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What did you do in the shop today?

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DSW, your way of working at the anvil is buttery smooth and very clean results. I enjoyed the video and real good wrench/ opener. 

JHCC, good work with air curtain. It looks to work very well. 

GFH, the curves on your hook are graceful. Nice work. I just made a couple of those myself. 

tom_ET, looks like your having fun. Keep it up!

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Another really, really good one is to degrease your files and your work..  Never touch your work surface with your fingers.. Each time you do, you deposit oils and the file will not like it as much. 

So, I will use chalk to fill in the valleys and then if I am doing heavy filing keep a can of acetone or other agent to degrease/de oil the item. 

It really does make a difference. 

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Got a few hours forging  in today for the first time in a week or two, which was nice. Made a leaf-shaped buckle for a collaboration with a guy in town who does very sophisticated macrame belts.


Also finished the forging on the handle for a pan and now have to fit it on. 

The big exciting thing that happened was that one of the springs on my treadle hammer broke. It made a very big BANG and the head didn't return to vertical, but no drama otherwise. On further examination, I discovered that the ring at one end of one of the garage door springs had snapped off, so I spent a little time forging an end clip to screw into the threads.

In other news, the air curtain worked very well with one little problem. It's right under the door to the forge, and I suspect that it's blowing into the forge and cooling it off a bit. Indeed, when the doors were all closed up, it was blowing into the gap between the doors and the forge, and there was actually a bit of flame blowing out around the edges of the burner. I think moving it out a couple of inches should help.

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JHCC,  consider making your air curtain nozzle out of something other than cardboard and duct tape - like sheet metal.  I am no safety naz but that cardboard inches from all that heat and hot iron is not going to last and could be disastrous.

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Yes, this is just a test model. Once I have the final design, I will make a new nozzle in sheet metal. Meanwhile, I’m keeping a fire extinguisher close at hand. 

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I made a spoon today. And roughed out another knife.  The knife was a section of 3/4 grounding rod. The spoon was a bolt. Thought I had a steel bolt I was going to use as a rivet, but it wasn't steel. I know if you burn brass it turn the coal yellow and makes whit smoke, what makes green flame and white smoke? Cause it burned up quick leaving no trace.


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13 hours ago, HondoWalker said:

green flame

Green flame usually indicates copper. White smoke and yellow coals makes me think zinc oxide.... careful with that stuff. 

Brass=copper+zinc so that makes sense to me.

Welshj, I like the profile on that blade, nice and clean.

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Busy weekend.  Had to put in a new coil in my heat treat oven after I tapped a hot (in both senses of the word) coil with the tip of a dirk I was putting in to heat treat.  Some day I'm going to have to rig up a door switch...  Dirk with a 14" blade of 52100 from an old tank turret bearing that I've been hanging onto for a while was just barely long enough to fit into my homebuilt, repurposed, heat treat oven, and it slipped just a bit in the tongs.

Then yesterday I decided to enjoy the new crazy heat my forge is getting up to and forged out a viking style axe.  First time forging an axe in my home residential pressure natural gas forge and struggled a little with the door opening size, but had no trouble hitting forge welding temperatures.  Worked it a little too long and scaled away more of the eye than I wanted to, but that is one of the problems with gas forges that heat the whole billet rather than the focused heat of a coal forge.  Still I'm pretty happy with the shape.  5 1/2" bit, rough forged only (drop of flux on top edge, not a delam), mild steel body, 1084 bit, "butterfly" style construction:


11 hours ago, Welshj said:

Got my first real forged blade rough ground to profile

Agreed, very nice shape for the blade.  Look forward to seeing this one completed.

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Zinc also burns off with a bluish flame. You really should NOT put anything galvanized or otherwise plated in your forge.  It turns out that here in America the money you save by using scrap may get eaten up by spending thousands of dollars at the ER and Hospital!

I once taught a new smith the basics at Pennsic one year which includes the NO PLATED MATERIALS talk. Next Pennsic he stopped by the forge and told me I was right.  He had ended up spending a week in the hospital with metal fume fever; no health insurance. Bankruptcy at age 18.

Over the weekend I went to the scrapyard Saturday morning for about 2.5 hours and brought home two more motors: 3/4 hp and 1/4 hp; some brass barb hose fittings and lots of hose clamps, some 3/4" plate, cold chisel, Utility Pole fittings from the local electrical CoOp, (as 1/2 of my shop is a pole barn made from utility poles I like having the big eyebolts and other fittings to hand.) I also got around 12' of nice 1/4"x 1/2" strap to make trivets out of and some 1/2" black pipe to make chilies from. Finally a smallish heavy duty plastic feed bucket to haul the stuff out in and a outlet strip in good shape.  Scales were broken so he gave me an eyeball price of US$25.  Trash to the transfer station next door, then lunch back at home.

After lunch I started hooking up the two T burners a friend had give me from the first set he had made. As usual the piece parts pre-bought didn't work and I had to go to the hardware store where they told me all returns had a 30 day hold on them.  Brass fittings were $$$$$ too. I got what I needed and was able to convert my old regulator-hose-T- to support the 2 new burners.  I had picked up a propane connection hose for a gas heater new in box at a garage sale and so was able to cut the hose pieces I needed from it.  Storm was blowing up so I quickly did a proof of concept on it: Massive dragon's breath and some fluttering but FLAME!

Sunday had the giver of the burners show up as I had told him I was going to try tuning them.  As they were the first ones they had ever built he was interested in any issues they may have.  First was they had tapped the T too deep so the tip holder only was secure when it was all the way in putting the tip way too close to the burner tube.  So I started trimming the tip, hacksaw then files. Luckily I had a long set of tip cleaners that I could take the burr off pushing from the inside.  Dramatic improvement; but one burner still had a flutter.  Did several cycles and then since my friend was here we decided to see how well they worked and do some forging.  WOW THAT WAS A HOT FORGE, kept having to turn the regulator down till almost nothing.  I did another set of 4  copper flower petals, he did a couple of sucker rod end hard tool stems.

After he left I went back to working on my lug wrench tongs Using the large hacksaw I sawed 1/2 the cups off and flattened and curved them.  I also got the first side rivet hole area flattened and used the screwpress and flatter to make it flat and even and punched the hole for the rivet.  I decided to make the reins rectangular and so did a few heats on the first one with a 3# hammer and then cleaned up on the screw press.  I had to go unload the car for my wife and then had supper and a movie---you ever notice that all historical movies end up using modern chain in them?


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Whoops, accidentally posted this in 'It followed me home today'.  Not exactly stuff I did today, but rather things that've been done since I last posted:

1) Got tired of futzing with the JABOD and dropped in the brake drum bottom-blast I had messed with before.  Finally had something that worked well enough for what I needed (will be dumping all this and moving to a metal construction for the mobility and time savings- it's not a knock on the JABOD concept, I just have too many other competing factors that make it impractical for me at the moment).  Tried out some corn, was fun to mess with, but certainly burns up quick.  Switched back to coal and finally managed to get my first successful forge weld by myself.


2) Messed around with completing the welded fire poker.  Made an attempt at putting a wooden (Black Walnut) handle on it.  Everything looks like a dog's breakfast, but I had expected it to for the first go round.   Over-expanded one rivet resulting in a crack, couldn't shape the handles without taking off the blackened finish.  I suppose I should do more research on the process of installing scales and get my order of operations straightened out.  While there are a lot of things that could be improved upon, I'm satisfied by the amount of stuff learned (the hard way) in doing it.  Gave it to my neighbor to keep in his RV when he goes camping.


3) Took a scrap protective cage that came off some HVAC equipment at work, cut off the corners and welded together some brazier style firepits out of them.  One using a piece of heavy pipe and a propane tank cutoff, and the other some rebar legs the feet flattened out.  Makes for a nice ambiance, but doesn't contain the ashes worth a darn.  Gave the tripod one to another neighbor, should probably look at selling off the other one.

Had fired up the gas forge to blacken some hooks and hardware, and found a short piece of angle iron.  Decided to go ahead and try my hand at making a feather hook.  The white balance is way off in the pictures, but I'm reasonably satisfied with the resulting hook (definitely figured out a bunch of things to do differently the next time).


4) Not really shop related, but finally got to start teaching my daughter (will be 6 in a couple weeks) about gun safety.  A daisy BB gun was her introduction to the fundamentals, and she at least got to walk away feeling some success.  And yes, the backstop (carpet) is adequate for the task.



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I suppose it is time I finally invested in some cold blue solution. 

Phrase of the day was "Booger hook off the bang switch!".  Trigger discipline will require work, but she definitely got the hang of engaging the safety before going forward of the firing line. 



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HP; covering the area around the handle with masking tape can also help protect it from overstrikes when working near it..

That phrase sounds like something Foul Ole Ron would be muttering in a Discworld story.

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Uncoiled about 20' of garage door spring to use for................oh well, just to use, I guess.  First time I'd done it and just wanted to see what it was like. 

Welded a rod onto the butt end of a hammer head I'm trying to lengthen.  Didn't have any tool to hold it, so went with welding a "handle" onto it. :lol:  The weld only lasted about 10 heats, but from what I understand that's about par for the course.  Will try and do some more work on it in the morning. 

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Rebuilt the forge face. The last tuyere had melted so far back into the wall it was hard to heat long stock. Put in a new buggy axle hub so the tuyere is now flush with the firewall. Also added a sliding rod that makes it easier to rest steel into the hot spot. Better than balancing it on hammer handles as I usually do. Looks a bit untidy but I think it will work well.


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