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we get real charcoal locally, within a few miles of my shop is a copice of about 10 acres which supplies charcoal to restaurants, they want the bigger stuff and we buy the fines.

also you can talk to john about fire management if you are visiting sometime

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sounds about right, also if you cant identify the metal you have you will have lots of failures

you waste wrought iron that you could have put to good use because you thought it was steel, WI is worth a lot more than steel and earlier you got brass or something else in your forge that can cause many problems

you can carry on haphazardly until you do something newsworthy but it is better to learn to do things safely and profitably

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21 hours ago, JHCC said:

Did you learn anything? Yes? Then it was a good session.

Your hammer handle is much too thick. Thinning it down will make it much easier and more comfortable to use. Remember: too thick = death grip.

True, thanks.

Yeh I haven't even really started working on the handle itself.... I'll be sanding it down to size as I said. Just waiting for some sanding belts to turn up in the post.... I'm really excited to get that hammer finished.

15 hours ago, the iron dwarf said:

you waste wrought iron that you could have put to good use because you thought it was steel, WI is worth a lot more than steel and earlier you got brass or something else in your forge that can cause many problems

It's definitely not wrought iron. Its steel of some description.

The section I was working with was BADLY rusted and I should probably have just chopped it off and started on a relatively intact section.

I learnt my lesson with the brass, I need to be more careful. I only lost about 10mm out of a 2m length so it's not the end of the world.

I'm planning to place an order with FH Brundle soon, for a couple of bits of reasonably thin steel stock for practicing with. Then any doubts around my materials will be gone.

15 hours ago, the iron dwarf said:

you can carry on haphazardly until you do something newsworthy but it is better to learn to do things safely and profitably

I would love to. I'm having trouble finding someone local to learn from. As we discussed in PM I might get in touch with your colleague and arrange a visit but its a fairly long way. Thanks.

16 hours ago, wpearson said:

Sounds like your are using to much air. 

This was definitely my problem before, with the hairdryer. Now I've switched to the electric bed pump (which is a bit lower pressure than the hairdryer) and I'm altering the air flow by pointing it at the tuyere. I have a valve and t-piece which I'll look to fit before the next session.

It's incredibly frustrating to know that if I could get an experienced blacksmith in my garden for about 10 minutes, they'd instantly be able to tell me what the fire should look like, whether my air supply is correct, and get me started on some basic forging! I'll struggle on though and I greatly appreciate all of your advice on this thread!

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brass contains zinc until it gets hot, zinc causes metal fume fever which causes serious lung damage.

lots of metals are nasty when hot

learn some basic tests before putting unknown metals in your forge

is it magnetic

is it rusty

is it plated

spark test

break test

file it to see colour and get an idea of hardness

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" I would love to. I'm having trouble finding someone local to learn from. As we discussed in PM I might get in touch with your colleague and arrange a visit but its a fairly long way. Thanks. "

well john is off to cornwall, 300 miles each way and that is not far to drive and my next event is about 80 miles away after a full days work, sleep in drivers seat of van and then 2 days of work and drive back and unload.

yes brundles are ok when you have opened a business account with them and they deliver

On 6/5/2018 at 2:27 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Glenn has a lovely T shirt: "In Rust We Trust"  words to *live* by!

yup, better than dying of ignorance

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Unfortunately I get much more time to mess about with tools than I do to actually hit metal....

... I finished sanding the handle for the hammer. Its a little straighter than I hoped- I wanted to do a hofi style shape but that was impossible on our workshops very straight linisher.

Hopefully the thickness is about right to avoid the "death grip".

The real challenge was getting the handle straight and square relative to the head, since my poor-mans modified sledge doesn't have a straight punched eye!!! Fortunately I succeeded.

Next- get the wedge in, and finish with some beeswax.

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Another freebie- an anvil upgrade.

Apparently its a piece of breech steel, leftover from manufacturing a Howitzer.... don’t ask ;)

It weighs 44kg (97lbs) so ideal for my requirements as its still fairly portable for tidying away.

The difference between this and the rail track is phenomenal. The ring and rebound is great. I haven’t tried a ball bearing yet.

The material is so hard the workshop at work didn’t want to try cutting a hardie hole for risk of breaking the CNC tools. So I still dont have any way to mount hardie tools.

Open to ideas for that- my best one yet is to grind the rail track into a fuller and hot cut for those jobs? And possibly drill holes for bending jigs. I can make a larger anvil stand and mount them together.

F8C9070E-BE17-41F6-BEAE-0DE8536D3A85.jpeg

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I guess the word got out that you were gunning for a new anvil. Nice that it's free and you didn't have to shell out for it. The price was definitely in your range!

I would suggest rounding the edges of the block with a series of radii from 1/16" to 1/2". You still have the RR track, and you could easily grind a hot-cut into one end of the web. Remember also that you have a couple of different interior curves that will prove useful.

A hardy hole is great, but you can also make a series of saddle tools that fit over the anvil rather than in

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Nice upgrade. I agree with John that you should radius the edges on the face you will use. When you get more ideas you have 3 more faces to use or modify. ;) actually 5 more. 3 with more steel under the hammer. I would grind the rail like Charles made his swiss army rail anvil. 

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17 hours ago, JHCC said:

A hardy hole is great, but you can also make a series of saddle tools that fit over the anvil rather than in

Do you have any pics of examples? I did something similar with my G-clamped pritchel hole so i guess I need to make “saddle hardie” tools similar to that!

 

Cheers Das- yes it was Charles’ “swiss army railroad anvil” I was thinking of taking inspiration from!!

Thanks both for advice re/ rounding the edges- I’ll do that.

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Here’s the bottom half of a pair of fullers that I use with the treadle hammer. I designed it to be capable of being turned 90 degrees, but in retrospect, that wasn’t necessary: you can always turn the stock, and it would have been more rigid with solid sides. I may end up modifying it one of these days.

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And here’s an cutting saddle in A36 that fits over the anvil to protect it during chiseling:

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And here’s a dishing form that’s on a saddle:

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The fit on this last one is really snug, so much so that I have to put it on and take it off with a hammer. That’s actually really good, because I can hammer on it in any direction without it bouncing around.

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5 hours ago, Jon Kerr said:

I did something similar with my G-clamped pritchel hole

You could always weld up something like this:

4BD0CFB4-E2E0-484B-8096-F6B36CC1A49A.jpeg

(Just a mock-up; not something I actually use.)

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As far as connecting with a blacksmith in your area, I would try looking up different facebook pages (International Blacksmithing, Blacksmithing for Beginners, etc.), posting on the page, and asking if there are any smiths near you. Also, it wouldn't hurt to go by the local farrier and make friends. You could introduce yourself, tell him where you are in your craft, show him pictures of your setup, or even ask if he could get together for a pint so you could as him some questions. I'm about 8 months into blacksmithing and if I've learned anything, its that

1) the blacksmithing community is comradery of great and generous people,

2) it NEVER hurts to ask

3) if you have a scrap yard near you where you're allowed to pick around and buy stuff, DO IT! It varies in different areas, but you can usually find hammer/axe heads, small vices, and other cool scrap. Also, IF you are wanting to invest more $ into blacksmithing and IF you have a scrap yard near you, I would look into trying to buy/sell scrap pieces from the yard. For example, I found a pipe threader at a scrap yard near me (I had to clean it up alot), but I bought it for $20 and sold it a month later for $1200. That's a one in a million find, but there's plenty of other odds and ends that you can grow an eye for, sell locally, and make more $ for blacksmithing stuff.

4) as far as youtube channels, I'd suggest Alec Steele, Christ Centered Ironworks, Purgatory Ironworks, Black Bear Forge

So many other odds and ends of advice, but man keep going! I'm learning right along with you. 

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I finally got time to ACTUALLY hit hot metal with a hammer rather than just think about doing it all day....

First run out for the almost-kindve-inspired-by-hofi-ish-style hammer. It was brilliant. Much better than just a ball pein, and I tried out using the cross pein to draw out etc. After reading the “how metal moves” post on IFI I did still pick up the ball pein at certain times to get the metal to shift just how I wanted.

I made a leg for a friends firepitz He’s making the firepit for his sisters wedding, and its pretty big (1m diameter) so he wanted heavy duty legs to weld on.

Really pleased with the result- especially since this is pretty much the first thing I’ve made after a hook....!

 

In other news:

- I got a supplier of charcoal- a local place. Its hornbeam charcoal,  which apparently burns hotter, apparently the romans used it and sent it back to the empire. Its MUCH better than the awful instant-light and no more crazy spitting and sparking.

- Unfortunately my fire is still not good and I spend more time faffing trying to get metal hot than I do hitting it. The bed pump is simply too much  pressure, not enough volume. Fortunately I found an old forge blower and just need to wire it up, and fit a ball valve. I might 3D print some adapters so it all fits.

- I burned an entire bag (4kg) of charcoal in about 2 hrs. Is that normal? In the end (again) eventually the fire was popping fireballs out and the pot was full of very small bits of charcoal which were just choking it up. At the bottom was the mother of all clinkers which had literally filled the pot past the tuyere. Is this just because I’m blowing too much air to compensate for the rubbish bed pump volumetric flow rate? The pot being full like this basically stopped me forging in the end until it cools and I can scoop it out. Is that normal? I took the clinker out and its bigger than my fist.

 

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Does this mean the charcoal is bad? Or the forge is *too* hot? It didnt seem to heat metal fast.

I did have a layer of clay/soil that was added (wet) to the firebowl later. I had hoped it would smooth it out. Maybe this layer vitrified and dripped to the bottom.

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never use an extension lead coiled up, it can act as a transformer specially if it has steel in the middle of it, seen 16 a leads melt with a 2 a load on it like that.

a large clinker only stops us for a few minutes then its back to work

have made some 8" across in the past

you are less than 2 hours drive away from me and probably less than 10 miles from other online helpful smiths, some on here may be 20 hours drive away from other members.

make some hardy tools if you need them, that is what I do, I need a tool to make a 6" nail into a hook, I may need a lot of them so in the morning I will make the tool if I get time

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