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I Forge Iron

The most useful blacksmithing ideas

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Actually there is a powerhammer tool called the thumb, (or for Sherlock Holmes fans, The Engineer's Thumb).  You use it to smoosh hot metal around like you would clay with your thumb; but using the powerhammer and a handle to do it "remotely".

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When reusing plastic buckets the small plastic handle on the bail or handle is uncomfortable Cut a piece of hose the long way, place it on the handle, and wrap it with tape. The larger size is more comfortable and does not cut into the hand.



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Using good personal protection equipment will save you many ways, as in medical costs, pain & suffering, lost production, etc. So don't skimp on aprons, gloves, ear protection, eye protection, respirators. Remember they won't do you any good hanging on those fancy hooks you forged.

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  • 7 months later...

Sand in a bucket is a very easy tool for cleaning oil off a quenched part.  The sand gets into all the little nooks and crannies.  Sawdust works pretty well provided the part is cold.  


Be very careful when quenching tubular stock as the "cold" end can erupt with dangerous steam.

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Paying more for better quality tools is generally less expensive in the long run than buying cheap.  Sandpaper and drill bits are prime examples but it applies to most of what you buy. Sometimes it's better to do without (or make do with what you have) while you save up for the improved quality version.

Cheap air tools are another prime example.  They are sure appealing by price but the life and reliability are really iffy...and they generally can't be rebuilt properly when they do fail.

Oh..and keep a separate set of junk tools for people who borrow or to take to job sites where tools sometimes may walk away.  That's where the crappy stuff is actually of benefit.  

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A few years ago I discovered that there are three separate part numbers for every individual component in an appliance.

The first is put on the part by the factory.  The only internet search results that will return this number are repair blogs, and people selling salvaged or "new old stock".

The second internet search result, is the "replacement part" number.  The sites selling these will charge 30-40% less than the next option in my list, but they do not allow returns, nor do they provide appliance make and model information to confirm the replacement part's compatibility with a given appliance.  I'm guessing that these internet retailers are catering to appliance repair technicians.

The third, is the part number you'll find if you search the internet by the make and model of the appliance.  The sites selling these will charge roughly 5% below whatever an appliance repair company will quote to furnish and install the component.  They do however, provide verification that the part will actually fit a specific make and model of appliance.  Everything about this seems to be geared towards the do-it-yourself customer.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no publicly available cross-reference between the last two part numbers.  It seems entirely possible that one part retailer might have separate "internet storefronts" for repair techs, and DIY people. For what it's worth, I noticed that both types of sites use the same stock photos of the part which virtually never show dimensions, or definitive component characteristics like an end-on view of connection points.

So what does all that mean?

A do it yourself person can very likely repair their appliance for half the cost of a repair company.  However, the part number tags are typically mounted in the appliance so they cannot be read without major disassembly.  That's half the work of replacing the part, and if you buy the wrong thing through the "replacement part number" retailers, you can't return it.

However, if you wanted to roughly approximate the service guy's repair cost for a given part, you could search by the appliance make and model.  Add 5% or so to get yourself in the ballpark, so long as you keep in mind that we're talking about component level (pumps, sensors, control boards, etc), not individual washers and screws here.  

I've found similar schemes with replacement parts for common power tools as well.  Commutator brushes and drill chucks are a great example.  If you search by the make and model of the power tool, the parts often cost more than if you search by the part's actual number.



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