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About dickb

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    Suffern , NY


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  1. I've made lots of firestrikers. They're fun to make and you can make them plain or works of art . Old used files are an excellent choice and the price is right. I don't usually temper the whole thing. I leave the striking edge completely hard and temper the tight turn where the stem meets the blade shaped portion. That's where it's most likely to break. They seem to work better if you thin the striking edge down to about a sixteenth of an inch or maybe an eighth of an inch . The flints do need to be freshened up occasionally no matter how carefully you strike the steel. You can also char well rotted (puncky)wood and it works fine also.
  2. I use an inverted U shaped piece of flat stock similar to what you describe, but with a slight addition. I drop the U shaped piece over the stock I'm working on . Then I put the U shaped piece into the hardy hole and drive a long thin wedge along side the U piece. Be sure to flare out the end of the U piece so the wedge pushes against it and forces it to close the U and clamp onto the work piece. Be sure to make the wedge long enough so you can loosen it up by hammering from below. It's helpful to thin out the closed end of the U so it flexes easily.
  3. Made from an eighteen inch jack hammer bit . Not too fancy, but you can hear it a block and a half away.
  4. I suggest you keep the swage block for one main reason. A swage block makes a few forming processes easy that would otherwise be much harder or next to impossible. .
  5. 1/8 stock is much too thin. You will always lose some thickness to scale and to forge welding. 1/4 or 3/8 would be better
  6. Looks like too much trouble making a knife, but it has the makings of a hardy cutoff tool . Just cutoff a couple of inches and weld a stem to fit our hardy hole and grind a bevel on top-
  7. The item in the first picture has the letter K raised a little proud of the surrounding surface. The item is basically hollow, so it would difficult to forge but not at all hard to cast so it must have been cast in an iron foundry, not forged by a blacksmith.
  8. Garages that repair shock absorbers, struts and suspensions are an excellent source or coil springs and maybe leaf springs. Removing coil springs from shocks or struts can be dangerous because they are under a lot compression stress. Best to ask the repair shop where you get it from to disassemble it. Disassembling a leaf spring pack is easier, just cut the clamp that binds them together
  9. I am making a series of knives using 1095, 1084 and 5160. Which blades would, or should, have the best edge retention. Please assume the blades all have the same edge geometry, and I am using the same hardening and tempering for all. The shop is in the style of around the year 1850. No electricity. To be specific, after normalizing I heat to non magnetic and let the work soak for a few minutes and then quench in canola oil . After hardening I take the work home and, within 3 or 4 hours, temper it to around 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit in my kitchen oven. I'm using separate a type K thermocouple to indicate the temperature because the oven controls don't indicate the temperature very well. Any suggestions would also be welcome.
  10. If you want brighter light go for a Halogen Bulb. What is a watermark ?
  11. Hi Dickb,

    I am new to forging and I built a burner and it is not working correctly. It puts out a blue flame a few inches and rolls up. I am using a non adjustable regulator and I don't know the psi. Thanks 


  12. Good sources for steel are Welding shops, places that make gates and fences . Prices will be a lot better . Bring along some of the things you have forged and explain you are a beginning blacksmith. You may be pleasantly surprised . My first experience leaning blacksmithing was with an experience blacksmith. He had me making tapers, tapers and more tapers. Square taper on square stock, round taper on square stock, square taper on round stock, round taper on round stock. I had tapers coming out of my ears, but I did learn good hammer control and how to move a mass of iron to where I wanted it. Probably saved me a lot of frustration on more complicated shapes.
  13. A jig or other holding tool will not guarantee that the round stock is not a few degrees rotated. I think that might come back and cause me problems later.