Le_Bear

Hello, From hot Oklahoma

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 Not sure if I've ever stumbled through this forum before,  but it looks like a great site, and I'd like to thank Glenn, as well as everyone else here for what you all have done :)

 I was actually looking for a site with experienced oxy/acetylene pro's/enthusiasts to ask for input about an old torch kit recently acquired at a warehouse clean-out sale,. (more on that in the proper thread) without landing in a miller/hobart/lincoln etc forum where brand name might be somewhat one-sided ;) , and far down the page your iforgeiron name caught my interest. I checked it out and lo an behold, here I am! :D

 Anyways, here we go, me and blacksmithing go way back to when I was 4 or 5. I'm now almost 64. My family was walking through the woods near our house on an 80 acre farm in the boonies, my father, not long since returning from the WWII, loved farming, and had bought this little piece of heaven, and started a family. Suddenly we walked past a huge iron tub on legs, filled with cement, with a hand operated blower mounted on the side, "that's the old blacksmith shop" he said as we went on by :) That tub is now near sunken from view in the ground not far from the house where I live now, which sits on the same spot as the 4 room one we lived in then. All the attachments and other misc. pieces are long gone, as we were away many years while he sought to feed his family. (farming small places near went extinct in the late 50s/early 60s)

 Fast forward to the late 70s when I was bringing my mother back from somewhere and we stopped at a little country store which had a very few groceries but I noticed a table with some books for sale and one was a very thick book about welding , circa 1976, which I acquired for a buck. I didn't really mess with it for awhile, I just liked those kind of books, even gave it to an uncle for a year or 3, but it eventually came back, and in the early 80s I bought a little plumbing torch set at a pawnshop for about $200, which was by lay-away as I was not making lots of money working on a small ranch in N Texas. I eventually brought it home and began tinkering with it, and even at that, those little bottles didn't last long. Eventually, while brouzing around a welding shop I asked the proprieter about larger ones and he swapped those little ones in at the same price he was selling them for so I got larger bottles on the cheap that way, eventually trading up to the largest ones, which were far more economical to run.

 I was getting into everything, studying that welding book, which covered every aspect of welding, metals identification, heat treatment, brazing, even used it in rebuilding my regulators. I was to the point of considerations of building a large kiln, thinking of making forged and treated gears and such for tractors, etc.,  but the money ran dry and there wasn't much work here so I packed it away (left it so my dad could use it) and headed elsewhere for a couple of years. The job was ok but the pay wasn't much better, at least tho, it was full time, so after I got tired of that I came back home for a couple more years. Then I fell in love and we took off to the city lights. I sold most of my mechanic tools and such, even the torch set. I asked the guy at the welding shop about what I could do with the bottles and he looked at his rates chart and quoted me a price like an old coke bottle that you returned, and I think it was only about 15% less than I'd payed for them, so that 6 years or so of fun cost me very little, and it was sure worth it :)

 I even took my knowledge of torches on my next job there, as a ship fitter in a barge yard. I liken ship fitting to carpentry, which I started at an early age, except you use a torch and welder instead of a saw and nails. I eventually left the ship yard, the unions had fallen apart, it was a "right to work state", and I didn't see they were doing us a bit of good at that time. Eventually returning to carpentry, except in a commercial environment, which I found to be much more satisfactory and rewarding, and stayed in that until being sidelined by a work injury on a very large treated wood bridge across a swamp, which led me to a rather early retirement.

Anyways, a lot has been left out, but I guess you get the picture. I'm now sitting in the front of a house which is sitting in the same spot as the house where I was born.

 I hope to post soon about some questions on the recently acquired torch set, as well as browsing the forums here, for there are many of them which really draw my interest. Thanks again to you all :)

 

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Well, "from hot Oklahoma" isn't enough for we here on the forum.  Go to your Profile and tell us where you are..........even if it's just a general idea.  Reason for that is there might be someone living right close to you who could be of a lot of help to you.  Also there might be some forges nearby you could go visit.  Most smiths are eager to have visitors come to sit and talk.

Glad to have you on-board.  You're right, it's hot here...............hotter than all git-out!  I live in Norman.  Don't have my forge built yet, but am attending a weekly open forge that's a ton of fun and full of learning from some mighty old pro's.  Working on the forge, so it won't be long until I can pound on hot steel at my own forge.

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I remember forging in OKC area in the early 1980's and during the summer thinking that it was nicer by the forge as it would dry you out than being away from it dripping sweat.

Loaded while it had cooled off to the upper 90's and hope to do the run uphill while it's still cool in the morning.  Most of the scrap pile from down here this trip....

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Welcome Le_Bear. I enjoyed reading your introduction post. Sounds like you've come full circle. Y'all ain't kidding it's hot. I'm further south than you guys obviously. I think the actual temp was 98 or 99 , but the heat index was around 106. I haven't been to the smithy in over a week, which is gnawing at me. But it's a little too hot for me, and I'm even used to being out in it. Anyway, it's good to have you here:)

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You said your main interest was finding some info on your torch set up, but If you want to give blacksmithing a go you really can get started on the cheap. A jabod forge and an improvised anvil which could be a block of mild steel or any relatively heavy chunk o' metal that can be had, and a two pound ball pien hammer. I spent no money at all on my forge and got a 30 in. Piece of RR track for ten dollars. The most expensive thing was the hammer.

Good to have you and don't be a stranger.

Pnut

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Cause some of us have the "stranger" stuff nailed down and clenched!

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