Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Rusty Horns and My Dirty Face!

Recommended Posts

As I keep telling folks, my blacksmith shop is in the basement of a cowbarn. In susquehanna county, pennsylvania, you stub your toe and hit spring water.......right next to my barn is a spring house which was used, many years ago, to water cows stalled in the basement of the barn. Every evening, between 5 and 6 pm, with all this moisture in the air, it all condenses to cover every piece of equipment in my shop with moisture, causing rust. Even my anvils, all 8 of them, get covered with this coating of moisture every day. Sometimes, even in the summer, I have to wear a jacket in my shop to keep my back from spasming, due to this diurnal moisture-covering of everything in my shop. I used to cover everything with transmission fluid, but I got to the point that I said, "what for"! The reason the horns on my anvils KEEP the rust coat is that I do most of my bending on bending jigs I have made for production runs. So I do not do much bending over horns, and the minute an anvil gets polished from bending over the horn, it rerusts in the evening. Since the overwhelming majority of work I do is on my 700 lb. hay budden, one of 8 anvils in my shop, it has the highest lustre in the herd of anvils! Besides, what is this fascination with shiney anvils? What sense does it make to use transmission fluid on 8 anvils, five vises, two triphammers, four forges, 200 pairs of tongs, a hammer rack with over 200 hammers and handled tools, two lineshafts, two large pedestal grinders, among many other tools comprised of steel and iron? I find it much more economical to concentrate on finished product, like the 100 slate shingle rippers boxed and painted and sitting upstairs on shelves, where there is zero moisture to rust my stuff. Or the thousands of boxed and oiled grapevine joiners in stock on shelves that I dare not let rust, for fear of having to wire brush them all, and rebox in order to ship to customers that I also have stocked on upstairs shelves, all DRY! A shop this size is hard enough to keep clean, let alone derust everything in my shop every day of the week. Alas, I will continue to suffer with rusty stuff in my shop!
I am posting pics of my equipment, showing how quickly they rust in the evening in my shop, even though all these tools were used all week long, making hundreds of hand tools in my shop on this particular production run of caulking irons that I manufactured that week. Take particular note of the last two pictures, showing the triphammer dies used to forge the handles on over 100 caulking irons that week. Even though during the day, forging one iron after another all day produced a shine on these dies and a mountain of scale to boot, they still rust up when the dew point in my shop goes under a certain temperature in the evening. The very last photo shows the polished product, which I store, ready to be shipped, from my dry upstairs shelves! The PRODUCT is the key, not the anvils!

post-10332-052332400 1285241699_thumb.jp

post-10332-066631800 1285241731_thumb.jp

post-10332-048307600 1285241869_thumb.jp

post-10332-030567400 1285241960_thumb.jp

post-10332-053319600 1285242022_thumb.jp

post-10332-032543900 1285242095_thumb.jp

post-10332-099793500 1285242243_thumb.jp

post-10332-096737300 1285242665_thumb.jp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As you say Stewart,it is about the work.
Some of us came up doing whatever it took to get the work done and understand that how the shop looks is secondary to everything else.You should have seen our shops at the end of any given day and we were making multi-million dollar yachts.
Having my day job shop situated on a salt water pier and my house on a tidal cove I can completely understand your problem with rust and the solution you came to live with.
If I absolutely needed to have all my gear buffed and polished at all times I guess I`d have to move to Arizona or it`s equivalent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Stewart,

That is some impressive prodution you got going on there!

I really like your heavy duty T shaped pipe blacksmiths helper next to your forge.

Is that toothed "rack" on the front of your power hammer used as a sizing gauge for stock that you are forging?

One solution to the rust "problem" that you are having would be to heat the shop up enough year round so that the metal in there never gets down to the dew point. As you pointed out that would be a rather pointless endever, as long as the moving parts of the machines stay well lubed that is really all that matters.

Caleb Ramsby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like there could be a couple of contributing factors to the moisture. You're not really in a basement are you? You're on the ground level of a multi story barn. It's built into the slope of a hill. Your shop is on one ground level, the cows walked in on another ground level and then there was hay/fodder storage above that, the loft, right? I think that you are getting a lot of the moisture from the soil, from the walls that the top ground level are built on and from the floor. As old as the barn is I suspect that there is no moisture barrier at all to keep ground moisture from seeping up through the concrete or through the walls, it is hydrostatic pressure that is pushing it, water, through the old concrete. At night as the day time temperature falls this moisture condenses in the space creating a veritable temperate rain forest type atmosphere, besides rust you are probably growing mold and have a musty smell to the place. A strong continuous flow of air would help alleviate this but would not be a cure. The only thing that would cure it would be a moisture barrier and a vapor barrier in the ceiling above. I don't think you want to go to that expense on that barn, perhaps a new all metal structure would be a good solution to this problem or a new pole barn with adequate ventilation and heat and that's a lot of money :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...