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I Forge Iron

Working through the pain


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Last October my right knee locked up on me and its been a very hard long winter. The snow is almost gone now and the temperatures are climbing. Even though I can't straighten my right knee. I still want to forge. I've gotten a stool. Its not exactly what I wanted, but it will work fine. I have to walk with a cane. Going up and down our stairs is a huge chore.

I'm making an indoor coal forge so I don't have to step outside to heat my steel when I'm using coal. I'll need to get a hood and a flue made too. The stool will let me sit because, honestly, I can't stand for longer than 10-15 minutes. I most likely will need to adjust the height of my stump so I can hammer seated and not hurt myself. I can still use my gas forge of course and my leg vise.

So, now the question becomes one of getting the motivation and not letting my injury stop me. Physically I'm strong. I can, even with my bad leg, lift my 242# anvil. I tried it the other day just to be sure. I don't want to do that unless its needed however. I'm moving up to a heavier hammer, 42 oz straight peen, to give me more force when seated. I don't know what else to do.

I've seen ideas for hoist systems and also for a rail to lean on. For me I feel the stool is my best solution. It still sits me more or less straight up and takes pressure off my legs and back. Also, I'm not that much lower than when I stand. I sort of lean against the stool.

I'm going to start work on the forge this week and will post my progress pictures. I know I need to not allow myself to get frustrated as I work. I won't be going near as fast as I used to. Everything takes three times as long now. But, I will continue with my journey. I am not going to let this stop me. It may slow me down some. But, (insert expletive of your choice here), I ain't gonna let this stop me.

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If you've ever seen the Tim Lively video, he does most of his forging sitting on a stump. He uses a washtub coal/charcoal forge that he makes. Its small but gets the job done for what he wants, and I've watched flint knappers make great points while confined to a wheel chair. All it takes is a little modification and some will power and you can do almost anything.
Here's to speedy recovery and keep us informed on how it goes.

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Mounting the anvil lower so you can use it sitting is a MUST!

Have you looked at any of the Bosun's chair systems that smiths in Europe use when working with a powerhammer? Being able to swing from one station to another while sitting might be a big help.

Work with your Dr, there are things where working through the pain helps and others where doing so messes things up worse BIG TIME! Make sure you are in the first group!

When I had a bad bout of blacksmith's elbow, one of the things you shouldn't try to work through, I did a lot of CP Ti forging as I could use a dinky little hammer on it and my elbow didn't notice I was *forging* and so didn't act up. kept me from going crazy, (well crazier).

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Hey man, sorry to hear about the knee. It would be good to make a plan, even if its long term, to get it looked at by a pro. Bad things can happen if you ignore injuries like that for too long. If it's locking up you likely have ligament trouble. One of my ski buddies ignored his knees for years and now he's having very scary things happen. Chronic pain syndrome and MS like symptoms. Truth is though, I have worked through plenty of stuff like that and wish I was a bit more lenient on my body. Good luck!

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Bryan,

Sorry to hear that your knee is still giving you a fit. Lots of people have to modify their environment to suit their needs. Good luck and get some help in the shop. Do what the Dr tells you. In my prayers.

Mark<><

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Thanks everyone for the good wishes. It helps. As to seeking medical attention for the knee. I've tried to get some help. I've gotten answers ranging from, "Your girlfriend makes too much money." to "Your male and 53, get a job with insurance." I was somewhat discouraged after that last one. I can go to the emergency room and get some care. I hate pain pills though and refuse to take them unless I just can't take anymore. I have and can take allot. So, for the immediate future no medical help available to me.

That being said, I will get started on making things easier and more ergonomic in my shop for me work in. One thing I've been thinking of was putting the anvil at an angle to accommodate the new seated position. What do you think? Good idea or bad? Just one of the many ideas I've been kicking around. Tomorrow I'll start working on the frame for the forge hearth. The legs are going to be super simple. 3/4" pipe screwed into floor flanges set in the bed. I have a Champion 400 blower with the forge arm attachment, I'm going to bolt that to the hearth and have my air supply. I got real lucky and the blower has no issues with the gears and runs very very smoothly. It's an old mine find, it got buried under a pile of rubble and was protected from the elements.

Anyway thats the plan of the moment. I'll take pics of course and post my progress in the Solid forge forum.

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Bryan,

Sorry for your health issues. I was going to mention Tim Lively's video too as he does all his forging seated with an improvised anvil.

Regarding Health care, have you looked at the state system, if you're not working, you should be able to be approved pretty quickly (you are in Alaska, right?).

Good luck, with both issues.
Regards,
Tim

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A car accident has left me with ankle and leg problems/pain. When after thee years I finaly agreed to take some medication for the pain (no side effects on me and not addictive) I was able to work full work days. When we "take" the pain, that's what we do. We are better off working.

I wish you the best of luck.

Yves

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Bryan, Best wishes for getting help from the state health care system. I've been in pain for the last twenty or so years and I sure hope you can get a comfortable sit down position to forge at, I never did but it's a little different when it's your spine that is injured, danged thing hurts like crazy for top to bottom and I haven't found a thing that doesn't cause extreme pain so I finally just sold off all my gear. No use letting it turn to rust. Maybe if you forge a brace for your leg you could stand for that to help your work and make some monies to pay for a doctors help.

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Bryan,

Sorry for your health issues. I was going to mention Tim Lively's video too as he does all his forging seated with an improvised anvil.

Regarding Health care, have you looked at the state system, if you're not working, you should be able to be approved pretty quickly (you are in Alaska, right?).

Good luck, with both issues.
Regards,
Tim


Tim, It was the state that told me my girlfriend made to much money. I don't hold any of them in high regard at the moment.




Bryan, Best wishes for getting help from the state health care system. I've been in pain for the last twenty or so years and I sure hope you can get a comfortable sit down position to forge at, I never did but it's a little different when it's your spine that is injured, danged thing hurts like crazy for top to bottom and I haven't found a thing that doesn't cause extreme pain so I finally just sold off all my gear. No use letting it turn to rust. Maybe if you forge a brace for your leg you could stand for that to help your work and make some monies to pay for a doctors help.



I'm terribly sorry to hear you sold off your shop. I hate to think it would ever come to that for me. I went out today and did alittle fussing around. Lit a fire made a slitting chisle out of some grade 60 rebar I have. It came out nice and will work well. I hardended it and then drew the colors to medium straw on the cutting end, then finished sharpeneing it. To test it i have some mild plate. Just a piece of floor plate. It took the corner right off and the edge is still in good condition. So I guess I got that right. I'm completely out of propane now though. First thing tomorrow on the to do list is get some more.
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hey KB, i understand the medical bean counters... i was layed off for 13 months when diagnosed with cancer. and the insurence i could of kept would have cost way more than we could aford on unemp. but they did take care of me. we talked to hospatal hr folks and help me with ssi disability and some hospital programs to reduce/cover some of the procedures.although the never ending phone calls and letters is dis heartning, don't let it discourage you from getting help, you only have 1 body ya know.well enough of this, hope some of it will help ya, jimmy

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There used to be a gadget on the market that was basically a narrow bicycle seat that was atatched to a post that had a spring in the bottom similiar to a pogo stick..there was a harness that held it in place and it was marketed for shoers. you could adjust the height and as you worked on hoofs you could put a bit of weight on the seat, I always felt I did not want any thing like that strapped to me while shoeing. But I was given one and used it in the shop for a while. and may use again in the future. You could make one similiar even if you did not put in the spring. This had height adjustments but yours could be one length. Basically you wore it and could walk around back and forth to horse/ forge and anvil and it was there when you wanted a bit of the load off. A used bike seat and some tubing and a bit of fussing around would not cost you a lot if you want to give it a try.

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Randy that is a very cool set up. Thanks allot for showing that to me/us.

Jimmy, thats not a route I had considered. I'll look into that. Thanks for the idea.

Rich, Someones thinking out of the box. I could use that for sure. I don't know about wearing it, but I will sure looking to making one. Seems easy enough. Just a piece of pipe with a bicycle seat on it. Thank you for that idea.

I'm getting some more propane today and starting to work on the forge later today or tomorrow. Depends on how the day goes. Thank you everyone for the ideas. Just goes to show how good a community IFI is and the wealth of knowledge thats here. I was telling Glenn the other day we have thousands of years of collective experience here. Its wonderful to see.

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What. About using a pro pole. Its the bicycle looking seats that are in bass boat. Mine Had a adjustable piston They raises or lowers You quite a bit.
They are made for leaning on or just lower it to sit. I too. Can't stand over a few minutes. Due to a injury.
They also have boom swing arm for the seat. They mount with a pin on the end of the pole. That is Just a 3/4 hole in a plate you bolt to the floor.
This would help Cause When not needed. You can push it outta the way or just pull the whole post And seat outta the plate in the floor that will remain flat.
Look in bass pro shop or cabelas catalogs. To see what I mean ..I know they helper me. And its solid too. But not a lot of money and can adjust the height with a lever under It. Like a office chair.

Hope you get some help. And maybe my idea could help you. I made everything for mine except the seat. Check.it out.

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Sorry, Rich Hale. I didn't see Your post before writing mine. On the pro pole. , bicycle seat.
They also make them that the seat Can't Be adjusted to lean basically on a 45* angleso you ain't gotta bend your knees as much to get up.
I know They are a life saver while in tournaments or just fishing in general. I let mine go when I sold my bass boat and whole out the other day on the river. Was wore out quickly, due to not having it. I Never would set completly on it. Just lean with it in the small of my back or hang a Ham off it.
Anything to get all your weight off will help. You can make everything And then Just buy the seat. I would suggest the piston adjustable type ones. They travel 6"-10" or more. To fit your back for leaning or When you actually need To set on it.


But didn't mean to copy rick hales post basically.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bryan: You mentioned your knee was bothering you last time we talked but I didn't realize it was this bad and I haven't been keeping up with IFI as much as I used to so I'm pretty far behind.

I've seen some pretty good suggestions so far and I'll keep the situation in mind so I may have an idea or see something that'll help. No matter how good or poor an idea it'll take some tweeking to fit you so even something really off the wall may be perfect.

Do you think you'll be able to make it down for Art on Fire or the Brian Brazeal clinic? I'd sure like to lay eyes on ya again and both are about as exciting as it gets here abouts.

Oh yeah, nobody's spoken for the computer room so you room is open as of now.;)

Frosty the Lucky.

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Thanks for that Frosy it means alot to me that you said it.

I am trying real hard to get down for the Brian Brazeal clinic. I don't know if I could afford both days though. Unfortunately I won't be able to come down for Art On Fire. I really want to. But funds are limited at the moment. Gas is rediculous expencive here. Some stations are just under $5 a gallon.

The knee is still messed up, locked but, I'm getting stuff done. I got the angle iron cut for the new coal forge and the floor plate trimed up square. Now I need to get some 1/4" plate for the fire pot. So, its coming along. I've decided to bolt it all together, since I can't weld it. which means its a kit and can be completely dissasembled. I like that idea.

Anyways, I'll be in touch and let you know what I can get done. Hope to see you very very soon. Thanks for the good wishes.

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Heck Bryan you've always got a room here, just come on by.

How big is your forge going to be? I find 1/4" way more than necessary. Did I drag you out and show you my coal forge? It's table is 14 ga. with two 1" angle braces to keep it level ish. I don't burn coal often but have built a couple big honkin ones in it to no illeffect.

Gas here is averaging over $4.25/gl and going up dayly. You'd never guess oil prices dropped almost $10 a barrel day before yesterday. Eh? Hmmmm, wonder what a used Hummer goes for?

Take care, Jer

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Yes, I remember the forge. I really liked the way you had that set up. I'm making it 24" x 36" with a 8" x 11" fire pot, 36" tall. I'm using 1/2" black iron nipples with floor flanges they screw into for the legs. I'll post some pictures as soon as I make some progress on it. For the hearth I'm using floor plate because the price was too good to pass up. Its aobut a 14 ga. too. The fire pot I was going to make out of the 1/4". Is that too thick? I'm looking for the plate for the fire pot. If I can find scrap that would be better than buying new of course. And I can't bolt or rivet that together it needs to be welded. So that is something I will have to address. Renee knows a guy here at a local welding shop so I may be able to get it done cheap or no cost. I don't know quite yet. For an air supply I have a champion 400 with the forge mount. That was a super cool deal. Averaged out I got both pieces for $20.54. Last time I was able to come down you saw some of the pieces I had gotten from that purchase. I was lucky with that.

Same goes for you and Deb of course. You always have a place here in Fairbanks/North Pole too. My main consern is fuel costs right now. I havn't filled my propane yet because its pricy. I have about 3 months worth of coal right now so I will use that up before I get anything else. In the mean time, keep hammering, I sure plan to. :)

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Bryan. are you a Vet? Spend some time in the service? If so check in the the VA. Apply for Social Security Disability. It can take a long time to get BUT when you finally win you get back pay to your first filing date. I am going to get back pay to 2006. Get a lawyer from the get go. They get 25% of the back pay when you win. IF you don't win they get 0%. I got Binder & Binder, the ones you see on TV. Good luck with everything.

Dave Huffman

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Bryan. are you a Vet? Spend some time in the service? If so check in the the VA. Apply for Social Security Disability. It can take a long time to get BUT when you finally win you get back pay to your first filing date. I am going to get back pay to 2006. Get a lawyer from the get go. They get 25% of the back pay when you win. IF you don't win they get 0%. I got Binder & Binder, the ones you see on TV. Good luck with everything.

Dave Huffman



Hey Dave,

I am a veteran, however, this is not a service related injury. I never retired. I did six years and got out. I won't try to make the government pay for something they don't deserve to pay for. If it was service related I would be down there in a minute. I will reserve political discourse on this subject for another forum. If I get started on it I'll never shut up. :rolleyes:
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