Glenn

Civil War era blacksmith wagon

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One of our members is looking for information regarding a Civil War era blacksmith wagon with forge, bellows, etc. used by either the Union or Confederate army. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks.
Dave Allen, Newsletter Editor
Appalachian Blacksmiths Association


IForgeiron.com has how-to tutorials called blueprints. IForgeIron.com > Blueprints > BP0511 Forge Carte is a tutorial on making a forgecart to take to 1812 re-enactments of the War of 1812. I am sure this would answer your members question. There are also specific tutorials on making the bellows, the fire pot, etc

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Randy Dack president of the Prairie Blacksmiths group has a complete set of plans for a civil war era one he obtained and is building one for reenactment. contact him, and its called an artillery forge built on a limber and gun carriage.

forge1.jpg

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I have placed a lot of information on constructing a Civil War Period Traveling Forge on the new TWiki Blacksmithing Encyclopedia. If you need any other information, just let me know and I will try to add it to the encyclopedia... other than posting whole books of diagrams and manuals of course.

Click Here for Traveling Forge Construction
Here is a picture of my traveling forge, all it needs are the wheels, bellows and pipe to be finished and usable.

5664.attach

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As a collectible, or as a working forge? To a blacksmith, or to a reenactor? In the USA, or abroad? As an antique, or as a source of spare parts or raw materials? As an unrestored original, or a modern copy? Are you looking to buy, or to sell?

Too many variables to answer precisely, but the simple answer is: whatever someone is willing to pay.

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I think that there is a tendency to overdo this call for precision. Would you put the same set of questions  to someone asking for the price of a pint of milk. Worth to a cow, a starving calf, as coolant in a vehicle, as refrigerant, as ....... 

The guy means "what would a reasonably complete original be sold for?"

Normally any object older than a hundred years is an antique (Anvils and certain musical intruments excepted) and traded as such.

 

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I wouldn't answer the milk question the same way because (A) the retail price of milk is a commonly used benchmark for the cost of living and (B) milk is a widely available commodity with minimal variation in quality. 

Your assumption about what the OP means is not unreasonable, but there's it's precisely because we're talking about antiques (a market with great volatility and little consistency, where condition is everything) that those additional details are necessary for any kind of reasonably accurate reply.

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Have you heard about a guy called Occham? A reasonable answer would be: "The last time one of these were sold it was in good condition and changed hands in XX at YY$". In other places than IFI this would be the likely answer. It would also make the questioner feel more welcome,

Now let us make the question more elaborste. Can YOU answer the question on the condition that it were sold as an antique in New England and were complete but worn and without amateurish renovations. Or for that matter on any other condition?

PS. I did not say that it was milk retail price in the supermarket. 

 

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I have posted a blackSmith  picture, that maybe someone can answer as well. What is the metal bracket mounted in the rock used for?  Thanks to all for your help

20170318_172303-1.jpg

Edited by Burrel
Wanted to add picture

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Can you post a better picture? It's really hard to make out anything in this one.

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On ‎8‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 7:25 PM, gote said:

 It would also make the questioner feel more welcome,

In my rather limited experience here, at times the opposite of that seems to be the goal.

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Could not get replay posted in Glenn's original topic and felt my reply worth mentioning,,

The Smithsonian Institute has plans for cannons from that era,, maybe forge wagons too,, worth a try

A guy over in the Shenandoah Valley was able to get a copy of drawings for an original 6 pound cannon sent to him (Confederate)

He made everything exactly from the specs

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We have a member here that has published a book on Civil War Blacksmithing that includes reprints of the original plans: 

Civil War Blacksmithing: Constructing Cannon Wheels, Traveling Forge, Knives, and Other Projects and Information Paperback – December 24, 2010

by Mr. David Michael Einhorn

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9 hours ago, JHCC said:

Can you post a better picture? It's really hard to make out anything in this one.

I wish i could post a better and closer picture, but this is all I was able to get before the hole closed on me.

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Burrel: Please don't take the current friction as anything you did. There's been some recent obnoxious behavior related to new guys asking questions and not getting nice enough answers so some folk are over reacting, It'll be touchy for a while but it'll cool off.

However, we really do need to know more about what you're asking. No matter what someone might think, unless you tell us if it's a Civil war relic, modern reproduction, complete, a pile of parts, looking to sell or buy we can't answer you in a meaningful way. The previous list of things asked for clarification comes from a fellow who's job is acquiring (I think) and restoring museum displays so he's asking the questions a professional would. 

How about just getting us in ball park for now? We're really not usually this snippy, honest. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 hours ago, Burrel said:

I wish i could post a better and closer picture, but this is all I was able to get before the hole closed on me.

Can you describe the area and the bracket? What about the hole? Not enough info to take an educated guess.

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Frosty,

Thank you for help.  Early in the spring, i found a sink hole on my property. I pushed my way through the hole saw a opening to a cave.  I took a picture wth my SMART phone and backed out of the hole.  On the way up the hill I  heard a big noise of something drop under ground.  Later when i went back the hole was closed up.  I believe the south was using this cave as a base to reload troups with supplys and gun, ect.  I think the metat bracket was used to. To make lead musket balls or reload shells.  I saw this site about black smith.  This metal bracket may have been part of the blacksmith.  Hope this help 

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Thanks for the detail. Without better pictures, it's really hard to say, and pretty much anything we put forward would be little better than your own guess. 

That said, I can think of any number of possible reasons for a hook being embedded in the rock near the mouth of a cave. For example, if the cave had a large population of bats, the hook could have been for hauling out their guano for use as fertilizer or for making saltpeter (an ingredient of black powder).

You said in your comment on your other posting of this photo, "It looks like a civil war Blacksmith bored a hole in the rock and mounted something in the hole. I am thinking that there are lead shavings on top of the rock." What is it that makes you think that the hole was bored by a Civil War blacksmith (as opposed to, say, some local farmer or stoneworker)? Did you save any of those shavings and test them for lead?

As I heard an archaeologist say once, we have to be very careful about distinguishing between the story we want to be true and the story that the evidence tells us. All we have for evidence right now is a blurry photo and your recollection of what you saw. If you were to dig in the hole and find (for example) parts of weapons and other military supplies marked "CSA" or that were known to have been used exclusively by the Confederacy and if you were also able to find some documentary evidence of Civil War activity in your area (which we still don't know, because you still haven't put your location in your profile settings), that would be, as they say, diagnostic. Is there a college with an archaeology program near where you are? You might be able to talk a professor into doing a proper excavation as a student project.

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Location makes a big difference too; to my eye  the roughness of the surface indicates a dug hole rather than a natural one, but it could be just the infill or breakdown we are seeing in that picture.   Folks do not tend to dig in rock unless they are trying to get something out of it; hence the question on mining.  It you were in the southern Missouri region it could be a lead/zinc  mine.  Other places other possibilities. (The one about mining nitrates from Bat Guano is spot on too for an American Civil War era site!)

To help you clarify if you ask this question elsewhere as well: Blacksmith is a person, Blacksmithing is the craft and Smithy or Forge are terms for the building it's done in. (So here in America, when someone calls me a Smithy I ask them if they call their mechanic a garage.)

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Wow, that sounds like a real life adventure story. Please put your general location in the header. Where you are makes a big difference identifying what you found. At least in general. 

I'm thinking asking a local college with an archaeology section if they'll excavate is a great suggestion. Doing it yourself might be extremely dangerous as quickly as the sink hole collapsed I'm thinking you're lucky to get out alive. Then there is recovering artifacts without damaging them or losing contextual data. Of course having a college excavate will be donating the finds to the college or museum but . . . 

This is pretty darned exciting Burrel. Please keep us in the loop as with this.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Slow process in dugging.  What type of metal could it be, that could be on top of the rock and not changed color?.  There was some kind of Blacksmith ing going on.  More to come

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I can't cay why the metal isn't showing weathering, wear, patination etc. I'm not there. There are a number of possible factors. It might have been oiled or waxed, wax was used to lubricate ropes that had to slide, say the old wood blocks without a pully, (sheave) It might have been lacquered, just no telling. It might be an alloy that doesn't corrode in THOSE conditions. That brings up the soils and conditions it was laying in. It might have been well drained so any water drained away letting it dry. Then if that layer was capped by an impermeable layer say a dense oily clay then water wouldn't have gotten to it at all. If it were spiked into a vertical shaft wall then covered with clayey soil it may not have gotten wet at all. There might be something in the soil's chemistry that prevents rust. There could be so many things going on it'd take a team and labs to figure out.

Okay, those are just off the top of my head thoughts and only possibilities. I'm no expert, I just know there are conditions that can preserve things.

Just because there was blacksmithing going on doesn't really mean a lot. If people settled the area there was a blacksmith within visiting distance or maybe working a circuit in the really early days. Too many tools required occasional touch up from a blacksmith even if it didn't need repairs. Figure the first European colonists that settled had at least one blacksmith in the company and everybody in the colony learned the basics. There probably wasn't more than one or two anvils and basic tool sets in the first boat but how much iron work got spread, used, lost and discarded since settlement would have to be . . . LOTS.

Frosty The Lucky.

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