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What did you do in the shop today?

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Still praying for you also Thomas. 

I got my other shepherds hook made. This one is smaller as it's for my grandchildren's gravesite. Since its shorter, I haven't decided if I'll bend and forge weld the ground hook or weld on another piece to keep it the same length. I don't really want to draw it and thin the cross section anymore than it is. I don't think it would be stable enough to stay in the ground. Any suggestions are welcome. The bigger one on the right got painted with Rustoleom Hammered paint and primer. I think I like it. The S hook is a 6" spike nail. I picked up a handful while I was at Home Depot. 18 cents (US) apiece. Thought they'd make good warm up projects. Thanks for looking and y'all have a good day


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I mostly failed in the shop today. First up tried to make tongs today. I got the hole punched in it and that's where it broke. So I made half a tong today and I still have the good part of the first try. Going to attempt to join them. 

A knife I was working on kept getting too hot and melting. Got a 2 inch piece of tang melted off. Found it in the clinkers. Despite getting hot and being mashed together the hole that was in the metal decades before I found it refused to weld together so it stretched out about four inches long. I remade the tang and beat it into a blade. Kind of shoddy looking but it quenched well and got hard. It'll be handle making and polishing this week. My workshop is in my attic and it gets unbelievably hot up there. Have to take my time up there. I'll post the knife it when it's finished.

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I started the day doing everything except working at the forge.  But come about 5:30 I found that I had about 3 hours to try to beat some hot steel into submission.

Having no plan, or idea what I was going to make, I decided to just use up what little fuel that was left in the forge from yesterday.  With no intention of making anything, and just wanting to heat some metal and allow it to become what it wants to be, I grabbed a 6 foot stick of 3/4" rebar.  Now 6 feet being too long, I put it in the forge and heated an area about 18" from the end and cut it off there. (wish I'd added about 4" to that, but hindsight....) As the piece I'd cut off was heating, I was trying to think of something to make.  While it's heating, let me tell you why I chose rebar, instead of a "known" steel;  That reason is because I have a limited supply of good material, and a whole lot of rebar. So rather than waste my good steel on something that's likely to end up on the "wall of shame" I chose to use the rebar.  Anyway, I started by heating about 2" of the end, and flattening it.

As I was flattening it, I started drawing it back into it's self thus creating a wide spot at the "handle" with a narrow, but thicker spot toward the end. I decided that I wanted the wide spot to get wider, and the narrow end to get thinner. I narrowed my fire so that I could heat the wide spot, and then upset to make the wide spot wider, then I heated the whole thing to move metal from the fat narrow end to the wide spot. It worked ok, but in hindsight, I should have upset prior to drawing. But as I said before, I have no idea what I'm doing, or what is going to come of it.  Just "winging it"', "playing by ear".  Moving metal for the sake of moving metal, nothing more.  It started taking the basic shape of an African spear point.  At this stage, it was thick enough to draw out the edges, and have a nice spear point. But It decided that it wanted to become a leaf of some sort.  So I thinned it out some more, and narrowed the "handle" some to make a sort of stem, then set about the task of adding the veining. By this time fuel in the forge is getting low, and is pretty much all coked, so I can keep going with no smoke. After veins, I decided it needs some curvature, for a natural (ish) look. so I set about the task of compound curve.  While doing that it said: "I wanna be a bottle opener".  So, The point of the leaf got rolled under to catch the lid, and then the body of the leaf got rolled up to give a fulcrum.  

It was about 3 hours for this beginner to forge a leaf bottle opener.  And time well spent. I learned that this particular chunk of rebar likes to be hot, very hot, to be worked.  The instant it goes red, get it back in the forge. It really likes bright orange to work cleanly.  It quits moving at red. And working thin metal at that heat one must be ready with the hammer. About 3-5 licks is all you get, so make them count.

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The only thing I did in the shop today (other that passing through on my way to and from walking the dogs) was notice that I'd made up two 2x90 belts for the grinder at 2x100. Oh, well. Easier to shorten than to lengthen!

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CGL, you have now added not only a skill set but a new "Stock list" item..  Nice work. 

Bluerooster:  Personally I have a very hard time just going out to the forge and seeing what happens..  I usually have to see it in my minds eye before I can forge something.   

For those occasions I just want to have hammer time, I will usually pick forge welding..   I have a bucket full of short ends from demos, hinge pintle making, hinge barrels, tapers. etc, etc. 

So What I do is take 2 of these little pieces most are in the 2" to about 3" and will start by drop tong with tongs in both hands,  2 or 3 times till they have some length..  If I have a larger cross section I want to use.(1/2"sq I will upset one end to 3/4+) I will upset the weld and weld area for the next weld to include this larger cross section.. ( I might make the whole new bar 3/4"Sq).
Sometimes I will choose a size bar I want even if the starting size is slightly smaller..   LIke 5/8 sq out of 1/2" ends.. 

Anyhow the idea is to practice forge welds, test the forge welds by upsetting them, make a neat looking bar and make these smaller throw away items into something while building a skill set. 

I have a bunch of really rusty wrought iron too and will do the same thing but will keep them wrought iron only or will make a billet for a knife build in some future date. 

As for upsetting the rebar after thinning it..   It's a wonderful skill set to work on so like the fact you did it. 

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Thank you Jennifer. They are pretty simple. The hardest thing was squaring nearly 3' lengths of 1/2" round. That just takes me a minute. I guess they could be a marketable item. Even easier if I get hold of some square stock. Even for a cold bent store bought one in simple form, they are expensive.

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Fixed the drawer front on one of the "less than good" kitchen cabinets---they came with the house; particle board, UGH!  We were going to remodel the kitchen when I was still getting a crossing the border bonus; but that was last job...Anyway used my metal shears to trim mending plates and bent them into a 90deg.  Eggbeater drill into the drawer front and side sides and 16 screws.  Rather an "industrial" looking fix; but should hold a long time!

For forge welding practice when I'm not doing billets; I like a 3 legged camp cooking "spiders": Take 3 lengths of the size you want, I like 3/8" sq for regular pots. Weld two ends together || for ab out 3" for the first foot, bend them out and weld the third length to one end || similarly. Bend it to allow welding the last two free ends together similarly.  Bend the last foot. Then heat and justify all the bends.  I like to flatten and curl a bit of feet on the ends that will rest on the ground in the fire.  I also have various rounds I can use to level the spider.  Smaller ones fit in my screwpress making it easy to hold the top planar against a round and bend the legs evenly around it.

Hmmm; all mine have been given away as prizes for a down hearth cooking contest.  I'll have to make one to show off.  Simple to do and the forge welds impress smiths who don't weld...

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 Nice :) I made another one also. Warm up exercise. And a bottle opener as a thank you for a man that Tommie worked for last week. He runs a machine shop and was nice enough to let him bring me home a big bunch of scrap. Made from a half horseshoe that was going to be a spoon. I let the scale get away from me a bit :angry: Started work on a couple of other things, but nothing noteworthy. 


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450: What I like about Viking tongs and heck any tongs made with the halves flattened that way is how much more rigid it makes them for a given size stock. It makes up nicely for the lack of springiness of mild steel.

Well done. If you  know a potato farmer or a scrap yard near one see if you can pick up some potato chain links, they're medium carbon steel and make excellent tongs.


1 hour ago, tjdaggett said:

"Would it be easier if you did ______ instead?" 

Uh HUH. Do you have, "Yes mistress," down yet? :rolleyes:

Frosty The Lucky.

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