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What did you do in the shop today?

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On 11/11/2019 at 10:38 AM, Anachronist58 said:

Wow. That is a lot of flywheel.

Do you know the tonnage on those presses? My 5 ton has a 26" diameter wheel - never tried to lift it - time to wheel it under the steelyard and see what it weighs.


I asked the shop foreman, the architect of this project what the fly press tonnage was and he wasn't sure, thought it 'might be an 8?'  and thought the flywheel might be part of the calculation of the tonnage.  Fly presses are not that common on the Left Coast of the USA.  Here's the wheel laid out next to its press, still needs to be welded up, and should be about 200 lbs when its done should have measured it across but I think its a little over 2 feet in diameter.  Flypress still needs a sturdy stand built for it.  The tapered octagonal hole was punched and drifted to fit the tapered stub on the top of the press screw.


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Today I had a rare opportunity today to visit Patterson's Space Mill (Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland), and actually get to use their water driven hammers and workshop.
Normally it is open for public viewing with spade making demonstrations and tours, however today, a small group of us were allowed to work on some pattern welded billets

It is the last working, water-driven spade mill in daily use in the british isles.


It was a strange and wonderful thing to see the water being turned on, and these huge wheels and belts springing to life... no such thing as a safety guard when this place was constructed!

The river/sluice gate above the mill:




Some of the belts viewed from behind/to the rearside



Small water driven hammer (we were mostly using this one today as it had flat dies for setting the welds)



The main trip hammer used for spade making

You can see a block of wood holding it open... this is the only control other than adjusting the water flow to increase the speed... someone needs to stand to the side and quickly set the block back in place between blows when finished working it.



Here's a very short clip of it running and being 'turned off' 


It was my first time using a power hammer today, and an increadible experience to be able to do so in such a setting! 

Quite dark inside, so unfortunately the pictures aren't great

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frosty, to be honest ive never been to a junkyard, i assume there are ones that only really have old cars like pull a part type places then you have your general steel scrappers.... i did notice a ma and pa kinda dingey lookin auto place only a couple blocks from me who had a few visible drums with various scrap, might go check n see if they have any spring steel at scrap price. 

tried my hand at my first hammer today, starting weight was 2.2 pounds, im gonna try to fix the wonkiness the eye has today.... that should be fun



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JAV, I am always astonished by the old buildings in your country. It is on my bucket list to visit one day. I would set that block anytime someone needed it, but I would be holding it with a pair of tongs. No, I’m not scared, I just have 5 reasons to put something between me and a heavy piece of metal. 

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Did a few things that were either finishing up jobs or prepping for other jobs. The “big” project was this little pair of side tongs, shown here with a piece of 1/4” x 1-1/2” x 8”, the same as their starting stock. 


These were inspired by a pair I saw Aislinn Lewis using to great effect at Quad-State. All of the drawing-out of the reins and a lot of the other shaping was done in The Pressciouss. 

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diggin those tongs!

found out i had a pretty decent size piece of wrought in the mystery steel bucket today as i was trying to work an abrupt bend from it. 
got a nice length flattened and an old heller file de-toothed for a lamination session tomorrow morning (if all goes well)
other then the initial break i haven't had any trouble with it.   just nervous about how the wroughts gonna behave with the high carbon. only one way to find out




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14 hours ago, Les L said:

No, I’m not scared, I just have 5 reasons to put something between me and a heavy piece of metal. 

Even worse than the trip hammer block, they used to have children climbing around the wheels to pour water on the belts to keep them moist during use... all that water power and they couldn't figure out a simple drip/spray mechanism. 

I suppose children were cheaper than engineers 

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Seems like you could mitigate a lot of the dangers when replacing the block by mounting it with a short handle like a wood mallet. It would give some stand off distance for your hands in relation to the business end of the hammer, and yes back then children were cheaper than engineers and depending on who was the owner they may also have thought children cheaper to replace than the belts. It was a different time for sure.


5 hours ago, CheechWizard said:

.   just nervous about how the wroughts gonna behave with the high carbon. only one way to find out

A lot will depend on how that particular wrought iron behaves. There's cold short and hot short wi. I didn't know that till recently. I thought you worked it all at near burning temps for mild but nope.


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14 hours ago, JHCC said:

The “big” project was this little pair of side tongs

I made a set like that a while back ago. Very handy things to have. I made mine a little smaller and they work great for picking up small stuff like rivets out of the coal.  Also easier to get into the header and piece you are riveting. 

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Nothing even close to photo worthy but I fired up my forge for the first time in 6 months this weekend, a combination of an insane work schedule and injury has kept it cold for too long. 

I thought I would share the fun and games lighting it. I built my pile of kindling, lit it and packed the coke round it, slowly opened the air and after 10 minutes of messing around it went out. 

Start again, new pile of kindling, lit it and packed the coke around it, started adjusting the air and after 5 minutes it was close to going out. I couldn't understand it until I realised I was opening the lever for the Ash dump rather that the air intake. Once I stopped the air venting away and got it to the fire it was away with the fairies. 

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Good work on the tongs and knife JHCC. I have yet to make a usable set of tongs...

Anyway, today's work. I've been sick and our first wave of real winter hit the early part of the week, so I haven't been able to get out to the forge till today. First pennanular brooch I've ever made. It was a crusty old half horseshoe. Didn't come out quite like I planned. I think I may refinish it. But it sort of looks like it's been around awhile, which is what I wanted. But I'm glad I got it done and will do more. Have a great day everyone. 


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Dax, an exhaust flap cap with a weighted handle works great for an auto closing ash dump. Making one from scrap isnt too bad either if you have a welder. Doubt you'll forget again after that one tho. :rolleyes:

Nice pennanular CGL. Excellent for a first go. 

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