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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?


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Oh man, same here. Although being out in the sticks means life is fairly normal, the ‘non essential’ shops being closed and community gatherings not being on is a bit rubbish. 
 

I’m not going to blame getting the first jab on Thursday as the reason as I feel so fortunate to have got it.... (In the Scottish islands the demographics mean the larger older population were done first and quickly now the health board are charging through the 40+ Range) .... BUT I got this far on new tongs yesterday before I declared myself knackered and crawled into the house for a beer and to make involuntary noises when standing up, sitting down and making any small movement. I got no sympathy. Jonnytait must be a machine:D

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I don't know what to say Alexandr, you've run me completely out of compliments. High level artistry falls short. I feel privileged you show us your work.

Thank you.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Finished cleaning and oiling the leg vise I brought home last week. A little Columbian with "40" marking on one of the 4" jaws. Weights about 40#, so the marking probably refers to that.

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Alexandr your work is incredible. I keep having to remind myself to let it inspire rather than get me angry about how terrible I am lol! Really cool stuff. Keep it coming. 
Anyway - today I started a tomahawk from a railroad spike. I know people go back and forth or the steel quality of them - whatever - I’m just trying to make something that looks cool and practice the basic stuff. I’m happy with the upsetting and with the hole I punched for the eye - only the second hole I’ve ever punched. It’s pretty well centered but now I have a problem. I have a very small anvil as you can see - 22lbs. It’s been great for me to start but I obviously find a reason to get a bigger one every time I forge. That’s why I went with a stump large enough to handle the next one. But the hardy hole is too small for me to start drifting the eye to the right size. Over the edge of the anvil didn’t work well which I fully expected so I’m a bit stuck now. Would a large block of wood with a big enough hole drilled hold up to drifting? Any suggestions? Thanks. 
 

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For the first axe I drifted, I used two scrap pieces of 1” plate bolted together with washers to space them apart. A wood stump with work. It will last longer if you can make a bolster. Use what you have available. 
 

David

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Added a cable hook (which doubles as a grounding clamp) and a torch rest to the welding table. 

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Did some grinding and filing  on the Viking blade:

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And (almost) finished the hatchet:

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(It still needs a little cleanup of the eye-end of the handle.)

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21 hours ago, Pat Masterson said:

But the hardy hole is too small for me to start drifting the eye to the right size

Do you have a post vise? I use mine for drifting things that are too large for the hardy. You can adjust the jaws to the appropriate size for the task at hand.

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JHCC, how do you even turn around in there, much less forge an axe? 

Pat, i think a block of wood would work, once maybe twice but not a long term solution. If you use a piece of wood lay a hot piece of metal on it before anything else. I discovered i can not stand the smell of white oak when it burns. You could also make a portable hardy but that would be about as much work as making a bolster. 

Started making me a flatter yesterday, just got the main body forged and an eye hole punched need to weld the plate on, no pics yet. Did some more work on my doors. Got them sanded down to where the wife likes them and got my bolt forged out. Was going to go with a butterfly type bracket but could not get them small enough. So i decided a plate with 2 square eyed blocks for it to slide through. First is the square eyed block, kind of proud of this one of my cleanest forgings yet. Next is the finished (well close needs a little filing and a coat of wax.) product. Slides nice and easy, should work nicely.

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Got my Oxy/Acy tanks swapped out this morning, man that stuff is expensive! I think the guy said prices jumped $4-6 between the two recently. I did some cosmetic work (rust removal, primed and painted and rewired for better lights) on a neighbor's trailer this weekend, so that paid for the tanks, but sheesh!

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24 minutes ago, BillyBones said:

JHCC, how do you even turn around in there, much less forge an axe? 

I took the photo of the blade in the filing jig *after* I'd packed the shop away for the evening. Almost everything (except the coal forge, the anvil & treadle hammer, and the big vise stand/scrap storage) is on casters, so I can roll the welding table, the gas forge, and a tool cabinet into the forging space. 

When I'm using the shop, I pull my wife's car out of the garage and roll what I need into that space. That could be the above-mentioned rollies, or it might be either of the two bandsaws, the belt grinder, the hydraulic press, or the chop saw. I have two tool racks and a shelf unit that are on wheels as well, but I only move them if I really need to get to something behind them.

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Got to Forge a bit this weekend with one of my boys.

First, the re-re-re-redesign of the forge worked great.  The firepot is similar to a Whitlox style forge.  The tuye pipe runs underneath two firebricks with a slight gap between them.  The Firebricks are tilted at about 45 degrees.  Drilled the holes about 1 1/2 inches apart.  I also did not skimp on fuel and got a good heaping pile above the firepot.  It took a bit to get the temp up, but I was able to get some pretty good heat out of it and I was able to heat a larger area.  After about an hour using just charcoal I started to add some corn to keep the height of the pile up and it would 'coke' up nicely at the fire compacted down.  less residue and the smoke from the corn was pretty nice smelling.  Didn't bother the wife's asthma as bad as a pure charcoal did.  A lot less fire fleas too.  I did have to stop occasionally to clear the channel to keep the air moving, but that quickly became a part of the routine.  The routine we settled on at around hour 3 was heap up with charcoal.  As things burned down, heap up with just corn the next 3 times to maintain the height of the dome.  Then clear the channel to keep airflow going and heap up with more charcoal.

After that, it became a matter of practicing drawing material out.  And a little practice on tapers.  I have a favorite material to work with now, and that is 12 inch by 3/8 non galvanized landscape spikes.  I can get a box of 4 for 2 bucks or 25 for $11.  It's small enough to heat fast and it's already a pretty convenient length to begin with.  

I'll try to remember to get pics of the forge redesign after it stops raining and I clean the remaining ash out.

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Arthur, was the 40 stamped on the moving jar right around the ski jump?  Vises were sold by weight and so marked usually in that area.

JHCC, where is the fuller?  Width to length ratios look more like later swords than early Medieval period...

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I haven't ground the fuller in yet, and I may well not (as I lost somewhat more metal to the initial grinding than I anticipated). It's not a slavishly (thrallishly?) period-correct blade; "Viking-style" would probably be more appropriate. 

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Which I assume means viking style hilting on a differing blade.  Not a problem to me except for the misleading part of the name...I was recently reading about the use of computer tomography to dissect pattern welded blades; seems like a lot of the patterning we consider normal is an artifact of the rusting and subsequent cleaning of archeological finds. CT scanning of uncleaned specimens show that the surface pattern was often more the Wurm than the Chevron---as makes sense given forged to shape and minimal grinding into the billets.  (As you grind into a twisted billet the pattern that shows changes---most books on Pattern Welding have an example of this shown.)

Science---where changing your long held beliefs due to new finds or new methods of analysis is considered a necessary and good thing!

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Yes; but what pattern you see depends on how deeply you grind into the billet making the blade.  Examination of deeply corroded and then cleaned/preserved blade remains show that they were assembled from a number of twisted billets; but the pattern they originally showed on the surface may have been a "higher in the billet" pattern rather than "deeper in the core" pattern such remains exhibit.  I look forward to more research in this area!  (It doesn't help that regular X-rays of blades don't show the surface pattern but rather the complete billet. Some swords are so corroded that only x-rays can show that the original blade was pattern welded from differences in the rust!)

It is interesting to note that every culture that uses the bloomery process to make iron from ore seems to have come up with pattern welding too! (Probably through the stacking and welding process to refine bloom to muck bar to merchant bar to singly refined wrought iron USW...)

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Since the carborizing process (adding carbon to reduced oxygen iron in bloomery) is only on the surface of billet, would this account for differences in rust?  The final forge welded helix would be twists of high carbon and low carbon and rust at different rates?

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