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Daniel W

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About Daniel W

  • Birthday 08/24/1982

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

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  1. I always hoped that putting up a few fans was going to help the situation. My alarm went off once when it was directly above the forge. When I moved it to my anvil, never went off since. Since then I've tried to maximize the air flow in my little garage space by repairing the ridge vent, adding vents under the eves, set up a fan to act as an exhaust fan in an open window. A secondary fan just to help move some air around, man door and both garage doors completely open. Totally sucks as I do most of my work in the winter, but I also work alone and have that fear of dropping over dead and the stray cats getting to me. However, with all that, I've still been worried that I do expose myself to some CO. Next step is to get a digital read out CO detector to monitor what levels are in the garage while I work. Current CO detector is a cheapo $20 one. Also just before posting, I've read the appropriate/recommended height to place your detector is 5 feet from ground level. Also just having the detector is not enough, you must regularly test it! I test mine as part of my pre-fire check list. I have that article somewhere and I should get to posting it up.
  2. You can always put that big tank on a diet and cut it down to size. I know its a temptation to use what's available, but propane forges made small can still make a lot of work. For really big forges, I see guys have little 1 or 2 burner forges. When they need to heat something really long, they bolt another forge to another and so on. That is for some serious hand rail work though. Look at Wayne Coe's design for a clam shell/Super C forge. I've seen home built forges like this that architectural people use as their main forge as it fits nearly everything. If anyone can elaborate about cumulative CO poisoning, I think most of us understand that too much at once causes death, but I did also read an article that even low CO levels over time still produce brain damage. <--- That information I read in a blacksmith magazine and have not looked into any medical articles since. I think there is something in OSHA that states acceptability CO levels per 8 Hours, but I'm not doctor. When I asked a Dr. about CO poising over time, something came up about rate of exposure and how much at a time over how long of a time.
  3. This refers to the edges of the anvil. through time and use, anvils have rounded edges to prevent making cold shuts while working half on half off blows. In blacksmiths there is very very little use of anything 90 degress weather it's a corner shoulder bend, tool etc. There are ways to achieve a 90 degree corner but they are avoided as it introduces a stress riser, or chance of cold shut. To add, normally you see anvils with a pretty crowned surface at the front near the horn on a London pattern which tapers into a sharper radius near the tail. All anvils work for their intended purpose. It will come down to what you feel like you work better with. I talk with a guy that loves hay budden to death - but as he got his hands on some double horn anvils he is really pleased with their design over the London pattern we are all used to seeing. And not to mention that the South German style double horns have a chance of the horn/bick being faced with steel. If anyone were to offer me an anvil without a horn, I would pass it up. The horn of the anvil is such a useful tool. You can draw out faster with relative control, bend anything you want. A block of steel works, but I no longer use it because I needed a horn/bick to work.
  4. I know of tons to smiths out there making their tooling from just mild steel. Mild steel has this wonderful benefit that even as it deforms with use, grind it away or add some mig weld redress and go. Most of the bigger tooling I've been making is some form of normalized alloy scrap steel. I'm bending away from using leaf spring for tooling. For tools that are stuck or will have a striking end, it doesn't seem to hold up too well. It seems to me that if deforms too easily. Most of the people I work around swear by 4140 but say that it is not necessary depending on what tool it is. All your tools with heavy use will eventually need rebuilt or redressed, but moderate use it will hold up. I know a guy that made some tooling for H13, then was pretty put out he spent all the time to make that tool only for it to break. Up side it held up to 5 years of heavy use.
  5. I normally grind with both a curved face shield and glasses. The half mask I use does not fit under the curved shield. However the cheaper face shields it will. Seems a better choice just to go after the better PPE in this case. Don't slack on the PPE get the best you can afford, or simply justify getting the better option. I only recently bought a half mask after a pattern welding class, and will never grind that much material again without one. It does make me think about all the years I have ground steel without one. Thankfully, I limit grinding in general.
  6. Yes, as the steel is already hardened, a rotary cutter would be the best option. A pneumatic engraver will work, to engrave, but probably not inlay. It will play havoc on your standard graver. Your undercut will be the tricky part. An acid etch, to make one deep, will have some bleeding, it may not make a nice crisp line like you want. But is may be possible with some clean up work. Is there any chance of softening the area you want to inlay? And what material are you inlaying with?
  7. Here we go another attempt to fold up an axe body. I've planned on this for a long time but my home forge has fallen pretty silent. Today I finally had a little bit of time and a little bit of scrap that just looked like it could work to make the body of the a folded axe, about hatchet size. What I started off with was a cut off of 1 1/2 x 3/8 x . . . . . I didn't measure how long. Yes it's a little bugger, yet the intent was just to practice the offsets of forging out the poll and cheeks. From experience in failure, I know that if you do not make these set downs relatively square, the axe will fold up with the cheeks out of line. Correcting it is a pain, so best to mark out where the first set downs go. Note here there is a minor mistake. When I marked out the poll, I did not add 1/2 of the cheek material final thickness. This means that the poll will be thinner than the body of the axe. I can probably address that, but it's a minor mistake always account for the stretch of the material around the drift. Next I laid out where the set down for the eye will be. At fist I marked out the final dimension, but realized that the material will lengthen a bit, and it's better to have an eye a little undersized that one that is too big for my drift. I got my set downs finished and began to spread the ears of the first side, dressing them back and forth until, I ran out of gas. For my set downs I was using a fuller-ed top tool, then the edge of the anvil. A butcher may have given me a cleaner separation, but still young and very rough. I think it's also good to note when pulling out these cheek pieces, work from the outside of the axe body so that the inside of the eye will be a nice and smooth finish. Last just a quick shot of the set downs. From experience in failure, I can say that when pulling out these cheeks, not to be too aggressive and work them down too thin. I'm leaving these pretty thick. I didn't realize the photo is a little angled which makes those set downs look pretty shallow. I started off making these about 1/3 the material thickness in depth. After the other two processes they are now worked down to about 1/2 the depth. I do not expect to get back to this again for a while, my work life just does not allow me the time lately. So far this little bit of practice looks better than the other 4 I've failed on. I'm going to keep at it next time I get my forge lit, and see if a little hatchet forges out.
  8. I'm a strong advocate for avoiding eye damage at any cost. Not just from shrapnel, but also from light. All said above is pretty much key, but do make sure when you pick out safety glasses you pick out a nice comfortable pair even if they cost you a little more. Wearing safety gear that is uncomfortable makes working a pain. Depending on what fuel you are working with, you should avoid looking at the fire. Coal/coke you can sometimes cover over pretty nice, but in general, I tell people instead of looking into the fire, pull the metal out briefly judge the color, push it back in. Squint if you must look into the fire. However I find my propane flame almost unavoidable due to its opening. I built my forge low to the ground almost waste height just to make sure that it was not going to be in my sight line, I also work with it at my back when I'm working at the anvil. Also don't stand overly close to your fire, I've also had what looks like a very slight sun burn from standing too close to the forge while working, both coal and propane. When you start out you do feel like you need to be right there in front of the fire watching everything, but you really don't. Jeans, make sure they go over your boots/foot ware. Don't stuff them into the boot, don't ware skinny jeans, and don't cuff them. Friend of mine at my club was working and got a piece of scale burn her right on the ankle due to skinny jeans. I've worked with some guys that for some reason cuff their jeans just above their ankle, but normally a cuff is just a catch for scale. gloves, I only use a glove if the work piece is long enough that I don't need tongs. And normally with coal fire as with propane everything is hot. I wear a very open cuff glove so that I can shake it off if something gets in it quickly unassisted by the other hand, however I have hand big stuff fall into that cuff and burn me. Typically, you will get your burns by touching something that is "black hot" or while grinding/cutting. The key is to remembering if you hear the sizzle, don't grab. You will probably hear the sizzle before you feel the ouch.
  9. A piece of 8in diameter pipe would be a good start. That will give you 6in of working space in the forge. I used a section of 9in diameter pipe, for my work, which if I was making just knifes would be more than what I would ever need. However if you venture out into making decorative items, Wayne's clam shell design looks like a better option. Its just more versatile for working really bigger and more complicated shapes. Just know for burners, if you happen to build your own, expect to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. If you buy one, you just have to tune it to run correctly.
  10. Historically it could simply be an issue of material. Remembering that before the industrial age, steel, good steel is highly valuable, not to mention depending on region of the world not easy to make. Therefore steel was only used for the cutting edges of a blade. Possibly even an idea similar to carbide teeth on saw blades. The entire blade is not made of carbide, only the part intended to do the job. In sword blades, for a soft tang would have a few advantages. It leaves the weakest point of a blade (depending on how its made) ductile. It's a part of a sword that has really very little reason to be hardened which could introduce stresses that would not be there if a blade was just normalized, or just ductile iron. Ricasso's again, its just a part of the blade that doesn't really have a fucntion in cutting so why harden it? it's again the same idea in my opinion. normalized or ductile iron may bend more than break, and a bent blade is better than a broken one. You may also grow to the opinion that a ricasso has some role in binding or parrying blades, that's not really true unless you are looking at two handed swords with lugs. I did not see any of these video's so maybe I'm stating things already covered. I'm speaking from a historical perspective and basing it one 3 two handed swords I was able to pull information on. Each sword from 1530-1580 was made with 'steel' edges welded onto iron cores.
  11. Something I see time and time and time again while I'm at my local forge working with beginners. People bending over their anvils to work up close. Putting a strain on that so important lower back muscle group. One of my very first teachers had a very non traditional approach of avoiding this problem. He stressed that - that low back has to be kept as straight as possible while working, and that if you need to work up close, or the anvil is not your correct height, to bring the work to you. He did this by taking a very wide stance at the anvil, wide but comfortable - and a slight but also comfortable bend at the knees. Any bending of the upper body was done by the hips, not the back. It's a pretty odd concept to describe correctly, when done you look a little more like a medieval character in paintings, but I've used this for years without any problems. Personally, I have never seen another person strike an anvil as hard as my intro to blacksmith teacher. A second teacher, didn't like that idea, and described a more efficient way to work which if you watch any Peter Ross videos, he has a method down of feet together and swinging the hammer with his hips that is very slight. I don't seem to have this method down as well. I can't seem to keep my feet together and square to the anvil. Anyone else have any low back advice while you work? Weather it's day to day life, or the real job, please add.
  12. I've been working down a piece of 1in mild for the axe body, with the help of a treadle hammer, it's been working but still a lot of work. I'd jam it in the little power hammer, but so far I'm getting the general shape I want. That is the kicker though, to make something from 1in material, is a lot of work by hand - more time consuming in general. Something I probably wouldn't attempt at my home set up.
  13. To fire weld by hand, a billet for a pattern welded knife, it is a feat. You can however make a smaller layer count with less material. Rules for fire welding, in general are #1 keep it clean (no scale in the welding surfaces) #2 get it hot (depends on the steel) #3 hit it with confidence. (first heat is a tack so tap the entire surface, second heat is stronger, third heat is pretty much normal blows) What type of steel you fire weld with will depend too. My first pattern welded project was done at a heat that I never expected the steels to fuse (welded somewhere in the yellow range). Because it was all low carbon steels. Mild steel, is another story I normally weld that at high yellow to white hot or just avoid it for another process. Welding with mechanical help - really takes the time and cuts it into about 1/3 of what you do by hand. One of the real advantages to making welds by a hammer, is that if you are not work too big a piece, you can weld the entire billet at once due to the size of the dies. Where a single hammer can only strike so much.
  14. It's a nice little tool axe, I couldn't really tell the construction method. There usually is a decent discussion between myself and another smith at my local club about different methods for axe making. We've been bouncing an idea around that is non-traditional to cut some corners. The idea came from here and was a while back. I have an axe body currently in the works which shape is going well. A successful punched eye, with a blade being carefully spread. Since starting that axe body, I seem to have got a student that wants to try the pipe method I learned a while back. Although, for that I have a little twist I've been wanting to try for a while.
  15. Figured I would add to the post about how the vise has been worked for me for the past few years, and to address some issues that I've fixed a long with way. Firstly was a better stand that I made up for it this past year. Although they are designed to have the leg buried in the ground and mounted to a work table, for my little garage that just wouldn't do. I still need my forging stuff to be pretty easy to move around. I went back to the 4x4 post idea made a small bundle and affixed them to a round 3/4 plywood base. This way the vise is easily movable just by tipping it and rolling it to where I want. A little tall for upsetting work, but I've got really big stock to upset I tend to work it off the anvil or on an upsetting block. The post are not treated as I did not want to deal with them twisting and splitting as they lost moisture. Still wobbles a bit, but the next stand would be an all steel stand packed with sand. Sloppy jaws and why I don't attempt to correct them by cutting or grinding away at the jaws. Jaws that do not close evenly have a slight advantage in holding something with a taper. Which for me and my work is pretty handy. Here's a little tool I found while reading though some publications that correct that pivoting sloppy jaw. Just a piece of scrap of a known stock size with some turned down ears to keep it from falling through the vise. With the added little spacer, holding something of roughly the same dimensions holds firm. Jaw pinch however, is problematic. I tend to twist things right out of the vise at times. Mostly the small stuff. Alan's right about the larger the stock the better the face of the jaws hold squarely. The really easy fix is just adding jaw inserts. I was pretty surprised that when I made up this set how much tighter the vise seemed to grap on smaller stock. Another nifty tool to have on hand are bending jigs for your vise. A friend of mine had these around his shop for a project, and was discarding them. I've been using them for bending jigs. They are mild steel but bulky and work very well for my work. A little big, But I believe the friend I got them for was doing some kind of 2 stage scroll work with them. So there's a few simple tools to add to your vise that can correct some simple issues without a lot of work. In the mean time beware of vise bites, and happy forging!
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