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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?

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Funny I mooched almost 70 pounds of 4140, (IIRC), from a friend in Wisconsin; it just fit in a flat rate box to get out here to me in Central NM. (The *2* pieces of round stock + the flat rate box weighed 70# even.  The post office here complained it was over weight by 2 pounds---it had been taped again and again in shipping and the flat rate box remains were now about the size of a 3x5 card with the address, the rest being strapping tape.)

The first piece is now the tool holder for my screw press. The second piece is backup!

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Usually only get to forge on the weekends but I really had the itch yesterday for some reason. I’ve been dying to make something out of these springs I got from work so I made two scribes - one for me and one for a buddy at work. The only other time I had hardened and tempered something was my touch mark which was made from rebar and it only kind of hardened. It was crazy to feel the difference of a real hardenable steel after quenching for the first time. There’s really no mistaking which part was hardened. Had a little trouble tempering though - I guess I wasn’t leaving enough heat in the middle for it draw all the way to the tip. The colors kept stopping about 1/2 inch from the tip so they might be a little harder than they should be. 


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The scribes that I have made I didn’t temper at all. I want the point as hard as it will get. Yes, it’s brittle, but it’s a scribe not a center punch. (Also, I only hardened the last 1/4”.


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Looks like it will be a nice deck. N9t single thing done for me today went in at 9 this morning and just got home from work. 

Scribes are beautiful and so are the tables excellent work gentleman.

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I have to leave 18" around the condenser for air flow. It will be tight but not impossible. 

Set the rest of the joists today and got them all nice and secure. Was out there working on the stairs and came in for a break. 90*+ with around 90% humidity. I am so dehydrated and cant wait to get in the shower. 

The worst part though is the stray cats that have decided to use the area i cleared and leveled as a litter box, so first half hour of my day is removing obstacles. 

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They  make motion sensor "sprinklers" to discourage from going where you'd rather they  not. Cats CAN be trained and if the new litter box wets :o THEM instead. Hmmm?

We don't let our cats in the basement for the same reason.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Last roof beam is done for my shed/smithy, this will be the top beam and it's 6x7 inches, it's the smallest, the others are 7x8". But the top beam will have the smallest load on it.


Every log was faster to hew than the one before it. I was starting to get the proper swing and aiming accuracy more and more. Eventually I started getting the proper hewing pattern (by finnish standards anyway) with a relatively sdmooth surface and diagonal cut lines running along the hewn face. Part of the trick was to, as I swung the axe downwards, to pull it towards me as well to create a slicing motion.


Also I improvised a tool from some old squares to make a nice tool for checking I was maintaining the correct size on the log.


I managed to keep the final height on the top beam consistent to 1/8 of of an inch along the length, it might go up and down a bit.

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Your trick of using parts from two squares is brilliant!!  Quick and easy, plus it keeps the square feature on both sides, not what you have with big calipers.

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I started a project many years ago requiring me to fabricate hand hewn beams.  Not having a proper broad ax, and other tools put the stop to it after the first one.  Using a felling ax for a broad axe is not the way to go.  But I now have a forge, and may try my hand at a broad axe, if it works, I'll try another beam. 

  To all that have done something and submitted pics: Good work guys!

  I have done nothing in the shop today except push a broom.  I did get some grass cut, and bush hogged around the barn, (it was getting kinda snakey).  took apart a nail gun to order parts for repair, only to find that what I need is discontinued/unobtaineum.  Can we say "built in obsolescence"?  That way they sell more nailers.

Been hot, and humid here. There are many things that I want to do at the forge, but at 100 degrees, and 100% humidity, it's hard for me to build a fire in the forge, unless it's for something that just absoloutly has to be done. 

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1 hour ago, bluerooster said:

But I now have a forge, and may try my hand at a broad axe, if it works, I'll try another beam.

Bluerooster, I have hanging in my shop an old hewing axe head made by the American Axe and Tool Co.  It's pitted from probably lying in the dirt for several years, but the photos may be of value to you if you venture into making a hewing axe.  The two photos of the axe head show the profile and detail of the shape.  The sketch has dimensions that may be hard to read...I scaled the photos down considerably for posting.  If the dimensions are too hard to read, I can send you a larger resolution photo by PM.  Good luck making one.


American Axe & Tool Co hewing axe 01.jpg

American Axe & Tool Co hewing axe 02.jpg

American Axe & Tool Co hewing axe dimensions.jpg

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I use this old one alot smaller but works very well. Key is having that flat side. I have mine on a longer handle than normal I find easier to swing but I stand on one side of the log and strike the other side of the log. Didnt get to work on setting up shop and forge family in from Georgia.


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Mine doesn't have a flat side actually (scandinavian hewing axes usually don't), I find it works quite well without it, you learn to angle the axe and also how much you angle it affects how big a bite it takes.




I use two axes, the other one is a general purpose finnish forestry axe. I do the rough hewing with it, then the final hewing with thw hewing axe. 


Steps I take to hew a log:

1. Put on ground on some logs and scallop the underside so it sits flat
2. Mark out where to cut the log (I use a template and a level)
3. Use the marks to make a chalk line from end to end
4. Take a chain saw and make stop cuts every 5 - 6 inches along the log almost to the line
5. Start hewing

These steps can be seen in detail in this long and detailed video on medieval swedish timbering techniques:


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