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Shop rebuild

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On 5/19/2019 at 6:21 AM, 58er said:

No doubt Jim. A small upgrade. Just spoke with Dave yesterday about it. He laughed. 

The shop will eventually be a “u” shape. So this fits in the big picture. Both the hammer and extra space should open up more work possibilities. 

Excited to get underway. Just too wet to dig right now or footings would be done by next week. 


This is the first time I've read this thread.  Your shop would be the envy of any blacksmith..............beginner, hobbyist or full-time bread-winner.  I can't even imagine what a pleasure it would be to work in a shop with that many pieces of equipment to solve any problem that might present itself to you.  Great shop.  I'm "just" starting and this new interest will never amount to anything more than yet another hobby in my life, but I'm envious as all get-out of your shop and tools.  Wish I lived close enough to come and just spend a day watching you work.  "Toy Store" shop, to say the least.

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It's easier to have a wonderful shop than the skills to operate the simplest tool to it's limits Chris. 

As a beginner it's easy to fall into the myth that the tools do the work, they don't do anything but slowly turn back into dirt. It's the human with the big brain and thumbs that does the work. Beginners with too many nice tools tend to get lost trying to find things to do with them instead of just doing things.

Keep your kit as simple as possible and grow it slowly. You are already spending too much time and energy gathering what you THINK you need and you don't really know. Hmmmm?

If you were working on: a smooth rock on a rotten block of wood, a ball pein hammer and a garbage day BBQ grill burning charcoal briquetes with a paper box or can of water bellows right now you'd be building skills. Any and all that junk works better than searching for THE anvil, forge, etc. And YES you can burn Kingsford in your forge, you just have to know how, it's not poison fuel. It's not the best but you don't know how to use the worst, what good is the best? 

Seriously, making do with the really crummy stuff to learn with teaches you more faster than "REAL" shiny can. Figure out how to use Kingsford, it welds just fine, to do all the processes and you can burn anything. How do I burn THIS coal? Light a fire and listen to it a while, period: THIS kind of wood, same same, corn, ayup, camel dung as opposed to deer or moose berries, yup, cardboard? Same same. Fire is fire learn to listen to the fire and you have THE skill. 

If you learn to forge in a camp fire on a boulder with a cobble for a hammer, a willow whip for tongs and fire tools you'll be able to walk into ANY shop and just put it to work. Once you develop the rep for working magic in steel neato tools and equipment will start finding you.

Want to bet our friend from Bellville, Mr. 58er had to work terribly hard to get the equipment or learn to use it? And which came first?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for the advice.  Can't really "listen to the fire" because I'm practically deaf from flightline work in the military and industrial work at my family's plastic manufacturing plant.   For some reason (and I know I'm going to get pounded for this) coal/charcoal just turns me off.  I know it's traditional, but it's just not something I'm at all interested in.  The only "fancy" thing I'm working towards is a good propane forge because I can hook it up to a PID for consistent temperatures.  Everything else is just garage sale finds and Harbor Freight Engineer's Hammer kind of stuff.  

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Most folks seem to define "traditional" as what was done in the 19th century, me, I define it as pre Y1K. It doesn't have a carved in stone definition so you could maintain that propane was a traditional fuel before induction forges were common. 

(I mean all smithing done without using real wrought iron is "modern", RIGHT!)

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I have a political cartoon poster of a group of "cavemen", the Stone Hand Ax Makers Union, protesting that the Metalworkers were taking their jobs...

Saw it on a flyer for an exhibit of the creators work at a small museum in Germany and tracked the place down to buy a couple of the full sized posters, It's hanging in my living room of the big house.

It's amusing that so many people define what they do is traditional; considering whatever concessions to modern times they make as perfectly allowable; but other people's concessions to modern times are completely abhorrent!  (I remember one medieval living history group that mandated authenticity in textiles but was completely ok with using metal that wasn't easily available till you could buy Levis at the local drygoods store. Also their textiles were not hand spun on a drop spindle, and hand woven on a vertical loom to boot!)

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2 hours ago, Chris C The Curious said:

Can't really "listen to the fire" because I'm practically deaf from

Don't listen with your ears then. Everything talks to us, we have to learn the language by paying attention. Funny your hearing is poor and you want to make a propane forge, I tune mine by ear. I can see the general condition of the flame pretty well but the final fine tune is in the note. 

At the anvil my holding hand tells me more about what's going on in and the condition of the steel while I work it I almost always determine when to go back to the fire by feel not vision though note is second most important. Nerve damage is degrading my hearing and sight on my left side. They're still pretty good on my right but hearing is lower than about 30% on the left and my sight is always bleary. So my depth perception is always off things aren't where they sound like they should be and nothing is as close or far as it looks.

I haven't spent enough time at the anvil since the accident to gain much back either and that's my bad. Funny thing when I do go back to make something if I forget what I can't do and just let my inner eye make it I do alright and next time I go back it's easier.

The brain's a funny ball of contaminated fat. 

What's tradition to a blacksmith? "Faster, Better, Cheaper, Easier." Improve one without lowering another and your profits go up."

Blacksmithing is a craft that has been actively working on obsolescence since it was discovered. It had to be discovered before folks could start inventing improvements you know. Can you imagine what happened when smiths discovered bronze was stronger than copper?!:o "Kronk, stoopud, yellow metal need fire he no good, it not traditional." 

Can you imagine a REAL blacksmith refusing to use that new fangled invention Tongs, traditional calluses were good enough for their fathers, weren't they?

If you wish to be a traditional smith, pick a time period and limit your tech level. However, be aware that modern tech is the fruit of millennia of Blacksmith tradition. The state of the art Blacksmith wears a sport suit and sips Jolt Colas in a control booth while the machinery forges on.

Isn't is part of everything, it's in between. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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We have threads on sound and how to reduce the sound.  

90-95 DB Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss
Power mower at 3' 107dB
Snowmobile, Motorcycle 100dB
Power saw at 3' 110dB

150 dBA Hammer stroke in a smithy at 5 m (30 feet) distance (maximum level)

Continuous dB Permissible Exposure Time
85 dB 8 hours
88 dB 4 hours
91 dB 2 hours
94 dB 1 hour
97 dB 30 minutes
100 dB 15 minutes
103 dB 7.5 minutes
106 dB 3.75 min (< 4min)
109 dB 1.875 min (< 2min)
112 dB .9375 min (~1 min)
115 dB .46875 min (~30 sec)

And you wonder why we suggest ear muffs, plugs, and protection for your hearing


Earplugs has an NRR measured in decibels, or dB, and that rating can range from 20 to 34. The higher the number, the more effective the plugs are at blocking out extremely loud noises. Install a set of ear plugs and then listen through vibrations and tactile feel.  It is a whole different world of communication. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I been looking at one of those tables myself 58er do you no much about differant brands cause i was looking at a langmuir its a a small 2x2 table.I need to get a little more understanding before i pull the trigger what are some things you looked for and like about the one you got.

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  • 2 weeks later...

FINALLY found the time to start the addition for the new hammer. Hopefully I can knock it out quickly. Drilled out the 1” plate for the hammer base and sent it to a blacksmith buddy to weld up the mounting bolts to save time. Can’t wait. 





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