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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
  • Biography
    ex-shop teacher
  • Interests
    metal sculpture and microbreweries
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  1. Thanks for the comments Windancer. My entire shop was liquidated and I have relocated to south Alabama. Due to the cost of owning a home and a workshop, I have retired from my metal art hobby. I haven't had a computer for awhile so I apologize for not answering. Relocation went ok and I will be on Iforgeiron from time to time. I'm hoping to attend more blacksmithing events than I was able to before and maybe I'll do some smithing at some monthly gatherings. Thanks for reading. Spears.
  2. I'll be there tailgating everything my Ford Ranger can haul. Obviously I can't haul the power hammer. Anvils, welding clamps, hammmers, tongs, wire brushes, bend forks, guillitines, slack tubs, special fixtures, punches chisels, H-13 bar stock W-1 bar stock, etc etc. If your building up your shop, come see me. Thanks, Spears.
  3. More of a need for awareness than fear of health damage. I have a concrete floor and I use a propane forge and many times I can get the same conditions. Even welding without a lot of grinding I sometimes find it. There is no escaping a bit of exposure to the dusty dirty in ferrous metals. I felt a little better when I once toured a cast iron foundry and the guide said only four out of fifty will die of black lung. Not a real sympathetic industry but at least the workers were very well paid. Fact is, you could hardly escape that molten metal smell even in the parking lot which means they’re all breathing it yet only a small portion of the population there dies early from it. It’s actually a good thing that you noticed because now you can adjust your equipment, processing methods, and safety attire with the work activity. Good luck. Spears.
  4. I bought one like the vertical one you have pictured. I use it for 10-12' rod and I really like it.
  5. Hello Dave, Your hand made tongs look very well made as usual. Dedicated fixtures and tooling might only bring up the speed. As far as tool worthyness, I would say your hand work makes a fixture "not needed". Unless of course your looking to knock them out in higher multiples for sale or donation. I actually started designing yet another fixture to help tong making for folks needing tools who aren't quite as practiced. I don't think of tong making as a beginners project, but it is some of the first tools people will need to get into blacksmithing. I refer to tongs as the goose's golden eggs whenever the request say's "please donate tools for the raffle". I'm sure whoever receives your tools as a gift will be very appreciative. Thanks for showing. Spears.
  6. I don’t know how many times I read heat treat posts and responses and say to myself “what the hell could these people be doing to achieve or not to achieve these results they talk about?”. Heat treatment is a process. 1) get it hot. 2) quench it. 3) temper it. Times, temperatures, quench media, checking methods, etc etc etc depending on what kind of resources you have available will produce results directly coinciding certain parameters getting met. In other words, if you didn’t get results, some parameters didn’t get met. 4140 will harden in oil. Maybe not with the way some of you perform the process, but rather with a process where certain parameters are “met”. Down on the farm, in the garage, and in an industrially equipped heat treating facility can all have shortcomings as far as results go. But to outright say “that doesn’t work” or “regardless of what written specifications say” is a belittlement to some people who have spent large percentages of their lifespan in the specific industry. Your results in heat treatment are a reflection of “your” process, not “THE” process. Use what works for “YOU” because your shortcomings reflect on how “YOU” do your heat treatment, not how the world should do theirs. Spears.
  7. That's awesome chyan... Hard tooling to hold up against make quantitiy 100's + Can't beat that inventory stocker !! Nothing worse than setting up a table somewhere and not having enough for folks to look at. Smaller items many times out do everything else at the show. Thanks for showing.
  8. Big foot, I more or less end up playing around with materials I can readily get my hands on. I wouldn’t have minded using material a little thinner. Then again, with my luck someone would probably try to jam it in a vending machine. LOL. Ironwolf, those are extremely good questions. I’m not an expert in press forging but I would tend to think a press would work better on thick bars that can retain heat a bit longer than a small disk of material. Unless one quick squish works better than 4 quick blows. If I had a press I would try it. The mass of that puck (1.48” dia .25 thick) doesn’t stay hot for long. My hammer is a Robertson air hammer with 115 psi, 2.5” diameter Hydraulic cylinder, 700lb anvil block welded to a 400lb base plate. I can get 4-6 strikes in ~ 2 seconds ~8” stroke and the puck is packed out and turned grey around the outer. A decent load of abuse in a short amount of time. The disk cutout was .045” thick 304 Stainless steel and the sharp corners which bring that fine detail probably get rounded over from combination both impact and heat. I think that result is inevitable. If packed out to heavy both the materials were prone to sticking which when pried apart becomes more prone to destroying the mold cutout. I did find as thin and the sheet metal is, I could pack it down quickly to bottom out so the top of the protruding pattern has flat spots from the lower die, but not on all of them. Thicker sheet metal might prevent this, but it really doesn’t look bad. The disk also becomes larger and after 2 or 3 uses and would need filing to fit into the fixture again. Pretty much disposable patterns. Thanks for viewing and I will post more pictures if I do more. Spears.
  9. The following shows the results of an experiment in making medallions from sheet metal cutouts by hammering red hot metal using the cutouts as a mold. Blanks were cut from 1/4” thick hot rolled steel plate and then soaked in vinegar for scale removal followed by scotch bright clean up. A 5/32" diameter rod was tack welded to the edge of the blanks for holding in place inside the fixture. The fixture was constructed from the same material as the blanks so the sheet metal cut out would make the red hot blank stick up out of the fixture the amount of its thickness and could be hammered flush on the flat die of my power hammer. Clearance was allowed for thermal expansion of the heated blank for fitting into the fixture. Hammered flush the blank packed out nicely and with using the rod and thumb screws the fixture could be lifted off and the medallion tapped out while hot. This turned out to be a beautiful process made efficient only by CNC laser cutting the blanks and sheet metal. Otherwise this process would have been quite a time taker. The sheet metal cutouts of high detail were destroyed in 1-3 medallions and the more simple shapes like the Alabama “A” could go 4-6 before discard. Sports emblems aren’t my specialty, but for this multiple part production experiment became highly desired giveaways. Medallions with my logo may take the place of a touch mark for some of my sculptures and forged items. Enjoy, Spears.
  10. Very nice looking piece Dave. The long piece with the groove in the twist with the upset ends is really impressive. The customer won't have to worry about the "everyone has one" scenario. The level and amount of work involved goes well beyond the commonly found. Thanks for all the pictures. Spears.
  11. Repeat of what Wayne Coe said and then add: Stick welding will require you to be more of a welder to weld real well with it. With MIG welding it will be a lot less effort to get better welds with less practice. I own Miller equipment, but a well known name brand like Lincoln should be just as good. Just stay away from generic off brand knock offs for it will be hard to sell yourself as a serious craftsman using second rate equipment. Save up for an auto-darkening helmet because tacking something together blind is for professionals and adds struggle to the task of welding. I’ve done a lot of metal art which entails tacking small pieces together and taking aim before the arc happens makes welding much more comfortable and easy. Good luck with your welding endeavors. Spears.
  12. Just got back from Spruce Pine fire on the mountain blacksmithing festival in North Carolina. Very nice should anyone get the chance to go to that one. Frosty I'm not sure if our dinosaur of a laser has cutting conditions to do more than "through" cutting. The operators 10+ yrs know nothing about etching and the manual doesn't talk about it either. I'll have to consult the service technician the next time he is in. I don't always get enough time to play around with the cool machinery. I am going to try some designs in mild steel and see if I can do it over and over again and maybe make some key chains for sale or promotional give away. I'll post the results when I get there. Thank you for your comments. Spears.
  13. I was playing around with ideas on how a touch mark could be made so I performed an experiment where I would heat up the punch-to-be material and pound it into a sheet metal cut out symbol. I program a laser as one of my many day job duties so I cut a potential symbol out of .045” thick stainless steel 304. Aside from better material choices, 304 stainless is what I could get, so that is what I used. I installed three roll pins in one of the plates so I could center the punch quickly over the symbol while red hot. A piece of 5/8” round 2.5” long W-1 tool steel was used for the trial. With four quick blows from the power hammer the shape came out rather flat for a touch mark IMO but the detail was outstanding right down to the imperfections of the laser cut sheet metal. With proper fixture setup, I think this process could probably be used to make some cool looking medallions or something. Enjoy, Spears.
  14. I use the CGW brand which is a USA product and yield a pretty good cut life for the price. Well above the junk I once tried from Harbor Fright. Not above a Dewalt in my opinion but you did use the word "cheap" in the original post. Enco will run specials on these and a bulk buy of over 10 can get down to $3 per disk. Not a bad balance combining price and performance. Maybe this link will work. Good luck with your purchases. Spears. http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=PK391-7246&PMPANO=0626920&PMKANO=317&PMKBNO=2709&PMPAGE=32&PARTPG=INLMPI
  15. I was lucky to have purchased both Oxy/Ace and Plasma ~13 years ago before things became less affordable. Its hard to beat the portable nature of the Oxy/Ace setup as far as not needing electricity and compressed air like with Plasma. But if you cut an abundance of sheet metal or plate up to 1/2" thick, you can hardly beat the "ease of use" with Plasma. I hardly ever use my Oxy/Ace for cutting unless I have to blow the U-joint out of an axle in which I can't get the plasma tip down in there between the lugs and around the curved shape. I find it vey bothersom and expensive to have to get tanks refilled. To get a "good cut" with the Oxy torch, it takes a steady hand and I also have to pay attention, concentrate some, and try at it. With comparison, I would have to call Plasma "effortless". Is it worth the cash? Well, everything is, as long as you have some. Good luck with your cutting. Spears.
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