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  1. Line Shaft Shop Tour There is a lot of interest in line shafts among blacksmiths, and since I am a full time blacksmith in a line driven shop, I have decided to give a tour. Many of the machines we use in this profession were meant to be run from a line shaft, and I sincerely believe that is the best way to run them. Every blacksmith really should consider a line shaft, and I hope this will be encouragement. I will be happy to answer any questions anyone has about a line shaft, the way I have things running or about my shop in general. My shop is two buildings: the workspace, which I began using in the mid 1980's and is now two floors; and the engine house, which I added in 2004 and includes the office and show area. The workspace is divided into four areas: the machining area, the forging area, the assembly and stock area, and the upstairs which is for small work and storage. I intend to show each of these areas over the next few days. Since the entire shop is dependent on the engine, I will start with the engine house. I built this as a separate building to keep the engine's noise and fumes out of the shop. (Up until then, I had an engine at one end of the shop.) There is a short hallway connecting the two buildings. The engine that now drives the shop is 118 years old; it is a Reid Type A, made in 1898. It provides almost everything the shop needs: the power to the machines, electricity for the lights and outlets, and even the heat for the shop. The only things it cannot power are my welders and the blower on my gas forges. In cold weather, the engine pumps its coolant through radiators throughout the shop for heat (and to cool the engine), and it pumps it through an outdoor system in the summer. I merely open one set of valves and close another to switch cooling systems. There are nearly 400 gallons in the system, but I got the antifreeze for free from a junkyard. Also in the engine room is the air compressor, the dynamo, an exhaust blower so gasses are blown outside, a counter so I can keep track of the line's hours for servicing, and the fan for the engine's summer cooling system. All are run by the line shaft in the engine room. The air compressor comes on and off on its own, by air signals, or it can be controlled manually. (The control system is my invention.) The dynamo is a 110 volt, 31 amp Higgs Dynamo made in England in 1925. It generates the electricity for the lights, the outlets for my hand tools (Dewalt is still AC/DC) and for the magnetic chuck on the surface grinder. The pulley that drives the dynamo is 52"--big enough I had to cut a hole in the ceiling. The large drive pulley was necessary to get the speed correct for the dynamo. By using the engine for all of my machines, my lights and my heat, I get a lot more out of a gallon of fuel than I would running it just for the machines. The first month I had my dynamo running, my electric bill was just $5.00. That's pretty minimal for a full time shop. Using the engine for multiple tasks is key to a line shaft's efficiency. It might interest some of you to follow me on Facebook. I post processes once in awhile, with shop pictures. I'm not sure what the link is, but just look up Joel Sanderson/Sanderson Iron and you'll find me. There are more machine pictures on my website too, along with descriptions and some links to videos of the machines running. My site is sandersoniron.com. I hope it's okay to post that here; I'm certainly not trying to sell anything to a bunch of hairy blacksmiths who can make their own stuff. I'll try not to be so windy next time.
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