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I Forge Iron

Third Hand

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I know its probably simple yo most of y'all but How do you go about making a Third and for a pritchhel hole ?

I can form it perfectly but what about tempering to get it not too springy but not too Stiff?

I wish my original teacher was around to ask.

Thanks to anyone in advance.

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Are you talking about a third hand or a hold down? My third hand is on a seperate base and I can move it form the forge to the anvil, etc. It supports long pieces of metal while in the forge or laying on the anvil. I also have a hold down to fit my pritchel hole to hold something down while I use my handled hot cut or a chisel, etc. Both are just mild steel and not hardened at all. :D

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Sorry bout that, I meant a Hold Down. We called them a third Hand but what you say makes sense.

I have worked for almost a year now without one and Now I find myself in need. Made two. One springs back up and the other I needs to reform.

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The hold down needs to have just the right curve so that it "chokes" into a top edge of the pritchel hole and the opposing edge at the bottom. It is a matter of experimentation.

While on the subject of "third hands" however, Francis Whitaker showed a third hand that fit into the pritchel hole, and he used it to support a stock length when lap welding. I've made one. You forge an anvil-thickness length of stock, making it round at the end of a bar, reduced from a preferably square cross section, to be placed for a snug fit in the pritchel hole. You'll have probably 12" to 20" sticking vertically above the anvil face. A hot, 90º bend will take place at the anvil face. Insert the hot bar, pull it down and hammer a right angle. The horizontal, straightened portion can now pivot on the far side of the anvil to support a piece for a lap weld.

http://www.turleyforge.com Granddaddy of Blacksmith Schools

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Heat the curved part of the hold down and slightly straighten the curve. Try that, first. I suspect that it is bent too tight. :)

Go ahead and try that. (I assume you're talking about the traditional one-piece holddown that's shaped something like a numeral 7, right?

If you still have trouble, try thinning down the "neck" of the extended part. Mine used to bounce out all the time until I reduced the cross-section behind the gripping pad by about one-half.

It also helps to roughen the shank; I cross-peened the part of the shank that's inside the pritchel hole during use; it holds better that way. (Doing this on one that's used on a woodworking bench wears out the holes sooner--not generally a problem on an anvil.) :rolleyes:

Conrad Hodson
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