Simple Man

New, need help.

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Hey fellas,

I'm new to the blacksmithing grind, I have a propane forge,  I just built and am in need of some used hammers,tongs, and other blacksmithing tools of the trade. I am 32 with 4 kids and my 5th will be here in the next month, any ideas of the best place to buy really cheap good used, will help me out a ton. If you have any for sale you can leave a comment or direct message me. Thanks and God Bless. I'm on a time crunch to get my ideas pounded out. Just need some steel to grab and forge. Also any cheap metal stock or ideas is much appreciated.  Again thanks.

Josh M.

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Posted (edited)

Check out the simple twist tongs blueprint.

Keep your eyes peeled and your bound to run across some scrap steel. I have the best luck when I go for a walk. It's easier to see what's on the side of the road and in the ditches and woods. It's also a good excuse to take a walk.

Good luck

        Pnut (Mike)

P.S.   I found a cheap hammer at TSC. Check yard sales and flea markets pawn shops junk stores etc.   I think harbor freight has a two lb ball pien for about eight bucks.

Edited by pnut

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Welcome aboard Josh, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many members live within visiting distance. Someone the next street over from you just gave away an old anvil he found when he tore down an old shed for an elderly lady. .  What? DARN he didn't know you were looking. :( 

Seriously you'll be surprised how often it works that way and NO telling us in your next post isn't going to stick in our memories when we go to the next post.

Start hitting: garage, yard, rummage, etc. sales. What you need for a hammer is 32 oz. smooth faced though ball peins should always be on your buy list if they're cheap enough, say under $1 ea., no/broken handles are perfect. Ball pein hammers can be forged into lots of useful top tools and hammers.

You want: cold chisels, punches, Allan, wrenches, pry bars,  files and various springy tools for cheap. I usually get them when bundling with other things I'm interested. Chisels and punches can be reworked easily, you'll need chisels to: mark, cut, slit, texture, etc. and punches to make holes and such. Allan wrenches are generally high quality medium carbon steel and make excellent hand punches, chisels, etc. Think chasing and repousse chisels & punches. 

I know I've said chisel and punch a BUNCH of times but we typically have a dozen right on the anvil stand or working table next to it, we use them ALL THE TIME. 

Forget about tongs unless you run across some at a: garage, yard, etc. sale. Forget Craigslist, Ebay, etc. unless you LIKE paying way too much, in which case buy new ones. Once you have some experience at the anvil and developed a few basic skills to a proficient level tongs are pretty easy to make. Till then just use stock long enough it doesn't get hot in your hand.

Keep your eyes on the ditches, alleys, side road dump sites, etc. Steel is everywhere, it's the most often used material human beings make stuff with. Hmmmmm? Things like campaign signs are good stock, a bit tougher than mild without requiring higher level skills to use. Soil springs are all sorts of tools rolled into an easy to store compact shape. Just do NOT feel you have to use something just because you have it.

Your best bet to get started is to just buy a 20' stick of either 1/2" round or (my preference) 3/8" square. HOT ROLLED steel. These two shapes are essentially the same amount of steel per inch of length and it's pretty uniform steel. It will behave the same way every time you put a new piece in the fire so you won't have to keep shifting gears or evaluating a new steel. Evaluating the working properties and characteristics for use is a whole different set of skill and you don't really need more to worry about at first. Make sense?

Any piece of steel that weighs enough it doesn't bounce under the hammer is an anvil if you use it for one. The more steel below the hammer the more effective it will be for example a piece of rail road rail, stood on end makes a darned effective anvil while laid on it's side it will flex when struck and absorb energy over it's length without returning it to the work. Same for round or square shafting or steel plate. A piece of 2" thick steel plate stood on edge makes a very effective anvil you can grind shapes into for bottom dies. When you don't want one of the shapes on the edge facing up just roll it till you get what you need or a new spot to grind your new bottom tool into. Make sense?

Stick with us Josh, we'll get you up and going. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Watch videos from John at Black Bear forge on YouTube. He has many videos on making the basic tools. Making your own will save you a ton of money. 

Swing by the mechanic shops in your town they all have bins or piles of used parts, spindles, springs, rods ect. Basically lots of used car parts waiting to start their new life under your hammer!

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I would just be repeating what others have posted, so I'll suggest reading this for how to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

In order to give you the best answers it's helpful to know where in the world you are located, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show location. Click on the links in that thread for other helpful information and read the sticky threads in the sections of the forum that interest you. Don't get offended if some of your threads get moved to the most appropriate sections, we all started out posting in the wrong section.:)

Most of all have fun in your new pursuit of hammering hot steel.

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I bought two usable---old---ball peens over thataway 4 miles at the fleamarket, cost 50 cents a piece last Sunday.  I get a lot of tools at my local Pop & Son scrapyard, take the exit off the interstate, go down hill and take the first left and go 6 miles and it's on the right. Shoot they even put anvils aside for me at under US$1 a pound.  Tell me what part of Mexico you are in and I'll ask at the factory to see if anybody has any kinfolk out that way with an anvil.

Probably getting started the best thing you can do is read the Improvised Anvil thread as way too many people sink way too much money trying to get a London Pattern anvil, not realizing that it's a fairly recent and localized type.

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Man , it was a bit hard for me to get back to this thread but I figured it out... frosty, thanx a ton for all the helpful info,  I have a railroad tie plate for my anvil right now, just going to put it on some wood soon... you guys have been way more welcoming and helpful than I could've ever imagined... I used to work at the scrap yard and there alot of railroad steel laying next to the rails over by the shutdown scrap yard, I know it's illegal to take but I'm sure they won't be using it or missing it.. also the punches and Allen keys info is invaluable...also thanks for the video suggestions... I really appreciate guys. Bless you all.

Josh M.

Oh and by the way im in Fayetteville,  NC... thanks alot again guys, I appreciate all the help and direction.

Josh

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Josh: a tie plate is a perfect example of what I was talking about flexing and dissipating energy under the hammer rather than returning it. Tie plates are handy things just NOT for an anvil.

When you're over by the scrap yard see if you can latch onto about 30" of rail car axle. Measure from your wrist to the ground with your arm hanging relaxed at your side wearing the shoes you wear at the anvil. This is about the right height for the anvil's face according to your body. When I say 30", that's about right for me and sort of an average and allows an inch for a base. It's much easier to raise the height of an anvil than lower it when you're talking about a 9"+ diameter x 30"+/- of 4140 steel. I don't really recall the Dia. but THINK 9 7/8" sticks in my head. Figure 0.28 lbs. per cu/in for a rough weight. You can look up charts for exact numbers. My head says 31" would run around 550 lbs.

You used to be able to buy RR steel at the large scrap yard in Anchorage, I still have half a bucket of spikes. Then China signed them to a single buyer contract and that was that. I had my eye on rail car axle for a power hammer anvil base. (sow block) I don't want to talk about why I have the RR spikes but I find something to use one for a couple times a year. Something else for my estate sale I guess. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Frosty, 

I was looking at ur profile pic and the snow and u standing on the ice and was thinking ABOUT when I used to live in anchorage AK, at elmendorf afb going to school at fort Richardson at ursa minor at the time cause they were redoing aurora school on elmendorf for a year... lots of black bears on the back side of base by the grease traps around 6 mile lake... watching the whales in cook inlet from the bluff on cherry hill while the sun set on the sleeping lady, then laying on the trampoline at night watching the northern lights.... we could see the tip of mt.mckinley from my house clear across Alaska...going camping and fishing at goose creek, riding our bikes from anchorage to eagle river along the bike path, driving towards Seward along that long highway with just Ocean on one side and miles of beautiful mountainous pines on the other...hearing F 15s and c130s kc10s and awacs taking off and landing all the time, lots of good memories in God's land up there... I have some rr spikes a guy gave me when I was working at the scrap yard, I told him we couldn't buy them and he said man u can have them... I found a solid 7 foot oak tree yesterday laying by the road for pickup,  I went back last night to get it and it was about 500 lbs or so, so I couldn't get it in the back of my truck. Gonna go back with my sawzall today. See if I can't cut it down to size. 

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On 4/14/2019 at 11:17 AM, Simple Man said:

I know it's illegal to take but I'm sure they won't be using it or missing it

Be that as it may, please stay within the law. 

Welcome aboard!

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Or at least don't say it on an international forum.;-)

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That's right: we have members in Ohio AND Kentucky!

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Tie plates make good hardy holes when mounted to an approriate stump, also good for holding home made sheet metal stakes. But no, poor anvils. An old sledge hammer head is beter. 

Perhaps this will help lubricate your brain.

 

 

A 1.5-2# hammer is a good starter. Ball peins are classic, and easy enugh to find in 24&32oz. It’s hard these days to find cross peins in 2# but it’s easy enugh to grind a 2# double jack hammer into a rounding, cross, strait or twisted pein. 

As to other tools, your a blacksmith now, make them. Even tongs. Yes they are a PITA but they use many basic skills you need to learn, as dose the tools you need to build them. You need to make a punch and a chisel, draw out the reigns, rivet, Fuller, twist and make to identical pieces. 

 

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http://www.webpal.org/SAFE/aaarecovery/6_pioneer_methods/Basic_Blacksmithing.pdf

note most of us don’t recomend carving a hunk of rail into a simulation of a London pattern anvil, if you have a chunk of heavy rail set it on end, even tho you now have a 1.5x3” striking area (bigger than your hammer) it is much more effecent use of material and time. 

This isn’t the best primer but it’s simple.

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1 hour ago, JHCC said:

That's right: we have members in Ohio AND Kentucky!

you mean there's OTHER places.

 

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9 hours ago, Simple Man said:

I was looking at ur profile pic and the snow and u standing on the ice and was thinking ABOUT when I used to live in anchorage AK, at elmendorf afb

When was that? Elmendorf AFB and Ft Rich were "merged" into "Joint Base Elmendorf, Rich" AKA "JBER" a few years ago.  Yeah, the back sides of the bases is still pretty wild there isn't a lot of human traffic and open access to both mountains and Knik Arm. I haven't even been on the bases in years, except a couple garage sales I no longer know many servicemen. Before they closed them to public use, the tank trails were great dirt bike riding but you needed a special fishing license so I've never dipped a line.

About my profile pic. It was just plowed and driven down snow, hard pack. That's not ALL you see in the pic is it? :ph34r:

The Seward Highway along Turnagain arm hasn't changed much, some more turn outs and fresher pavement but that's about it. Since the Nov quake there have been pretty regular rock falls blocking lanes and causing a couple serious accidents. Current plans are to do some serious rock work in the cliff faces and stabilize them. It's still a great drive if the sun isn't in your eyes. 

It's not McKinley anymore the name was officially changed to Denali some time ago, once in 1975 and argued over till Pres Obama settled it with an executive order. Gotta call it Denali now . . . I guess. It may seem half way across the state from Anchorage but it's only 160 miles. We can see McKinley from the living room before the trees leaf out.

Our place is across Knik Arm less than 1/4 mill East of Elmendorf's landing pattern. We see lots of military aircraft and during Airforce exercises it gets pretty exciting. A flight of 4, F22 Raptors flying by is darned quiet. They don't make a lot of noise even taking off. I missed the F35s, I may go to the 4th. of July show and walk around a F35. 

I'd better stop. If you get up this way again give me a shout.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I was up there untill 99, for 8 years so like 91 to 99, I was younger so 160 miles seemed like to Nome to me..:D.. but yeah when I was there they were merging the base and post... Seward peninsula was an awesome visit... gotta check that pic again... I sure miss AK.

20190419_104745.jpg

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Oh, Mt. Mckinley looming above the horizon in the hazy distance looks like it's across the continent. It's awesome, heck you can see it from Kenai.

Did you visit the Seward Peninsula or do you mean the the city of Seward on the Kenai Peninsula? No road to the Seward Peninsula, it's: fly, float, snow machine, dog sled or walk.

The Kenai is a great place to visit, great outdoors place: hike, camp, fish, hunt, float, easy or rapids, climb mountains. Got it all.

Frosty The Lucky.

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It's was towards Seward, probably the Kenai peninsula... I know when we took a fairy on the move to Alaska, it was 3 days and we seen glaciers and it was unbelievable, to roll into that type of scenery,  coming from hot humid Georgia at the time.we also went somewhere when my grandparents visited, we took a train to a small mining village and we gold panned, which we went gold panning other places as well... I'm curious what's in ur picture? My eyes aren't as sharp as they once were...

Oh I see it's a female moose... these were all over cherry hill, people would call the guys in the navy blue van trucks and they would come out and attempt to trans them and move them to the back side of base...i seen her back there, I thought she was a cow ...whoops...i watched some guys wirh my friend try to trans a tall lanky calf one time and when they shot him in the back hip, he turned straight towards me, I turned my bike around and he pursued to follow me all the way to my house at a very generously slow trot, I was so scared... i imagine he was pretty scared, just trying to eat and the he got stung in the hiney...

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A guy my dad served with gave me a rack of bull moose antlers, I had them forever until my mom donated them to the hope harbor... he was always giving me moose and caribou , bear jerky... my dad shot a bull caribou somewhere they flew out to, the meat was too gamey to eat, we didn't know how to properly prepare it like the natives... he flew to Kodiak island got dropped for 7 days with 2 guys he worked with and bagged a grizzly, also got a black bear on a different trip, they never used a guide...they just got dropped and picked up 7 days later... you know they got hunting rules about the way you fly in on bull hearts and can t land a certain distance from them, can t hunt them for a certain AMOUNT of time from landing... any how, he never took me, we did go after one while picking blueberries,  and the rivers we crossed going up this mountain were fast and ice cold... we did go on a tarmagan hunt by tarmagan lake I think it was... was it tarmagan, that they used to call stupid chickens? We fished them king salmons out of goose creek plenty, big 45 lb kings, we took our gear to the truck and came back for our catch on the bank and a bear had taken them we, seen him across the river... also fished the humps, pink hump back salmon... I got one of those mounted... my old man got his grossly and black bears rug mounted with the heads still full, and the skulls sat on our table in the gun room, someone stole the skulls out of packing during the move.

 

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Yeah, Seward is on the Kenai, it's easy to get confused, I have to look at maps frequently to get things straight, it's a BIG place.  

Ah, the ferry up the inside passage is one of the BEST sight seeing rides there is! While I was exploration drilling for the State the only way to transport the equipment was on a ferry. The only time I've made the run from Haines Ak to Bellingham Wa. was when Deb and I drove her parent's camper van back to them; Her Father had a stroke and flew home so they left the van and prepaid tickets with us. You gotta do these things for family you  know, what choice did we have? 

Glaciers, water falls, whales, forest, cliffs, bird rookeries, seals, sea lions haulled out on the rocks, on and on. It's spectacular and the ferries are sweet rides. Do you remember hitting tidal rapids? There used to be a famous submerged "rock" that caused a really severe whirl pool and sunk a lot of ships. I can't recall the name but the water was always doing weird things around it. The tide wasn't running strong when we sailed that narrows, they time passages so it's close to slack tides. Anyway, it kicked the ferry, Columbia sideways probably 20' like it got hit by a lineman. That rock was removed by the largest chemical explosion on earth. At the time anyway, can't find a URL.

I don't know if that was a cow moose, it's a yearling eating slash next to the well casing. the SW corner of the shop would be in the picture today. Moose are the #1 most dangerous thing in Alaska, not counting teen drivers and cell phones that is. You were lucky it only wanted you to keep your distance, if it'd wanted to it would've stomped you into a stain.

Kodiak Brown bear, are the largest in the world. Same critter as a grizzly but brownies are coastal and get a MUCH better diet so they get much larger but aren't as aggressive as their hungrier, more competitive inland kin. Funny thing is black bear kill more people than brownies; if a browny attack you you can cover up and play dead, it'll maul you but is unlikely to try to kill you. If a black bear attacks you you have to fight, odds are heavy they'll kill and eat you. Funny eh? The 10' brown monster is scary but the 6' black bear is the man eater. 

It's easy to screw up dressing caribou, where and when you take one makes a difference too. Hunting season tends to be during migration so they're full of lactic acid and gamey. Native Alaskans have a much wider season and can take them when they're browsing, a few thousand years practice cleaning and dressing them makes a difference . 

Yeah, there are serious regs for using aircraft to hunt. In the old days they hunted from the air some with wing mounted shot guns or occasionally automatic rifles. I think that was around WWII and not common nor well thought of. Wing mounted shot guns were the norm for thinning wolf packs.

Don't wade across streams here, find a place to jump it. A warm stream will make you hypothermic in maybe 5-10 minutes.  Some are only liquid because they're flowing fast, shock can have you sucking water in seconds, you don't die of cold you drown. It's the most common type of fatal accident, next to DUI auto wrecks.   

Ptarmigan or spruce hen are easy hunting. I used to take them with a long stick. Approach slowly waving my left hand slowly to keep their attention and whack them with the long stick in my right hand. If you get them looking away, their necks are arched so they're an easy target on top of their body. Katchup and Pepsi make a good BBQ sauce over a nice smokey alder wood camp fire.

Frosty The Lucky.

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