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Michael Stuart

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Everything posted by Michael Stuart

  1. A somewhat educated guess on the tiller tines is that they are a medium- to high-carbon alloy with extra silicon and some other stuff ??? probably manganese??? I tried some of these and had a bit of trouble figuring out a good heat treat, but that was several years ago and I haven't had any to play with since. One other note, if these are the 'heavy-duty' ones from Troy Bilt there may be some hard facing material left on them; grind it off before trying to forge them.
  2. Anyone try a metal mailbox? Flat bottom to put a brick to catch flux, curved top to hold kaowool in place, front door opens to put the wool in, and only 8 bucks at home despot.
  3. If I was in the market I'd talk to John Larson who posts over at the keenjunk site. He has put an awful lot of work into designing his hammers and has always been willing to share what he has learned. Here's a link to a pic he posted of one: http://www.keenjunk.com/sketchbk/jl30418.htm I think he's located in Pennsylvania, could be wrong though.
  4. Don, did you taper that (axle) by hand? Nice either way, just curious. Chris (Prizzim) showed me a neat stake anvil design at Harley's hammerin. He notched near the pointy end of a splitting wedge and drew out the end from the notch (similar to a stick tang) so the stake has shoulders to keep it from splitting the log or going in too deep to get out.
  5. I haven't found a pet store bone the size/shape I want, but it seems with other 'found' bones like they want to splinter or split where a hole is drilled. I have a couple of bone scales I want to use at some point, but I don't want them to split so I haven't done anything with them yet. So for a 1/8 inch or so pin hole, what drill speed would you recommend, faster, slower, doesn't matter? I've got a drill press with 9 speeds, although I usually leave it on the slowest setting since I mostly am drilling metal.
  6. thanks for mentioning that Sweany I've still got it, have used it several times out in the yard when I couldn't wait any longer to get the main forge put back together after moving. The threads rusted shut once on the cleanout cap, so I tore it all apart and rebuilt a bit better, I would tape the threads to slow the rust if I could find where I put the teflon tape. Instead I give the cleanout a turn every few weeks to keep it from rusting shut again. The filling is scrap cement board pieces covered with yard clay mixed with ash and gravel. It works for coal as-is, for burning charcoal or wood
  7. Don, it seems like I've heard there are labs that for a fee will analyze a piece of scrap steel for the dozen or so (20?) elements of interest to knifemakers. But I don't know who offers such a service, or how much it might cost. Any information you might have about this would be welcome.
  8. sickbugs, limestone CaCO3 + heat makes CaO or lime, you're halfway to making either grits or mortar depending on what you add next. Better living through chemistry!
  9. Yummy, just add some salt and a bay leaf or two and it's giraffe soup time Seriously, I boiled a thanksgiving ham bone for hours but it was still a bit greasy and yellowish; a 20 minute boil with lots of borax in the water cleaned it up the rest of the way, but smelled nasty. Then I looked closely and found out it had been 'spiral sliced' all the way into the bone. The surface was starting to break down a little bit from all the boiling. Could be time for a spiral wire inlay, or then again, a treat for the dogs. Speaking of which, some pet store bones are well bleached but still structur
  10. Thanks. Wow, where's that last one from? I can figure out part of the process, but anytime you want to make one and show how you did it we'll all be grateful.
  11. "with a blade that is 5-6" wide 12-16" long" jon, I'm guessing these dimensions are not just the blade, but including the 'wings' and socket? Most of the pictures I have seen don't list dimensions on the spear heads (or discuss hafts at all) so I'd love to have you share more of what you know about this. That's a whopper of a spear either way and one day I want to try making one.
  12. Ammonia fumes give some varieties of oak a nice dark finish; IIRC Mission-style furniture used this technique a lot. Lots of folks use a soak in vinegar to remove scale from forged iron, but not as many know that the leftover vinegar-iron sludge also makes an interesting black finish on oak.
  13. Jesse, I've had the same experience with the paint on strapping, that is, it burns off quickly and doesn't seem to cause a problem. I had a chance once to get a whole roll of the blue strapping at near-scrap price but it was gone when I came back with my money. Sigh. Thanks Mike for sharing the info on the composition. I was hoping someone might have tracked that down. And thanks again to Don for providing such a great forum for these discussions. I usually check a piece from each sawblade or strap first by heating and a water quench. Then if it snaps it's potential edge material, and
  14. If you're attached to new steel, read no further :laugh: but bandsaw blades are great. I have used everything from 30 year old woodcutting blades to new metalcutting ones to sawmill blades with success. They are often high nickel alloys, sometimes L6 or 15n20 from what I hear, although I never have had one analyzed. The main cautions are to grind off the teeth first to prevent cracks from starting (easier with the smaller teeth on metalcutting blades, big sawmill teeth take a long time) and (probably but I've not run into this problem so far) stay away from the fancy bimetal or high silicon b
  15. I used to be a chemist...so here's what I have been able to find out. Rusting starts with iron losing 2 electrons to oxygen to form iron 2+ ions. Iron 2+ and oxygen 2- combine to form iron (II) oxide FeO which is black. The electrons react with water to form OH- ions, which also react further to make iron (III) oxide Fe2O3 which is red (hematite). To make it even more complicated, there is also iron (II,III) oxide Fe3O4 (magnetite)which is a combination of the first two. Rust is a combination of these with extra OH- attached in varying quantities, which also is what limonite (bog iron), goeth
  16. mmm, mead. Wouldn't have to be a sacrifice though; maybe the quench would just warm it up for winter consumption, like the traditional hot poker in mulled wine. Worth a try.
  17. You can also take the middle junk out and replace it with a solid round bar the right size. It's that much less air space to weld up, and gives a bigger bar at the end. But if you grind too deep it will show on the surface, and will show on the point regardless (I suppose that's another argument in favor of forging close to the final shape).
  18. Wow, if you've got 25 acres to work with, all you have to do is pile up some brush and burn it, preferably right before a rainstorm. Then make a box with hardware cloth on the bottom (wire mesh with 1/4 or 1/2 inch square holes) and after the rain is done, screen out the charcoal from the sand, clay, rocks, etc. This makes nice small pieces that make a good hot fire. You can also pack a 55 gal drum full of small pieces, put the lid on with a small hole in it, and burn the brush around it for 2 or 3 hours (smoke will change color when it's ready). Let it cool overnight, and you'll have half to
  19. I think animal fat with rosin dissolved in it is pretty close to the recipe for 'greek fire', good stuff to fling at your enemies' ships but not too good to have catch on fire in your shop. Anyone know how long mineral oil has been around? I think it boils around 500F.
  20. INTJ here. Interesting trend.
  21. Bohning sells something called Ferr-L-Tite for attaching arrow points to a wood shaft. It may actually be some kind of pitch? Heat it up to liquid with a torch, press the parts together for a few seconds while it hardens, then it will hold up to the shock of arrow hitting target. About $3 for a thumb-sized stick.
  22. The metal foil tape they use to seal furnace ducts works pretty well. Another good fix is a tin can. Get one with the open end the size of the larger pipe, and cut a hole in the smaller end. You can cut it with a utility knife if you're careful; make the hole a bit small, and flare the edges with a ball peen. You can also cut slits and fold out the open end to make a flange to bolt the can over a square fan. Foil tape helps seal the connection if you do it that way. Better late than never, maybe this will help someone else.
  23. The US debate between AC and DC was partly the result of a feud between Westinghouse and Edison. Apparently the electric chair was part of a scheme to convince the public that AC was unsafe. Here's a link with some history: AC/DC ::
  24. Good question. I started at about 23, and still have the first thing I made, a really ugly but more or less functional rolled-socket spear point that began as a rr spike. Of course that doesn't count the years and years of geekdom I spent in D&D, then F&SF conventions, then SCA, and all those interests led me to begin smithing. I think of it as sort of a progression, from all mental toward a more healthy balance between mental and physical activity. It's now a dozen years later and I'm still learning every day, but the pieces are beginning to fall in place. And I'm having a blast.
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