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John Page

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John Page last won the day on December 5 2021

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About John Page

  • Birthday May 11

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    Half way between somewhere and nowhere
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    Bladesmithing, blacksmithing, Norse mythology, archery, cartography, woodworking

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  1. I just finished up a ribbon burner build, the first time I have really spend time using them. The forge build itself was designed for huge billets for a project on the near horizon that requires hundreds of pounds of steel broken into ~15kg billets. Really massive project. Anyway, I made the mistake of using too much castable refractory and although it is good to have the thermal mass when adding that much cold metal, it takes almost an hour to get up to temp and stays hot for more than 6 hours after turning it off even keeping the fan running. I tried the smallest bouncy house blower I could find (around 130cfm, nor sure what that translates to) and even with an inline speed control to reduce the power to less than half it was still far too much. In the end I got a three way valve marketed for pool supply and vent almost 90% of the air out the side and, with the burner in a smaller forge I can get to an extreme welding heat in maybe 15min. Moral of the story for me was having as small of a forge chamber as you can get away with, more kaowool than castable, and devoting a solid amount of time to getting the fuel/air right. It's probably simpler with a blown forge that uses a single or double orifice rather than a ribbon burner but I have otherwise only ever used venturi forges which by comparison are easy.
  2. I picked up a huge plate shear recently and it can cold cut mild up to I think 3/8, maybe larger. The leverage comes from a single gear from handle to blade so there's a little mechanical advantage to help out. Before finding this one, I had my eye on a few different similar machines that were classified as manual iron workers but I don't think that was totally correct. Peddinghaus made one that had passthroughs for various shapes and I believe could handle up to 1" square! In any event, something like that might be more available to you than saws but still have good capacity, especially for non-ferrous but also thin tool steels.
  3. I work at a sawmill for the day job and I find a lot of things that trees grow around, but that's a new one! Needless to say it's a surprise to have a blade explode in the middle of a 5' diameter log because it grew around a rock or a metal fence post 80 years ago!
  4. Good stuff! I've used these with the anvil too and in the right circumstances do a decent job if you don't have someone else to hold/strike for you.
  5. Will do! The minimal consolidation I was able to manage resulted in minimal actual forging, mostly just hammering it slowly into itself at high heats like you described. Welding heat for steel is melting for the cast I was working so it took a bit of trial and error and loss of most of the billet, but what's left is a fairly solid chunk large enough that I'll likely have to cut it into smaller sections to weld into wrought. Now that I think about it I might have tried something similar before but with much worse proportions that ultimately doomed it to failure. The cast was so thick and overall billet so large that it just sort of dripped out the sides. Now that I know better, the results should (hopefully) yield better results!
  6. Really interesting stuff, cool to see some new-to-me steel making methods. That's especially interesting with the widmanstatten patterns, I've only ever heard of those in meteoric iron patterns from the nickel. I have a few hunks of cast iron hearth steel from many years ago that I've never been able to forge into anything, folding into wrought sounds like a worthy experiment to see if I can get anything useable out of the maybe 5-7lb of it that are left from the previous attempts at decarb and consolidation. Thanks for sharing!
  7. No worries! I totally understand, I would absolutely dread trying to long distance (or even short distance!) relocate my shop. There are quite a few things on that list that also jump out, I’ll figure out my near term work schedule and shoot you a dm, I might take a trip out. John
  8. That Paragon sure is tempting! I'm a bit of a hike from you but I may have to make a drive up. I'll be watching for sure
  9. Wow that looks like it might be the exact same machine! From the scale, I think it's the same size, not larger. Would you be able to take some pictures of the linkage underneath? Mine has a bi-directional barrel switch in addition to the on/off switch that seems to have been added around the time of the motor and gearbox, so the clutch may not be needed but it'd be great to have reference to what it looks like. Like you, I've never seen another machine like it so it's neat to know they are out there! So far I've put only narrow stock through, no more than 1.5" wide and taken thin passes but so far so good. With wrought it's awesome, but still testing to do on how thick of a bite it'll handle.
  10. Good luck! Looks like quite an interesting project. Are you doing all the casting? I've been casually interested in getting some sort of either centrifugal or vacuum casting setup. Looking forward to seeing how it comes together!
  11. Here’s a phone picture, unfortunately it’s quite difficult to capture the detail. Please excuse the weird grind that doesn’t line up with the spine bar, not my best idea… The higher layer edge bar twist is somewhere in the range of 45 layers if I remember correctly, the original billet behind around 1” square while twisted then forged down to around 1/4”x1” to weld to the lower layer spine bar. The twisting was not nearly as tight on the edge as it is on the spine, thus a more diagonal line pattern. I think with laddering in there it’d be best aesthetically to ladder a looser twist so it gives a greater difference to what the layers are doing. grinding ladders in a really tight twist I don’t think would do quite as much because the outer third of the billet is already going almost perpendicular to the length of the billet but that’s mostly speculation. anyway, hope the pictures are of some use! John
  12. Depending on the amount of space you have to work with (i.e. moving parts close by) I would find the closest off the shelf valve and modify how it's mounted to the hammer so it fits with the levering that actuates the handwheel. I've replaced all sorts of pneumatic and hydraulic lines/valves/manifolds and as long as the pressure rating of the lines and valves is higher than the actual system pressure it's fine. Mounting profiles are sometimes contained in the part designation, but without the part info it's more of a headache than it's worth to figure out and translate to industry nomenclature. That being said, if you can find any ball valve that has a mounting frame and correct interfaces with your lines, I would try that and if you have to drill/tap a new hole to mount it to the hammer, maybe make a new linkage to interact with the hammer actuation mechanism, you'll be done far quicker than trying to source the exact match. Just my 2 cents, hopefully it's relevant. John
  13. I just recently made a small knife with a small twist bar on the spine and wide twist bar for the edge (3/4 the blade width) and the grind to get the bevel left the edge twist bar as a vaguely diagonal ladder effect but with the starburst of the twist interspersed in the diagonals. There isn't much else visually going on in the pattern, the twist being wide enough and ground into enough that the S shapes between starbursts aren't too visible. I'll grab a picture next time it's handy so you can see more easily. I would think that doing actual laddering might add a little bit of extra chatoyance, but not a crazy amount of pattern development. One way to find out though! John
  14. Success!! The first hot steel has officially gone through the mill, just a little rest piece and reduced only a half turn or so in three passes but all seems normal so far. Still a ways to go setting up the final position of the VFD and moving the motor and reduction gear around, making an infeed table etc. But I’m beginning to understand the machine a bit better now and it’s really a world of possibilities for both ferrous and non ferrous drawing. Also sorry for the weird and probably massive phone pictures, not sure how to resize on mobile
  15. Managed to get the wiring temporarily installed today, enough to turn it on and see what happens. Between the VFD and a neat old mechanical forward/reverse switch, there were a lot of places to get the polarity of the 3 phase wrong, but it's officially running! I only brought it up to about half speed because the motor and reduction gear plate is not mounted to anything and I was afraid the chain would jump off if moving too quickly. But it works! Now I need to hunt down a longer bit of 10/3 cordage and some strain relief connectors for the VFD box, then figure out the motor placement. In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for lubrication on the drive gears? Is there such a thing as dust resistant grease? Or is a more regular application of an oil better to maintain the old iron? Cheers!
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