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Some, but I guessed not enough to quench a 2lb axe head.

On that subject- is there a general guide on litres of oil to mass of steel for quenchant? I did some googling and read some calcs, and it seemed like the answer was 20litres was a safe amount for quenching steel up to 2-3lbs (hammers and large knives/swords).

Also- any tips on a cheap/free sealable quench tank? I've read about ammo boxes but we don't have those in the UK. I'm struggling to think of what kind of cheap metal container I might be able to find/use. I'd like something with suitable dimensions for both axes and knives, really, to "future proof" it.

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Do you have the 30 gallon (US) drums for lubricating oils/grease?   I have two quench tanks: one it a welding gas cylinder with the top cut off off---tall and skinny and the other is an large ammo can, short and stubby. Others I have seen used include beer kegs with the end chopped off.

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8 hours ago, Daswulf said:

I personally liked Technicus Joe's youtube videos to learn about making tongs. There are some other good ones as well. 

I've had the best luck making split-rein tongs, both twist-jaw and bolt. Our own jlpservicesinc has a good video on making these:
 

 

Another good version is this one:

 

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On 9/27/2018 at 12:33 PM, Jon Kerr said:

is there a general guide on litres of oil to mass of steel for quenchant? I

Extremely general rule is at least one gallon of quenchant per pound of steel. However, that will vary considerably depending on the quenchant, the steel, and the shape of the workpiece. By and large, more quenchant is better than less. 

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Zeke: Those are: pet food, kitty litter, ash, coal, sand, dust, etc. cans they are NOT liquid tight, oil will leak right out. I have one, same brand from Home Depot. Fortunately I tried it with water.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty: Thanks for the heads up. So far I have just used them for coal and general carrying as I am moving stuff to a new tent/shop.

I was thinking I'd pick up something water tight (and puncture/heat resistant) at the Elkhorn Flea Market (Wisconsin)  this weekend but the rain on Fri-Sat had turned the whole area into a sea of mud. Hoofing  a small stock tank (or wash bin) for a mile back to the pickup through that morass just seemed like too much effort.  I just picked up stuff I could carry in a backpack. Next time.... hey,  maybe the Kane County Flea (Illinois) this coming weekend. 

Now that I'm swinging a hammer again, and seeing the treasures folks have following them home,  I see Flea markets in a whole different light.

Zeke

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Zeke, if you shop around, you can find a leak-proof galv. can.  I found one at a recent vendor's setup at a tractor show.  It was an almost new 10 gal galvanized trash can with lid and a large label on the side said plainly "Guaranteed not to leak".  I've had it full of slack water for over a year now, including winter freezes (with a tank heater) and not one drop has leaked out.  We'll see how long it stays leak free.  A heavy bead of some waterproof sealer (epoxy, tar/mastic, etc.) around the base inside might render a can waterproof.

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arkie: I'll keep looking. And add a bead of caulk on my buckets to see what happens.

Garage sales and flea markets are a whole new thing now!  With a (wanna be) blacksmith eye, I see a ray of light and hear a heavenly choir on things I may not have even seen before. The looking is almost as much fun as swinging the hammer.

Regards, Zeke

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I do thoroughly enjoy our "car boot sales" here in the UK, which I think are pretty much the same as your flea markets? Unfortunately they're coming to the end of the season as winter draws in as they're generally held in fields which will be wet and muddy for a few months.

My current list of things to look out for:

-Hammers (no more than 50p each, especially if handle is old and broken) as it seems like there are loads of good projects to make things from old hammer heads.

-Large masonry chisels and steel pegs to turn into punches and drifts.

-Long handled pliers and horse hoof nippers to turn into tongs.

-Files and farriers rasps for making knives.

If anyone has any other good tips of things to salvage I'd love to hear them!

 

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Ferrier's or Hoof rasps are excellent for hot rasping forged work like oh say blades. Hmmm? 

Other things to look for are: punchs and chisels, hex wrenches. You see them at yard, garage, etc. sales often in a pile or old can for not much. The punches and chisels are good medium carbon steel and make excellent bottom tools sometimes for just grinding to a different shape. Hex keys are also good steel and make fine impact tools on a smaller scale say chasing chisels and decorative punches. Hmmm?

Frosty The Lucky.

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there are plenty of places you can buy from, last sunday I was at a vintage and 4 x 4 event and got a large diagonal pein hammer for £10, a plasma cutter for £40, a WW i portable military forge and lots more.

I also sell new spring and tool steels, rasps, forges.

20th and 21st of this month I am at huntingdon at a historical market with several other smiths

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  • 3 months later...

Hi all- little update on my progress....

I havent had much time for forging in the lead up to Christmas so I was glad to have this weekend free for some practice!

My best friend saw a video online of someone upcycling an old spanner into a hatchet. He asked me to have a go with one he’d found lying around.

I had a chap I work with remove the chrome plating with some kind of chemical process before I started, for safety.

This particular spanner didn’t have that much meat for turning into an axe, so I decided to try and draw it into a kindve bearded axe shape to maximise the final cutting edge width. Really pleased with how it came out.

Tried another simple heat treat on the mystery steel (three normalising cycles, quench, and oven at 190c for 1.5hrs before final sharpening.) Hardened nicely (tested with a file) and sharpened up nicely. Unfortunately immediately after sharpening I realised I forgot to polish the handle...... during polishing, I dropped the axe and my immediate reaction was to catch it in mid air. It bit nice and deep into the side of my hand in thanks, resulting in a bloodbath. Won’t make that mistake again! (..... Actually. I probably will.)

 

While waiting for the axe heat treat I took the opportunity to anneal a farriers rasp I had lying around. I want to make a kitchen knife by stock removal as a house warmjng gift for a friend. This is my first go at a knife.

Cut and grind went pretty well- I like the shape and got the taper and edge looking right. The tang probably wasnt ideal. In the end I was really pleased with the blade. I used a file to get the plunge line reasonably nice, and was ready fo try a heat treat.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have any oil as a quenchant. I knew there was a likelihood that using water woukd crack the blade, but I decided to try it anyway.......

I did a couple of normalising cycles, followed by a quench, and the blade warped. I reheated, gently straightened the blade in the vise, did one more normalising cycle, then tried a second quench. This time I felt a deep thud and... you guessed it.... the blade had cracked. Its still in one piece but utterly useless now.

Nevermind. I’ll invest in some oil before next time, and I learned a lot from this first try anyway.

In other news, my wife bought me a full day Blacksmithing tuition at the Much Hadham forge here in the UK. I cant wait! Hoping to get booked in asap.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This weekend I tried to forge a bottle opener. Emphasis on TRIED!

The aim was to have a go at a "dice twist" handle.

First of all I needed to make tools. I made a quick-and-dirty punch from rebar (groan! I will replace eventually) and a reasonably nice drift from an old masonry chisel. I havent heat treated it yet but it did the trick for now.

I started with a 15mm square piece of mild steel stock. I had good success upsetting the end, and then spreading the head with a combination of round face and ball peen hammer. I then managed my first ever punch which went great (depsite the scrap rebar punch!). I don't have a hold down tool but tried the "hole the stock between your legs" method which worked ok. My anvil is maybe half an inch too high which makes this... *ahem*. Awkard.

Then I tried to drift, and I just couldn't make it work. My anvil lacks a pritchel or hardy hole (see pics above) so I was trying (and failing) to drift off the edge of the anvil. I'm considering getting my friend to weld some 3/4" square tube to the end of my ASO to use as a hardy/pritchel, which will allow me to make some hardy tools/hold down but still might not help with drifting.

 

I gave up drifting (for now) with the intention or coming back to it later. I started focusing on the handle. I started to chisel in the cubes for the dice, but again with no hold-down and no hardy hole this was a real challenge. I managed to get it chiseled all the way around, but not deep enough for the most part. It was getting dark so i decided to go for the twist anyway- as expected the cubes twisted too much due to the shallow chiselling. Probably my most frustrating smithing session so far due to lack of tools and no ideas for solutions.

Things I desperately need:

-Oil to quench

-New better tongs, or more variety!

-Some method of hold-down

-Some method of holding hardy tools.

Any suggestions how I might be able to drift and/or hold material down with the ASO I'm using? Or a method of holding hardy tools?

I still have my old 6" piece of rail track. I could easily mount this to a sleeper and modify this to include a hot cut/chisel. Could I modify it somehow for drifting?

 

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Stump or a wood stand can be bored out to hold hardy tools. Likewise, you could use a bearing or other chunk of scrap with a hole in it to set over a hole for drifting, (pretty much what Thomas said I believe.) I have some gears and bearings I'll stack over my hardy hole when I need to drift bigger stuff than it can allow. 

For a hold lookup the motorcycle chain hold down. It can be mounted to the stand so no pritchel hole or hardy hole needed. 

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Am I mistaken or is the rectangular piece of steel in the pic above your anvil? If so it isn't an ASO, it's an anvil. ASO stands for (Anvil Shaped Object) as in the cast iron junk anvil shaped things from China. 

You don't need a pritchel hole to punch, you only need a bolster plate, a piece of steel plate or bar with a series of holes drilled through it. It lays on the anvil and you finish punching through the appropriate size hole. I rarely punch into my pritchel, it's too large for what I punch mostly and tends to distort the stock.

If you need to drift pick a piece of round pipe a BIT larger than the drift, stand it on end and drift into it. A couple clamps will hold it to the anvil stand for you.  You can get away with similar if you need to hold bottom (hardy) tools, use square tubing and heavy duty clamps. It's not so great for bending forks without putting flanges on it so you can attach it more strongly.

How many bottom tools do you have? Do you have a good vise? You can get away with moderate hammering in the jaws of a bench vise without damaging it, quite a bit heavier than you can trying to use the flat face on it like an anvil. It's not a proper leg vise so do NOT take a sledge hammer to it but it'll work fine for holding bottom tools.

A length of roller chain makes a good hold fast just draped over the anvil and work. You can even anchor one end to the far side of the stand and put a stirrup in the close end so you can put your foot down on unauthorized movement.

There are almost no end to ways to do the things you list other than dedicated features of the anvil itself. You have a beautiful anvil it's just not a London Pattern. 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

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Thanks Das, Frosty and TP, great suggestions. This will really help me get going again!

On 1/29/2019 at 4:06 PM, Daswulf said:

Stump or a wood stand can be bored out to hold hardy tools.

For a hold lookup the motorcycle chain hold down. It can be mounted to the stand so no pritchel hole or hardy hole needed. 

This is a great idea, thanks Das. I hadnt thought about using another wood stand. I might make a wooden stand with a 1/2" metal plate on the top and cut a square hardy hole and a couple of smaller bolster/pritchel. I can bore a nice deep hole under the "pritchel" in the wood itself. That should work great.

The motorcycle chain hold down is brilliant- ordered myself some drive chain to copy this. It will work perfectly with my anvil and stand.

Will post pics when I get going again!

On 1/30/2019 at 2:36 AM, Frosty said:

Am I mistaken or is the rectangular piece of steel in the pic above your anvil? If so it isn't an ASO, it's an anvil. ASO stands for (Anvil Shaped Object) as in the cast iron junk anvil shaped things from China. 

....

There are almost no end to ways to do the things you list other than dedicated features of the anvil itself. You have a beautiful anvil it's just not a London Pattern.

Ahh- I didnt realise the ASO was more of a derogatory thing! Yes, I'm actually really pleased with my block anvil. Its got a great mass, decent rebound, and its nice and hard. And best of all, it was free. I just need to solve my issues with lack of hardy/pritchel!

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Hey Jon I have enjoyed reading this thread a lot and I just started the hobby last week. Do you any recommendations or ideas of things to avoid for a newbie like myself. 

I was practing tapering yesterday and made the worst ring anyone’s ever seen but I was really proud of it

So far what I’ve read is s hooks is a great place to start.

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9 hours ago, Jon Kerr said:

Ahh- I didnt realise the ASO was more of a derogatory thing! Yes, I'm actually really pleased with my block anvil. Its got a great mass, decent rebound, and its nice and hard. And best of all, it was free. I just need to solve my issues with lack of hardy/pritchel!

;)

If you're going to put a pritchel hole in a plate on a wood block you'll want to drill the hole under it at an angle so HOT slugs will fall through and out onto the floor rather than lay in a wood hole and smolder. If smoldering wood on your stands bothers you a saturated mixture of borax and water makes a fine fire retardant. When my anvils were on wood blocks I kind of liked the smell of spruce smoke so long as it didn't last long. Now if I smell smoke at the anvil it's probably my jeans or a shoe sole, I heed the warnings. B)

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 1/31/2019 at 1:35 PM, DallasRector said:

Hey Jon I have enjoyed reading this thread a lot and I just started the hobby last week. Do you any recommendations or ideas of things to avoid for a newbie like myself. 

Hi DallasRector, thanks for this comment. Im really glad the thread was useful to someone else!

My recommendations are:

- Avoid spending lots of money early on. You can pretty much burn cash faster than coal in this hobby if you get excited. Almost everything can be found cheap or free if you look hard enough.

- Aquire some decent tongs which work well for the types of stock you will be making. Ideally, learn to make your own tongs.

- Learn fire management. Not sure what type of forge youre using, but you need to be able to control airflow properly and deliver high volume low pressure air.

- Make use of this forum. There are so many knowledgeable helpful folk on here, and so many posts which will already exist to answer your questions. Search existing posts first but dont be afraid to ask if you cant find what you need.

Your ring looks cool! You're doinv better than me, I'm struggling with drifting. What did you use?

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Right now I’m using some bricks piled up in an old grill and a hair drier and black iron pipe for air controller. Every time I fire up I’ve tried to work on a new layout to be the most efficient and I think my last experiment worked really well. And I realized how easy it was to spend money on this stuff so I’m really trying to watch it

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