Allomancer Jak

Is there a list of recommended products/brands?

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I was just wondering if there is a list in general. I'm not necessarily looking for one thing in particular, but I thought it would be good to know if such a thing exists for when I need to make informed decisions on purchases. Reviews are good, but I don't always trust them because the write might be using a product for a completely different application.

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  AJ,

 Coke please, no Pepsi here. 

 Sorry for the wise guy answer, could not resist. I have been blessed to know three very good smiths, and call them friends. Each one of them had a specific brand of anvil that they said were the "BEST". No real answer here, but a lot of great information and feedback on this site. I use a big name search engine, and iforgeiron in the search and find the most posts.

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

  

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16 minutes ago, NoName said:

Coke please, no Pepsi here.

I do prefer to burn coked coal over that Pepsi Green coal as well.

Kaleb

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Hi Allomancer,

One of the things I like in being a blacksmith is the non-consumer type of its nature. - Found a hammer? Use it, it is a hammer no matter who manufactured it. Use it more and make your own hammer - then you'll know who made that hammer. - Found some tong shaped objects? Use them, then make your own... and so on. Anvils seem to be one of the main target of blacksmithing consumerism, but who says you need an actual anvil? - Go find a big piece of steel, that's your anvil. Machinery is tricky but what machines do you actually need in the beginning? Maybe an angle grinder, whatever type... 

You can really make your own stuff literally from trash. It's a start. Then later you'll know where you need to develop and how.

End of rant. And I try to be a bit helpful :) : Milwaukee is my favorite brand in angle grinders. But my first was a cheap Chinese BlackNDecker and it did all works done that time.

Bests:

Gergely

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Perfectly valid question. A list of blacksmith suppliers. 

No on this website unfortunately. Need to google it. 

As far as scrounging for tools. Sure you can do that if you are so inclined. But there is nothing wrong with buying your tools and the rest of what you need.

Contrary to popular believe, survivalism is not very practical. Some have fun doing that though. Each to his own. 

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Hi Marc,

My point was totally from the view of a possible beginner. I can never stop wondering when hear something like: I'm totally new to this trade and bought a 1000$ anvil, what to do next?

As a professional you certainly are right about buying new tools that have the paperwork allright and work instant and cost-effectively. 

Your post made me think that maybe I misunderstood the title of the topic - I thought the op asks about what brand is better than another (hence my personal reference on Milwaukee grinders), now I think the question might have been something different.

Bests:

Gergely

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as a general rule, most tools blacksmiths use are antiques and older tools are usually of fair quality.  as far as modern power tools go, ya can't beat Bosch, and rigid is good too.

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Another vote for Milwaukee, ... and Metabo.

I've got a LOT of Milwaukee power tools that are over 30 years old, ... and still going strong.

( Maybe this means they are good tools, ... and maybe it means that I don't work very hard. :P )

.

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My 2 cents...

Harbor Freight is not your friend.

That's all.

 

Okay, with the possible exception of consumables like grinding/cutting discs, welding gloves, etc. MAYBE a hammer.  But NO to any power tools. Get something name brand.

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Depends on what you are looking for when you say Harbor Freight. I bought 2 of their 4.5" angle grinders for $9 each figuring when. the first one died I would have the backup. Years later the first one has not died yet......... Yes some of their tools are really sketchy, but if you look them over you can find some decent tools. Plus I like the fact that they support school shop classes with tool donations when many schools are looking to, or already have, cut them from the curriculum. For that alone I will continue to shop there. 

Now as to smithing specific items like tongs, top and bottom tools, etc.... The field has a lot more suppliers than Centaur Forge today than say 10 years ago. As to "best" , you ask 10 smiths what hammer is best and you may get 20 answers ;)  When it comes to tools people have the same biases towards them as they do vehicles. It gets down to what you like personally. Someone's "best" tool may not fit your hand like it does theirs. It may be waaay outside of your budget. Or, it isn't as good a quality as you want.  Tools are very personal to a craftsman. 

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As far as powertools, if you can find made in Japan or Germany or Switzerland, you are safe. Most of the old good brands are now made in China. Milwaukee and DeWalt included unfortunately. Bosh Blue and Metabo if made in Germany are good. Fein Is good.

Having said that, it all depends from what you want to make. If you are forging small stuff you will use your powertools very little so a cheap grinder, will serve you for a long time and may be it's not worth buying expensive powertools. I Use Makita cordless tools and Milwaukee 5" rat tail grinders. Have a string of grinders to avoid changing disk, then I use a series of pneumatic tools with the compressor. Great when you need to go into small spaces. A magnetic base drill press from Fein I found in the local pawn shop prooved invaluable for large projects but clearly a luxury same as my cold saw.

I also have a long list of woodworking Bosch blue tools, but that is besides the point. 

My drill press I bought from a factory closing down, made for a local tool shop in Taiwan. Bullet proof. If you can buy a large stand drill press ex industrial you won't regret it.

I can't comment on blacksmith tools since I had mine for yonks besides a couple of Blue cross peen hammer I bought a few years ago and I seem not to be able to stop buying anvils ... I will soon run out of space for them. However you have a long list of blacksmith suppliers in the US. I wish we had one decent one here. All we seem to have is farrier supplies. Wouldn't mind a nice new rounding hammer. Your blacksmithdepot sells Jim Poor rounding hammers for yeeks $195 ... I feel poorer already :) 

Anyway, a list of trusted suppliers would make a lot of sense and they could pay the site some publicity money I suppose. Not sure Glenn agrees with me on this one.  I say ... Pecunia non olet ... :)

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At one time Abana maintained an excellent list of suppliers however they have discontinued it. Don't know why except there were a bunch of invalid links as suppliers went out of business during the recession.

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Trusted suppliers?  How do you tell who is trusted and who is not trusted? Or which is a good tool and which is a not so good tool?

Example:  Is a well known, and name brand anvil with a sway back,heavily chipped and deformed edges the fault of the trusted supplier, or the manufacturer? Certainly it could not be the fault of the fellow that used a 20 pound sledge hammer and a cutting torch on a light weight anvil.  Does abuse of a tool make it a poor tool when it fails? 

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Sure Glenn, when it comes to anvils it's an easy short list for new anvils. Second hand is the usual gamble. 

I was thinking more in availability then recommendation. Who is the local blacksmith supplies store? Blacksmith depo, Centaur forge etc. Surely no one would expect a warranty from you because there is a list on your website. Plus if you get the supplier to advertise, it is his ad and you are even further removed from the recommendation. 

Just my 2c ... oh you don't have cents ... so my 5 pennies. :P

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Why all this talk about angle grinders? Especially to a beginner. What ever happened to using a hot rasp? 

Also please don't be spending upwards of $200 on hammers. As taxpayers we got mad at the government for throwing away that kind of money toward General Dynamics, Halliburton etc. Let's try to be a bit more intelligent at a personal level.

George

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Intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills and can not be anything but personal. 

To think that one way to do things is better than another is not intelligence, it's bias. 

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It's easier to list places folks have had bad experiences with than good; but then they want to sue you...(for example: after waiting for 3 hours for AAA to show up last night we woke up a local mechanic that came out after midnight and got us back on the road.)

In blacksmithing the details make such a difference:  consider two smiths: one plans to shove 5 tons of steel across the anvil during the next year and believes that paying several hundred dollars apiece for tools that will increase their efficiency is a good thing.  Another smith is watching every dime as he/she is  young, has a young family and does smithing as a hobby---when they get the chance... The latter one may not think that a tool that is 10% better but costs 500% more is a good use of their limited funds.

What I will suggest is to attend a few large conferences where folks are selling both new and used tools and you can handle them to see if they seem to suit you.  Now my favorite conference is Quad State just above Dayton at Troy Ohio.  If you think it's too far; well I drive from New Mexico to get to it every couple of years!

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As far as power tools go, it depends a lot on how you take care of them. I have a porter cable 4.5" angle grinder that  I've used almost daily for a few years now (I realize that's not extremely long), got it for like 40 dollars and it runs just fine still. Just as strong as any dewalt or milwaukee that ive ever run. So long as you don't really push your equipment, give them some breaks during heavy use, and dont dog it down all the time, they will hold up decently well. 

Consumables, though... Different story. I've had dewalt cut off discs, which were expensive, that I've made probably two dozen cuts with before they either shred or are too small to even use. The ones you get at harbor freight though? Like 8 dollars for 10 of them, or whatever they are? I've had those shred within seconds on the very first cut! I'm a self proclaimed cheapskate, and even I realize that sometimes it's more efficient and affordable to pay up to get the quality. 

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Knifemaking section of IFI has a list of commercial suppliers.  Just post (or read) over there.  

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Cutting disk with power tool brand on them, dewalt or makita for some obscure reason are the worst you can get. You would think they would be the best. No logic.

Buy Pferd, German brand distributed all over the world,  relatively cheaper and decent quality. 

As far as using cut off disk especially the 1mm thin ones, great to cut thick steel, No good to cut thin sheet metal, They brake easy unless you have an extremely steady hand. Best is to use thicker disk say 2mm. The abrasive wheel needs a certain minimal surface to grind on, if you cut a flat bar that is 2"x 1/4" the wheel has a minimum of 6mm to grind. If you cut thin sheet metal the thin wheel will engage the metal at such rate that it will break apart. 

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On 6/24/2017 at 11:47 PM, Marc1 said:

Cutting disk with power tool brand on them, dewalt or makita for some obscure reason are the worst you can get. You would think they would be the best. No logic.

Buy Pferd, German brand distributed all over the world,  relatively cheaper and decent quality. 

I must respectfully disagree with your assessment. In *my personal experience* I've had some pretty good luck with the dewalt discs. I've never tried Pferd, however. I'll have to give them a try sometime.

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I've cut a lot of rail and welding tanks with Dewalt; much better than most of the disks I have found locally.  I too will have to try the Pferd and see if they are a real work horse.

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Power tools = check out reviews

Blacksmithing tools = make your own or buy decent old stuff. Ex-MOD surplus is a great way to go; I have bought two practically new anvils at £0.50/lb, hammers, files and hardy tools galore. 

PPE = I like Bolle personally but there is better out there if you have unlimited funds.

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23 hours ago, Will W. said:

I must respectfully disagree with your assessment. In *my personal experience* I've had some pretty good luck with the dewalt discs. I've never tried Pferd, however. I'll have to give them a try sometime.

They must sell all the good stuff to you guys. I had a pile of Dewalt and Makita brand disk. After going through half a dozen I got tired and dumped them all in the rubbish. 

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