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I Forge Iron

Swage Block & Stand

MC Hammer

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Like most on here, I've coveted a swage block for a while, but I just couldn't justify the prices they are commanding both old and new.  I could see many, many times I could have used one and wished I'd had one.  I was turned onto a guy on Etsy selling 11 x 11 x 2 inch thick A36 swage blocks for $110.  I couldn't buy one fast enough.  I won't leave a link because this forum frowns on that sort of thing, but if you search you'll find it just like I did.  This size isn't for everyone, and I don't plan on doing any heavy sledge work on it.  For me, a guy who'd never likely afford a big swage block, this was the perfect answer.  I made the stand out of scrap wood I had hanging around, including a couple 2x4's I found on the side of the highway.  The shelf supporting it while standing on its side has an inch thick piece of oak that the swage block sits on.  I made the top shelf 11 1/4 x 11 1/4 just to give me room to get in and flip it.  I plan on painting the stand and shelac'ing on certain areas with the idea of making it look like it's got some age.  The swage block needs the edges knocked down a bit and a good wire wheeling with the angle grinder.






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Here's my finished stand.  I gave it an antique look so it didn't look glaringly new in my shop full of old tools.  I didn't spend a super amount of time on it, but I was happy on how it turned out.  The great thing about shellac is that when the finish gets marred or dented I can just apply a new layer to it.





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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

Till it can support a flame all on it's own?  I'd rasp down the edges a bit and use a torch to go over the wood and wirebrush it and start using it.

My experience with shellac is that it loses its flammability once dry and will burn only as much as anything else such as just a plain old wood stand without shellac..  Are you saying to torch off the shellac finish?  

I actually did take and angle grinder and knock the sharp edges off the swage block and then I did some rasping to profile them a bit so that there's a radius on them and they don't leave marks on the things I'm working.  


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No; torch bare wood and "age" bare wood by putting in some "accelerated wear"  To me that stand looks more like it was made from prefinished waterbed boards.

I don't really know about the flammability of multiple layer shellac finishes; I'll accept your word that they are ok after drying.

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That was funny!  You know, it does look like water bed boards :D  I've never really liked the burned look for artificial aging.  I do it on tomahawk handles around where the hole is because all the old ones I've handled had that discoloration due to being in contact with the iron all those hundreds of years.  I've just always thought it looked like it was burnt on wood things like that.  

What I was going for was something that didn't look like it was fresh lumber and out of place next to my old stuff.  I got what I wanted and it looks like it fits in my shop now.  

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