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MacLeod

Hallo there! From Outer Hebrides, Scotland

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Hallo there everyone, love this site and think it has already saved my life!   I’ve just started, although been blowtorching  horseshoe nails and hammering them into twisted hooks and making horseshoe gifts(using a grinder and a hammer and welder) for the last year or so.  I was wanting to bend a horseshoe rather than grind and fold cold with a hammer like I’ve been doing.  

I went through the newbie mistakes post and was OK till I got to number 12, I made tongs out of rebar.  I read on and identified with a few more though. :-(

I’ve made a gas bottle forge, and have lined it with ceramic wool, but am trouble finding stabiliser in the UK, can anyone suggest a product?  Even my search results on Amazon are proving fruitless.  Think perhaps I’m using American brand names which aren’t available in the UK.   I’ve of course not waiting and fired it up anyway, wore a mask and had the shed doors wide open.  Still, I know I need something.  

Living on an island makes things a bit difficult, but while working on the mainland recently I picked up a bit of rail track to use as an anvil.  The stone I’ve been battering is still in use though! 

I’ll be brave and show my portable set up, anvil, and the results of my first days heating and hammering.  (Added a couple of ‘pre forge’ photos of hooks and one of my horseshoe cowboys.)

Ah, I also learned not to touch the handle I put on the forge door without gloves.  Fortunately we have plenty running water which is very cold in this part of Scotland! 

Unless anyone here wants to know about fishing, and crofting in the Outer Hebrides or dovetail joints, I’m afraid I’m not bringing much to the party.  Thank you for this great resource and for grounding my feet after overdosing on 2 minute blacksmithing videos on YouTube! 

Kind Regards

MacLeod

 

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Welcome aboard MacLeod, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header we won't have to keep asking where you live. We're blacksmiths telling us once in a post isn't going to stick in our memories once we open another. 

You're going to fit in here just fine. First pull the torch farther out of your forge, the whispy yellow flames means it's not getting enough air to burn cleanly nor as hot as it should. Just the bare tip in the ceramic blanket, the less the better.

Try looking for, "Colloidal silica" if you can't find "Fumed silica". Pottery and fiberglass suppliers usually have it on the shelf for different purposes. You want the kind that mixes easily with water.

The Cowboy is excellent! Consider the idea adopted! Warming his hands is good but how about cooking dinner? A bottle cap frying pan and a flattened horse shoe nail spatula or spoon? Hmmm? If he were wearing a shiny stainless steel apron it'd make a nice reflector for the tea candle. 

Your idea is loaded with potential, very marketable item for your tool savings bank. Yes?

There's nothing wrong with forging on a boulder, done it a tie or two myself and Vikings were doing it for hundreds of years at least. Check out the improvised anvil section there are a LOT of excellent ways to make an anvil. A man can't have too many anvils you know. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Macleod,

Welcome.

I promise you bring plenty. I'm a fledgling smith myself, just fired my forge up a week ago. Your questions and the things you share, both success and failure, brings a new view. You may very well ask something no one else thinks of. 

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Thank you very much Frosty! 

Now I know what to ask for!  

And I like the apron idea!  I did make a waistcoat out of sheet, before realising I couldn’t put it on as horseshoes don’t have elbows :-) An apron would be easier or I could dress them before assembly ;-)

I’m also going to work on getting the torch burning better- again thank you!

 

Thank you very much Eventlessbox. Hope you are enjoying the same kind of challenges I’m facing too.  As a hobby, banging bits of hot steel is enormously satisfying, I’m loving it!  All the best :-)

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MacLeod: A couple more points. Lots of forum members live where dial up connection is all that's available and pay by the minute so it's good to not use more bandwidth than necessary. Quoting more of a preceding post than necessary burns a lot. Simply highlight the parts you need to maintain the thought and a button will appear that  says"quote selection" and it will appear in the edit window. That way you maintain continuity of thought without costing other people.

The handle on your forge door will be much cooler if it's longer and farther from the shell and if you insulate the door. 

What kind of fishing?

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Thanks Frosty-will do.  I managed to track down some Colloidal Silicon, had no idea that it was sometimes used in boat repair mixed in with resin. A fairly local chandler who I’ve dealt with many times will deliver. :)  Thanks very much for that tip and although I didn’t get much time at it today I took your advice on moving the torch out, seemed to get hotter quicker and sounded a bit healthier too, the flame was bluer too which judging by posts on here is better. 

Fishing? Sea Lobster and brown crab. Hand dived Scallops. By rod, anything that bites; cod, lithe, ling, pollack.  During the summer, fresh water for trout and salmon.  One upside of living on an island off the north west of Scotland, when weather permits, is that there is always some kind of fish to catch!

Point re handle and door taken!  Although won’t be touching it without welding gloves on for a while!

I reckon the fishing might be better in your neck of the woods, and the weather more dramatic.  I have never had a warm shed to work in this time of year but the wee forge heats it up a treat, along with swinging a 4lb hammer when I’m used to tapping in nails with a claw hammer.

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