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Hi everyone! Got a few random questions, I know some of them fit into other categories on the forum, but I think this is faster and less hassle..SO!

1) Is there ANY such thing as 6mm square bar in south australia? I recently found myself a supplier of steel that sells most sizes for a really good price (It's mild steel or somethin') But they don't have 6mm square, and it's ALOT of effort to square up a 6mm round bar from end to end.

2) Can I sink a piece of thin metal without the use of a swage block? I'm only just starting out and it's hard enough to find hammers in this country :P I'm thinking things like leaves and spoons, so nothing major...I've read that I can carve out a dip in a log and soak the dip in water to stop the wood burning, but it seems like alot of work for something I'm only going to do occasionally...

3) Is borax I buy from the shop 100% suitable for forge welding? Or do I need to cook it first? I've seen on here that most of the time moisture gets back into the borax anyway, so is there REALLY a point?

4) Do I really require another person when I want to make a hammer (Eventually?) Is it something that IS possible on your own?

5) Is there any other source of coke in South Aus besides Farmweld? I don't mind buying coke from there if I need to, but I live a fair way away and it's a hassle to get down there.

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I've done the log or wood trick. I didn't even really bother to wet the wood until I was done. Then simply to make sure we weren't going to have a fire issue. I've also worked over various ""hollow" things since I don't have a swage. A short piece of pipe works. I have a couple pieces of various sizes that I welded to some angle iron so I can hole the pipe in my vise while working. I've also used the hardie hole on the anvil and various other "holes" for the same purpose.

 

As far as a hammer, it can be done by yourself, but it's a lot easier with a striker. A power hammer would allow you to do the same work with only one person and still not kill yourself. The smaller the hammer, the easier it will be by yourself.

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Horan Steel in NSW has 6mm square, so if they can get it I reckon other places in Aust should be able to get it, it will probably depend on demand in your area as to whether they will get it in.

You can get a bowl shape in your piece of wood by using an angle grinder and standing the disc up straight to use the dia of the disc to hollow out your bowl shape, I've done it with a steel bowl tool (ladle tool really) rough stepped out the hollow using a lathe tool then ground off all the ridges with a 4" angle grinder using the disc on edge.

Borax from the shop is OK, we used to cook it first and then smash/grind it up again(called fused borax) but lots of people dont, they just use it straight from the pack, we normally used to use sand anyway instead of borax.

You can make a hammer by yourself no worries, just depends on how strong you are, how many heats you want to make it in, and how good you are at striking with a hand hammer.

You can get coke from NSW that much I know, but its probably further than Farmweld so its no advantage.  You could always make your own charcoal, or use a gas furnace if getting coke is a hassle.

 

Hope this answered some of your questions.

 

Phil

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Sure, no swage needed to sink sheet. You can do it on the face of the anvil by lifting the sheet and striking where it's off the anvil a bit. Don't get too carried away and a wood mallet works well. I like wooden baseball bats I get at yard/garage sales usually for around $0.50 ea.

 

If you have a sphere to work over use the same technique in reverse, tilt the stock and strike where it's above the "anvil". I have a couple crane headache balls that work a treat. Headache balls are the spherical weights just above the hook on crane cables to keep them tensioned, they make excellent ball or mushroom stakes, come in many sizes from a couple kilos to forget about it.

 

Another easy way to make things like bowls, spoons, etc. is over a hole, it can be in a board piece of steel, aluminum, etc. just do not hit on the edge unless you grind a bevel on it. Another even better tool is a ring of round steel, think of a single loop of a coil spring. It can be large or small, the diameter of the rod works better if it's larger than you need but moderate, say 12mm. or larger is good.

 

Making your hammers is more advanced than most beginners are up to so you might be better leaving it till you've built some muscle memory and skills sets. I don't know if you have garage/yard/rummage sales down under but hit as many as you can. Heck, farm/ranch/? sales will probably set you up with a pretty complete kit from tools to good steel. Anyway, keep an eye open for hammers, this side of the planet I see ball peins and cross peins most often, well, I don't count carpenter's hammers and you'll only need one sledge hammer though a nice single jack sledge isn't a bad thing.

 

I can't help you with finding steel unless you're visiting my corner of Alaska.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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1) Is there ANY such thing as 6mm square bar in south australia? I recently found myself a supplier of steel that sells most sizes for a really good price (It's mild steel or somethin') But they don't have 6mm square, and it's ALOT of effort to square up a 6mm round bar from end to end.

- I have no idea. But it seems odd that you can't get hold of it. Does it HAVE to be 6mm, or would 5mm do the job?

2) Can I sink a piece of thin metal without the use of a swage block? I'm only just starting out and it's hard enough to find hammers in this country :P I'm thinking things like leaves and spoons, so nothing major...I've read that I can carve out a dip in a log and soak the dip in water to stop the wood burning, but it seems like alot of work for something I'm only going to do occasionally...

I've seen lots of folks using a log with dips in it. Check out Jesse Sipola, he forges door knockers with jack hammers. He uses a log. I'm not sure what kind of log you'd need. Something heavy and tough obviously. If you could get the root section if a tree that would be great as the grain tends to be a bit more random so splitting it would be harder.
Oddly enough I'm looking into getting a decent log myself, I'm guessing something like oak or elm would be ideal.


3) Is borax I buy from the shop 100% suitable for forge welding? Or do I need to cook it first? I've seen on here that most of the time moisture gets back into the borax anyway, so is there REALLY a point?

You can buy borax from the shops? Go for it!


4) Do I really require another person when I want to make a hammer (Eventually?) Is it something that IS possible on your own?

No of course not. But imagine trying to push your car home on a mile of road. You can do it by yourself, it's just easier and faster if you have a friend to help you. If that friend has a tow rope and a truck then even better. (That's a power hammer for you;))

5) Is there any other source of coke in South Aus besides Farmweld? I don't mind buying coke from there if I need to, but I live a fair way away and it's a hassle to get down there.

No idea. Don't discount charcoal though. If you can make it cheaply then it works just as well but you need physically more of it.


All the best
Andy

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Hi everyone! Got a few random questions, I know some of them fit into other categories on the forum, but I think this is faster and less hassle..SO!
1) Is there ANY such thing as 6mm square bar in south australia? I recently found myself a supplier of steel that sells most sizes for a really good price (It's mild steel or somethin') But they don't have 6mm square, and it's ALOT of effort to square up a 6mm round bar from end to end.

Closest to you would be Mt Barker Steel Supplies, ring them and if they haven't got it they will be able to order it in for you, otherwise I'm pretty sure Southern Steel,Senturion, One Steel, Bluescope, Brice Metals, or Orrcon all carry it, you'll just have to pick it up or pay to get it freighted. If all else fails buy some 8 or 10mm and get some hammer practise drawing it down

2) Can I sink a piece of thin metal without the use of a swage block? I'm only just starting out and it's hard enough to find hammers in this country :P I'm thinking things like leaves and spoons, so nothing major...I've read that I can carve out a dip in a log and soak the dip in water to stop the wood burning, but it seems like alot of work for something I'm only going to do occasionally...

Answered above

3) Is borax I buy from the shop 100% suitable for forge welding? Or do I need to cook it first? I've seen on here that most of the time moisture gets back into the borax anyway, so is there REALLY a point?

Answered above and I like to buy it in the 5 kilogram tubs so I've got plenty. The bigger hardware stores all carry it.

4) Do I really require another person when I want to make a hammer (Eventually?) Is it something that IS possible on your own?

If you want to join ABASA Des Mumme runs powerhammer workshops and if you asked nicely he would show you how to make a hammer. I'm pretty sure he is currently doing a big order of 4lb mash hammers for a hardware chain out of his workshop at the moment. Alternatively you could attend the workshops at Penfield or my place and once your skills are up to scratch you could get some assistance making a hammer there.

5) Is there any other source of coke in South Aus besides Farmweld? I don't mind buying coke from there if I need to, but I live a fair way away and it's a hassle to get down there.

To be blunt, no, because I supply most of the other suppliers. If you don't want to travel then check with APD what it would cost to get it delivered because they do pick up from here.

Andrew

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If you want to join ABASA Des Mumme runs powerhammer workshops and if you asked nicely he would show you how to make a hammer. I'm pretty sure he is currently doing a big order of 4lb mash hammers for a hardware chain out of his workshop at the moment. Alternatively you could attend the workshops at Penfield or my place and once your skills are up to scratch you could get some assistance making a hammer there.

 

Hey Andrew, Have you been around for the first two workshops with Des at your place or do you just leave them to it?

 

How is it all going so far? Are you getting plenty of interest in future tuition?

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bear in mind that if you are trying to purchase a product off the rack that will match what you end up with after squaring up a 6mm ROUND you are not actually looking for 6mm square.  forging the round into square will leave you with something closer to 5mm square, plus or minus.

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Also bear in mind that when you say " I know some of them fit into other categories on the forum, but I think this is faster and less hassle"

 

You are saying that "your time is much more important than everybody else's time and they should go through the hassle of re-posting stuff that has been posted many times before for *you*!"

 

Luckily we generally try to help folks out when they are getting started...but some of us do have issues when folks say "I want you to do the work so I won't be bothered with it"  We tend to think that perhaps smithing is not a good fit for them as it involves a lot of work and practice.

 

I know the problem you have with 6mm; my local steel dealer claims that hot rolled 1/4" A36 isn't made and they have never seen it; while the steel dealer 50 km down the road has it but is never open when I'm in the same country...Of course the first place is trying to push their 1/4"cold rolled at about double the price per foot...
 

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Hey Andrew, Have you been around for the first two workshops with Des at your place or do you just leave them to it?
 
How is it all going so far? Are you getting plenty of interest in future tuition?



Des hasn't had much in the way of interest yet, I think everybody is still getting over mad march, so he hasn't run any workshops yet. Have to see what happens once all the displays ABASA have to do are finished. There has been plent1y of interest in the hand forging workshops both here and at Penfield, most of which are getting booked out well in advance.

Andrew

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Thomas, glad I wasn't the only one who took it that way.  I didn't even read the questions after I read that.  If it's not worth your time to even try and find the answers why should someone else respond. 

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On the other hand I know that sometimes my posts are misinterpreted or I have misworded them and sometimes folks just don't like my manner; so I posted anyway to point that out.  I remember what Heinlein said " Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few."

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on the flip side, I read that as 'I have questions in several different fields, so rather than start 5 different threads in 5 places here they are all in one place.'  Not as 'I know there are stickies and other threads covering this, but please summarize them for me', that one is implied ;)

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Also bear in mind that when you say " I know some of them fit into other categories on the forum, but I think this is faster and less hassle"

 

You are saying that "your time is much more important than everybody else's time and they should go through the hassle of re-posting stuff that has been posted many times before for *you*!"

 

I posted all of these in general because, as Chinobi said, I'd rather do that and get all my questions answered at once than clutter up the forums with individual posts, and while I COULD have searched the forums before posting, at least this way I can phrase my problem exactly as I need to. Sorry if I annoyed, but I just considered it easier for everyone.

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ThomasPowers

Posted Yesterday, 10:43 AM

...  I remember what Heinlein said " Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few."

 

It's so good to see actual readers. Too many people nowadays have the "I'll wait for the movie." attitude. The sad thing is, usually when a movie IS made, it isn't really that close to the book. And sooooooo many great stories are never going to make it from print to screen. Read on and exercise your minds and imaginations.

 

Oh, sorry for the momentary thread hijack.

 

Good luck with your dive into this addiction. You've found a wonderful source of knowledge and experience here. Feel free to (as Glenn and others have put...) 'Grab some drinks and snacks, pull up a comfortable chair and start reading through threads'... you never know what you might learn in one that you wouldn't have thought to look in based on the questions you already have. Lots of people have asked/answered questions on here that I didn't realize I had yet. I'm sure it'll be the same for anyone new to smithing. Just be careful not to let information overload clog your mind up...lol. It was hard for me to rein myself in and keep to the basics.

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