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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?


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I can not count the times i had my butt busted by the neighbor, then she would grab ya by the ear and march you over to your mom and let her know what you did. 

We had a police officer that would cruise in our area about dusk. Many times he would give the kids a ride home. We thought it was cool to ride in the patrol car and he was keeping us safe. Really good guy, he was the same cop that would come to the school or boyscout meetings and speak to us. He even had a little thing in the local paper that was "Officer Al says..." then it would include things like "only dopes use dope" or something. In grade school every year one of our assignments was to wright something for the paper he could use. It was a big deal if yours got chosen and the class would get a pizza party or something. 

We used to throw apples at each other. I had a huge old apple tree in the yard that would get full of little green apples. They sting quite a bit when you get hit with one. One of the worst but whoopins i got was over my grandpa's peach trees. The first year they got fruit on them we picked every single green peach off of them for ammo. It was not as bad as the but whoopin over me and my cousin digging the swimming pool but it is definitely one of the memorable ones. 

I bet many here can also relate to that apple tree. It is the same tree grandma would make me go cut a switch out of. It would get them long green shoots on it and you had better come back in with one of them. I tried a dead stick once and after grandma went and got one i realized it was better for me to pick it out. 

I could go on about the mischief we caused, like catapulting my cousin across the creek, but i sure do miss those days. It does seem though that the best stories end with "and that was a memorable but whoopin." It was a different time.

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40 minutes ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

would get them mounted to steel frames. Lots of good angle iron in them.

That's how they still ship them. A long wooden pallet  enclosed in a tube and angle iron frame. I bring the angle and square tubing back as needed because I don't have much space to store resources so I have to be picky about what I drag back to the apartment building or the church next door will complain which means the landlady has to say something to me. I try to avoid causing any waves as much as possible. 

Pnut

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Chimaera, for me, my landlord is just really cool. When he asks me to do something (move something of mine that's in his way, etc), I drop what I'm doing and get it done. I also try to leave things cleaner than when I start working. Most important is just reading the room. If he's having a bad day or seems stressed out, I'll hold off on my next project for a day or work at night after he's done. The other big thing like pnut said is keeping your footprint small. Right now my entire shop could fit in 4' x 6' of space, and I'm still trying to downsize.

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12 hours ago, Chimaera said:

How are all you guys doing this on rented property???

With as much consideration as possible and keeping in mind it can all come to a halt at any time. I was actually put on hold for a while because of a land dispute with the church next door and had to use the public park which was less than ideal. It's less than ideal doing it on rented property anyway. I keep most of my equipment in my SUV. There's about thirty six apartments in my building. If the landlord let's me keep a bunch of stuff on the property every other tenant will expect the same. 

My forge started out in the woods on the landlords property but the neighbors got upset and called the county. Although I wasn't doing anything wrong I had to pack it up so I wouldn't cause further problems for the landlord. It boils down to the neighbors want to buy the property where I had my smithy and the landlady doesn't want to sell so I was caught in the middle. I found a work around though. I keep everything but the stumps in my SUV. 

Pnut

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If you trim everything down to the minimum, you will be surprised how little you actually need.  The big items will be the fuel and the metal stock.  But if you are not doing massive railing projects, or other large projects, you do not need a 500 pound anvil and a ton of coal.

Always carry 5 gallons of water and a fire extinguisher.  If someone with authority rolls up, you can show them you can put out any fire and be out of there quickly and without an argument. A couple of bottle openers under the front seat (as gifts) will forgive many complaints and smooth over many problems. 

 

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Yesterday I had a friend come visit and showed me how he makes epoxy blanks for pens and bottle stoppers.  We made a blank for a set of scales for a knife I hadn't finished and handled yet. 

Finally had help getting my anvil and forge dragged from its winter resting place to the new shop and as thanks for the scales and help I fired up the forge and we made a couple railroad spike knives.  He had never done metal before and had a blast.  

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We used to live next to a large walnut grove, about 60 acres I think and green walnuts make excellent ammunition but you have to get them exactly right in the pouch or a sling shot is likely to bounce it off your hand. Cumquats are excellent sling shot ammo and we never did learn what ripe was so the tree in the yard was an ammo store.

My parents weren't big on spanking Dad had an abusive step father and he never struck us. A cuff for doing something grossly stupid in the shop was the only exception. EVER. Mother on the other hand had the dreaded wooden spoon and if she said, "Do I have to get the wooden spoon?" There was no further warning, there was never an empty threat if she had to get the spoon you were getting a swat, rarely two. Spankings weren't punishment, there were exclamation marks for lessons. I can honestly say I only ever got a swat I didn't deserve one time, my little sister snookered Mother and I. Being siblings we weren't polite to each other, I pushed by her blocking me and she threw herself on the floor screaming. I got a swat. I got her back by actually doing what she pretended I did, knocked her down. She screamed and Mother gave her a swat for tricking her. Ahh, the good old days. :wub:

I used to do smithing and light fab work in a trailer court, my next door neighbor was less than 30' away and I had to set up in the yard. Nobody even close had a dull kitchen knife or broken metal thing. I only worked mid day and stopped instantly if someone said something. The court owners cut me lots of slack because I paid space rent 6 months in advance. I got an eviction notice once for not plowing my parking space so I walked to the office, laid it on the counter and demanded my money back. Poof gone.

Good PR makes a world of difference.

I used to collect ATV "crates" from the local Honda dealer, they stacked them next to the dumpster outside the fence and I'd stop by and load the pickup. They are just frames and would be separated with telescoping sq. tubing. The sq. tubing was never in the stack. I still have a silly tall stack of the things next to the shop.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Wow, beautiful polish! What grit is that? Just for future, I'd make the tang a bit thinner to reduce the weight. Is that a touch mark or a hammer mark in the center of the blade? If a hammer mark, it doesn't look bad, if a touch mark, very nice, what does it stand for? Handle shape doesn't look to have quite enough meat on it, but neither do the handles I make... All in all, it's a good start, better than what I've done... You and I are learning together! Just my $0.02.

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I had something funny that happaned me couple day ago while i was smithing.

I measured rod 10 cm i was making banding for timber so i measured 10 cm on side, and as i tapered steel, i noticed one magic PIECE GOT LONGER, i didn't know how i didn't think about that.


Did somebody else had that magic expirience, you measure something  to be precise and while forging it get longer lol.

 

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Finally got around to putting a handle on my soft hammer. I got this 3lb drill hammer at a yard sale a few months back, promptly broke the handle, and decided to anneal the head to use with punches and chisels. It’s been sitting in my hot box ever since, but now it’s ready to go. 

B7D08005-F732-42BC-8B52-BB395FABA23C.jpeg

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Natkova, I had that happen too! I've also magically had a dripping piece of steel that was shorter than before! I am not good at forging. By now I've learned not to forge with the shopvac on, though. Strictly for preheat.

Looks good, JHCC! Is that just to keep chisels and punches from chipping? BTW, is there some kind of hammer (besides wood) that you can use on hot steel without getting rid of the texture? I mean for like bending rebar but keeping the rebar texture. Some nonferrous alloy?

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It's been too cold for outdoor forging here, and the 2 days last week that would have been good for it ended up getting used for other things, like my wife's birthday (much more important!) and helping the second of the twins moved and setup in his house 90 miles from here.  The last thing for him to take was his motorcycle and I had to follow in his car.  

Saw some spots I wouldn't mind retiring to on the way if I could get 10 plus acres, a good indoor workshop, and a place to set up my own personal rifle/archery/knife and axe throwing range.

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17 hours ago, Chimaera said:

Is that just to keep chisels and punches from chipping?

Yes. I’ve been using a big wrought iron hammer with unsteeled faces, but this should be better balanced. 

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The area is where a lot of guys have cattle and then there is a lot of regular farmland as well.  It would be pretty pricey to get some acreage.  There were lots of places dense with really old Osage Orange (bois d'arc, hedge, bodarc, what have you) trees along with some elm and maple out there.  A lot of the Osage Orang looked to be started as straight line windbreaks and kind of spread out, which is fairly common in Kansas, as I understand.  The wood makes for some beautiful bows, if you have the stamina to harvest it.  Not to mention the stuff is awesome to use as firewood in a wood stove. 

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Osage Orange? I do believe you mean monkey brain trees. I've used bows made from it (never gotten to make one) and used it as firewood. Also had plenty of fights throwing the brains at people. The best one was as a boy scout, we went to a campsite that had treehouses and we spent 3-4 hours chucking monkey brains at one another.

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17 hours ago, Chimaera said:

BTW, is there some kind of hammer (besides wood) that you can use on hot steel without getting rid of the texture? I mean for like bending rebar but keeping the rebar texture. Some nonferrous alloy?

A wood or rawhide mallet seems to be the go-to tool for that kind of work. Remember that you’re putting force on the other side of the workpiece as well, so working over a wood block or a stump is recommended. 

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On 1/17/2021 at 1:44 PM, Chimaera said:

Wow, beautiful polish! What grit is that?

I started at 80 and worked my way to 2000 then I put it on the buffer.  Yes that's my touch mark. It has a L on it because I couldn't make a H And my middle name starts with L and most people know me by that name. The other is 245. I found it in my dad's old machinist toolbox. I figured it would be unique enough to set mine apart from any other L out there. I made the knife for a woman with small hands so the handle is a bit small. Also I was finding out how much steel rod I need to cut for more knives. Started at 8 inches, then 6 then 4.  Next one will be 5 inches.  

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