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Also, look up "steel distributors" in the Yellow Pages (not just online), call them, and ask if they have a "drop bin" for offcuts from larger jobs. My local place asks 75¢/lb for anything that isn't a full 20' stick.

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Hi everyone, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for all the great suggestions again. I have not been online as I have been overwhelmed with work, kids and more. However I have made some progress as far as my setup goes. I now have a piece of r/r track and I tried to return the aso which I feel like a dummy as I rushed into buying it, I acted foolish and did not do my homework before buying. I guess my wife will have a new decoration for the garden. I have a  high flow regulator that I took of my torpedo heater. I have a bunch of angle iron to start some projects. I believe I'm in good shape but I wish my forge was designed better especially the placement of the burner! It drives me crazy. I did rotate it so the burner is sideways instead of having a hose dangling near the flames. here's a pic of my test run and later I will take some of my rr track and iron to see if I can get some ideas on where to start with the shape and size of the material I have. Oh and yesterday I was at work and I found an old railroad spike! I think I will save that until I gain some experience.  Thanks again 

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There's a thread around here somewhere about "the handy railroad spike", if you want some inspiration on what to make with yours. 

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Looks a lot better James. Don't sweat it if you can't return the ASO they make nice heavy hardy holes so you don't need to try coming up with one and attach it to a home built anvil. Portable hardy holes are actually very handy tools.

The angle iron will be better used to your anvil stand, a better forge table and such. It's structural steel and darned handy in that capacity. It can be fun to forge though, flattened out without damaging the sharp ridge the outside corner of the angle makes turns it into excellent stock for serpent and bird heads. It takes good hammer control and some acquired skills to flatten it without FLATTENING it. ;) 

Your forge looks screaming hot, nice. Now if you put it on a heat resistant table top you'll be able to slide fire bricks to partially close the openings to really get it HOT. A table top will also provide an easy place to support long stock so you wont need tongs at all. It doesn't have to be fancy an old wooden kitchen table will do the trick. cover it with a few inches of dirt and set the forge on a couple bricks and you're golden. It doesn't need to be fancy just fill a couple conditions.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Looks like your burner is coming in at the bottom of the side of the forge. You might try flipping the forge 180 degrees so the burner comes in at the top of the side.

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15 hours ago, Frosty said:

Looks a lot better James. Don't sweat it if you can't return the ASO they make nice heavy hardy holes so you don't need to try coming up with one and attach it to a home built anvil. Portable hardy holes are actually very handy tools.

The angle iron will be better used to your anvil stand, a better forge table and such. It's structural steel and darned handy in that capacity. It can be fun to forge though, flattened out without damaging the sharp ridge the outside corner of the angle makes turns it into excellent stock for serpent and bird heads. It takes good hammer control and some acquired skills to flatten it without FLATTENING it. ;) 

Your forge looks screaming hot, nice. Now if you put it on a heat resistant table top you'll be able to slide fire bricks to partially close the openings to really get it HOT. A table top will also provide an easy place to support long stock so you wont need tongs at all. It doesn't have to be fancy an old wooden kitchen table will do the trick. cover it with a few inches of dirt and set the forge on a couple bricks and you're golden. It doesn't need to be fancy just fill a couple conditions.

Frosty The Lucky.

Thanks Frosty, you made me feel a little better about the aso. I just started a new shift at work, I'm doing four ten hour days so I'm going to have a nice three days to bang on some steel/iron. I'm desperate to get going in fact yesterday after work I fired up and started my first project. I wanted to stick with suggestions but couldn't help myself so I did what came natural. Here are some pics of my very fist attempt. I needed to do something even if it was wrong:)

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13 hours ago, John in Oly, WA said:

Looks like your burner is coming in at the bottom of the side of the forge. You might try flipping the forge 180 degrees so the burner comes in at the top of the side.

Thanks John, I wish I could sit it upright but I'm not compfotable with that but as far as 180 would I want the material direct on the bottom of the flame footprint? 

23 hours ago, JHCC said:

There's a thread around here somewhere about "the handy railroad spike", if you want some inspiration on what to make with yours. 

Thanks I will do a search and check it out.

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4 hours ago, JamesSr said:

Thanks I will do a search and check it out.

Pro tip: the search function in the forum software is quirky. You'll find it easier to locate what you want by using Google (or the search engine of your choice) and including "iforgeiron.com" as one of your search terms.

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A junk ASO  is probably better than a rock (somthing that has been used) but I concur to what has been said by others about stability and a good lump of real steel.

Your best tong sits on your left hand (unless you are left handed). Start using long stock that you can hold with your hand. Get a longish water bucket and dip your hand with the cooler end of the stock if heat is creeping up along the bar. Do NOT use a glove. Cut your finished object from the stock as the last operation. When you are more proficient, use this method when making your first tongs. 

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Basically, I was just repeating what Frosty said. If you flip your forge 180 degrees (either direction), you'd still have the burner coming in from the side, but it would be coming in at the top of the side rather than the bottom of the side. Then get some firebrick and block one end - you'll save heat = fuel.

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Welcome James a lot of good advice here as for tongs and tools do your research so you can know what the tool looks like then check flea markets I find a lot in piles of rusty stuff rule of thumb if it looks all polished up or you spend to much time looking at it the price will be too much I have collected many top tools hot cuts and such were they thought it was some weird hammer or hatchet for a dollar tongs from $1-15 and always strike when the iron is hot 

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It was mentioned above but the kens custom iron site sells "quick tongs" and "rapid tongs".   They are cheap, like $9.50-$12.50.  Cut out with water jet, you forge out the finish and assemble.  By the time you draw out the reins you'll have some hammer time in. They work good.

Like every other newb at this I have tried forging tongs.  I've made about 5 pair now. Some are barely functional, some a little better, all of them butt ugly. :-)    Never can get the boss just right. I'm bound and determined to make some nice ones, but it is way more difficult than it looks!  But the Kens tongs will get you a decent functional few pair with little investment.  Another option is a place local to me, Kayne & Son Blacksmith Depot.  They have some discount tongs in the $30 range.  Both of those places are top-notch to deal with and get your purchase to you quickly.

Looks like that forge is heating up nicely thank you.  Good job!

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