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I Forge Iron

Portable hole / drifting block


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I picked up a round chunk of hardened steel at the scrap yard, (hardened enough for a file to slightly skate) 6.5" in dia and 1.5" thick. I was thinking of turning it into the drawing below.

The small curl on the right side is torch cut so I figured opening that up a little more to use for bending. I am planning on drilling holes from 1" down to 1/8" in increments and having a square 1" hole put in the middle for hardy tools.

The base and bracket I am thinking of using 1/4" plate and mount this behind my post vise on the same post, the vise takes up the front third or so which leaves plenty of room

My question is having the hardy hole done at a machine shop the best way to go or is there an easy way to diy it

do you think 1/4" plate will be strong enough for drifting/punching and hardy tools or is there a way to reinforce it so it will take some decent use

My "shop" is outdoors so I have plenty of room to move around the post

 If anyone has any other ideas for a 6.5 X 1.5 round please let me know. These were cut out of plate and there is a bunch of different sizes plus the connecting pieces between the circles at the local scrap yard.

 

Thanks

Bob

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Cutting the holes in it could probably be done with a water jet.  If you go with something like torch or plasma, you'll lose the heat-treat that made the block so hard.  Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing because you don't know the hardness of the chunk o'steel and it could be too hard to work a sledge on.  Generally, swage blocks are cast iron or modern versions have been cut from mild steel.  The idea is that they're soft enough to withstand an errant blow from your sledge.

 

The 1/4" support would die a quick death if you did any serious hammering on it.  Plenty good enough for 1/2" and smaller, but if you tried upsetting a swage or the like, I'd expect it to buckle real quick.  In an application like this, mass is your friend.

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32 minutes ago, caotropheus said:

 I think you need a more sturdy support for your construction.

 

10 minutes ago, VaughnT said:

The 1/4" support would die a quick death if you did any serious hammering on it.  Plenty good enough for 1/2" and smaller, but if you tried upsetting a swage or the like, I'd expect it to buckle real quick.  In an application like this, mass is your friend.

How big of a support do you think it should have? The one drawn is 6 in deep X 6in wide cut on an angle to try to put the force into the pole. The pole is a telephone pole offcut about 14 in in dia X 6 ft long. 3 feet of that is buried. Do you know how I could make it stronger without widening the support. The wider that is the less room I have for holes. Unless I try to make a rivet header out of the closed ones...hmmm.

5/8 or maybe 3/4 is the largest I can see putting on this and that will most likely be in the future if at all, I'm just starting at blacksmithing, i'll wait to forge the Golden Gate until I have a year or 40 of experience  :D

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59 minutes ago, CactusBob said:

How big of a support do you think it should have?

"...the largest I can see putting on this...." yea, everyone says that then they decide to make a tool or bottom swage.  It'll happen, just a matter of time.  And since you're trying to grow your tool kit, being able to make a bottom swage can be quite tempting! ;)

 

I would increase the thickness to at least 1/2" plate.  You really can't go too strong.  Since you've got it for your pole/stump, portability isn't an issue.  Weight doesn't matter.  But too thin a support and it'll collapse the very first time you try to upset a bit of heavy bar with a sledge hammer when you want to make that bottom swage or hot cut. 

If you could find some heavy I-beam, that'd work great and you could sink it down the side of your stump to strengthen everything, add some mass and give you more room to work.

Also, height from the ground is important.  You want it low enough that you can get a good swing of your sledge.  Too high, and you've eliminated the use of a heavy hammer, which means you really don't need the larger size holes since upsetting something like a 3/4" bar is a thorough pain with a "light" hammer.

If you do go with a higher placement, it'll work great for when you're drifting open holes.  Making bottle openers, for example, can really benefit from something like this, but because it's not really heavy or firmly fixed, I ponder what you might do with the square hardy hole in the center.  With the thing freely rotating with every hit, using a bottom swage in that square hole would be a pain.

Also, you can close the gap significantly with the smaller holes.  I can't recall the last time I needed to upset some 1/8" bar to make a rivet (I just use nails), but the 1/8", 3/16", 1/4" can share the same footprint/hole because they heads are so small.  Does that make sense?  You could put the 3/8" and 1/2" at opposite corners of the square pass-through in the support.  Basically, it's 5 holes in two square inches since none of them take up much room and don't have to be spaced out evenly along the arc you've described in your drawing.

Anyhow, I'm rambling and that means it's nap time.  I'll come back in the AM to see if any of this was remotely coherent!

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So I moved the holes away from the edge, not sure why I did that to begin with and I'm not sure I like them like this either. What I do like is changing the Support to 1/2 plate, the two 1/2" holes behind the square hole would be good for pins to a bending fork. The larger hole I tried to keep closer to the center for the support. I was thinking of using this for drifting and also something that could also hold Hardy tools like hot cuts.

The height will end up roughly a little bit higher than my anvil and this will be welded to the bracket and bolted to the top of the post, hopefully it wont move

Thanks for your ideas

Bob

 

 porthole.PNG.1ecddf1a23ae4d9a8deb202a3f36f804.PNG

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1 hour ago, metalmangeler said:

 For sledge work lower would be better.

With this I'm looking at more of drifting and cutting

 

1 hour ago, MC Hammer said:

Nice find, can think of a lot of good uses for it.

Please, lets hear them. The scrap yard I go to has more of these in different sizes

 

Thansk for the input

Bob

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22 hours ago, CactusBob said:

 

How big of a support do you think it should have?

Either design of the block is OK. From my point of view, the way you plan the support, makes it a bit flimsy. I think you need a support the type of a anvil or striking anvil stand. Three legged support or on top of a I beam like VaughnT said or on top of thick wall pipe... The idea is to have a support that will transfer energy of the impact directly into the floor. Not a support energy will be transferred sideways, creates a shearing force that cause side support failure. 

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1 hour ago, caotropheus said:

Either design of the block is OK. From my point of view, the way you plan the support, makes it a bit flimsy. I think you need a support the type of a anvil or striking anvil stand. Three legged support or on top of a I beam like VaughnT said or on top of thick wall pipe... The idea is to have a support that will transfer energy of the impact directly into the floor. Not a support energy will be transferred sideways, creates a shearing force that cause side support failure. 

Unfortunately my "shop" area is outside in the dirt. A three legged support or I beam would just be pounded into the ground. The top few inches are sandy and after that it starts to harden with caleche in places. The post my vise is on is already buried about 3ft deep. I was thinking that cutting the support on an angle would help transfer the load into the pole since all of this will be welded together. Is there another way to transfer the energy into the post. I'm running out of good places to bury posts :D

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You could try to mount it in a similar way as a post vice.  Your buried pole could provide the stability you need while a sturdy leg could transfer the shock of the hammer blows to the ground rather than creating shear force on the mounting bracket.  Even in sandy/loose soil if the foot plate has enough surface area you'll be hard pressed to pound it into the ground.  Good luck with whatever you choose and let us know how it turns out.

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On 2/16/2018 at 12:31 AM, CactusBob said:

Unfortunately my "shop" area is outside in the dirt. A three legged support or I beam would just be pounded into the ground. The top few inches are sandy and after that it starts to harden with caleche in places. The post my vise is on is already buried about 3ft deep. I was thinking that cutting the support on an angle would help transfer the load into the pole since all of this will be welded together. Is there another way to transfer the energy into the post. I'm running out of good places to bury posts :D

Being outside in the dirt isn't an issue.  What we're worried about is overall usability/function.  Putting it high, you're limited to using a handheld hammer or standing on an unstable box to get the height needed for sledge work.  If you put it on a different support beam like you see most striking anvils, you'll still be able to do light work with a hand hammer, but it'll also be better for hammering with a sledge.

Going through all the work to make this, it seems wrong to short change yourself.  Drifting thick stock can benefit from using a sledge.  And if you ever decide you want to do something bigger, like make your own bottom swages, having the piece down at sledge height makes a big difference.

The smaller holes for under 3/8" won't get used much, if at all.  They'll be handy for that once-in-a-blue-moon thing, but it's not a big priority.

It's all about planning ahead.  Right now, maybe all you envision is using it to open the eye on a bottle opener.  That's cool.  It'd certainly be great for that.  But what about next month when you decide you really want to drift open an eye on a thick bar.... just for giggles?

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On 2/16/2018 at 7:11 AM, Buzzkill said:

Your buried pole could provide the stability you need while a sturdy leg could transfer the shock of the hammer blows to the ground rather than creating shear force on the mounting bracket. 

When I was at the scrap yard I found a piece of 2 or 2 1/2 in  angle iron just waiting for me so that will be the leg, Thanks for the idea

On 2/16/2018 at 7:58 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Really looks like a piece of tooling for a treadle hammer to me---If you have one with the hardy hole option...

Do up a nice one for show and then sell the "blanks" at a conference!

Being so new I will have to try to get a usable one first before I can try to get a nice one, that and get a whole lot of experience. ;)

4 minutes ago, VaughnT said:

Being outside in the dirt isn't an issue.  What we're worried about is overall usability/function.  Putting it high, you're limited to using a handheld hammer or standing on an unstable box to get the height needed for sledge work.  If you put it on a different support beam like you see most striking anvils, you'll still be able to do light work with a hand hammer, but it'll also be better for hammering with a sledge.

Going through all the work to make this, it seems wrong to short change yourself.  Drifting thick stock can benefit from using a sledge.  And if you ever decide you want to do something bigger, like make your own bottom swages, having the piece down at sledge height makes a big difference.

The smaller holes for under 3/8" won't get used much, if at all.  They'll be handy for that once-in-a-blue-moon thing, but it's not a big priority.

It's all about planning ahead.  Right now, maybe all you envision is using it to open the eye on a bottle opener.  That's cool.  It'd certainly be great for that.  But what about next month when you decide you really want to drift open an eye on a thick bar.... just for giggles?

What I am learning to  love about this site is the ideas and people helping you stop and think, trying to think how I could utilize this for the best of both, drifting and striking, means it probably wouldn't be great at either. Then I remembered what I said earlier, "the scrap yard has more of these". I may just pick up a second one to make it a striking height, so when that need or desire comes I will have it and leave the first solidly mounted. Nobody ever said you can only have one tool did they? Plus it will help me learn to weld

Thanks,

Bob

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