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What did you do in the shop today?

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23 hours ago, wirerabbit said:

The controllers are great, aren't they? What kind of blower is that?

It's supposedly an engine room fan, it had decent specs and I was recommended it by others who used it for their forge, though they did not use the PWM, running it at full blast gives a lot of air though I have a lot of leakages in my current setup.

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Made a little more progress on a fire place set. These piece still need a lot of work and need to make the broom and stand. Anyone have any recommendations on what to use for the “brush” end of the broom?




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(And discovered, as evidenced by these two photos, that Portrait Mode on my new iPhone’s camera is great for taking photos of things on the anvil, as it blurs out the stuff in the background.)

Thanks, arkie. The saddle was sliding around a lot, especially when I was using the treadle hammer. This should help. 

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Saturday: went to scrapyard with a forging buddy.  Didn't bring much back this time. I'm trying to talk myself out of a bell made from the end of a tank---not a welding tank, about 2+' in diameter and walls over 1" thick. Sure should have a nice tone!  Sort of thing one would leave out in the yard to darwinize thieves....

Saturday afternoon: worked on a prototype for a campsite chandelier using led "tea lights". Using two hub bands from old wagon wheels, light chain between them and 12 tea light holders that would slip onto the hubs.  First design; didn't work well with the tooling I have.

Sunday: prototyping a different design, looks to be working.  Then mask up and off to the big city to stock up on tea and chutney and other stuff... including a new dishwasher and faucets for kitchen and bath.  Kind of nice to live in a place long enough that you have to start replacing the appliances you installed new when you moved in... Found a missing library book in my wife's cargo van when trying to arrange it so we could fit a dishwasher in it with the "bed load" she keeps in it all the time.

Monday: forged out  7/16" rod into strip stock to get a hammered look to it. Hammered from one side only to get a nice flat back to it.  Instead of opening the back door of the gasser I just rolled the strip up into a coil as it was formed---what Frank Turley would call a "convenience bend".  Trued up the width under the screwpress while in a coil, then put an axle in the large postvise. Reheated the coil and dropped it over the axle. Grabbed the tab and ran down the shop.  Straightened out nicely.  Also forged the tops of some used 20 penny nails to use as rivets to hold the candle cups on and cut them to length. Also cut the strap stock to length and punched the ends for the candle cups. Still need to drift them to fit the rivets. Then ran out of propane.

Next is forming the candle cups to hold the LED candles.  Goal is to have a fairly light, easy to use and SAFE light source for SCA camping  out here in the great high and dry.  (Up north of us they are supposed to be getting 60 mph wind gusts today...)


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Alexandr, beautiful work on the yard. It feels good. 

Friday I learned that I didn't have to move the shed. That was a combination of learning that the air in the chimney is cooler than I imagined and getting the neighbor's permission to trim the maple that grows next to my shed. Not having to move the shed was such a fast-forwarding of my timetable that I couldn't sleep that night for imagining all the things that were now possible.

Sunday my wife and I said, "You know what sounds good? Trimming a maple tree." So I climbed on top of the shed with a bow saw and she was my ground crew with loppers. We now have a clearance of about twelve feet above the shed, plus more future charcoal. 

Monday my sister and BIL came over. We hadn't planned anything more than a fire, but we ended up doing little things while we talked in the back yard and ended up emptying the firewood out of the shed, putting an improvised roof on my wife's new firewood holder (not quite a shed, not quite a stack), splitting and sorting all the wood, and putting it away. We even ended up with a bin full of birch bark and another full of wood chips. The chips will fuel my attempt at forging with wood. The fire (the only planned part of the day) yielded another four cans of decent charcoal. 

Next step: I need to find myself some 12" black stove pipe. I'm hoping to avoid splitting 7 or 8" stuff up the side and splicing it together, but we'll see. I'd take stainless if I could get it. I also need to find a way to get the plywood floor out of my shed without removing the studs. 

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Went to get to work this morning and the rather flimsy, stock, wood handle on the butcher block brush finally went.  Admittedly, I have been prolonging making something a bit more durable for a while, constantly using slightly larger screws and the like.  It’s not pretty, it’s not meant to be, perhaps one day I’ll pretty her up a bit but for right not it functions just fine.  






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I enjoy seeing what folks are up to in their shops.

What I did in the driveway today:

I continued on my quest to better understand my charcoal fire. Put another two hours on the forge.


I love starting the forge. It's so easy to light. Psst, have a propane torch handy.


As you can see my tong blanks are not identical. Shocker. Tthe major problem being the holes are not both 5/16". First order of business was to drift the smaller hole out to 5/16". Used a bolt to check size. I'll probably cut that bolt off and use it as a rivet when the time comes.


Next on the list was to draw out the reigns of my blanks, but while the fire was getting established I decided to uncoil some of that spring I had. I think I will make a watering can handle out of this piece once I straighten it all out.

Blanks went from 13 inches from hole to end of stock to just about 19 inches . I still have about 3 or 4 inches of reign to thin out back towards the boss, then knocking off the corners, but I ran out of time.


Here are the halves set together with my 5/16" flat stock in the jaws for comparison. Still have some straightening out to do. Wow, you can't really tell until you fit them together at their pivot. These look pretty knock-kneed!  I'll make these to fit that stock. My next project will be improved tongs using the same material and my first set of tongs!

Check out the tuyere wall after I pulled out most of the hot wood coals at the end of my forging session.


HOT. I might leave my air setting alone next forging session and instead bump the tuyere into the firepot an inch to see how the fireball reacts. The opposite side of the firepot was not incandescent and has no degradation like the tuyere side.

I keep learning quite a bit. I realize that I could use a slightly heavier hammer for the drawing out of the reigns. I have a three pound hammer. But, my anvil is just not big enough to handle any heavier hammer. It was walking about as I used the horn to draw the reigns. I can't imagine what would happen if I had a 4 pounder.




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5 hours ago, tjdaggett said:

I'm hoping to avoid splitting 7 or 8" stuff up the side and splicing it together, but we'll see. I

You can get 6 inch stove pipe that snaps together to make a pipe. It comes as flat pieces that interlock. What you do is take two pieces and snap them together then when you snap into a pipe you have a 12 inch one. I know most home supply big box stores have them in 24 inch lengths. Mine have held up for over 30 years both in the forge and wood stove.


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Wirerabbit, a 3# hammer should draw the reigns out pretty quickly. What technique are you using to draw the reigns out? I usually use half face blows for most of my drawing out. That seems to work the fastest for me, but I’ll occasionally use the peen, or draw over the horn, or a combination.

Honestly, I’d be proud to use those tong. Looking good.


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I took Rochester's ( advice and drew out over the horn. I have dressed some HF sledges with a flat and a round side. I use the round side and the horn. Have a 3# and a 2# with rounding faces. I also have a 3# cross peen, also a HF purchase, and have tried drawing out with the peen in one of the earlier sessions. I feel I am managing the fire better now and obtaining much better heats, so I may have to try the peen again.

I tried the half faced blows with rotation for pulling a taper ala Brazeal, Steele and Van der Steeg, but I still don't have the control yet for that to be useful. I'll get there. It seems very intuitive.

Thanks for the encouragement.


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Taylor, tongs look good to me.  I wouldn't worry too much if the two holes aren't exactly the same size, the pin will likely lock in the smaller of the two and spin in the other. No big deal IMO. As for using a bolt for a rivet, I've never tried that, but i feel like the threads are going to make them bind up a bit or loosen up over time as the threads round over inside. I don't know that for sure, but it doesn't take long to forge a smooth pin (if you don't have the proper size already) and use that. Again I have no idea if that's good advise of not, more of a hunch.

p.s. I do like drawing the majority of the reins out over the horn ^_^. A 3# hammer should be more than sufficient to do it though. I have a 4#er, but it seldom gets used. I find a 2# or 3# hammer struck where you want it moves a lot more material than a 4# strike off aim. That being said I don't consider myself to be particularly strong, I know there are guys out there who use a 4+ pound hammer for their general forging. 

Today I made a hold fast for another project that isn't ready to show off yet. Probably won't be for a little while. I used a RR anchor which seemed like a better choice than anything else I had on hand. It works a treat.


The rest of the anchor I used to make a chisel. Not very exciting, but there is a lot of material in one of those anchors.


I also practiced my hot collars for a trivet that I will hopefully be finishing tomorrow. If I do, I'll post a few pictures then. 

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IFC, bless you. Yet another thing I just didn't know yet. I'll go visit Menards and Home Depot and see what they have to offer. 

Wirerabbit, looks like your fire might not be hot enough. See if you can source some local magma or pure magnesium. ;) 

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Texas is currently low on magma, and it tends to be too high sulfur anyway---might be able to work out a muffle furnace with it though.  The most likely place for the next eruption in NM is about 13 miles down the road from my shop...planning ahead!

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On 9/8/2020 at 9:19 PM, wirerabbit said:

I tried the half faced blows with rotation for pulling a taper ala Brazeal, Steele and Van der Steeg, but I still don't have the control yet for that to be useful. 

Everyone has their favorite method for drawing out stock...half-face, horn, but I have tried them all and prefer the horn.  My main problem with the half-face method is that I have to go back over the notch created and smooth it out whereas the horn method creates a smooth profile on the drawn out stock.  Half-face takes me probably twice as long.

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My large anvil has a very broad horn and it's great for drawing out using a broad peen straight peen---I have one that looks like it has a piece of 1" stock on it for the peen, no notches created by the horn or hammer!

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On 4/30/2020 at 4:29 PM, ThomasPowers said:

the smoke sucked down and generally run out the building through ducks under the floor.

What breed of duck can do that?  Sorry, but the mental image of ducks transferring smoke under the floor of a building in various ways tickled my funny bone a bit.

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