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About dickb

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  1. dickb

    Hardened Rebar Knife?!?!

    Ditto . Rebar is wonderful stuff for embedding in concrete. Waste of time and effort using it in a blacksmith shop.
  2. dickb

    Screwdriver Materials Advice

    It's kind of a waste of money to use any kind of alloy steel until you have learned how to forge a piece of steel to the shape you are trying to make. So I would probably stick to plain mild steel (1018 steel in the United States) to practice on. If you want to practice with alloy steels and make a hard-enable screw driver/punch/chisel/etc/etc then you could see if you can get some discarded automobile coil springs. Repair shops frequently throw them away. WARNING. If the spring is still attached to the shock absorber or strut then don't try to disassemble it yourself. It's under a lot or pressure and dangerous to disassemble . Ask the repair shop to disassemble it for you. Then just cut off a piece about the size you need, heat it and forge away. Rebar is too unpredictable in composition so stay away from it.
  3. dickb

    Screwdriver Materials Advice

    Carpe Frigus Finem ??? Let us be more precise. finem habent nigros malleus rubeo
  4. I use two types of holdfast to secure work to the anvil, a Chain holdfast and a gooseneck holdfast. Both work good holding most work solidly on the anvil. Neither of these holdfasts work well holding a piece of flat stock edgewise on the anvil. For example a 1/4 by 1 1/4 with the 1/4 inch edge on the anvil. I am trying to set the shoulders on a hidden tang knife blade tang. The best I can come up with (untested) is An inverted U shaped piece of iron. The gap between the two arms of the U would be just large enough to allow the work piece to be inserted. The inverted U would be a close fit to the Hardy hole and possibly slightly tapered. To use it you would place the U shaped piece over the edge of the work piece and tap it into the hardy. More or less a third hand. Hopefully this will keep the work piece steady and you can hammer a piece of round stock into it to set the shoulders. Can anyone suggest an alternate way. I know a guillotine would do the job but I don't have one.
  5. dickb

    Good steels for fire steels

    Blower substitute ? Easy, just get hold of an electric hair drier or a bathroom exhaust fan and you have plenty of air blast for a charcoal forge. I assume you are talking about charcoal not charcoal briquettes.
  6. dickb

    Good steels for fire steels

    I've made lots of fire strikers out of 1080 and/or 1095 and /or old files and a few from automobile coil springs. I have heard that some cheap files are only case hardened but have never come across one. It's easy to test a file to see if it will make a good fire steel. Give an edge or a corner a few good strikes with a sharp flint and see how good it sparks. If it doesn't throw good sparks then don't try to make a striker. This test will not work for brand new medium to high carbon steels because they are usually annealed when purchased. Heat treating a fire steel made from a file or any medium to high carbon steel is dirt simple. Heat it up until a magnet will not stick to it and quench it in oil. Heating it hotter than the point where a magnet will not stick to is not needed and will add to the risk of cracking.
  7. Basic but important ! Hold the black end, hammer the red end.
  8. I'd be a little cautious about using treated lumber. The stuff used to treat it is usually toxic. From time to time you may drop red hot iron onto the treated wood and throw off a cloud of smoke. Not a problem on untreated wood but maybe not a good idea on treated wood. Try Google and search for " is pressure treated wood toxic"
  9. dickb

    Sharpening steel

    Thanks. In my post I used the term "sharpening steel". My mistake, I should have written "honing steel" This will clean off the scale, but will the resultant surface have the right properties for a honing steel
  10. dickb

    Sharpening steel

    I am making a couple of carving knife and fork sets for gifts. The knifes are 1084 and or 1095 steel . I have a few pieces of stock of each type and use them pretty much interchangeably . Have never had any problems. The knives are oil quenched and tempered to 400 degrees F. I want to add a sharpening steel to complete the set. I have plenty of coil springs from automobile shock and/or struts. They are pretty easy to get around here and I don't use anything that looks the least bit rusty or crusty. About 5/8 inches cross section. It's easy enough to straighten them out and forge a nice long taper with a tang . So far, so good , but should temper them a little cooler than the blades ? And how can I leave some long ridges from one end to the other as per commercially available ones ? I can score them prior to heat treating but I think they will burn off. And the second question is, how do I deal with the forge scale on the surface ?
  11. I am a blacksmith working at a local museum. I came across an old pair of tongs in their collection. The surface shows a little rust and lots of grain , typical of old wrought iron. It's clearly hand forged and massive. It's about 24 inches long overall. The bits are (each) one and a quarter inches square and about five inches long. It's clearly designed for holding flat stock . Can anyone suggest what these tongs were used for? I heated the jaws to a dull red heat and clamped them on to the spine of a scrap knife blade and in a short time I could see the tempering colors flow from the spine to to the cutting edge. It was easy to arrest the action without over heating the cutting edge. Has anyone seen similar tongs and/or confirm their usage?
  12. Rebar is perfect if you bury it in concrete, not recommended for blacksmiths. Might be okay for a poker or a rake, nothing else. Great source of low price, uniform good quality steel is the local welding shop or fence and railing shop. Used automobile coil springs are great for hardenable steel (center punch, cold chisel , etc). but they are dangerous to disassemble. Ask the garage guy to take them apart, he has the tools to do it safely. Depending on your hand-eye coordination and accuracy skills with a hammer, I would start with forging tapers . For example forge a 1 or two inch long square taper on a 1/2 inch square bar. Next forge the same tapers on half inch round bar. Then continue by forging a 1 or two inch round taper on 1/2 inch square bar and on 1/2 inch round bar. If you are having trouble with these then find a stump and a pound of tenpenny nails (about 3 inches long) and practice hammering them into the stump. Now that you are comfortable with the above, start with making a center punch, cold chisel, scribe. Up to this point you may have been using vice grips to handle hot metal so it's a good time to make some tongs. And don't forget, hold the black end and hammer on the red end.
  13. dickb

    Forge welding problems

    Try a much deeper fire and 1/2 inch square bar is probably a little easier to forge weld. It has more mass than 1/2 inch round and sourced at the right origin it's the cheapest . The larger mass will make it cool a little slower. Try local companies that make railings. It's hot rolled and will come with some mill scale that you can take off with a grinder/file/sandpaper. You want to heat the work just up to the point that the (20 mule team) borax will melt, doesn't need to be any hotter. You have to work quickly when you go to tack weld it because it cools pretty fast. You can check if it's up to welding temperature by touching a piece of coat hanger to the work. If it sticks, then you are probably up to welding heat. Forge welding takes a lot of trial and error if you are working alone. Try to find a blacksmith in your area and ask hit ti show you how.
  14. I don't think sodium filled valves are used in such low level engines as lawn mowers. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, sodium is much too dangerous/explosive to fool around with. Of course with the proper investment, about $29,000, you can increase your chances of survival , see https://carefordescientific.com/united-shield-olympiaexcel-eod-large-45dk24-excel-bomb-suit-l-black-each/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIirvjyZ-I3gIVj4izCh2wBwWXEAQYAiABEgLsnPD_BwE