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Justin Topp

Justin’s Smithing progression. [PIC heavy]

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It will be a while but a gas forge will be nice for hammers and the like. Still be using coal a lot but gas is also going to be an option 

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Practiced some Scarf welding today. And made a small swivel with a hook Out of wrought iron but it’s in the acid right now so no picture yet. Took some wrought iron horse shoes and forge welded into bars than I scarf welded the two bars together. Drew it out to 1/2” square for future projects like the swivel. not perfectly blended on the bar but it never split or anything so I’m confident it worked well enough 

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So I really liked making the swivels and was wondering if anyone has suggestions on other iron work like it that would’ve been used in say the colonial times or something. Old fashioned iron work is really interesting to me and I’m looking for new projects as I currently just end up forging tongs when I have nothing else to do 

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chain, hooks, hardware, nails, dog irons, andirons, hatchets, axes, tomahawks, brads, spikes, pontoons, spikatoons, pliers, screw drivers, peevie, ice tongs, hammers all varieties,  adz, hand cuffs,  locks,  top tools, bottom tools,  saw blades, files, welded rings,  non welded rings, hitching post rings, herb hooks (all varieties), utensils. etc, etc. 

If you really are interested in colonial type items the best thing you can do is get a few books on the subject.  Early Ameriacn Wrought iron by Sonn is a great hardware one.  One of the best. 

If your primarily interested in tools  light tools are called  "Toys" and heavy tools are called tools. 

the other thing that can be done is to make your work spotless or I should say.. Make your work finish quality.   this can open a whole new world because many think old iron was crudely finished..  Thats about as far away from the truth as it can be.   

People took extreme pride in their trade if they were good at it and produced works comparably to others in the same trade.   It's only today that we see things are being crudely fashioned and sold.  clean work is a sign of a true crafts person.   

Since your base line skill sets are pretty good then working towards perfecting it can be a very rewarding step. 

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Thanks Jen. I am interested primarily in this type of work myself. Definitely lots of great suggestions. I have plenty to work on when I get the forge back up and running. 

Pnut

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I consider all of this work as mediocre and could use refining.  But it's where I am at since coming out of retirement. 

these are items I have forged since then..   Oh, and the referrence to toys.. are "Toys and Heavy toys". 

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It looks great to me.  I found a copy of the Albert Sonn book but it's $86 so it will have to wait. I did download an ornamental ironwork PDF from bamsite just now and found a wholesale catalog for decorative ironwork that has a lot of good pictures. I think I'll be able to figure out the how a lot of the pieces were made and it might be better to learn that way or that's what I'm going to tell myself ;-) 

Pnut

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I've made videos on nearly all the processes involved with the items..  It's merely understanding the skill shown in the videos and then applying them appropriately. 

Again, finish and good forgings is the main difference between work.   At all levels.  

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I agree. I try to forge an item as close to finish quality as possible even though I fall far short most times. Your videos are my go-to resource for reference material for when I want to learn a new process or get a refresher on one I'm familiar with. 

Pnut

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That's awesome.. please keep in mind some items require finishing with files, chisels saws as well as a whole slew of other toys in order to come to completion. 

 

I end up sounding like a jerk I believe because most are just about doing it. Just do it and things will come. While I partially agree,  if there was more guidance,  with better understanding of standards it would raise most peoples skill set quickly in a very short period of time.

 

Problem I see time and time again is people want the info, but dont really want to do it.  

99% of the time, I will do something else myself.  Lol funny how that works. 

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1 hour ago, pnut said:

I found a copy of the Albert Sonn book but it's $86 so it will have to wait.

An uncle gave me a copy when I was in my teens, but I lost it in a move about thirty years ago. However, I found a copy in a used book store for $20 last year, so don't give up hope!

Another good source for inexpensive books is eBay. People sometimes ask outrageous prices, but you can find some real bargains if you keep your eyes open.

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The $86 price was on the first result. I'm going to check abebooks too. They usually have good prices because it's multiple vendors all on the same site selling new and used books. 

I love real books but money is tight so I've been downloading lots of PDFs but they're not the same as an actual book in my opinion. Nothing like being able to turn a real paper Page ;-)

Pnut

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Wow Justin your really pumping out the work. Everything looks great.  I’m back to work full time and it’s eating up all my forge time

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I have a few binders of PDFs I've downloaded and printed out, especially J.W. Lillico's "Elementary Forge Practice", the COSIRA books, and John Verhoeven's "Metallurgy for Bladesmiths and Others Who Heat-Treat and Forge Steel".

I also just realized that I should check the library at the college where I work to see if they have any of Verhoeven's works (even though the facility is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic), and lo and behold, I have unlimited access to an electronic copy of his "Steel Metallurgy for Non-Metalurgists"! Woo-hoo!

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ABE hasn't been as great as it used to be before Amazon bought them; now it seems like they tend to match the Am prices or even be a bit more.

I've had great luck at small  Mom & Pop used bookstores----we go booking on vacations. How I found my copy of Moxon's "Mechanicks Exercises"  which includes plans for a clockwork spit turner to be made in the smithy.

Do you have a time and place of interest? "The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi" has a lot of cooking gear from around 1570--Italy as he was cook to 5 Popes, (upscale!)

OTOH "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, 1889,1890,1891  has a lot of general shop stuff from that period in the USA.  I recall their instructions on making  swivels from wrought iron and advocating forge welding of punching holes for greater strength.

In general American "frontier" or Colonial work tends to be a bit simpler than often highly ornate European examples, (or perhaps the more ornate ones were more likely to be preserved in Europe...)

Most of us hobby blacksmiths don't finish to "white smithing" levels; some of which is do to the lack of cheap grunt labour in our shops!

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Beautiful work jlp! I’m not trying to make crude I’m still a beginner smith and I haven’t sold anything yet other than a cleaver that I wasn’t satisfied with but sold because the customer really wanted it still. Not that I plan to sell any more for a while because my work isn’t quite there yet. 
 

thank you everyone for all the great book suggestions. I have them written down and am going to be looking into getting them. The books I have now are the blacksmiths craft a primer of tools and methods by Charles McRaven. Blacksmiths manual illustrated by J. W. Lillico. And the everyday blacksmith by Nicholas Wicks 

thanks Jasent this lack of school work is great for me. I start online school April 1st though. 
 

thanks everyone I appreciate everything!

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Thanks..  Your skill sets are moving from beginner into a more advanced area.  Its the reason why I even mentioned refinement..   And again..  the only difference in any given level is the level of refinement.   Be it with hammer and anvil, or files or what have you.    Trouble shooting comes with knowledge but for many basic concepts come easy and after seeing your work progress seeing refinement as a next step can be useful. 

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Yup. Refinement is something I need to work on. Here is the Very small wrought iron Swivel hook I made yesterday. Far from perfect but it swivels and can hold some weight. More for fun though. I think it can hold around 25-50 lbs probably. 

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I hung 200 lbs off it and it didn’t complain. I thought maybe 50 lbs max but geez this little swivel hook is impressive 

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Well I suck at making hinges. Huge respect for the folks like JLP who can do this nicely. Here is my first attempt at a hinge 

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Well just let me say..............I hope I can "suck" that well some day! :D

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Haha. I’m happy with it for the most part but the pivot area was my biggest area of challenge and didn’t come out too perfectly 

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Good GRIEF Chris! Here I was primed to tell GD2 how nice his hinge looked and you drop a straight line I'm restraining myself through supreme efforts to not get myself moderated for picking up! You're a cruel man Chris. C R U E L!

Oh NO not another straight line! Tell me GD2 how DO you define "too perfectly?"

Where is the sucky hinge? I don't see a sucky hinge, I see a pretty nicely made one. Mine weren't generally that nice last time I made hinges.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Haha thanks Frosty. Let me pick apart my horrid hinge haha. The pivot doesn’t line up perfectly. Rivet isn’t perfectly peened and even. The little scroll things are not perfectly symmetrical. But. It functions so it’s not as bad as it could be 

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I love it. 

Hinges are tough..  You keep pushing the boundaries of your skill set.. That will offer huge rewards..  Well done..  

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