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It's also worth noting that there's a HUGE difference between a highly skilled person like jplservicesinc or JPH testing an expert opinion to see whether or not something can or can't be done and a relative newbie doing the same. I've been smithing on and off (mostly off, alas) since I was in my mid teens, and I know good and darn well that my skill level isn't anywhere near high enough to challenge conventional wisdom on my own.

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Oh boy this is great....love it...

OK..there are experts that have walked the walk...paid their dues and otherwise worked their ways up from nothing (no one is born knowing how to do this stuff..more on this in a bit...) to being considered an "expert/authority" in the field..not by themselves personally but by others who are already respected in said field. There is a place for "book learnin' "  as well as the experience OJT side.. Study is fine..it opens the door...but actually DOING the work..well that walks you through the door...

Then there are the  "experts" that read a blog or webpage and now they know it all...about everything..and the ones that are the best are the folks that say my family have been blacksmiths for 11 generations so by birth I know it already...Oh please....get a grip....it takes all kinds to make the world...but still...

Argue all you want about the specifics and technicalities...it all comes down to when the hammer hits..does it work?  You can know what works for this or that..that is the practical side of this...the side that does the actual work...without knowing the why it works....that is the academic side...the "whys"...this does what it does... To me...you need some of both to get good at this...simple as that. Yeah...ya all can say " What the heck does this guy know anyways??  He doesn't belong to the ABS, Knifemaker's Guild or anything..." and you'd be 100% right..I don't...but I have been doing this for a couple years and a bit and I picked up ALOT of "stuff" in doing so...and I can tell you all this...all of one side, whether it is the academic or the practical isn't best way to go about anything... What matters most is the ability to learn something and then use it.. Some things some folks are "naturals" at...others have to try harder...you see it every day... in just about every field and line of work.. All I can say is if you want to get good at this and improve your skill set...get our there and DO IT... Simple as that.... which brings me to a side note on "experts"...

Yes experts..the second kind mentioned above..we all know the types...we have seen them many times make fools of themselves...usually they just do something that is so totally over the top and ridiculous that you laugh so hard you wet yourself..or usually you just shake your head and ask "why ?".. Well most of the time that is fine..no harm done..but in this field.. these guys can get you FUBAR'd . As I have said before...we are not making toys or widgets here... just about everything out in my studio can mess you up... Remember hand tools injure...power tools maim... and before you try anything suggested by one of these "experts"..please think it through...

Hope this helps...

 

JPH

 

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I always enjoy watching people inflating themselves at the expense of others.  please continue its funny

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Wow........ I'll listen to those that know more than I and ignore those that beef up drama and act like they are bored 22 year olds living in moms basement.

 

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Reverse psychology.  He simply wanted you all to come together and discuss the heart of this website by playing devil's advocate.  You guys are thinking things through.  Dont you see it?

Worked perfectly.

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8 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Not all knowledge comes from college. Something my grandfather told me in the early '60s which still applies today.

Amen! yes! if only people understood!

                                                                                                                                Littleblacksmith

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jlpservicesinc. I am impressed by your silencing the anvil.

My main anvil is a North Swedish 250 pound cast steel. The shape is similar to the German designs with little waist and two horns. I use a stump with a routed 10mm depression that prevents it from walking and which is dished so the anvil is supported around the rim. The result is an anvil that is perfectly solid the way I use it. I do not own a heavier hammer than two kilograms and usually use 1.25kg one. It is very close to be as silent as yours except when hit at the horns without hot steel in between.

I also have a London pattern cast steel 70-pounder. That one also sits on a dished stump. Since it is light I have fixed it to the stump using four 6" nails, bent over the feet. (I do not want to be nicknamed 'Coyote':P ) Just as you describe, the clamping down dampened the ring very considerably.

The London pattern anvil can be described as two tuning forks back to back. One way to stop a tuning fork from sounding is to grip one of the tines and that is what we do when we tie down the feet. It seems to me that my bigger anvil is heavy enough in itself to make sufficiently good contact between stump and feet whereas the lighter one needed to be tied down to dampen the sound. The comparison is not really conclusive since the geometry of the anvils is different.  

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21 hours ago, SmoothBore said:

I have no interest in the opinions of self-appointed experts.

But would contribute this to the discussion .....

 

Perhaps a part of the difficulty experienced by some beginners, ... as-well-as quite a few experienced practitioners, ... lies in the inevitable disconnect that arises when attempting to apply archaic techniques, to modern materials.

 

The techniques utilized and promoted by experts in traditional Ironwork, were developed to most successfully manipulate that particular ( Heterogeneous ) material, that we know as "Wrought Iron".

Applying those same techniques to ALLOY steels ( a Homogeneous metal ) is going to yield somewhat different results.

Quite often, those differences don't affect the desired outcome, ... but on occasion, they can create "issues".  :rolleyes:

 

This is why so many experienced toolmakers and blade-smiths eschew "mystery metal" in favor of "known alloys".

Those folks tend to be "results oriented", ... while others of us enjoy the "mystique" and "adventure" :P associated with "scrap" metal.

-----------------------------------------------

 

And while I'm on this "soap box", ... a few words about choosing "scrap" metal for your intended purpose .....

A common question arises on these forums, that goes something like, ... "Can I cut this 200# chunk of steel into blanks for making nails and paper clips" ?

Well, ... of course you CAN, ... but why would you WANT to ?

When I want to make, ... let's say, a small punch, ... I'm most likely going to make it from a slightly larger "struck tool".

( Used punches and chisels can be found at every flea market, ... for a pittance. )

The point being, ... that similar tools will be of an appropriate size and material.

You don't have to "reinvent" the wheel, every time you light up the forge.

 

But, if that's what you WANT to do, ... then you've got to expect a high percentage of failures.

Please elaborate on the notion of( " Appling  archaic methods to modern materials"..

Applying those same techniques to ALLOY steels ( a Homogeneous metal ) is going to yield somewhat different results")

 if you don't mind..  I'm up for some modern learning since I am archaic....

To not detract from this thread starting a new thread would be most appreciated...

I'm sure you guys could give me some schooling and bring me up to date....

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Wow!!!!

I couldn't be any more saddened and/or outraged by your post  rookieironman. I have not yet see someone ostracize and alienate the collective wisdom that has been established as accurate and true on this forum. The replies are well said and very much show an extreme amount of self control. Their is such a large amount of hypocrisy, confliction, passive aggression, dishonesty and horse poo in your comments, its hard to even understand how you could even post them. My 14 year old daughter could see the holes in your "story" been hammering for years/ am thinking about starting to hit metal.  I went and read all of your 17 posts, you seem to ask a lot of questions but only from the point of discrediting the answers. I really feel like you have not hardly struck any hot iron over any kind of an anvil. But instead you are looking for some way to flex those "degrees in engineering" you claim to have acquired.  Everyone I have interacted with on this site has been forthright, honest and good natured. Look at the response you have elicited........ you may not be able to see it but you have done a terrible thing. I grew up in Montana...... and if a guy got outta line he usually got tuned up pretty good, sometime even had to pick up a tooth or 2 off the floor. You my friend are getting tuned up, only the collective wisdom on this sight has a strong code of ethics and sticks to upholding the rules on this sight. Sadly I think that you will never understand how big of a mis-step you have taken because the rules don't allow you to ever hear it.   

 When one is seeking information you show humility. You show thankfulness toward those who took time from their day to try and help you. You ask questions to get clarification, expand your understanding as to why they choose to do what they do the way that they do it. I can not stand it when people spend so much time learning all they can about smithing and that it will be impossible for them to ever be able to do it. Because their concept of what it is, is so skewed they can never meet the self-induced expectation. Or they are so focused on having all the "right, equipment, forge, tools,...ect" they become paralyzed and take no action to actually forge something.....anything..... but they need a release, so they instead just spew rubbish on those of us who don't know everything and NEVER CLAIMED TO!!!! But I will tell you what we do know, we know how to light our forge and swing a hammer on hot iron, how to be humble, who we are, and how to treat others and show appreciation. 

You owe this forum an apology. Humble yourself, apologize, and be a better version of yourself, contribute don't just take. If this is not possible for you I would ask that you remove yourself from Iforgeiron and go find a forum better suited to your needs. 

On 5/10/2017 at 4:51 PM, rookieironman said:

 

 

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3 minutes ago, David Kailey said:

Wow!!!!

Wow indeed, David, but I wouldn't get that worked up about it. We see this all the time: someone comes into the forum, tries to throw their weight around, and gets checked. At that point, one of two things happens: they wise up and get humble, or they quit. I doubt we'll see rookieironman again -- and if we do and he keeps acting like this, he's going to escalate and eventually get himself banned.

Glenn and others like to say that "the forum is self-correcting." By that, they usually mean that erroneous information gets corrected and oversimplified answers get expanded on. There's another sense in which that is true, though: that we all get better at talking about this stuff, that we all learn how to ask better questions and get better at learning from the answers. Those who aren't willing to learn, won't survive. Let them go; they are not our concern.

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2 minutes ago, JHCC said:

 

I am not as worked up as it appears. I just have to find a "nice" way of expressing my displeasure...... lol....... so I may have gotten a bit wordy.  

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Just now, David Kailey said:

I am not as worked up as it appears. I just have to find a "nice" way of expressing my displeasure...... lol....... so I may have gotten a bit wordy.  

No worries!

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I get it.. Really I do get it..    From a personal perspective I was one of those kids who would always ask " WHY"?     And  also  " Your not the boss of me"..   Spoiled some would say.. But I never had anything handed to me in my life..  I worked for everything..   

So, with that being said..   While  both    of these   WHY and Your not the boss of me have haunted me my whole life.. It wasn't because I didn't respect my elders or school teachers or the like..   I was serious when I asked  "WHY"..   No one would give me an answer..  They would just say " Because I told you so, Or I want it that way"..      

Why   " What is there that makes you want it that way"..  because..  Because "Why"??????    On and on and on..    All this time I was simply looking for more information so i could by chance understand what or why the person having seen it in their perspective.. 

 

When I served my apprenticeship for horse shoeing  the guy hired me " Because I was a genuine metal mover"..  But one day when he was mad at me (Because of why)  I was working on a shoe and he said " You are hitting it the wrong way"??       My answer was    "Why"???     He just walked away after a sneer..  

I have come to the conclusion that there are basically 2 types of people..   One's that find questions in their heads and figure out the correct words on how to ask..  And then there are people who have to go through the motions and it isn't till they solve the problem, they can look back and say " Oh, so that was the question I should have asked"..  

Me.. I'm that second type.. Coming up with questions that I can ask someone who can answer them has always been a challenge..    What this has done is made it so I have to do the work to figure out my own conclusions as the question doesn't appear till it's been answered.. 

Anyhow..   It's made it a tough  or long road but in that same token it's given me a wider appeal for people who have that same problem..  

 

To me:     Everything is always why..         I can't speak for the person who started this thread..

But in some cases I have gone to the supposed experts (top in my field) and asked questions which they could not answer.. Instead of saying I don't have an appropriate answer for you... I had to search on my own..  Eventually I had asked enough people  and by chance meeting the questions had I had formulated over years of time and I could see clear writing.. I was just lacking some facts.. Again because I wasn't there yet.. 

Some people like to cause trouble especially on the internet..  But I also think for some it's the  " WHY"?    

I still do this very thing..  but now nearly all my "WHY's " have been answered and I need no more questions.. :)  Full circle maybe..   

By the way.   Punching someone in the face might make you feel better..  But it doesn't help the person who was punched..    Would you steal the shoes off a homeless person?    Someone reaching out despite a bad attitude might need more help than others... 

One aspect of all the internet and forums it's made each of us teachers..    When we share any information..  Good, bad, wrong or right. It's information that someone else may share..  Good information can come in many forms and while it might be dismissed as bad, or good.. it has become that sharing any information might take on a life of it's own.. 

I was labeled a troubled youth..     "WHY"???   

 

 

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On May 12, 2017 at 10:36 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

I was labeled a troubled youth..     "WHY"???   

Yup, you were growing up, but not shutting up. Ideas and questions make our simple brothers and sisters nervous and generally uneasy. 

Keep wondering. "Wonderlust"?

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On 5/10/2017 at 8:35 PM, Glenn said:

Many times information becomes dated as new discoveries and new processes are found. 

IForgeIron self corrects and is encouraged to do so. If a discussion becomes heated we request that both sides provide references to back up their opinions. This way we can read the original reference and read from the original information for review. We also understand that there are times when experience is the reference. This experience can be provided and independently proven to be true.

IF you speak in generalities that is fine. If you have had a problem on the site, please provide me the details and I will look into the issue. 

Glenn  as long as I can cut the end off a car part, heat it to almost red, pack the edge, get it flood light white and quench it in a mud puddle facing north and stick a used broom handle on the other end I think everything will be just fine.:D 

I happen to very much like the way this list cuts to the quick when ideas are crowd sourced. On the great whole the suggestions here are either presented as "what if I...." or "I think it works like..." or "when we did that type of work 30 years ago We..." which are all very valid starting points.

I have quite a few engineering students into my shop (had three freshman Northwestern students in last weekend) and I have learned a great deal from that interaction over the years. I often bend the ear of the Profs and past clients who are in industry. I think it wise to use and abuse such relationships when faced with fundamental issues in the blacksmith shop.

What we do is far beyond just hitting things with hammers even if we choose to look at it otherwise.

Ric

 

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On May 12, 2017 at 10:36 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

 I was one of those kids who would always ask " WHY"?        

Why   " What is there that makes you want it that way"..  because..  Because "Why"??????    On and on and on..    All this time I was simply looking for more information so i could by chance understand what or why the person having seen it in their perspective.. 

I have come to the conclusion that there are basically 2 types of people..   One's that find questions in their heads and figure out the correct words on how to ask..  And then there are people who have to go through the motions and it isn't till they solve the problem, they can look back and say " Oh, so that was the question I should have asked"..  To me:     Everything is always why..        

I understand this. I'm a "why?" person.  It is the result of and state of any inquisitive mind which thirsts for information. It is the natural persona of anyone who has a passion for being their best at "whatever" but I believe it is particularly prevalent in the artsy/creative type.  I'm a "why?" person but I can stop when I have reached the limit of my usable information.  For instance 33 years ago I may have asked "Why do you quench that hot gold in denatured alcohol?"  The answer being, "It remains soft and malleable instead of hardening as it does when quenched in water."  That's it, I've gleaned the information I need.  I don't need to go further and ask, "Why does it not harden?"  To me, that is not usable information. Oh I can study the metallurgical reasons or physics or molecular or whatever...but who cares "Why?" at that point?  So I suppose to continue could start to get irritating because likely, the master jeweler that taught me that little trick was just like me in that, he didn't have the answer to "why it doesn't harden" just that it doesn't.  I've had the good fortune to work with some very talented people with skills far surpassing mine.  I've also gleaned a fair amount of info from those who are no where near the level I am...everyone has information they can share.  But you'll never be the beneficiary of it unless you ask "Why?"  .

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1 hour ago, Richard Furrer said:

Glenn  as long as I can cut the end off a car part, heat it to almost red, pack the edge, get it flood light white and quench it in a mud puddle facing north and stick a used broom handle on the other end I think everything will be just fine.:D 

I happen to very much like the way this list cuts to the quick when ideas are crowd sourced. On the great whole the suggestions here are either presented as "what if I...." or "I think it works like..." or "when we did that type of work 30 years ago We..." which are all very valid starting points.

One thing that very much impressed me a few years back was when someone suggested an unusual procedure, and one of the curmudgeons practically jumped down his throat. However, the person who made the suggestion came right back with a well-thought-out explanation and a discussion of the underlying rationale. Instead of digging in his curmudgeonly heels, the expert (and we are talking about a genuine recognized expert) replied along the lines of, "Huh, I never thought of that. That makes sense, and I will definitely try it."

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   Hey Rook,

  If you asked...and its not here. Go fish.

  Good luck. 

  Pat.   AKA.    N.N.F.       Beautiful, Manchester, Michigan. USA 

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On May 12, 2017 at 7:11 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

Please elaborate on the notion of( " Appling  archaic methods to modern materials"..

Applying those same techniques to ALLOY steels ( a Homogeneous metal ) is going to yield somewhat different results")

Simply stated, ... modern "industrial" forging, is all about CONTROLLING the variables ... of specific material composition, temperature and speed/pressure.

( This controlled process allows for the forging of materials that are virtually impossible to work using traditional techniques and tools. )

While the "traditional" techniques of the "Blacksmith", involve a PROGRESSIVE shaping of the material, with a variety of tools, as it continually changes in temperature and elasticity.

The molecular characteristics of Wrought Iron, ( and some Mild Steel ) lends itself to this progressive process, ... while the composition of many Alloy Steels simply do not.

Anecdotally ..... Wrought Iron is successfully forged from a "red" heat, all the way up to "white hot", ... but some Stainless Alloys require a window of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit for successful forging.

( Personally, ... I can't look at a piece and predictably judge it's temperature within such narrow constraints. )

Again, ... I'm not saying you can't successfully use modern materials.

Only that you will encounter many variables related to the characteristics of modern materials, that are not always foreseen, or addressed, by traditional methods.

And, as always, ... your results may vary .....

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Nice post and very well said..  Totally agree..  There are definitely process and materials which can only be successfully forged in a very controlled environment..  Wyman Gordon.of Worcester and Grafton MA. they had fancy closed die hammers that were like a million pounds (I forget the tonnage)  but they used closed dies that they would pump argon or nitrogen into to get the correct atmospere from what I understand.. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyman-Gordon

https://www.asme.org/about-asme/who-we-are/engineering-history/landmarks/89-wyman-gordon-50000-ton-hydraulic-forging-press

There are videos on some of what they worked on somewhere I can't seem to find it now.. 

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I have a fun story about theoretical engineers versus skilled blacksmiths.

I bought a 2CWT Clearspace Massey hammer from the West Midland Stamping Company when they were closing down one of their factory sites and consolidating on on the other around a brand new Bessey closed die Forging plant. The Bessey tup was driven down by air and that in turn lifted the anvil by hydraulics which cut out the ground shaking thump of the old drop hammers that they were using previously.

They were forging huge toothed arcs which were for the Channel Tunnel boring machines. They had a rotating gas furnace which I think was hexagonal. It was charged by a forklift from the outside and rotated to present the heated batch of elements to the team working the machines. The next empty furnace section was then charged, which made it a continuous supply. The elements were around 1500mm (5') long and maybe 125mm (5") square. They pre-forged them under a 10cwt Massey Clearspace Hammer and then put them into the Bessey for the final crunch and forming.

We were being shown around by the foreman but we were spotted by the Managing Director who decided he would like to lead the tour. So we arrive at the new Bessey which is just being commissioned and the MD proudly says "We have managed to engineer out the skill with this new machine. We will no longer be held to ransom by the stamping teams who work on piece rate...the teams always try and work slow when we are negotiating the rate and then always make more as soon as it is set. This time we know that they can make 40 units a shift, so they cannot prevaricate and do 30 and then bump up production when they have the money sorted."

I found his phrase "engineering out the skill" really chilling. It has stuck with me.

However, a few weeks later I called the foreman to have a chat about furnace construction and castables...and casually asked how the stamping teams were getting on with the new Bessey machine. "Oh fine, they produced exactly 40 units on the first shift just as the engineers predicted. After a week of managing to achieve 40 per shift the piece rate was set. The next shift they produced 60 and are now keeping that up!" :)

Alan

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27 minutes ago, Alan Evans said:

 

I found his phrase "engineering out the skill" really chilling. It has stuck with me.

However, a few weeks later I called the foreman to have a chat about furnace construction and castables...and casually asked how the stamping teams were getting on with the new Bessey machine. "Oh fine, they produced exactly 40 units on the first shift just as the engineers predicted. After a week of managing to achieve 40 per shift the piece rate was set. The next shift they produced 60 and are now keeping that up!" :)

Alan

Love it..  to funny..  Where do we get to see this hammer you bought?   You can't keep all this wonderfulness to your self..  That and the hydraulic press.. :) 

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Well the 2CWT Massey went to Benprotheroe on here who has subsequently rebuilt it and has just moved into a workshop halfway between my forge and home. So it hasn't gone far!

Ben put up some photos of it in the power hammer section I think. He has also taken on a lot of Mike Roberts' equipment on a storage-in-exchange-for-shared-use basis. As that included Mikes 1CWT self contained Alldays Ben has not got around to installing the Massey yet.

Alan

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17 hours ago, Alan Evans said:

I have a fun story about theoretical engineers versus skilled blacksmiths.

I am as appaled by the fact that he admitted this thinking to a relatively casual visitor. Are you sure the MD was an engineer and not a beancounter. Owners tend to believe that beancounters make more profit (and they may - initially that is )They tend to speak loudly about the knowledge and skills of their R&D staff and then go  home and fire them.

I once designed a plant with a 250 m3/day output The foreman made a test in secret and made 360m3. He told me but I had to promise not to tell the owner. The pay was on hourly basis and the foreman did not want to have 380m3 on his back.

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