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I Forge Iron

Show me your Nail Headers


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Forged

N1890.jpg

N1894.jpg

N1898.jpg

This was before clean up with a grinder.

Cross_section.jpg

Working part of the header.

I collected all the 1/4 inch short pieces of stock I could find, welded it together end to end to make 24-30 inch lengths, and proceeded to make nails.  Got a lot of practice and got rid of a lot of short pieces of 1/4 inch stock.

 

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What would you all say is the best thickness for the working end of the header? 

The concave portion in particular.

I don’t want to go to thin & have it begin to collapse.

I know it doesn’t receive any heavy hammering but I want it to last years & not have to mess with it once it’s right.

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That would depend on the size of stock you are working and how much use it would see. I've forged small 1/4" minus stock ones from pickup coil spring and have replaced one that a student broke in class trying to hammer out a nail they put in from the wrong side.The other and replacement had been used for years now but save for class are not much used.

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Anyone here use / make a solid working end nail header vs a concave (hollow underside) header ?

I’ve seen a couple different versions but I know it’ll be a longer process making one instead of the quick & easy flat style I have.

I’ll be making a couple this Fall and am looking for and appreciate the input and advice.

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I've been looking at RR spikes as stock. I'm thinking about cutting a diaginal slice under the head and bending it flat then punching the hole. The top of the spike is already convex and it'll be solid. I might try to utilize the point for knicking the nail stock also. I haven't worked out the details quite yet but I'll post the results good or bad after I try it.

Pnut

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Most city ordinances don’t really know how to class forging. The closest Is welding or using a torch. You can get around the burn ban in many places by poring a concrete slab or laying down a brick patio. The trick is to have at least the minimum required area of non-burnable space. Once you have that, go to the local fire department and ask for a permit. They will come out and assess your area and if it looks safe and is up to code, you can pay them for the permit. 

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Where I live they're pretty permissive when it comes to open flame. I live in the town part of a rural community. We can have burn barrels or whatever. No open flame is allowed temporarily due to the lack of rain for the last six or seven weeks. I have been hesitant to light my forge anyway because it's in the woods and the leaves have started falling. I raked them up but until it rains I don't think burning charcoal in tinder dry woods would be a good idea. It's supposed to rain Monday though. The burn ban includes charcoal grills. I spoke with a volunteer fire fighter yesterday on the way home from work. It really is scary dry here.

Pnut

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I had a student who went that way; the city told him he had to get a permit every time he was going to use the forge; applying 5 business days ahead of time and paying US$20 for each one.

He ended up moving to a less costly to forge area.

I have found propane forges to be useful for some areas as you can make the argument that they can't really shut down a propane forge without shutting down all the propane grills as well.  (And here in NM we can get some strict burn bans---on a SCA camp out once; I was required to have the county fire marshal pick the site for my forge and it had to be propane!)

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They're pretty permissive here it's just been unusually dry. It hasn't rained in almost two months, and this is an agricultural community. No rain plus unusually high temperatures equals bad news. Today is supposed to be the hottest day ever recorded in October around here. As soon as we get some rain I'll be able to forge again. The rain is likely to produce it's own issues because of how dry the ground is. I'll just have to wait and see.

Pnut

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My wife works for the city. She gets really freaky about my forge at times. The actual ordinance governing it is a bit vague and to me at least, open to interpretation, but she is correct. I am risking a fine every time I fire it up. It is an open fire. i’ve never had a problem with it escaping though. The only times I have ever caught anything on fire it has been caused by hot steel slipping out of my tongs and that doesn’t happen as often now, and when it does a bit of water from the 5 gallon bucket between my anvil and forge takes care of it quick. 
 

Rather than a permit I am hoping the fire chief is a reasonable man and capable of thinking logically. Bricks, once I actually get them down, cannot burn.  

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With all the different BBQ grills, smokers, hibachis and who knows what else being allowed it seems a hot dog hung over the forge when needed might be the answer. Most people set out to use Chimenea and grills without the preparation and thought that goes into our forges. It is sad to think that common sense has become so uncommon as to cause these types of problems. Here to hoping for reasonable over site from local government officials. I have never had a problem with anyone yet, but twice have had policeman running down my driveway while I was starting my coal stove to heat my home. I always thank them for keeping an eye out. When you live in town, it does seem to always be a concern. 

Have a good one,

W

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I walked up to the fire station Friday morning and spoke with them about my charcoal forge and the temporary burn ban here. I learned two things. The first was they told me the ban didn't cover my forge and the second was that one of the older firefighters does some blacksmithing. I talked with him for about two hours about forging. He seemed to subscribe to some of the myths of blacksmithing but I didn't want to be rude so I didn't contradict any of them. He also invited me to his forge. I'll have to take him up on the offer sometime. 

I still didn't light the forge. Regardless of the burn ban not including my forge I still thought it would be a bad idea to go ahead. It's raining right now for the first time in quite a while and supposed to continue until Monday morning totaling about an inch and three quarters by the time it passes. I'd prefer to wait and be safe rather than maybe cause a fire just because I'm not specifically prohibited from using my forge.

Pnut

 

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Preparation and planning in action, with a dash of threat assessment. If only everyone would practice these things we would not need so much parenting from our government and its officials, but alas the few always spoil things for the many. Then to keep us all safe uncompromising laws are enacted. While I bristle under what I deem sometimes excessive oversight, I also can not come up with a viable third option that would work for all. It is an imperfect system but it is our system, and I hope that it is truly acting in the collective best interest with the best of intentions. I find I am happiest when I am doing my own thing in my own very small corner of the universe, making as few waves as possible. 

As for the thread topic, this is my first attempt at a nail header. The hole is tapered to be wider at the bottom smaller at the top. It is miss aligned with the shank and while it works I think it would work better if it was not. The shank on the bottom fits in the pritchel hole of my anvil so I do not have to chase it around the anvil or hold it while I forge the head.  

Nail Header 1.JPG

Nail Header 2.JPG

Nail Header 5.JPG

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