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Everything posted by KPeacock

  1. I suspect it will work. I made a smaller version of what you're planning using the drum off of an F-350 and a hairdryer. Using homemade charcoal as a fuel source, I can easily burn steel. Sparks jump right off of it. so the temps are easy to achieve. I use this forge for little more than melting down aluminum scrap now, but with a little bit of work, I think it could have been quite usable. Namely, the addition of some soft firebrick to creat a sort of enclosure to retain some heat. it sounds as though your plan has potential. I'm no forge building expert though. I've seen the light when it comes to forge welding. for me its far easier to remain consistant using propane.
  2. How may want to consider getting a couple of 2' long pieces of rebar from home depot or the like. they are quite cheap and easy to forge. I've made a few pairs of tongs out of them and they work well enough for me. One of the problems I found using my charcoal forge of similar design to yours is that it gets darn hot grabbing things with pliers, vice grips, channel locks...etc Also, making the tongs gets you a bit of experience moving metal where you want it to go, and you'll end up with something usefull. As for the leaf springs, the junkyard near me sells them $11 for the pack. $22 for the pair. I've found that they take quite a bit of pounding to shape. In addition, cutting them without power tools is a time consuming process. A cut-off wheel works well as does the torch, but a hacksaw isn't great for them. Anyhow, you can make a couple dozen knives out of a spring pack. Railroad spikes are low carbon and make a poor metal choice for a good knife, but they are easy to shape and free/cheap to obtain. I hammered out a dozen or so of these practicing. I "hardened" a few of them, but they never get all that hard. All the same, it was a valuable experience. As for the "anvil," heavy and flat is all you need. scrap yards are a great source for this at low cost.
  3. attached are some pics of the crack. I combined photos into a PDF file. I'm not sure that this will post propertly. I used one of my co-workers cameras and the pics are 3264X2488 and a bit over 2 megs. This is a bit large to be posting here, so I tried to shrink and combine them. cracked_blade.pdf
  4. Thanks for the advice, Wes. It was recommended that I quench in oil, and I plan to. I was curious and I let that get the better of me. It's disappointing to see a blade crack like that, but ultimately, I just lost a 3.5" blade, not a 36" blade. At least I have that going for me. Also, lessons learned when expirimenting will likely help me out down the road. I plan to use "extra" bits of the billet to make a series of coupons to test with differing heat treating strategies. I've been told the ideal way to treat this metal, and I expect that method to perform the best, but I don't like to blindly follow someone elses lead. While I can certainly appreciate learning from others mistakes, I want to see first hand the results of quenching from too high of a temperature, or quenching in water versus oil. Whjat is the difference in ormalizing in air versus in vermiculite...etc.
  5. Well, the success stopped at the billet stage of the game. I figured as long as I was successful at first attempts, I might just as well try a quench in water and see what happens. I edge quenched in warm (to the touch) water and got a marvelous crack in the blade. I plan to oil quench the knives that this billet is destined to become, but I only had an hour or two into making the small test blade, so it was worth it to see what would happen in water. The blade steel is 1095 and 15N20. I'll get some pictures loaded this afternoon.
  6. I too started with a Tim lively inspired forge. I used the cheap kitty litter fro mthe food store. It comes i na brown paper bag and says "all natural" or something like that. This is one of the cheapest ways you can get your clay. it's something on the order of about $7 for a 40# bag of it. I then mixed this with some water, some sand, and some wood ash to make the adobe. you'll be suprozed at how much of this you need to make. I used about 130# of sand, 150# of ckitty litter, maybe a gallon and a half of wood ash, and enough water to make it all go together. I mixed in a 5 gal bucket and then spread out in the big tub. One thing to consider. this will not be light when you're done with it. I realized this wehn i had to move my set up. i decided to take it down from the 55gal drum I had it sitting on. this was do-able, but gravity was going to win. I just steered it and slowed it. I used an engine hoist to lift it back onto the drum. I later modified it without thinking and made it very hard to move. I cut the darn handle off of one side to make it easier to put metal in and out of the coals. This work great for the forging, but not so great for lifting. I had to weld up a sling for it so it can be lifted and then wheeled into place on the engine hoist. The first day I fired this forge up I made a set of tongs. The first set was hard to make, but after that, it's quite easy....since you have soemthing to dold the metal with. I don't use tongs much now. I simply weld some 1/2" rebar to whatever I'm messing with and use the rebar as a handle.
  7. I've always been partial to a lower layer count, but this is the first time I've seen an 18layer billet pulled off. I do believe I'll be making a similar pattern in the near future. Thanks for sharing
  8. Steel Use: I'm not entirely sure. When I first began posting here, Mike blue contacted me about a get together he was having. While down at his place I was able to observe some folks making damascus and picked up a lot of info. This is some steel that Mike had laying around his shop. Based on the colors that it etched at, and commonly used metals, I'm guessing 1084 and 15N20. By the time I get a blade worked out of the larger billet, I'll have to find out for sure so I can properly heat treat the blade The original stack had 25 layers. I worked it to 200 layers an called it good. It's personal preference, but I like the patterns that have fewer than 250 layers. They have more of a bold look to me. I forged the billet into 200 layers, and then I did not draw it out al lthe way. I kept the billet at about 1/2" thick by 2.5" wide and however long it was. So, basically I had a thick piece of bar stock. I then ground grooves into it about 1/8" thick ,give or take. See picture of how I did this. I used an agle grinder to make the grooves. After making the grooves, I simply drew the bar out. The High spots that were not ground on get smashed down to the same level as the low spots. this exposes some of the different layers giving the grained appearance. I drew it out to 1/4" thickness which will leave me plenty to make wahtever knife I decide on. This is just a bit off of the end of the billet that I sanded up to see the pattern.
  9. Well I finally got my first billet welded up and forged down to something close to knife thickness. I realized that I have more steel than I need for the two knives I had planned on making so I plan to make a damascus blade for one of my EDC storebought folders. I am not confident enough in my finishing abilities to attempt a folder just yet, but I do believe I can duplicate the blade shape and size and simply swap out the blades. Anyhow, here a couple of pics of the pattern I ended up with. I etched in ferric for about 1 minute or so. I tested the end of the mini-billet with cold blueing. I then rubbed one side down with fine styeel wool to see what it would do to the blued finish. Thoughts, comments, and criticism welcome. Thanks, Kris
  10. I've been gathering pieces and parts for a while to make a nasty log splitter. same basic principles involved. If you research homemade log splitters you'll see everything you need on how to plumb the system. the only real differences are a gasoline engine instead of an electric motor, and of cours the ram would likely be vertical in a press, and typically horisontal for many of teh wood splitters out there. Northern Tool and Equipment (www.northerntool.com) has all of the components you'll need to make the hydraulic system. If you scrounge around you can get parts free/cheap. I've spent absolutely nothing in getting mine together. I have the pump, ram, motor, valve, and some various hoses. All I need is the beam, and I need to weld up the framework and fluid tank. If you want it fast, it'll cost money. if you're in no hurry, you can nab parts when the opportunity presents itself. Another option for knife making is the "mini-press" as detailed in a sticky thread. I have recently made one of these and I'm amazed at how well it works.
  11. This isn;t exactly rated "G", but it's a useful saying that has served me well over the years. Years ago, one of my college professors told me this. "Procrastination is like masturbation. It feels real good at first, but in the end you realize that you're just f****** yourself." I think the old chap hit the nail on the head
  12. I have two lines of thought depending on what the knife is for. For most of the knives I make for myself, I tend to make a crude knife shape by forging. then its just a matter of a handle and an edge. This is plenty adequate for a hide scraper, or a machette...etc. For knives I'm making for others, or for EDC, I like to get everything to a mirror polish. I figure this helps prevent rust be decreasing the surface area that rust can attack. I also like the look of it. The downside to the mirror finish is that any flaws in the shape are very evident. I don't have filing jigs, or a fancy grider, or sander. All of my finish work is done with files and hand held paper. I like to do the best I can with what I have. It's more a matter of personal gratification when a knife is made. I know that I used simple tools to make a simple tool. There's somthing about the whole process that I find theraputic. I do most of my work in a propane forge just for simplicity and consistancy. The end results are better for me this way. Any knife I give as a gift, I want to be right. I want the owner to be proud that they have something nobody else has. For my own knives, I make my own charcoal. I burn it in a forge that I made. I use an anvil that I made. I use a hammer that belonged to my great grandfather. I use leather that I tanned, and tools that I made. It kind of puts life in perspective for me. I certainly enjoy the toys and accessories of modern day life, but it's ncioe to get away from the cell phones, the TV, the bills, the politics. When I'm forging, everything else seems to just disappear, and I simply relax. I often regret it the next day when I'm sore and tires, but I enjoy that part too. Ultimately I don't know what drives me to do this. Sometimes it's simp,y the end result. other times, I do it as a personal escape from everyday life. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but whatever it is, it's highly addictive.
  13. My first die set-up was very similar to this. In the that hold the die down (or up) I drilled a hole and tapped it to accept a 1/4" bolt. This was necessary to keep the dies from shift foreward and backward while pressing and moving the billet. My current set-up has a retaining plate on the back of the press so that the dies can only move so far back. On the front side, havd a small piece of plate that pivots out of teh way to slide new dies in and out. When the new dies are in place, this piece of plate is simply rotated back into position to keep the dies held firmly in place so they done move fore and aft. I do like the 1/4" stop you have on there. I'll add those to my dies next time i get out in the shop.
  14. My first "anvil" wsnothing more than some2" steel plate that I cut and welded into a stack for some localized mass. I welded this to a small section of I-beam just to give me some options to mount it. it's not impressive, but it worked fairly well. I have since lucked across an anvil, but have yet to put it to use as I've been using a mini-press to make the billet I need. attached is a picture of this redneck anvil. Clearly it's not very aesthetically pleasing, but it is rather effective.
  15. I'd like to say a quick THANKS to all the folks who have contributed to this thread. All of the pictures, tips, and advice were great help. I too have constructed one of these little mini-presses, and I'm amazed at how well it works. I was anticipating a lot of time and sore muscles hammering out a billet of damascus. I was able to get it pressed into the pattern and shape I wanted in about 5 hours of work...and very little effort on my part. Heck, I saved enough in propane costs to justify the $150 I paid for the jack and the steel to make the press. On a side note, to anyone else making one of these. be sure to use washers and nuts to hold the bolts in place on you cross piece....assuming yours is of variable position design. without the washers and nuts, I grossly deformed the 1/4" plate near the bolt holes. Also, be sure to set the dies up in a manner that keeps them aligned with each other. My drawing dies were not align well and it resulted in a "bannana billet." I've now changed that a little and its working much better. Thanks again, Kris
  16. The cheapest source of Insulation I found was ebay. I think it was about $40 for enough of it to line 3 smaller forges. I forget exact price and square footages. Its worth checking out though. good luck
  17. Tate, I don't want to be stalker-ish, but I live quite close to you. I'm veary near the itnersection of CR-42 and CR-18 near the Prior Lake water tower. Heck, I can't be more than 4 or 5 miles from you. Kris
  18. My first thought was a rolling mill as well, but I sure hope thats not the case. I don't think the Al would hold of for very long at all. I'll place my bet on it being an ornimental flag pole holder the the office desk.
  19. On my blown forge I used to blower out of a discarded dryer. They operate at relatively low pressures, and fairly high volumes. I'm not sure what that volume is, but it's plenty to get oxidizing flames at 15psi of gas pressure. The best part of using a dryer motor is that they are designed to be run in fairly warm environments. They are also already set up to be conencted to felxible ducting. If you check our craigslist, you'll likely be able to find one for free. Search for "dryer" or "scrap" or something similar. They are on there all the time in the free section. Good luck
  20. Sharpening to that angle will likely not get you a shaving edge. You should try something in the 15° range. In addition, do you have a shaving strop? or even a decent leather belt? you can use the leather to effectively polish the edge to get that last bit of sharpness. This has worked well for me on my knives. I began using this method after I started using a straight razor to shave. The difference it makes is quite noticable.
  21. I'm suprised you found it there. I was under the impression that RadioShack stopped selling it. I've called all of the local stores as well as computer parts places and nobody carries it. i had to buy it in solid form from a medical supply company. i have no idea what they inted it to be used for, but I had to sign some chemical release forms.
  22. Dan, Thanks for the input. My buddy said the spark test wasn't very exciting :-/
  23. I got mine from a local construction company that specializes in installing water supply networks. All of the Ductile Iron Pipe they use has 1/2" wall thicknesses and can be easily found in diameters ranging from 4" to 12". I was on site doing a building inspection for them and noticed all of these pieces of pipe ranging from 1' to 3' in length. they were cut off ends of pipe from various projects. they weld 1/2" plate to the ends and use them as jack stands when working on excavators. The shop foreman told me I could take as many of them as I wanted. My supposition is that a case of beer would easily get you the pipe you need. good luck
  24. Matt, The second link you provided is fantastic. That essentially what I"m doing with my set up. It appears to be working very well for that fellow. I believe it may work better in a vertical forge than in a horizontal forge. Any unburned fuel would be pulled by gravity to the bottom of the outfit when it would contact the hot walls of the forge and vaporize. It looks like I might have to go ahead and make a vertical forge as well :-) I'm beginning to find that, although I can realistically only use one forge at a time, I have a great desire to have more and more forges. Mike blue hit the nail on the head when i was picking his brain for ideas. When asking him what type/style of forge is "best" he simply said "It doesn't matter. You'll build more than one." I thought that a bit odd at the time as I only needed one forge, one hammer, and one "anvil" to make a knife. For me, it's almost as fun making the tools of the trade as it is making the knives.
  25. Eric, I am familiar with the design you're refering to. It may be necessary to go that route, but i believe it to be possible to atomoze fuel using little more than the heat of the forge itself. With a propane burner in place, welding tempr, or very near them, can be achieved before adding diesel. My theory is that the diesel can be dripped into the forge and will be evaporated (atomized) but the heat of the forge. The atomized fuel is then burned. It seems to me like there must be some minimum fuel flow rate to sustain this reaction. I'll have to dig out some of my old thermodynamics and ehat transfer books to recall the specific heat of diesel and is boiling point...etc. I'm encouraged by the early results and am quite eager to continue expirimenting. The wife demands that I repair her snowmobile before I "play with hammers." So I must take care of that first. I would be more comfortable doing this type of expirimenting outdoors as well. Minnesota is no the best place to be outdoors tinkering in January. I'll keep the board posted though. If this works as well as I think it will, I believe forges can be made simpler for newbies like myself. It is truly amazing how addictive this hobby is. Just a couple of months ago I was excited to have made a charcoal forge. Now I've made 2 solid fuel, two gas forges, and I'm expirimenting with liquid fuel. It makes me curious as to what devices I'll create/duplicate in the months to come :-)
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