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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by JNewman

  1. Blacksmithing like many other manufacturing trades is different than the trade you are used to quoting in Rockstar. The tools and experience that different smiths have make a huge difference in what shops have to quote. I would often expect to see 20 30 even 100% differences in quotes based on differing overheads differing equipment and what the smith has experience in. I have a lot of overhead here and cannot compete on a lot of high labour jobs. I am very slow at drawing and not very good at selling people on architectural work so I stay away from that type of work. I often refer work to other smiths who I think would be a better fit for what the customer is looking for. This work is usually work I could do but the other smith is better set up or better at it or has a lower overhead and can make money at it where I wouldn't. But having the big hammer a couple of presses and being ok at designing tooling for making things relatively quickly allows me to be pretty competitive on some work that I make really good money at . I showed another professional smith a job I make periodically and asked what he would have to charge to make them. He said about $80 each. another figured more. I make about 50 of these parts in a couple of hours and make close to $200/ hour on them. I couldn't get near his $80/part but make way more per hour than he could at the $80/hr. I used to buy and re sell some pry bars from a manufacturer for 1/3 the price I could buy the steel for. It was an odd alloy and he bought it by the thousands of tons. His forging of the prybars had very expensive tooling and as long as I could use his standard taper his price was incredibly low. Things out of the ordinary however he needed tens of thousands of dollars of tooling to make even one simple part. I recently had to get a quote for some machining and had a shockingly low price from the one shop. To the point I actually suggested to the other shop that he not waste his time quoting. The first shop was going to make good money I am sure as he has a very high speed machining center and these parts were a good fit for his machine.
  2. I have a light industrial Mig in the shop and I don't think I would want anything smaller as the only welder in a Blacksmith shop as the penetration is not good enough. I bought a lincoln AC tombstone 25 years ago and it worked well for building a treadle hammer an air hammer and lots of other things over the years. A few years ago I bought a small Esab inverter welder and have not used the AC welder since. It welds so much easier than the Ac welder and much less spatter, if I want to take it home and fix something it will run on 110v. I have some jobs that have to be welded with 7018 (1" round 4340) and a couple of stainless jobs that we use the inverter stick welder for . If I had to downsize to a home shop BLACKSMITHING not fabricating the little inverter welder is the one I would keep. I should sell the old Lincoln.
  3. Suspect it won't last due to oxidation. I do know a guy who found some Inconel in his local scrap yard and lined his gas forge with it very successfully. He felt the inconel was indispensable for his work preventing damaging his ceramic wool. I do know he needed a little more to cover an area that he had not covered wit the original piece of inconel and found buying it new was incredibly expensive.
  4. Maybe offer to come over Wednesday nights in the fall to organize the shop for Thursdays. Offer to come in and help with some sweeping, painting or any other help over the summer to help him out no strings attached. I understand being burned out and having a person take a bit of the load off can really help. On the other hand he might just want evenings and weekends for family and himself for a while.
  5. Try contacting Mathieu at Les Forges de Montreal. He was asking me about making them for him about a week ago. I think that is what he was used to using in France.
  6. There was an online book seller that was selling the video on DVD. Possibly blue moon press. Artisan????
  7. I am pretty sure the Canadian Giants were Little giants made under license here in Canada in Kitchener. So a 25 Lb little giant sizing will be the same and you may be able to buy one from Little Giant if you want.
  8. Come out to an Ontario artists blacksmith association meeting and join. There is a meeting in February in Milton. I am not sure if we are having a January meeting. We are here in Hamilton business hours and some times on the weekend. Not always forging but we will be tomorrow. Newman Forge & Pattern
  9. A number of years ago Forgemaster posted his kiss block set up which I modified and copied. The nice things about his setup is that the kiss block is on one side of the dies and any swages mount on the other. I can Forge down on the stopper hit the lever to remove the stopper (kiss block) and drop a swage on to swage on the same heat. You can search for pictures of his set up under his postings
  10. Hi Anvil. The pots and my swage blocks are sold in the US by Blacksmiths Depot. Unfortunately I have not made any progress on the new swage blocks as we have been so busy in the shop I have not had time to do anything with it. Lots of big patterns and Lots of forging. 30 pairs of tongs (30-60" long) in the last few weeks and about 100 prybars and chisels.
  11. Very sorry to hear this. I always enjoyed reading his posts here.
  12. As a former rock climber I have to disagree on spectra having better heat resistance to nylon. It actually melts 100 degrees LOWER than nylon. http://rockandice.com/climb-safe/climb-safe-spectra-versus-nylon/ It also has some issues with not holding knots as well. I do agree a static line is better for rappelling unless you stop or slow down part way with a sketchy anchor (which you should never rappel from but seems to be what this conversation is about). A stop or slowing down on a static line will transmit all the load to your anchor which is much more likely to break it than on a dynamic line which is designed to stretch and absorb shock loads. There are static lines with a Kevlar sheath that are more heat resistant. This thread is discussing very dangerous practices. In rock climbing you always back up your anchors. A top belay, top rope or multi pitch belay is always a minimum of 2 solid anchors. A grapple over a tree branch is not even a single solid anchor. I would heat galvanized metal in my Forge all day long before hanging 50 feet in the air from a grapple hooked on a tree branch. Especially pine I have broken tree branches off hanging food packs with less load than a person.
  13. I would not try to shop heat treat a a spring in a situation where a failure is likely to cause injury. However in your case what I would do is just air quench the spring. A kitchen oven is not even close to being hot enough. The size of the spring you are talking about will cool quickly enough to harden in air. The residual heat will then temper it. You will not get as good a result as a commercialy heat treated spring. But it should be acceptable. If it turns out to not be a hard enough at least you don't have to start from scratch, you just need to heat treat again. If it turns out not to be hard enough the next time I would try using a fan to cool it until the colour disappears and then let it air cool. When heat treating it i would use a small wire to hold the spring an hang it from until it is cool. Tongs or anything cooler you set the spring on will cool the spring too quickly and unevenly
  14. Set up right it is a fair bit less than 5 minutes to re point a breaker bit. Grant, the person Thomas is referring to did have a number of employees as well.
  15. Curious who you bought it from? It must have been kept in a heated shop to have no rust. Or they kept it oiled.
  16. I have the plans for the stand as a pdf and I will send it to you next week when I am in the shop. If I don't get it to you by mid week send me an email to remind me
  17. Only in construction. As a manufacturer if I were a sole proprietor or as I am a corporate officer/owner I can't collect workers compensation. Construction premium rates are way higher than most other industries. One of my employees this change was one of the things that pushed him out of working as a sole proprietor contractor. His rates would have been 3 or 4 times what my shop is.
  18. As far as the independent contractor loophole goes. What I have heard a lot of jurisdictions are defining anyone who works only or primarily for one customer as an employee. If their business has multiple customers you can hire them as a contractor. However if they are using your equipment in your place of work they may be considered an employee anyways. Construction seems to be a different set of rules, but here in Ontario they have made it mandatory for sole proprietors in construction to have workmans compensation insurance. Of course rules are different for every province and state.
  19. Listen to Kozzy this is very good advise!!!. The only thing I disagree about is when buying the drill bits they are often cheaper than the local hardware store if you approach it right. A drill index full of drills will be much more expensive than the home center although worth it. What you want to do is figure out the couple of sizes you will be drilling a lot and go in and buy a sleeve/envelope of them. Industrial supply houses typically don't post prices and often have minimum cash sales. I pay about $3cdn each for high quality 1/4" drills. Less than $2 each for 1/8" a sleeve of them is 10-12. Figure out what you want save up and plan on going in and spending $30-50 and stocking up. If you are the guy that takes up a lot of time for a tiny order you will pay for that. The industrial places are used to and rely on selling lunch bag sized packages with $1000s of dollars of carbide in them. If you wast their time you will either pay dearly for your drills or you will get told "industrial sales only" Buy together with some friends If this method is too expensive.
  20. Home hardware tends to have better hardware selection than Canadian Tire these days. They can order in if they don't have it in stock. The won't deal with you if you don't have an account seems to be dying off here, maybe it has to do with my getting older. I have found you get a brush off less often if you are there in person vs phoning. Not a lot of farming in the Sudbury area but often Farm type stores are good for having real hardware. There is a member on here Dimenickel who is in the Sudbury area. I have not seen him post a lot lately but if you look him up here you may be able to find some contact info for him.
  21. I don't think telling people about a cheaper local source of a fairly obscure product is advertising if there is not a strong relationship between the poster and supplier. How is it any different from the mention of tractor supply carrying it for $6 It does not matter what you think, Advertisers pay or get deleted
  22. I modified an air chisel to do this quite a few years ago. I drilled a 1/8" hole through the threaded area of the air chisel just cutting though edge of the hole for the chisel. I then drove a roll pin though the hole. The chisels then just need a small flat ground on them. The first time I did it I drilled too close to the hole center, which meant I had to grind too big a flat. Drilling so the flat is just under 1/4" seemed to be just right. To drill the hole on the edge of the air chisel without it skating off I made a drilling jig. To make the drill jig I bent a piece of square bar to fit snugly around the air chisel threads. I then ground a flat on the outside of the jig. I could then drill on a flat surface. Then I just clamped the legs of the jig in a drill press vise with the air chisel in the jig and the hole was easy to drill. Use a lighter duty chisel and it is just like drawing with the chisel. It works amazingly well. I used a princess auto air chisel and it worked so well I bought a better quality more powerful air chisel and it had too much power and tended to bounce out of the groove.
  23. I do tend to quote a significant part of my work using an hourly rate but as much as possible I try to use Grant Sarver's philosophy on pricing. He laid it put a couple of times here and over at the NWBA website quite a few years ago. Using this when possible has helped me make really good money on occasion and saved my bacon on others when I used it but thought I could do a job faster. Anyone who has a business has had the jobs where things went wrong and or we underquoted and ended up making less than minimum wage and even lost money if you have employees doing the work. If you can have some jobs where you make hundreds per hour they help you survive another day. It would be nice if they could all be the gravy jobs. While I was finding this thread I found this other post that was interesting as well re business. https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/12686-i-often-buy-machines-with-no-clear-idea-how-ill-use-them/
  24. Rockstar you are repeating the business school mantra of doing market research then producing what the market needs. What you are failing to see is . that this is exactly what JLP and others are advocating doing. Making a couple of items part time and seeing if they sell and at at what price they will sell at is market research. Blacksmithing is different than a business where you have to make very dedicated expensive tooling to make a widget and needing to know if it will sell. As well it does not account for new markets created by marketing various ways. I often hear the buzzword "market research" without a real definition of the term. What people say they will buy and what they actually will buy are often very different things. When I made my first swage block pattern I made the block I wanted. I was showing it to people at a blacksmith association meeting and a person mentioned they would really like a small swage block around 6"x6" , there was another person who agreed enthusiastically. I have sold over 1000 6x6" swage blocks by now however those 2 people have never purchased one despite asking if I could make one that size.
  25. A scrapper who had a unit across the street from my shop started this fire burning electric motors to get the copper out of them. It burned almost a whole city block. Sounds like this fire was something similar. This video was taken from a few miles away from on top of the Niagara escarpment. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire across from my shop but there were about a dozen businesses burned out.
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