Recommended Posts

This is cool. But not $3k cool.  Don't know anything more than what you see in the pics.

 s-l500-1.jpg.3cea48eb1990b9508b8c266e8d61317c.jpgs-l500.jpg.5278fe4ff341dda1d1fcae0b584b9e98.jpgs-l1600.jpg.376e34f33e276a9dd7dedc346f09a7db.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's cool, but how do you turn it on it's side to use the through-holes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is very cool. 

Might be reasons why you don't see those very often but I like it. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, JHCC said:

That's cool, but how do you turn it on it's side to use the through-holes?

A chain hoist comes to mind.    Or someone stronger than me.

If you're asking about how to make those holes accessible it appears that the stand would allow the "axle" either cone side down or up to fit between the sides of the stand, which has flat horizontal surfaces.  That should allow you to spin it to have access to the desired hole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you're thinking (1) lift the swage with a chain hoist or the like, (2) rotate block to horizontal, and (3) replace on stand? That makes sense, but it seems awfully cumbersome.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you seen a decent sized swage block where it isn't cumbersome to change the orientation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Buzzkill said:

Have you seen a decent sized swage block where it isn't cumbersome to change the orientation?

No, but the whole point of this one seems to be to make it less cumbersome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rotate to desired face,  (8 to choose from), put pins in locating holes (2 per the 8 faces) to keep it from turning during use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, JHCC said:

No, but the whole point of this one seems to be to make it less cumbersome.

I get your point, but there may be a reason this design did not become an industry standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. One side can act as a mandrel cone..  Very neat just the same.. 

I know I'm going to sound like a broken record but when was the last time anybody on here used a swage block for it's true purpose and while they can be handy to have  in 30 what ever years of doing this there have only been a handful of times where the swedge block was the go to piece of equipment.. I suppose if someone only had a swedge block that sized from 1/4" to 2.5 it would or could take the place of anvil swages.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Nice.....I'm thinking, for what I do.....if one of the 8 sides was flat, I could sell my anvil and clear out a bunch of tooling. If only the cone was solid and no through hole. That may not be a problem, but I'd sure like to have one to find out. Thanks for posting Judson.             Life is Good                Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd make space for it in my shop, you betcha. The catalog pic is different from the photo but that's okay. I agree Jennifer I don't use my swage block more than half a dozen times a year and often to hold a bottom tool so it handy and doesn't take up room on the anvil. I will say that when I really need it it's a wonderful thing. 

I just use a long pinch bar to rotate mine, the stand is end mounted old guard rail posts through bolted making a step. The lower step puts the block's edge at working height, the top step puts the faces at working height. The pinch bar lets me rotate the block by slipping it through a hole near one side and levering it up, it rotates 90* easy peasy. slip the bar through a more centered hole so it won't rotate and  just lever it up on the top step, OR lever it back down. Easy peasy though at my age that long pinch bar qualifies as HEAVY:( tooling.

I don't recall who but guys are making rotary swage blocks now though not this kind. The new blocks are  die or face oriented where the one pictured is swage or edge oriented. I know I use the swages (edge) on mine WAY more often than the through holes and I only use them to sink or drive shoulders. I Guesstimate edges get used 100+:1 over the face in my shop.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In days gone by, I suspect the swage block was an important too in the blacksmith shop and got used on a regular basis or at least semi-regular basis. Look at the size of the square holes, round holes, slots, and then look at the different size V shaped and half round shaped edges. They were put those sizes into the block for a reason, because that is the shape needed to do the work on the project at hand.

One reason that the swage blocks have gathered dust is the purpose for the tool is no longer needed, or at least not on a regular basis.

When was the last time you used the 2 man cross cut saw handing on the wall, or the old time buck saws, or the wagon jack? How many people do you know that have a steelyard, AND use it? (Other than JLP).  Yes they are all cool tools, but ... rarely used now days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use mine often enough to justify it's floor space.  The half round swages for tweaking 3 dimensional curves and the round dishing depressions for, well, dishing are my most used shapes.  If you set up your swage block AS AN ANVIL (which it is) i.e. at the proper hight and with working space around it you might be surprised at how useful it is.  Especially if your stand can hold all surfaces of the block at working hight.  How far removed is a striking anvil or a cutler's anvil from a swage block?

Frosty, John Newman from Canada is the guy producing modern rotary blocks.  Last I looked there was an American tool retailer carrying them here in the USA but given the rules I shouldn't mention their name. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used my swage block more than enough times to pay for it many times over, I would not think twice about buying one, although I do a great variety of metalwork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A smart man once said that we are living in the ruins of a post-industrial age, and that is why blacksmith and other obsolete tools were sold at scrap rates for so long. The bigger industrial sized stuff was even rarer and less portable, and is mostly gone to recycling.

Which makes seeing something like this even more special.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 05/19/2017 at 10:09 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

but when was the last time anybody on here used a swage block for it's true purpose

 

On 05/20/2017 at 4:48 PM, Judson Yaggy said:

I use mine often enough to justify it's floor space.

 

On 05/20/2017 at 5:55 PM, jeremy k said:

I have used my swage block more than enough times to pay for it many times over,

 

1 hour ago, John McPherson said:

A smart man once said

 

 

On 05/20/2017 at 0:49 PM, Glenn said:

How many people do you know that have a steelyard, AND use it? (Other than JLP). 

I express now my appreciation for all who have posted herein.

I have quoted the above, if you will pardon my arrogance, as an object lesson in how excellence is attained from "strikingly" different points of view.

The magnificent variability of the human mind is what I wish to highlight.

For myself, I have useful tools that may only be moved/repositioned via chainfall.

To quote from Glenn, every reasonably massive object possessing curvature or shape may be utilized for swage work.

To quote myself: Martial arts, my interpretation of Newton's Cradle, and the bucking shut of lids on twelve-foot diameter soup cans, evolves my views on the debate over "how much contiguous mass is required opposite one's hammer blows"........:

But ultimately, in the efficient cold-swaging of some forms with an automobile dolly held in hand (a precursor to building "real" tools).

Most of the work I do when I have the chance, involves multiple part prototyping in .140" steel wire, and the design of production dies/swages for same.

Such a diverse and talented crew, Glenn.

Robert Taylor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, FYI..   Way back,,  Material delivered from the metal Monger came in only a few sizes..

The swage block was used to finish the new sizes to shape.

Not like a bottom and top swage (which of course we all look at as standard).

You would forge a small section just about to the right diameter/shape/ size, then put it into the hole of the size and then stuff it through.  Nearly like wire drawing dies.. but you would stuff it in instead.  

I personally have never felt the need to experiment with the process as it would seem like torture but I imagine if it was the only good way of getting it done.. 

 

I'd make room for it as well. I'd love to have one like that in the shop.. Super handy..

.  Can't ever imagine having to many neat old tools.. At least while I am alive..  I will feel badly for who ever has to come and clean up behind me though..  Bandsaw alone is 2400lbs..  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Judson Yaggy said:

That's cool JLP, never heard of that technique in iron.  What's you source?

Was out of an old blacksmith journal or paper..Read it way long ago...  The Smith was talking about why tools were out dated and obsolete.   

 He considered swage blocks and  tire upsetters as old fashioned with little use now.. 

Said they make fine door stops but gave his to the scrapper to support the war effort.. No mention of which war..

I wasn't sure it would even be practical.. I then measured the holes in the swage blocks I have and all the thru holes are tapered.. not much but still tapered...   Never followed up on it but made sense to me in an assumption.

I did way back stumble onto an old piece of like new condition wrought iron which looked like it was forged in sections and was smeared.  I had assumed it was finnished to shape that way.. again whose to say..

Funny but in my mind I see an apprentice on one end of a bar through the swage block  with tongs pulling and the Smith on the other with a sledge yelling at the apprentice to pull harder..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Daninghram said:

Ok what is a tire upsetter? 

A pothole.

 

1 hour ago, Daninghram said:

Ok what is a tire upsetter? Something that puts the crown in the tire?

Machine to make axles and wagon tires smaller by upsetting.  I'll post a  picture later. I own 2 and are very handy..

1 hour ago, JHCC said:

A pothole.

Lol..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd wonder about that method of sizing as it would be so much simpler and faster doing it by putting a stop on the anvil face and forging it to size that way---very easy if you had a powerhammer. I know the royal armouries at Greenwich used to send their material out to a battermill to get sheet made.   Also real wrought iron would not drive very well as it working temps it would tend to upset above the hole.  I think that is an urban legend.  Now working stock down to size using the swages on the sides of a swageblock is a typical use for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

I'd wonder about that method of sizing as it would be so much simpler and faster doing it by putting a stop on the anvil face and forging it to size that way---very easy if you had a powerhammer. I know the royal armouries at Greenwich used to send their material out to a battermill to get sheet made.   Also real wrought iron would not drive very well as it working temps it would tend to upset above the hole.  I think that is an urban legend.  Now working stock down to size using the swages on the sides of a swageblock is a typical use for it.

I know.. It seems almost ridiculous..  But I can see where it would have merit..  

Not every shop  had power hammers in the very early days. Power hammers were a huge investment and country shops if making good money would have 1 or 2 if the work required it but as times changed and you had less and less journeyman or appentices coming on the scene power hammers became a must. Huge difference between industrial site and country blacksmith shops..

 

I always wanted to try it (make a complete bar that is). just never did.. that bar I mentioned was either half round or oval with weird edges.... Was a long time ago.. 

As for it not working..  I have extruded material though the holes and it does work but not like one would think..  It's not like using it to forge with.. It's more like a correction process. The only part that is hot is the part in the block and as you drive it in it upsets the portion in the block and pushes it through, just a few inches at a time...  I only did 6" this way but it worked for that.. Took some figuring out.. 

Of all the traditional swedge blocks I have seen 3/4" is about the smallest hole so I can see where there would be application..  Also most early blocks were thicker than later ones.

Ah, what ever..   I doubt I will ever sit down and make a bar to shape with this method.. As pointed out and as the guy stated.. They were out done by more modern technology and there was no reason for them any longer.. 

If I had to make a better known counter part it would be an upsetting matrix or upsetting jig.. But you only heat small sections at once.. 

Maybe this will go onto the "Blacksmith's Myth Busters" List of  video "How To's"..  

As always just sharing out dated information for your reading enjoyment and food for thought.    LOL.. 

 

Check your swedge blocks.. See if the holes are tapered?   Let me know.. 

 

Both of mine are..  The old one I have is about 6" wide the newer one is about 4" wide. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now