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Afternoon, everybody...

 

As the title suggests, I have registered here with the intention of re-starting the craft that was lost to me over fifteen years ago when a certain individual found it in his best interest to rob me blind of all the gear I had purchased and used within a two year period of time. As such, in the thirteen years I have spent after-the-fact, I have managed to come to realize that there are just those people out there who need your stuff more than you do. What else can you do but whine and complain, right? So to make a long story short, I have over 15 years of R&D experience but have severe limitations as far as actual shop experience is concerned. Does that make sense?

 

Now I'm going to sound rather blunt on this next set so I sincerely hope that those who read this will take everything in good stride, try to understand the situation from MY perspective and refrain from jumping to conclusions.

 

A.) I prefer to purchase steel/pipe from online stores. From my experience a few days ago, there are a couple of members on IFI that I know of (no names given) that frown on this concept to the point that when brought up in general civilized conversation they end up becoming belligerent and down right insulting. The real question to this argument is, who's money is paying for what now? To further elaborate;

 

1.) I live in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, USA; a place that has pretty much died economically since I made my first move out to California in 1997. Virtually all business that transacts with this part of the state comes from Southern New Hampshire or Maine (Vermont if you need dairy, Canada if you need electricity). There is exactly one structural steel company in and around the town and that went bankrupt over eight years ago. No steel, no scraps. If it is wood you are looking for, then everybody can help you! Logging country. 

 

2.) The junkyard (scrapyard) down the street is NOT open to the public as it is officially a recycling center that has contracts with various larger corporations out-of-state (I've tried). A six-pack of beer will not give you dibs on their dumpster.

 

3.) If you are a blacksmith in this part of the country (or want to start the trade), you would overall be better off to haul a gigantic granite stone out of the forest and beat on that than to get any sort of steel to fabricate your own anvil. It's been done, so why not?

 

B.) I have a tendency to overthink situations and engineering concepts. Even though I have a piece of paper stating that I have satisfactorily completed a chemical engineering program, this does not make me an expert in all fields. That's why I am here. To receive advice and concepts from more experienced smiths. If you feel there is a better way to go about things (cheap and effective), then feel free to share them. Any constructive feedback is appreciated.

 

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Now that I have that mess out of the way, I would like to share some shop concepts with you in this process of rebuilding. Since the snow storms are sitting out on my front doorstep, construction of the shop as a whole won't be scheduled until the spring thaw. So this gives me time. Time, time, time.

 

NOTE: The concept of this shop is to use as little electricity as humanly possible. When it becomes necessary and refinements are needed, a small gas generator will be purchased to power several machines as necessary. Once the refinements are completed, all electrical equipment will be given away or sold. (Reason: A modern blacksmith's shop powered by electricity and without the proper generator during an outage is $ put to little or no use. Wood is what I have and it's wood and man power I will use, per tradition.)

 

THE FORGE (Charcoal)

 

1. (2X) 55GA. STEEL DRUMS W/CAST IRON DOUBLE BARREL ADAPTER

  • The top barrel will be an enclosed version of Tim Lively's wash tub design, refractory lined, 1" drilled and threaded black pipe tuyere with an elevated medium bellows at the rear for airflow. 
  • The bottom barrel will be used for smelting and casting purposes. The rear adapter connecting the two barrels will allow for circulating heat to flow from the bottom to the top with use of the rear flue rig. Airflow will be provided by a larger bellows "on the floor".

j9bm.jpg

 

THE ANVIL

 

I have an idea of what I need but I keep running over tack strips putting it all together. This anvil will be fabricated (block style) but what I am concerned about is cracking the weld when putting two unlike steels together under compression. The idea is a thick 6" base plate of A36 embedded into a sand/concrete stand with a 2" 4140 plate on top. I know something of the sort can be done, I just need a little more advice in this area. If I can reach a total steel weight of 160# or more for relatively cheap, then hurrah, I would have accomplished this goal. The stand itself will weigh approximately 266# alone and must NOT be inground

 

Total Anvil Dimensions: 8"x5"x10"

 

TREADLE GRINDER (Design only; this treadle grinder doesn't belong to me.)

 

kcal.jpg

 

Foot powered grinding capability, less the huge millstone propped between the arms. I will be going with a smaller wheel configuration given cost is a factor in assembly. A belt sander and lathe can be engineered using virtually the same setup here, so I will be using similar types to construct many shop devices. 

 

Anyway, small dose of what I have on my plate at the moment. If any of you have any insights or configurations to share, feel free. I'm open to everyone's ideas and am very keen to detail. Thank you for your time and patience! Cheers. :)

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ummm thats not a forge, thats a wood stove.  read up more we have forge build ideas  in the forum.  .And the bottom will not work for smelting,  read up on that too.

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Please give some thought that this is an open forum and so sometimes answers may appear that don't directly address your particular particulars; but may apply to people with somewhat similar situations.  If it truly must be all about *you* an open forum is perhaps not the right place.

 

What I can say is that type of grinder is not made for *grinding* but for light touching up of a previously made edge.  A good file used drawfilingly will remove steel faster.  To actually grind with a sandstone wheel they used humongous water powered ones to get the SFM to actually *grind*.

 

Also what about light in the shop?  I've been in an unpowered shop the last 9+ years with 1 extension cord that is most often used for lights!

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ummm thats not a forge, thats a wood stove.  read up more we have forge build ideas  in the forum.  .And the bottom will not work for smelting,  read up on that too.

 

That may be a wood stove to you, Steve, and you know by definition you're right!? However when I look at it, I envision a setup with a primary and secondary function that is not entirely too dissimilar to Mr. Lively's wash tub design. First, the fact that is isn't made out of an open steel tub allows it to take advantage of both circulating heat while regulating temperature flow through the flue and bellows. I mean, the picture itself only represents the adapter kit needed to convert two standard 55 gallon drums into a functioning wood stove and by no way shows mandatory placement of the kit on the barrel(s). But even if you decide to use the exact adapter configuration shown in the example picture, by process of elimination you could ascertain that charred wood is chief representative of natural charcoal, right? Therefore by any honest measure, you can infact use the wood stove to burn wood. Worried about heat damage to the shell? Add a reinforcement cage and be smart when using refractory. The mud can be contoured to help increase flow efficiency within the chambers if done properly. 

 

There is only one con that I can see...and that would be the weight of the total setup. Easy to overlook. :)

 

Please give some thought that this is an open forum and so sometimes answers may appear that don't directly address your particular particulars; but may apply to people with somewhat similar situations.  If it truly must be all about *you* an open forum is perhaps not the right place.

 

I appreciate your comments. :)

 

What I can say is that type of grinder is not made for *grinding* but for light touching up of a previously made edge.  A good file used drawfilingly will remove steel faster.  To actually grind with a sandstone wheel they used humongous water powered ones to get the SFM to actually *grind*.

 

 

Also what about light in the shop?  I've been in an unpowered shop the last 9+ years with 1 extension cord that is most often used for lights!

 

Let me say again that the pictures do not entirely represent the expected end result. These are more or less reference pictures that I have saved to dissect and ultimately mechanically modified for use in the shop. The treadle grinder will be scaled down and thrown onto a fabricated bicycle-type rig with a modified push pedal. I will not be using sandstone for obvious reasons, but will opt for a modern 12" metal grinding wheels that are capable of not disintegrating at high RPMs.  

 

#2: I just so happen to have a few hurricane lamps  and gallons of oil sitting, collecting dust in basement. Besides, I have light sensitive eyes anyway. The darker I can keep the shop without posing any safety issues the better. 

 

Thank you for your response! Best Regards.

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Brian,

 

Save yourself the trouble, and buy a gas forge.  Atlas Forge, Chile Forge, N.C. Forge,  Diamond Forge?, and several others.   Unless you can get coal easily, go propane, otherwise build an easy Coal forge to get started.    Second... What do you plan on forging ?  If you want to take up knives, then you need more research.  if you want to do general forging, again more research, and second get a 4 1/2" angle grinder from home depot or local hardware store.   It will serve you better than the old grinding wheel for general task's.   

 

Anvils are a sacred subject around here.  Here's the secret... :ph34r:   Anything will work.   Rail Road track is good.   Steel plate welded together will work.  Sledge Hammer head on end buried in a tree stump will also work.  Fork Lift Tines,  mounted truck springs, side walk curb,  A Large Rock.   Heavy and Solid is good to start.  You don't need a 300 pound anvil to start forging.  It's NICE, but not a requirement.

 

Forging requires temperatures well into 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.    IF you don't know what you are doing, rocks and mud's of various sorts can explode when exposed to that temperature.   Wood will burn, meat will char, metal will do lots of things.

 

A purchased small venturi forge, a makeshift Anvil, an angle grinder or if you want to be xxxxxx. then a few good files, will get you forging and making anything you have the patience for.  And you could even do it outside or any place where nobody will bother you.

 

Just remember guys 500 Years ago were making Gates and Shoes and Swords and everything in between with no electricity or local Shopping Center available.

 

A Blacksmith Can make the tools he needs.  Sometimes you need to start at the bare essential to make a better tool.    If you have the resources though, just use what you can get from established members of the community.   It will make your transition to progress much easier.

 

Good Luck With Your Forgings :)

 

-bruno

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On the other hand Tijou probably had 20 or *more* people in his shop and the first power hammer I have seen good documentation on pre-dates the year 1000.  Doing it all by yourself is NOT doing it like they used to do!

 

We come down to the limits of how much horsepower a single person can generate and for how long.  Gearing up/down/sideways; using modern abrasives does not change that basic limit.  The way around it is to design your projects so they don't require much in the way of grinding; hence the neo-tribal focus on less than 10% stock removal.

 

If you are familiar with the NT's then, you'll know me as Bog Iron.

 

Now as to using the double barrel system---you can only use one barrel at a time otherwise you are standing in VERY close proximity to a wood stove---ever made that mistake wearing levi 501's?  You are also building up creosote on your forge area.  Separate them, or even better in your location get another barrel.  Make a sifter shovel to transfer coals from the stove to the forge---what I do.

 

If you want to do good blademaking you will need decent light, as a safety precaution as well.  I love my skylights in my shop which are just a strip of fiberglass in the metal roof---I did position them on the end of the shop away from the forge; but I get natural light through the gables and doors as well.

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Ah thank you, Mr. Powers, for those wonderful tidbits of information! I completely bypassed the fact that the stackable set up would cause creosote buildup in the forge. Chimneys 101, right? Well in that case, you're right...maybe the double barrel style for the purpose I'm intending it isn't the most efficient or safe for that matter considering cleaning would require a breakdown. Separating the two would still allow for all adapter pieces to be used separate from the forge and casting furnace (less the door for the forge). Only the stand setup will need to be fabricated as the cast iron props provided in the kit will be sketchy when holding up against the weight of thick refractory.

 

In regards to the treadle grinder, a mechanical gear and pulley system is all that is required to build an effective honing device. A ball bearing-based wheel rig would increase disk fluidity and allow for good work with minimal continuous force. All without the use of electricity. I have seen wheel looms, wood lathes and even sewing machines constructed in a similar fashion. If the principle is modified to suit the purpose, then by deduction one could assume the same would apply to this case as well. :)

 

If I were attempting methods of smithing under a particular period then I could understand the neo-tribal comments. However, this isn't the case. I have every intention of "cheating with Ms. Current" when constructing the shop but the end result will provide efficient means to perform operations without the need of electrical power...even if the end result isn't commensurate with simple design. That is the goal of shop operations. To answer the second question, no I will not be doing this alone. I have three children, two of which are old enough to want to help and learn a few things. My three year old however (profile picture), has some time to catch up! :)

 

Light! Yes, I have given this some thought as well and since I plan on using an enclosed carport design for the shop, several companies offer options to add "x amount of windows", "x amount of walk-in doors", and "x amount of garage doors" to the construction at additional cost. I just started to plan the building in its entirety yesterday so I will take into account of naturally filtered light. The sky light design you spoke of seems to be rather clever, so I shall see if something of the sort could be incorporated as well!

 

Once again, thank you Thomas. You have given me new design ideas to work with! Cheers. :)

 

(P.S. ...and maybe if I'm lucky, my wife will want to help as well. I know she is into pottery so maybe something could be done in regards to doubling up for a kiln!)

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A.) I prefer to purchase steel/pipe from online stores. From my experience a few days ago, there are a couple of members on IFI that I know of (no names given) that frown on this concept to the point that when brought up in general civilized conversation they end up becoming belligerent and down right insulting.

 

If you will click on the report button at the bottom of each post, this will send a report to all admins and moderators so the post can be reviewed.  

 

You can purchase anything you want, anywhere you want, and pay what ever price you want. I feel the conversation would have been to try to save you money or assist you in choosing a better metal. As the site admin I would like to review the materials you mentioned.

 

Metal can be obtained from many sources. The suggestions are go to those places or businesses that use metal. I recently brought home steering linkage from the auto service and repair garage. They had leaf springs, coil springs, and other metal items that can be used for blacksmithing. The timber industry is rough on equipment, so there are always repairs being made. The old broken parts can be used for blacksmithing. If building are being torn down, there is a lot of usable metal there. 

 

you would overall be better off to haul a gigantic granite stone out of the forest and beat on that than to get any sort of steel to fabricate your own anvil

Actually this is a workable idea from everything I have read. I say that because I have not tried it myself.

 

I have operated a double drum stove for many years and have worked with several modifications to both the single drum and double drum configurations. The results were based on the temperature of the stove(s) measured at many different locations on the system, the amount of heat generated by the stove and transfered into the room, the appearance of the exhaust fumes at the top of the chimney, and the amount of creosote generated. From my experience it is a closed system and any time you add an opening or allow air into the system, you loose the draft which makes the system work, and the system is compromised and or fails. I found is possible to extract too much heat from the system and cause it to operate poorly and or fail. 

 

 

May I suggest you look at IForgeIron > Forges > solid fuel forges and the 55 Forge (side blast version). It is a working forge that can achieve welding heat, is cheap to build and quick to build. It can be modified to fit a variety of forging needs.

 

If you are light sensitive please consider some type of eye protection as a forging fire is very intense and puts out IR, UV, and intense visible light. 

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If you will click on the report button at the bottom of each post, this will send a report to all admins and moderators so the post can be reviewed.  

 

You can purchase anything you want, anywhere you want, and pay what ever price you want. I feel the conversation would have been to try to save you money or assist you in choosing a better metal. As the site admin I would like to review the materials you mentioned.

 

Thanks, Glenn. The aforementioned incident involved one or two people off of the forum board and was ultimately taken with a grain of salt. The entire conversation involved another member asking a question about where he could obtain black pipe to use as a tuyere for a forge, so I gave him a price quote from an online store I regularly use. The member in question seemed appreciative, but the idea of online metal shopping didn't seem to sit well with present company...so the conversation eventually went south and I said no more. No worries! I have relatively thick skin so no harm done. What prompted me to write the preamble to the original post, however, was to simply differentiate between those persons who readily have access to loose and/or discarded material opposed to those who don't. As I stated originally, fab shops and other companies with scrap that isn't being sent off to recycling centers are virtually non-existent up in these parts. That coupled with a disability and a medically restricted license really puts a damper on what one can get a hold of outside of the online environment, you know? Anyway, what it all boils down to is being able to obtain workable material to use in the shop regardless of method of acquisition. 

 

Actually this is a workable idea from everything I have read. I say that because I have not tried it myself.

 

I thought of this after watching a YouTube student clip of an NT blacksmithing project. Quite interesting really and it seemed to be a rather effective alternative to steel. The only problem with using this in production is the size and overall weight of the stone. Boulders are not very convenient! :)

 

May I suggest you look at IForgeIron > Forges > solid fuel forges and the 55 Forge (side blast version). It is a working forge that can achieve welding heat, is cheap to build and quick to build. It can be modified to fit a variety of forging needs.

 

If you are light sensitive please consider some type of eye protection as a forging fire is very intense and puts out IR, UV, and intense visible light. 

 

Yes you may and I will jump right on that opportunity! A side blast set up was probably the furthest thing from my mind after chatting with Mr. Lively about his design. More factors to consider as the options seem to be piling up right in front of me.

 

[EDIT: I just looked up the 55 side blast forge and noticed that is an open design. Would it be possible to encapsulate the forge to at least 3/4 with a 1/4 lip to minimize heat loss? Or do hoods only provide direction for exhaust and have little to no effect on operating capacity?]

Regarding eye protection; does anybody who has a similar sensitivity problem have any experience with obtaining appropriate focal wear suited for forging? If so, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :) Thank you, again!

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There is a thread at the top of the blacksmithing general discussion section called >What do you need to get started in blacksmithing. It gives good ideas on what is needed to start. It may be a little simple for your position in the craft but still have some good information.

 

 

 

[EDIT: I just looked up the 55 side blast forge and noticed that is an open design. Would it be possible to encapsulate the forge to at least 3/4 with a 1/4 lip to minimize heat loss? Or do hoods only provide direction for exhaust and have little to no effect on operating capacity?]

 

Hoods are usually used and designed to remove smoke and exhaust gases from the work area. If you read the article on the side blast forge, you should have found the article on the 55 Forge with a Supercharger.  The design reduces the amount of radiant heat the blacksmith would encounter, reduces the smoke from the fire, dilutes the remainder of the smoke, and encapsulates the forge to a large extent.

 

As to safety glasses, wear them.

 

As to sensitivity to light, I would suggest either a full face shield in shade 3, or shade 3 glasses. Shade 5 is also available. Try both and choose if they will work for you at your forge. I have all 3 available at my forge as well as a shade 1o and a shade 12 when needed.

 

As to light sensitivity, the amount of visible light from the forge is very intense. This grows even worse as the ambient light is reduced, and can cause a real problem after dark (outside forge). The human eyes are not designed to handle that intense of a light source. I would have to put a meter on it for real time numbers but can tell you it is well above f/stop 16 (normal daylight conditions), and maybe (guessing) above f/stop 64. If you are light sensitive, I would suggest you either stop forging, or wear protective glasses, or get very creative with other options and ways to protect your eyes. This is just the visible light, you must also consider the IR and UV light.

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Hoods are usually used and designed to remove smoke and exhaust gases from the work area. If you read the article on the side blast forge, you should have found the article on the 55 Forge with a Supercharger.  The design reduces the amount of radiant heat the blacksmith would encounter, reduces the smoke from the fire, dilutes the remainder of the smoke, and encapsulates the forge to a large extent.

 

The initial forum search led me to a picture with no article, but with the help of your additional keywords, I was able to find the thread you were talking about. The only issue I seem to have with that blueprint is that the barrels are vertically high. Where possible, I would like to make use of the drum's depth rather than just the width for longer pieces when necessary. I'll see about trying to use some aspects of supercharger rig as the majority looks fairly promising, but will probably need to modify the original concept to retrofit the drum in a horizontal position. The exhaust escape can be fitted to the side rather than the top, which would also reduce ceiling clearance in the shop. I'm assuming a 1/3 portion cut into the side of the barrel to create an open "scoop" while leaving the remainder enclosed would virtually produce the same result while helping to direct CO2 from the mouth. After reinforcement is in place and the refractory is shaped...all I would need to do would be to adjust for draft.

 

...I would suggest you either stop forging...

 

Not going to happen. :)

 

My eyes were damaged through actions entirely resulting from my own stupidity. I was punished by numerous arc flashes when I was in school for welding and even though the opthamologist said I would recover nicely, I've come to the conclusion that she was wrong. During bright sunny days, I can't even step outside without wearing sunglasses unless I'm itching for a migraine. You're right though...the fix is a personal preference thing. The only thing that can be done to limit exposure would be to try several different shades. Goggles and a facemask are already on the list. ;)

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My suggestion is to Join New England Blacksmiths, I did a few years ago and have learned a lot from them. They have 3 days meetings around NE somewhere each spring and fall with guest instructors, worth every penny. There is usually used equipment there to purchase and leads on where to find more. It is near impossible to spend 3 days with 75 other smiths and not learn something of value.

Listen and ask questions, keep what might work for you, lets the rest slide off your back like water off a duck. But at the end of the day do it your way and you will learn soon enough what works and doesn't and make running changes to your plans. Take to heart what is being told you as it is all given from experience and trying to save you time and $$$$$$$.

I too am without a scrap yard to visit so I have a good friend who delivers for a NAPA auto parts store and he is on the lookout for scrap for me at repair shops. If he delivers new Coil Springs, Tie rods for trucks, leaf springs, he asks about the old one, a lot of the time he gets them.

Good Luck, remember Smiths mean well but aren't public speaking people and have rough edges.

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Thank you for your suggestions, notownkid.

 

I have considered joining the NEB however I am much of a loner and prefer to devise and experiment on my own, or with a relatively close knit group of friends. The experience provided on YouTube, IFI and several other forum communities allow me to progress ideas at a faster rate than if I were to attend structured demonstrations with a select number of craftsmen/women. My reasoning is going to sound a little off the wall for the majority but this has always been the way I have learned to do EVERYTHING. Besides that, I too am not the easiest of individuals to be around...just ask my wife. ;)

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I bought a pair of transition saftey glasses for my job. They change shades from clear to light tinted based on light outside and have proven to be the best for forging as well. They were 100 bucks but I couldnt be happier with them. Mine are similar to these but Peltors brand. http://www.rangerjoes.com/Revision-Sunglasses-Hellfly-with-Photochromic-Lenses-P3833C426.aspx

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