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I Forge Iron

T stakes

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Depends a whole lot on the type of equipment you have access to!

I just did a couple of armouring stakes where I used old odd shaped sledgehammer heads for the tops and forged out the shafts from 2.5" square stock---ONLY because I was able to borrow access to a 100# LG triphammer and a 500# Chambersburg powerhammer

http://s941.photobucket.com/albums/ad257/gridlok/Aug meeting/Projects/Armour Stakes/

(if you dig through them you can see a shot of the sledge hammer head I was working towards---the RR spike driver on the swage block)

Doing this by hand would be the death of me!

Note too that most sheetmetal stakes are pretty soft. Hard is nice but generally it's more important to have the mirror polished hammer than the stake.

Edited by ThomasPowers
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i hadn't thought about that yet. but i have some truck axle that i could use for it. i have a mig welder and a torch. so welding and cutting are no problem. as for a power hammer..... i plan on using my right arm and a four pound hammer. and i just build a forge shed :) so i have a nice place to work.

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I picked up a couple headache balls to make mushroom or ball stakes from some years ago. Headache balls are the cast iron balls you see on crane cables just above the hook to keep tension on the cable. They come in two haves that bolt over the cable like a clamp.

I polished up half the 57 lb ball and used it for bougeing helmets and it worked very well. Soft as cast iron can be and it worked just fine.

I never did weld a stake to it nor have I done anything with the 22lb headache ball.

One of these days though. ;)


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Frosty I have one of those too---but it doesn't come apart mine was cast as a solid with a hole all the way through it and another with a threaded section. I had a friend who does hobby machining make a threaded rod to fit it as the shaft. It just fits in a milk crate and is quite a hefty ballstake!

Axle material should make a great stake if handled right----From a friend of mine who used to work in an axle plant:
"For axles the industry standard was 1045H below 1 3/8" stock and 1541H for axles above that size, for trucks.These modified steel are much more prone to quench cracking than plain 1045/1050, and I would suggest quenching in oil. These steels are also prone to grain growth if held at forging temp for very long without working the steel."

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I've made a couple T-stakes using the Tool Bar from an older cultivator. It was around 2 inch square. Agricultural steel tends to be 1080, but that tool bar (where all the cultivator spring/shovel feet) are attached might have been better steel. I cut them to length, forged up a tapered spike for the bottom, ground reliefs all around where they met, and had a friend arc-weld them together. DEEP penetration is necessary. And those beveled edges gave access fairly deep into the pieces and room to fill in. I then ground the surfaces smooth. I did not heat-treat them. In use they are holding up pretty well with very few dings/dents from poor hits. One I heated up and hammered on the end to upset it a bit and flair it out some - like you see on old square stump anvils. Heavy work without a power hammer - just a hand-held 6# sledge on short handle. I even fullered a decorative groove around the bottom near the base. And then had a friend weld on a forged/tapered spike for a tang to go into a stump. That gave me a 2 1/2 inch square stump anvil.

The key when welding the T to the base is getting good deep penetration in that joint.

Large hammer heads do make good T anvils. The spike to go into the stump just goes into the eye hole. A good fitting tenon peened/riveted over will lock it into place well. Then just dress up the top surface.

If you search around a bit, you can sometimes find the old version of those railroad spike driving hammers. Both ends are tapered square down the that small striking hammer end. The more modern ones are tapered round, and don't actually taper much. Most taper quickly from the center eye hole mass, and then run pretty straight out to the ends. And there are some smaller combo spike driver pick heads out there. Square hammer head on one side of the eye, and a square tapered pick on the other end. Another good candidate for a riveted tenon tang and conversion into a T stake.

Just a few thoughts to ponder.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands

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One of those tapered sq sledge heads is the one my student was working on making a shaft for in those pics---not many of him as it was his camera...also his first time using a powerhammer and a 100# LG and 2.5" sq stock is a rough way to learn!

I hope to have both finished off before our next conference as I bought the heads at the last one...

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