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  1. The photo doesn't make sense to me in relation to your sequence of events. I think we're looking at the two facing sides after you cut the MIG weld off. If so, the visible oxide colors on the nice and smooth faces look like maybe a shade of bronze which would suggest you were hovering in the 500 degree Fahrenheit range which would be a black heat. Further, the edges of both pieces are really square and crisp. In my experience, white hot is right on the verge of burning. Just taking a piece of mild steel stock to that temperature tends to soften crisp corners a bit. Then again, maybe those edges got squared up when you cut the MIG welds off. This leads me to my last question, did you MIG weld all the way around the perimeter? If so, I wonder if you got something weird stuck inbetween the layers that set up an inclusion for you.
  2. JHCC, I'm glad to hear that your wife narrowly avoided disaster.
  3. Although my work was deemed "essential" by the stay at home orders, there's precious little of it to go around. Whenever the market tanks, we're inundated with pricing requests from clients who seldom build anything. Most of the time it's developers who couldn't get financing when the market supported the business plan. Now they're hoping that a decrease in construction costs will be enough to push their project through. Since most commercial ventures need revenue to start on day of opening, it's too risky for entrepreneurs to start construction before they know the stay at home orders will be over. I'm fairly certain that the finance people are just going to punt on everything until they see evidence of other banks making loans. It's incredibly frustrating because these shutdowns would be a perfect opportunity to safely and cheaply perform a big chuck of the annual public school repair work. Instead, they're sticking to their typical summer schedule which means near zero revenue for 1st and 2nd quarter. We have repair projects for office buildings that are on hold because the clients are staying home! Seriously, these are projects that would have disturbed the client to perform, and they're not letting us get them done while they're at home. All essentially, because decision-makers from top to bottom have all opted to "wait and see". When/if all this comes to an end, it's probable that there won't be enough surviving contractors to attend to the smaller work. The distributed damage done by the constant and systemic uncertainty is far worse than a few weeks of lost work.
  4. Tongs are a pretty significant barrier to entry for beginning blacksmiths. I might get roasted for posting this, but consider looking at youtube videos on "alternate tongs". I've seen some that are like bartenders ice tongs that can be banged out of a single bar of stock. There are also some by GS Tongs where he uses an interesting twist approach with round bar to generate a matched set in way less time. If there's any way you can buy stock large enough to allow using the parent stock as a handle, you'll probably find that's way more secure than tongs are anyway.

    Flattening EMT

    As an Electrician, I've spent most of my time with EMT trying very hard not to flatten it! John is right about it being a poor choice for structural uses. I suspect it's a bit like rebar in that there is no specific steel alloy required in it's specification, there are only performance based criteria. The NEC defines the minimum bending radius for every size of conduit so there's absolutely no reason for manufacturers to use steels that would hold up to the strain of tighter bends. That being said, I've never noticed any difference in the bending characteristics of different conduit manufacturers. I will say that freezing cold conduit doesn't like to bend as easily as room temperature conduit.
  6. Hefty, I watched a youtube video of some smiths making an axe in a very different way. They fullered cheeks into the stock before they slit and drifted the eye. They fullered in roughly 1/3 on one side, then they flipped it over and fullered the other side down to match. There are several advantages to this approach. First off, it's a lot easier to fuller the first cheek into rectangular stock because you have the full support of the anvil under it. When they moved to the opposing side, they had a squared off set down section which was bolstered with scrap of the same size. Again, there's full anvil support for the work and you don't need a special bottom fuller. When they went to slit the stock, it retained the rectangular cross section at the end so it held itself upright. The slitting went pretty quickly because there was less stock parallel to the chisel to resist. It was also easier to tell when they had the chisel centered because the long axis is defined by the fullers, and the stock width at the eye is closer to the blade. The drifting went especially quickly because they weren't trying to move 2/3 of the stock thickness with a top tool, drift, and bottom tool. That's a lot of moving parts, each of which has inertia resisting the hammer blow. When these guys did it, their drift width was equal to 2/3 the stocks starting thickness. Once fully drifted, the eye cheeks were pushed parallel to the original stock dimensions. That being said, there's no reason that the proportions couldn't be altered to end up where the eye plus the handle was thinner than the original stock width.
  7. If the intent is to haul all that out and set up a workshop, I'd suggest you include something to cut dead-fall for an anvil stump. You'll also likely need a shovel that's big enough to dig what you need, but small enough to tend your fire. You'll probably need a bucket for water to serve as a quench tank and as your fire extinguisher. You don't wanna start any forest fires. That's a fair bit of kit to haul into timber. You might want to consider some kind of backpack. I knew a guy who took old WW2 stretchers and put two bicycle wheels on an axle in the middle. It made a dandy game hauling cart.
  8. For what it's worth, there's a program on Public Broadcasting Service called "This Old House" where I can typically catch quite a few OSHA violations per episode. The most common ones are trenching related. They never have correct shoring, cut backs, or cave-in protection for workers in trenches. Episodes featuring landscaping can be a safety violation bonanza, especially if there's any sort of tree trimming. I often wonder if there's ever on-site tension with Norm Abrams. His solo show "New Yankee Workshop" always features a part where he recites a safety message about wearing proper protection and using the tools safely. It's clearly important to him because he actually works that message into his script in every episode.
  9. Thank you to everyone who posted photos. That's some big steel! I ran across an interesting approach to punching an eye for a struck tool the other day. The smith fullered opposing flats in the stock parallel to the eye. Each flat was approximately half the narrow dimension of the drift. Then they punched and drifted the narrowed section. Once fully drifted, the eye cheeks were in plane with the original stock. As far as I can tell, there are three advantages to this approach. #1. The parent stock stays at forging temp longer for the fullering which gets things done faster. #2. The drifting is easier because there's half as much stock resisting on either side of the drift. #3. Any sort of rectangular shaped drift hole will likely be kept much more in line with the stock this way because the fullers reduce the resistance in plane with the parent stock.
  10. I don't know much about railroads so I had to google "railroad anchor". What I found doesn't look like it'd be good parent stock for what you have made. Unless you welded a few of them together, it doesn't seem like they'd have enough steel in the right places to work. Most of them are clip/bracket pieces that have bolt holes in them.
  11. The bottom mating side of an individual timber gets the groove cut. When said timber is placed, the groove is over the previously set timber. Prior generations had their share of stupid people, Just as we do in ours. We know that adzes planes, chisels and axes all existed before this thing. Every one of which would be a more expedient and effective tool for your suggested purpose. If it was for cutting chinking grooves, the inherent limitations likely lead most craftspeople to conclude that it was a bad design for that purpose which is why the idea didn't take off. So if we're going to show respect to the intelligence of craftspeople, it seems only reasonable to conclude that it's the wrong tool for the job. Your responses suggest that you think we were dismissing your idea. Moreover, you were "chuckling" at our feeble attempts to explain that which was obvious to you. I responded because I wanted to show you that I respected your input. Please bear that in mind.
  12. So far you've repeatedly offered one possible use for this tool without providing much proof beyond your self confidence. It's entirely possible that you're correct. It's also possible that you're not. It'll make a groove. Neat, it'll also make a corner, a point, a cleft, a matched pair of cuts, and a stress riser. However, to show respect to your suggestion, lets actually consider the application that you're presenting. Chinking is the material jammed in between logs or timbers to seal them from the environment. In the case of timbers, the builders had to square the logs . The most common way of doing this was to snap lines, then chop relief cuts such that hewing blows would cleave a relatively flat surface to minimize the amount of broad ax work to bring everything true. Often, the cleaved chunks were hewn into pegs which were used to peg the joinery. In stacked timber framing, you have to cut a groove in the bottom mating side for chinking. This presumably, is where you believe this ax comes in. To use this tool, you'd be swinging like a baseball bat standing to one side of the timber. Every cut would have to be short otherwise the swing will cut an arc, and the groove depth won't self register. So far so good, it's still technically feasible. However that cut looks to be maybe 1/2" deep. That's a pretty shallow cut for chinking a timber. Most of the ones I've seen run 2" deep. Also, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that people would go to all the work of squaring and hewing a log anywhere but at ground level where they can stand on it. Using an awkward sideways swing to slowly cut a precise square cornered half inch groove just doesn't make much sense. When the timbers are stacked, the chinking groove is hidden. All inconsistencies in the fit up between timbers are filled with the chinking. Making a shallow groove with a fiddly tool that deprives you of momentum seems like it would be a hard sell. Then again, there are all sorts of dubious tools on offer today that are obviously marketed to dullards. After all, it slices and dices! When rustic log homes were made, the chinking groove was often just hacked in with a standard ax. If there's no need for the precision of an adze, a plane, or a chisel, you can get the building put up faster. Roy Underhill had a presentation about how the English settlers in America struggled to get established partly because of their tradition for timber framing. When Scandinavians arrived, they used log framing techniques to get their homes built in a fraction of the time. Even today, most people can't afford to wait for a home to be built slowly. While I'll happily concede that you may still be right, I'd like you to consider just two things. The oldest cutting tools in human history are the ax and the adze. Manual lumber processing has always been hard work that doesn't pay unless you can get the work done quickly.
  13. Matt, From the wikipedia page on plant grafting, they say that larger trees and shrubs may require hatchets, cleavers, etc. to cut. They also say that a precision fit is vital to the success of the graft.
  14. I have a completely different idea. What if it's for grafting rootstock to scions? That joint has to be a clean cut where one part is pointed, the other is part is Vee'd. Seems like it'd make pretty quick work of a fairly precise operation in an agricultural situation where you'd probably have to do this for every plant in the field.