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I Forge Iron

Hope to someday be accused of being a Blacksmith...

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Hello to all.

A little about myself...  I'm Virginia born and raised.  Grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.  As the son of a firefighter, I have always liked fire.  A lot.  Always been interested in blacksmithing.  Loved watching demonstrations at steam and gas shows, fairs, and re-enactments.  I'm a mechanic by trade.  Chainsaws and engines are my forte (Stihl Tech), but the only things I haven't worked on over the years are aircraft.  After 8 years turning wrenches I switched gears and did a stint in the Navy in a completely NOT mechanical field, which landed me in the Tidewater area.  Been back to turning wrenches again a few years now and found myself watching yet another blacksmithing demonstration at Chippokes Plantation put on by the Tidewater Blacksmith's Guild.  After talking to the fine gentlemen there (would give proper credit here but I'm terrible with names) I have decided to have a go at it.  They have a meeting once a month which my schedule has not yet allowed me to attend, but will be soon.

I'm currently working on building a forge.  So far I have assembled a firepot and tuyere with a brake drum, scrap 3" tubing, and scrap cast iron plate.  Set it up on some cinderblocks and had my first fire in it this afternoon with wood to cure the 2700* furnace cement that I sealed the grate with.  My blower is a 1hp dust collector.  Probably overkill, but already had it from when I used to sharpen carbide teeth on forestry equipment.  Hooked that up and heated a broken 9/16" drill bit and beat it flat on my "anvil" which is a scrap end piece of 5 inch steel square stock.  Not sure on weight but it's slightly more than my three year old.  Accomplished nothing but having a good time, but my wife (an industrial electrician at a steel mill) came out and gave me a quick object lesson in heat treating (her area of expertise at the mill), and why you need to temper your steel afterwards.  Heat up the bit, beat it flat.  Quench.  Heat to lower temp and let cool.  Hit with hammer.  It's really hard and tough.  Okay, neato.  She then had me heat it up yellow hot again and quench immediately.  Then hit it with a hammer without tempering.  It shattered like glass.  Learn something new every day...

Been doing lots of research and reading.  Have lots more to do.  For right now I'll (try to) keep my mouth shut and ears open.

Looking forward to learning new things.



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