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floor mandrels and swage blocks


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Mike: Cone mandrels are absolutely worthless in the flatlands. They only work on hillsides. On flatlands, they simply roll around in circles whereas on the side of a mountain they roll pretty straight. Since these are useless to you down there, I'll take them off your hands and use them over here where they can do some good.

Mandrels and swage blocks are tools that you REALLY need when you need them, and are in the way the rest of the time. Think of them as small children. Only harder. And don't move as fast. And eat less. This is breaking down fast....

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I have one swege block ( little over hundred pounds ), one short cone that is about 18"tall and has tong slot and one floor cone mandrel. I use the swege daily sometimes ( ladles, spoons, rolling handles, production work ). The cones get seldom use but I must admit that yesterday I used the floor cone for 2-3 rings from 3/16 x 3/4 and was very glad I had it. Rings of this nature can be forged on the horn, yes. I will also add that sometimes you will be happier working in vertical plane ( heat completed ring and tap down on the cone). True up as it cools on the cone and on the horn. The floor cone lives back behind the bandsaw and the small cone lives under the swege block on the stand. Neither eat much and I forget they are there until I need them.

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  • 2 years later...

For a demo we have used a swage block on edge with the half rounds accessible for forge welding cable and or odd shapes(such as welding a dozen old wire nippers together for a knife blade/ letter opener for an electrician) - helps to hold everything in shape for welding. Also laying flat you pick the closest hole size to use as a backup when punching/ drifting when the hardie and prichel in your anvil are to small. - makes life much easier when you need one. - JK

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I like to use the half rounds on the side of mine when making bells and the hollow on the one face when dishing bowl shapes. The large holes are handy for punching and enlarging holes. I have never used the hex nut slots for anything and the cursed thing is so heavy that I can't lift it to turn it over unless there are three men and small boy handy. The small boy is there to put chocks under it so we don't kill ourselves if it slips. I now have it at friends smithy for safe keeping. I don't want anybody tripping over it.:p

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I have scrounged individual dishing forms and half round swages for the stuff I do a lot of so my swage block doesn't get used a lot---much easier to throw a handfull of swages/dishing forms in a bucket for demos than bringing a swageblock.

I never saw the need for a cone mandrel until just lately when I've been doing a lot of a project where having a cone mandrel would cut down the truing up time to almost nothing! I really hope to pick up one of the nose cone ones at Quad-State this year...

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I do not have a floor mandrel but do have one for the hardy that use to make rings up to four inches on. Since the cone is pointier than my point on the horn, it works for opening up the holes in projects.

As far as swedge blocks, I have 2, 3 counting the one at Union Mills- but that one is not mine. One is standard size for bowls, spoons, shovel blanks, with different half rounds and triangle shapes on the side. Use it for the ladels I make for the re-enactors. The other is a small swedge block that is roughly 3 x 3 x1. Looking the image of a standard size swedge with half rounds and triangle forms plus spoon and ladle dishes. This I use for making ladels using horseshoe nails and different small items. Good for demo and not as heavy. You can carry it in you pocket.

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Flat creek that particular place on the block works excellent after you shrink a tire, yes. We use it at Threshers and from time to time I use it here at home. Sometimes you need a nice solid place like that. Junior has a blueprint on a piece of tooling that fits in the hardy that has a negative space the is better for many things as well. I believe he uses it for spoons but I sometimes use it for other things. I am in the process of making some wood blocks ( burning them ) for various types of spoons and small measures for the trailer shop. Long as I remember which ones are for that and not for fire bank wood and/or for the stove this fall and winter, life will be good. Seems I have several blocks either in the bed of the truck or in the trailer all the time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I use the swage blocks fairly frequently, and my larger cone mandrel will become essential, hopefully this weekend, when I try to start putting bands on some wheel hubs. If you have to straighten a ring, cone mandrels come in really handy... a tap here and a tap there... and the ring is now round.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

20 were sold by 1 person at Quad-State for use as cone mandrels. I bought mine Friday morning first thing as the supply has run out and it will all be the resale market now according to the person I bought it from.

I tossed one of my forge welded trivit circles on it as soon as I got it in the shop and it will be *perfect* for my use!

Nose cone from a ballistic missile.

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I have two smaller swage blocks of differing design as well as a 24" tall cone. All sit idly until I do some production work, then I simply can not do without them. All are small enough they can still be carried (slowly) across the shop when I set up stations, though they are big enough they don't move around much. Made stands for them all, got them somewhere............

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The more time someone spends using a floor mandrel the more useful they become for that person and the easier they are to use. The trick is to use gravity. Drop the non-round ring over the mandrel and tap it where you see light showing between the mandrel and the ring. Work gently but firmly around the ring tapping where you see light. The idea is to bring the ring to round, not smash it against the mandrel. Then flip the ring over and make any corrections on the other side. Use your hammer and tongs to adjust the ring so that it is level with the floor periodically.

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  • 5 months later...

i must admit i dont have a swage block nor any type of cone...yet but what i have noticed is the cones point is centered while the anvils bick is not, makes for a more uniform roll i'm "guessing" and well , as far as needing them. you need them when you need them so there good to have.

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  • 1 month later...

Since my last post on this thread, long ago, I have had the occasion to buy a saltfork craftsman swage and it is a thing of beauty, it rests on the side of my anvil, between the feet, and is really getting a lot of use, as for the floor mandrel, not so much!

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Sorry I don't have better pics of my swage stand but I think these will give you the idea of what I did.

It's made from broken guardrail posts salvaged from the old job bolted together 2 wide and 3 deep. The two front timbers are short so the edge of the block is at a good working height when on edge and the lays securely flat at the same height on the four back timbers.

It's reasonably easy to tip up on the flat or tip it down on edge with a pinch bar in one of the through holes. It isn't perfect but it works nicely enough I'll keep it.

Frosty

14170.attach

14171.attach

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