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Your Smithy Set-up


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Tell us about your blacksmith shop, what you use for heating the steel, What you use to pound on, where did you get your tools etc. South Africa is a big place, and most of us work in isolation. Let's use this forum, to give tips on what to use, where to get coal, what material is OK for smithing, for making tools etc.
Wim.

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Hi.
Ok lets see- my workshop is at home, my forge I built myself, I use anthracite for fuel. Dont use a proper anvil at the moment. I use a peice of shaft as an anvil, ill see if i can post a pic. I have some tools- most ive found in shops that sell antiques, pawn shops and auctions.Here is a pic of some of them.My material i mostly get at scrapyards.
Bb

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I use a coal forge that I built from other stuff around the place. It has an electric blower with a rheostat (not the light dimmer variety but a true fan speed controller) to manage airflow. I burn bituminous coal from a mine here in Oklahoma (USA). I also use a small, shop built gas (propane) forge for those quick heats that I need to do. I don't use the gas forge very often, but it comes in handy at times.

Anvils: 250 lb (~110 kg) Czech style double horn and a 105 lb (~ 50 kg) Colonial Period reproduction from Jymm Hoffman in PA.

Hammers/tongs/etc: Most hammers are Flea Market finds that have been re-worked. Tongs are a mixture of shop built and commercial varieties.

Vises: About 4-5 mounted around the shop at strategic places. They are of the "post vise" type for the most part but there is one larger machinest type, too.

Punches, chisels, etc are mainly hand forged from various tool steels.

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Under a spreading box elder tree ,Jayco's smithy leans........
This summer the clutter has spilled out in front of the shop. upsetting blocks, buckets of coal and charcoal, and lots of scrap iron (I mean 'stock' ) all around. I didn't realize how big the tree was getting until I took the picture!
There are lots of tools hanging on the walls......lots more you can't see. An old bench grinder sits in the back...not used much but handy when I need it.
The last pic is of the inside of the garage-shop near the blacksmith shop. There I keep more modern tools; arc welder,oxy/acetelene torch, air compressor,angle grinders and more.

The blacksmith shop is (of course) too small.....8ft. X 16ft.

the garage shop is 24ft. X36ft. Much more room for work.
James

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Wim.....after carefully reading your first post in this thread,I now realize that you probably meant this for South African smiths.
OOPS! Sorry about that. I didn't mean to hijack your thread!

But, it's an interesting thread.........and I had these pictures...... :)

James

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Wim- I neglected to say what materials I use for forging/tools. I use "store bought" mild steel (A-36) for many projects but I also use scrap from the local junkyards for general forging.

For tools I use H-13 or S-7, picked up as "drops" from machine shops for edged tools when I can get it (my stash is getting low). I also use truck spring (coil and leaf) for edged tools. The truck spring is usually 5160 and drops can be found at spring shops that build custom springs. I have made many punches/chisels, etc from coil springs picked up at the scrap yard. There is about 10 feet of good steel in one large coil spring. Enough to last for a while.

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Jaco, thanks for your input. No, I like it when everybody visits the SA forum, and participates. It brings mutual understanding to the other smith's circumstances and conditions, that he has to work under. Besides, I really like your pic's. It has given me some ideas.
You'r welcome to post here, Jaco.

Thanks, Gerald for your input, as well.
Wim

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's very nice working out in the open, as you work you enjoy the sunshine, the garden, the kids playing around me. I just want to train my dog to handle the sledge, but he keeps running, when I approach him. Wonder why.:cool:

Blackbeard, you see the small anvil, that's your to be.:)

Wim.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...

My smithy is in a lean to in the corner of my erf,next to a thatch storage building which houses a storeroom and a workshop.About 60 sq meters under roof.Started off as a knife forger some years ago but soon branched out.I have two gas (Post 0ffice and longitudinal) forges driven off an electric blower and two coal forges, one of which is a long sword forge(40 inches)I use anthracite as fuel and can easily achieve welding tempratures in any of my forges.I designed and built the whole shop myself from casting the concrete floor and installing the electrics from books and the internet.I have two workstations with two anvils.
Tools I find mostly at antique shops and on farms or make em myself..I bought my first anvil (100kgs) off a farmer some years ago for R500.It has been well used but is till working fine.The second one is still brand new and I got it via an advert in junk mail for R1600.(80 kgs)Well worth it.
There are new small anvils (about40kgs)from China for sale at Eastern Transvaal Coop.Quality not known.
I source my steels from scrapyards or from specialist firms on the east rand in the case of 5160 or N690.Contact me at 0824902620. Regards Hermann

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Herman, I received your mail, thanks very much. I see you have made contact with Kevan as well. It would be nice to talk to you and maybe visit your shop some time. I am in Kempton Park, were I believe you work. You can contact me on 083 263 7325. I will keep trying your phone.
From 2nd March to 10th March 2008 I will be in the UK, so please wait till I get back.
With our next event I will warn you well in advance, so you can be a part of it.
Regards, Wim

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hallo Wim,

Well, being in the Uk is no guarantee of not being bothered thanks to that wonderfull invention called roaming.

At least I have heard your voice and now we can go ahead.I have also responded to the Upcoming Dutch Market and we will discuss that further when the time draws near.

I am in a design Phase right now between projects so I haven't burnt Cole for a week or so, having been busy with a glass topped garden table which I had to engrave and apply a rust finish for this particular order.Took me more than a week can you believe?

But that will probably change within a day or so.Bit low on coal as well so I first have to fill my bin again.
We'll Definetly talk when you are back.

Slaat daai yster terwyl hy warm is!!

Hermann

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  • 4 weeks later...

After forging in full African sunshine on a number of occasions I find myself with increasing desire to build myself a afdakkie (roof). When your DG starts confusing you with the vine ripened tomatoes she just bought at the local fruit and veg, you know you have to make a plan...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Gents.

I'm new to the art of fire and steel. I'm from Durban and don't know if there are any Smith's in the area. I have made a small forge from a gas cylinder and blower from an old vacuum. As an anvil i use a section of railway line that i scrounged. I have fired it up and have managed to start on a set of tongs. I find that i need a bigger fire though. I was just looking at Jayco's pictures and was wondering is that a steel drum base that he used?

If any members have any ideas on a cheap and easy forge designs then please feel free to contact me via mail on :darryncaples@yahoo.com.

Thanks for the great thread!

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darrync,........the forge you saw in my pic is an old 20 inch. truck rim.
That's my main forge currently,.........I say 'currently', because I also have a couple other smaller forges that I use and like as well.

The truck rim forge works well for me, since you can have a deep fire if you want.
It's set up with lug bolt holes down.......making it very deep. I use coal as well as charcoal.I can, if I want, heap charcoal 16 inches deep and not have any spill off the sides.

Of course there's a down side to all that depth. When I have a small coal fire, I have to insert stock to be heated through the cutouts on each side. When doing small forging, the tall sides get in the way a little.

But it has been my main forge for 35 years.....yes, a heavy truck rim will last.
There's a little cast iron 3 in. round firepot with cinder breaker underneath.
I put 3 bolts through the lug bolt holes to keep it in place.
The piece you see on top is an old 55 gal. barrel lid.........it just happened to fit....It keeps rain and moisture out when the forge is not in use.
There were 5 fist sized oval slots in the wheel.........I arc welded some scrap plate over those.
James

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darrync
Go to the top of the forum and click on user cp
click on edit profile
go to the bottom of the page, enter your location and save.

We would like to know where in the world your located.

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Go to the opening page IForgeIron > Lessons in Metalworking > Blacksmithing > LB0003 Blacksmithing Forges. There are several forges listed there and LB0003.0001 Blacksmithing Forges.

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Darryn,

Nice to hear from you. I don't know of any smiths in Durban but you. The closest ones from you that I know, are in Bethlehem, Job and Wena van Eden. They are a wonderfull couple, and are fulltime art metalwork designers and manufacturers. I can put you in touch with them if you want to.
It would be nice if you could come up to Joburg to attend one of the events. We have the Dutch market coming up, maybe we can accomodate you, for a sleepover.
Let me know,
Blacksmith greetings,
Wim

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Hey guys thanks for the warm welcome. I have udated my profile ,sorry.

Wim i do appreciate the invite for the event but I will unfortunately not be able to make this one, a bit too short notice.

I hope to have my tongs finished by next week and i'll try load some pics if they come out properly. There is no substitute for hammer time so they are not too pretty. But we all start somewhere i suppose.

Thanks again for the warm welcome.
Darryn

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  • 10 months later...

Lukas,

Nee, ons gaan nog aan hoor. Ek kry net baie min kans om te kuier, hierso. Hoe gaan dit met die kleintjie. Hoop alles daarom goed? Ons gaan weer in September die Wheels naweek he, eerste naweek in September, hou solank die datunm oop.

Howzit, Lukas,
Sorry, not much time to visit IFI these days. All well with the family? Wheels on the Vaal will be on again first weekend of September as usual.

Groetnis, Wim.

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