Jack-O-Lantern

Advice to newbies from a newbie

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On 7/12/2017 at 12:21 PM, SLAG said:

In my opinion tong making from scratch is not a good first project. S- hooks are a good one. You need to to draw out and twist to make a sexy one. Bottle openers are a good second project. They usually require punching and drifting in their manufacture.

 Slag, I wish this post had been here when I first started.  All the Youtube videos said 'best thing to do first is make your own tongs'.  
   Well, after a couple days I realized just how bad that advice was, and I swallowed my pride and ordered some from Kens.  Best decision I ever made.

   I then began making bottle openers and practicing twists and such on them.  Took less that half a dozen and I was turning out some bottle openers that I am quite happy with.

   I will eventually make some tongs.  But the hammer control and eye required to make tongs is significantly higher than that required for a bottle opener, J or S hook or even a snail.

   As for a knife... that will come in time, but I am NOT going to waste money on steel so I can screw it up.  So... guess who has a box of RR Spikes to practice on?  When I get to where I am moving those well and they are turning out the way I expect, THEN I will take my coil springs and make some paring knives to start, then move on to other blades.

   But man... bottle openers are FUN!!

   Tongs just make me think I need to go sit in the back of the short bus.

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I like starter projects that *work* for a beginner---sets the hook *deep*; ah was that my outside voice???

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5 hours ago, Ben Hoover said:

 Tongs just make me think I need to go sit in the back of the short bus.

Nah, you're doing just fine the way you are. Keep pushing the envelope, you'll get where you want to go.

Frosty The Lucky.

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6 hours ago, Frosty said:

Nah, you're doing just fine the way you are. Keep pushing the envelope, you'll get where you want to go.

Frosty The Lucky.

I'm having fun.  And I am going to do tongs eventually.  

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Another problem with tongs as a beginner project is that there are specific tricks to tongs that are the sum of many skills.

If you are working on your own I highly recommend Mark Asperys book number one. He goes though the very basics, step by step. Much better than any other books or videos I can remember.

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On 7/16/2014 at 1:16 PM, Jack-O-Lantern said:

 

 

If you use charcoal and have to get store bought then do not use bricket charcoal. Use natural wood chunk charcoal. I recommend royal oak brand. The other stuff is like a spark fountain and dos'nt heat the metal very well.

Thats it guys. Any tips would be appreciated. Good luck.

 

 

Terms corrected from "Coal" to "charcoal" because they are not the same thing, also edited for language violation

I just watched a video on you tube, specifically said to use briquettes they were of much more uniform heat. I do know that royal oak gets much hotter. That seems to be my major concern, producing enough heat. What is your feeling on that matter. Enough heat is my concern, would the un even heat matter to me? Not so long as it was higher temp resulting. IMHO

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16 minutes ago, Illerob said:

 

Briquettes have too much clay as binder.  Lump is the way to go if you use charcoal.

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Mr.  Illerob,

Briquettes, are a mixture of charcoal dust, glue, ( = binder " ), sometimes colorants, and sometimes sparkle dazzling bits. (like potassium nitrate, (KNO3), which also enhances the ability of the mix to catch fire.

This admixture of many non-combustible components bulks up the product. But it lowers the heat generating properties of the product.

In other words, you need more briquettes to get your stock (steel), to forging temperatures.  So there is, probably no savings for using briquettes over  the initially more expensive lump charcoal*.

Also, you can make your own charcoal, from scrap wood, cut-offs, and pallets. There is much site material, on this site), for doing that.

Anyone can post information on YouTube. Much is wrong including the reference you site. Briquettes are no more efficient in producing  even heat.

There is a list of suggested, knowledgeable, Youtube 'authors' on this site, somewhere. Use your favorite search engine and put " i.f.i."  into your search string.  check it out.

SLAG.

*there is always a counter example to be found that proves the rule,. YouTube has a video where an experienced smith uses briquettes to get steel hot enough to forge weld the steel, proving it is possible.

But it is not recommended.

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Yeah, you CAN use briquettes but it has issues that make it more difficult. As said, there are binders holding the briquette shape, milk glue, wood pulp, anthracite, etc. aren't a big deal. The lime powder on the other hand is there to reduce the temperature, prolong the burn time and turn white so you  know the fire is going. 

I've used them, welding included but it's far from ideal. Lump charcoal is easier to light, produces a hotter though shorter lived fire and unless you're careful tends to burn your steaks. Making charcoal is no big deal depending on the size of the batch and closeness of your neighbors. The FD might drop in if you get carried away too. 

Once you get a handle on how fire works and what you need to make it do forge work you can learn to burn anything flammable. Camel dung to coal and weirder stuff is in every day use somewhere. Out of date feed corn behaves surprisingly like coal, it sticks together as it pyrolizes into charcoal so you can make a closed / beehive fire. Moose dung works but you have to collect a LOT and they scatter it all over the darned forest. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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My first forge was fire bricks, wood, and a large centrifugal fan. My first item was an 10" paper thin dagger from rebar using a 5# maul. After a 10 year hiatus my new forge is oil fired, decorative fireplace brick, and a blow dryer fan. My first project was a set of tongs using flat security bar stock and a small tinners hammer. Bassakwards every step of the way but I did learn a lot. When it comes to metal use what's known if you can and learn about the metal you have. Never use a hammer you don't like just because it's what everyone else uses. Don't drool over a fancy 500$ anvil if a 16in section of rr track hasn't failed you even once. A forge is what you think it should be. If it heats to your needs then it's a forge. Make what makes you happy. And rebar is a God awful material but if you have 2000+lbs of the stuff, like me, use it! Also it's a great idea to study and research everything before jumping in. Don't copy something someone else made because you like it. Odds are they are more experienced, have better materials, and more time. Make it yourself, in your own way to match what you want and need. Have your own style and you'll never be disappointed!! 

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