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I Forge Iron

Bantou’s progress album (picture heavy)


Bantou

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I don’t have my welder set up yet. I have an old buzz box but I don’t think my meter base or wiring will handle the load. My house is currently only wired for 100 amps. I’m pushing that limit as it sits during the summer. The wiring is also mostly the old cloth insulation stuff. I don’t trust it to handle the kind of load a buzz box can pull. 
 

I’m planning on upgrading to a 320 amp service sometime in the near(ish) future. With a 320 meter base, I can run two 200 amp main breakers. One will go into the house, the other will eventually run underground to a shop. 

 

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My 200 amp service to my shop is sitting there waiting for the Electrical Inspector to say "Go!" and the CoOp to drop the transformer and make the hook up!  Soon I'll be at least at the cutting edge of the start of the 20th century!  (Yes I've worked in my shop by coal oil lantern!)

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Made a couple steak flippers today for Father’s Day. The first one actually turned out better than the second. I didn’t get good measurements off the first one and I was trying to streamline the process when I made the second. 
 

I’m still planning to work on the crosses. My time has just been very limited lately and this was a higher priority.
 

first

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Second hanging next to first

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Edited by Bantou
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How do they work? They look pretty good, I've found steak flippers don't need much handle it's not like you have to twist the steak over.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I haven’t had the chance to test them. They will probably get tested this afternoon at my family’s Father’s Day cookout. I imagine they will work just fine, though. 

I misjudged the length of the handle for the second one. If I had made it about an inch shorter and made the curl at the end about a 1/2 inch shorter, it would have been a much closer match to the first. I started not to put a handle on them, but it didn’t feel comfortable to use that way. 

The second one took me less than half the time of the first though. With better measurements and a little more practice, I should be able to turn them out fairly symmetrically in a little over an hour. If I can get some 3/8 square, probably less than a half hour. Most of my time was spent squaring up the round stock.  

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Making matching steak flippers is good for practicing skills but hardly necessary for steak flippers. If you're wanting to sell them you'll want small ones for the kitchen and a bit longer for the BBQ saving the long ones for camp fire grills. I have one made from a RR spike about 18" long and it's cumbersome in the kitchen. 

Why square the round all the way? 4 flat sides make attractive twists. I start with RR spike  5/8" sq or a longer length of 1/2" sq. People like RR spike flippers, everybody knows what a RR spike is and they can see it's transition into a long thin section and sharp hook. Folks like seeing the transition from old familiar to new nifty. Twisting the remaining spike makes a nice comfy handle if you break the edges first. Ladies don't usually like sharp points and edges on handles.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The practice is why I want them to be similar if not matching. I figure it’s a good skill to have for other projects. 

I squared it out of personal preference mostly. I think the square looks better on something with an integral handle. If I were putting a different handle on it like antler or wood, I would have left it round except for where the twist is. 

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Square or round is a matter of taste, no real tip there. Have you considered using square stock instead of making round square? My suggestion wasn't to leave it round it was to forge flat faces on 4 sides and leave the corners round. It makes nice soft twists, it's not right or wrong. 

A good way to make long tapers equal length is to start at the tip, forge to the desired diameter / taper and stop at a predetermined length. It's easy to repeat and get the same: dia. taper and same length. No need to judge how much steel to start with, stop when it's right, part from parent stock and forge the handle.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Well my idea for easy offset tongs was a bust. I was hoping to modify the easy to make tongs blueprint into a functional set of offsets. I figured out pretty quickly that, that was going to be more difficult than just making a set of tongs. On my second attempt, I smashed the boss the wrong direction and gave it up for another day. 
 

I wound up making a dinner triangle out of 3/8 round instead. It doesn’t ring as well as I would like but it’s good enough for a backyard BBQ. The ends are close together (~1/4”) but not touching. The next one will be made out of the 1/2” spring steel I have laying around and will have quenched corners. From what I’ve read, that should make it ring better. The hook is made out of 1/4” round. 
 

Edit to add: the loops on the ends do touch the bars. I wonder if that would be enough to kill the resonance. 
 

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Yes, the ends touching WILL damp the ring. Also I believe tapered rather than flattened ends will ring better. The legs should be dissimilar lengths. 

If you open the first bend a LITTLE the gap will open easily I'd do it cold over part of the horn the inside of the corner shows daylight. Bump it with a reasonably heavy hammer directly over the gap and take a look. 

Pretty nice looking Bantou, a little tweaking and you'll have folks showing up for dinner from all over the neighborhood.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The legs are all different lengths. Starting from the long side and working around they are 12”,9”, and 10.”

The original idea was to have the ends cross so that the loops formed a heart on the top (this was made for a lady friend). My jig was giving me fits though and the bends came out uneven. When I got the bends reasonably close, my lengths were off so this is what I wound up with. What is it Bob Ross says, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents”? 

The ends aren’t actually touching. I know it looks like it in the photo but there is 1/8-1/4” between them. The decorative loops on the ends do double back onto the bar though. I might make a drift and try driving it through to open them up a little. They are thin enough that it should be relatively easy to do cold. 

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4 hours ago, Bantou said:

“There are no mistakes, just happy accidents”?

Close enough for Bob. We don't make mistakes we have happy accidents! 

You have the true spirit of doing this stuff. As you were Brother. Carry on!

Frosty The Lucky.

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I think they came off a set of trailer ramps. I didn’t realize quenching mild had any effect. I’d rather make them out of mild anyway. Do you quench it in water or oil? 

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True mild; not much effect; nowadays you are more likely to get A-36 which can have quite an effect when quenched.  If I was using A36 I'd quench in water, 5160 oil and for that use I would not heat the oil as we are not going for maximum hardness/brittleness.

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The steel I used is sold as “weldable steel.” I haven’t been able to figure out if that is mild or A-36. TSC lists theirs as A-36 but I’m pretty sure that bar came from Ace. Ace does not specify the alloy in their product information. Googling the name brand didn’t help either.

Edit to add: since I’m going to have the forge fired up to make a drift anyway, I’ll probably try quenching the corners and see what happens. Worst case, I’ve wasted a couple minutes of my time. 

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Weldable steel is a meaningless addition by the store's marketing dept. They don't know enough to say something to make their steel sound "better" than lesser brands. Putting weldable on the bins sounds like an endorsement of a maybe better than other's steel. It's feeble but not a lie so there it is. "Weldable Steel!" Ooh ooh! Of course they can't tell you about the alloy or maker, they don't care they buy it by the ton cut into handy lengths. It's like buying breakfast at a convenience store, it's handy and faster but costs more than the same egg and sausage burrito made fresh at Taco bell.

Convenience costs. I can buy a 20' stick of anything available at Home Depot, or AIH for about the same as two 4' pieces. I do have to drive about 15 minutes each way, the guys in the yard ask me if I want it whacked it in half to fit the pickup. I was buying a stick of 3/8" square hot rolled for a demo and they cut it into 2' lengths when I told them what I was doing. 

However, if you ask at the counter they WILL charge you per cut. It's a don't ask don't tell situation to everybody's benefit. The cut charge on small sales barely covers the paperwork. 

The steel yard can and will provide you with detailed information about the steel, analysis, maker, even batch. Provided that is it's not something that's been on the racks for a couple years. Sometimes the racks aren't empty when a new shipment comes in so it gets mixed at the bottom. 

You aren't buying specialty steel so it doesn't matter except to new guys, we all asked questions that didn't really matter. No big deal, it doesn't make you new guys strange.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I always talk to the desk and tell them that I can use shorts, rusty "damaged" steel, etc.  Last time I bought class stock they emptied the bin and I got 90' for the price of 2 20' sticks and they were VERY happy too as it cleaned out a lot of "unsaleable" stuff.

My forge didn't notice it was short or rusty....

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You asked at the counter?!:o The yard dogs give me free run of the drops to save their backs tossing it in the bin they take it to the scrap yard. There's always a pile of drops by the saw and the "dumpster" is a ways across the yard, not a long ways but the guys still have to pick it up and throw it in. 

I'm shocked. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Convenience costs. I can buy a 20' stick of anything available at Home Depot, or AIH for about the same as two 4' pieces. I do have to drive about 15 minutes each way,

The closest steel mill to me is ~45 minutes away. The next closest is over an hour. Ace is about 10 minutes from me and TSC (Tractor Supply Company) is about 15. When I’m doing single pieces, it doesn’t make sense to make the drive. I also don’t have a good place to store large quantities of steel right now. When I start prepping for the city fair in mid-September, I’ll buy in bulk. 

The opportunity cost of lost time is something else I have to take into consideration. I’m a single dad with custody of two kids. I’m lucky if I get more than a handful of days a month that aren’t consumed by chores or kids. Unless I need large quantities of something, I’d rather pay a little more and spend the saved time at the forge. 

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Going to a steel mill is a bit more to the source than I meant! 

I'm not trying to make you justify how and where you buy stock we work with what we have and under the conditions that exist. Always be good to the kids, they'll be choosing your assisted living facility someday. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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With my youngest, I’ll be surprised if I make it to the home. She is all the mischief of a little boy rolled into the cuteness and sass of a little girl… I swear I get a new gray hair at least once a day. 

2 hours ago, Frosty said:

Going to a steel mill is a bit more to the source than I meant! 

:lol:The squirrels in my head were having a party when I wrote that. I meant steel yard. 
 

5 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

A-36.  Did you buy it in a big box store instead of a steel dealer?  But I'd bet it's A-36!

Ace is a franchise that fills the gap between big box and mom and pop. They have a better selection than your average mom and pop with better service than a big box store. 

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