brickforgebeginner

What have I gotten myself into...

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Well Ill tell y’all this much.  I rebuilt my brick forge using a lot of good advice but still staying in my “budget”. I’m getting a good clean, and hot fire that finally moves metal.  I got me a good oak stump for my terrible ASO and it makes a world of difference.  With that being said I’ve now gone from a “kind of liking this” sort of attitude, to a “I’m gonna spend my entire next paycheck on blacksmithing tools and items” attitude.  How the xxxx do you guys fight this? Now I think I need a belt grinder, a real anvil and fire bricks cause I keep melting my crappy house bricks, a torch set, new hammers (in a few sizes) a polishing kit, a bench vise, etc, etc.  What can I do to either curb the spending or find these items for cheap, so I don’t sell my truck for an auto hammer? (Kidding)

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You gots to start somewhere.  To answer the who do you fight it q?  I guess I don't, but I force moderation.  gaining a little bit here and there and I keep chipping away at it.  a year before I got my torch rig.  half a year of collecting steel and parts to put my grinder together,  took me about a month all told to research and collect parts and build my forge.  It's a hobby for me, so I can't lt it control my life.  If all my discretionary spending went immediately to the hobby,  trouble would brew quickly on the home front.  What did you make?

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Use what you have. Trying to outfit a kit without knowing what you need is indeed a formula for needing a warehouse to keep the stuff you'll never use out of the weather. Slow down acquiring tools and equipment, all rushing into things usually does is make your mistakes permanent more quickly.  I have acquisitions that were just PERFECT for what I was going to need sitting near the old tarp tent shop in front of the connex. If I were going to make blades a couple of them might come in handy but I don't so. . . 

Just use your kit and keep your eyes open for good deals. A better anvil would be a good thing, you'll really feel the difference but don't get in a hurry about it. Some guys get upset about it but a vertically mounted piece of rail makes a surprisingly high end anvil. If you have a welder or know someone then a portable hole and a "striking"(UGH) anvil. (Ugh is for the term, not the tool.) Anyway, a portable hole and anvil are easy builds and have a lot of advantage over a hardy hole in the anvil. 

IF you're set on using that kind of forge then fire bricks are a good idea. Red brick ain't up to a blown fire. You might want to build more like Charles' jabod. It doesn't make much difference what the "box" is made from and bricks look nice. Maybe get creative with how you lay them for bling. 

Even making a belt grinder will cost money you can put to better use for now. However using a disk grinder for anything but rough, very rough shaping on a blade is another skills set to learn. Forget Youtube videos of guys whipping disk grinders back and forth, that's inefficient use of the tool and really makes accuracy iffy at best. 

A set of good files will do you better for now. And heck make a couple scrapers, they move metal quickly, accurately and leave a near finished surface. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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How do I force Moderation?   I have an allowance. I get to spend it on *anything*---no spousal questioning allowed. (Well, almost anything; my wife did mention that somethings would be hazardous to my health in a very short time...)

As such I look for things on the cheap---NOT cheap things; but good things found at fleamarkets and scrapyards. If I don't spend all my allowance it rolls over to the next week. If it builds up to a chunk I put it in the bank for large purchases---I took a number of prints of steel engravings of a founding father of the USA who wasn't President to Quad-State this year.  Was very sad to take some of the home.  If it's not a good deal I can wait.

Look at the TPAAAT as a method of finding stuff NOT being sold by people trying to get the most $$$$ selling stuff.  Never understood folks saying they are only shopping at the most expensive places and then complaining about prices..

By sticking to my allowance; the family budget always has room for the OMG finds. Having cash to hand allows you to get those amazing deals that have half lifes of *minutes*.

Another method is the blacksmith's bank: Everytime you sell something drop 10% of it into the "bank" to be used for buying tools.

Finally: It may be 3 years before I get back to Quad-State; but I've started saving my change for the next time!

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All you really need is some metal, some way to get it hot, something to hit with and something to hit on. The rest just makes life a little easier.

Learn how to fully use each tool that you have now. You purchased that AOS so learn how to use it. That anvil can be used as a measuring device, as a swage, as a bending fork, and in many other ways. 

Move from charcoal briquettes to real lump charcoal, or just burn wood as in pallets, tree limbs, etc. The metal does not care how it gets hot, just that it is hot enough to move.

Figure out what you want to do, then figure out what it takes to do the job. You do not need a $300 hand hammer when a $3 hand hammer from the flea market will work just as well. As mentioned above, files and scrapers will work the metal very well and they do not cost anywhere what a belt grinder costs. Sand paper wrapped around a block of wood works.

You must learn the difference between wants and needs. Then get the needs as time and money allows. Over time you will build up the inventory you want.

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Don't get tool envy, and even with power tools there is a learning curve. A belt grinder just means that you can make scrap faster than by hand.....a lot faster.

Forget the bricks and make a JABOF forge.

Look on the improvised anvil thread for suggestions on where to look for one, and what to look for.

One suggestion I would make is find a good post vise, they are a lifesaver in many ways.

How do I fight the spending urge? I'm a cheapskate at heart, and like to make instead of buy. I bought most of my stuff at prices that are far lower than the current market value in the good old days.

 

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Keep it simple to start.  The tool doesn't make the blacksmith.  With that said, buy good tools when you can.  I see this a lot with people getting into this hobby.  They want to buy a full tool set right away.  It's better to build up a useful collection of tools that you will use a lot.  Here's the thing too, if you get forging you will be able to make many tools that you need.  Chisels, tongs, punches, hold fasts, hardy and pritchel tools can all be made for much cheaper than buying them.  Yes, your next step should be a better anvil but your HF one will get you by until you can find one.   

Also, don't be willing to shell out top dollar.  When people getting into this are willing to pay ridiculous prices for anvils, tongs, and hammers it drives up the price for the rest of us.  That $5 hammer at the flea market all of the sudden becomes an antique work $40 and tongs become $40, etc.  I try to pay only $5-$10 for a pair of old tongs and hammer heads less than that.  Why spend $300 on new hammer when you are new to blacksmithing?  You'll hammer as good with a $10 junk shop hammer as you will the $300 when you are starting out.  

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