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What did you do in the shop today?

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My Mother's Great Uncle lived in a Soddie in Oklahoma back in the day.  Think of it as a semi underground plant reinforced adobe structure.

Also check around; the 20'x30' extension on my shop is built from propanel that was replaced after the catastrophic hail storm out here in 2004.  (Yes it's 4 shades of blue; but it was *free*!)

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Mocked up an air curtain for the gasser from a secondhand blower, some cardboard, a piece of election sign wire, and duct tape. 


It seems to work pretty well on a quick test, but we'll see how it does on a longer forging session.

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Still needs a lot of polishing, but it's what I've been doing in my shop lately.  Brass made from scratch and blade made from old farming equipment someone buried 50 years ago at my mother's house. My first forged knife. Second one using deer antler. I was 15 when I made the first one. So it's been a while.


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natkova, so far that hairdryer has been blowing away steadily for almost a year now, I'm not sure exactly how long to be perfectly honest.. It lives outside (I do cover it up when it rains/overnight). I just have to brush out the air intake every once in a while since it likes to suck up dust and scale and flux and whatever else makes it's way near it. I have to say I'm pretty impressed. Of course I say that and it'll die tomorrow haha, but still. 

JHCC, have to love duct tape. Also.... Air curtain.... Smart. Thanks for sharing!

Hondo, looks good! Keep at it! I've never used antler, but it seems like a somewhat difficult material compared to wood. Also, out of curiosity, when you say you made the brass from scratch what do you mean by that?   

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Hondo; have you tried draw filing your blade(s)?  It can help smooth them down nicely.

When I make bronze from scratch I melt copper and add tin, stir with a charcoal rod and pour. (I usually try for a 90:10 ratio; a good historically used one!)

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You're coming along nicely Frazer, keep it up.

Blow driers are one of the few appliances that last a pretty long time. I don't know about running one for hours at a time but it's probably okay. One of the secrets is the motor is directly in the blower's air intake stream so it gets a lot of cooling. Overheating is the bane of electric motors. What I think is most likely to get yours is scale shorting something or dust maybe grinding something down. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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22 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Hondo; have you tried draw filing your blade(s)?  It can help smooth them down nicely.

When I make bronze from scratch I melt copper and add tin, stir with a charcoal rod and pour. (I usually try for a 90:10 ratio; a good historically used one!)

Never heard of draw filing. What is it and how do I do it? I was going to pour a bronze bowl when I made the bronze. My crucibal melted though and I only got one flat piece. It became the hilt.

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There are detailed instructions on the web, on videos and in old shop manuals; but it's basically: mounting the blade securely---I often put a 1"x4" in the vise and then c clamp the blade to the thin edge so I can press down on the file and not have the blade bending away. Then holding both the tang end of the file and the other end of the file and with the file's axis 90 deg to the length of the blade draw the file down the blade towards the point.  The motion is 90 deg to regular filing strokes.  Keep the file clean to prevent pinning and gouging and it will make smooth planear surfaces.

I picked an old shop class manual for a $1 once just to have clear descriptions of various methods and things like speed (RPM) charts for drilling steel.


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15 hours ago, Frosty said:

Overheating is the bane of electric motors.

Agreed. That's why I disabled the heating element and make sure the air intake is clear, but eventually it'll give itself up to the tough living conditions. It runs about four hours straight Monday-Friday and I have had it running during the weekend for 8+ hours at a time so it's definitely a viable option as an entry level air source, as long as you keep it away from the heat. Just don't expect to hand it down to your children or anything.

I've definitely gotten my ~$20 back out of it at this point. I'd like to get a proper blower with a VFD so I have better control over the air flow. I used some ball valves with my last forge, but with this one I don't have as much control. I don't really mind at this point, i just end up burning through a lot more fuel than I used to. It's just something I'll add over time. I like being able to fine tune the temperature according to what I'm working on at any given moment.

I made myself another forge shovel today. It's longer and wider than my other one to keep my hand further from the coals and to scoop/push more at a time. I also forged a little hook and welded it to the bottom of the table frame (not really worth showing), so my two coal shovels have a convenient place to hang.



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I got a bit further.

Before a week or so I brought my JABOD frame out on the land and filled it with mud. I decided to try it with our clay-ground only, didnt mix anything to it. 
I expected it to crack when drying, wanted to try that out still and just fill those cracks again with some more  (or not...)


Now this weekend i was able to get out again and finally have a first try.


So I had the PC-Fan connected as can be seen above.   I saw already in the dry trial that the air was not coming out of the tuyere as I hoped. The fan by itself seems actually pretty powerful but you could feel the Air-Jam, while there was coming air out of the tuyere, if you put your hand at the suction side of the fan, you would actually feel that some air is pushed back..  I had added a bit of rubber-hose on the suction side then as well, was hoping somehow, that would force the airflow more into the direction where it belongs, which i think it did a little bit.   Anyhow, it was not sufficient. I wasted at least an hour, hoping that the fire would come higher. It looked pretty hot in the trench and I got even the leaf-spring into some kind of red but that took a long time and lasted but a few seconds when i had taken it out. 



As I somehow had feared that the 15W Ventilator, at least in the current layout would not be sufficient  (want to try to build a better "channel" with a more smooth transition into the tuyere), I had bought a backup AC blower (which i might use for some other purposes anyway). So had to turn on the Diesel-Genset, to run the AC-blower...

Now that was a difference!



It is a 600 W blower and was much too powerful. from its 10 settings I had to always switch between step 1 and 2.. On step 1 there was almost no airblow, on step 2 already pretty heavy, would probably need nothing higher.

The rebar i used for poking was too long, so I decided to make a quick poker. guess that was my first "project". Had bended the bar over and figured that thats not the best way, it made the tip pretty thin. In hind-sight, makes sense.  anyhow. for poking charcoal it will work. 


Then I wanted to heat something heavier and put again my leaf-spring in. Decided i would make some kind of digging-hoe. Have drawn out the top, bended over. 



Time was pretty much over, had to make a last run with the weed-walker  (rainy season is starting and we have to get the grass under control). 

Will continue next time.. want to cut it some 20 cm after the bend and figure something out for connecting it to a handle-shaft.

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