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I Forge Iron

Tips to identify metal temperature outdoors on a bright sunny day

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Hey guys,

I'm still pretty new to blacksmithing, and I have my modest shop setup outdoors... This last few weeks the weather's been great, not a single cloud in the sky and it's bright and sunny until 9pm.


Whenever I'm working at a friends shop (indoors... and sort of gloomy), I can control the temperature very well, I can get to welding white without burning the mild steel (most times :P )...  but while working under the sun, It's crazy different, I burn the metal all the time, and it's impossible to weld decently since the "white" hot looks orange!


any tips on how can I deal with that? sunglasses help? or is it only a matter of getting used to that?



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Think you have to work on some sort of sun shade for your fire. Just need to find a way of casting shadow on you forge, thousand different ways you could do it, depends on your set up. You may also need to get the sun out of your eyes as well to make it easier for you to watch the forge.

There is a reason why historically the blacksmith was always in a dark and gloomy looking shanty on the outskirts of town.

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Good Morning,


Patience is a hard teacher. Learn well, GrassHopper.

Make a temporary roof tarp, preferably dark tarp to stop the glare.


Welding is a balance of temperature and pressure. It is possible to weld with a hydraulic press, at a lower temperature than welding with a hammer. If you are trying to make consistant welds, work in a consistant environment using a consistant procedure. Bouncing around to work in the sunshine is not a step forward.


Been there, Done that, Still do.



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Forging in sunlight is a trick it takes time to train your eye to. Given time you learn to judge but it's always iffier. A shadow box is a better bet, a bucket painted black inside works a treat. I've thought about opening both ends of a bucket and laying it so I could see the fire through it and hopefully it'd make judging heat easier.


It's easier with a gas forge than solid fuel but no easy feat regardless.


Frosty The Lucky!

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I have the same problem (I'm working on rigging a sun shade.  Need to figure out how to do it without making it an eyesore).


In the meantime, I wear a pretty wide brimmed straw hat, like a lifeguard's hat.  Helps a lot with casting a broader shadow over the fire when I want to take a look at the color of something.  Not perfect, but works much better than trying to guess in broad daylight.

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