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I Forge Iron

Roofing in progress

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My brother and I made the roofing tools late last year, and finally get to try them out. We made two sets, each of which has 6 tools. The novelty of shaping sheetmetal roofing with our own custom-made tooling wore off a little earlier than I hoped. :P But we're still chugging along.

In this picture I staged one of the bending tools on the bend it made. This particular run will go on the end of the roof. I'm learning this from my brother as we go along.


In this picture, you can see the stacks of 30 already prepared sheets. This is enough to do one side. Each sheet is just over 19' long and just under 24" wide.


So my shop chugs along, which is why I have so little to share in the way of forging work.

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Sorry, but no. They took us quite a few weeks (maybe two months, off and on) to make and I couldn't begin to describe all that goes into them. I'll try to get some pictures up of the various tools with a general idea of how they are used.

Basically, my brother brought a worn out set of roofing tools to me, and I forged everything that could reasonably be forged... and fabricated the rest. Without the model in front of you, or a REALLY close familiarity with how the tools are used, I don't think they could be made, even with detailed blueprints. I was reverse engineering them, and now that I'm using them, find faults with how I did things here and there.

Another problem is that two of the tools were cast iron at the business end. We cut and welded and machined as close to original as we could get. I think our result is much superior... but it was a very laborious process.

My brother knows how to use them, and I'm learning now. The only way to get these tools now is to find them, since they are not manufactured any more. New construction standing seam roofing, I'm told, is done with fancy electric seamers that take a lot of the drudgery out of the process. The reason for keeping familiar with these tools is primarily to be able to re-roof old structures where the roof is not straight and even enough for the unforgiving modern tools.

As far as the strictly forging work involved, you could say they are just big tongs and let it go at that. :mrgreen:

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If someone is actually going to try to make these, I will gladly offer what help I can. I just don't recommend it really. I thought they would be much easier than they were. I'm told that when they were available in hardware stores until recently, they were quite salty. I got the impression a set would cost $1,000 or more. I can see why!

I tried to cheat and use existing large tongs. It just doesn't make it. You have to carefully custom make tongs for each tool. The blades have to be JUST right, and match perfectly in every direction.

When I get some time, I'll take some more pictures. I did discover a way to make a VERY nice handle, like on the end of a snow shovel. They are used on two of the tools. Though there is a good bit of welding and grinding, the elements themselves are forged. I will try to blueprint those sometime.

I'll also try to post some pictures of the individual tools if you want.

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