Crazy Ivan

Setting up your shop on the cheap (real time)

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So as many of you know, my blacksmithing travels are at a temporary hold. I fell in love with a girl, blah blah blah. We just moved into a place in Lancaster PA and I am setting up a new shop here from the ground up. I'm making this post to show how cheap it can be to get a shop set up if you look outside of conventional thinking. Hopefully within a month (even with all the hardship associated with a couple living completely broke in a new town) I will have a fully functional shop space. I will document all the money and materials I'm putting into the set up. This is aimed mainley at the hobbiest and not include my regular expenses such as rent and such so assuming a backyard set up. Let's see how this goes. 

I will be using someone else's anvil to start, but I went to the scrapyard today and spent $40 on stock. Included in that was a section of rail which could be used as an anvil (gave it to my girl for her jewelry exploits but you get the idea). I'll be using a different anvil and forge, but nonetheless. There are blueprints on this site (55 Forge and other forges) which show you how to make a free or nearly free coal/charcoal forge so look there for that. Those costs will come up later on when I build my own. My $40 got me 130 lbs of scrap to start with. I got RR spikes and clips and a 12" section of rail (legally from an approved dealer), 2 5/8" coil springs, 2 axle shafts, and a 3' bar of 5/8" round bar. Later this week I will post what tools I make to work with AND the trinkets i make to sell to put money back into my shop. This is a systematic process from which you may consider me starting from just a forge and an anvil. Current shop expenses, US $40 maybe $50 but I am not including the cost of whiskey in my shop expenses lol ;)

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Please record your mileage to and from as it adds up quickly and can otherwise be easily overlooked.

Record your build hours separately from your labor hours. The build may not take as long as people think. The labor hours as they relate to the product made (costs) and selling price will help determine when you break even or make profit.

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20 minutes ago, Glenn said:

Please record your mileage to and from as it adds up quickly and can otherwise be easily overlooked.

Record your build hours separately from your labor hours. The build may not take as long as people think. The labor hours as they relate to the product made (costs) and selling price will help determine when you break even or make profit.

The current USA IRS mileage deduction for business use of vehicles is $ .54 per mile.  I have run the numbers for our business vehicles including all costs and it actually comes out pretty close to what the IRS calculated when you include every cost involved.  Insurance, maintenance, repair, depreciation, fuel etc.

I only bring this up because people often way underestimate what it costs to run a vehicle to chase odds and ends--if you use the seemingly high IRS figure when planning, it might affect decisions (like the 500 mile trip to pick up that $ 50 organ-grinder blower you have your heart set on).

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3 hours ago, Glenn said:

Please record your mileage to and from as it adds up quickly and can otherwise be easily overlooked.

Record your build hours separately from your labor hours. The build may not take as long as people think. The labor hours as they relate to the product made (costs) and selling price will help determine when you break even or make profit.

Will do, great point to bring up. Round trip to the scrapyard was 12 miles and I spent 3 hours there (mostly nerding out and chatting up the owners/workers). Round that up to US $2 in gas in this area and in itself, fairly insignificant in wear n tear on the vehicle (in its own, this will add up over time of course). 

Some pictures of the haul from the scrapyard today. I gotta say, 130 lbs sure does look insignificant lol. On the track, you can see that I ground in a radius and hot cut on the flange. Once again, I am not using this, it is for my girlfriend to use but I include it in material cost. Plus, why not show it?  

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Couple of things to know about Lancaster .....

-- Sahd's Salvage, in Columbia, is by-far the best scrap yard in the area.

-- The area is blessed with several weekly "Flea Markets" ( Root's  on Tuesdays,  Green Dragon on Fridays and Saturday's Market, ... on Saturdays ) ... that are an endless source for "used" Tools.

-- "Farm Sale" season begins toward the end of March. ( many, many tools ... in every kind of condition )

 

.

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Good going Ivan. I will be following your progress.

I have been thinking of making some various anvils from scrap, then making an item on them to show that you do not need a "real anvil" to work on. I am constantly reading posts from people who are just starting out, and bemoaning the fact that they cannot afford a London Pattern anvil.  Yet they may have several anvils around them that they simply do not recognize as such.

 

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6 hours ago, SmoothBore said:

Couple of things to know about Lancaster .....

-- Sahd's Salvage, in Columbia, is by-far the best scrap yard in the area.

-- The area is blessed with several weekly "Flea Markets" ( Root's  on Tuesdays,  Green Dragon on Fridays and Saturday's Market, ... on Saturdays ) ... that are an endless source for "used" Tools.

-- "Farm Sale" season begins toward the end of March. ( many, many tools ... in every kind of condition )

 

.

Thanks for the tips! Sahds is where I went for the scrap pictured above. That place is awesome! I did not know about those flea markets yet though. I'm gonna have to check them out! 

6 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Good going Ivan. I will be following your progress.

I have been thinking of making some various anvils from scrap, then making an item on them to show that you do not need a "real anvil" to work on. I am constantly reading posts from people who are just starting out, and bemoaning the fact that they cannot afford a London Pattern anvil.  Yet they may have several anvils around them that they simply do not recognize as such.

 

I agree, there are anvils everywhere. Most just aren't London pattern lol. I'm planning on grabbing a hunk of A2 solid Sq and just using a block anvil for a while until what I sell in the shop pays for a 150-200 lb anvil for me. We will see how well/quickly that can pan out. 

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If you need any new tools check out the Amish stores.  There is one just east of Quaryville in an old chicken house that is great.  Don't remimber the name but ask around, you won't find it with out help.  Ed

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17 hours ago, Crazy Ivan said:

So as many of you know, my blacksmithing travels are at a temporary hold........... Current shop expenses, US $40 maybe $50 but I am not including the cost of whiskey in my shop expenses lol ;)

I would think the whiskey is a "medical" expense....calms the nerves^_^

Good luck with setting up the new shop.  You have been put through the wringer lately.

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I've had a slow start so far and haven't taken enough pictures to post what I have made so far but here's and update. I forged a pair of box jaw tongs, a 5/8" spring fuller, a Punch/drift, and a center punch so far. Yesterday I got an order for $60 for some coat hooks so I've spent time designing them as well as drawing up notes on how to recreate them exactly of future reference. Since I havent got enough money yet to buy new stock I have spent time drawing out the stock I do have in order to make what I need. Quick price tally is $40 spent +$60 made. I put $10 into the coal bin from that $60 so cash wise, I am +$10 from my $40 investment. I'm getting a late start to the day today but I need to make and ship that order and spend the rest of the day making more tools. Hopefully I will soon have some pictures to post of the progress. 2 days is not too bad for getting my investment back, but only getting ahead $10 is not great. This will even out over time when I can focus on something other than tool making and make some things to sell. I'll keep y'all updated. 

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Crazy Ivan PM me an address and a list of things/tool you might need or like and I will look through my back stock

and see what I can come up with.  

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Here is a picture of what I was talking about. 1" X 1/2" box jaw tongs for working the RR clips (1060 ish steel) I got from the scrap yard and they will also hold the 5/8" coil springs I got reasonably well. They were made from the round stock purchased at the same time. I also made a center punch and a round punch from the coil spring. The spring fuller in the picture is 5/8" made from the coil spring. It was made to fuller a section on the order I got the other day. It has a base that sits in the hardy AND the pritchel hole for added stability in use. You may notice that it is  "floating" at the spring. This adds durability and adjustabity ease with ease for future adjustments in throat size. Since the fuller stock is 5160 or similar (junkyard steels are fairly unpredictable) I decidided to braze it to its base insteal of welding to better suit its durability in use. Hopefully I will have a full day of tool making sometime this week and post more goodies for y'all. 7663.jpeg.bfa743472fbdcb810b4bf129dd422f

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AH! haha thats Crazy Ivan alright. being crazy. nice shop and i'm sure he will get where he wants to be. his mind is an amazing thing.

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Just a thought. When I uncoil a spring that way I put the holding bar upright in the vise and uncoil from the bottom of the spring, so gravity and leverage work in my favor. Pulling against the vice jaws so the bar don't slip down and tilt.

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Ayup, concur with Rashelle. Pull from the bottom of the coil and use several guys if necessary, just don't stop.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Weygers even shows a fancy tool for uncoiling springs in The Complete Modern Blacksmith.  I tend to just use a piece of pipe with the end flattened so the vise gets a good grip

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Very true on the uncoiling method. I'll remember that for next time. 

So I made more tools today from the same steel from the scrap yard. I made a Brazeal style hot cut hardy, a radius block with some nice flare on the base, some 1/4" flat bit tongs, 5/8" bolt head tongs, and some 1/2" duck bill tongs. The only picture that came out well was of the radius block, so here it is. I'll get better pictures of the rest later this week. 

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Today I got my orders for beeswax and a butcher block brush. I had an amazon gift card so that's where I got them. Even though it was no cost to me, I will add that cost to my tally. I spent $30 on them so my set up cost is currently -$20. Aside from that, I went to another scrapyard today and spent $16 on 16 lbs of some H13 plate. So now I am at $36 set up cost. Not too shabby. I am still pounding away on my previous scrap yard stock and made some hammer eye tongs out of the coil spring I had. They came out well and while not entirely satisfied with the result, they work flawlessly so that's the real goal here right? Anyways, here's some pictures of the tongs and a better picture I took of the hot cut hardy I made the other day. Tomorrow I will make a hammer eye punch and start making some stuck tools and soon do a production run on hammers. This will supplement my set up costs nicely provided they sell promptly. To keep things interesting, the first 2 people to message me will get a free (pay shipping) hand forged hammer forged from 4350. Anyways, here's the pics. 

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Also, at the scrapyard today, me and JWS found a perfect blower for my new forge and a great flywheel for my fly press build (grin) 

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Last photo with the single heavy wheel and left of the two metal totes, is that not a heavy pipe vise?  May want to grab it if it is still there.

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