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Mike Ferrara

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  1. I have one of my anvils...a 170 something Peter Wright...set in a drum full of sand. Works great and doesn't ring bad at all.
  2. It's been hot here and lots of rain the last week or so. I don't get much blade work done in the summer. I'm always behind on my shoe making (I'm a farrier) so if I do light the forge, I need to make shoes. If I'm not behing on shoes, it means I've already spent too much time in front of the forge sweating. On the bright side, I actually sell the hand made shoes. LOL
  3. I don't know about the forgemaster but I don't do much welding in my NC Wisper. It scales like crazy and the heat is marginal at best. I do most of my welding in coal or charcoal. I've done a few billets by hand but I've never done anything with a real high layer count. In fact, swinging a hand hammer has taught me to appreciate low layer count pattern welded steel. The last one I did and the one I have stacked, tacked and ready for welding now is like 14 layers. I'm currently using 1095 and 15N20. I just stack 12 or 14 layers, weld it, forge it down a bit, twist it and start forging b
  4. Since I do shoe horses, I find it more entertaining that some folks assume that all farriers are blacksmiths and use the terms interchangeably. In the US, at least, I suppose it's an honest mistake since many, if not most, rural blacksmiths did shoe horses. I really get a kick out of some of the business cards I've seen of farriers whos cards say "farrier and blacksmith" when I know for a fact that they are NOT a blacksmith. Personally I am a professional farrier, a hobby blacksmith and a "novice" bladesmith. LOL considering the number of blades I ruin as apposed to finish, I suppo
  5. I'm glad this came up. I'm a farrier too and I feel a little silly but I had some OLD rusted up shoes in the shop and never thought to look to see if they were wrought. I looked and they are. I have some old pieces of harness gear and some of those pieces are wrought also. I'm thinking that stuff will be better used for knife fittings than just clutter in the shop. It's not like I don't have plenty of horse shoes. LOL
  6. I tend to think that a lot of this is due to liability concerns. A nut flips out and kills some people in the workplace, school or whatever and families of the victems take legal action against the institution on the grounds that they didn't do enough to prevent it. The last two companies that I worked for had no weapons policies. No sharp or pointed tool could be possessed on company property unless it was a company issued tool. The policy extended even to what was in our cars. I live in a rural area and it isn't unusual to do some hunting or fishing after work. Technically, you couldn't
  7. I built a side draft using the plans that are on anvillfire.com. I put a 12 inch pipe om it and there's no smoke in my shop.
  8. I don't know what the brand is. The "cracks" do look shallow. Thay almost look to uniform to really be "cracks" which is what made me think that it might be something from the manufactiring process. I have of course made steel crack before but it never looked like that.
  9. I needed a good sized piece of stock for a project and decided to try a piece of a crowbar. I started spreading one end and noticed what looked like a crack. At first I thought I did it somehow but on closer examination the "crack" runs the full length of the bar. In fact there are "cracks" visable on several of the flats. Could this be something from the manufacturing process (deep tool marks or cracks from heat treating) or did I somehow crack the whole bar?
  10. Here is a link that I think will answer your question. Trade axe & Tomahawk In short, I don't think American Indians ever made anything from steel. Various hawks and hatchets were used by frontier folk and even by various militaries. As I understand it, the difference between a hawk and a hatchet is it's intended use. A hatchet is a tool and a hawk is a weapon. And yes, some were traded to the American Indians.
  11. I have a bottle opener that I made that was intended to be a wall hook witha mules head on it. I messed up the hook/wall mount but the mule head came out really good so I didn't want to scrap it. I cut the head out and forged the shank into a bottle opener. I put a cooking oil finish on it and it has never rusted. People get a real kick out of it and it a nice conversation piece but the ears on the mule head are a real pain if you try to carry the think in your pocket. LOL
  12. There are forges and then there are forges. If one has the money, they can order a ready made gas or solid fuel forge and have it in a few days. There are lots of ways to make a forge and there are plans all over the net. At the most basic level all you need is something to hold fuel and a way to blow in some air. It could be as simple as a hole in the ground with wood or charcoal for fuel. A cheap blow drier and a piece of pipe (or maybe even without the piece of pipe) can get the air in. With some plywood, you can build a box bellows and then you don't even need an outlet to plug in
  13. I don't want to discourage you but learning blacksmithing and being able to make a living at it are two very different things. Of course, some do it and quit a few of them have web sites you can look at to get an idea of what they make and sell. In addition to this site check out some of the blacksmithing sites like anvilfire and iforgeiron. There are some schools as well as local blacksmithing groups that can help you get going also. One great thing about the internet is there are so many step by step project tutorials that it's pretty easy to get up and running and making some pretty
  14. I don't know what the best way is but I can tell you what I have. I have a heavy duty centuar pot (round and shallow). When welding I use fire bricks stacked up on the sides to help get a deeper fire but when doing other work I just pile up the charcoal in the pot. I think it all works ok but I'd rather have a deeper pot and I don't have much to compare to.
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