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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by dickb

  1. I did a Google search for rail anchor specifications and/or rail anchor steel . Apparently the material is 60Si2MnA I have forged a few punches and cold chisels from rail anchors. After quenching and tempering to a light straw color they cut mild steel like a hot knife through butter.
  2. If you Google "PALLET BUSTER" or "PALLET DISASSEMBLY TOOL" you will find many tools to do the job. Some are made of wood and some made of steel. There are commercial and/or home made tools shown there. You can find one there that will suit your blacksmith skills and available materials. A five foot digging bar would make an excellent handle if you can find one (maybe at a garage sale) . I paid two dollars for one at a garage sale.
  3. Most semi precious are far too delicate to withstand hammer blows (and high temperatue)and the iron or steel is much too hard, even fully annealed. Jewelers typically mount stones using thin metal prongs and bending them over the edge of the stone. All this is done at room temperature. No heat at all. The mounting prongs are soft enough to allow this. I don't think iron would be soft enough. You might be able to use epoxy resin to attach the stone. Or maybe braze or hard (silver) silver solder some prongs
  4. As a new blacksmith you should not try anything too complicated. Save the pieces of 1/8 stock for a later project when you have more experience. I suggest you find a local shop that makes fences, railings, gates, etc and ask them for a few "drops". "drops" are great material to practice on, and the price is right. "Drops" are odd and end leftover pieces too short for their jobs. Most shops throw away lots of 1/2 new square bars. Be polite, tell them what you are doing and be prepared for a pleasant surprise.
  5. Start small and focus on developing skill. A good beginners project would be to practice making short tapers, lots of them. Maybe not very impressive but a lot more satisfying than a lumpy, twisted piece of burned iron that was intended to be a Bowie knife. For example, a two inch long taper on half inch stock. Try mixing it up by using round stock and also square stock and also cone shaped as well as square sided tapers. A claw hammer isn't to useful. Suggest you get a cross peen hammer about 2 or 2 1/2 pounds . Ace Hardware/Home depot. etc. etc. sells them for about thirteen dollars.
  6. As a result of a currently popular TV series, blacksmithing has become "all the rage" and everyone and his brother/sister is (or at least in his/her own mind) a budding blacksmith. That and the fact that everyone's great grandfather was a blacksmith. So investors are driving prices through the roof. By way of definition, an investor is a disappointed speculator. May they all lose money.
  7. An overnight soak in household vinegar followed by a wirebrush scrubbing should take care of the scale. Light hammering on a semi hot blade is called planishing. It will remove some, many or all hammer marks left from forging. Planishing is done when the blade has lost it's glow and it turning black. An angle grinder is the fastest and worst way of removing scale and hammer marks, particularly for a beginner. It does nothing to improve your skills/technique and you might get used to using one at the expense of becoming a skilled blacksmith. Have a little patience, you'll get there.
  8. Be polite and respectful, but don't get involved with the girlfriend's mom. It's clear the mother is not being honest .
  9. I get a lot of cut offs/drops/ etc from a machine shop They know exactly what kind of steel it is. It's usually color coded or marked with a magic marker. You can ask them. Might not work if you are dumpster diving
  10. If it's a small shop then be polite and ask to speak with the boss or owner. Explain to him that you're an amateur blacksmith and show him two or three pieces that you made and could you have a few pieces of leftover or maybe bent steel that they can't use. Thank him and if it looks like he's interested in what you do then bring back something you made from his steel. If you're not an amateur, then just go out and buy the stuff .
  11. I am using a gas oven to temper fully hardened steel. The oven is about forty yeas old. I am using a type K thermocouple meter to display the oven temperature. From a cold start I bring the oven slowly up to the temperature I am trying to get. It takes 10 or 15 minutes. The type K thermocouple meter show the oven temperature going through wide swings of about plus and minus 30 degrees. I'm thinking of burying the workpiece and the sensing element of the meter in a bed of sand to even out the wide temperature fluctuations. Would welcome any comments.
  12. I needed to put a temporary handle on a tool (wood chisel) so I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in a piece of hickory and heated the tang and burned it in. Not overly hot, but hot enough to char the wood. I used a wet rag to isolate the heated area. Later I had to clamp the tool in a vice and needed to use a hammer to get it off. Would this be sufficient to hold a handle on a hidden tang knife ? I could pin the handle and use boiled linseed oil to finish the wood.
  13. An alternate solution. Turn the blower on and let it run unrestricted. Feel how hot the motor gets every few minutes for the first fifteen minutes. It should reach a stable temperature and not get hot enough to burn your hand . After letting the motor completely cool down, repeat the test choked down to 20%. If you can still touch the motor after fifteen minutes then it's well within it's limitations.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Made from an eighteen inch jack hammer bit . Not too fancy, but you can hear it a block and a half away.
  17. 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. .
  18. 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
  19. 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-
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. If you want brighter light go for a Halogen Bulb. What is a watermark ?
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