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Daniel W

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About Daniel W

  • Birthday 08/24/1982

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  • Location
    Pennsylvania USA
  • Interests
    Art, History, Mythology, Iron working and anything that deal with craftsmanship.
  1. Daniel W

    symetrical axe wrap

    I'm still hoping that as my desire to continue to learn the craft grows, that I'll travel around a little. Going to SOFA is a definite priority next year as I didn't get plans together to go this year. I lost most of my summer to a house repair that just could not wait any longer. On the positive side of not moving around this summer, I have the ball ever so slightly moving in the right direction to sell off some things. Word of mouth is getting around a little and I've had my first commission walk in last week. As well as some groups really looking for me to join. I never doubt the advise I get here. All of you are practicing the craft much more than what I've been able to. I am going to continue with the project with the steel I've got on hand. It's a 'for me' project pushing my skills if it fails - there's nothing lost accept time as I'll be working this along side a commissioned work. If it succeeds and holds up to my standards along with if there is interest from local buyers, then I'll go after exact materials. Maybe 1018 or 1008 does weld better or hold tighter, I never really looked into what steel I was welding at the time, I just knew it as mild steel.
  2. Daniel W

    symetrical axe wrap

    I noticed when I tried my last axe wrap that with the poll forged in, the eye wants to almost naturally make a 'D-shaped' eye. Looks like I'm going to be needing to make a 'D' patterned drift, just for truing up the eye. My only successful wrapped axe, once it was forged the final drifting pass was done while the cheeks where held in the vise to minimize splitting the weld. And I did think about wrapping the axe just to forge out the shape before welding it up. As long as I work both parts of the stock equally, it should work. Thanks for the article! I've seen the video of this but having it all down on paper always helps! I got through reading Mark's third book this past winter and kick myself at not taking a class with him last year when he came through the craft school I usually attend. This was the first summer that I did not see him having a class at the facility, as I've been working my way up to have a class with him and Tom Latena one day. No unfortunately, I do not know the exact steel this is. This was a fresh cut off from my smithy friend and supplier it just happened to sit in the bed of my truck for a few days to get that nice weathering look to it. As most of my work is, the making of hooks flowers and other general stuff, I have not looked into that and did not think it would be a factor. The other material I've gotten from the guy has forged welded for me before, but I have not attempted something this size. In the next few weeks I've got a small job lined up so I'll be meeting with him and ask him what steel he's been getting.
  3. Daniel W

    symetrical axe wrap

    I did think that maybe my order of steps might be backward for this step. Normally isolating mass before doing something to it seems to work better. I am thinking that maybe by picture #5 to attempt to fold and weld. I am a little worried about breaking my weld in the final steps of forging. If I can get it to successfully stick after the carbon steel bit is in, I might just leave it be and cut the Baltic spur out or just leave it alone. If the weld does break, at heat, it breaks from some reason of my process not being correct. My last folded axe broke at heat several times I just could not get a good solid mass of material. Although it is stuck together, if I used that axe, I'm pretty sure it would split apart. I can forge weld, I don't do it very often but give it a go every once in while. Some of my last welds in mild steel held together pretty solidly, but they where a nick fold and weld without continual forging. The axe here will be a pretty large surface area to stick together on top of that will need some light forging to get the final shape. I got a job lined up so I may be able to start on this pretty soon.
  4. Daniel W

    symetrical axe wrap

    I'm moving away from my ball peen axe to finally attempt an axe shape I've been chasing for a while. My starting material that I've selected is 2 x 9 1/2 x 1/2 mild steel. As I worked out an idea of steps to make a symmetrical axe, as asymmetrical is pushing the material too thin, I'm wondering, where to start from. Work from the center out or make the cheeks and blade first? Secondly, since I'm going to forge a poll in this eye, make a 'D' shaped drift, or oval? I worked out the steps to make the cheeks and blade today - and this might give the idea of the design and concept I've got rolling around. I've settled on a bearded axe design, with intended use behind it as a medium camp axe. I'm not trying to stick strictly to a historical shape or perimeters, but the shape is rooted in history. I'm borrowing from my artistic side of smithing for this, using a tool that should be in all out tool boxes, modeling clay. I'm thinking a lot about forging the per-form of the material - to get the final result. This is my starting material, and I'm working with 1/2 of it for the blade and cheek since I'll have to make it twice anyway. This are my first passes to get the preform of the blade and cheek. The material is upset with the cross pein but trued back to 1/2 an inch flat. Took several passes to make this happen, I should have kept track and it might give me a reasonable number of heats needed. The next step was to make a healthy fullering job to isolate the mass for the blade. After this trial I realized I could have fuller-ed down a little further back, and it would give me more material for the blade. Again keeping everything true to 1/2 and inch. Here I feel like the preform is complete. My cross pein marks did not show up very well here, but I've got the attempt to draw that blade down. Trying to stretch down to almost 4inches. For every cross pein path, I seemed to need to do another upsetting pass on the face of the blade just to seem to keep material where I wanted it. The material is probably just about 5/16 at the edge here, and I choose to attempt to put in that little Baltic spur. Just a little refining to the blade as the spur is forged in. I drew back the cheek a little and I felt like I didn't need to. Its just to give me an idea of how far I can stretch out the cheeks. The cross section I was left with, tapered nicely from 1/2in to about a 1/8 at the blade edge. More than enough material for a decent weld, and two together will give me quite a stout little axe. Now to try it in steel.
  5. Daniel W

    The Birth of a Workshop

    In regards to my local forge - a lot of their layout trouble in my opinion is that they just don't have the space for what it's become in the past 2 years I've gone there. There are 4 open forges (two back to back) with about 6 anvils and 3 vises in a 25x40 space shared with power tools and a 50LB hammer which is basically facing a wall and partitioned off. When I go there which is pretty much for the hammer, I feel like I have to walk around the entire building to get to it. The power tool area doesn't bother me as I don't use it, but it has in a way pushed everyone into the last 2/3rds of the building. The organization is doing all they can with the space to accommodate people who do come in, which can be up to 30 people a night wanting to hit some metal. Imagine, 30 people being 30 tools that you didn't expect to accumulate each one having its own needs, but knowing that you do need it. On the other hand, the craft school I go to, has 12 forges back to back, layout table in the center and both power hammers are off to the sides of it. This building is large, and if they put out more anvils would easily accommodate 24-30 people. There are 4 treadle hammers, so much is just so easy to get to. Even when workshops are considered full at 12 people - I've never felt crammed. My craft school is just the opposite of the local forge. Not enough people and it's sad for the facility that's put together there. I haven't been to Peters Valley although the thought crosses my mind, as it's one of the most heard of places. My local school is just too close to justify going over there for the cost. The architectural smiths I've visited with, although their building rival the size of my local school, are just more personalized. Their forging areas are usually the forge somewhat centered in the shop or at least in the middle of the floor the anvil and vise pretty close by, along with their hammer (yes they all have a hammer). Layout tables seem to occupy a space of their own away from this area, but they normally have a floor space equal to their layout table open close to their forging area. Mostly to toss all their big stuff once it's gone though the forging process. The rest of their space is just dominated by other toys depending on how they do their work. Fabricating or whatever else. Architectural smiths are tool junkies! and if they don't have 2 of everything then they usually don't have 1. everything, literally, everything . . . . . . finding these guys has been like finding a vein of gold.
  6. Daniel W

    The Birth of a Workshop

    I've also been wondering around my area looking at both big and small shops. Everything from knife makers to very large architectural work shops. But I tend to fall back on a layout from my local craft school I learn at either because It's just what I'm used to or that so many people have come through there and made the place what it is. With that I would say give yourself more space than what you think you need. When I go off to my local open forge (smaller facility) and either work or just help out - for a one person shop the space would work, but it also gives you this feeling of being crammed due to people, tools everywhere and then it becomes hard to work comfortably. So plan for a little extra space to keep that crammed feeling away, because more tools will come. A lot of your building layout, should come from the majority of work you expect to do. I am not 'established' or yet considering myself a 'professional' although I'm really attempting to take my hobby that way to a degree. I just have some likewise experience in getting involved with getting into some workshops and seeing what kind of layouts they have. From the majority of what I have seen so far. Guys that are just producing knives or just tools in general like hammers can have smaller shops, people with architectural or even just consider themselves artist tend to have big shops. Like an entire barn plus the need for another one. In regards to electrical having a phase converter is a good idea for just about any business facility as so many old and even new motors run on three phase. But maybe look into that when that tool comes in that you need it for. Ultimately building code, will dictate a lot of things if your going to be doing this by the book.
  7. Daniel W

    O for the love of axes!

    hmmm, I do like the idea of the 5160. I still have so much spring laying around that I feel like it needs used. I got it to HT well with the little knife I made a few months back so I do feel pretty confident working with it. I've got good bit of planing to see if the piece of 2"x8"x1/2" mild will give me the right size body and blade I'm looking for. I'm still going to shoot for a 3 1/2in blade so that might be pushing it too thin. I should see if I can get my hands on at least at 3" section, or see if I can bend this into an 'L' shape. That will not be fun. In the mean time, I know enough guys that might have a cut off of new 5160 or a 1080 that I might be able to get off them. It's time to get out the clay and see what will work!
  8. Daniel W

    This is why I'm always recommending files to people

    One of my first classes was making a pipe hawk, and if you want some filing experience, it's a prefect project to get some. About 10% of the class was forging, the rest was all file working. To me, there is no better way to get a true flat surface other than to draw file it. Angle grinders cup the surface, so just like Alan I was taught to just use them for your initial removal, then trust your files. I've actually come to enjoy draw filing vs grinding as #1 there isn't a ton of dust in the air, and #2 if you make a mistake with a file, its a little more forgiving. I've make my pipe hawks from actual pipes, but you also don't need a lathe to get nice rounded surfaces. I normally lay out all my lines with a 3 corner file. Once I get a line on a round surface, I found that if you do your cutting stroke (push stroke) with an extreme arch rocking away from to the work, it creates a pretty evenly round surface. Your in a way minimizing the contact surface that the file meets the rounded surface in the way it would in a lathe.
  9. Daniel W


    I can assure you, that most of the smiths I've worked with that have made their own drifts have not hardened them. In fact, most smiths I know that went through the experience of making them have only made them out of mild steel. Others that are dedicated hammer makers, usually they work with a tool steel drift. If your just drifting, I don't see it being too much of a concern. Your struck end will mushroom out and will need reforge or redressed from time to time. As long as your forming the eye around the drift and not forging on the drift mild steel will be good enough to get the job done. I made a drift for tomahawks last year during a class from a truck axle, which could be 1045 (from what I read) or just mild steel - the point is if I did harden this tool, the drift sometimes rests or gets stuck in the work long enough that it draws out the temper so it's pretty pointless. Another point on making a drift, is to make sure you make it oversized. When the metal cools it shrinks, and you will be supersized at how much a drifted hole shrinks when you attempt to hang your hammer.
  10. Daniel W

    O for the love of axes!

    I do know, that at least I can forge the blade shape I want when I attempt my wrapped axe. If I would have done a simpler straight forward stouter blade maybe my results would be a little better than this. Most of working this thing by hand has been a bear just because of the stock size. It would have taken me a month to fuller down the blade if not for my local forge having a little tire hammer. During my first year learning smithing, I successfully made a symmetrical wrapped axe, but I did not have enough experience of how to move the metal to get it into a usable shape. Since then I've been chasing making an 'a' symmetrical wrapped axe like the one in James Austins post from years ago. It seems like for a mid sized 'use-able' axe style I'm going for its the best construction method for the tools I have. I'm going to have to pour over that post again just to see if the size of the material I have on hand will fit what I have in mind. And yes, Alan, for this wrapped axe attempt, I'm going after new steel. For the edge, I've got a hand me down piece of O1, and the local guy I deal with has a lot of 4140 and S7. I'm thinking on using the O1, or looking into 1080 or 1095. Unless, there's a better idea.
  11. Daniel W

    O for the love of axes!

    It's taken some time for me to get back to this side project. This past week I got a few minor details done, but you'll see from pictures here that I've got one heck of a hole to climb out of. Firstly, I upset and squared up the pein to a hammer head. A good idea to do as step one. I then attempted to neck in the transition but decided I needed to make a spring fuller to make it nice and uniform. Next was fullering that transition. It cleaned up well, I would have liked to get a little more depth on it, but it just didn't seem to work for me. I decided this was close enough to final form to make my final passes with the drift. When I first resized this hole, it was a little off to one side. It also closed up when I was drawing out the blade so I attempted to straiten it out and reopen it. The drift sunk straight in from my view at the time, so when I got it smacked into home, it looked relatively lined up. And then I noticed it did not reshape the misalignment, it just made another path and left me a cold shut . . . . bugger . . . . on top of that, its now over compensated form the original misalignment. From the underside, it''s taking a curve for the worst. I attempted to adjust the blade and eye until I just plain ran out of gas and it seemed like nothing I was doing was correcting the off center drift. I was able to brush away a good chunk of my forge scale, and then I found the real trouble. I have cracks and crevasses all over the transition from the eye to the blade. Either just me forging badly, or too cold while the drift was in correcting the blade, or maybe material. This is now going to take a lot of fixing. A lot of grinding out the cold shuts and filling. I believe everything on this is correctable, and possibly survivable after HT, it's just not going to look anywhere near as good as I hoped it would. Will it be usable or just another axe in my scrap pile of attempted axes, Meh learning experience. I'm going to finish this, but put it on the back burner, I still feel as if I can do a wrapped axe that will come out better. I have the challenge of getting to welding heat, and what tools do I think will help me make this shape faster and more efficient. I am already thinking that I need an oval drift instead of tear drop. Spring fullers? or think about top tools and treadle hammer? I'd love a power hammer but . . . . that's one heck of an investment at this point. A really bigger hammer might help, but my wrapped axe will be made from 1/2 stock so I believe it won't be as bad to forge as this was.
  12. Daniel W

    I'm fired up! (forge build w/ pics)

    You weren't using the chokes wide open? Just let it rip - chokes should help you run a fairly low pressure without blowing out your flame. Don't ask me how it works, I gave up on chokes. Since I've got a burner with an adjustable delivery system for the gas, if I do want to choke it down, I can push the mig tip further into the reducer. That by itself will choke off enough air to get me to a gas rich flame if I want it. If your flame blows out at start up, don't worry too much. The forge chamber may need to heat up a bit to keep the flame ignited. Normally mine will cough about 10 times before the flame sustains itself. But I can also just put my hand over one of the intakes of my 'T' burner, and just cutting off that one side of air will allow the flame to start up smooth. I also don't start mine up with the valve gas valve totally open. I set my regulator for 5 psi, light the forge with the ball valve cracked once I get a flame, open it up. When you got this at start up, this is the time you can see the colors of your flame. After the forge runs for a bit, the flame will almost disappear. You want a nice blue flame, no hints of green in it. And don't stare into your forge for too long - peek, the light coming out of your forge is not pleasant to keep staring into.
  13. Daniel W

    I'm fired up! (forge build w/ pics)

    I knew that I saw some specs in actual published writing when I was doing my build - and I think that article is invaluable to anyone who is thinking about building a burner.
  14. Daniel W

    I'm fired up! (forge build w/ pics)

    Ah, sputtering after full heat. I never got that to happen. Again once you jumped up to .045, I think you have to get longer tubes again. The flame is again blowing itself out with too much of one or the other. I would go back to the .035, and put in even longer tubes. Here's this article I was looking for you the other day. I finally found it at my local forge and had to run off some copies - I couldn't scan them so I photoed them. I hope you can blow those up and their readable for you. Up in the right hand corner of page one is a chart showing the optimal mig tip and burner tube combination. I think it shows for a .035 you would need to run a burner tube of at leave 9 inches from a 1 inch pipe. Questions is, I can't remember if it states 1inch outside diameter or internal diameter. I would stick with your .035s as they are not blowing out, even with the 8 inch pipe. Next questions are - do you understand tuning? This is what I'm still trying to understand myself. If your flame is green, you have too much gas in the mix and you need to draw in more air. Too much air and the flame is oxidizing, there's a butter zone between them somewhere and pictures are not too reliable as what the photos show, is not what the eye is going to see in the forge. If you were to put longer tubes behind your orifice in an attempted to draw more air, (if I've got a picture in my head of what Alan is thinking) I do not think it helps the venturie. When I pulled my first burner apart and put the orifice right at the tip of the reducer, I got the optimal draw of air. However I did notice that any obstruction behind the orifice decreased the draw. So if you put a bigger funnel behind the reducer, I don't think it helps you. Its more about where the orifices is in the reducer.
  15. So simple looking it makes any of my little builds look like crap . . . and for $50 . . . . its worth every penny of not dealing with the frustrations of what part you may have built wrong.