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  1. I think it serves to add questions to the questions... The only soft tail that comes to mind is a Harley Davidson Motorcycle which doesn't make much sense. A 48" diameter auger could be for drilling caissons or planting trees.
  2. I have an old book called "Foxfire Five" which touches on blacksmithing, logging, bear hunting, and blackpowder rifle making. Another good one is "Hunting with the Bow and Arrow" by Saxton Pope.
  3. pnut, According to the author I mentioned earlier, there are a lot more lightning strikes in nature than suburban people would expect. Many of them strike the rocky tops of mountains where there's little fuel to keep a fire going. They specifically mentioned that charcoal doesn't decompose. As a result, animals encounter the smell of smoke more often than we might think.
  4. JHCC's comment reminded me of something tangential to this discussion. I have a book on longbow archery where an archer tried to use "primitive" archery equipment in the 1940's and 1950's. He used charring and smoke to conceal human scent on his clothing and equipment. He also used a fire to heat the lignin in the wooden arrow shafts to straighten them. Once cooled, the arrows stayed straight(er).
  5. For what it's worth, I've used sand and ash in lieu of clay for a few years. Wet everything down to form it so there's a depression below the tuyere, then light the fire. Even if the clinker sticks to the ash/sand, it'll still come free very easily without caving the whole deal in. The other advantage of the ash/sand liner is that I can unload everything into a bucket for easier transport/storage. My next forge will have a knock-down box sitting on folding steel sawhorses. I plan to make a wooden frame with a steel lip so long stock doesn't burn it.
  6. Building on what JHCC posted, I've noticed that some parts of wood grain burn differently than others. On charred hickory handles, there will be slight hollows between grain lines. I found that the resulting grain lines run from end to end where they mostly increase grip to resist torsion. I've read about primitive wooden arrow and spear shafts being charred for durability. Perhaps there's a point where outer char helps to seal fibers so they're less inclined to dry out?
  7. That's an interesting approach to a punched eye. I would imagine there is less time spent drifting, but the trade off is slitting a narrower cross section.
  8. I found this article which suggests higher SFPM figures than listed above, along with some data on horsepower requirements.
  9. Supaflupa, You could also try out "wet" forging where the anvil and hammer are wet. Hot steam blows the scale off the work with the first strike. It's messy and can be extremely loud if you have the right combination of large steel, and wet surfaces. Another angle that's seldom mentioned is that you can use borax to prevent scaling. That's more helpful when you're dealing with mostly perfect work going in for the last couple of heats. Borax is easier to get out of nooks and crannies than scale is. Finally, you might want to consider using a bucket of sand to clean up your work. I've had good results swishing small stock through sand at black heats. The sand works it's way into and around the curves.
  10. Sooty, I think Irondragon is right. My suspicion is that most folks make a guillotine are only thinking of how awesome it would be to strike a hammer blow with higher precision. They don't realize how much of their hammer swinging effort gets wasted overcoming the drag and inertia of their guillotine tool until they use it for the first time. After that, they probably don't want to add any more drag to the system. There's an episode of the woodwrights shop with Roy Underhill where he visits with the Colonial Williamsburg blacksmith. I noticed that the smith was using this stubbly little cold chisel to cut plate iron. At the time, I put that down to thriftiness. Now, I realize that the stubby length reduced mass which means every blow cuts just a little deeper. It also keeps the point of impact closer to the anvil height which means the smith is getting a more natural swing with his hammer. If that wasn't enough, the stubby chisel also allowed him to hold the plate and the chisel against the anvil face with one hand.
  11. Somber, I've successfully made a pair of tongs this way. I used 5/8" square stock. I started by making the boss area more perpendicular to the handle which I left straight. That allowed me to slit the boss working down towards the edge of my anvil. Once I got it punched, I put a rectangular drift in, and bent the boss area closer to 45 degrees. That got me the angled hole without needing a special bolster. Then, I forged the set downs for the inner jaw, being careful not to let the jaw dimensions exceed 5/8" in cross section. I took a short section of 5/8" square stock, and forged a taper working from opposing corners. I kept the width at the chisel end at 5/8". The resulting tool is what I used to convert the rectangular hole into a more square opening. It didn't stretch the sides very much at all, because there's very little surface contact. If it get's hard, tap the jaw end towards the handle like you're upsetting . When inserting the inner jaw, there's a fair bit of fiddling because the outer hinge surfaces need to be brought in as soon as the jaw passes through the opening. A longer slot doesn't hinder performance, especially if you're going to drill and put in a rivet. I hope that helps.
  12. In my working life, I frequently encounter some pretty significant generational differences in communication. They existed when I was younger as well, but back then, the only way to communicate via text was to write a letter. At the risk of stating the obvious here, I think it's important to point out that if you strike the wrong tone in a face to face conversation, you get immediate feedback. Generally speaking, people of my generation were used to that, so they tended to word their letters very carefully so as to avoid misunderstandings. If you got yourself into a mess via letter, you knew you had to make your response extra worthwhile to expect any reply. Social media, texting, and forums are typically arranged so that the whole exchange from beginning to end is constantly visible. The response to any given predecessor doesn't necessarily have to restate the context of what they're communicating. In settings with a large audience, the responses might be largely oriented towards playing to the crowd. The emphasis is on being quick, witty, and temporary. Nobody's tries to write a literary masterpiece, or for that matter, like they're writing to a friend. That crowd effect often leads to dog-piles on one party or the other. Justice, truth, and intentions are irrelevant to the mob. Everything hinges on defending a perceived victim. Paradoxically, the only time that social media get's "personal" for an individual, is when they're being attacked. There's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that the greatest "bullies" online, present themselves as the victim. They don't have to present concrete evidence of abuse, they simply equate a position they oppose with malicious intent. Typically, that's all the mob requires. Again, people of my generation witness all of this, and see how there's a very significant gap between stated intentions and actual outcomes. The writer's sincerity gets called into question. This is where the "pidgin English" of texting really bites everyone in the backside. Vital context for understanding is missing. Personal appeals in the form of polite language often don't exist until apologies, so the reader is free to interpret every statement before that as a "command narrative". Not for nothing, I hope that anybody reading this will go back to the beginning of this thread and read every exchange between JHCC and myself. It took us a while to get on the same page, but there wasn't an unkind word in the whole thing. Speaking for myself, JHCC challenged what I thought I knew, and introduced me to some new ideas. I'm grateful to JHCC for making that effort with me. It's my opinion that exchanges like that are the entire point of forums like IFI.
  13. Chris, I agree entirely that it's better to learn good form at the beginning. However, I would encourage you to find ways to gauge the veracity of what you're being taught. I've been to hammer-ins where an old fella was obviously struggling with a fundamental or two. Yet he felt 20 years of doing things "his way" constituted mastery which left him duty-bound to share with any beginners within earshot. I've paid for semi-private lessons with reputable smiths who had their "instructor patter" so hard-wired that they ruined their own demonstrations. One spent nearly half an hour talking about which end of the hammer to hold. Another would talk so much between heats that students were burning their projects in half. It got so bad that some of the students quit paying attention to the teacher altogether so they could preserve their project. Later, when everyone was packing up to head home, that instructor was grousing about how students these days don't pay enough attention! Heck, ten minutes of searching on youtube will provide you with several years worth of "instructional footage" on blacksmithing that was created by people who do not know what they're talking about. Some are young kids who don't know any better, some are metal manglers with decades of experience misleading the public. Past forum discussions on how to sort the wheat from the chaff generally lead to two camps forming. One group focuses on the limitless number of possible solutions to any problem, the other focuses on pedantic/totalitarian controls over who gets access to an audience. It's my opinion that neither perspective has any proven practical application to the advancement of knowledge. I believe individuals must accept the responsibility to prove the things they believe to themselves. Too many people place their faith in institutions, instructors, and other meaningless indicators of quality, like cost or status. This forum is a beacon of wisdom in a veritable storm of misinformation, because the members take the time to actually prove (or disprove) the knowledge that's shared. Collectively, they reveal more truth than any place I've ever been.
  14. JHCC, no problem at all. Thank you for the insights about peening Japanese plane irons. It's really interesting how nuanced and complex these tools are for something that looks like a wedge of steel stuck in a block of wood!
  15. JHCC, Auto-correct got me on synopsis, but thank you for correcting the record. On a Western plane (or chisel) the entirety of the non-bevel side is laid completely flat on the stone, and the entire surface is ground. Everything from tip to tail on that side is ground in a single plane. In contrast, the Japanese plane iron has two ground faces, both of which are at different angles than the main body of the iron which is also a wedge in lengthwise cross section. The bevel is the more acute angle which you drew on the right. What I'm calling the taper, is the more obtuse angle ground on the opposing side which you drew on the left . Here's my own sketch including a cross section attempting to label what I'm talking about. Please note that the taper is not in the same plane as the rest of the iron on that side. One of the things this discussion has brought to light for me was that I was assuming that the hollow was perfectly formed. If that hollow was perfectly consistent, the progressive grinding on the bevel and taper would never lead to a situation where the edge wasn't perfectly straight. Now I see that the peening is necessary whenever the progressive grinding encounters a point where the hollow was cut deeper than the preceding area. I can also see that it's probably easier to hog that hollow past the edge, then peen the gap closed afterwards when the plane is first being made. That would dramatically reduce the rough grinding on the hardened steel which in turn, would make the plane iron cheaper to make.