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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?


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I have a piece of oak for a crossbow stock that came from a colonial barn in NJ (Historical Society wasn't able to save it so I scrounged a piece from the wreckage before the builder burned it.)  Air drying for over 200 years.  The outside was oxidized so we ran it through a commercial planer until the planer started bogging down.  I was planning to work it with a milling machine---my oldest unfinished project as I started it in the 1970's...

The dragon headed hooks are fairly simple ones. Made from 1/2" sq stock.  I'll get a picture when they are all installed.  I've got to make several more as I want 1 per grandchild when I go.

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SinDoc, not not flex pipe, but standard rigid black iron with a greenish coating. It is made for direct burial. Looks like it is called VPC, and it is an epoxy coating. Used for Nat gas and LP. And there is some called X-tru with a thicker yellow plastic coating that needs to be trimmed off before threading.

Littleblacksmith, my arm is sore just looking at all of those items on the table. I am impressed, and glad to have watched your progress over the years.

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Gotcha Big. I am wanting to keep it above ground so it is accessible and maintainable. Where it would be on the house, it wouldn't be subject to damage unless a car hit the house which would get it if it were in the crawl space anyways.

A lot of my houses problems have been from the systems simply being in parts of the houses crawl space that just isn't accessible. The house was not built with serviceability in mind with a ~16" crawl space that grades upwards as you go to the west and north side. The front of the house has a whopping 6" of space below the joist. 

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Not my shop..   I went to visit a friend and bladesmith and he was making some tongs for small work. 

I jokingly said I could make a pair in 20minutes.. LOL..  "At someone else's shop.".  LOL>>  There is no way unless they are super sloppy or have an amazingly well stocked shop.. 


took 1hr  and change..  1/2" stock with anvil sitting way to high for my liking.  

I don't know how anybody can forge on an anvil knuckle height..  One losses  the most important part of the stroke..  :)  I don't know how to make a smiley with tongue sticking out..   

Had a great time making them and was very much fun visiting.. 

20210909_140111.jpg

20210909_140102.jpg

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Jennifer, I feel so much better now. The last pair of tongs I made took me probably 4hrs and turned out pretty horrible and I left them for scrap. (Another smith, picked them up at our next meet up and used them, saying they weren’t that bad…) I guess everyone can have an off day, especially outside of their own environment.

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Goods we often judge our own work the harshest..  :) 

For sure..  I'm often amazed at what do at their shops with lack luster equipment.. 


what I take for granted at my place is way outa whack someplace else.. 

Was the first work out for the 4lb steeled wrought iron hammer.  :) 

I can't wait to supply him with more tongs..   He had about 8 pairs nearlly all for knife making..  

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Knowing your personal equipment is a big help; I've seen machinists hold incredible tolerances on worn machines just because they *know* the wear and can take it into account while using it.

At Affiliate meetings we often get folks using blacksmithing equipment they are not familiar with and are very understanding over the "Oops!" that may happen; we only are pointing and laughing loudly!  (They are sure to return the favour when we demonstrate with others' equipment too). Funny I don't recall any smiths doing this at public demos, only at "only smiths" doings...

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Those don't look too bad to me! I always find it interesting to see the tongs I've made and how they've evolved. Here are pretty much all the ones I've made, more or less in chronological order from right to left. I still use some of the earlier ones occasionally.
 

IMG_0763.JPG

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Chelonian, I'd be happy to use any 1 of those as long as they hold the stock size..  Nice work and great development..  Really shows the skills coming thru.. 

He is left handed and this was his first set of left handed tongs.. 

I'm so programmed to make right handed tongs I kept trying to change the jaw to boss angle.. 

For right handed tongs get held at the reverse angle for nice fit up of jaw to boss when put together. 

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I’m still not quite over seeing IFI member Judson Yaggy drawing out a tong rein from 5/8” round to 1/4” square (at the thin end) on his old power hammer, perfectly tapered and perfectly smooth, in one heat. 

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After about 16hrs in vinegar, I’m not happy with the etch. (Is the cloudy area on one side a ham on?) At least all the welds look good. (Please ignore the grinding, I’ve got a lot to learn!)FAD125B7-762D-4C35-93AA-05EF4BA3E785.jpeg.7d71ec4c4ea2375e6798644d9d530574.jpeg0EAD04EE-294E-4703-BC7E-7E0F6D0861B7.jpeg.d6c49bdb5d785d391e3adf120e190ec8.jpeg

I’ve moved up to murratic(sp?) acid. Hopefully, I won’t destroy it.

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I would give it a light sanding with about 200grit and then thoroughly degrease it before putting it completely in the acid. 
Muriatic acid is what I primarily use as well as vinegar and what you seen is typical for regular strength. They sell commercial strength which I prefer and get it from a store I know.. 

It really does seem that the materials for the most part like Ferric chloride better and then coffee soak to bring out all the high and lows.. 

I feel it becomes what one is really after.. 

Cable damascus personally I like to leave fairly loose since for the most part its a homogenous material it doesn't pop like crazy.. No differences really in materials. 

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On 9/8/2021 at 6:08 PM, George N. M. said:

Dax, running natural gas or propane through a copper pipe is a BAD thing. 

That's interesting. Its standard practice in the UK to use copper. Every house I have lived in has copper has pipes inside and we are not known as a nation who blows up houses. 

I wonder if our gas has different additives to yours. 

Edited by Mod30
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I'm basing what I said on what I was told years ago by both a building inspector and a fire inspector.  I am not a chemist, metallurgist, or an expert on building or fire codes.  If I am wrong then it is to the good since that is one less thing to worry about in the world.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I've done some research regarding copper as a fuel supply lines and the results vary.  Apparently, in some places in the US and Canada it is allowed and in others it is prohibited.  Some of the problem or differences may be based on the amount of sulfur in the local natural gas supply (aka "sour gas") and the mercaptan added to natural gas to give it its odor. The sulfur, natural or added, can react with the copper of the pipes.

Sulfur in the supply can change over time as different deposits and supplies come on line.  I saw one report that new gas from certain North Sea fields was causing problems in the UK with both copper supply lines and certain appliances.

There are also certain restrictions even when copper is allowed such as only using flared joints, silver solder, and sleeves where in penetrates walls.

It appears that the wisest thing to do is to check to see if it is allowed by local codes and follow that guidance.  However, there are some places in the US where there are no applicable codes.  I live in one of them.  If I were doing it I would check with the nearest jurisdiction which has adopted the applicable codes (in my case the boundary is about a half mile away) and I would follow that requirement even though I am not legally required to.

I also found mention of another problem of which I was unaware:  Proper grounding to prevent damage from lightening strikes.  Even buried lines can be damaged by lightening with will cause pin hole leaks.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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On 9/8/2021 at 9:54 PM, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

SinDoc, there is iron piping that has a plastic coating bonded to it for burial.

Cutting and threading pipe is not that bad. For up to 2" pipe you measure from flange to flange on the fittings and add 1" to get the length needed. Rent a power threader, and it will go quickly. I prefer the pipe dope over tape, as it is more forgiving if you have to adjust an angle of a fitting.  Thread the fitting on one turn, then paint it on the threads. This way you don't get any inside the pipe.

Great ideas..  I never even thought about putting pipe dope on with it on 1 thread..    Thanks BGDr.. 

You can buy a set of thread cutters from HF that work very well.. I had a set that is 20 years old that I have used a bunch..  Good cutting oil is the key to great threads and long life to the dies. 

Here I was taught to use pipe dope over tape..  

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I made my first RR bolt dishing hammer the same way; but I find I use the ones where I put the handle eye back in the threads toward the end a lot more and I can get deeper into large deep dished items without chopping up the handle on the rim of the item being dished.

Having been gouged when buying the screws for my coat rack over lunch I went ahead and mounted the other 4 coat hooks after work.  I'll see if I can get a picture of them over the weekend.

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