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I Forge Iron

Wiley and Russell bolt/nut threading machine

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So over 30 years ago I spotted this machine in a magazine and was thrilled to see it in there..  

Once in 30 years have I seen 1 until I found this unit on FB market place for 500.00..    I knew something was wrong as it was cut in half.. Turns out the guy passed away but used it for making twists in 1/2" square stock pickets..    

He did some things that I would never think of like cutting it in half to gain length ( I would have just made a new extension) and welding via arc welding a socket inside the die holder. 

Nearly every part of it is cast iron..  Even the die holder..  Would have been easy to make one correctly to fit it and the stock..  











So everything freed up nicely and Wiley and Russell make really nice gear..  Their mandrel cones are some of the most sought after..  Both the 1 piece and especially the 2 piece design. 

Sadly their production of blacksmithing oriented items was fairly short lived as the company was bought and absorbed by Greenfield tap and die and stopped producing the blacksmithing items about 1912 or so.. I might be off the date..  Been a long day. 

They made very high quality items..  At least all the ones I have seen. 

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Here are some of the clean up photos..  W&R used dies that were sized for that sized stock so the holders were not really universal..  I have one that was hidden behind the plate welded on and is just undersized by about 1/16" for a standard sized adjustable die.. 

The screws were still in the holder and the holders are easy to cut on a metal lathe. 

The hand wheel has been completely broken off.   









3 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Cool machine. You can go into business as, Jennifer's Nuts!

I'll be looking forward to seeing the restored pics.

Frosty The Lucky.

LOL..  thanks that was very funny..     


I'd love to fix the body but not a fan of nickel rod..  I can't imagine having a huge bright silver bead running acrossed it..  I'll try to find some cast iron rod that is cast iron.. Muggy weld makes some as does another company..  Hopefully it will work ok.. 

I'll do a test weld and if not possible I'll have to put some C channel under it and bolt it together.. I'll exhaust all options before I drill more holes in it. 

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Jen, if you can turn them out fast enough square nuts and bolts have some economic value, particularly those that have a roughed up hammer marked head.  You could also do things like rosettes.  However, the boredom factor of turning out the same thing over and over would kick in.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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George.  True, true..  

I guess it's more of a handy thing to have verses for commercial production..  A CNC metal lathe with and auto feeder would be the way to go..   They are amazing to see run especially when one considers what it takes to do by manual hand operated machining and time.. 

It's interesting that today when I drive by older shops they are usually looking for manual machinist..  

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  • 1 month later...

That is one cool machine right there. Looking at though i would have guessed some kind of broach. 

Manual machinists are a dying breed. What they teach now in schools is almost entirely CNC. In a way it is kind of nice becuase i can walk into just about anyshop and tell them what i want to make, unfortunately the machinery i run there are 2 shops that currently have them that i know of in this area. I spent 20 years away from the industry, back then CNC guys got paid nice. When i hired into the shop i am currently at last year i got about 25% more than a CNC guy becuase i knew manual machine concepts. 

Over the last year and the covid 20% of machine shops in the Dayton area went out of business. You would think that many shops going under that machinsts would be a dime a dozen, how ever at 51 i am consider a young guy. Most of these older guys chose retirement or a change of career i.e. something different and easier. 


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I have used some cast iron repair rods that were a perfect color match. They run over $50 a pound though.

One was made in Switzerland and came with a welder I bought. It ran like 7018. Harris also makes a good rod. I grind down and finish with a file the weld prep to avoid smearing the graphite in the iron too much, pre heat, weld short 1"-1.5" beads then peen them while they are still red with a heavy duty industrial inline needle scaler until they are a black heat. When done, I do a post heat and bury the part in gray wood ashes to cool overnight.

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Unfortunately no. That was back in the late 80's early 00's. I used up what came with my welder. I just remember seeing Made in Switzerland on the box. Red and gray box if I remember right. At Jelly Belly we used a Harris rod.  I'd go to a local welding supplier and ask them what they carry. Ours had several options beyond E99. Some were for color matching, some left a super hard bead, it all depended on the application. 

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