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I Forge Iron

Guillotine Tool


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Looks good. Make sure you size the dies to match common stock in your area.  I made my dies out of cold rolled steel that I case hardened after they were all ground and polished.  The case hardening works great on the working surfaces, but the struck end of the top dies started showing some swelling right away.  It's better than bare mild steel, but it's still not as tough as annealed high carbon is. 

I hadn't made dies before so I didn't realize that the round tenon dies benefit from not having sharp corners where the dies meet.  So long as the dies "stop" with the proper radius at the opposing ends of your dies, you can rotate the stock and get a nice perfectly round tenon.  I tack welded the dies together and drilled the tenon holes to make mine.  That left a sharp transition where the dies meet which pinches out extra material.  I've gotta find time to grind down the corners and smooth out the transition.  I also learned that longer and larger dies aren't an asset if you're working solo.  My top die is roughly 5" long by 1.5" x 1/2" or thereabouts.  It's weight takes a lot of inertia to get moving.  A 2lb hammer blow barely makes anything happen.  

If I make new ones, I'll make the bottom die as tall as I can to shorten the top die.  

I've seen some where the bottom die pocket was closed in.  Scale accumulates until the bottom die wedges tight.  I have a buddy who's got one with a hardy post welded to a bottom plate.  There's a little hole so he could use a punch or something to knock a stuck die out.  If it's at all feasible with your anvil, you can make your tool so the bottom die is sitting on the anvil face.  It'll fall out when you lift the tool off the anvil, but it won't get stuck, and the overall tool would weigh a lot less.  


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Thanks for all the input! My dies for now will be cold rolled, once I am happy with the design of them, there is tool steel available locally in the same dimensions. I don't want to make dies out of tool steel to find out I don't like how they are made. I think I will go with the idea of putting a hole under the bottom die, I plan to be able to use this in the vise as well so I need the plate to support the bottom dies. I plan to make a bunch of different die configurations so we will see how it goes. Just wish I had a millling machine set up at home.

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  • 2 months later...

Making precise dents or cuts in the workpiece, they can be ornamental or used for specific physical effects.

For example perhaps you want a very precise transition from blade to tang on a knife; a guillotine tool can provide that. Or perhaps you want to separate some mass, you can use a guillotine tool with butchering inserts to do so.

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I used a common size leaf spring for the die stock in mine. When you weld up the guides use the die stock you're going to use and place a business card between for a spacer. Without a little deliberate space the dies may be too tight to move freely, too much space and they'll wobble and you need precision for a guillotine to work properly.

I angled my dies at 45* to I can work across or longitudinally on long stock, say I wanted to fuller a sword. :rolleyes:

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 3 months later...

Mine has a shank to fit in the portable hole:


(Note: This was an earlier version of the portable hole, where I hadn't yet added the 2.5" thick striking face. Since the latter has a smaller hardy hole, I had to cut the stem off the guillotine and weld on a new one.)


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