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I Forge Iron

Newbie from New Zealand


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Hello everyone, new to the forum and the craft. I am a 14 year old from New Zealand, I have built myself a forge, my dad has a business with a workshop and a few welders and various wetalworking equipment so I was lucky there. I have only got a railroad track as my anvil so far, because blacksmithing gear is nigh on impossible to find in New Zealand. Let me know what you think of my setup. Got myself some coal from bunnings.20220410_102141.thumb.jpg.4c498333bebfc0a538d5bd604fa3a923.jpg

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What I really need is a set of tongs, anyone got a quick and dirty method of making a pair? 

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Do you have a name, nickname, handle, etc. we may address you with? Your login is pretty cumbersome so we'd have to make something up for you. Hmmm?

Not bad for not knowing what you're really doing. A disk rotor makes a better fire pot, drums tend to be way too deep so you end up burning more coal than you should for the work you get out of it. 

A 90* bend in the air supply pipe will get filled with clinker and ash pretty quickly and the way you set yours up you'll have to break it loose with a piece of rod then turn your whole forge on it's side to dump it out. Make sense?

Leave finding a brake rotor for your next forge, you WILL be building one. We all make a couple few forges before finding out what works for us.

The tuyere is an actual problem but you can solve it by cutting it just above the top of horizontal pipe. Cut the old welds but don't throw the horizontal piece away, it goes back on in a different position. Do you have hole saws? If so simply drill a hole inn the vertical pipe the same size as the pipe diameter an inch under where the vertical pipe meets the fire pot. Do a little grinding on the pipe you cut off so it is close to matching the vertical pipe. I use my hole saw to cut the pipe myself but you need a drill press ad good vise.

Then you weld the horizontal back to the vertical pipe. There should be several inches of open pipe pointing straight down below where the horizontal pipe enters, it looks like a letter T laying on it's side. Make sense?

The last step is making an ash gate so you can empty the tuyere when ash and clinker starts building up. No need to get fancy, a piece of sheet steel large enough to cover the end with a simple hinge and counter weight is pretty easy to make. What I do now is buy an exhaust flap cap like you see on Semi exhaust stacks. The clamp ones come with a U bolt type clamp and install in seconds. Buy one the same size or slightly larger than your tuyere pipe and clamp it on UPSIDE DOWN. That is IT, ash dump. The counter weight will keep it closed and if it starts getting too full simply reach under the forge with something, tongs, hammer, piece of stock, whatever is handy and lift the counter weight the flap opens and dump the junk.

Always ALWAYS keep a steel bucket with a few inches of water under the ash dump so you don't light anything on fire when you dump the ash. RIGHT?

For your next anvil don't try grinding it to LOOK like what folks with TVs thing an anvil should look like. RR rail makes an excellent anvil mounted on end. You can grind the web and flanges to make many of the common bottom tools, Hardy, butcher, fuller, horn, bending forks, etc. If you run out of web and flange you can just turn it over and make more. 

Check out the improvised anvil ideas here.  

Just remember all a "real" anvil is, is something heavy and hard you use to beat things on. PERIOD. Keep the one you made, it'll be a beautiful bench anvil for doing light fiddly things.

You're off to a good start, keep at it and we're around if you have questions, problems, etc. Just don't get upset if we point you at a section of Iforge or elsewhere to read for yourself.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Howdy from eastern Oklahoma! An welcome to the forum! 

I agree with Frosty, your gonna need to ad an ash dump to the bottom, apart from clogging up, it can also build up gas and cause a small explosion!…. Ask me how I know! Lol

I can’t wait to see pictures of your work!

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BP001 Easy to make tongs

Get yourself a 2 pound hammer, your body will thank you and you will have much more control of where and how you hit metal.

If you can hit hot metal on it, then it is an anvil.  I have never seen anyone pay more for something due to the name on the side of the anvil.  Learn to use what you have now and add new or better tools and tooling as the opportunity arises.  Look at some of the things the third world blacksmiths use, such as sitting on the ground to work, a lump of metal for an anvil, charcoal for fuel, etc.  

Tools do not make a blacksmith, the blacksmith makes the tools.

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Currently using a battery powered leaf blower, but I only get about an hour of forging time with it, so looking at othe options.

Thanks for that idea iron dragon, I'll do that, sounds a bit easier:D

Thanks for the link Glen I'll make them asap 

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20 minutes ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

Ya a leaf blower will put out way too much air anyway. A 12 volt automotive heater/A/C blower makes a good one if you know a mechanic that works on cars they may have one that still works. Repair shops are a good source of usable stock also.

Ok, so hook one up to a 12 volt power supply, or would a car battery be better 

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You'd be better off for that much money buying a mattress inflater, I pick them up at garage, yard, etc. sales when they're cheap enough, they come in 12v dc or 120v ac or whatever the house current in there. They still make way more air than you need but they're small cheap, even new and who knows you may need to inflate an air mattress or raft some day.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Oh there's way too much air from a mattress inflator but it's easy enough to control, just don't aim it all at the tuyere pipe. Even new they're pretty cheap, $13 USD at the beginning of camping, rafting season last year and less than 1/2 last fall, REALLY cheap on the clearance table. One of the guys in our club picked up one that ran on 12v dc or 120c ac, depending on which cord you plugged in. Cost him $8 IIRC.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I taught a class at the Uni yesterday where one of the anvils I brought was just a solid chunk of steel:   Something like 8.5"x5"x6".  Worked fine and was better for one of the projects that any of the "used" london pattern anvils.  I paid 20 USCents a pound for it at the scrapyard.  I wanted to show folks starting out that you didn't have to spend a lot of money to get started in smithing!  My minions want me to put handles on it to make it easier to move...(The deal with teaching smithing at the Fine Arts Metals class is that they have to supply minions to load/unload and set up.  I will bring all that is needed wrt forge, tools, scrap metal, postvise, etc.)

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As for the fire pot being too deep, how about welding a piece of 6mm plate a few inches up from the bottom. Would that burn less coal? Also,there is 1 spot a out 150mm across that is extremely hot, but the rest is rather cold, if I spread out quite a few holes around the plate, would that help. LMK what you think 

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  • 4 weeks later...

hello all up untill now i have been using pieces of scrap, and rebar, but i have found this a little limiting, often i can make certain things becasue my steel is the wrong size. I am wanting to place a small order for a few meters of steel, what are the most versatile and multiuse sizes. i am on a very tight budget and i want to get the best bang for my buck 

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I start guys out with 3/8" square hot rolled call it 10mm. It's heavy enough to hold heat long enough to get some serious work done per heat but light enough you won't need too many heats per project. Or 12.5mm round hot rolled, it's very close to the same weight per foot, essentially the same volume per length. I have 1/2" sq hot rolled on hand, call it 12.5mm. sq. but it's not as popular amongst the beginners.

Here buying a shorter than stock length often costs more than buying a full stick. 20f' is a standard length at our steel yards, call it 6m and a bit. I don't know what common lengths are at your steel yards but I always buy full sticks.

Hard to carry home? Wellllll, when you collect the stick on the loading dock out back, the yard guy will probably ask if you'd like it cut to carry. Do NOT ask the person at the counter, they MUST charge to cut but the guys on the loading dock can just whack it for you. If they don't offer to cut it for you get out the hack saw you brought with you, measure and start cutting. Even if you have to cut it yourself it's only a minute's work but I've never seen a yard dog let me waste dock space and cut my own. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I find 1/4"/6mm square hot rolled to be useful for small projects such a S and J hooks.  Flat stock such as 3/4"x 1/8" (18-20mm x 2-3mm) is useful too.

Unless you need very crisp, clean right angle edge cold rolled stock is more expensive than hot rolled and is the same metal.  Cold rolled is sometimes sold as "key stock" and comes in 12' (scant 4 meter) lengths.  Once it is forged you often cannot tell whether you started with hot or cold rolled stock.

That said, I have found that recently manufactured stock can vary in quality and attributes along the length of a piece of stock.  This did not used to be the case.  It is not as bad a the variations in rebar but I have noticed it.  I suspect that bar stock may now be made in the same continous casting method as rebar with a bit more control on the feed stock.  

I suspect that much of the steel in NZ is imported.  There may be a difference in steel coming from Oz and that from Asia.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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It all depends on what projects you're working on. If some round stock comes your way cheap, there's certainly no harm in having it. Remember that round stock can be hammered square and square stock can be hammered round, which can be good practice for your hammer control.

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Having some round stock handy is a good thing but as John said above blacksmithing is ABOUT moving iron/steel like modeling clay so sq into rnd and vise versa is just part of the craft.

I bought sticks of 5/16", 3/8" and 1/2". I use a lot more 5/16" rnd. than the others, 1/4" is a special order as of a few years ago. I use it for making rivets amongst other things. I forge things from the others occasionally, it saves time making some projects but one stick of 3/8" & 1/2 hor rolled round have lasted me a few years.

Frosty The Lucky.

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A while back, I came into possession of quite a lot of pretty cheap 3/8" square bar, much of which went into building a rack for hammers and top tools. Now I have a project that could use that dimension, so I'm going to cut it out of the rack and swap in some salvaged oddball stock that I don't currently have another use for. Constant adaptation and reuse is the name of the game!

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Any place that uses steel that you can ask about buying drops from cheap?  I find that I tend to design to use stock I have on hand.  I once worked near a place that did Fab work.  They had to pay to get their scrap tip emptied.  I made a deal with them and got hundreds of pounds of free steel in various sizes over the years till I had to move.

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Sorry for the late replies everyone, been a bit busy 

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Remember that round stock can be hammered square and square stock can be hammered round

Good point john, pays to be reminded of these things, funny how you forget small things like that. 

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Any place that uses steel that you can ask about buying drops from cheap?

Okay, ill look into that, there are a few engineering workshops around, I might go and talk to a few.

When I was looking though the steel rack at dads work I found 7-8 y meter long pieces lengths of 6mm round stock, so pretty stoked bout that, whats more I can have as much as I want too. 

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