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Bit of an update here after a couple of forging sessions over the past fortnight.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I had a few very frustrating forging sessions in a row.

Friday:

I decided to have a go at something else and go back to some basic toolmaking and heat treating and surprisingly it went great! I felt much happier about my forging after this week.

First up I forged a new pair of punches; one round and one square. My original round punch was rebar, and the second (pictured earlier in this thread) had cracks from quenching in water, so both needed replacing.

I tried to focus on clean forging, not burning the steel (while ensuring the heat was soaked through to the middle), and making sure my square was.... square. It seemed to go well.

The heat treatment (as per the advice from everyone earlier in this thread) went well. I know you guys love the details so.... : I quenched the tip (1"-2" depending on up/down motion) in oil (rapeseed aka/ canola) and then used the residual heat in the shank to temper the tip. This tip quench> polish> run colours method was repeated until the colours stopped running, then it was allowed to cool fully in air.

(41) Punch.jpg

(42) Square Punch.jpg

I also spent some time working on by rail track anvil. Since I have a decent block-anvil, I just want the rail track to be a kind of swiss-army-knife anvil seen in the Improvised Anvils thread. I'm gradually grinding the main section of rail into a domed section which might be useful in future for sheet metal etc. I'm planning to turn the middle bit (web?) into a fuller. I need to do a lot more grinding to finish this off. I've started trying to cut the base section into a mini-horn but had some trouble getting through neatly and safely so gave up for now- might return to this in future.

(43) Rail Anvil.jpg

Finally I started forging a horn/bicker for my portable hardy anvil, so we'll see how that goes. Won't show pictures till its done. I've also been working on another hammer to axe conversion for fun.

(44) Hammer Axe.jpg

Sunday:

I was invited over by Neal the Smith who lives just a few minutes away. He was working with his friend to forge weld a high carbon bit into a bearded axe. This was a fascinating intro to forge welding (I've seen it done lots online but never in person). Neal had even very kindly made up some sample bits of stock ready for me to try a couple of basic types of forge welding. He showed me how to wire up some plates to forge weld together, and also how to do a scarf weld and make a basic animal head.Thanks Neal! Using a propane forge as opposed to a coke forge was new to me and interesting too.

Getting to welding temperature was much easier in the propane forge than in my coal forge so I need to go home and practice I think.

Attached is a picture of my (terrible) horse, which started life as a ram before I burned both horns off.

(45) Horse.jpg

 

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I've started to grind a fuller for drawing out on the web of my piece of rail. I don't have another anvil so I thought I could put a larger radius on the web than I would want on the main "face" or cap where the wheel rides. I haven't started trying to make a horn, that's a project for another day. It looks like you're going to have a decent tool for sheet metal work when you get done with it.

Pnut

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Good luck Pnut, look forward to seeing some pics of yours too (and stealing the ideas).

Yes, hoping this turns out to be useful. Its taking some serious grinding effort and I'm going through a fair few flap discs (albeit, cheap ebay ones.). I do a little bit of grinding on it between forging while I wait for my steel to heat  :D 

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The amount of grinding is what makes me reluctant to start on a "horn". Just grinding a radius on the edge of the cap is a lot more grinding than I thought it would be. The fuller on the web I'm taking slow. I can't help but take it slow as I can only power something under two amps so I bought a 1.8 amp Dremel type grinder. It's slow going for sure but better than a file, trust me. I'm looking at small generators though so I can use an angle grinder on it. Have you tried a grinding disc to rough it to shape and then a flap disc to smooth it out?

Pnut

One side of my family's name is Kerr. 

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Thomas- No, I didnt preheat the oil. Is that necessary or is it dependant on the grade of steel?

This was EN19.

Pnut- Wow, I really feel for you grinding with a dremel! Its bad enough with an angle grinder. I havent tried a grinding disc- perhaps thats what I should do. Interesting that part of your family is called Kerr. It's not a common name outside Scotland. I've met very few people in my life with the same name, given that I've lived in England all my life.

 

 

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The answer is, of course, "that depends".  As EN19 is rather like 4140, and the tool is for punching; you may want the lower hardness.  Others may prefer a greater hardness for edge tools.  If it yields what YOU like it's perfect.  If it doesn't then preheating the oil to around 140 degF can get it a bit harder.

The differential temper can help support a harder end in use than a constant temper.

I work with a number of beginners and decarbing the workpiece is a VERY COMMON thing with them; so we are often fighting to get a decent hardness with their tools and so the preheat helps.

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For oil I generally heat using a chunk of steel attached to a steel wire with a hook on the end.   Heat the chunk in the forge and drop it to the bottom of the can with the hook over the top edge for retrieval.  When the oil becomes hot, (I check the side of the can and when barely touchable; but not solid contact);  remove the chunk.   Having a place where it can drip helps too.

To heat 2.5 liters of steel in a can I suggest you look into induction forges...

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

Hot vegetable oil is a faster quench than cold you know.

I did not know that. That's counter-intuitive. I would have thought the opposite. Huh, I learn something every time I look at iforgeiron.

1 hour ago, Jon Kerr said:

It's not a common name outside Scotland. I've met very few people in my life with the same name,

It's a bit more common here in the states. I think my grandfather's family came from Lincolnshire.

Pnut

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4 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

To heat 2.5 liters of steel in a can I suggest you look into induction forges...

Whoops!

Realistically, how big a lump of steel does it take to heat that much oil? Seems like a lot of oil to warm up! Mutliple heats of the steel?

How hot to get the steel? Red, Orange or not that hot?

Any worries about the hot steel resting against the side/bottom of a thin guage can?

 

I see a disaster in the future caused by my own stupidity.

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I heat my chunk to glowing and do a fast plunge to avoid flare up.  2.5 liters is a very very small amount of oil. My regular quench tank holds a gallon or two and was made by cutting off the top of a fairly small welding gas tank, argon, O2, etc; NOT ACETYLENE! 

I don't like thin cans as they tend to leak when a hot pointy items gets accidentally dropped in them---a common occurrence with new students not comfortable with the flame up. I also have a frame to hold the tank to make it much harder to tip over. I know a smith that managed to burn down his shop and was injured by flaming oil in a quench accident.

This is a experiment and see what works for you type of deal.

And the reason warm oil cools faster is that warm oil is less viscous than cold oil and so convection currents bringing in cooler oil to cool the metal run faster and stronger.   Of course you don't want it too hot; if it gets above the tempering temperature you will be using you will have problems.

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Sorry 2.5litres was yet another typo..... my quench tank is 25 litres!

 

Blacksmithing is an expensive hobby at the best of times- but worse when I make mistakes like this. I only recently bought the quench tank so its a shame to hear its probably a risky option. Its fairly thin metal but has a nice sealing lid which I thought would be good for keeping the oil from going off. I probably better look to replace though if its that easy to pierce with hot steel.

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I'm adding a Parks 50 quench tank with 5ish gallons that will be in a large ammo can.  I'm currently debating rather to use the tall one or the long one, it will be mainly for blades and so each type has it's virtues. The liquid tight seal  will help keep crud out of it and I will have to build a holder for the new tank as well.

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EB: With a dirt floor and 10' steel walls and a steel roof that's not something I worry about.  Having a shop you can build a fire in the middle of the floor if needed is rather nice.. (My previous shop was a decrepit detached wooden garage from the 1920's with old dried leaves in the corners.  I forged in that for 15 years and never caught it on fire.  Then after I moved it "mysteriously burned down"  Mysterious as it didn't have any sources of ignition---no electricity! However the new owner of the house was then able to cut down the biggest tree in the neighborhood and build a nice concrete block 2 car garage in it's place.)

JK:  Good to know; they are a rather common army surplus item over here. I picked up a couple of oddball sized one at the fleamarket for US$5 a piece IIRC.. They are fairly stout in construction and have snap down lids. For example one I found on line is  7 3/8" W x 17 1/4" L x 14 1/16" H, and weighs about 20 pounds empty.

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