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What did you do in the shop today?


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If you are burning up the steel, then it is too hot.

Different steels like to move at different temperatures and some more easier than others. You can tap tap tap all day long and not move metal.  Before you hit the steel with the hammer, decide which direction you want the steel to move and how far you want it to move.  See how hard, WITH control, you can hit the metal. Keep the hammer under control so it will do what you want it to do. 

Think like a working blacksmith that needs to make a product in order to eat, not a hobby smith that has the rest of today to play in the fire. Take a deliberate swing and forceful hammer blow to make the steel move. Repeat as needed one swing at a time. 

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I try to have two projects in the gasser when I work.  One is the project I'm concentrating on and the other is a "pay for the gas" project---something simple that I add to the sales pile that won't have a problem if it gets ignored for a moment when I'm working on the main project.

Hopefully things will open up and I can sell some stuff before I have to refill the 100 pound tank. 

Hondo take care of yourself!  BTW: What steel were you using for your tong attempts?

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Glenn, I agree. I was doing a scarf, "drop the tongs" weld and probably ended up taking one (or maybe two...) more welding heats than I needed when finalizing the weld, so the thinner section up by the leaf had scaled away and became to thin. It actually broke off while I was wire brushing after everything was said and done. You can see in one of the pictures there is a leaf without a stem sitting on the ground.

You're right about hammer control being very important in moving material efficiently and avoiding the need to take those extra heats that led to the break. It's something I've gotten much better at over time, but I'm sure it will be a while before I can move steel like some. 

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I know Don was addressing me when he was talking about burning up fuel.  Don't know if Glenn was referring to me when he addressed burning up steel.

When I say "I'm just burning up fuel or burning up steel", I'm basically saying I'm getting no-where...........spinning my wheels..........don't feel as if I'm accomplishing what I'm intending to when I fired up my forge and started hammering.   Same thing as burning up time.  Guess I'm going to have to quit buying supplies and equipment and invest some money in some instructions somewhere.  

Don, I"m using a forced air ribbon burner, not naturally aspirated...............but don't have any idea if that changes the fuel usage because I've never had any other forge.  I know I've got the propane choked way down.  What I've got a lot of is air volume. 

 

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Maybe using too much air making the forge too hot for what you are heating. When I back off on the propane, I have to choke off some of the air and I can leave stock in the forge without burning it up. Now my coal forge is a different animal, especially having more than one iron in the fire.

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If I back up on the air, the steel will be too cool to move..............or at least that's what my ignorance level tells me.  I probably just need to find someone locally to take lessons from. 

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Frazer Leave the stem thick while you make the leaf. Once the leaf is to your liking, then thin out the stem.  Work the stem from the leaf toward the parent stock.  The thicker parent stock will hold more heat and allow you to work the stem for a longer time. 

A water bottle with a small hole in the end or a condiment bottle of water will allow you to cool specific areas of the project (think thin areas) while you continue to work on the rest.  

Chris  If you are burning up the steel, then it is too hot.  That is burning the carbon out of the steel turning it to look like popcorn, repeatedly forming scale, or messing with the structure of the steel by repeated heatings.

Before you fire up the forge, figure out what you are going to do, and how your going to do it.  While the metal is getting hot, do the dance and practice taking the metal to the anvil, know where the hammer is located, and know where the anvil is located.  As the metal is approaching working temperature, think about where your going it hit the metal, and how hard to kit the metal to move it where you want it to go.  Do not answer the phone, get a drink of coffee, eat a sandwich, etc between getting the metal out of the fire and to the anvil. 

As Thomas has said, have two projects in the fire most of the time. One is working on the anvil, the other is ready to be exchanged and go to the anvil.  Gas forges only get the metal up to a certain heat and then hold it at that heat. This means you can put two or three pieces of metal in the same fire, and one will always be ready.  If you then take a break or think about what to do with the hammer, you not using time and fuel at the most efficient level.

If you want classes, then take them. You can learn much more than the course material. 

If you want to learn until the class starts, then go to the forge with an idea. Get out the modeling clay and practice the project. Put the clay at the cold forge and practice taking it to the anvil, hammering it out, back to the forge to reheat, back to the anvil, etc. Practice the dance until you have learned how many steps it is from the forge to the anvil, where to put your feet, where the hammer is located etc.  Use two pieces of clay so you work as efficiently as possible.  When you have the plan and the dance, you can hear the music, so light the forge.

On a wooden stump, or place a piece of wood on top of the anvil and practice hammer blows.  For a full power stroke I touch my fingernails to the top of my ear, then bring the hammer down with the intent of burying the hammer 2 inches below the surface of the anvil.  Yes, that much of a swing, and yes, that much impact on the metal (wood).  The hammer swing should use the shoulder first, then the arm, and then whip the wrist to add acceleration to the hammer head. ALL this should be in the same plane based on the location of the shoulder.  The hammer should naturally pass to the outside of the pants pocket.  Move your body position so the hammer, in this plane, hits the sweet spot on the anvil. For me it is a step1/2 or more to the off side.  

If you need less power only raise the hammer to the top of the shoulder, the arm pit, etc until you get the power you need for each hammer blow.  You MUST have hammer control to put the face of the hammer where you want it, or the power is of little use.  It takes practice, and each hammer blow IS practice.  Just be sure of the location of the target before you pull the trigger on the hammer.

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There are a couple guys in town who give lessons. One is just down the street from the Everything Welding & Safety shop. I have considered giving him some of my 2nd stimulus money for a couple lessons. 

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Alexandr, those really pretty up the whole area! Really cool. And it will only get better with time!

Finished up the tongs for holding my hardie tools. I now I have a pair for every square piece of material I commonly use at the moment.

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 IMG_2020-07-08_20-53-55.thumb.jpeg.c455cff6206bc445b495d2ee5fb1bf92.jpeg

 

Finished the sand for the tree, turned out okay. A bit more wonky than I would have liked, but I had trouble getting the heat where I needed to to straighten some of the areas out. Poor planning on my part.

IMG_2020-07-08_21-17-02.thumb.jpeg.443ce6e7555869fb51bd045d8a391bbd.jpeg

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Had 2 of the 3 teeth out; Dentist wouldn't do the third in the same session so I get twice as long to have extraction pain; grrr.  For pain: Ibuprofen 600mg---prescription which he said I only needed to get filled if I wanted it.  As there was noting to grab a hold of above the gum line he had to be a bit brutal below the gum line and yes I needed it!   But just took the same dose of the OTC stuff.  The Antibiotic I had filled.   Soft diet is really making blood glucose control more difficult. Took Thursday off work; but back today.

Only supposed to get to 105 degF (40.55 degC) today.  I expect I will be taking it easy in the house the next couple of days...running out of light reading books and not in shape for research reading.  Perhaps I can go to the library at lunchtime.

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Ouch.. That is a mouth full or hurt.. Speedy recovery for sure. 

Frazer, love the tongs and just a suggestion for next time..  Put the thick part going the other way..  Ideally a square section or trapezodial will offer you the best strength ratio. 

I use the flat type for small tongs but once I get into larger sizes of stock the flat cross section usually takes a lot of beating and they need constant adjustment. 

It's really nice having good, well fitting tongs. 

 

 

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Today I developed a new ladder pattern design for a damascus sword that I am making for Bladeshow (if it happens). I also set up some of our new Lincoln Electric gear. Plasma and Tig welder. I worked on resurfacing me new German patterned anvil as well. I am doing that by hand with a heavy bar with sand paper on the bottom so it's taking a few days of hand scraping it here and there in between other jobs.

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Nothing much to report. Just been forging a few of these little lizards from old bolts. The one on the right is wrought - had to careful drawing the tail. School holidays here at present so we have been doing demos everyday. The kids like seeing these emerge from the forge.

DSC_2350.JPG

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3 hours ago, ausfire said:

The one on the right is wrought

These look great Ausfire B).  I have a few bits of old wrought iron that I removed from some old boat timbers.  Just had a play about with one small bit and managed to make a wee viking hammer but lost a an inch or two due to it ‘fraying’ when I was drawing it out. Going to make door handles with the other bits but I reckon I have to work it very hot. Any other tips?

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The storm blew down four fence panels. No fun for me today. Gotta get them back up. If not, one of the neighbor kids will find the pool and drown. It is a rough neighborhood for toddlers. 3 killed if 4 years. One drowned a block down the road last week. Last year a woman ran over a 3 year old on her tricycle. The 1st was before we moved into the neighborhood, so I am unsure what happened their. 
 

With the drowning last week, the owner was certain a 3 year old would not be able to figure out the latch. He was wrong. 

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Yup, gotta get that fencing back up asap.  Protect those kiddos.

Storm got us also, Don.  Had a 12" diameter, 25' long limb blow down and almost hit our covered back porch.  Had to cut it up this morning.  "Was" planning on lighting the forge today, but danged it's hot and humid.  I'm wringing wet and I took a shower right after cutting up the limb.  All I've done is planed a 10' plank of wood and cut a 12" chunk off it for one of my students.  Too hot for man or beast, so make sure you've plenty of water handy.

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