Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Common Mistakes that Beginners Make


Recommended Posts

Now I remember, thanks John. I've heard you guys use the term for water tank, tub, etc. so many times in this context I don't know where my memory filed this use. 

Thank goodness I have that tree to blame for bad memory or I'd be embarrassed ALL the time! :huh:

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

On the topic of tongs from a while back.

If you are a beginner and looking for some tongs, an alternative to vice grips are Twist Tongs. Really easy to make and a lot of tutorials on youtube. They work better to hold flat stock than my other tongs. And it only took me 15 minutes to do.

Take 2 peices flat stock with the same width (width depends on you and what you have), and cut them both to be around 12 inches. Clamp the flat stock togethe with a c clamp to make sure they'e even. From the end mark 2 inches from the end with a center punch then drill a hole a little bigger than your rivet( if you can't get an exact size just roll the drill bit around to open the hole some). Peen you rivit but make sure not to go too tight.

Put the tongs in your forge and heat up to forging temp. When ready take it out and clamp it to a bench vise so the rivit is about 1/4 inch above the jaws, use a Cresent wrench and (putting the wrench on the rivit) twist 90 degrees.

If the rivit breaks like mine did the first time, just resize the hole and rerivit. You can also adjust the mouth of the tongs to different shapes for what you are forging.

I made sure to say "about" for all the measurements except for the twist so you can expirement. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

best idea is to wear gloves on both hands because I have been burnt on my hammer hand from a flying spark, and even after it has cooled for 20mins it is still hot enough to burn and that inhibits (and endangers) you more or as much as fatigue, gloves are a much overlooked safety item though not as much as proper headwear or an apron.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is arguable.  Personally I only wear a hammer hand glove when forge welding or working large stock where the the radiant heat becomes an issue.  Most experienced smiths I have worked with recommend only gloving the off-hammer hand.  I'd like to see some kind of compromise for the hammer hand, say a thin kevlar fingerless glove, but haven't found one to try.  Don't like to forge with leather gloves at all as it is not fun to deal with either steam or scale dropped down the cuff when the gloves get sweat tight.

Each to their own.

Link to post
Share on other sites

NO! Wearing a glove on your hammer hand can result in a bad case of "blacksmith's elbow", lateral epicondylitis,  that will keep you from forging for months or even require surgery to fix.

This is because you have to squeeze the hammer handle more to get the control you lose with the glove and when your arm is "tight" and you repeatedly hit the workpiece the jar travels up all the tensed muscles and tendons.

I find a scale pop will generally be gone in a week.  Took me about 6 months to recover from lateral epicondylitis.  As for learning to not grab hot metal: I am a "no gloves smith"  it's trained into me to ALWAYS check the temp before touching or use tongs.  Folks wearing gloves tend to grab first and regret later.   

I will wear a glove on my tong hand---especially when welding billets or when I'm using a steel "handle" on a piece when using a power hammer; but gloves are an often overlooked safety danger too!

Link to post
Share on other sites

T.P.,

I am curious, have you tried shock/vibration  reducing gloves?  Those gloves have the finger ends,  of the glove,  cut off.  But they cushion the palm of the hand.

SLAG.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have Slag but not at the anvil. At one point OSHA mandated we use anti shock gloves when running a jack hammer. It was a short lived mandate as the # of injuries other than vibration and shock caused joint injuries jumped dramatically. They separate you from the object you're gripping with a plastic, be it a gel or soft layer of something say memory foam. You literally can't hold onto a jack hammer wearing them. You have to grip so hard you're arms are cramping in short order in a few cases a couple minutes.

Guys were hurting themselves trying to use them, cramped arms and hands were the least, a couple went to the doc in a box because the hammer got away from them and fell on a foot or (the worst EVER) slid down one guy's shin and stopped on his instep. That was the worst injury and had the guy off field duties till it healed. 

I left the two pair of very expensive anti shock gloves I'd been issued by the State of AK DOT and PF in my locker when I cleaned it out on my last day. The packages were unopened, I'd tried several kinds briefly and wasn't going to risk it. 

I use and teach a hammer grip that isolates the user from hammer shock and acts as a force multiplier. I adapted a fencer's grip I learned in my one lesson at a many years ago Ren Faire. 

I will wear a glove on my holding hand because I use a propane forge and it tends to blow HOT exhaust out the out the opening and gets EVERYTHING near it hot too. I keep all handles cool by dipping them in the water bucket or by wrapping or wiping off with wet rags. This is really hazardous, you do NOT want to get a glove wet, nothing hurts or injures like a scald. 

There are times when gloves are necessary but they're dangerous even then. YOU must know the hazards and be vigilant. 

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a rule at the forge, everything goes onto the hot table that is beside the forge. When it is time to go to the work table away from the forge, it is picked up from the hot table and put in water, then put into your bare hand, and only then can it be put on the work table. This way there are NO hot items on the work table and no surprises when someone picks up an item. It may be warm but it is below 200*F (steaming).

There are reasons to wear gloves, and to wear gloves with cuffs. If gloves and cuffs are necessary, then use them. For most things, I cut the cuffs off of the cloves. It does not interfere with the use of the glove, and if you snag the glove, it will slip off the hand with little effort. If you snag something on the cuff, it can lock the glove to the wrist and can pull or throw you around by the arm.  No cuff and the glove is gone before you know it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good rule Glen, and one I am careful to follow when using a group shop, for sure.  One thing to be alert to is that the forge isn't the only tool in a metal shop that can heat up steel.  One of the most upsetting burns I got in a group shop was when a beginner smith decided to use an abrasive chop saw to cut some 1.5" H-13.  Apparently the cutting took quite some time and he left the cut off end on the saw table when he went off to forge his stock.  Of course I then got to the shop and needed to cut off a section of wrought for a friend using the same tool.  I foolishly thought that since all hot stock was supposed to be put out of harms way, the cutoff would be handleable.  Grabbed it, to move and got some nice 2d degree burns on my hammer hand, which severely restricted my working time that week.  Utterances were made that can not be repeated in this forum...:(

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...