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I Forge Iron

Pattern welded chef knife WIP

Jim Erickson

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I know how you guys all love pictures, so I snapped a few while I was working last night and this morning.



This is pallet strapping and wire rope that are scraps from work.  I like the idea of using things that are just going to get tossed instead of new.

I know the wire rope is galvanized, but I rolled the forge near the door and let it burn off for awhile before I started hammering it.




Just my forge, natural gas on a welding cart.




Starting to hammer into shape.






I had some inclusions I need to grind out a bit more, but I wanted to see the pattern I had so far. 


Ill post more when I get a bit further along.


Any tips or comments would be greatly welcome.  I read all of I can, but one the job training is the best for me, I learn more each time I fire up my forge.



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I have practically toxic levels of zinc in my body that has affected my health for a number of years, if I so much as pop a zinc and Echinacea and C lozenge in my mouth  I get flu like symptoms...  I wouldn't do that even up wind of the forge, totally not worth it. If you get the "flu" and it doesn't go away you will know you made a bad mistake...

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Shane: How much zinc exposure did you get to have high levels in your system for years? I'm thinking you're sensitive to zinc or maybe even allergic. Can you touch galvy steel? I know handling it too much makes my hands chap, sometimes even crack and bleed.


According to the medical texts I've read, zinc is not only a necessary nutrient it's water soluble so a body sheds what it can't use. In most cases zinc poisoning is caused by inhaling zinc oxide a VERY soluble form that has a crystalline shape that is long barbs. It causes damage to the lungs in two main ways, first it pins the cilia and the alveoli together so they don't work well if at all. The second effect comes from the body's manner of dealing with foreign things it can't expel, it dissolves them and the by products of dissolving a large quantity of zinc is toxic.


Usually poisoning is a matter of dosage, not the material itself, heck, there's even a safe level of plutonium not that I want to find out if they're right. I qualified the last sentence with "usually" because a person can be sensitive or allergic to most anything, I developed an allergy to shrimp/prawns from one week to the next. A sensitivity can throw what is "normal" medical science out the window, an allergy can make a tasty popular spice a lethal poison to someone.


My point is DON'T PANIC just stay out of the smoke. If you're going to burn zinc off stock, do it outside, open windows and garage doors may not be enough ventilation. Paw Paw Wilson had his shop windows and doors open, chased everybody ELSE out when he poisoned himself. He was burning the galvy of sections of pipe by packing his gas forge full and letting it rip. Unless my memory is off I believe he did it several times, more than once anyway. Afterwards he didn't seek medical attention when he was getting sick for several days. by time he did it was too late regardless.


I know I've said this often enough you're probably hitting delete or just moving on. I'm certainly NOT saying to ignore the dangers of breathing zinc oxide fumes, enough can indeed kill you but it takes more than a sniff or couple breaths. UNLESS you're sensitive to zinc. Almost ALL of us need zinc in our systems to be healthy but breathing it as a combustion byproduct is a BAD thing. Just avoid doing it.


End ramble,


Frosty The Lucky.

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Jim that is nice, the mottled black patterning is a pleasant effect.


Frosty yes I have a genetic sensitivity to it, and several other things.


I make the analogy that the floating allergies are like when everything is good the police (your immune system) doesn't shoot anyone, when there has been a crime spree & rioting and marshal law has been declared the police (again your immune system..) shoots anyone who looks strange that's out on the streets.  When your immune system is lit up to DEFCON 4, you are going to react to EVERYTHING, then when things settle down you might not notice any reaction or symptoms for a minor infraction...  If I follow my diet STRICTLY I don't react to ragweed, but if I make a couple poor choices then I react to ragweed.  I live in a different world than average American's, and the industrial food industry will kill us all;-) 


A partial list of my allergies: WHEAT/Gluten, red dye, caffeine, ragweed, dust mites, dogs and horses...

Then I am sensitive to metabolites of: corn, peanuts, dairy, all deadly nightshade family veggies, so tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos.


COULD be a lot worse...  I am very thankful to GOD that I discovered all this stuff or I would be dead...

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Goodness Shane, I thought I had to be careful with blood sugar levels and a wonky sense of balance since the TBI. I hope you won't mind if I think of you when I get to feeling sorry for myself. I'll also bear you in mind when I start writing about zinc oxide exposure based on my experience.


I used to do a LOT of torch cutting and welding of galvy and am intimately familiar with the "blue flu" and drinking milk. I don't think I've  mentioned even remotely how heavily I used to expose myself to zinc smoke on a daily basis. I don't like the idea of some youngster thinking there's no danger because someone has gotten away with it. Some folk don't, not even a little.


Take care Brother, be well.


Frosty The Lucky.

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