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What did you do in the shop today?

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Glenn, you are correct about the legs. Should have arched them in hind sight, lesson for next time. As far as rubber or felt on the "feet" i am not concerned about, it is for the concrete porch. 

Today i took on what may have been my most ambitious project so far. Winged dividers. Not quite done, the thumb screw i still need to make, after 3 tries i gave up for the day. Still needs a little grinding to purty up and a bit of tweeking. But they move nice and smooth and are tight with no wobbly wobble. 


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Ditto on not letting walnut near plants and animals you like.  I don't think English is as bad as Black Walnut; I've known people who mulched their garden with black walnut hulls and a decade later they were having trouble growing anything wanted in that spot.

Saturday: went to the scrapyard and had a couple of friends show up.  Great!  I was able to get them to buy the 100# piece of round for an improvised anvil and the gas forge shell I found, (with burner!)


I picked up a grid made from horseshoes and a few other items.


I've been working on a chandelier to use when camping. It should be usable both with real candles and LED ones and should be fairly resistant to being bumped.  First candle holder prototype didn't pass the bump test. Second prototype didn't pass the DFM test.  I was working on it while my friends were using my gas forge for a couple of projects including cutting some 2"x3"  Titanium to make some hammers from.

Sunday; just me and sometimes a gift of a breeze!  So I finished the prototype candle holder; got the BotW, and started making 5 more of them for the first ring---made from a hub band from a wagon wheel.


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22 hours ago, Stash said:

Be aware that all walnut species contain the alleopathic toxin 'juglone' in all parts,

Just about made pants pie when I read this. For some reason I thought it was "black locust" I read not to use but it was actually "black walnut". 

So I did some research. The toxin is highest in Black Walnut trees. English Walnut produces less than a 1/4 of juglone than the Black Walnut. And fortunately, a healthy soil system breaks down the toxin much sooner than a barren soil. We have a pretty alive soil. I would just avoid it in the future. Thanks for looking out, Stash and Thomas!

In "shop news", the slab gets poured tomorrow morning. I must say I am pretty excited to "cement" the deal and get this thing built!

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Billybones, dividers are one of the things on my project list. I’m jealous, they’re looking good!

Here’s what I got done at the local IBA meetup. Not real happy with it. Was supposed to have a forge welded cutting edge, but after two failed weld attempts, I gave up. (At home I probably would have pushed through until it worked, but felt strange doing that with an audience...) I may also have to put some weld beads on the shank, apparently the anvil’s hardy hole at the shop is a bit smaller than both my anvils. Way to wobbly in mine! It was made from 2” round 1045 (originally hydraulic press tie rod that failed at work). Had some help with power hammer technique and hammer tuning as well as some striking assistance to cut it from the main bar.

All in all a great time at the forge!




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David, looks pretty good to me. I have one with a HC cutting edge welded in and honestly it rolls over all the time anyway. It lost it's temper long ago and I haven't bothered to fix it. I would say 1045 will be more than sufficient. Then again what do I know.

Finally finished hammer number 2 today. Well, technically it's hammer number 3... Hammer #2 now lives in the box of shame after I burnt it in half... 

I'm not entirely sure how much it weighs since I don't have my kitchen scale handy, but somewhere between 1-1.5#s if I had to guess. Made from a piece of RR track.


I didn't do a very aggressive quench since I left hammer #1 too hard. The first mark I put on my anvil face came from that little thing. Quenched in oil for 8 seconds, tapped the face with a grinder, waited for dark blue (1-2 seconds), then finished in the oil. Here it is after a bit of sanding and tempering again to blue/purple. Judging by a file it is hard, but softer than my anvil face, which was the plan. The light is doing something with the temper color, the whole face has a consistent color, but at an angle it looks different.


Here it is next to hammer number 1, a tiny little guy weighing just under a half a pound. 


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On 9/13/2020 at 7:23 PM, JHCC said:

Finished a batch of knives commissioned by a papermaker I know. 

And with that out of the way, decided to play around a bit. Here’s a one-piece version from coil spring, with a bit of rough grinding:




Extremely happy with the ridge at the top of the blade and with how cleanly the blade itself forged up. Wonderful what you can do with fullers, a flatter, and a treadle hammer.

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Another two hours in the shop (driveway) and I finished the tongs and started straightening some spring stock I found at the scrap yard.


First order of business was to finish drawing out any fat spots in the reins, taking the corners off and straightening out the whole business for better fit up. Next, I cut the 4 inch bolt long enough to join the tongs and I peened my first rivet. Frazer was worried that any threads might bind up, but no threads were injured in the making of these tongs.


These tongs are made to hold 3/8" flat stock. I made them out of 1" by 3/8" by 20" long piece of mild steel, so they will help me hold the very same stock for my next set of tongs! I might have enough material in the bits to make them v-bit tongs, but I wanted my first set to be simple. Here are some other shots.


Feedback is welcome.

Here are some thoughts of my own. When I offset the bosses, I was just making sure I moved metal. As it happens, I think I offset them just a bit too far. When the halves were put together I had over 3/8" gap and the bits had to be kicked back down to hold the stock.

I see what looks like signs of forging too cold, but I also didn't do any brushing of the tongs while forging, so I'm not sure what I'm looking at. I don't have a block brush and I didn't want yet another thing to remember while I was forging. These tongs might fail soon because of some flaws I see at the bits, but as long as they survive long enough to make my next set, I'll be happy.

My boss set downs were not consistent and as a result the neck of one of the bits does not allow the tongs to open a full 90. This is compounded by the fact that the bosses are themselves not identical. Marking up for the set downs will help with those things I believe. Then bit necks are in fact where I see one of my faults. It could be a cold shut. I did have a problem with one of the bit set downs.

I continue to use less and less charcoal for the same amount of forging. This session saw just a small improvement, so I think my air set up is working quite well and I know what to expect with respect to charcoal consumption.

Thanks everyone,



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Was asked by a fellow in Idaho to replicate a knife his grandad made back in the 70's.  He sent me a pick with a ruler next to it so I could measure and duplicate.  Took a little time but the finished blank is below the pic.  The pic is oversized as the original knife is only 7 inches long.  1084 at .140 is what I am using instead of Damascus.


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On 9/13/2020 at 7:23 PM, JHCC said:

Finished a batch of knives commissioned by a papermaker I know. 

Well, the customer came to pick them up today, and we had a long session of her trying them out, discussing what was good and bad about each, and overall giving very helpful feedback for how to make them better in future. I made a few quick adjustments on the grinder (which is what qualifies this for "What did you do in the shop today?"), and she ended up taking all eight and paying my full asking price. Now I have some money for more propane, steel, and books! 

On 9/15/2020 at 9:50 AM, JHCC said:

Here’s a one-piece version from coil spring

This one, alas, was completely unacceptable for what she needed, so I still have it. I shall have to give some thought to keeping it as-is or possibly reshaping the handle.

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Finally had the opportunity to fire up the forge today.  Managed to burn the cobwebs off of it.  Got back to the tongs that I'd started a long time ago.  I had the bits forged, and had started drawing the reins when one of the bits broke. No pressure, no stress, just the vibration of drawing out the reins.  That was the bit that I had twisted the jaws in the wrong direction, then twisted back.  I figured it was internal stress. The other half, on the other hand, turned out nice enough.  So, today I set about drawing the rein on that half, and making a new bit for the other half.  I got the one rein drawn to about 3/8" and about 8" long. I decided to quit there, and weld on an extension.  The other half, I got forged, and punched, nearly identical to it's mate. Then set about drawing the rein on it.  I don't know what it is about it, or the way that I went about it. But as I was hammering the bit just fell off.    The first half, I held the bit and drew the rein.  The half that broke, I held the rein, and was drawing it thinner. From about 3/4" to about 3/8".    Both halves are made from the same stock. an  old lug wrench. 

I did quench the bit in the slack tub as I'd heated it along with the area that I wanted to upset. But that was very early on in the process, before i'd even started shaping the bit, or boss.  I just wanted a bit more "meat" for the boss. I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not.

IMG_20200917_172658336_HDR (Copy).jpg

IMG_20200917_172739752_HDR (Copy).jpg

Oh, and I lowered my anvil about 3".  It made a world of difference.  Not sure if good, or bad, but different anyway. I'll know more as I use it in that location. ;)

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Alexandr, incredible as always. It's incredible how clean and polished your work comes out. I'm beginning to think you are in actuality a CNC machine. Or perhaps some generation of AI...

Bluerooster, generally if you're going to use anything but mild for tongs, it's for weight reduction, but if you're forging them thick, or perhaps standard thickness, using medium/high carbon/tool steel (I have no idea what your lug wrench was made with) is generally just going to cause more headache than benefit IMHO. Save that stuff for things that need it. On the bright side, even the one that broke can still be used on other things so it's all good in the end.

Today I made a couple quick project specific tongs and got going on said project.

IMG_2020-09-17_19-20-35.thumb.jpeg.179549a3f26549dcc06276cfe6bcc2ec.jpeg IMG_2020-09-17_19-20-56.thumb.jpeg.3378b26f67202a2b6383e74b68cf1856.jpeg 

While doing the latter, I got a sharp reminder that while holding a piece of .75"x1.5'" stock between your legs to punch a hole through it, one should have that piece of stock laying flat on the anvil...

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Threaded items are usually NOT high carbon; though the better grades may be medium carbon.  Try a coil spring from a car and quench in warm oil.

Lug Wrenches are generally a pretty good medium to high carbon steel and as such you have to pay attention forging them---don't forge at too hot a temp and DON'T forge at too low a temp and DON'T QUENCH UNLESS YOU ARE HARDENING IT FOR SOME REASON---AND TEMPER IMMEDIATELY!

I did a pair of Lug Wrench tongs---two lug wrenches and I hack sawed the socket end to make a bit to hold round stock.  Didn't have any problems with unexpected brittleness or cracking; but I came into smithing through knifemaking and so tend to treat metal as if it's HC as a habit. (Makes it really hard to work real WI !).   


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I found this at road, it head thread and nut together, it eas i think truck part.

I couldnt get nut out of thread, couldnt unscrew it, so i heated both nut and thread, than i punched thread out of nut.

I dont think this is low carbon but stil i dont know.

It was good exercise, i made mistake in spocket , i didnt forge welded it neither i closed it , because it would be too small for wooden part 

But this piece of metal work, it realy carve wood but i think it can gwt dull easy too, but i think it is quenched properly (i used magnet)

Those two were inseparable.


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Often just heating a bolt/nut to a low red in the forge allows them to be unscrewed using a vise and wrench.

High carbon steels tend toward being brittle; would you choose that for lug bolts?

Medium carbon alloys tend towards toughness---what I would go with!

Cutting edges: I prefer High Carbon steels but will go with 5160 for struck chisels for rough work.

(I still have my first chisel forged from coil spring---ugly++. I used it for getting metal and stones out of turning material for my wood lathe thinking I'd make a prettier one when it broke---35+ years later and it still hasn't broken!)

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My first cold chisel is somewhere in the stuff my parents kept and now lives in my Sister's garage. Forged and ground in jr. high school metal shop 1, it's probably with the screw driver I made too.  

The chisel worked a LOT better than the screw driver. Getting the heat treat right on a screw driver was a lot harder. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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