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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by Spears

  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.
  16. Excellent "store bought" look on that cart. Along with those outrageous fees comes the necessity of building things yourself. You will feel real good everytime someone asks "where did you get that nice cart". Thanks for showing. Spears.
  17. I’ve been an owner of a whisper daddy NC propane forge for 4 yrs now. They are made very easy working “non adjustable”. The nozzles are special threaded so as only to be installed/replaced into an NC forge and they used to cost less than $3 ea. The gas regulator gets set between 10-15 psi for propane and will heat stacks of horseshoes flawlessly to ~2350 deg F. Besides a bit of warping up at the door opening in the center, it has served me very well with zero problems. I have been running my regulator set at 11 psi. I was advised by another blacksmith to turn up the regulator if I was needing more heat to forge weld but I never do because I just use a different process and have never had a low heat problem. I would replace the nozzles and/or turn up the regulator as something to try first. Before choking off and “renegade like” trying to adjust something that wasn’t invented as adjustable, I would consult the manufacturer about it first. Good luck. Spears.
  18. The wrench was one ended very flat and wide, not a spud. The head was bent at 45 degrees edgewise. Perhaps altered this way to get into a tight spot on very large machinery. I would have liked to have seen how they cocked the head on that thing edgewise because I could barely bring it back to almost straight having it cherry red. Then edgewise hammering the handle to a square it became very long and a job to work with. Something I would have never undertaken without a power hammer. Spending the time to put together equipment inexpensively gets done yet never gets done. Monkey around and build it, or take the hit and buy it. My wife just told me I spend more time building tools than making art. Win lose and/or lose win. LOL. Just last week I built a bending fork. After using the fork to bend the snake tail I wondered why I never built one of those sooner. I guess I was too busy getting the work done without one. Yes Mr Powers, I do way to nice of work to have certain limitations. I say that every morning I walk past my workshop door to get in my car and go to work at my day job. When I no longer need the day job, I will walk into my shop and do things with real time abundance, I just hope you’re around to see it! Sincerely, Spears.
  19. The open end ports on my gas forge won't allow this thing back in after shaping which means heating it up in the large side door opening. I really do like the idea of taking this project further but the equipment limitations start to get frustrating. I would like to own a coal forge or an induction forge so I could heat up small specific areas of irregular shaped assemblies but funds for the hobby are on hold right now. I'm glad you like the texture. Spears.
  20. I started by smoothing a long taper under the power hammer using a rocking tool like Mr Miller showed on his thread. The tool I constructed is also pictured there. Leaving that tool in the bottom, I bolt the texturing tool into the ram. The texturing tool is a solid dome with hacksaw slits placed in a row and then small holes drilled along the slits hardened and tempered. Strikes overlapping and imperfect still may look patterned to the eye though the work piece is dented. Use lighter repetitive blows. Use a stump with a rawhide or wooden mallet to bring the piece back into one plane while texturing and final curve bending so the texture isn’t destroyed. The small test piece came out a bit easier than the big heavy wrench two feet long. Spears.
  21. I picked up a very large wrench at a flea market so I tapered down the handle and made a snakes tail.
  22. Do what r smith said but with the addition of a small shim say .015-.020" thick same diameter as the pipe. The shim is placed right where the pipe will be and clamped between a thick flat plate to create a hump and balance out the warp which it will "draw" up no matter what. Clamp around the shim as much as possible before any tacking and jump around with plenty of tacks before running a bead. Leave all clamps on at least 10-15 seconds after final weld. If it still draws up quite a bit, use a thicker shim next time. It may never go perfect but an 1/8" plate can be bent back pretty easy with a hammer. Good luck with your project. Spears.
  23. Metal work needs to be in a category of its own. Below is a story that covers what has happened to me twice. The lame little wood carving that took a blue ribbon in the below exhibition could have been carved by a blacksmith using a dull jackknife in about an hour. If there is one thing I dearly wish an organization like ABANA would do it would be to hold and organize exhibitions for ironwork with proper categorization and judging so art pieces like your flower can properly measure up with like works. It can take a severe workshop with industrial equipment to construct a metal piece of art which arguably gets surrendered to a paintbrush, a piece of canvas, and good lighting. What remains is the impossible chore of trying to exhibit multi media works yet still providing what anyone would seek which is a “straight contest”. Enjoy the following story if you care to read and I do hope the blacksmithing community can someday group together in a quest for a real metal work competition. Regards, Spears. For those people who go out and try to build up their name and reputation as an award winning artist like I do, here’s some things that happen to us now and again that just plain suck! I’m hoping that sharing my experiences with all of you may help to combat or head off problems that might occur should your path be similar to mine with what you do with your art. Juried fine art exhibitions all have negatives and inconsistencies to be dealt with that just comes as the nature of the beast. It’s always nice when you get to say you won an award, but more often you get to admit you didn’t place. It’s all good and life goes on but what is really terrible is when it is so strongly evident that things are lopsided that even the administrators admit they’re going to try to bring judges from afar to help out the process of judging. What happened to me this time wasn’t of judging but rather of circumstance. This has happened before and the time it happened before I ended up not entering anything anywhere for 3 years. It was in a later year I decided to enter a local art exhibition and took an award for a dragon I made. Shortly after that I received a “call for artists” invitation for a somewhat distant museum exhibition. After going out and looking at the museum I decided to make a piece and I successfully got juried in to the exhibition. Upon arriving at the award ceremony I found my sculpture at the far end of the museum displayed on a knee high platform with another artist’s sculpture right there on the same platform. You literally had to bend over to see the detail in my sculpture. This area of the museum didn’t seem to be as well lit as most of the place but that is a chance you take anywhere. There were some other sculptures displayed disrespectfully at a low knee level, but all of them had their own platform. The other artist on my platform didn’t deserve to have my sculpture sitting there in front of hers either. Most all of the sculptures where displayed individually on a waist high platform in decent lighting. If they were paired up, it was because they were made by the same artist. There were some nice cast bronze pieces on display, but other than that mine was the only other metal one. The rest were of different media. I stayed through the awards and left quietly only to return the following morning to sign the release slip and abruptly take my sculpture home. The museum doesn’t deserve to display my sculpture for the next 30 days and my sculpture deserved a respectful platform of the correct height like all the others. My artwork will not be displayed disrespectfully in a lesser manner no matter how good or bad anyone thinks it is. A top representative of the museum contacted me an hour later and was 100% in agreement with the way I felt. She gave me her sincere apologies and stated she was going to prevent anything like this in the future. I don’t know why anyone would place an 8 inch tall sculpture down low like that but you can never count on the best display conditions. I’ve been in exhibitions where my artwork was displayed so nicely I didn’t even care whether I won an award or not. This was an exhibition I could guarantee I wouldn’t take an award after seeing the circumstances. So if you get some pieces juried into these events, inquire about display as much as possible to let them know you’re concerned. You may not always get the best part of the room, but your artwork deserves to look good no matter what.
  24. Well, at least you acknowledge some of the dangers which is a good start. I don’t weigh the dangers very heavy because attentiveness and constant safety awareness allows certain folks to do those types of occupations for years. More important is the realistic awareness of the availability of certain occupations. When I was taking my welding classes at a community college in Michigan back in the 80’s, the instructor spoke of all these guys coming through his courses talking so much about underwater welding. He said there were three guys in the entire state that did it, and one of them died every year. I never checked him on it, but when an advanced master of the craft explains the job outlook like that, it kind of means “low opportunity”. I’m not crapping on you or anyone else’s dreams here, just keeping it real. The big money and “ooohhh la la” hero worship does not even come close to covering the majority of what a real professional can readily get one’s hands on. It’s an availability issue not a capability issue. In the CNC machining world, four axis, and five axis programming does exist. Community colleges teach it everywhere. It is dynamite technology to say the least. But just a few weeks ago, I met up with one of my fellow machinists who said that their forth axis indexing head has been sitting in the corner of the shop collecting dust for ten years. Hence, the elaborate forms of the trade don’t cover but maybe a small fraction of the available work out there. This does not mean don’t try to become anything. Just do the required homework and check, check, check the availability. It wouldn’t do much good to be the best underwater welder in the world if no one out there wants to hire one. Good luck, Spears.
  25. Its nice to see so many folks ranting and raving about an un-named individual who said something one person heard having a very short sighted opinion of who or what gender can “really be a smith” but that type of thing goes on all the time. It very much reminded me of the assnined notion that because I use a gas forge and fabricate using Miller electric, I lack what it takes to forge weld and therefore I am not really a smith either. Okay. What I try to do is practice forgiveness and let one’s work stand for itself. It doesn’t take much research to find an abundance of females in most any said trade where the level of work is a professional chore to match or beat. I just hope that the opinionated individuals can find their way out into the world and recognize the abilities and works of others based on what it is. I wish them better luck. Now my ranting is over. Spears.
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