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It's been quite a while I know, G'day all who recognise this poster.

I have an urgent need to own one of these mulch forks but do not have the means or the justification in buying one. I thought perhaps someone might have a clue on the process of forging the fork from a single piece as the sturdy ones seem to be.

4ab6b8g.jpg

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If I recall, these pieces were first cut as blanks from plate steel, then drawn out. There's some pictures on here somewheres, but I'm not sure where... 

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I my farming day this was also known as a silage fork that we used to shovel silage out of the silo in the winter months.  Long before silo unloaders, well I guess we were the unloaders come to think of it.  Wouldn't this have been made from a die in a press of somesorts?

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1 hour ago, notownkid said:

I my farming day this was also known as a silage fork that we used to shovel silage out of the silo in the winter months.  Long before silo unloaders, well I guess we were the unloaders come to think of it.  Wouldn't this have been made from a die in a press of somesorts?

We just grabbed up a couple of these at a recent "pick" for the local agricultural museum.  I got chided for using the term "pitch fork" by the old geezers and was informed that the correct term was silage fork as you said.  I guess their admonishment worked--I doubt I'll haphazardly use the term "pitch fork" again :)

 

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Hi Strine, welcome home, Used to make them years ago in a similar manner to that shown in the video, which does not help if you don't have the rolls etc, Having said that I have also made multi tine forks without that tooling, and without a powerhammer, just a couple of strikers and basic tools,

The principle is the same as in the video, at around 2.47 it shows a twisted blank for the four tined fork, and prior to that, forming individual tines. which is relevant,

We started with a leaf spring, and gas cut a shape out similar to a dumpy short wide toothed comb with the required number of teeth (tines) and a post in the centre on the opposite side for the tang/socket. These were then individually drawn out, starting from the centre and alternating the working sides similarly as in the video, (In your picture, you can see the reduction along the spine of the tines at each section as you work out towards each end.)

Access and spacing are the key points, and some tooling like a set hammer for between tines may help. Otherwise it is a straightforward if long process.

A Powerhammer would be advantageous to say the least,

Have fun  and looking forward to seeing pics of the completed item.

Hardypick advert.jpg

I posted this in the Groups section BMASW Westpoint Forge, but you may have missed it. circa 1926 advert. I served some time here as a part of my apprenticeship, but not quite as long ago when this was published, same range of tools plus one or two more, 

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G'day Glenn and thanks...must be at least five or six years, two beautiful grandchildren and a couple of jobs since my last!

 

John B...I can sort of understand what you're saying but I'd love to see a sketch of the cut out blank if that's at all possible.

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21 hours ago, Kozzy said:

doubt I'll haphazardly use the term "pitch fork" again

Gramp on the farm said pitch forks had 2 or 3 times?  I have some of each.  About like chain I have a hard time seeing and not buying old ones.  As a teenager I used a 3 tine one to throw hay bales up onto the top of the loads being the biggest of the group that always seemed to me my job.  at the end of the summer when we had done 14,000 bales I thought I would never be able to get it out of my hand. 

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Welcome back Strine, been too long. Tell us about the Grandkids, don't forget the pictures!

Frosty The Lucky.

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11 hours ago, Strine said:

John B...I can sort of understand what you're saying but I'd love to see a sketch of the cut out blank if that's at all possible.

Something along these lines, this would have 20 tines, for a one off project I would tackle it like this one that I just marked  out on an old leaf spring, adjust your sizes to suit volume of metal in drawn out tines

Fork blank marked out.JPG

 

Hard going these especially without a powerhammer, gas forge is better than solid fuel, 

Try a smaller sample first

Good luck with it.

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When drawing out something with that many tines, do you bend them forward/back out of the primary plane rather than using the side/side method shown in the "how it's made" video of a fork with fewer teeth?

It seems to me that trying to do a side to side bend to isolate one tine for work at a time would be a nightmare to keep orderly.

Just curious about the usual procedure.

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Thanks John B. We all have our drawbacks! I have the power hammer but no gas axe so cutting the blank will be the biggest issue for me. My current, (very flexible!) idea is to make each tine as a separate entity including a section of the horizontal bar; much like a very tall and skinny letter "T", except for the end tines which will be "L's". I will then arc weld them all together. I'm hoping the 1/2 or so length of the joint will be sufficient for strength.

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42 minutes ago, Kozzy said:

When drawing out something with that many tines, do you bend them forward/back out of the primary plane rather than using the side/side method shown in the "how it's made" video of a fork with fewer teeth?

It seems to me that trying to do a side to side bend to isolate one tine for work at a time would be a nightmare to keep orderly.

Just curious about the usual procedure.

That is normal factory practice, and what gives the reduced sections along the spine as you see in the ,

The video (like most you see on You Tube) is somewhat deceptive and the next proceedure shown on the video is not on the same type of fork as the one as being drawn out under the rollers, 

Doing them by hand I would start from the centre ones working outwards and twist the "Fingers" back towards me and out of the way of the hammer/anvil, then draw the isolated one down, Repeating at each side,

It is a long an methodical process, and you will need some tooling to give the forged spacings between the tines.

Try a smaller sampler first,say a manure fork, and see how you go, video yourself and when you playback you can spot where you can improve.  

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21 minutes ago, Strine said:

Thanks John B. We all have our drawbacks! I have the power hammer but no gas axe so cutting the blank will be the biggest issue for me. My current, (very flexible!) idea is to make each tine as a separate entity including a section of the horizontal bar; much like a very tall and skinny letter "T", except for the end tines which will be "L's". I will then arc weld them all together. I'm hoping the 1/2 or so length of the joint will be sufficient for strength.

You are welcome Strine, The ends of the spine can be drawn out for your end tines.

Cutting the blank, if you mark it out and drill through with 5/8" or 3/4" diameter drill where the slots are, and then use a saw or angle grinder to cut down from the outside edge of the bar to the hole's centreline, you can then draw the tines down, this also has the advantage of smooth transitions on the corners, equal spacings that can be accessed to finish forge, and maximum metal available to draw down for the tine, and all the tines should be similar as each had same volume of material if cut this way, gas axe can produce differing profiles unles you are very good with one.

Personally I would go with this drill and cut method if you are going the forging route.

If it's only to be used on mulch, then welding on bits should be OK, 

Whichever way you choose, enjoy and let's see the end product, and its test runs.

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