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About Frosty

  • Rank
    The improbable Curmudgeon

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    Meadow Lakes Alaska
  • Interests
    Metal work, people, puns and other bad jokes.


  • Location
    Meadow Lakes Alaska
  • Biography
    Real name's Jerry Frost. I've lived in Alaska for 37 years. Been a hobby smith since I was maybe 10.
  • Interests
    metal working of all kinds leaning towards blacksmithing.
  • Occupation
    Retired equipment operator

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  1. Welcome aboard James, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll find out how many members live within visiting distance. You'll learn more in an afternoon with an experienced blacksmith than days or weeks of research. Seriously, I can tell you all kinds of things about how soul satisfying it is to move steel with nothing but a fire, hammer, anvil, mind and hands but once you take hammer in hand and do it you'll NEVER KNOW. There are a number of reasons blacksmithing is enjoying a resurgence, I think it's more like being noticed by the public at large but that's another discussion. In large part mass produced products have given everyone in America with a job the opportunity to own things undreamed of by our Grandparents. My parents grew up pretty hard scrabble, 80 hr weeks were the norm, Father dropped out in the 8th. grade to get a job and help keep roof and food in the family. Mother knitted mittens, gloves and socks to put money in the kitty, started when she was 4 and listening to her knit was like hearing a zipper pulled. WW II put everybody to work, Mother and my maternal Grandmother took jobs at Boeing, "Rosie the Riveters" literally, Mom we called my Grandmother Mom and Mother Mother, a family thing. Anyway, Mom was a "Rivet Buck." She was small enough to crawl to the tips of the wings and buck the rivets while they were being headed from the outside. Mother set instruments as she was very good with her hands and they were small enough to fit behind instrument panels. Dad joined or was drafted into the Army but his trade were critical war skills he was a metal spinner and machinist. His skills were in such demand he was made a prison guard in Texas where he trained prisoners and ran a machine, metal spinning shop. At the end of WWII America was geared up for war production and all of a sudden nobody needed that kind of production so it got converted into mass producing: automobiles, farm equipment, aircraft, pots, pans, lawn furniture, BBQs, furniture, common hardware, EVERYTHING. I remember as a kid on road trips we'd play a game that consisted of who could count the most: houses and cars, JUST LIKE OURS. Dad set a limit of the first to 100 won or we were shouting out constantly. And NO, subdivisions and car lots didn't count. Anyway, my generation grew up with mass produced identical . . . everything and what would be my kids generation grew up to jobs that didn't include much hands on. And yes, manufacturers had to make stuff that wore out soon enough folk had to buy new or the factories would run out of customers. Planned obsolescence. I was inspired by an episode of "Have Gun Will Travel" where Paladin was robbed and stranded in the desert with nothing. He found the remains of a wagon train that'd been wiped out by "Indians", I saw the episode in the mid '50s and it was first aired in the late '40s. Indians ALWAYS attacked wagon trains, circling them and shooting arrows at them while whooping. Until the Calvary came charging in to save the day at the last minute, usually the next episode. Anyway, Paladin was left to die in the desert but he found the wagons where he was able to make shelter from the canvas covers, found water in a barrel and flour to make breadlike food. Then he built a fire and stripped some iron from a wagon and forged himself a knife, then he used it to carve lumber from a wagon into an Atlatl and darts with iron tips. Then with a: sack of biscuits, canteen of water, lariat, Atatl ad darts he went bandit hunting. Anyway, without telling the story I was hooked a smart person with nothing but his: wits a fire and some iron was at nobody's mercy! I was hooked I wanted to be able to do for myself, anywhere any tie. I've always been self sufficient sometimes to ridiculous extremes but I can make what I need and it gives me comfort in a frightening world. You have millions of folk who aren't self sufficient, without tech and community they're in real trouble. NOBODY likes feeling helpless and most like to think they're unique in some way or another. Surrounded by what we called, "pop outs," mas produced everything it's nice to have something that isn't. Something hand made, even if it closely matches the other things in a set has it's own history, the maker's mark is evident if you look closely enough. Outside of rare occasions when someone needed a unique tool or piece of hardware everything I've ever sold has gone to someone who wanted one that was different from every other one on Earth. By "one" I mean whatever it was I made, every darned one is different. I also like showing folk how to look at hand forgings you "Braille" them. Your eyes can miss subtle differences but your fingers won't, just running your fingers over a hand forging reveals it's character, it's soul. I grew up in Father's machine and metal spinning shop, I've been running precision machinery since I was darned young and much of what went through his shop was crazy tight tolerance Aerospace close. Parts Dad build have left the solar system, rest on the Moon, Mars, melted to a puddle on Venus and beyond. I grew up in a world where 1/10,000 of an inch was almost slop. Blacksmithing on the other hand is very visceral, You judge temperature by eye and make STEEL do your bidding with the oldest of humankind's oldest tools, a fire and something to hit with. You're done when it's finished, you measure by eye. I took up blacksmithing for two main reasons: First I need very little to become self sufficient and secondly I don't need to take a micrometer to anything, I have a number in the shop but nowhere near the anvil. Then there's the publicity of Forged in Fire and a couple others that revolve around the anvil. Before FIF our club was lucky to have 14 members show up for a meeting and all of a sudden 30 is a poor showing. I see at least 5 requests to join the club FB page most every day and new members pay their dues every meeting. About that "resurgence" thing. Not hardly; we owned and raised horses in the '60s so we had a farrier (horse shoer) out regularly. Horse shoing is a specialization of the blacksmith's craft, not something different, farriers can make the change to general smith far faster than a general smith can learn to shoe a horse. Anyway, there were more farriers working in the 1960s than there were blacksmiths working at the end of the 19th century. Blacksmithing was no longer the main manner of manufacturing common steel products but it hadn't died. Later though a number of folks organized to make it a household thing again. To encourage folks to make art and artful hardware in the public's eye, ABANA being the premier American organization. There are many in Europe many of the ancient working guilds are still active and strong. I'll PM my Email address. I'd love to read your galleys but I don't do google docs. <shudder> Frosty The Lucky.
  2. I sure wouldn't. If you don't have enough control with the treadle you need more practice. A really good way to practice hammer control is to forge strap stock, say 1/4" x 1" on edge into square, then round. 1/8" is of course touchier but I've done it playing with a Nazel 3b. I'd never used one and I wasn't going to be there long so I was seeing what I could do on it. First I gave a piece of medium red, 1 1/4" square "Pure Iron" bar one seriously hard smack that reduced to a round spatula, cut the thin off and forged more down to about 1/8" thick I don't recall how wide, I didn't measure but somewhere between 3/4" and 1" wide and then forged it back down to square. The control was so exquisite I get shivers remembering it now, 15 years later. I can't see a good reason to slow the motor and take any possible chance of oil problems, the gears and cylinder of that Nazel were fed from a crank shaft and the oil pump was supplied from splash off the main drive gear. I have no idea why they did it that way but . . . Frosty The Lucky.
  3. A line from the "Pulined ladder" I believe? It's a heck of a project Jennifer. Brings back good memories of putting mine up. Frosty The Lucky.
  4. Charles NONE of us are looking at you like an idiot! So your spelling can be amusing, so what? If I didn't love you I wouldn't tease you, I ignore folk I don't like, friendly insults are for my friends. If I came across as anything but your friend giving you the kind of treatment reserved for a dear friend I screwed up. It's MY BAD, I humbly apologize. No reservations, no qualifications, straight up, I wish I could do it face to face. I wouldn't hurt you for the world Charles. On my honor. Frosty The Lucky.
  5. I know from first hand experience there is a good use for rebar outside of concrete. Nothing is better for pinning corners in log construction, we'd mark then notch the log, trim the length so it laid flat then tune the notch so it rested tight and even. Lastly drill a 1/2" hole through the top log about 1/2 way through the bottom log. Using pry bars lift the top log and put a plum sized gob of Bondo on the joint, let the log down and drop a smallish rope of Bondo in the drilled hole and drive a length of 1/2" rebar into the hole. 1/2" rebar doesn't just drop into a 1/2" hole you have to drive it in with a sledge and when it bottoms in the hole it squishes Bondo up and out. Even plain rebar is outstanding for pegging log construction corners. Of course folks who use 2 sided logs and dovetails don't need to peg the corners and can chink with silicone calking or rubber weather stripping laid between the logs. Other than that I've used rebar to make ground anchor stakes and inexpensive firewood racks for folk who like how rebar looks. Mother and Father for example, no hand forged stuff for them, nosiree! It wasn't till I was talking to my Uncle Fred after Dad's passing I found out why he was so against learning or doing any blacksmithing. Seems that during the great depression he was too young and small to get a "real" job so he sharpened plow shears on a 50 lb. Little Giant for a nickle a day. By time he'd worked up to making a whole $0.50/day he found a better job and moved on They only had a couple of my forged pieces in the house mostly because Mother insisted but forgings brought back too many bad memories for Dad. Anyway, that's why we bent rebar into two rings about 4' in diameter and welded a couple cross pieces on the bottoms to connect and act as feet, the tops were welded together. It was in their house in E. Wenatchee when he passed away even though they'd never built a fire in the fire place, it held wood next to it and he bragged about it being made by his son. Funny what has meaning to folk and why isn't it? Frosty The Lucky.
  6. I see a couple problems Hntr: First, K-23 IFB are only rated to 2,300 f. max temp and start to degrade at higher temps. We've been seeing K-26 IFBs used successfully in some very hot forges. Am I correct in reading your description that you are using Satanite directly on the IFB and then covering with Kasolite? I haven't seen that sequence used. I see Satanite used as a stand alone hard refractory or as a kiln wash as the final layer in flame contact. How thick are you applying the Satanite? Are you buttering (spraying with water) the existing surface before application it? Frosty The Lucky.
  7. "Holland Anvils." The maker is around but probably busy and he casts a lot more smithing tools than anvils. Frosty The Lucky.
  8. More like, I'll hold your beer while you do that again. Frosty The Lucky.
  9. Thanks Charles, once again you made me REALLY use my brain there and instead of developing a headache It put a smile on my face. Just the sound is entertaining and it opens a world of silly new words in my dented mind. Say, you toss a 55 gl. drum from your truck to the stock pile are you "ensourcening" the pile or the drum? When the better half asks, "Where did THAT come from?" You can say the stocks were "Ensourceled," by a "Sourceror" of course. One of the great things about a living language, you get to invent words to mean what you want. Why not, they're all made up eh? Frosty The Lucky.
  10. How familiar are you with San mai? What do you define as "Traditional" steel? More specifically what is the time and technology period steel you wish to use? The origin of most built up and or folded steel is from before folk knew how to produce good steel reliably. It was easier to make too hard/brittle steel in conjunction with cast iron, wrought and many grades in between. With training and practice the refiner could tell what was what within reason. The smith would buy a selection for the product s/he needed to make. If it were a blade then layering hard and soft steel in a billet, drawing it out, folding and repeating gave the best chances of a blade that held an edge but wasn't so brittle it snapped in use. So, help us help you. What do you want for "traditional?" How good are your grinder skills? You WILL have to grind or file or scrape or . . . ? to finish your blade. It's a more demanding skill than forge welding if you're not welding exotic metal alloys of course. Frosty The Lucky.
  11. I don't do a lot of heat treating but I have a quench tank. It's made from a 15 gl. lube oil barrel and has a nice reasonably tight fitting lid. It lives in a cut down 55 gl. drum again with a lid. The lube barrel is thin steel and poking holes in it is a concern so I cut a piece of 14 ga. steel sheet to fit and dropped it in. Then I cut and bent 5/8" expanded to make a shallow basket that slips in the barrel and welded a pair of handles that raise above the oil level but are below the level of the lid. The 14 ga. disk has been enough armor I haven't poked a hole in it and the basket allows me to fish out things I drop without reaching into the oil. The cut down 55 gl. drum is containment if it catches fire or gets a hole poked in it. I preheat with a piece of 2" dia. round bar, noting fancy I just heat the end and stand it in the oil, it's long enough I don't have to do anything special it only gets HOT on one end. On the rare occasion someone doesn't plunge a quenched piece completely under the oil and its flared up I just tossed the lid on the oil barrel and the containment and we took a break for the smoke to clear. I HIGHLY discommend using: ABS or PVC pipe, plastic bucket, wading pool, etc. for a quench tank like you see on TV "reality(?)" shows You REALLY don't want to touch a side, have the hot steel melt a hole and let the oil out, especially seeing as it's flowing over a piece of HOT steel. A healthy stream of burning oil is just SOOOO hard to explain to an insurance adjuster. They have their own definition of understandable you know. Frosty The Lucky.
  12. Welcome Beermeneer, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll discover how many members live within visiting distance. You're wanting to make a "San Mai" blade which is Japanese for "Three Layers". You don't make pattern welded blades by welding the layers at full length, you weld a billet THEN forge the blade. Forget what you see on Forged in Fire or the intertoobs, that for the most part isn't how it's done. A reasonably easy to calculate how much stock you need to start with and end up with enough for the blade, tang, etc. is to weigh a blade the size or a BIT larger and add maybe 5% - 10% for each heat you think you'll need to do your forging and heat treat. The additional steel is to compensate for loss to scale and other losses. Don't worry, you won't lose the san mi pattern in the forging, even if you don't do an edge quench to produce a "Hamon" the higher carbon goody in the middle of the steel sandwich will be exposed by grinding and an etch will bring it out nicely. Oh, and before you run in circles whooping in glorious joy about being let in on the secrets of bladesmithing I should let you know. I'm not a bladesmith guy but this is an exercise in basic blacksmithing and THAT I do. Frosty The Lucky. Technically San Mai means 3 flat things
  13. You're welcome Joe, my pleasure. About the food coloring it should've read GOOD visual cue, NOT God visual cue! Nothing we do is THAT impressive, believe me. Frosty The Lucky.
  14. Welcome aboard Joe, glad to have you. Not knowing what West Systems 40 is I first searched in online, and read the marketing info so I just added MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) to the terms to learn what it's made of. The sheet was specifically for the 406 version and it's colloidal silica. BINGO its THE stuff. I don't know the ratio but it's most effective mixed with enough clean water to spray through a stritzer. If you add a drop or two of food coloring it gives you a god visual cue about coverage. Stritz the refractory blanket with water (butter) first. This lets the silica bond to the refractory and flow more deeply. Applying rigidizer or any masonry type product to a dry surface causes flash drying at the contact so there's a layer of dry powder between the cement and what you want it to stick to. This is a BAD thing. Applying it to a wet surface allows it to flow into the surface and cure rather than dry for a good molecular bond. If you've ever watched masons laying brick or concrete block you've seen them dipping bricks/blocks in a bucket of water before laying them on the mortar. Butter before applying the Kastolite and Matrikote for the exact same reason. Remember Matrikote works MUCH better applied in several (with drying time and butter between) coats. Mix about latex paint thickness. Frosty The Lucky.
  15. A good line I use on folks who want "antique" prices for old and rusty is, "I don't pay extra for rust." Vintage and Antique are buzz words you see in ads all the time and usually mean rusty and probably older than the seller's kids. My power hammer turned 100 in 2013 but I can't find a single dollar sign on it. It still just beats hot steel to whatever shape I'm good enough to get from it. Be patient they're out there and the bubble is starting to deflate. Patience will be rewarded. Frosty The Lucky.