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I Forge Iron

Useful Info (perhaps)

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Met a buddy for lunch today and was killing time beforehand, so I went into a Tractor Supply and really combed the aisles. A few things I noted:

1) They carry a nice 3 lb cross peen hammer for $8.99. Of course, it is Chinese but appears very well made and comes with a wooden handle. Other than maybe polishing and widening the peen a little, it could be used as purchased. Might be a good hammer choice for the beginner. They also have a selection of conventional sledges from 4 to 12 lbs.
2) A 4x6 stall mat, made from recycled tires and about 1" thick, for $46. Designed to support horses up to 1800 lbs or so, I thought this might make a good cushion pad for anyone mounting a power or treadle hammer.
3) A variety of different sized cut-off wheels, starting from 2-1/2" diameter, 1/4 shank, which is designed to be used with a die grinder. They also carry some good price packs on cut-off saw blades, including a DeWalt number which is only 7/64" thick and designed for "bar cutting". I bought a 14" dia for $5 so will see how it lasts. The value packs were $12.99 for 3 "no-name" blades - not bad for something that's consumed anyway.
4) Although most of it is Chinese, many of their 'farm grade' tools, motors and other accessories are sturdier than some of the usual items you find in Lowe's and Home Depot, with similar price ranges. For example, they have a much better selection of both rope and tarps than either of the above two chains.

I don't own stock in Tractor Supply or have any affiliation but thought I'd pass it on to anyone who has one nearby. We have several stores in the area and they vary a little from place to place, but most are set up and stocked similarly. Although not as good as a regular supplier, they also carry a decent variety of welding stuff - in case you get stuck on a Sunday with no MIG gun tips.

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HW, those mats made from old rubber tires are excellent to stand on at the lathe, mill, drill press and Anvil, really makes a difference at the end of the day for me.

In the shop I have a bunch of old door opener mats with ribs that I use, they were free from my neighboring business who installed them and replaced faulty ones years ago, I just cut the wires off short, they have an air cushion so that when you step on them they make contact.

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