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Little things that make a BIG difference


C-1ToolSteel

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List of "little things that make a difference":  Having the tools that you will be using close to the anvil and organized. Planning what you will be doing ahead of placing hot metal on the anvil.  High alloy punches, slitters, etc. Having a place to safely put hot metal to cool where it is out of the way!

Others?

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Great vid, JHCC. Just because, let me point out a few similarities he and I have with respect to this topic.

First, he is a right handed smith and he works hammer to the heel. This means your hammer hand is on the same side as the heel. This alone is a time saver in many ways. 

Notice his hammer rack which appears to be attached to the stump is on the far side, and towards the back of the heel. Given an inch or so, this is my setup as well. For me, I want nothing around my anvil because many of my forgings would be cramped by that rack. Thus, my three hammers live on the heel and I do away with a rack. This is not a critique, it's just a variation on the theme of putting your hammers that are to be immediately used as close as possible and still be out of the way. A kindred spirit, I'd say.

Thomas, again you hit the hot iron where it's the hottest. Thinking of where to put your hot iron too is critical. Altho this isn't a "little thing time saver", get in the habit of always checking grey iron with the back of your hand before picking it up.

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Teaching new smiths I try to keep aware of when I am smelling "burning soles" and try to have them place hot steel somewhere safe to cool down.

I got to thinking about the swiveling tool holders I have seen that could be swung out of the way when using an area of the anvil. I've seen some nice fancy ones; but in general I've never needed something like that.  When working alone,  I  don't have that many tools at the anvil and when working with others they get in the way.  Now my postvises have tool holders near them as there is a number of chisels, punches, etc that get used at the vise, often switching out a number of them during one session.

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When I built my anvil stand, I incorporated one of those swinging trays à la Hofi. It's been years since it's held anything other than random stuff that for some forgotten reason isn't kept with the other random stuff elsewhere in the shop.

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  • 10 months later...

I have several anvils with hardy holes over 1" in size; 3 are 1.5"; as many "found" hardy tools are 1" or less I need a way to mount them securely in the larger holes.  Here is my method for doing inserts and pictures of a single liner and double liner as examples.

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Now if someone had a good way to nondestructively mount the 1.5" hardy stem tooling in 1" hardy holes...

(My method of making 1.5" stem hardy tooling is to take top tools and forge the eye down till they fit...damaged striking area top tools are fairly easy to find and cheap and my screw press makes for nice parallel sides once you forge close to size.)

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"Now if someone had a good way to nondestructively mount the 1.5" hardy stem tooling in 1" hardy holes..."

   I've been thinking about this since you posted it.  I thought about threaded designs, clamping mechanisms, massive neodymium magnets but it's the "in" part I'm stuck on.  I will continue to think on it.   (I'm glad I only have one anvil to deal with)

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Currently large postvises can pinch hit; but are a bit tall for heavy work.  One reason the 165# HB with 1" hardy hole is located between the gas forge and the coal forge and the 469# Fisher with 1.5" hardy holes is located by the coal forge.   I find anvils to be like potato chips---you can't have just one!  I did sell off the 248# Peter Wright as I decided I didn't need a "middling" sized anvil in the shop...

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  I guess to be honest, I have two.  A nice Hay Budden and a small cast iron one about 4" long in a box somewhere.  I think it must have been a salesmans prop or something.  Of course, if I stumble over a good deal on one bigger than my Hay Budden I'd jump on it.  Then I probably wouldn't stop til I hit the bottom of the bag.  I have to be careful, I'm weak as water when it comes to buying tools or rusty junk.

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  I used to be addicted to machine tools and accessories.  Nobody knew what they were used for, for the most part.  Cheap? Haha.  Why did I need 10 calipers?  I bought a quality dividing head that still had cosmoline on it for $30 usd.  Had a lot of fun with it all and built some cool stuff and then discovered my true calling was metal sculpture. Sold most of the machine stuff (probably broke even) to buy welding machines, torches, benders etc... Now in late middle age, just before moving I found out it's blacksmithing and forging I have a true passion for.   But I can combine the latter two if I want now.  Best of both worlds. 

  I'll see your pickaxe and rake heads, and raise you three sheds full of utterly useless junk to the man on the street...:)  

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