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I Forge Iron

Fire basket

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Hi there,

I completed my first "larger" project last week, a fire basket of my own design. To make the joinery more pleasing I decided from the beginning that I would punch and drift all holes. In total there are 45 rivets and thus 90 holes made. Hmm... quite a lesson in punching and drifting. Each hole was made in two heats. To fit everything I bolted the hole thing first, then removed one bolt at a time and riveted. I even had to make a simple tool to manufacture the 45 rivets.

I used 5x30mm flat bar for the basket and 10mm round for the rivets.

Sadly, I don't have more than this picture of the making of...
The rings completed

Some of the plugs from punching the slots for the holes.


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Nice work. That is a very interesting piece. When you said that you riveted it together, I mistakenly thought that you were using round rivets. From the slugs, I see that you used a flat or rectangular rivet. Was there a particular reason for choosing that type rivet? They look GREAT. Just curious. Thanks for sharing the project with us. :)

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Thanks for the comments.

What is the overall size of the completed project?

I should have photographed with some reference... anyhow..
It is 85cm high and the top diameter is 40cm, and I can add that it's quite heavy.

Round rivets, yes!

One thing left, and that is to coat it with some fire-proof paint I guess.
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gotta ask, how long it took to make? is this piece a keeper or are you selling it at a show or market, and if selling what price will it be for. I am thinking the time / price thing.

Well, it's hard to say...quite a few sessions, but in total I would say around 20-30h including the rivet making tool. It's definitely something I will keep as it was never intended for someone else. Price, hmmm, expensive it is... only the material is around $100. On a market it would probably be around $1000-$1500. But seriously, if one is to make these for sale you need to tool up for the power hammer and make jigs for bending and stuff... now, every piece is hand bent without any guides, only to a simple drawing as reference.

Very nice, Tubbe! I am happy to see you used my punch design. How did the punching go?
These fire baskets were common in Eastern Europe when I was there, but they were rarely truly forged. Nice to see a forged design!

Thanks Brian! Yes I have used your punch design, and it works very well. I punch in one heat and drift the hole in a second heat. I use 3 drifts after one another with planishing in between. I touched up the tip of the punch once with a file, but it's holding up surprisingly well although the thin tip looses harness almost immediately. I try to cool it after each or every second blow but it heats up really fast. The key is to not get stuck, and to be determined in what you are doing. One thing I was worried about was swelling or lengthening of the material and how that would affect all measurements, but actually it was really only an issue with the two upper rings. Since the upper ring only has 8 holes compared to 16 on the middle. But I made the middle ring first and compensated for the 1.4 cm lengthening I got from the 16 holes. I wonder if it's possible to punch and drift holes with greater accuracy, I mean with no length wise swelling?

Hmm, I have some additional pictures to show, but I am unable to upload... weird. I get "This upload failed" or "Upload Skipped (Error500)"... what is going on?

And thanks again for all warming comments!
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I was always told that during the slitting or punching a slot, that the parent mat'l should not lengthen or shorten during the final drifting to size the hole. With that being said, what I mean is - the length of the slit or punched slot should be (roughly 1/2 the circ.) the correct length vs. the circumference of the final sized hole.

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With that being said, what I mean is - the length of the slit or punched slot should be (roughly 1/2 the circ.) the correct length vs. the circumference of the final sized hole

Well, I thought that too for a while, but actually in this case the slot should be the same length as the diameter of the finished hole, i think. As you drift the material outwards only, the length should stay the same, in theory... but in reality for the holes I made here I got lengthening by ~0.8mm for each hole. Not much, but can be an issue in some cases.
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thats lovely tubbe! really sweet shape, and like someone else said - how fab to see it forged rather than just slung together from nothing. very beautiful, will look even yummier with some hot orange flames in it :) love all the rivets.

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Thanks for all kind words.

Wire weeled and painted today! Added the hammer for reference.

I thought I'd share the initial design. Since I work with 3d computer graphics professionally I tend to play around with ideas. This is what I came up with then. Pretty close to the end result.

forgot to ask, whats this riveting tool you speak of? pics and explanation on use and making?

Here is the tool. Nothing fancy, just two pieces of steel connected with a bit of spring-steel and a suitable hole drilled deep enough to make the rivet stock extend 1,5 diameter above for the head.
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