 4340 chisel points with. I have never had to sharpen them. They are heat treated as purchased and they are supported in and pressed by soft mild steel so safer from shattering.
  4. Anyone from nova Scotia?

    There are a fair number of blacksmiths in the Maritimes. Where about are you in NS? Paul Fontaine in NB has some courses as does Grant Haverstock on Cape Breton. The guys in the Maritime blacksmith group are a great bunch of guys and I suspect that you will learn lots going to their meetings.
  5. Sacrifice mold making

    I have heard that PLA can be used like lost foam but have no actual experience with it. 3D printing he can make the print with minimal plastic internally with a honeycomb internal structure so there is less to burn away. If you have any core sand like a SO2 you can take the time and mould just about any shape with time and lots of parting dust. The traditional moulder journeyman test was to mould a teacup sitting on a saucer with a teaspoon and sugar cube in the cup. I had a customer who had 2 castings of this test sitting on his boardroom table who asked me if I knew what they were. I am a patternmaker not a moulder but I think I could pull it off in airset sand but not in green sand. .
  6. I picked up a French anvil book by Evelyn et Jean-Patrick Boye called Enclumes Et Bigornes Anciennes. It has quite a few highly decorated anvils and a with carved faces in it. My favorite is a stake anvil with the devil on one side and Jesus on the other. The book is has a lot of beautiful pictures of all different types of anvils. It was a little expensive and the text is only in French but I recommend it if you like pictures of Old anvils.
  7. Looking for forge shop

    WCB is cast steel I think it is basically a mild steel. While the cast metals industry has taken a beating over the last several decades there are still lots of foundries around in North America, Canada US and Mexico. I can easily think of 5 or 6 foundries within an hour of me that could and would cast those in quantities of 4-5 to hundreds. The number that would only cast one is smaller but there are another couple that typically cast larger castings but would cast them in higher volumes. While you would have up front Pattern costs, I suspect they could be cast for less than they could be fabricated if you are talking any volume. As well you would not be restricted to stock sized pipe for the diameter. You guys need to calm down about the patent infringement issue. This is a filter body hundreds perhaps thousands of companies make something similar. It is a ring for a dogged door a feature that has been used on hundreds of applications for centuries. This is significantly different from copying a piece of art or a new invention.
  8. 3D cad software

    I think that fusion 360 is free for hobbiests and start up businesses. I use SolidWorks and it is really good but is not cheap. These are both 3d software unlike AutoCAD. If I was using SolidWorks for ornamental iron drawings I would build up a library of parts which are all easily editable. Then I would build project models either using assemblies or multiple body models.
  9. I quoted her $25 each unpainted, which was probably on the cheap side as I am not sure if I have material in the rack. Most of my work these days is in alloy steel which is ordered in large batches and delivered. Sending someone out for one length of ms flatbar is almost $50 in shop time. I did not try to up sell her to a fancy decorative one as we hare fairly busy here right now and the only person here who could do the fancy decorative one here is and I doubt she would have gone for it anyways. In retrospect I am probably more frustrated in myself in not being able to politely disengage myself or not just saying we don't do that work and either saying I don't know or not my problem to her request for a solution after it seemed apparent that the Home depot price was as big an issue as the quality. It would have been much easier had I gotten a blunter response "that is too much" . I have had the older guy walk in where he wanted cane bolts he bought at home depot modified, his response was "that is more than I paid for these" My response was to say Ok and go back to work. He very quickly said Ok and left the parts. While the best thing might be to just say no to all the walk ins we have had periods where we have been really slow and it would have been good to have even a small amount of money coming in. Sometimes they can also be quite profitable. I had recent job where i spent 10 minutes drawing up a grate on CAD subbed it to the laser guy and marked it up nicely. As to the different trades pricing the grass is always greener... However I do feel that manufacturing trades have been hit harder by price stagnation. We do both Patternmaking and Blacksmithing here. The Pattern shop rates have not risen very much in the last 15 years and I find I am actually quoting lower to get the work in many cases than I was 10 years ago. In most cases trades such as plumber electrician auto mechanic can not have there work "offshored" which is good for them and I do not begrudge them getting the rates they get. But I have significantly more invested and higher expenses than John Mcpherson's example.
  10. Yea I did think I should have told her I could make them for $5 each if she ordered 1000 of them
  11. Quote fatigue

    I had a customer who was sending me anywhere from a couple to a dozen jobs to quote a couple days a week. These were nice jobs and we were not that busy at the time. I was putting anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours each day on quoting their work. After a couple of weeks I asked how my pricing was and was assured it was good and that jobs would probably be coming my way. After about a month and a half and about 50-60 quotes for well over 100 jobs I told them I would no longer be quoting their work. At the time their estimator asked me to continue quoting as he felt we would likely get something soon. He then made a comment that I forget how he phrased it but it sounded to me like once he go the job using the lowest price he would then try to get a lower price from the low guy by pitting the lowest pricing against each other. I suspect I was just being used to drive down the price of their preferred supplier. I stopped wasting my time..
  12. What would you charge to Design and make 8 of these to brackets to fit your customers planter boxes? No ornamentation just plain flat steel. Sizes on the drawing I made are just guesses based on the fact it had to hang off a 2x6. but are close . I had a very nicely dressed woman in a nice car come by the shop today with a problem she wanted me to solve. She wanted to hang 4 planters off a gazebo in her yard and the window boxes with hangers would not fit over a 2x6 which is what the railing on here gazebo was. So she wanted to have custom made ones made. I explained to her that I had moved away from ornamental ironwork because no one wants to pay what it is worth,and am primarily doing industrial forging. This did not scare her away and she questioned whether this was really ornamental. So I thought here might be someone who is willing to pay what something is worth. I gave her a price despite the fact we are extremely busy with time sensitive work right now. Rather than giving me feedback on my pricing she told me how home depot had adjustable brackets for $10 each but they were very bulky looking. I then explained to her how those brackets are mass produced using dies and likely take seconds per part to make and are likely to be made offshore as well in a low wage country. After this she mentioned again how the brackets at home depot were $10 and she needed 8 of them an how that was a lot of money. What was a solution to her problem ? Could we make wooden brackets cheaper? (We were standing in the pattern shop part of my shop at the time). I told here we could not make anything cheaper (after I had stupidly dropped the price on the steel brackets why I don't know). I cannot understand how people don't understand that custom made is MORE expensive not cheaper.My shop is an industrial building in an industrial area, this is not cheap. I would love to hear how much others would charge for these especially those blacksmithing for a living. I will state what I quoted her in a couple of days. I am some what annoyed about the 20 minutes or more of mine that I allowed her to waste today. I might have been able to be home at 7:30 instead of 8:00. Generally speaking I don't mind and even enjoy showing people around my shop, especially other blacksmiths. But she just wanted (demanded) free advice on a cheaper way to hang here flowers. There was a Blacksmith about an hour from here who had a shop and retail store in a touristy area. He was shocking rude to "customers" and while I still don't think it was justified. I am a little more sympathetic.
  13. My Massey power hammer a pair of 3/4 or 1" v bit or round tongs to hold stock for tong making any old hammer to adjust the new tongs and blend in the hammer drift. Blacksmiths are tool makers.
  14. Needle Scalers

    The pipeline welder I know uses a Stringer type wire wheel to clean off the flux when stick welding. He always grinds the steel clean before welding. Always grinding off the mill scale before welding.
  15. How does one make a maple leaf?

    A Retired industrial blacksmith I know used to make maple leaf candle sticks. He used about 3/16 plate chisel cut it out under the steam hammer. Later on he had someone torch the blanks out and he would file the edges. These days laser or waterjet makes more sense. . However Chisel cut does give a nice texture to the top edge and you end up with slight variety to the leaves which can be a good thing.