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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. Just no way around it eventually

    I am thinking the same thing Alan, I'm probably not going to have anything bad to say about it once I get it mounted up and work something over it. I'm going after some lumber today to make the 4x4 bundle, this is just going to work better for the space I got right now. Too bad I can't find any locust posts around this time of year, I'd grab a few of them for the project. Saturday is looking like a decent weather day, I'm shooting to have everything set up by then to work something. Then I might have to walk around all day like this .
  2. Just no way around it eventually

    Yes its a wrought iron anvil. I said 'Awe shucks' when I began to clean it up and could clearly see the grain of wrought iron in the horn and heal. I asked my smithy friends about hey budden because of the solid forged tool steel models - figured they are close to bullet proof. I didn't do my research to see that they are not all forged steel anvils. Serial number is gone, the side of the anvil does look to have a date but it's worn away and only looks to read 191? most of the hey is gone and only part of budd is still present. Brooklyn NY is barely there. I was bummed about it just a bit mostly because - I know I won't be able to really wack things over the horn if I need to. I haven't used it yet so it's hard to say if the deformation I'm expecting will happen or not. Aside from that - for its time - it was top of the line from what I know. As long as I take care of it properly, it should survive for a while. I put oil over the whole thing, and I did begin to notice 2-3 little glints of different steel on the face. Only in a few places, it looks like possible weld splatter as these are very small and where ground flush. Chances are someone already resurface this thing - but again I haven't really swung at this yet so I can't tell if its hurt the HT in any way or ground through it. Before I do anything to it, I'm going to use it and then asses if it needs any redressing. I've tested it out with the ball of a ball peen (like 16oz) and just let it fall on it (about 2in drop), I have not seen any deformation from it, and its got life all over the plate. I have however decided that if this does not hold up, that going after a new anvil is the way to go. A 100 year old anvil probably was never meant to last this long. Consider that something made in 1914 to mostly work hot wrought iron meets D2 tool steel for a project. Old anvils in general, are hard to find in a good workable condition at a working guys price. Then I also considered that for what I bought this one for, for just a little more money I could get a cast tool steel anvil of the same weight and just dealt with the little bit of dressing from time to time. I have never worked off a modern anvil so it's hard to say exactly, but as long as that hammer would rebound 50-60% or more I'd be happy.
  3. Just no way around it eventually

    I cannot wait to mount it on something. I'm probably going to make a solid 4x4 stand, glue it down (silicone) and strap it tightly in an attempt to dampen the sound as much as possible. Plus wrap chain, magnets, hang a hammer off the horn - whatever else I can do. This will sound a lot sweeter than my track anvil - but I know it will be much louder. I have not had any trouble with my neighbors since starting up my shop for noise, I want to try and keep it that way. Just on the floor, the rebound of it is really nice. The guy I bought if from asked me to call him after the first stoke falls on it. He knows I'm going to be happy with it. I still kind of stewed over it last night, although I've made simple things off of just about everything you can strike a hammer on, and you can get by on it. I've made really nice stuff off of crap - in fact most my blacksmith friends can't believe some of the things I've made off of junky tools, so that's where I have to say, your process may work out for you. If you want to make just knives, and working down big steel may not be a priority you can totally get by without this tool for a while. You'll always want one, you don't need an insanely big anvil for that. I'm still thinking that man this is really bigger than what I was planning on getting anvil wise (I always have the option to trade it back with the guy) but for the architectural stuff I would like to get into, I think to have 200lbs will in the long run be better than a 150 like I was thinking. Its really not about who has the biggest best anvil out there to me, I knew a little bit about Hey-budden and the fact that this was was not messed with told me it was right. I would rather have a quality anvil that was not repaired in good condition than one that might have been repaired in an unknown way. In the coming few days off, I'm planing on wire wheeling it down and just dressing the face a little, maybe truing the edges a little and making a little more radius on them to prevent chip out.
  4. Just no way around it eventually

    Lol, he can just seem to stumble over them - and he's particular to hey-budden. We touched it with a hammer and just every inch of it sings. For all the anvils I've seen, I've worried about how to repair them, but when I saw this I thought, 'its better than any I've seen!' Even with a lot that I've seen pictured here at times, or ebay /craigs list. The price for any anvil is steep, but there are 2 good points about this one that he did point out (any many of the big brand old anvils). The right person will buy it for the same price if not better in a few years if I have to get rid of it. Secondly, 200lbs in my opinion is an everything anvil. it's big enough to do the decorative jobs I want and build the big tools I'll be needing in time. Also not so big that I can't make smaller things from it. I justify this as, it will always make money. It kinda hurts now to unload that much for what most people would take to a scrap yard. But all you need is 1 anvil over a life time. Only if I chose to repair it will I ever put money back into it. Its not like I just bough a car and the value of it went down as soon as I took off with it.
  5. Just no way around it eventually

    I'm telling myself today, what I decided to buy is worth it in the long run. I'm ranting so much of this is my opinion from my experience so far. My experience is only one of hundreds out there. There is more than one way to get something done with the tools you have available to you, its all about how something works for you and your process. There is just no way around it, the anvil is just something you can't build. You can get a piece of rail and get by, but its not the same, I've used one since I started up my home shop and my hands are paying for it. The harbor freight anvil, yes it works but deforms like its made from mild steel, requires dressing and the bick (horn) is just, yuck. A mild steel ASO is better than nothing and you can do plenty of work off of it. To me, as I learned through the past few years and worked at a few open shops, there is no question that striking a forged anvil with a good harden face with plenty of rebound is better on your body. Not to mention you can get more work done as that hammer is coming back and your not lifting it all the way to strike again. I've worked off of a few cast anvils old and new, and they are good to work with, this is just my opinion. The last time I forged, my little piece of rail just wasn't happy attempting to make a bending/scrolling fork from an old leaf spring. Every hit with a heavier hammer (3lbs) was just dead. My tendinitis began to flair and it was time to stop. I was losing my grip and over gripping my hammer, the rail was not staying put, its deforming I just had enough with working with this. The next day I talked with one of my professional smith friends and he had something he wanted me to look at. 200lbs of something which at first worried me because I'm so small - how could I move 200lbs around this garage every time I want to make something? Today I needed some steel for a flower project and there it sat. 200lbs of Hey-Budden, and today it came home with me. From my inspection, it has not been repaired which he also believed, it is in better condition than any anvil I tracked down in the past (forged or otherwise). I believe this anvil is in better condition than almost every one I have worked off at open shops. The plate is barely scared, the horn is in good condition. It's just been touched by a cutting torch in a few places but its at the near side of the anvil which doesn't bother me. As we took it out to the truck it begins to snow very heavily and he says "Hey Dan Merry Christmas, sometimes it comes later in the year." It didn't snow the whole way home until I got to the house and put the tale gate down, and I had some kind of poetic moment that told me this Hey-budden is home, on Christmas day it just came a little later. Although the cost of this was high, its got to be worth it for what I want to do as a blacksmith. Not just for knife making but for every little thing I can dream of making with steel.
  6. Possibly a knife

    Strangely, when I spark tested the axle and coil spring - they tested like mild steel which sort of shocked me. I would have thought for certain that the axle would have been a different alloy. I never tried to harden the axle - I've only been making drifts with that material. The coil spring - after I spark tested it, I noticed I could compress it a hair by hand. A good rule of thumb one of my teachers had told me about was to look for the blued steels on auto parts, because this is a good indicator that the steel was heat treated. I'm unsure if he meant that its holding its original temper color - or if the auto makers are blueing these better parts (the parts may also come from the bolt company blued). The 'u' blot that holds some springs together seems to be a good one to go for as I know I made an axe bit with that material during class. I'm going to continue with it and hopefully I can be done with it in about another month. My known knife that I can compare this one too is only my queen cutlery pocket knife. Its a D2 steel, and although the blade is at the very high end of quality for toughness and hardness, it will be interesting to see a comparison.
  7. Possibly a knife

    Hello all, I've gotten pretty far with a my first forged knife build, and I want to say up to this point it is successful. Why do I say maybe a knife, well first off let me say yes just a few days back I read through the topic of "so you want to make a knife or . .. " This is a mystery steel knife, that I started on over a month ago between decorative projects and my 9-5. I feel pretty confident about it - I feel mostly confident about it. I'm going to just talk though my process of how I got to this point, and if anyone reads through and thinks I should have done a different step, please critique. I want to be able to stand behind my work and any constructive criticism is appreciated. Firstly, I know that mystery steel being used for a knife is pretty much a no brainier - just buy the right stuff to make good stuff. I consider my skill level to be that of an educated beginner and expect failure the first time. I take classes regularly, but haven't been able to put things into practice until I finally got my forge running this winter. That being said, I do have an idea of how to identity a high carbon steel from mild and low carbon. Ok, so as I started off this fall gathering supplies, a friend of mine who salvages cars told me he had just recently tore apart an F-350 dully and I was welcome to the axle, coil springs and leave springs. I took them all, I took a few slivers off the leave springs and began testing. I file tested a piece - just touched it with a file to estimate it's hardness to mild steel. The file bit, and cut, but did not dig like it would on mild steel. I figured there is possibly some kind of heat treat done and I would need to normalize the steel anyway. Therefore I heated the slivers up past cherry red into the brighter orange range 3 times and allowed to air cool each time. Descaled the surface, again touched it with a file and pretty much no difference. I know the best way to tell if this was a tool steel was to spark test it. Definitely not the same material as any file steel. The spark on the mystery steel was about 3in in length before it burst into a branch of about 4-5 branches. I put it up against some mild steel, not mild steel, my spark was shorter and had more branches. Coil spring, nope not like that one nor the axle. I have a piece of what a blade smith friend confidently told me was O1 and that was the closest matching spark pattern. I know why didn't I use the O1 in the first place I was expecting failure pretty much and didn't want to ruin my only known tool steel. I started to design and forge out my little knife hoping to gift it to someone. Next since I already normalized the steel, as far as I could tell, I forged it. The first hammer blow felt like I hit a piece of granite, no not super steel, but you got my point of knowing when you may have hit something other than mild steel. It has a different density its like it doesn't want to move even at heat. As I worked down the little strip of material, I made my forging about 80% to shape. Friends of mine tell me to forge 90% to finished product - but I can't estimate how much loss there will be in grinding yet. In the above picture, this was also annealed along with 3 other test strips. Brought up to a orange heat again and placed in an ash bucket to cool overnight. As I was rough grinding the little knife, I took one of my test pieces that had a thin edge on it and with a small torch heated a section to non metallic and quenched it in motor oil (5w-30). I just heard everyone reading this cringe - don't have the good stuff on hand yet, but for as little tool hardening I'm currently doing, it was there. Touched it with a file and got file skate with a little grab, but no cutting. Took it over to an anvil and cracked it over the hardy hole to see the grain structure aaaaaaaaaaand I don't know what I'm looking at. A clean shear - I don't have enough experience in braking steel to know my grain structures but this did tell me the steel will harden. I did pretty much the same process on the knife with the acceptation that I heated the oil this time and didn't plunge the whole knife into the oil until all the color ran out of it, I wanted to attempted to retain a soft spine to the knife. Which it actually did not do, everything hardened but the tang - must have still been some color in it when I did the full plunge. A file test with a chain saw file saw that it seemed to harden better than my test due to a little soak time in the forge no not like 5-30 minutes like 30 seconds of incandescent nonmetallic heat. Now this skated like glass, I had to let the knife sit for about 2 days before I temped it. I knew I could have drew the temper during the quench - but I was debating the best method to draw the temper. The whole question of bake it for a while vs, what I've been taught - draw the temper colors and lock it by another quench. I chose what I've been taught, fired up the forge and drew a very quick straw color. There's a little bit of grinding marks left as I only went to 80 grit but I didn't see any cracks but I just didn't trust myself enough to say this was ok, as another file test proved that it still skated a file like glass. After a little debate with a knife smith friend I baked the knife for about 15mins at 400 degrees. Still skates a file well, but not like glass, it seemed a little softer. And after all this time, I finally attempted to look up what a ford leaf spring is, and found out here at blade smith forum - that it's pretty possibly not an optimum steel. In fact it's probably just some higher grade of mild steel, and I had one of those moments of awww man! I put a good bit of work into this at this point so if it was going to eventually fail, I was going to make it fail. A day after reading though a few of the pages, with a cringe on my face, I dropped the knife tip down into a concrete floor, expecting to break the tip off. The floor broke not the tip of the knife in fact the tip didn't even turn there is no edge on the knife at this point, but I expected it to shear or bend and stay bent for how fine it is. I rough ground the primary bevel to almost a final sharp so I scratched my head. About the worst thing I know to do to any steel is bend it. I laid the knife on my work table and with my hand over the center of it, lifted the tang and put pressure down on the blade. The tip of the knife bent, but re flexed, hmmm I say. I attempted to get that bend to set by continually bending it, but it just kept re flexing. I attempted to bend the knife along the spine but I couldn't do it by hand, and now I felt like putting it in a vise to do it would be a little over kill. It's almost done don't break it now it might be good! I havn't touched the knife in a few days, still no final edge on it, but I do feel pretty confident about it. I need to test it with an edge to see if its going to chip out or just be too soft. But so far, I'm not seeing a reason for it being either. I'm somehow expecting it to sheer because its not very very springy to my wimpy arms. I should put the edge on it and attempt to baton it through some hard maple. That seems like a good stress test with minimal destruction. It might be good!
  8. Starting a smithy...

    The forge is a tricky question with a lot of variables. Firstly, do you want to just hop to it and go at forging - if so, buy one, a small one. To build one, to be simple you don't need as much as what you may think but you will need time to devote to understanding how it works. A small "clam shell" style of forge can do a lot of work (but it has a big trade off too if not properly closed up when you don't need the sliding door). I do more decorative stuff, and the forge I built is 10" deep (x) about 4in across. It is actually much deeper than what I need at times, most of the time I'm using half of that space and there's a lot of waster energy in there. One of the professional smiths I learned from had a forge 8in deep with a clam shell design and it was his main working forge for everything accept welding. If your going to build a gasser - don't worry about attempting to get it to welding heat at first. If you're just getting your hands dirty make it so it can get to a bright orange/yellow heat. A good rule that may get you there is minimize hard refractories. coat your wool with just enough to keep the fibers from becoming airborne and survive the occasional poke. Soft refractories tend to reflect heat, hard refractories eat heat. Belt grinder . . . err um . . . a big 2x72 is nice, but you can get by with a nice little metal working belt sander - I recently gave up on the idea of building one because I really didn't see the need for it. On knives, the old sander I got gets me down to 120 - and then I hand sand the rest of my knifes (but this is small work, I'm not making swords for quite some time). Decorative work, well you just try to train yourself to leave a nice finish and never sand, and with determination, hot rasping defeats any sander. I would also add, if this is you're first time thinking about forging, look around for a local guild/club. Even if their far off, it is worth the time to jump into a class (if offered). Learning hands on from someone is invaluable if you can get it and the clubs are out there, you just gotta find them.
  9. Pros and cons of production work.

    So my winter forging plans have finally come together a little bit. So far I've managed 3 'production' runs. I've been avoiding forging in the bitter bitter cold of the past few weeks due to illness, but I've been able to upgrade the forge in the down times. A pro to propane heat is that you can work so much at once but be ready to totally work your a@@ off. There were times that I didn't put my hammer down for 10 mins. I had to stop to catch my breath - not wait on the heat. I'm still trying to learn how to use propane heat so this work is a little flawed plus I'm trying to make 4 of the same thing so when they sit next to each other their differences really stand out. I admit it's not a lot of work I'm trying to think of what a base time should be to make 1 hook. At this point I think that each set of hooks took me about an hour to pull off. With practice I'm hoping to cut that time in half. I am focusing on the quality of the work rather than just how much I can spit out in a hour, namely making sure I'm not leaving hammer marks behind. And as luck would have it, I have my first paid work in quite some time for some roses! Using the same principles I've been able to knock out 3 for my customer in about 2 days (they need some finish work still) not bad being if I just make one it would take relatively the same period of time. I'm already wondering where the profits of it should go - to a throat less shear to cut down on the cutting out process or toward the anvil I know I still need. I'm holding off just for a little longer to see if one rose job can lead to others. Again I know my work is rough, I feel like I've got a good background in education in the craft, but not a lot of practice. I also knocked out a roughly forged knife during my first production run.
  10. Building for forging

    Your feet will thank you if you keep a dirt/ gravel floor if you intent to spend a lot of time at the forge. dry wall will work from what I understand - cement board is better as it will not burn. Before you get into that, how big is your forge, and how big is the shed? I say this because I had the same concerns with putting my Gasser in the garage for winter forgings (my home is cedar so if it catches a flame, its gone) my forge was purposely build low to keep ir light and heat away from my face it sits level with my ASO. My first runs in the garage were good. my rafters are 8 feet high - and I noticed that my forge wasn't really throwing a ton of heat up there. I can stand about 2 feet from my forge without feeling a danger to myself. under a foot, hot hot hot HOT! I would say as a minimum ensure that your forge is at least 3-4 feet away from any wooden combustible material (saw dust!) liquid fuels remove them from the work space all together! Work as safe as possible. And I would say, regardless, heat shield what you think you should. I have yet to put up cement board, but I really don't think I need it at this point as all my runs have not raised the concern for my space. Ventilate very important.
  11. Rebar tongs X3

    Excellent first project, knowing how to make tongs is a true benefit to the craft no matter what path you go down. I made some of my first tongs this summer, now I'm pointing more toward decorative iron work with some knife/axe making - so I made some beefy tongs. The stouter the tongs the more stress they'll take. therefore I make mine from 3/8 x 1 flat stock. If you have the free rebar around, go ahead use the material, I don't see a problem with making tongs from them. (or just buy some flat stock to save some forging time.) Personally, I would flatten out the dimensions (not making them any thinner than 1/4 of an inch) true them up (make the flat bar nice and straight in both planes) so that you have some flat stock to work off of. Consider this your parent stock size, set down for the nibs work them and set down for your reins. Don't forge the boss, try to retain the parent stock size, so just true up the bulges that happen when you set down. Everybody forges tongs a little different, so read up, watch some youtube and tackle what you feel like you can accomplish. If you start going to swap meets and hammer in's, and you happen to see tongs, start picking them up. If you getting into just knife making you won't need a lot of tongs - but if you happen to see a set that suits your needs for 20 bucks or under get them. You'll get to a point where you'll realize buying the tongs are more of a savings than spending the time and fuel making them. As for tool steel tongs - really not necessary. At most, you may make scrolling tongs from a spring/tool steel - but you really don't have to, its a little overkill.
  12. First try, need advice

    I think it looks pretty good that shallow actually. If your looking to do more sculpting like round off the corners - then yes, you will need a little more depth so that the carving still pops with the roundness. The last few carving I did (which was years ago) I first did them in a piece of poplar - got it to a point I liked it, then transferred it to the better material. You can't put wood back, so going to far can really muck up your work and you can't go back, you have to restart. That wood is probably a bear to carve but will look stunning in the end.
  13. Winter forging

    I did move the detector to a level just below the garage doors, and set up a fan to blow the air around the rafters. It has not gone off the last few times I fired up the forge. Either because the detector was above the forge and set it off due to heat or just a direct stream of co2 the first time. Either way, I would rather run with the detector than with out it. I've now seemed to have my space put together and seems pretty safe to work in during these winter months. I plan to work as much as possible depending on how mild our winter is here. I know there will be days that the temp will not average above 20 for a few weeks in the deep freeze and hope to have some finish work piled up by that time. If I'm getting some cabin fever, and just need to get out there and forge something, other than preheating my anvil and tool surfaces, what else should I prepare myself to look for?
  14. Hammering Technique

    I actually was just at a local forge where an instructor gave me some pointers on how to use a rounding hammer. I've never truly used one before but with the proper technique it really moved stuff around faster than what I expected. It also didn't hit the anvil face because of its roundness. A lot the technique he showed me was on and off the near and far edge of the anvil. As well as glancing blows or skipped. This was done while making a point on the far edge of the anvil, although I was aiming for the edge of the anvil, holding that hammer at an angle, letting it strike and then skip into the direction of the point. In other words, not just letting the rebound of the anvil bring the hammer back up, but pulling it in the direction I want the material to move. Now there's probably only a tinny weeny fraction of force that is actually pulling the material in that direction, but it seemed to me to make a difference. You don't need a rounding hammer or a super crowned hammer to do the same thing. But the rounding hammer is more forgiving if you're not right on the edge of that anvil. Having used one for more decorative work, I like it, and I do prefer when the face of the hammer is square instead of truly round. That way, if you see a peek in your work, its a line and not a crescent. You aim for that line and knock it down.
  15. Pros and cons of production work.

    I've been getting my layout together to start off on my first production runs of 'S' hooks. I'm thinking of doing batches of 4. 4 with fish tale scroll, 2 sided tapered scroll, and full tapered scroll. I think working 4 at a time will be manageable for me, taper them, scroll them, hook them, twist them. All principles that I know I need to work on and that dreaded leaf hook. Then the next time I get at the forge, do another batch I feel I need to improve on and add a series of 'J' hooks or nail hooks into the batch. Then candle sticks from pipe. Right now, I feel like my fundamentals need improvement in general and producing this stuff first will help in the long run. Axes and flowers - those seem to be my calling. I can make one heck of a pipe hawk, and my flowers are good, but havn't yet planned out any batching efforts for those . . . yet.