Arbalist

Show me your Bottle Openers!

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Not saying my way is the best or correct way, just the way I do things.... 

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IIRC one of my 100+ year old smithing books advises one not to punch wrought iron but to forge weld  an end to make an eye---draw out bend around and weld.

 

Cheaper grades of wrought iron have coarser slag inclusions and layering---Merchant Bar may show the layering quite visibly.  This is why knifemakers like the lower grade WI for fittings---more character but higher grade WI if they are using it in billets.

 

Black Frog have you tried twisting any of the WI and then dressing back to sq to provide an interesting texture?  If it's close to shape and delaminates you can sometimes flood it with brazing rod, (wire brush and borax flux of course) and get a black and gold look.  I'm a big believer in not increasing the scrap pile *and* charging more for items that take longer even if the longer is a "fix".

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TP,

I'm guessing they didn't use the greatest quality grade of W.I. for simple fence pickets, there's a lot of junk coming out of this W.I. when you forge it...... 
I can see why maybe a better approach would be keeping the grain lines 'strung out' by drawing out, bending around, then forge welding.

With punching the hole near the end you are sort of  cutting off the grain lines out on the very end and probably promoting some of the splitting.

 

Many of the openers made from this stuff have layering lines visible.  I haven't tried twisting and dressing back, interesting thought!

By far the vast majority of the problems using the W.I. pickets is splitting when forging out on the rim of the eye.

 

I have torched in some bronze brazing rod on few that were oh-so-close to completion, and then split the rim on the last few heats. 

Like you mentioned it does give a gold accent to the repaired area. 

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It's one of my teaching mantras that my students hear time and time again as I work a fix for a mistake they have made---so you fix it by doing this and then you charge extra!

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Black Frog

 

Thanks for the info, especially the techy stuff.  You could think about writing an article for some of the smithing mags/newsletters,  you are most of the way there and your insight is right on.

 

much appreciated!

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I have tried to punch three more of those wrought iron spikes but still the splitting occurs. I'm wondering if I punch the hole lower on the spike so that there is more material between the hole and the tip it would help keep things together. Then grind off the excess and clean up. Might give that a try next time. I'm determined to get a bottle opener out of one of those spikes. So far wrought is nought.

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ausfire; Maybe try upsetting the ends a bit before punching?  Then upset the slit too, rather than drifting it?  Also use a slot punch rather than a slitting chisel?  Just a few strategies that occur to me which might help.

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Ausfire, would it help to maybe refine the wrought some by folding, and welding to get some of the impurities out first, and shrink the layers some?

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Ausfire: Are you working the WI at low sparking welding heat? WI wants HOT or it'll split the party on ya.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for suggestions. I'm using a round punch. Going to have to make one of those slot punches.
And yes, I do get the iron hot - not quite to sparking heat though. I find there's a fine line between sparking and melted. I'll keep trying.

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Got one finished.  Not sure where I first saw the design, but I liked it and always intended to try making one.  At least, now, I know and the next ones will look better.

 

IMG_0964_zps0316e4f0.jpg

IMG_0962_zpsf542e8a8.jpg

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Nice VT!
Looks like it passed the testing & QC!

Oh, no, Mitch.  That was only one bottle, and I'd be a poor smith if indeed if I didn't use a sample size large enough to be statistically viable.  I'm thinking it will take at least a dozen similar tests on a variety of bottles to be sure that the design is solid.  Wouldn't want a customer to get a shoddy product, now would we?  ;)

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Pretty cool opener, worth putting in the demo project bag for sure. Let me offer you the services of the Frosty One, opener testing facility. PM me for the address.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I'm messing around with variations on this theme, pretty basic but friends seem to like 'em. I just finished careful product testing, can't be too thorough when it comes to testing! :)

post-53103-0-90670500-1402175566_thumb.j

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They look good, I like the line of the top one best, it's swoopier, I like swoopy. It reminds me of a seahorse.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hmmmmmmm seahorse head bottle openers in the future? Maybe use the scrolled end as a scrolled tail.

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Just to prove that I do, indeed, function test my openers......

 

IMG_0989_zps0c82e80a.jpg

 

Iron City - the blacksmith's beverage!

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Do you add the cost of the Quality Assurance testing to the price of the opener; or consider it part of the overhead for the shop?

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Neil, If I added the costs to the product, nobody could afford the product!?  :D

 

I stay broke, but well-hydrated!

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Neat idea VT! I may borrow that idea for other things....
It's great when you can start writing off buying beer as business expenses for research, development, and testing! :)
Part of my business requires opening beer as functional quality control testing.... Think the IRS will buy that?

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Frog, I don't see how they could honestly argue against it; you're just being FDA-compliant.  There's no such thing as a million-dollar testing machine that can automatically adjust for the variations inherent in hand-made openers, and you can only reuse a twist-off cap so many times before it's destroyed.  And, more importantly, as you've noted, the possibility of chipping the rim of the bottle is high if you don't have the correct sizing.  

 

I put the beer down as "Non-Destructive Testing, operational orifice sizing" equipment - and write off the costs of substandard bottle openers. :D

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