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Michael Stuart

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Everything posted by Michael Stuart

  1. Thanks all. I'll keep an eye out for the rectifier. Greg, the motor does seem to be enclosed, and if I can leave it mostly as-is it also has a hard plastic cover that goes over the motor and electronics. The motor claims to be rated at 2 1/2 hp, so I'll just have to see how it holds up power-wise. But it almost has to be better than the 1/2 hp motor I used on my previous homemade grinder. With work the way it is, it will likely be a couple of months before I have the time to mess with it, but I'll let folks know how it goes. Michael
  2. I got a broken-down exercise treadmill today with an eye toward using the still-working 2.5 hp variable-speed DC motor to power a grinder. On taking things apart a bit, it's got a lot of electronic stuff inside that I don't understand. Does anyone have good ideas about how to power and control such a motor if I take it out? Or should I stick with the existing treadmill controls, which seem to work OK? I'm not even really sure how it turns the 120V AC into 120VDC, the only thing inside that looks like a transformer doesn't seem big enough somehow to handle that much current. Yes, I am in over my head, but no, I don't have the money to buy a motor like this new, and this was free (the belt you walk on is torn up along one edge from where it didn't track well). The setup as-is runs a 1 5/8" drive roller (approx. 5 1/8" circumference) between 1 and 10 mph. At 5,280 feet/mile that's about 88 to 880 feet per minute if I did the math right, so it looks like it will need a bigger drive wheel. 88 feet/min is just over 200 rpm on the current drive roller. To make the math easier, a 3.8" drive wheel would give 1 foot of belt movement per revolution. So, what do you all think? Michael
  3. The nice thing about charcoal is that the CO2 I make burning it can be locked back into trees where it came from, during my lifetime. I've planted a lot of trees over the years, and some of them will probably be here after I'm gone. But I still like coal and propane too. I think I've already saved more fossil fuel with a few years of driving a 4 cyl car (versus an SUV) than I'll use up by smithing in my lifetime. Archie, let us know how the gasifier works, and don't blow yourself up Michael
  4. Nice job on both. Eagle and serpent: Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) was founded on the site where wandering proto-Aztecs (?) saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear cactus, devouring a rattlesnake. But the big knife strikes me as more Persian, or from one of those places that ends in -stan, than Aztec. Michael
  5. Hi Karl, Email sent. I would like a box. thanks, Michael
  6. Yikes. I thought I was living well. Yesterday I made some skirt steak & onion kebabs on the washtub forge. Fresh lime juice and worcestershire sauce marinade, and black pepper. Absolutely no bird embryos were involved, at all Michael
  7. I just got a copy of this book a couple days ago. I enjoyed it, though it seems to have a few more typos than it ought to. Nice photos of some of the tools (hammers, Japanese bellows with photo and drawing) in addition to a lot of great sword photos. There's a couple of pages of drawings at the end with about 20 steps diagrammed from newly smelted lumps to the finished sword, which serve as a nice accessible summary of the process. Michael
  8. I believe those wispy purplish flames that are the sign of a nice deep reducing fire are actually carbon monoxide burning to form carbon dioxide. Makes sense to me but I don't recall where I heard this so it may not be right. Michael
  9. I haven't tried drying in the oven, but I did try to 'dry' some in a can at the forge a while back. It kind of foamed up a bit at first, then turned into a single solid lump as the rest of the moisture left (but maybe I overheated it?). So, if I were trying to heat it in the oven, I'd leave some overflow space in the container just in case it foams up. OK, I couldn't stand not knowing so I looked it up. There's 10 molecules of water per sodium tetraborate molecule in the 20 mule team stuff. It loses the last water molecule at 320 degrees C or just over 600 Farenheit. I think it actually loses its water molecules sequentially, beginning at lower temperatures, but I couldn't quickly locate this information. It fuses into a lump somewhere above 700C, so I probably did overheat it in the forge. I imagine an airtight container (tupperware, anyone?) would maintain it in a mostly anhydrous state until use. Michael
  10. Unbelievably nice work Jake. And the little guy does look a bit like the good Dr. Bunsen... Michael
  11. I bought it in hardcover a couple years back. Outstanding book. It was my birthday present (note to self: use gollum voice here for best effect) Michael
  12. I was born in the late 60s, before the moon landing though. I've been a chemist and an archaeologist, a science teacher, and last fall I moved to Florida where I am now an assistant professor of education. I get little enough practice forging, so that each time I make something, I seem to repeat some of the same mistakes I've already made. But it's still a lot of fun so I keep at it. The first time I used a coal forge was with Ric Furrer (thanks Ric!), way back when he was still an undergraduate. I like Vikings and most of my forging ambitions focus on small seax-like objects. One day (soon, I hope) I'll be happy enough with my work to warrant getting a touch mark, and then I will post something I've made in these forums. When that happens, I may even switch to posting under my full name. Michael
  13. Sweet work Alan. Got a closeup of the rocket fins? Is the grip turned, then the fin part carved, or is it all carved? I've been fooling with turning some handle blanks lately and you've got me inspired now. Michael
  14. And here I thought I was the only one with a shop spider problem. I changed the wire wheel on my bench grinder a couple weeks ago, and a moment later the biggest spider I've ever seen dropped out and onto the floor with an audible 'plop' sound, then started running across the floor at top speed. I stomped it in a panic, and the front of my size 10 shoe was barely big enough to cover it. Then last week I went to turn on the same grinder, and as my hand approached the switch I suddenly saw eight big hairy knees pop up from just under the wheel. I haven't tried to grind anything since. Michael
  15. Lovely work as always. Could you share a closeup of the handle? Michael
  16. Great news. Thanks Don for letting us know. Michael
  17. Gee, there's only 92 naturally occurring elements, how difficult could it be? As a former chemist/chemistry teacher, I had to say that Seriously, not only is it helpful for the metallurgy end of things, but it helps you understand the chemical safety stuff. Note the safety glasses: As Ric mentioned, it's also good to know some of the 'why' that goes behind the 'how'. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick some ferns for the goat, we're fresh out of urine and it's almost quenching time Michael
  18. That was my creation on Keenjunk, I have a bit more detail in my post over at swordforum. In brief, plumbing parts, a brake disk, and wood ash and clay. All bolted since I didn't have a welder back then. Michael
  19. Not concrete. When it gets hot enough, chunks will start popping off, and what doesn't pop off will turn back into powder. I'd put some feet on the pipe so it doesn't roll away. Then there are several ways to make it into a forge from there. Michael
  20. What Kevin H said - a couple weeks ago 2 guys died not far from here from carbon dioxide displacing their air. One was a fast food worker, who climbed a 10 foot wall into the enclosure to fill the CO2 tanks for the drink machines because the guy with the key wasn't there. The second death was the guy driving the gas supply truck, who succumbed while trying to rescue the first guy who wasn't able to climb back out. You all be careful out there. Michael
  21. Hi Alan! Actually, I'm envious that you got to use it. I got to see and photograph Paw Paw's tire hammer, but the on/off switch was busted the day I stopped by to see it. I also got to see briefly the one at the Madison conference. These are a great idea and I've been dreaming of building one ever since I saw Paw Paw's. I don't know how I would get one here to Tampa from Tallahassee but I'd love to hear more about the workshop just in case. Being Tampa is a port town, I'm hopeful that there may be some large shipyard scrap available somewhere nearby. Trying the Phoenix hammer at Larry Harley's last spring was great, and also it inspired me to think how nice an anvil that size would work on a tire hammer If I understand correctly, the tire serves as the flywheel so a bigger tire might be needed for a heavier ram. The speed (BPM) is controlled not by the diameter of the tire, but by the size of the drive wheel relative to the tire and by the RPM of the motor. These control the RPM of the tire, which is the same as the beats per minute regardless of the tire's diameter. Michael
  22. Spark test it to see if it's cast iron or mild steel, those would be my first 2 guesses. If it's cast you could probably score a line, clamp it in a heavy post vise, and hit it with a big hammer (on the waste side of the line) to break it off at the line. If it's mild steel a hacksaw should work fine, although a bandsaw or a nice bimetal blade in a reciprocating saw might be faster. At least, that's how I'd approach it. Keep in mind, finesse is not one of my strong points Michael
  23. Nice work Jesse. Best wishes for a happy rest of your life together! Michael
  24. Very nice Alan. I love the bearded style. Does the wrought portion cover the whole side, or is the lower part of the beard all 5160? There's a subtle ridge in the photo that made me wonder (could be a slag line too I suppose). I haven't made one like this so I can sort of picture how it might be done either way. Another way to ask what I'm wondering is, did you start with the bit the full length of the beard, or draw it down after welding it in? Is the bit the full width of the beard? I'm trying to get the process straight in my mind before I use up a big portion of my tiny stash of wrought iron trying it out. Michael
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